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Full text of "Voyage of the U.S. exploring squadron, commanded by Captain Charles Wilkes, in 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, and 1842. : together with explorations and discoveries made by Admiral D'Urville, Captain Ross, and other navigators and travellers : and an account of the expedition to the Dead Sea, under Lieutenant Lynch"

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IN 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, AND 1842: 













ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, 

tn the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Northern District of 
New York. 


I 70 




IT has been my main object, in the preparation of this 
work, to present, in an attractive and condensed form, an 
account of the various Expeditions mentioned in its pages, 
with such other information touching the places and localities 
described, as might be of interest to the general reader ; and 
if the public approve of the design, additions will hereafter 
be made to it, treating of similar enterprises undertaken by 
the American government. 

So far, however, from being an abridgment of the published 
narratives of Messrs. Wilkes and Lynch, this volume will be 
found to contain a very large proportion of facts not embraced 
in either of them. These have been obtained from divers 
sources. While engaged in preparing the work, I have 
consulted the Voyages of D'Urville, Ross, Beechey, King 
and Fitzroy ; Ellis' 1 Polynesian Researches ; Crawfurd's 
Indian Archipelago; Darwin's Journal of Researches; Wil- 
liams' Missionary Enterprises ; Kidder's Sketches of Resi- 
dence and Travels in Brazil ; Bingham's Sandwich Islands ; 
Mrs. Meredith's Sketches of New South Wales; Earl's 
Enterprise in Tropical Australia ; Greenhow's History of 
Oregon and California ; the travels of Hall, Mier, Moeren- 
hout, Clarke, Elliott, Stephens, Robinson, and Fisk; and a 


number of other books of voyages and travels, some or all 
of which are referred to in the notes. It would be unjust, 
too, not to acknowledge, in this connection, my indebtedness 
to the official narratives of Commanders Wiikes and Lynch. 
I have, as a matter of course, been essentially benefited by 
them, though I have found that of the former encumbered 
with frequent errors. Something may, indeed, be conceded 
to haste in preparing a work for the press ; but it is hardly 
excusable that any writer should be so far wrong in his 
geography as to confound San Salvador with Rio Janeiro, or 
so much at fault as to mistake a Peruvian montana for a 

It would have been easy for me to have swelled the size 
of the Second Part of the book, by inserting the stereotyped 
gleanings of almost every modern traveller who has visited 
the Holy Land, which have, from continued repetition, 
become familiar to every reader ; but I could not find any 
justification for taking that course. The important results, 
and the actual information, obtained by the Dead Sea 
Expedition, may be reduced within a very narrow compass; 
and the account of it seemed to me appropriately to terminate 
with the breaking up of the Encampment on the shores of 
the lake. 

Anachronisms of frequent occurrence may be found in 
these pages; but as my desire has been to impart informa- 
tion, they have appeared to me to be justifiable. The Expe- 
ditions of Wiikes and Lynch have been, as it were, the 
threads upon which I have strung the facts procured from 
different sources, many of which are not accessible to the 
majority of readers, or, if accessible, few have the leisure to 
examine them. Many of these facts relate to periods long 
subsequent to the date of the Expeditions with which they 


are connected, but no one can be misled by this arrangement ; 
and if the reader is as much profited by the perusal of this 
work, as I have been by the examinations necessary to its 
preparation, he will not, I am confident, be inclined to doubt 
that I have rendered him an acceptable service. 




Early Maritime Discoveries, 25. Indebtedness of America, 26. Act of 
Congress authorizing Expedition to the South Seas, 26. Organization 
of the Expedition, 26, 27. Departure from Norfolk, 27. Instructions 
of the Secretary of the Navy, 28, 29. Orders of the Commander of the 
Expedition, 29, 30. The Gulf Stream and Currents, 30. Western 
Islands, 31. Approach to Madeira, 31. Beautiful Scenery, 32. Arri- 
val at Funchal, 32. Appearance of the Town, 33. Other Towns on 
the Island, 33. The Interior; Rich Vegetation, 34. Mode of Travel- 
ling, 34. Population and Products, 35. Manufacture of Wine, 35, 36. 
Sailing of the Squadron, 36. The Cape de Verdes, 37. Productions 
and Exports, 37, 38. Houses, 38. Style of Dress, 39. St. Jago and 
Porto Praya, 39, 40. Route to Rio Janeiro, 40. 


Appearance of the City of Rio Janeiro from the Sea, 41. Imperial Pal- 
ace, Chapel, and other Public Buildings, 42. Celebration of the Em- 
peror's Birth-day, 42, 43. Churches in Rio, 43. Dwelling-houses and 
Streets, 44. Fountains, 45. Population of the City, 45. Condition 
of the Society, 45, 46. Fondness for Ornaments and Display, 46. 
Funerals, 46, 47. Amusements, 47. Slaves and Slavery, 47, 48. 
Beauty of the Suburbs and Environs, 48, 49. Discovery of Brazil, 49. 
History and Form of Government, 49, 50. Greatness of the Brazilian 
Empire, 50. Magnificent Flora, 50, 51. Rich Cabinet and Dye Woods, 
51. Cacao, Mango, and Agave, 51. Other Plants and Shrubs, 51. 
Indigo Plant, and Manufacture of Indigo, 51, 52. Coffee Shrub; Mode 
of Preparing the Berry for Market, 52. Other Products, 52. Markets 
in Brazilian Towns, 53. Parasites and Creepers in the Forests, 53. 



Birds and Animals, 53. Wild Horses and Cattle of the Pampas, 53, 54. 
Gold Mines, 54. Diamond Washings, 55. Other Mineral Products, 
56. Commerce of Brazil, 56. Caoutchouc, 56. Most Important Pro- 
ducts of the Southern Provinces, 56, 57. Importance of the Brazilian 
Trade to the United States, 57. Departure of the Expedition, 57. 


Pamperos off the Coast of La Plata, 58. The Rio Negro ; Barrenness of 
the Adjacent Country, 58. Pampas of the Interior, 58, 59. The Gua- 
chos ; their Costume and Appearance, 59. Settlement at El Carmen, 
59, 60. Early History of Buenos Ayres, 60. Its Population and Cap- 
ital, 60, 61. Other Important Towns, 61. Climate, 61. Vegetable 
Products, 61. Horses, Mules, and Cattle, 61. Mines, 61. Lagunas de 
Salinas, 61, 62. Matte, 62. Zoology, 62. Native Population, 62. 
Weapons of the Indian Tribes, 62, 63. Alarm at El Carmen, 63. Ap- 
proach to the Southern Extremity of the Continent, 63. Dreary Ap- 
pearance of Tierra del Fuego, 63, 64. Straits of Magellan, 64. Straits 
of Le Maire, 64. Doubling Cape Horn, 64, 65. Geographical Position 
of the Cape, 65. Arrival of the Squadron at Orange Harbor, 66. 


Voyage of the Relief, 67. Discovery of Patagonia, 67. Geographical 
Description, 68. Mineral Formations, 68. Patagonian Indians, 68, 69. 
Dress, Appearance, and Mode of Life, 69. Use of the Bolas, 69, 70. 
Interviews with the Natives, 70, 71. Orange Harbor, 71. Visits from 
the Fuegians, 71, 72. Description of Tierra del Fuego, 72. Principal 
Trees, 72. Winter's Bark, 72. Geology, 72, 73. Mountain Scenery, 
73. Animals and Birds, 73. The Fuegians, Physiognomy, Dress, and 
Mode of Life, 73, 74. Wigwams and Canoes, 74. Superstitions, 74, 
75. Arms and Weapons, 75. Southern Cruise, 75, 76. Icebergs, 76. 
Vain Attempt to Penetrate beyond former Navigators, 76. Beautiful 
Luciform Appearances, 76, 77. Return to Orange Harbor, 77. The 
Pacific Ocean, 77. Arrival at Valparaiso, 77. Loss of the Sea Gull, 


Splendid View of the Andes on approaching the Chilian Coast, 79, 80. 
Country around Valparaiso, 80. View of the Town, 80, 81. The Har- 


bor, 81. Fortifications, 81, 82. Facilities for Landing, 82. Choices, 
82. Custom-house and Exchange, 82, 83. Other Public Buildings, 83. 
Chingano and Samacutca, 83. City Prisons, 83. Taverns, 83, 84. 
Efficiency of the Police, 84. Population of the City, 84. Mercantile 
Character, 84, 85. Old Spanish Residents, 85. State of Morals, 85. 
Cemeteries, 86. Historical Notices of Chili, 86. Revolution, and Es- 
tablishment of Independence, 86, 87. Changes in the Government, 87, 
88. Administration of Prieto, 88. Diego Portales, 88. Beneficent 
Legislation, 88. Improvement in the Finances, 88. Form of Govern, 
ment of Chili, 89. General Prosperity of the Country, 89. Boundaries 
of the Republic, 89, 90. Peonage, 90. Management of the Large Es- 
tates, 90. War with Peru, 90, 91. Defeat and Banishment of Santa 
Cruz, 91, 92. Santiago, 92. Imposing Appearance, 92. Public Prom- 
enades, 93. Cleanliness and Salubrity of the City, 93. Public Edifices, 
93, 94. The Palace, 94. Cathedral and Parish Churches, 94. The 
Mint, 94. College and Public Library, 94, 95. Private Dwellings, 95. 
Markets, 95. Fine Horses, 95, 96. Amusements and Recreations, 96. 
Attachment to Religious Forms, 96. The Oracion, 96. Fashions, 96, 
97. Population of Santiago, 97. Coquimbo, 97. Huasco, 97. Con- 
cep9ion, 97. Valdivia, 97, 98. Dress of the Chilenos, 98. Traits of 
Character, 98. Dwelling-houses, 99. Indian Population, 99. The 
Cordilleras, and Intermediate Valleys, 99, 100. Climate of Chili, 100. 
Rivers, 100. Geology, 100. Fertility of the Soil, 100, 101. Chilian 
Forests, 101. Productions, 101, 102. Agriculture, and Implements of 
Husbandry, 102. Cattle-breeding, 102. Wild Animals, 102. Birds, 
103. Commerce, 103, 104. Internal Trade, 104. Mode of Travelling 
and Carrying Burdens, 104, 105. Manufactures, 105. Mineral Wealth, 
105, 106. Copper Mines in Coquimbo and Jajuel, 109. Mining Sys- 
tem, 106, 107. Departure from Valparaiso, 107. 


Island of San Lorenzo, 108. Harbor and Town of Callao, 109, 110. 
Road to the Capital, 111. Lima, 112. Situation of the City, 112. Its 
Streets, 113. Beauty of its Public Edifices, 113. The Plaza Mayor 
and Fountain, 113, 114. Government Palace, Cabildo, and Cathedral, 
114. Churches and Convents, 115. Monastic Establishments, Hospi- 
tals, and Asylums, 116. Palace of the Inquisition, 116. University, 117. 
Mint, National Library, and Theatre, 117. City Wall, 117. Spanish 
Colonization, 118. Fortifications, 119. Private Houses, 119, 120. 
Pantt on, 120. Population of Lima, 121. Other Principal Towns in 
Peru, 121. Cuzco, 122. Arequipa, 122. Cerro di Pasco, 123. Gua- 
manga, 123. Huacho, 123. Huancavelica, 124. Truxillo, 124. Early 


History of Peru, 124. War of Independence, 125. Dictatorship of 
Bolivar, 125. Revolt of the Peruvian Patriots, 125. Civil Dissensions, 
126. Protectorate of Santa Cruz, 126. Present Administration, 127. 
Population of Peru, 127. The White Creoles, 127. Peruvian Ladies, 
128. Mixed Races, 129. Influence of Catholicism, 130. Style o* 
Dress, 131. Saya y Manto, 131. Popular Amusements, 132. Aman- 
caes Fete, 132. Intoxicating Drinks and Stimulants, 133. Houses of 
the Peruvians in the Interior, 133. Beasts of Burden, 133. Mode of 
Travelling, 133. Topography of Peru, 133, 134. Character of the 
Soil, 134. Harbors, 134. Rivers and Lakes, 135. Climate, 135. Dis- 
eases, 136. Earthquakes, 136. Mineral Wealth, 136. Silver Mines 
at Cerro di Pasco, 137. Mode of Working, 137. Other Mining Dis- 
tricts, 138. Agriculture, 138. Implements of Husbandry, 139. Pro- 
ducts of the Coast, 139. Cotton, Maize, and Sugar Cane, 140. The 
High Lying Districts, 141. Aracacha, Yucca, and other Productions, 
141. The Olive Tree, 142. Castor Oil Plant, 142. Plants of the 
Sierra, 142. Quinua and Ulluco, 142. Lucern, 143. Fruits, 143, 144. 
The Chirimoya, 144. Peruvian Bark, 145. Balsam of Peru, 146. 
Tonga, 146. Ratanhia, 146. Flora of Peru, 146. Commerce, 147. 
Exports and Imports, 147. Roads, 147, 148. Manufactures, 148. 
Birds, 149. The Condor, 149. Wild Animals, 150. The Llama, 150. 
Alpaca and Guanaco, 151. The Vicuna, 152. Domestic Quadrupeds, 
153. Fine Horses and Mules, 153. Sailing of the Squadron, 154. 


The Paumotu Group, 155. Clermont de Tonnerre, 156. Unfriendliness 
of the Natives, 156. Mode of Surveying the Islands, 156. Other 
Islands of the Group, 157. Movements of the Squadron, 158. Boring 
on Aratica Island, 158. The Lagoons, 159. Geology, 159. Different 
Theories, 160. Botany, 161. Birds and Animals, 162. Population. 
162. Physical Character of the Inhabitants, 163. Dress and Customs, 
163, 164. Mode of Constructing Habitations, 164. Canoes, 165. 


View of Tahiti from the Sea, 166. Society Islands, 167. Discovery anc 
Description of the Group, 167, 168. Rivers, 168. Harbors, 169. Pa 
pieti and Matavai, 170. Taloo, 171. Establishment of Missions, 171. 
Adoption of a Form of Government, 171. Features of the Constitution, 


171, 172. Queen Pomare, 172. The King Consort, 172. Caricature 
of Royalty, 173. Tahitian Politics, 173. Police Regulations, 174. 
Character of the Natives, 174. Former State of Degradation, 174. 
Change Produced by the Missionaries, 175. Influence of the Climate 
on the Feelings and Disposition, 175, 176. Personal Traits and Char- 
acteristics, 176. Appearance, Customs, and Language, 177. Style of 
Dress, 178, 179. Love of Flowers, 179. Productions, 180. Otaheitan 
Cane, 181. Rich Fruits, 181. Wild Banana, 182. Guava and Cocoa, 

182. Mode of Climbing the Cocoa-nut Tree, 182. The Bread-Fruit, 

183. Mahi, 184. Diet, and Mode of Living, 184. Zoology, 184, 185. 
The Queen's Palace, 185. Native Dwellings, 185, 186. Furniture, 
186. Commercial Resources, 186. Vessels and Canoes, 187. Inter- 
nal Traffic, 187. Manufactured Products, 188. Mode of Extracting 
the Oil of the Cocoa-nut, 188. Arrow Root, 188. Beating Tapa, 188, 
189. General Influence of the Missionaries, 189. Errors Committed 
189, 190. 


Arrival of the Squadron at Tahiti, 191. Friendly Reception, 191. Voy- 
"age to the Sainoan Group, 192. Geographical Description, 192. 
Manua, 192. Tutuila, 193. Upolu, 193. Beautiful Scenery, 194. 
Manono and Apolima, 194. Savaii, 195. Streams and Lakes, 195. 
Formation of the Islands, 195, 196. Climate, 196. Harbor of Pago- 
Pago, 196. Apia, 197. Other Ports, 197. Population of the Group, 
198. Personal Appearance of the Natives, 198. Treatment of Women, 
198, 199. Chastity, 199. Traits and Characteristics, 199, 200. Habit 
of Bathing, 200. The "Devil's Men," 201. Heathen Women, 201. 
People of Savaii, 201. Fondness for Traffic, 201. Diseases, 202. 
Language, 202. The Maro, 202. Titi, and other Articles of Dress, 

203. Ornaments, 203. Tattooing, 203, 204. Mode of Wearing the 
Hair, 204. Occupations and Amusements, 204. Lascivious Dances, 

204, 205. Musical Instruments, 205. Games, 205. Marriages, 206. 
Births and Burials, 206. Manner of Cooking Food, 206. Disgusting 
Mode of Preparing Ava, 206, 207. Government, 207. State of Soci- 
ety, 207. Crimes and Punishments, 207, 208. Heathen Deities, 208. 
Successful Labors of the Missionaries, 208, 209. Manner of Erecting 
Houses, 209, 210. Arrangements in the Interior, 210. Culinary Uten- 
sils, 210. Native Lamp, 210. Commerce, 211. Articles adapted for 
Exportation, 211 Mechanical Skill, 211. Tapa and Mulberry Cloth, 
211,212. Canoes,212. Animal Kingdom, 212, 213. Mode of Taking 
Fish, 213. Cultivated Trees and Plants, 213. Ti-root Sugar, 213, 214. 
Yam and Taro, 214. Beauty of the Forests, 214. Tamanu and Amai, 


214. Tou, Toi, and Toa, 215. Manufacture of Pitch from the Bread- 
Fruit, 215. Candle Nut Tree, 215, 216. Surveys of the Squadron, 
216. Native Fono, 216. Departure from the Samoan Group, and Ar- 
rival at Sydney, 217. 


New Holland, or Australia, 218. Position of the Continent, 218. Firsl 
Discovery, 219. Subsequent Explorations, 219, 220. Geographical 
Features, 220. Mountain Ranges, 221, 222. Interior of the Country . 
222, 223. Geological Formation, 223. The Uplands, 224. Theory 
of Formation, 225. Harbors, 225. Port Jackson, 226. Rivers, 226. 
The Hawkesbury, 227. The Murray and its Tributaries, 228, 229. 
Lakes, 229. Character of the Country in respect of Fertility, 230. 
Soil, 230. Geology and Mineral Substances, 230, 231. Climate, 231, 
232. Tropical Australia, 232. Wet and Dry Seasons, 233. Atmos- 
pheric Phenomena, 233. Diseases, 234. Peculiarities in the Vegetable 
Kingdom, 234, 235. General Arrangement of Plants, 235, 236. Cere- 
alia, Native Grasses, and Fruits, 236. Other Productions, 237. Cotton, 
Coffee, and other Tropical Plants, 238. Forest Scenery, 238, 239. 
Timber Trees, 239. Eucalypti, 239, 240. Medicinal Trees, 240. .Im- 
pressions on the Mind of a Stranger, 240, 241. State of Agriculture 
and Horticulture, 241. Animal Existence, 241, 242. Birds, 242, 243. 
Cassowary, 242. Black Swan, 243. Mammalia, 243. Marsupialia, 
243, 244. Kangaroo, 244. Other Genera, 244, 245. Ornithorhynchus 
245, 246. Rodentia, 246. Domestic Animals, 246, 247. Reptiles and 
Fish, 247. Insects, 248. Personal Appearance of the Aborigines, 248, 
249. Character, 249, 250. Native Huts and Weapons, 250. Boo- 
mereng, 251. Canoes, 251. Mode of Living, 251. Ideas of Gov- 
ernment, 252. Customs, 252. " Making Young Men," 252, 253. 
Amusements, 253. Burying the Dead, 253. Superstitions, 253, 254, 
255. Poetic Idea in Regard to Sleep, 255. First Colonization of Aus- 
tralia, 255. Embarrassments and Changes in the Government, 256. 
Cost of Establishing Colony of New South Wales, 257. Encourage- 
ment of Immigration, 257, 258. Speculation in Wild Lands, 258. 
Subordinate Penal Colonies, 258. Other Settlements by Voluntary 
Immigrants, 258, 259. West Australia, 258. South Australia, 259. 
Port Phillip, 259. North Australia, 259, 260. Population of Australia, 
260. Government, 260, 261. The Judiciary, 261. Colonial Life, 261, 
262. Different Classes of Society, 262. Amusements and Fashions. 
262. Schools, Colleges, and Literary and Benevolent Societies, 263. 
Style of Building, 263, 264. Condition of the Convicts, 264. Their 
Treatment, 264, 265. Discontinuance of New South Wales as a Penal 


Colony, 265. Tasmania, or Van Diemen's Land, 265, 266. Geology, 
266. Manner of Selling Lands in the Colony, 267. Climate, 267. 
Vegetable and Animal Kingdoms, 267, 268. Harbors, Rivers, and 
Lakes, 268. Government, 269. Aboriginal Race, 269. Hobarton, 
269,270. Launceston, 270. Sydney, 270, 271. The Public Buildings 
and Institutions, 271, 272. Paramatta, and Woolongong, 272, 273, 
Adelaide and other Towns, 273. Commerce of the Australian Colonie* , 
273, 274. Manufactures, 274. Saltworks, 274. 


Departure of the Squadron from Sydney, 275. Antarctic Expedition, 276 
Macquarrie Island, 277. Land supposed to Exist near the Antarctic 
Circle, 277, 278. Deceptive Appearances, 278. Actual Discovery of 
Land, 279. Antarctic Continent, 279. Return to Sydney, 280. Dis 
coveries of Biscoe and Balleny, 280, 281. French Expedition under M. 
d'Urville, 281, 282. Expedition under Captain Ross, 282. Discovery 
of Land, 283. Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, 283, 284. Icy Bar- 
rier, 284. Subsequent Voyages, 284, 285. Expedition under Lieuten- 
ant Moore, 285. Results of the Different Expeditions, 285. The 
Whale Fishery, 285. Magnetic Observations, 285, 286. Geology of 
the Antarctic Continent, 286. Belt of Ice, 286. The Icebergs, 286, 
287. Splendid Exhibitions of the Aurora Australis, 287. Last Traces 
of Vegetation, 287, 288. Animal Kingdom, 288. Sea-Lion, and Sea- 
Elephant, 288. " Killer," 288, 289. Wild Fowl, 289. Rendezvous of 
the Squadron in the Bay of Islands, 289. 


Acquisitions of England, 290. New Zealand, 291. Discovery, 291. De- 
scription of the Islands, 291, 292. Formation of the Country, 292. 
Rivers and Streams, 292, 293. Harbors, 293, 294. Bay of Islands, 
293, 294. Towns, 294, 295. Volcanic Phenomena, 295. Hot Springs, 
295. Minerals, 295, 296. Soil, 296. Climate and Diseases, 296, 297. 
Population, 297. Abandoned Character of the Inhabitants, 297. Oc- 
cupation by Great Britain, 297, 298. Improvement in the State of 
Society, 298. Government, 298, 299. Native New Zealanders, 299. 
Their Character and Customs, 300. Ornaments, 300, 301. Influence 
Exerted by the Missionaries, 301. Mechanical Skill of the Natives, 301, 
302. Amusements, 302. Power of the Chiefs in Former Times, 302, 


303. Fortified Towns, or Pas, 303. Native Habitations, 303, 304. 
Furniture, 304. Dress, 304. Diet, 304, 305. Taboo, 305. Funeral 
Ceremonies, 305. Botany of the Islands, 305, 306. Pine Timber, 306. 
Fern and Flax, 306. New Zealand Spinach, 306, 307. Agriculture, 
307. Foreign Products, 307. Animals and Birds, 308. Exports and 
Imports, 309. Canoes, 309. Manufactures, 309, 310. Sailing of the 
Squadron, and Arrival in the Tonga Islands, 310. 


Discovery of the Tonga Group, 311. Description of the Islands, 311, 312. 
Physical Geography, 312. Climate, 312, 313. Fertility of Tonga, 313. 
Productions of the Group, 313, 314. Culture of the Soil, 314. Popu- 
lation, 314. Personal Appearance of the Tongese, 314, 315. Beauti- 
ful Women, 314, 315. Cleanly Habits, 315. Character, 315. Dress, 
315, 316. Native Warriors, 316. Occupations, 316, 317. Birds and 
Animals, 317. Fondness for Tobacco and Ava, 317. Singing, 317, 
318. Government, 318. Ancient Religion, 318. Divinities, 318, 319. 
Island of Bulotu, 319, 320. Dwellings, 320. Articles of Furniture, 
320, 321. Beautiful Mats, 320, 321. Nukualofa, 322. Manner of 
Fortifying their Towns, 322. Expertness as Seamen, 322. Canoes, 
322, 323. Mode of Sculling, 323. Missionaries, 323. War between 
the Christians and the " Devil's Party," 323, 324. Defeat of the For- 
mer, 324. Sailing of the Squadron for the Feejee Group, 324. 


Bad Character of the Feejee Group, 325. Discovery and Geographical 
Description of the Islands, 326. Important Members of the Group, 
327. Eastern Islands, 327. Vanua-levui, 327. Viti-levui, 328. Ovo- 
lau and Malolo, 328. Assua Group, 329. Rivers and Streams, 329. 
Harbors and Towns, 329, 330. Levuka, 329. Savu-Savu and its Hot 
Springs, 329, 330. Ambau andRewa, 330, 331. Sawau, 331. Somu- 
Somu, 332. Evidences of the Volcanic Origin of the Islands, 333 
Geological Formations, 333, 334. Richness of the Soil, 334. Climate, 
334, 335. Diseases, 335. Productions, 335, 336. Preservation ot 
Bread-Fruit, 335, 336. Fruit and Timber Trees, 336. Paper Mulberry 
and Tapa, 336. Mangrove, 336, 337. Edible Roots, 337 Cotton 
PLint and Tree, 337. Acclimated Fruits and Vegetables, 337. Flow- 
ering Plants and Shrubs, 337, 338. Agriculture, 338. Labor performed 


by the Women, 338. Zoology, 339. Whales and Turtles, 339. Modes 
of Taking Fish, 339. Biche de Her, 339, 340. Birds, 340. Physi- 
ognomy of the Feejeean, 340, 341. Appearance of the Women, 341. 
Mode of Wearing the Hair, 341, 342. Character of the Natives, 341, 
342. Cannibal Propensities, 343. Wars between the Tribes, 343. 
Manner of Suing for Mercy, 343, 344. Contrast between the Charac- 
ter of the Feejeeans, and the Scenery and Climate of the Islands, 344. 
A Field for the Missionary, 344, 345. Population of the Group, 345. 
Government, 345. Dress of the Natives, 345, 346. Attention paid to 
the Toilet, 346, 347. Tattooing and Circumcision, 347, Mode of Sit- 
ting, 347. Food, and its Preparation, 347. Pottery, 347, 348. Manner 
of Serving up Food, 348. Ava-Drinking, 348. Amusements, 348, 349. 
Language, 349. Polygamy and Marriage, 349. Putting to Death the 
Old and Infirm, 349. Treatment of Women, 349. Divinities, 349, 350. 
Traditions and Superstitions, 349, 350. Ambati, or Priests, 350. Mbures, 
or Spirit-Houses, 351. Fortified Koros, 351. Furniture in the Native 
Houses, 351. Canoes, 351, 352. Mechanical Ingenuity, 352. Tools, 
352. Articles of Commerce-, 352, 353. Capture of Vendovi, 353. 
Burning of Tye and Sualib, 353. Murder of Lieutenant Underwood 
and Midshipman Henry, 354, 355. Chastisement of the Natives, 355. 
Departure from the Group, 356. 


Position and Destiny of the Sandwich Islands, 357, 358. Geographical 
Description, 358, 359, 360. Hawaii, 358. Maui, 359. Lauai and 
Kahoolawe, 359. Molokai, 359. Oahu, 359, 360. Kauai and Niihau, 

360. General Character of the Scenery, 360, 361. Rivers and Streams, 

361. Geology, 361. Volcanoes, 361, 362. Burning Crater of Kilanea, 

362. 363. Population, 363, 364. Causes of the Diminution, 364, 365. 
Heterogeneous Mixture, 365. Personal Appearance of the Natives, 
365, 366. Characteristic Traits, 366, 367. Melancholy, 367. Dress, 
367, 368. Royal Attire, 368. Ornaments, 368, 369. Sporting in the 
Surf, 369, 370. Amusements, 370, 371. Ancient Sport of Hoolua, 371. 
Taboo, 371, 372. Marriage, 372. The Kanakas, 372, 373. Articles 
of Food, 373. Making Poe, 373. Use of Tobacco, 373. Habits, 373. 
Deaths, 373, 374. Mode of Salutation, 374. Arrival of tho Missiona- 
ries, 374. Abolishment of Taboo and other Ancient Customs, 374, 375. 
Errors Committed, 375. Deplorable Condition of the Hawaiian, 375. 
The Remedy, 376. Acknowledgment of the Sabbath, and Adoption of 
other Reforms, 376, 377. Accession of Kamameha III, 376, 377. 
Written Constitution Adopted, 377. Declaration of Rights, 377. Lead- 
ing Features of the Constitution, 377, 378. Police Regulations, 378. 


Taxes, 379. Schools, 379. Scenery of the Islands, 379, 380. Soil 
and Climate, 380. Common Diseases, 380, 381. Fruit and Timber 
Trees, 381, 382. Vegetable Productions, 382. Failure of the Attempt 
to Manufacture Silk, 382, 383. Calabash-Tree, 383. Pasturage, 383. 
Flowering Plants and Shrubs, 383, 384. Birds, Fish, and Animals, 384, 
385. Introduction of Fleas, 385. Honolulu, 385, 386. Waikiki, 386. 
Kailua, 387. Lahaina, 387. Hilo Bay, 387. Kealakekua Bay, 387, 
388. Waimea,388. Building Materials, 388. Grass-Houses, 388, 389, 
390. Furniture, 390. Commercial Importance of the Hawaiian Group, 

390, 391. Exports and Imports, 391. Tonnage, 391. Manufactures, 

391, 392. Canoes, 392. Arrival of the Squadron, 392. Voyage to 
Oregon, 392, 393. 


Cruise of the Peacock and Flying Fish, 394. Washington Island, 394. 
Phoenix Group, 394, 395. Union Group, 395. Description of the 
Islands, 395, 396. The Inhabitants, 396. Dress, 396. Houses, 396, 

397. Temple, 397. Wells, 397. Canoes, 397, 398. Mechanical In- 
genuity, 398. Dances and Music, 398. Arrival at the Samoan Group, 

398, 399. Burning of the Heathen Towns, 399. Ellice's Group, 399, 
400. Appearance and Character of the Inhabitants, 400. Customs, 
400. Ornaments and Dress, 400, 401. Canoes, 401. Implements and 
Weapons, 401. Kingsmill Group, 401, 402. Productions, 402. Beauty 
of the Climate, 402, 403. Animals, Birds, and Fish, 403. Population, 

403. Personal Appearance, 403, 404. Beauty of the Young Women, 

404. Hideousness of their Mothers, 404. Practice of Producing Abor- 
tions, 404, 405. Inhabitants of Pitt's Island, 405. Character of the 
Kingsmill Islanders, 405. Respect paid to the Dead, 405. Want of 
Chastity, 406. Social Divisions and Government, 406. Descent of 
Rank and Property, 406, 407. Dress and Ornaments, 407. Tattooing, 
407. Fondness for War, 407. Weapons and Armor, 407, 408. Ordi- 
nary Occupations, 408. Divinities, 408, 409. Native Elysium, 409. 
Births, 409. Marriages, 409, 410. Amusements, 410, 411. Dwelling 
Houses, 411. Furniture, 411, 412. Manner of Preparing Food, 412. 
Beverages, 412, 413. Canoes, 413. Tools, 413. Supposed Murder 
Committed by the Natives, 413. Burning of the Town of Utiroa, 413 
414. Sailing of the American Vessels, 414. Arrival at the Mouth of 
the Columbia, 414. Loss of the Peacock, 414. 



Boundaries of Oregon, 415, 416. Physical Geography, 416. Passes 
through the Mountains, 416, 417. Fertility of the Soil, 417. Geology, 
417, 418. Population, 418. Indian Tribes, 418. The White Inhabi- 
tants, 418. Government, 418, 419. Principal Towns, 4 19. Rivers, 419, 
420. Columbia, 419, 420. Other Streams, 420. Harbors, 421, 422* 
Puget's Sound, 421. Gray's Harbor, 421. Entrance to the Columbia 
River, 421, 422. Tilamuke, Celeste, and Yacquina Bays, 422. Climate 
of Oregon, 422, 423. Diseases, 423. Timber Trees, 423, 424. Agri- 
cultural Products, 424, 425. Domestic Animals, 425. Fruits, 425. 
Game, 425. Wild Fowl, 426. Discovery of California, 426. Expedi- 
tions of Cortes, 426, 427. Subsequent Expeditions, 427. Pearl Fish- 
eries, 427. Establishment of the Jesuits in California, 427, 428. Col- 
onization by the Spaniards, 428. Gold known to Exist, 428. Slow 
Progress of the Country, 428, 429. Boundaries, 429. Modern Explor- 
ations, 429, 430. Discovery of Gold in 1848, 431. Effect on the 
Inhabitants, 431. Manner of Working the Placeras, 431, 432. Extent 
of the Gold District, 432. Purity of the Metal, 432, 434. Productive- 
ness of the Mines, 434. Other Mineral Products, 435. Mine at Mari- 
posa, 436. Prospects for the Future, 436, 437. Yield for the First 
Year, 437. Severity of the Labor, 438. Rage for Speculation, 438, 
439. Present Population of the Territory, 439. Rapid Immigration, 

439, 440. State of Society, 440. Adoption of a State Constitution, 

440. Boundary Established by the Convention, 440, 441. Physical 
Geography, 441. Rivers, 441, 442. Harbors and Towns, 442, 443. 
Climate, 443, 444. Wild Animals, 444. Fertility of the Soil, 444. 
Agricultural Products, 444, 445. Forests, 445. Flowering Plants 
and Shrubs, 445, 446. Departure from San Francisco, 446. Arrival at 
Manilla, 446. 


City of Manilla, 447. Dwelling Houses, 447, 448. Public Buildings, 448. 
Cigar Manufactories, 448. Streets and Canals, 448, 449. Suburbs, 
449. Population, 449. Society, 449. Dress, 450. Commerce of tlie 
Town, 450. Harbor, 450. The Philippines, 450,451. Geological 
Formation, 451. Character of the Vegetation, 451. Chief Products, 
451, 452. Zoology, 452. Climate, 452. Monsoons, 452. Trade and 
Manufactures, 453. Pina, 453. Government, 453. Sailing of the 
American Vessels, 453, 454. Arrival of the Vincennes at the Sooloo 


Islands, 454. Geography of the Group, 454. Personal Appearance of 
the Inhabitants, 454. Customs, 455. Dress, 455. Principal Products, 
454, 455. Commerce, 455. Cowry Shells, 455. Treaty with the 
Sultan, 455. Voyage to Singapore, 455. Description of the City and 
Island, 455, 456. Geology, 456. Flora and Zoology, 456. Inhabi- 
tants, 456, 457. Commercial Importance, 457. Sailing of the Ameri- 
can Squadron, 457. Voyage Home, 457, 458. Cape Town, 458. Ar- 
rival in the United States, 458. 



Destruction of the Cities of the Plain, 461, 462. Traditions, 462. The 
Infidel, 462, 463. Ancient and Modern Writers and Travellers, 463. 
Scientific Explorations, 463, 464. Expedition Projected by Lieutenant 
Lynch, 464. Preparations, 464. Boats for Navigating the Jordan and 
the Dead Sea, 464, 465. Departure from New York, 465. Arrival at 
Smyrna, 465. Appearance of the City, 465, 466. Buildings, 466. Pop- 
ulation, 466. Costume and Climate, 467. Firman of the Sultan, 467, 
468. Voyage to Beirut, 468. Description of the City, 468, 469. Costume 
of the Inhabitants, 469. The Tantiir, 469, 470. Arrival at St. Jean 
d' Acre, 470. Architecture, 471. Landing of the Exploring Party, 471. 
Arabian Horses, 471, 472. Sherif Hazz&, 472. The Sheikh 'Akil, 472. 
The Bedawi of the Desert, 472, 473. Description of his Person and 
Mode of Life, 473. Character, 474. Overland March of the American 
Exploring Party, 475. Plain of Acre, 475, 476. Arabian Escort, 476. 
Appearance of the Cavalcade, 476, 477. Villages of the Felldhin, 477. 
Houses, 477. Route taken by the Party, 477, 478. Vegetation, 478 
Arrival at Tiberias, 479. 


Changes on the Shores of the Sea of Galilee, 480, 481. Size and Ap- 
pearance of the Lake, 481. Depth of the Water, 481. Its Properties, 


481. Geology of the Surrounding- Country, 482. State of Agriculture, 

482. Scriptural Associations, 482, 483. Tiberias, 483. Condition of the 
Jews, 483, 484. Sanhedrim, 484. Contrast between the Male and 
Female Jews in Personal Appearance, 484. Beauty of the Women, 
484, 485. Practice of Carrying Water on their Heads, 485. Dress 
and Ornaments, 486. Source of the Jordan, 486. Course of the River, 
486, 487. Scenery along its Banks, 487. Valley of El-Ghor, 487. Sin- 
uosity of the Jordan, 487. Rapids and Cascades, 488. Tributaries, 488. 
Analysis of the Water, 488. Sacred Character of the River, 488, 489. 
Movements of the American Party, 489. Descent of the Stream, 489, 
490. Passing the Rapids, 490, 491. Character of the Adjacent Coun- 
try, 491. Vegetation of the River Valley, 491, 492. Animals, 492. 
Bulbul, 492. Inhabitants living upon the Borders of the River and the 
Dead Sea, 492, 493. The Fdlahin, 493. Pilgrim's Ford (El-Meshra'a), 

493. Anniversary of the Saviour's Baptism, 493, 494. The Bathers, 

494, 495. Arrival at the Mouth of the River, 495. Encampment on 
the Shore of the Dead Sea 495. 


Various Names given to the Dead Sea, 496. Depot of the American 
Party, 497. Taking the Soundings, 497. Existence of a Ford dis- 
proved, 497. Surveys and Explorations, 497, 498. Pillar of Salt, 498. 
Difficulty in making the Surveys, 499. Return to Ain Turaibeh, 499. 
Dimensions of the Lake, 499, 500. Depth of the Water, 500. Sup- 
posed Subterranean Communication not possible, 500. Chemical An- 
alysis, 500, 501. Density and Buoyancy of the Water, 501. Other Prop- 
erties, 501, 502. Evaporation, 502, 503. Its Rapidity and Cause, 503. 
Impregnated State of the Atmosphere, 503, 504. Overhanging Clouds 
of Vapor, 504. Popular Superstition, 504. Physical Geography, 505. 
Shape of the Sea, 505. The Peninsula, 505. The Mountains, 505, 
506. Geology, 506. Shore Outline, 506. Character of the Bottom, 
506,507. Mineral Substances found, 507. Tributaries, 507. Remarks 
of Chateaubriand, 508. Fish, 508. Animals, 508. Birds, 508. Veg- 
etable Kingdom, 508, 509. The Apple of Sodom, 508. The Plains 
and Deltas, 509. Supposed Position of the Five Cities, 509. Different 
Opinions, 509, 510. Ruins alleged to have been seen, 510. Concur- 
rence of History and Tradition in regard to the Main Fact, 510. Mod- 
ern Theory, 510. Examinations of Robinson and De Bertou, 510. 
Opinions of Rev. Mr. Wylie, 511-513. An Error Corrected, 513, 514. 


Facts ascertained by Lieutenant Lynch, 514, 515. Inferences and Con- 
clusions, 515. Position of the Vale of Siddim, 515. The Argument 
based on Scripture, 515, 516. Manner in which the Cities were De- 
stroyed, 516. Most Reasonable Supposition, 516. Return of the Ex- 
ploring Party, 517. 

PART 1. 





(1.) Maritime Discovery and Adventure. (2.) Act of Congress. Organization 
and departure of the Exploring Expedition. (3.) Instructions. (4.) The 
Gulf Stream. (5.) Incidents of the Voyage. The Western Islands. (G.) Isl- 
and of Madeira. Population and Products. Wine-Making. (7.) Cape de 
Verdes. Porto Praya. (8.) Passage to Rio Janeiro. 

(1.) WHEN the Genoese navigator and philosopher sailed 
with his little fleet, from the harbor of Palos, on the 3d of 
August, 1492, and directed his course over the fathomless 
waste of waters outside the pillars of Hercules, in search of 
the bright realms of Zipango and Cathay, he marked a new 
era in maritime discovery and adventure. The voyages of 
the Phoenicians, like those of the Scandinavian navigators at 
a later day, do not seem to have been productive of much 
benefit to the world at large ; or to have stimulated any ex- 
traordinary spirit of enterprise, unless among those immedi- 
ately interested in their results, but the discoveries of 
Christopher Columbus aroused the whole Continent of Eu- 
rope, and adventurers pushed out from every port and haven, 
in quest of the fair land of promise beyond the dark bosom 
of the Atlantic. 

Expeditions were fitted out in England, France, Spain, 
and Portugal, all having the same object, and prompted by 
the same motives. A new world was found in the far-off 
West, presenting a 

" Sweet interchange 
Of hill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains ;" 

26 ACT OF CONGRESS. [1836 

and rich in mineral wealth, in majestic forests, and a virgin 
soil. It was a happy thought, that, when this country 
thus, as it were, calJed into existence had become peopled, 
and advanced to greatness and distinction, she should repay 
the debt of gratitude which she owed, by her discoveries in 
the same field in which the enlightened nations of the old 
world have been constantly employed for more than* three 
hundred years. The Coast Survey of the United States 
first proposed in 1806, by the late Professor Patterson, and 
warmly favored, at that time, by Albert Gallatin, and other 
scientific and learned men, but not commenced until the year 
1832 is a great work, and one from which other countries, 
as well as our own, will unquestionably derive the most im- 
portant benefits. The comparatively limited information 
possessed in regard to the great Southern Ocean, in which 
such a vast amount of the capital of our countrymen was 
employed, in whaling and other commercial enterprises, next 
attracted the attention of the American Congress. 

(2.) On the 18th of May, 1836, an act was passed au- 
thorizing an Expedition to be fitted out the first, of a similar 
character, undertaken by the national government for the 
purpose of exploring and surveying the Southern Ocean, " as 
well to determine the existence of all doubtful islands and 
shoals, as to discover, and accurately fix, the position of 
those which [lay] in or near the track of our vessels in that 
quarter, and [might] have escaped the observation of scientific 
navigators."'* Liberal appropriations were made for accom- 
plishing the objects of the Expedition, and it was at first or- 
ganized under Commodore Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, of the 
United States Navy : he subsequently resigned the station, 
and was succeeded, in turn, by several different officers, until, 
finally, on the 20th of March, 1838, Lieutenant Charles 
Wiikes assumed the command. 

The novelty of the undertaking occasioned numerous delays 
and hindrances ; but, early in the month of August, 1838, 

* Three other Exploring Expeditions were undertaken in the South Seas, at 
the same time ; two English, and one French. 


the expedition was ready to sail, though, as it afterwards 
appeared, some of the vessels were not in as good condition 
as they should have been. The squadron consisted of the 
sloop of war Vincennes, the flag-ship of the commander of the 
expedition ; the sloop of war Peacock, Lieutenant William 
L. Hudson ; the brig Porpoise, Lieutenant Cadwalader Ring- 
gold ; the store-ship Relief, Lieutenant A. K. Long ; and 
the tenders Sea-Gull and Flying-Fish. As it was deemed 
important to divest the expedition of all military character, 
the armament provided for it was adapted merely for defence 
against the savage and warlike inhabitants of the South Sea 
islands. The boats of the vessels were all clinker-built, with 
the exception of the launches, like those used by whalers and 

A full corps of scientific gentlemen, consisting of philol- 
ogists, naturalists, conchologists, mineralogists, botanists, 
horticulturists, taxidermists, and draughtsmen all employed 
by the government accompanied the Expedition. An ample 
supply of books, and a complete set of charts and instruments, 
of the most approved character and workmanship, were also 
furnished ; and several able reports of philosophical and other 
societies, together with a memorandum transmitted to the 
Navy Department by Vice- Admiral Krusenstern, of the Rus- 
sian Navy, were placed in the hands of Lieutenant Wilkes. 

All things being in readiness, on the 9th of August, the 
squadron, which had been fitted out at Norfolk, dropped down 
to Hampton Roads and anchored. On the 12th instant, they 
were joined by the tenders, and on the 17th Lieutenant 
Wilkes received his final instructions from the Navy Depart- 
ment. Signal was at once made that the squadron was 
under sailing orders. At three o'clock in the afternoon of 
the following day, the vessels weighed anchor ; but as the 
breeze soon fell away, they anchored again at the Horse- 
shoe. In a couple of hours the wind freshened, and the 
whole squadron stood down the bay in company. During 
the night the breeze slackened once more, and they made 
very little progress. Early in the morning of the 19th, how- 

28 INSTRUCTIONS. [1838. 

ever, they passed Cape Henry Light, and at nine o'clock hove 
to, and. discharged their pilots. The ships then stood out to 
sea together. This being Sunday, all hands were called to 
muster at eleven o'clock, and an impressive sermon was de- 
livered on board the Vincennes, by the Chaplain, Mr. Elliot. 
He alluded, in eloquent terms, to the arduous nature of the 
enterprise in which they had embarked, and the probably ais- 
tant period when they would be permitted to return to the 
bright shores then rapidly sinking below the western horizon ; 
and appropriately cautioned his hearers, through weal and 
woe, to put their trust in Him who holds the tempest in the 
hollow of his hand. 

(3.) The instructions issued to Lieutenant Wilkes, re- 
quired him, in the first place, to shape his course to Rio 
Janeiro, crossing the line between longitude 18 and 22 
West, and keeping within those meridians to about latitude 
10 South, in order to determine the existence of certain 
vigias, or shoals, laid down in the charts as doubtful. Hav- 
ing replenished his supplies at Rio, the longitude of which, 
as well as of Cape Frio, was to be determined, he was di- 
rected to make a particular examination of the Rio Negro, 
which falls into the South Atlantic ; and then to proceed to 
a safe port, or ports, in Tierra del Fuego, where the larger 
vessels were to be securely moored, while he explored the 
South Antartio, to the southward of Powell's Group, and be- 
tween it and Sandwich Land, with the brig Porpoise and the 
tenders. In the meantime, the officers left at Tierra del Fuego 
were to make accurate examinations and surveys of the bays, 
ports, inlets, and sounds, in that region. 

On rejoining the vessels at Tierra del Fuego, Lieutenant 
Wilkes was ordered to stretch towards the southward and 
westward, with the whole squadron, as far as the Ne Plus 
Ultra of Cook, or longitude 105 West, and to return north- 
ward to Valparaiso, where a store-ship would join them, in 
March, 1839. From that port, he was to direct his course 
to the Navigator's Group, so disposing his vessels, in the 
latitudes where discoveries might be reasonably anticipated, 


as that they should sweep the broadest expanse of ocean 
practicable, and thence to the Feejee Islands, where he was 
to select a safe harbor for whalers and public vessels of the 
United States, and make such arrangements as would insure 
their being furnished with supplies. 

From the Feejee Islands, he was to proceed to the port of 
Sydney, and then make a second attempt to penetrate within 
the Antartic region, south of Van Diemen's Land, and as far 
west as longitude 45 East, or to Enderby's Land. The 
squadron was then to rendezvous at Kerguelen's Land, usually 
called the Isle of Desolation, and proceed to the Sandwich 
Islands, where a store-ship from the United States would 
meet them, in April, 1840. Thence they were to sail to the 
Northwest Coast of America, and make surveys and exami- 
nations of the coast of Oregon and California. From this 
coast, they were to repair to that of Japan, taking as many 
doubtful islands as possible on their route, and make a par- 
ticular examination of the Sea of Japan, and the Sea of 
Sooloo, or Mindoro. Having completed this examination, 
Lieutenant Wilkes was instructed to ascertain the disposi- 
tion of the inhabitants of the islands of that archipelago for 
commerce, their productions and resources ; after which he 
was to proceed to the Straits of Sunda, pass through the 
Straits of Billiton, touch at Singapore, where he would 
meet a store-ship, and then return home by the way of the 
Cape of Good Hope. 

In addition to the orders necessarily suggested by the fore- 
going instructions, Lieutenant Wilkes directed every officer 
of the Expedition to keep a journal, in which everything that 
occurred during the voyage was to be carefully noted. These 
journals were to be weekly submitted to him for inspection, 
and, on the return of the Expedition, to be disposed of ac- 
cording to the directions of the Secretary of the Navy. The 
scientific gentlemen were admonished to lose no opportunity 
to procure information in their several departments. Meteo- 
rological observations were required to be taken four times 
daily ; and particular instructions were given to measure and 

30 THE GULP STREAM. [1838 

observe, all astronomical and atmospherical phenomena, and 
every unusual appearance connected with the weather, such 
as shooting stars, zodiacal lights, aurora borealis, rainbows, 
halos, water-spouts, the Magellanic clouds,^ lightning, and rain. 

After several days' trial, the store-ship Relief was found to 
be so dull a sailer the other vessels being frequently required 
to lie to for her that Lieutenant Wilkes determined to part 
company. Lieutenant Long was therefore ordered to pro- 
ceed, with all practicable dispatch, to Porto Praya, in the 
island of St. Jago, and thence to Rio Janeiro. In case of 
separation, the remaining vessels of the squadron were di- 
rected to rendezvous at Madeira. 

(4.) Immediately after leaving the Capes of Virginia, the 
influence of the cold polar, or counter-current, flowing paral- 
lel to the coast, close to the inner edge of the Gulf Stream, 
from Davis' Straits as far south as Cape Hatteras, was sen- 
sibly felt.t In crossing the Gulf Stream, the squadron were 
highly favored. They had light winds, and their progress 
was so slow, that they were forty-eight hours in passing it, 
although they were most of the time sailing at right angles to 
its direction. When they entered the stream, a sudden rise 
of the temperature of the water was indicated by the ther- 
mometer, which went up from 77 to 83 in a few hours, but 
soon fell again to a mean temperature of about 80, thus 
showing that the stream is considerably warmer towards the 
inner edge than on the outer. Its breadth, where the 
squadron crossed it, on the parallel of 34 30', was ascer- 
tained to be fifty- three miles, and its velocity two miles per 
hour. These data are not very reliable, however, as it is now 
well settled, that both the breadth and velocity fluctuate very 

* The Magellanic clouds are three conspicuous nebulae, bearing the appearance 
of thin white clouds, situated near the south pole. They derive their name from 
Magellan, the distinguished Portuguese navigator. 

t This current is sometimes called the eddy of the Gulf Stream ; but the great 
difference in the temperature shows conclusively that the idea is erroneous. 

$ The observations of the officers of the Exploring Expedition, while in the 
Gulf Stream, were, necessarily, very limited j consequently, they do not appear 


(5.) On the 25th of August, the squadron laid its course 
towards the island of Madeira. The winds had been light 
and the sea smooth, but on the night of the 26th there came 
up a squall, during which the Peacock and the Flying-Fish 
parted company with the other vessels. 

The first days in September were clear, bright, and beau- 
tiful ; immense shoals of flying fish disported about the prows 
of the ships, or darted through the air to escape from their 
voracious pursuers ; and beautiful dolphins, and " deep-sea" 
sharks, were seen in every direction. In the morning of the 
6th, they encountered a huge cotton- wood tree, one hundred 
and twenty feet in length, and fourteen feet in circumference ; 
all covered over with barnacles, and much eaten by the tere- 
dine, or sea borer ; and probably thousands on thousands 
of miles from the place where it grew on the banks of the 
Mississippi. In the afternoon of the 9th instant, they passed 
in sight of the Peak of Pico, one of the Azores, or Western 
Islands, and on the following day made the northern coast of 
St. Michael's, belonging to the same group, a high and moun- 
tainous island, but exceedingly fertile, and dotted with groves 
and villas, and rich cultivated fields, which could just be dis- 
cerned with the glass. 

(6.) At daylight on the 16th of September, the tall cliffs, 
and jagged precipices, of the island of Madeira, were dis- 
covered looming up above the wide expanse of waters at the 
south. The first sight of the island does not produce a favor- 
able impression, but a nearer view discloses scenery remark- 
ably picturesque, and, indeed, beautiful. Bold, embattled 
cliffs, rising to the height of sixteen hundred feet, the abodes 
of the ospray and sea-gull, and beneath which is heard the 

to have remarked the singular fact disclosed by the examinations of Lieutenant 
Bache, who was unfortunately wrecked off Cape Hatteras, while engaged in 
the Coast Survey, on the 8th of September, 1846, that the whole current of 
warm water, to the depth of at least four hundred and eighty fathoms, divides 
itself into two principal branches, separated by a portion of cold water. The 
transition from the cold to the warm water, on the inner edge of the stream, ig 
said to be almost as instantaneous, as if the two were separated by a wall, nearly 
oerpendicular, except that it inclines slightly to the east at the top. 

32 FERTILITY. [1838. 

ceaseless roar of the ocean surf, stand like giant warders, on 
every hand. The shores are indented by a few small bays, 
receiving the waters of the mountain streamlets, at the upper 
extremities of which are the little villages whose white walls 
glisten like enamel in the beams of the morning sun. 

Throughout its whole extent, the island is mountainous, 
and the western half is divided by a central ridge, five thou- 
sand feet high, upon which is spread out the vast plain of 
Paul de Serra, mostly overgrown, and used for breeding 
horses and mules. Deep gorges, with steep precipitous sides, 
everywhere intersect the elevated ground. The intervals, 
and the lower slopes of the hills, are highly productive, and 
even the mountain tops are clothed with rich verdure, or 
groves of heath and broom, not the stunted varieties of 
northern climes, but the luxuriant growth of the tropics. 
From the rugged character of the scenery, it might be sup- 
posed that but a small portion of the island could be cultiva- 
ted ; yet, what nature has done amiss, or left unfinished, man 
has attempted to remedy and complete. Terraces, supported 
by stone walls, girt the acclivities, even to their summits ; 
and green patches start out, like emeralds, in bold relief, from 
the dark red soil that surrounds them. Within the narrow 
compass of this delightful spot, the productions of the torrid 
and temperate zones are brought together : on the lower ter- 
races, oranges, citrons, and lemons, may be found ; higher 
up, are bananas, figs, and pomegranates ; still higher, apples, 
currants, pears, peaches, plums, melons, tomatoes and egg- 
plants, greet the sight ; and above all these grows the potato, 
solitary and alone. 

Before sunset on the 16th, the Vincennes, Porpoise, and 
Sea-Gull, cast anchor in the harbor of Funchal, on the south- 
ern side of Madeira, the capital of the island. The Peacock 
and Flying-Fish joined them on the following day, when a 
party of officers was made up to go ashore, and pay their re- 
spects to the civil governor, Baron de Lordello, and the mili- 
tary commandant, Senor Rebello, who received them very 
courteously During the stay of the squadron, every point 

1838.J FUNCHAL. 33 

of particular attraction was visited by one or more parties ; 
the inhabitants usually receiving them with the utmost kind- 
ness and cordiality. 

The Madeira Islands belong to Portugal, and consist of 
Madeira proper, Porto Santo, and the Desert Isles. The 
first two, the only ones inhabited, are included in one district, 
and contain about one hundred and twenty thousand inhabi- 
tants, of all sexes and classes. The people are very loyal to 
their present sovereign, Donna Maria ; their taxes are not 
very heavy ; and though beggars are somewhat numerous 
among them, they may be generally regarded as exceedingly 
industrious. They are gay and cheerful in their dispositions, 
and, with rare exceptions, hospitable and generous. 

Funchal, the capital of fffe island of Madeira, is pleasantly 
situated on the southern shore, surrounded by an amphitheatre 
of lofty hills, terminating, on one side, in Loo Rock, a bold 
quadrangular precipice, with a fortification on the summit, 
which overlooks the harbor in front of the town. It contains 
some eight or ten thousand inhabitants, most of whom reside 
in neat whitewashed cottages one story in height, though there 
are many more imposing structures, provided with verandahs, 
or light airy colonnades. The streets are narrow, but well- 
paved, and present quite a cleanly appearance. There are a 
number of churches and convents, which are always lighted 
in the early part of the evening. The prisons are well-filled, 
and extremely filthy. This may be attributed, however, to 
defective laws, as every offender is required to be sent to Por- 
tugal for trial, and sometimes years elapse before he leaves 
the island. 

In addition to Funchal, there are several other pretty towns, 
among which are Santa Cruz, Porto Delgada, and San Vin- 
cente, on the north side of the island, and Canical and Co- 
mancha, on the east side. The principal objects of interest 
to the tourist, are, the Curral, a circular gorge, as the name 
implies, in the midst of the mountains, the winding pass at 
Estroza, and the Convent of Our Lady of the Mountain, the 
highest building on the island. 



There are, also, many fine rides in the interior. After as- 
cending the heights in rear of Funchal, you may travel miles 
on miles, over hard and well-conditioned roads, or bridle-paths, 
oordered with hedges of roses and myrtles ; with trellises sup- 
porting an infinite variety of gaudy colored creepers, or aro- 
matic shrubs that load the air with perfume ; or with stone 
walls, literally buried beneath the long trailing vines loaded 
down with their rich clusters of grapes. Gardens stocked 
with fruit trees, extensive vineyards, and fields of wheat, bar- 
ley, rye, and maize, arrest the attention on every hand. Neat 
cottages are discovered imbosomed amid thickets of tropical 
plants ; and the humbler habitations of the peasantry, with 
their low walls formed of huge blocks of lava, and their tall 
thatches of broom, are constantly peeping out from the lux- 
uriant foliage which surrounds them. Through the gorges 
of the mountains, glimpses open of almost fathomless depths, 
at the bottom of which are labyrinths of sweet-scented shrub- 
beries, miniature forests of dahlias, fuchsias, hydrangeas, 
geraniums, variegated convolvuli, and Ethiopian lilies. The 
spreading plane tree, the majestic palm, the dark and glossy- 
leaved banana, and the Madeira walnut,* enlivened, now and 
then, by the white tufts of the cotton- wood, abound on the 
lower terraces ; and the beetling cliffs above are crowned 
with mountain heath and laurel, with towering cedars, oaks, 
and elms. Over all this bright and glorious scenery, rests an 
atmosphere remarkably soft, pure, and transparent. 

Travelling is usually performed on the Madeira ponies, a 
tough and hardy race of animals, like the Shetland breed, 
or in sedans. The latter are generally preferred by the ladies. 
The hauling of heavy articles is principally done by the small 
oxen of the island, on sledges resembling the stone boats in 
use among American farmers. These are employed alto- 
gether in the seaport towns, for conveying pipes of wine ; but 
the liquor is brought from the interior, in sheep-skins, sowed 
together so as nearly to preserve the form of the animal, 
which are slung over the backs of the peasants. 

* The Madeira nut is the product of this tree. 

1838.] WINE MAKING. 35 

The inhabitants of Madeira are of Moorish origin, though 
free negroes, and descendants of the European race, are fre- 
quently to be met with. The men are tall, muscular, and 
well-built. The women, particularly among the peasantry, 
are masculine and vigorous, and rarely exhibit any traces of 
beauty : as they share the labors of their husbands, the soft- 
ness natural to the sex is very soon destroyed. All are tough 
and hearty, and capable of enduring great and long-continued 
fatigue. Among the higher classes, the fashions of Spain 
and Portugal are imitated or copied ; and rustling silks and 
gay velvets are often seen in the streets. The dress of the 
peasant is far less expensive, yet quite picturesque : the men 
wear trowsers descending as low as the knee, and shirts and 
jackets of the brightest colors ; and the women, bodices laced 
with pretty ribbons, and short gayly-striped petticoats. A 
conical cap, common to both sexes, completes the costume. 

The difference between the imports and exports of Madeira, 
indicates a high state of prosperity. The former barely ex- 
ceed one hundred thousand dollars annually, principally con- 
sisting of staves, rice, and oil ; while more than eight thou- 
sand pipes of wine, valued at over one and a half million of 
dollars, are exported during the same period. Most of tha 
cereal grains, sugar, coffee, and taro, are produced in abun- 
dance. Large quantities of fine beef, vegetables, and fruit, 
are furnished, also, to the vessels that stop at the island. 
But the great staple is the far-famed Madeira wine, the best 
qualities of which, the connoisseur need not be told, come 
from the " south-side." Great care is taken to maintain the 
reputation of the wine, and the laws are so strict, that even 
the genuine article, once shipped, cannot be introduced into 
the island. 

The method of manufacturing the wine is certainly very 
primitive, and differs but little from that in vogue among the 
nations of the East in olden times. The grapes are deposited 
in an elevated vat, usually about six feet square and two feet 
deep, under an open shed covered with a thatch roof. Some 
half a dozen bare-legged and bare-footed peasants, then spring 


into the vat, and commence stamping furiously, accompany- 
ing their motions with a rude song. After this process has 
been continued for a sufficient length of time, the legs of the 
men are scraped, and the pomace set up in the shape of a 
cone, and bound about with the young cuttings of the vine. 
A lever, to which a large stone, or rock, is attached by a 
screw, is now applied, and the juice expressed into tubs, 
one gallon being generally obtained from two bushels of grapes. 
The must is drawn off into casks, in which it ferments ; it is 
then clarified with gypsum or isinglass, and the necessary 
spirit imparted to it by the addition of two or three gallons 
of brandy to a pipe. 

(7.) Having completed their repairs, the Exploring Squad- 
ron weighed anchor in the afternoon of the 25th of Septem- 
ber, and sailed from the harbor of Funchal, in the direction 
of the Cape de Verdes. Delightful weather, and cool breezy 
winds, attended them during the whole time they were at 
sea. Passing Bonavista, one of the Cape de Verdes, to which 
the sailors have given the sobriquet of " Bonny- wiskers," 
without stopping, they came in sight of the island of Mayo, 
belonging to the same group, which loomed darkly in the dis- 
tance, at four o'clock in the afternoon of the 6th of October, 
and shortly before midnight lay to off St. Jago, the principal 
island. On the night of the 6th, a most brilliant display of 
the radiate animalculse, known as Medusa, or sea-nettles, was 
witnessed. The vast expanse of waters seemed paved with 
innumerable diamonds that out-sparkled the stars which 
glimmered above them, and wavy floods of phosphorescent 
light dashed against the vessels, or rolled slowly in towards 
the shore. Long trains of glittering light marked the courses 
of the fish ; and the motion of a rudder, or the disturbance 
occasioned in the water by anything thrown overboard, pro- 
duced beautiful flashing coruscations. A number of exper- 
iments were made, from which it was satisfactorily ascer- 
tained that the animalculae did not extend below eighteen 
fathoms' water. 

[n the morning of the 7th of October, the fleet turned the 

1838.] THE CAPE DE VERDES. 37 

tall bluff upon which stands the flag-staff and a ruined forti- 
fication, on the right of the entrance to the harbor, and came 
to anchor in the bay of Porto Praya. 

The Cape de Verdes were discovered by the Portuguese, 
in 1460, and are still subject to the crown of Portugal. The 
islands are about twenty in number, and contain seventy-five 
thousand inhabitants, thirty thousand of whom reside in St. 
Jago. The population is principally composed of mulattoes 
and blacks, there being but few native Portuguese. Some 
of the blacks adhere to their vernacular tongue ; but the 
common medium of conversation is a horrid jargon com- 
pounded of the Negro and Portuguese dialects. Near the 
sea, the islands are low, sandy, and barren ; but further in- 
land, there are lofty hills and mountains, which afford pas- 
turage for numerous herds of cattle and goats. On the coast, 
the water is brackish ; but it is brought from the interior 
except in St. Jago of good quality, in goatskins, on the backs 
of asses. The islands are only tolerably fertile, and are sub- 
ject to frequent droughts, probably occasioned by the preva- 
lence of the dry hot winds blowing from the Sahara, or Great 
Desert of Africa. In 1832, the inhabitants suffered severely 
from a visitation of this character. Their cattle were starved, 
and they would themselves have perished, had it not been for 
the contributions made for their relief in other countries, par- 
ticularly in the United States. The generous conduct of the 
citizens of the latter government is still remembered among 
them with the liveliest emotions of gratitude. The climate 
is said to be healthy, though very warm. The rainy season 
continues only three months ; it commences about the middle 
of July, and terminates about the middle of October, when 
everything assumes a livelier, fresher, and more verdant ap- 

The productions of this group of islands are not numerous, 
and the inhabitants are dependent on the vessels stopping 
there for many articles of comfort and convenience, for which 
they exchange their own products. Beef, poultry, eggs, fresh 
fish, cabbages, beans, pumpkins, squashes, corn, sweet pota- 

38 PRODUCTIONS. [1838. 

toes, yams, bananas, dates, tamarinds, limes, oranges, and the 
fruit of the cocoanut tree, are usually quite plenty. Sugar 
and coffee are also raised in small quantities, and an inferior 
quality of wine, but a small portion of which is exported, is 
likewise produced. A palatable article of cheese is made 
from goats' milk. The flour used is imported, principally 
from the United States ; but a very good kind of bread is 
prepared from the roots of the manihot, or cassada plant, 
which are also roasted and eaten like potatoes.* The fecula, 
or starch, obtained by scraping and washing the roots, is 
called tapioca. 

Coarse salt, hides, goatskins, wine, and archil, are the 
main exports. The salt plantations, as they are called, are 
situated on the level, alluvial ground, near the coast. The 
land appropriated to the purpose is plotted into vats, by banks 
of clay, from one to two feet high, which become baked by 
the heat of the sun. The salt water is then pumped into the 
vats from wells, and exposed to evaporation. It is not an 
unusual sight to see a whole family, men, women, and chil- 
dren, engaged in the " plantation." Considerable attention 
is paid to neatness, and the walks between the vats are kept 
scrupulously clean. Archil is a lichen, which grows on the 
rocks, and is found both in the Canary and Cape de Verde 
Islands. It yields a rich purple color, which is exceedingly 
beautiful, but not durable. The blue pigment, litmus, is 
prepared from it. At the Cape de Verdes, archil is a govern- 
ment monopoly ; ninety thousand millreas, equal to fifty- 
six thousand, two hundred and fifty dollars, American cur- 
rency, being paid by a company, for the annual crop. 

The houses of the Cape de Verdians are miserable huts, 
built of stone, not six feet high, and thatched with salt hay, 
or palm leaves. Some are circular, some square, and others 
oblong. Occasionally one may be seen with a shingled roof. 
As fuel is scarce, the estiercol of the ass is used in its stead, 

* The bread made from the manihot was the principal article of food among 
the Caribs, when they were first discovered by the Europeans. They called it 

1838.] PORTO PRAYA. 39 

as hunters and travellers on the American prairies use the 
bois de vache of the buffalo. Horses are found here, but the 
principal beast of burden is the ass, which carries its load in 
panniers. A long string of the animals, frequently seen 
dashing at full speed over the sand, is called a hato. 

White cotton shirts, aprons, and trowsers, are worn by the 
men, with dark vests, generally purchased at second hand 
from the crews of the vessels frequenting the islands. Some- 
tunes they wear straw hats on their heads, but oftener noth- 
ing. Party-colored turbans and handkerchiefs form the head- 
gear of the women ; a shawl fastened about the waist, and 
another thrown over the bust and tied behind, complete the 

The gobern&dor, or governor, of the islands, resides at 
Porto Praya, in St. Jago. This island is about sixty miles 
in circumference, and is the most fertile and productive of the 
group. The former capital was Ribeira Grande, but Porto 
Praya now enjoys that distinction. The latter contains be- 
tween two and three thousand inhabitants, and is situated on 
an elevated plateau overlooking the bay. Its whitewashed 
walls and battlements may be descried far out at sea, and 
betoken a greater degree of cleanliness than is witnessed on 
landing. Blind beggars and naked children, pigs, fowls, 
and monkeys, cross the path at every step. Black soldiers, 
with huge muskets generally out of repair, patrol the entrdda 
of the Presidio, or governor's house ; and a squad of dirty 
recruits going through the manual exercise is usually the 
most striking object in the plaza. Officers, as well as men, 
including the governor, are black. A market is held daily in 
the square, when there are any vessels in port. 

A rocky ghaut, or pass, leads to the Valley of Dates, half 
a mile west of the town, which is one of the most attractive 
features of the island. Here was formerly the public foun- 
tain, from which water was obtained for the inhabitants and 
shipping. They are now supplied by a reservoir, constructed 
at the expense of the government, and filled with water 
brought in iron pipes a distance of two miles. The soil of 


the valley is a rich loam and the date tree grows luxuriantly. 
Lime, orange, banana, cocoanut, tamarind and papaw trees,* 
are also scattered through it, together with other tropical 
fruits and plants. 

(8.) The squadron left Porto Praya on the 7th of October, 
and continued their course southward, in search of the shoals, 
said to lie in this quarter of the ocean, off the African 
coast ; but none of particular importance were discovered. 
The nights were clear and beautiful till near morning, and 
the zodiacal light was once or twice observed. Falling stars, 
some of them of unusual brilliancy, were witnessed on the 
morning of the 18th of October, and on the nights of the 
llth, 12th, and 13th, of November. Large shoals of dol- 
phins, and wide luminous patches of phosphorescent animal- 
culse, were also seen. About the first of November, they 
crossed the Equator, and on the 22d caught sight of the rich 
neutral-tints resting, like a halo, over the tall and rugged 
summit of Cape Frio, forty miles north of Rio Janeiro. 
Favored by a light wind from the southeast, they entered the 
broad harbor of Rio, under full press of canvas, on the af- 
ternoon of the 23d ; having accomplished the passage in 
ninety-five days, about twice the time usually required by a 
vessel proceeding directly from the United States. The 
store-ship Relief took the direct course ; but, in consequence 
of her slow sailing, she was one hundred days, three of which 
were spent at the Cape de Verdes, in making the trip. 

* The papaw, or papaya, grows to the height of eighteen or twenty feet. It 
is nearly naked to the top, where the leaves start out on every side, with long 
footstalks. The fruit, about the size of a melon, grows between the leaves, and 
is boiled, and eaten with meat, like ordinary vegetables. The juice is pungent 
and milky, but this is extracted by the process of boiling. 


(1.) Harbor of Rio Janeiro. (2.) Palace of the Emperor. His Birthday. 
(3.) Churches in the city. Sunday. (4.) Private Dwellings. Streets and 
Fountains. (5.) Number of inhabitants. State of Education. Funerals. 
Amusements. (6.) Condition and occupations of the slaves. (7.) Suburbs 
of the city. Appearance of the country (8.) The Empire of Brazil. Pro- 
ducts. (9.) Mines. (10.) Imports and Exports. (11.) Sailing of the 

(1.) COMING from the sea, Rio Janeiro, or more properly, 
perhaps, Rio de Janeiro, presents a grand and imposing ap- 
pearance. The city is built on the southern shore, close to 
the entrance, of the bay of the same name. Near it, but 
higher up, is the pretty town of San Domingo, and directly 
opposite, is Praya Grande. The bay is a fine sheet of water, 
one hundred miles in circumference, and sprinkled, here and 
there, with small evergreen islands. 

On the right, as you pass up to the anchorage, is Fort 
Santa Cruz, at the foot of Signal Hill ; on the left is Fort 
St. Lucia, on an island near the mainland ; beyond this, in 
the same direction, is Sugar Loaf Hill an isolated rock one 
thousand feet high, around whose lofty crest the white fleecy 
clouds forever linger ; and further on, are the notched and 
uneven peaks of Gavia and Corcovado. In front is the busy 
and thriving capital of the Brazilian Empire, a forest of 
tapering masts and spars in the foreground, and richly deco- 
rated churches, glittering fa9ades, and massive tiled roofs, in 
the rear. Behind these are the blooming environs of the 
city, gay gardens, delightful quintets, cool shady groves and 
verdant forests, stretching far away into the interior, a con- 
stant succession of beautiful objects meeting the eye, till the 
view is bounded in the west by the towering pinnacles of the 


Organ Mountains, boldly pencilled against the pure azure 
of a tropical sky. 

(2.) St. Christoval, in the suburbs of Rio Janeiro, is the 
usual residence of the Emperor, Pedro II ; but his principal 
levees are held at the city palace, which he occupies on all 
great occasions. This is almost the first prominent object 
that presents itself, after ascending the rickety stairs at the 
usual place of landing. It stands on the Rua Direita, the 
broadest street in the city, and is a heavy stone structure in 
the shape of a parallelogram. It has a front of one hundred 
and fifty feet, and extends about two hundred feet to the 
rear. The main centre building is three stories high, and 
the wings two stories. On one side of the court, in the cen- 
tre of the palace, is the Senate House, and on the other a 
splendid church belonging to the Carmelite friars, near which 
is the Imperial chapel, a pretty little bijou of a thing erected 
by the mother of the Emperor.* The Chamber of Deputies 
is nearly a mile from the palace, in the Campo de Aclangao. 

While the Exploring Squadron was lying in the harbor of 
Rio, the Emperor made a visit to the city palace, in state, on 
the occasion of his birth day, which took place on the 2d of 
December. Escorted by a large body of troops, he entered 
the city about noon, in a splendid gilt carriage, English 
built, drawn by eight cream-colored horses guided by grooms 
in rich liveries. His two sisters, one sixteen, and the other 
fourteen years of age the former of whom afterwards mar- 
ried the Prince de Joinville, son of Louis Philippe rode in 
the carriage with him. The inhabitants collected every- 
where on the line of his route to welcome him. Triumphal 
arches spanned the streets ; rich satin draperies, intermingled 
with festoons of natural and artificial flowers, ornamented 
the fronts of the dwellings : national flags were displayed on 
every public building ; and the custom-house was ornamented 
with a bright collection of standards, conspicuous among 
which was that of the American Union. The ships in the 

* The Empress was for a long time childless, and made a vow that she would 
erect a church when she became a mother, which she religiously fulfilled. 


bay were dressed with flags, and at twelve o'clock, meridian, 
a grand royal salute was fired from the forts, which was re- 
turned by the vessels of war. As the Imperial pageant 
passed on, loud prolonged vivas mingled with the clashing of 
cymbals, and the braying of trumpets. The Emperor was 
then but a mere lad, only thirteen years of age ; yet he re- 
turned the congratulations of his subjects with ease and dig- 
nity. Arrived at the great square in front of the palace, 
which was densely crowded with citizens, and strangers from 
the four quarters of the globe, a feu de joie was fired by the 
troops, the Emperor exhibited himself in the balconies of the 
palace, and a levee, attended by the foreign ministers and 
then* suites, completed the ceremonies of the day. 

(3.) Rio abounds in churches. On the outside, they bear 
marks of decay, and the steps and vestibules are frequently 
used by the market people to display their wares. In the 
interior, however, they are gorgeously decorated, with orna- 
ments of gold and silver, a.nd fine specimens of painting and 
sculpture. The music is always good, and on important oc- 
casions especially attractive. The inhabitants are principally 
Roman Catholics, but they are fast losing their attachment 
to the religion of their forefathers. The churches are regu- 
larly opened for public worship on the Sabbath, and at other 
times during the week, but they are slimly attended. As in 
mosi Catholic countries, Sunday is a complete gala day. 
The stores and shops, particularly those where fancy articles 
are sold, and the cafes and coffee saloons, are kept open ; 
hunting, riding, and fishing, usurp the place of the forms and 
ceremonies prescribed in the ritual; the billiard rooms are 
crowded ; and the performances at the theatres, of which 
there are three in the city, are witnessed by a far more nu- 
merous auditory than may be seen in the Cathedral. 

The English and American residents erected a neat Epis- 
copal church, near the public gardens on the bay, in 1820, 
which is inclosed by an iron railing, and has a yard in front 
paved with granite. Service is held here with great punctu- 


ality ; and there are missionaries belonging to other denomi- 
nations residing in the city. 

(4.) The houses are built of granite, large beds of which 
have been opened in the vicinity of the capital. The blocks 
are cemented together with clay, in consequence of the 
scarcity of lime, which is principally obtained by burning 
sea-shells. The floors, beams, and rafters, are made of the 
hard wood for which Brazil is famous. This is susceptible 
of a high polish, and might be made to add very much to 
the neatness and beauty of the dwellings ; but wainscoting 
is scarcely ever seen, and the interior walls and ceilings are 
usually provided with a rough coating of plaster, though the 
apartments of the wealthier citizens are often ornamented 
with stucco work and fresco painting, in rich and fanciful 
designs, or with silk and damask curtains and tapestries. 
The outer walls are also plastered, and generally wear a 
lively look. Most of the houses are two stories in height, 
though some exceed this. They have tall pyramidal roofs, 
surmounted with red tiles, which sometimes project fearfully. 
The doors and windows have heavy lintels and casings ; and 
jutting balconies, and wide, disproportioned though, in a 
hot day, very comfortable verandas, are regarded as essen- 
tial requisites to every private habitation. 

With one or two exceptions, the streets are long and nar- 
row, and, for the most part, gloomy and sombre in appearance. 
They are badly paved with rudely-fashioned blocks of granite, 
and in the middle of them are the gutters, the receptacles of 
all the filth and abomination of a seaport town. Sidewalks 
are mainly dispensed with, and those which have been con- 
structed are never in good repair. There can be no just ex- 
cuse for the want of cleanliness indicated by the condition of 
the streets. The location is highly favorable ; wheeled ve- 
hicles for carrying burdens are comparatively little used, only 
a few antique coaches, and two-wheeled calescas, or calashes, 
occasionally jolting along over the rough pavements ; and an 
abundant supply of water is brought in aqueducts, from the 
Corcovado and Tejuca mountains, six or seven miles distant, 


There are numerous fountains, also, scattered over the city, 
in the plazas, or squares ; and sparkling jets of crystal water 
may be seen in all direct ions, diffusing their grateful coolness 
through the heated and impure atmosphere. Some of the 
reservoirs have tastefully constructed edifices erected over 
them, which are alike useful and ornamental. The inhabi- 
tants rely, almost entirely, upon the fountains, for water for 
domestic purposes, which is carried by their slaves, in jars, or 
buckets, on their heads ; and " from dusky morn till dewy 
eve," they are surrounded by a motley collection of water- 
carriers, engaged in filling their vessels, chattering the while 
like so many magpies, and laughing and jesting gayly with 
their companions. Near the fountain of Hafariz, the largest 
in the city, there are two stone basins, fifty feet long and 
twenty-five ^vide, which are daily filled with from two to 
three hundred negro washerwomen, who stand in the water, 
often half naked, all the day long, constantly drubbing and 
rinsing their clothes. 

(5.) The city of Rio Janeiro contains not far from two 
hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, a great part of 
whom are slaves. In former years, the society was not very 
good, but latterly there has been a change for the better in 
this respect, though there is still sufficient room for improve- 
ment. Comparatively little attention is paid to education, 
especially among the female sex. The presence of the foreign 
ministers and their suites, and of intelligent merchants and 
travellers, has given a higher tone and polish to society, 
though the intercourse between the Brazilians and the citi- 
zens of other countries is not altogether free from restraint. 
This may be attributed, partly to the natural jealousy of 
their dispositions, and partly to the consciousness of their de- 
fective education. Females are rarely seen at public assem- 
blages and parties, and the visits which they interchange 
with each other are rather formal and ceremonious than 
cheerful and friendly. These impediments and drawbacks 
to an easy and unrestrained social intercourse are gradually 
being softened down, and they must soon entirely disappear 

46 STATE OP SOCIETY. [1838. 

The time cannot be very far distant when Rio will become, 
what the capital of one of the richest countries on the Amer- 
ican Continent ought to be, as celebrated for the taste and 
refinement of its inhabitants, as for its importance and ad- 
vantages as a commercial city. 

A fondness for meretricious display and ornament is ex- 
hibited by both sexes in their dress ; they endeavor to follow 
the French mode, but are such zealous copyists that they 
very often overdo the original. This is much better, how- 
ever, than the opposite extreme. It is certainly more desir- 
able that the Brazilian ladies should appear in dresses 
powdered with jewels, or fringed with silver, or in party-col- 
ored robes and ribbons, on the most unsuitable occasions, than 
that they should be confined to their boudoirs their only 
knowledge of the world derived from occasional glimpses 
through their half-opened jalousies, and from the balconies of 
their apartments or immured for life in the dark walls of a 
convent. Ease and suavity of manners will, sooner or later, 
follow a " reverence for Turkey carpets and ormolu" 

There is a large public library, and a well-stored museum, 
in the city. The latter is open twice a week, and both are 
much frequented by the inhabitants. 

One of the most interesting sights to be witnessed in Rio 
is a funeral, particularly of one of the wealthier classes ; for 
ooverty, here as elsewhere, is rarely troubled with ceremony. 
The body of the h amble laborer or artisan is carried to the 
Misericordia; a hasty prayer is said, a little lime sprinkled 
over his decaying remains, and he is thrown into a trench 
with some half-a-dozen others of the same stamp, and left to 
his long sleep, while his neighbor of distinction, is borne 
to his last resting-place, attended with all the pageantry of 
woe. His body is wrapped in satin robes, and his coffin is 
decorated with a scarlet pall ornamented with silver lace and 
fringe. The latter is placed on a black hearse, overhung with 
long nodding plumes, and drawn by mules in rich trappings, 
sometimes covered with silver bells. The driver wears a 
cocked hat, trimmed with lace, and adorned with a black 


plume. The hearse is preceded by altar-boys in their 
church dresses, and surrounded by the black servants of the 
deceased, all bearing lighted wax candles. Arrived at the 
church, or chapel, where the services are to be performed, 
the coffin is temporarily deposited near the altar, and the 
friends and relatives arrange themselves along the aisles. 
All the spectators having been furnished with lighted tapers, 
the priests enter from the sacristy arrayed in their rich 
sacerdotal vestments. Clouds of odorous smoke are emitted 
from the swinging gold and silver censers, and mass and the 
funeral rites are said from splendidly illuminated service- 
books. This done, the pall is removed, the coffin opened, 
and holy water thrown over the dead, after which the body 
is taken to the place of interment. 

A favorite burial-place is the Campo Santo, or cemetery, 
near the Imperial chapel. This is an amphitheatre, with 
high walls in which the vaults are built, surrounding a 
flower-garden. The coffins are deposited in niches just large 
enough for their admission, which are closed up with mason- 

Notwithstanding their reserve on ordinary occasions, the 
citizens of Rio Janeiro are fond of amusements. There are 
three theatres in the city, all of which are well attended. 
Hunting, riding and fishing, are favorite pastimes. White- 
jacket balls, so called from the fact that the gentlemen who 
attend them appear in white jackets and trowsers, and the 
ladies in white dresses, without ornaments or jewelry, are 
held monthly at Praya Grande ; and similar entertainments 
are frequently given at Gloria Botofogo, and other small 
towns in the neighborhood of the capital. 

(6.) The great excess of the slave over the white popula- 
tion in Rio Janeiro, is soon noticed by the stranger. The 
former are nearly five times more numerous than the latter. 
In the city, burdens are carried almost exclusively by slaves, 
and scores of them may be seen at all hours of the day, 
bearing their water buckets, or staggering under packages 
of hides or bags of coffee. They usually go in gangs of 


from twelve to thirty, sometimes yoked together with heavy 
necklaces of iron and attended by a driver, and at others 
headed by a leader, one of their own number, who carries a 
small tin rattle, filled with stones, with which he keeps time. 
They move along at a slow trot humming a monotonous 
refrain, the words of which are often changed, though the 
sound is rarely varied. Many masters rely solely upon the 
income derived from the earnings of their slaves, who are 
required to pay over from twenty-five to fifty cents, according 
to their ability, every evening. If they are so fortunate as 
to earn more during the day, the surplus is their own ; but 
if they fail to produce the prescribed amount, they are 
severely whipped. The females who are not employed as 
house servants, work at millinery, or other light handicrafts. 

Those slaves that carry burdens in the streets, or work in 
the fields, are poorly fed and scantily clothed, scarcely ever 
wearing anything more than a slight covering about the 
loins. Unlike the owners of slaves in most civilized coun- 
tries, the Brazilians manifest but little feeling for their 
servants. When they become worn out, or seriously 
diseased, they are generally turned into the world, without 
compunction, and left to die unfriended and alone. 

In 1830, the slave trade was prohibited ; but from seven 
to ten thousand blacks are now imported, annually, in defi- 
ance of the law. Pains are taken, however, to prevent their 
increase. The two sexes are usually locked up at night in 
different apartments, and all intercourse between them is 
prevented as far as possible. 

(7.) If within the city of Rio, the eye is pained by the 
constant recurrence of stone and mortar very few of the 
houses having either yards or gardens ample atonement is 
made for this defect in the suburbs and environs. Here all 
is bright and beautiful. A superabundant vegetation, flowers 
of the gayest colors, gardens filled with fruit trees and choice 
shrubby plants, and wide-spreading groves of tamarinds, 
oranges and bananas, extend to the foot of the distant moun- 
tains. But the delightful quii.tas, or country residences, 

1838.] THE SUBURBS OP RIO. 49 

half hidden by thick screens of mangrove bushes, or peeping 
out from behind hedges of laurels and myrtles, or rows of 
quaintly clipped arbor vitse, constitute the chief attraction 
as you progress towards the interior. There are, likewise, 
fields of corn and sugar cane in the champaign country, and 
on the slopes of the hills are the coffee plantations, present- 
ing, in the season, a constant succession of ephemeral white 
blossoms. Wild roses, tufts of sweet scented marjoram, and 
different varieties of cacti, spring up by the wayside, and, 
ever and anon, 

" The white Camella rears 
Its innocent and tranquil eye." 

Further on, are bosky dingles and leafy coverts, from 
whence the shrill chirp of the cicada is heard long after the 
dense forests that limit the view in the west are overspread 
with the sober hue of the passing day. 

(8.) Pedro Alvares Cabral is generally regarded as the 
discoverer of Brazil. He visited the country in 1500, when 
on his way to the East Indies, where he had been sent with 
a fleet by King Emanuel, of Portugal. Previous to this 
time, however, a Spanish mariner, by the name of Lepe, had 
penetrated as far south as the Brazilian strand, and two other 
Castilian navigators had landed and taken formal possession 
of the territory for the crown of Castile, but the claims of 
Spain were subsequently relinquished by the treaty of 
Tordesillas. Cabral first gave it the name of Santa Cruz, 
afterwards changed, by his sovereign, to Brazil, in allusion 
to the Brazil-wood found in the country, which, in turn, 
derived its name from the Portuguese braza, a live coal or 
fire, referring to the brilliant red color of this important 
dyeing material. 

For several years after its separation from Portugal, Brazil 
was subject to internal political dissensions and commotions ; 
but since the abdication of Pedro I, in 1831, it has been 
tolerably quiet, and has steadily improved in commerce and 
advanced in refinement. The government is a limited mon- 



archy, with a sovereign styled an Emperor. The legislative 
power is vested in two houses the Senate, and the Chamber 
of Deputies. The people seem to be well satisfied with their 
form of government, but there exists a very friendly feeling 
towards the United States and their institutions, which it 
is for the pecuniary interest of both countries sedulously tc 

Brazil is not wanting in the elements of greatness. She 
embraces within her boundaries a vast area of territory 
over three million square miles and her soil is highly fertile 
and productive. Nature has projected almost everything 
that belongs to her on a magnificent scale : she has four 
thousand miles of sea coast ; her plains and valleys are vast 
and extensive, and her rivers* and mountains grand and 
imposing. Her population is computed to be five millions. 
About one fourth are whites, who chiefly occupy the narrow 
strip along the Atlantic and the province of Minas Geraes ; 
and the remainder are negroes, mulattoes, and Indians. 
Many of the savage tribes in the interior, who live remote 
from the vhite settlements and mission establishments, are 
exceedingly ferocious. 

Few countries surpass Brazil in the richness of her Flora, 
and her forests are truly magnificent; although the second 
growth is generally thickly matted with the bamboo that 
furnishes the material for the huts of the half-civilized 
Indians, which are covered with thatches of palm, in their 
primeval state they are comparatively free from underbrush; 
and the unsightly daddocks, which so often mar the beauty 
of northern scenery, are rarely encountered. Cedars, as 
stately as those which, in ancient days, shaded the brow of 
Mount Lebanon, rear their giant limbs towards the sky. 
Oaks, of various fantastic forms, lofty palms and esesalpinias, 
wide spreading mangos and tall and slender cecropias, are 
mingled with sycamores, myrtles and acacias, with the 

* Steamboats can ascend the Amazon, and its main tributary near its source, 
the Ucayali, to the mouth of the Rio Tainbo, or Apurimac, nearly four thousand 
miles above Para. 


juvia,* the cassada, the mahogany, and the macaw tree. In 
many sections of the country, and particularly on the upper 
waters of the Amazon, there are miniature forests, or groves, 
of cacao, of surpassing beauty. 

Besides the rich cabinet and dye-woods found in the 
Brazilian forests, the finest timber for ship-building is also 
obtained in abundance. Excellent cordage resisting the 
action of water, is manufactured of the fibres of the palm 
tree. From the nuts, or seeds, of the cacao, the preparations 
known as cocoa and chocolate, are made ; this tree, sometimes 
called the chocolate-tree, is a species of theobroma, growing 
about twenty feet high, and bearing oval and pointed pods, 
in which are the numerous seeds imbedded in a white, pithy 
substance. The mango produces a fruit as large as an 
orange, and resembling the egg plant in shape ; it has a thick 
outer rind, beneath which is the fruit, of a fine golden color, 
surrounding a pit two inches long, to which it adheres, and 
possessing the mingled flavor of pine-apple and spruce. 

The agave, here called furcrcea, from its long furcated 
leaves, attains its highest state of perfection in this climate. 
Prominent among the other plants and shrubs, are the nu- 
merous varieties of the orchis tribe, with their odorous and 
beautiful flowers, the vochysia and its gorgeous yellow blos- 
soms, the cupheas with their clusters of lilac and purple, the 
lobelias and their long blue spikes, the towering organum, 
the anil, or indigo plant, the vanilla, the sarsaparilla, and the 
coffee-tree. Until of late years, the indigo plant was not 
very extensively cultivated in Brazil: it is usually planted 
towards the latter part of March, twelve pounds of seed 
being allotted to the acre, and if the season is favorable, it, 
will be ready to cut by the first of July. The maturity of 
the plant is indicated by the bursting forth of the flower- 
buds, and the expansion of the blossoms. Two croppings are 
taken during the year. The indigo is extracted by steeping 
the dried leaves and stems, or by allowing them to ferment 
when fresh ; the former process being considered the most 

* The Brazil nut is the fruit of the Juvia. 


advantageous. A liquor is obtained, by either mode, which 
is churned or agitated till the dye begins to granulate ; the 
flakes are then permitted to settle, the remaining liquor is 
drawn off, and the indigo is drained in bags, and dried in 

One of the chief staples of Brazil is obtained from the 
coffee-bush. This shrub, in its natural state, rises to the 
height of fifteen or twenty feet, but, when cultivated, it is 
kept down by pruning, to five or six feet, for the greater con- 
venience thus afforded of gathering the fruit. The main 
stem is upright, and has a light brown bark ; the branches 
shoot out horizontally and opposite, crossing each other at 
every joint, and forming a sort of pyramid ; the flowers, 
which are of a pure white color, like those of the Spanish 
jasmine, grow in clusters, at the roots of the leaves, along 
the branches. The flowers soon fade, and are replaced by a 
fruit resembling a cherry, which contains a yellow glairy 
fluid enveloping two seeds or coffee berries. The seeds are 
glued together, and each is surrounded by a peculiar coria- 
ceous membrane. All along the Atlantic coast of Brazil, 
there are extensive plantations of coffee, the culture of which 
is said to be highly profitable. When the cherry-looking fruit 
assumes a deep red color, it is gathered, and passed between 
two wooden revolving rollers, and a third fixed one, from 
which it falls upoii ?. sieve that separates the pulp from the 
beans. The latter are then steeped for a night in water, 
carefully washed in the morning, and afterwards dried in the 
sun. They are now detached from the coriaceous husk sur- 
rounding them, by a wooden edge wheel turned vertically by 
a horse or mule, and the membranes are subsequently sepa- 
rated from the berries by a winnowing machine. The final 
process consists in spreading the coffee upon mats or tables, 
picking it clean, and packing in bags. 

Sugar cane grows thriftily in the low grounds and interval 
lands, and all the tropical fruits are also produced ; in the 
interior, on the more elevated localities, where the vegetation 
begins to creep up the sides of the mountains, the shrubs 


and fruit trees natural to colder climates are met with in 
great variety. 

The markets in the Brazilian towns are plentifully sup- 
plied with beef, fish and poultry, and vegetables of all kinds 
are sold in the streets. The principal articles of food, how- 
ever, especially in the country, are came seca, or dried beef, 
and farina, a preparation of the manihot. 

It is not only for their valuable timber that the forests of 
Brazil are celebrated. Numerous species of parasites and 
creepers abound, bromelias, bignonias, honeysuckles, and 
mistletoes, which, extending their long sprays from tree to 
tree, from limb to limb, like the cordage of a ship, form leafy 
coverts that afford a shelter from the oppressive heat of the 
equatorial sun, to the brute denizens of these vast woodland 
solitudes. Birds displaying in their plumage all the bril- 
liancy and splendor possible to combine from gold and scarlet, 
purple and emerald ; fierce and ravenous beasts, chatter- 
ing monkeys, and huge scaly serpents and alligators, fre- 
quent these dark and shady retreats. Conspicuous among 
the birds, is the couroucoo, whose plumage is purple, green, 
and gold, beautifully blended together; the cephaloptem, 
which has a singular tuft on its head, like a parasol ; the 
aicurus, whose head is variegated with yellow, red and vio- 
let, its body green, the tips of its wings red, and its long tail 
yellow ; the mocking-bird, famous for its unrivalled strains 
of richest melody ; the witwall, or golden oriole, whose 
swinging nest, depending from the loftiest tree, sways to and 
fro with every breeze ; the gay-coated king fisher ; the scarlet 
macaw ; the lustrous jacamar ; the guara, of a vivid red 
color ; the ootinga ; and the many-tinted paroquet. Among 
the beasts, are the jaguar, or ounce of Brazil ; the puma ; 
the tapir ; the cabial ; the ant-eater ; the paca, which re- 
sembles the guinea-pig ; and the armadillo, called taton by 
the natives. Of the monkeys there are upwards of twenty 
different species, varying in color and size, from the acari, 
or scarlet monkey, to the silky tamarin. 

In the interior of Brazil, west of the Araguay river, and 

54 MINES. J1838 

south of the Acaray mountains, there are extensive plains, 
wooded near the streams, but elsewhere covered with rank 
grass. These grassy plains are called llanos, or pampas ; 
countless herds of wild horses and cattle roam over them at 
will, unchecked and unpursued, save by the guachos, or 
herdsmen, who spend most of their time upon horseback, 
armed with the knife and lasso. Immense numbers of cat- 
tle are annually taken by them and slaughtered, chiefly for 
their hides and horns, though the hams, and sometimes other 
portions of the carcass, are smoked or jerked. After being 
cured, the hides are bound up in packages, for exportation, 
one of which is called a last, and contains twelve dozen. 

(9.) Not more famous were the pearls of Ormuz, or the 
diamonds of Golconda, than, in former days, was the mine- 
ral wealth of Brazil. This may be said to have been meas- 
urably exhausted, yet the annual products of the mines and 
diamond washings, at this time, are by no means inconsider- 
able. The first discovery of gold was made in 1682, at Ca- 
lapreta, in the sands of the Mandi, a tributary of the Rio 
Dolce. Since that time it has been found almost everywhere 
in the streams and ravines at the foot of the Brazilian Andes, 
from the fifth to the thirtieth degree of southern latitude. 
The most productive mines are near Villa Rica, in the sub- 
urbs of the village of Cocaes : a remarkable example is 
here presented, of the existence of this mineral among the 
primitive strata, disseminated in small grains, spangles and 
crystals ; great quantities of native gold, in spangles, being 
obtained from beds of granular quartz, or micaceous specu- 
lar iron. There are, also, many valuable mines in the prov- 
ince of Minas Gerae's, where the metal is found in veins, in 
beds, and in grains, among the alluvial loams ; and there 
are washings yielding handsome profits, on the eastern slope 
of the Cordilleras, in the upper valley of the Amazon. 

From 1790 to 1802, over fifteen thousand pounds, avoir- 
dupois, of gold, were annually taken from Brazil to Europe ; 
but the yearly product is now estimated at only two thou- 


sand eight hundred pounds, of the value of one million ster- 

The matrix, or original repository, of the diamond of Bra- 
zil, is brown iron ore, occurring in beds of slaty quartzose 
micaceous iron ore, or composed of iron-glance and magnetic 
iron ore. The diamond mines were originally discovered in 
1728, in the district of Serro-do-Frio. The most celebrated 
mine is that of Mandanga, north of Rio Janeiro, on the Jigi- 
tonhonha. The river, which is from three to nine feet deep, 
is made nearly dry, by drawing the water off with sluices at cer- 
tain seasons : and the diamond gravel, here called cascaiho, is 
removed from the bed of the stream, to be washed elsewhere 
at leisure. The gravel is always collected in the dry season, 
and washed during the rainy. For the latter purpose, a stream 
of water is admitted into a number of boxes containing the 
cascalho, beneath an oblong shed. Attached to each box is 
a negro washer, and there are inspectors placed at regular 
distances, on elevated stools. Great precautions are taken to 
prevent the concealment of the diamonds by the washers, 
and when one is discovered, the finder is required to rise up 
and exhibit it. When the negro is so fortunate, which very 
rarely happens, as to discover a gem weighing seventeen and 
a half carats,* he recovers his liberty. The earth of the 
bottom lands on either side is as rich in diamonds as that in 
the channel of the river. All the diamonds found in the dis 
trict of Serro-do-Frio, are deposited, monthly, in the treasury 
at Tejuco. The amount thus delivered, from 1801 to 180G, 
has been estimated at about eighteen or nineteen thousand 
carats, annually. 

There are fine mines of diamonds on the Rio Pardo, and 
at Tocaya, in the district of Minas Novas, near the confluence 
of the Jigitonhonha and the Rio Grande. The largest dia- 
monds, however, obtained in Brazil, are found in the cantons 
of India and Abaite. 

In addition to these great mineral treasures, there are 

* A diamond of that size is worth 2400 sterling, not far from $10,000, fed- 
eral currency. 

56 COMMERCE. [1838. 

mines of silver and platinum in various parts of the country. 
In the canton of Abaite, in the province of Minas Geraes, 
there are rich lead mines, and a fine mine of antimony has 
been opened near Sahara in the same province. Iron is like- 
wise found in Minas Geraes, at Gaspar-Saarez, and there are 
extensive iron mines and furnaces in the captainry, or prov- 
ince, of St. Paul. 

(10.) The commerce of Brazil is rapidly increasing and 
extending. Most of her trade, however, is carried on through 
the vessels of other nations, although she has a very respect- 
able commercial maiine. The imports amount to about 
twenty-five millions oi dollars annually, and the exports or- 
dinarily exceed that sum. Coffee is the principal article 
exported from the central provinces ; upwards of one hundred 
and thirty-five million pounds being shipped every year, prin- 
cipally from Rio Janeiro and its great rival, San Salvador, 
or Bahia, on the Bay of All Saints. From the northern 
provinces, sugar, cotton and tobacco, are exported through 
the ports of Pernambuco,* Maranham, and Para. The best 
caoutchouc, also, is exported from Para, in large quantities 
it is extracted from th&siphonia cakuca, or siphoma elastica, 
which is found in other parts of South America, as well as 
in Brazil, although it is nowhere so valuable as in the vicin- 
ity of Para. Incisions are made into the tree, through the 
bark, in several places, from which a milky juice, of a pale yel- 
low color, and having the consistence of cream, is discharged; 
this is spread upon clay moulds, and dried in the sun, or by 
the smoke of a fire. The latter process, however, blackens 
the gum. Of late years, the juice has been extensively ex- 
ported ; but it is generally shipped in a concrete state. It is 
better known among us by the names of gum elastic, and 
india rubber, than by its appropriate one of caoutchouc. 

Hides, tallow and horns, are the chief products of the 

* A large portion of the population of Pernambuco are foreigners, who are not 
very warmly attached to the government. Frequent emeutes and disturbances 
have taken place one occurring as late as January, 1849, which have been 
with difficulty suppressed by the government troops. 


southern provinces of Brazil. The most important seaport 
town in this section of the Empire, is Rio Grande. 

To the United States, the trade of Brazil is of considera- 
ble moment, as a ready market is afforded in the latter for 
a portion of our surplus agricultural products ; but it is more 
than probable that she is the greater gainer of the two, 
since our imports from Brazil, during the year ending in 
June, 1847, amounted to over seven million dollars, while 
our exports were a little short of three millions. 

(11.) In consequence of the unseaworthy condition of the 
Peacock, and the long time required to fit her for continuing 
!.he cruise, the squadron was detained at Rio for several 
rveeks. About the middle of December, the Relief was 
lispatched to Orange Harbor, to cut wood for the use of the 
other vessels, and on the 6th of January following, the 
remainder of the fleet dropped down the harbor of Rio and 
stoovl cut to sea, directing their course towards the same 
place ci* -'lv-,vtination. 



(1.) The Pamperos. (2.) The Rio Negro. Guachos. El Carmen. (3.) Buo- 
nos Ayres. Population and Resources. Lagunas de Salinas. (4.) Indian 
Tribes. (5.) Alarm at El Carmen. (6.) Tierra del Fuego. Straits of Le 
Maire and Magellan. Cape Horn. (7.) Arrival at Orange Harbor. 

(1.) SOUTH of the thirtieth degree of north latitude, strong 
westerly gales prevail for a greater part of the year, which 
frequently terminate in severe pamperos, or hurricanes, the 
effects of which are often experienced far out at sea. These 
are supposed to be occasioned by the vast llanos, or grassy 
plains, in the valley of the La Plata, which disturb the 
equilibrium of the atmosphere. The currents of air here 
collected, being walled in on the west by the giant barriers 
of the Andes, and finding little or no resistance on the east, 
rush forth in the latter direction, either skimming softly and 
gently over the bosom of the Atlantic, or plunging and dash- 
ing on like the frightened courser. 

(2.) Favored by propitious, though light, and somewhat 
variable winds, the Exploring Squadron held on their way 
to the south. On the 25th of January, 1839, they again 
approached the coast of South America, at the mouth of 
the Rio Negro, the southern boundary of Buenos Ayres, or, 
as it is now called, the Argentine Republic. The coast 
in the vicinity of the river, is low and barren ; consisting 
of a succession of sand hills and downs covered with a dry 
and sickly vegetation, where the stunted shrubs that break 
the monotony of the landscape, rarely rise to the dignity 
of tree-hood, 

" And shrivelled herbs on withering stems decay." 

Further inland, there are immense pampas, over which roam 

1839.] GUACHOS. 59 

countless herds of horses and cattle. The inhabitants, who 
are principally of mixed Spanish and Indian descent, are 
employed, for the most part, in herding, and other occupa- 
tions incident thereto. The costume of the guachos, or 
herdsmen, is strikingly picturesque ; and it is shown to full 
advantage, when the wearer is mounted, with the knife in 
his girdle and the lasso at his saddle bow, pressing forward 
in hot pursuit after the lusty bullock, flying for dear life, 
over the broad grassy plain. It usually consists of a red, 
or party-colored shirt, striped or plaided ; white, Cossack 
drawers, fringed at the bottom of the leg, which are called 
calzoons, or calzoncillas ; wide, loose trowsers, of scarlet 
cloth ; riding boots, fitting tight to the foot and leg, of un- 
tanned horse hide ; a gay sash ; and a conical cap, fiery red, 
with a large tassel dangling at the end. Thus arrayed, with 
his swart countenance, dark rnustachios, and keen penetra- 
ting eyes, the guacho is either formidable, or bizarre, accord- 
ing to the circumstances under which he makes his first 
appearance in the presence of a stranger. 

Twenty miles above the mouth of the Rio Negro, on the 
northern bank of the stream, is El Carmen, a small town 
containing about five hundred inhabitants. This is a convict 
settlement, under the authority of a governor general, and 
there are usually two or three hundred soldiers stationed 
here. The estancias, or residences, of the better and more 
prosperous inhabitants, consist of a dwelling house made of 
adobe bricks,* divided into two or three compartments, with- 
out floor, ceiling, inner doors, or furniture, except a few 
rough benches and stools ; outhouses for the horses and 
slaves, also built of adobes ; and a caral for the cattle a 
circular inclosure surrounded by a palisade fence, constructed 
of poles from four to six inches in diameter, and twenty or 
thirty feet high. The converted Indians, who collect around 
the white settlements, and are called Indios Mansos, live in 
rudely fashioned huts, or toldos. 

Including the population of El Carmen, there are not 

* Bricks baked in the sun. 

60 BUENOS AY RES. [1839. 

far from three thousand inhabitants embraced within the 
limits of the settlement on the Rio Negro. The river is only 
one third of a mile wide, but it is navigable for boats to Chi- 
cula, two hundred miles from its mouth. 

(3.) When Buenos Ayres first achieved her independence, 
she was connected with Paraguay and Uruguay, and the 
confederation assumed the name of the United Provinces of 
South America, afterwards changed to United Provinces 
of La Plata. Difficulties and contentions, artfully promoted 
by the government of Brazil, followed the separation from 
the mother country ; and after a severe and bloody struggle, in 
1813, Paraguay became independent of the confederacy, and 
established a distinct government. Shortly after this, Brazil 
laid claim to Uruguay ; another fierce and protracted contest 
ensued, which was finally terminated, in 1828, by the erec- 
tion of the disputed territory into an independent state. 
Since that time, the remaining portion of the confederacy has 
been known as Buenos Ayres, and, latterly, as the Argentine 
Republic. 1 * Harmony and tranquillity, however, have not 
generally prevailed in the country. Internal dissensions 
have been fomented by the intrigues of Brazil and the mo- 
narchical governments of Europe; and international difficul- 
ties have been occasioned by the attempt of Buenos Ayres 
to enforce her right to the sole navigation of the La Plata 
a right which would probably have never been invaded, or 
questioned, had she been as great and powerful, as she is 
weak and humble. England, France, and Brazil, have 
united to oppress her ; and at the time of the visit of the Ex- 
ploring Squadron, her ports were blockaded by a French fleet. 

Buenos Ayres contains about two million inhabitants, scat- 
tered over a territory nine hundred thousand square miles 
in extent. Its capital is Buenos Ayres, which contains near 
eighty thousand inhabitants, and is pleasantly situated on 

* The term Argentine Republic, (silver republic,) was, no doubt, adopted as 
being expressive of the mineral character of the soil; but it is hardly more ap- 
propriate, and is certainly less beautiful, than the former name of Buenos Ayres, 
^pleasant breezes.) 


the southern shore of the majestic Rio de la Plata the river 
of silver. The manners and customs of the inhabitants, 
and the style of building, do not differ very essentially from 
those at Rio Janeiro. In the interior, there are several other 
towns of importance. Mendoza, containing twenty thousand 
inhabitants, and San Juan, about one third smaller, are sit- 
uated near the great passes through the Andes. Cordova 
and Tucuman are important trading towns, and Salta, on the 
Rio Salado is a celebrated market for mules. 

The climate of the country is delightful ; the heavens are 
serene ; the atmosphere is soft and refreshing, and remark- 
able for its transparent purity. In the southern provinces 
the air is so dry and pure, at certain seasons, that fresh meat 
will keep for a long time without becoming tainted. 

Grain, fruit and vegetables, are raised with comparatively 
little labor, and the soil is exceedingly fertile, with the excep- 
tion of a narrow strip of sandy barren land along the coast, 
like that near the mouth of the Rio Negro. But the inhabi- 
tants seem generally disinclined to till the ground, and their 
whole time and attention are directed to raising horses, 
mules and cattle. Of these they have the finest breeds in 
South America, and the mules exhibited every year at Salta, 
are unsurpassed in the world. The prices are quite moderate. 
Bullocks are sold at from five to ten dollars per head, accord- 
ing to age ; and horses and mules, when broken to the saddle, 
at from twelve to fifteen dollars. Buenos Ayres is not de- 
ficient in mineral stores ; she has valuable mines of gold and 
silver on the eastern slopes of the Andes, from which over 
four million pounds sterling of the former metal, and twenty- 
seven millions of the latter, were obtained, from 1790 to 
1830 ; but, after all, the real, substantial wealth of the 
country, consists in the flocks and herds that feed upon the 
broad plains irrigated by the tributaries of the La Plata. 
Numbers of horses and mules are driven over the mountains 
to Chili, and quantities of hides, beef, tallow, horns and 
bones, are annually exported. 

Salt is also an important product. North of the Colorado. 


and between that river and the Rio Negro, there are numer- 
ous salt lakes lagunas de salinas upon which the salt 
collects in incrustations. It is obtained in great quantities 
after a severe rain, when the soil, which seems to be highly 
impregnated, has been the most thoroughly disturbed. The 
water soon evaporates, and the white salt, perfectly pure, 
and finely crystallized, appears in its stead. It is sold on 
the Colorado and Rio Negro, for twenty cents per bushel. 

On the right bank of the Paraguay, a small plant is found, 
called matte, which is used as a substitute for tea. It is 
sometimes called Paraguay tea. Sarsaparilla and vanilla 
likewise abound in the country. 

Most of the animals seen in Brazil exist in Buenos Ayres. 
There are deer in abundance, in the neighborhood of the sali 
lakes ; ostriches are quite common on the prairies ; tapirs, 
cabials, and other species of the cavy genus, frequent the 
grassy hummocks on the banks of the streams ; and ducks, 
partridges, pheasants, cassowaries, and wild geese, gratify, 
alike, the ambition of the sportsman, and the appetite of the 
epicure. The guanaco, an animal belonging to the same 
genus with the llama, is also frequently seen ; and in the 
northern section of the country there is a very pretty speciea 
of hare, called tapeti. Porcupines and armadillos a;" found 
in every thicket. 

(4.) Ever since the first settlement of Buenos Ayres, the 
white population have been more or less annoyed by the 
savage Indian tribes of the interior, the off-shoots of the 
great Araucanian family, whose descendants still occupy the 
southern part of Chili. North of the Colorado are the Ran- 
gueles Indians ; between that river and the Rio Negro, are 
the Pehuenches ; and on its southern bank are the TehuilL- 
ches, or Patagonians, who are said, though on doubtful au- 
thority, to be of gigantic stature, but mild and inoffensive in 
their dispositions. The most formidable enemies of the 
whites, are the Chilenos Indians, who inhabit the mountain 
fastnesses separating Chili from the pampas of Buenos 
Ayres. The usual weapons of the Indians are a long lance, 

1839.] ALARM AT EL CARMEN. 63 

and the bGlas, or balls ; the latter consisting cf two leaden 
balls attached to either end of a stout strip of hide, four feet 
long ; this is grasped in the middle, whirled over the head a 
few times, and then thrown with astonishing velocity and 
precision. It rarely fails to disable the object aimed at, be it 
man or beast. 

(5.) Upon the appearance of the Exploring Squadron off 
the coast, the inhabitants living on the Rio Negro, fancying 
the French fleet was approaching to despoil them, became 
much alarmed, and having hastily collected their cattle, fled 
with them into the interior. The first party that landed 
found the estancias deserted, and the fires smoldering on 
the rude hearth stones. The mistake was soon discovered, 
however, and the people gradually ventured forth from their 
places of concealment. Partial observations and surveys 
were made, in order to prepare a correct chart of the river a 
work subsequently completed by Lieutenant Alden and on 
the 3d of February the squadron again got under way, and 
proceeded on their voyage. 

(6.) As they approached the southern extremity of the con- 
tinent, flocks of speckled haglets, or cape pigeons, and alba- 
trosses, were occasionally seen ; the moon began to wear 
round further to the north, and the nights were rendered 
gloomy by the lengthening shadows which it cast. On the 
12th of February, the barometer fell rapidly, and heavy 
squalls of rain, mingled with hail and sleet, followed. When 
the day broke on the morning of the 13th, and the dense 
mists that curtained the sky had lifted sufficiently to enable 
objects to be distinguished, the gray cliffs of Staten Land 
were discovered ; and, not long after, the barren rocks, and 
snow-clad mountain peaks, of Tierra del Fuego the land of 
fire loomed above the horizon, dark, bleak and desolate, 
and showing no signs of vegetation, except, here and there, a 
stunted shrub or tree. 

The coast of Tierra del Fuego may well be called iron- 
bound. It is composed of huge masses of trap rock, 
traversed by red veins, indicating its volcanic origin, which 

64 TIERRA DEL FUEGO. [1839. 

rise abruptly to the height of one thousand or fifteen hundred 
feet. Inland, there are mountains, many of them of a con- 
ical shape, from four to five thousand feet above the sea level. 
Tall isolated rocks, detached from the main shore, are 
scattered along the coast, like giant sentinels on guard. 
Numerous ravines intersect the wall of rocks behind them, 
where the fierce blasts of the stormy Atlantic die away in 
echoes, or howl the requiem of some gallant ship stranded 
amid its foaming breakers. Even during. =4ie midsummer 
months of this climate January and February the moun- 
tains do not put off their mantle of snow ; but ever wear 
the same cold and cheerless appearance. 

Tierra del Fuego is separated from Patagonia on the 
north, by the Straits of Magellan, named after the Portu- 
guese navigator who discovered them. Vessels bound to the 
Pacific can pass through the straits without difficulty, if 
attended with favorable winds ; but, as there is a strong 
current setting in from the Atlantic, it is hazardous to 
attempt the passage, from the east, in a square rigged craft, 
though with steam vessels, or small fore-and-afters, there 
is much less danger. Coming from the west, the passage 
may be made with ease, and it is infinitely less hazardous 
than to encounter the squalls, " catpaws," and icebergs, 
which are the common accompaniments of a voyage around 
the cape. 

Between Staten Land and Tierra del Fuego, are the 
Straits of Le Maire, which are about fifteen miles wide, and 
something less than that in length. As a general thing, it is 
always best for a vessel intending to double the cape, to pass 
through these straits ; it shortens the distance considerably, 
and on all ordinary occasions there is not the least danger. 
Violent squalls sometimes issue from the ravines, but it is 
easy to guard against them. Northwest winds prevail off 
this coast, and with these the straits may be threaded in 
three or four hours. This was the route taken by the 
Exploring Squadron ; they passed through the straits on 

1839.] CAPE HORN. 65 

the 13th of February, with all their canvas f spread. It was 
a beautiful day, and the weather continued favorable till 
they reached the cape. 

" Be it fair or foul, rain or shine ;" 

in all weathers, at all times and seasons, Cape Horn is a 
terror to the mariner ; and many and marvellous are the 
tales of peril and danger spun in the forecastle, as this 
dreaded promontory is approached, and the hoarse wail of 
the beating surf that spends its fury upon its rocky sides, is 
heard rising over the waters. In favorable weather, vessels 
sail within a short distance of it, in perfect safety ; but when 
the storm-king "holds high revel there," as wide a berth as 
possible is given to this formidable breakwater which nature 
has reared against the fury of the Atlantic.^ 

The cape is situated in latitude 55 58' south. It is 
a conical, jagged peak, of trachytic rock, rising at the 
southern end of Hermit Island. The latter is two or three 
miles in length, and behind it there is a line of rocks extend- 
ing towards the north. Between it and Tierra del Fuego, 
there are several long, high, and narrow islands, which are 
covered with snow during the whole year. Cape Horn, how- 
ever, is not the southernmost land in this quarter. The 
Diego Ramirez Islands, a small cluster of sea-holms, on one 
of which is False Cape Horn, are 34' further south. 

(7.) On the 16th of February, the Squadron passed the 
" stormy cape," within a few miles of the shore ; most of 
the vessels having their studding sails set on both sides 
and were soon lifted upon the long rolling swell of the 
Pacific "the summer sea." The. 17th was cloudy and 
nearly calm ; and the day and night following were spent in 
beating through the passage between Hermit Island and 
False Cape Horn, and from thence into Nassau Bay, an 

* Vessels are often compelled to go as high as the sixtieth degree of southern 
latitude, in order to double the cape. 


indentation of the southern coast of Tierra del Fuego. 
Early in the morning of the 18th instant, the Squadron 
came to anchor in Orange Harbor, on the western side of the 
bay, but separated from it by Burnt Island, where they 
found the Relief had arrived before them. 


(1.) The Relief. (2.) Patagonia. Soil and Climate. (3.) Inhabitants. Mode 
of Life and Occupations. Weapons. (4.) Natives at Good Success Bay. 
(5.) Orange Harbor. Visit from the Natives. (6.) Tierra del Fuego. De- 
scription of the Country, and Products. (7.) Animals and Birds. (8.) The 
Fuegians. Dress and Appearance. Degraded Condition. (9.) Southern 
Cruise. (10.) Arrival of the Squadron at Valparaiso. 

(1.) AFTER leaving Rio de Janeiro, Captain Long proceeded 
with the Relief to the coast of Patagonia, where, in accord- 
ance with his instructions, he commenced running a line of 
soundings, and making examinations of the shoals said to exist 
in that quarter. 

Like that of Tierra del Fuego, the Patagonian coast is 
bold and rocky, but indented with frequent small bays or 
harbors, which are scantily protected, however, against the 
violence of the winds and waves. The Relief drew in to- 
wards the land several times, sufficiently near to discover the 
herds of guanacoes feeding on the slopes of the hills, and on 
two occasions came to anchor ; but it was deemed hazardous 
to remain so near the shore, and she accordingly hauled off 
where she would be sure of a wider berth in the event of a 

(2.) Patagonia was discovered by Magellan in 1519. On 
account of the insecurity of its harbors, and their being so 
difficult and dangerous of access, no permanent white settle- 
ment has yet been formed in the country. About the year 
1779, a party of Spaniards established themselves at Port 
St. Julian, in latitude 49 10' S., and longitude 67 40' W., 
but the attempt to colonize this inhospitable region was speed- 
ily abandoned. A few expeditions have been undertaken 
into the interior, yet very little is known, beyond the coast 

68 PATAGONIA. [1839 

outline, in regard to it. The Andes here consist of but one 
Cordillera, the mean height of which is estimated at three 
thousand feet, although there are many peaks opposite the 
Archipelago of Chiloe, from five to six thousand feet high. 
This mountain range divides the country into two unequal 
parts ; the larger of them, \y far, lying on the East. The 
western coast is extremely abrupt and precipitous, and is 
skirted with numerous irregularly shaped and rocky islands. 
On the East, the surface of the country rises from the At- 
lantic to the Andes, in a succession of terraces, all of which 
are arid and sterile ; the upper soil being chiefly composed of 
marine gravelly deposits. On the banks of the rivers, herb- 
age and trees are occasionally found, but with this exception, 
these terraces produce nothing but a coarse wiry grass, and 
a small thorny shrub fit only for fuel. The general sterility 
of East Patagonia is probably occasioned by the westerly 
winds that prevail throughout most of the year ; the moisture 
which they bring with them from the Pacific, is condensed 
and precipitated in the mountains and their immediate vi- 
cinity, and they consequently become quite dry. Almost the 
only moisture, therefore, that is brought to this desert tract, 
comes with the easterly winds, which are very rare. Near 
the Andes, however, where the grateful moisture of the wes- 
terly winds is precipitated, wheat, maize, beans, lentils, 
pease, and other similar grains and vegetables, are raised. 

The most prevalent mineral formations of East Patagonia, 
are porphyry, basalt, sandstone, and a friable rock resembling 
chalk. Organic remains are found of different kinds, and in 
great numbers. There is an abundance of rodent mammals 
in the country, but there are few varieties of larger animals. 
Guanacpes are the most common, and are frequently seen in 
droves numbering several hundred. The puma, the inveter- 
ate enemy of the guanaco, and the fox, are the only other 
wild quadrupeds worthy of mention. The principal birds 
are the condor, the cassowary, and the rhea, or South Amer- 
ican ostrich. 

(3.) Until of late years, it was pretty generally supposed 


that the Patagonian Indians were absolute giants. The ex- 
aminations made by recent navigators have shown this im- 
pression to be entirely erroneous* ; yet they are undoubtedly 
the tallest people of whom we have any account, since the 
average height of the men is full six feet. Their heads and 
features are large, but their hands and feet are small, and 
they have less muscular strength than their size would indi- 
cate. Their dress adds much to the bulkiness of their ap- 
pearance ; it consists of a large mantle of guanaco skins 
loosely gathered about the person, which it completely en- 
velopes, hanging from the shoulders to the ankles ; and a kind 
of drawers, or loose buskins, usually made of the same ma- 
terial. Their complexions are a dark copper color ; their 
hair is long, black, and coarse, and tied above the temples by 
a fillet of braided or twisted sinews. Their foreheads are 
low, and their cheek-bones prominent. They are fond of dis- 
figuring their faces, and other parts of their bodies, with 
paint ; and those who live remote from the white settlements 
in Chili and on the Rio Negro, besmear themselves with clay, 
coal, and soot. 

The Patagonians live in tents formed of poles and skins. 
They lead a nomadic life and subsist mainly on the flesh of 
wild animals and birds. In the northern part of East Pata- 
gonia, the inhabitants procure wild horses on the pampas, 
which, when tamed, are ridden by both men and women. 
Saddles, bridles, and similar accoutrements, as well as Span- 
ish goods of various kinds, are obtained from Valdivia and 
other places in South Chili. The arms of the Patagonian 
are a long tapering lance, a knife, and the bolas, which con- 
sist among them of two round stones, weighing about a pound 
each, covered with leather, and attached to the thong or cord. 
So expert are the natives in the use of this double-headed 
shot, which, in its use and effects, resembles the ancient 
sling, that they will hit a mark of the size of an English 

* This idea originated with the Spaniards and Portuguese who first visited the 
country, and was probably based on a comparison of their diminutive proportions 
with the tall and bulky forms of the natives. 


shilling, with both stones, at a distance of fifteen yards. It 
is not customary to strike the guanaco or ostrich with them, 
but they are thrown in such a manner that the cord is twisted 
about the legs of the animal or bird, so as to prevent its run 
ning away. 

As may well be presumed, there is little semblance of law 
or authority among the Patagonian Indians. They nominally 
live under various petty chiefs, but the latter in reality pos- 
sess no power except that of might, and, in point of fact, 
every individual is his own master. 

(4.) In passing through the straits of Le Maire, Captain 
Long visited most of the harbors, and nearly two days were 
spent in Good Success Bay, on the coast of Tierra del Fuego, 
the best and largest of them all. While here, Captain Long, 
accompanied by several officers, went ashore in three armed 
boats, to hold communication with a party of natives, who 
invited them to land by their cries and gestures. The natives 
appeared friendly, and when the captain and his men landed, 
they ran towards them, crying out, at the same time, 
" cuchiUo ! cuchillo /" As this is the Spanish word for 
knife, it was thought they were begging to be supplied with 
that article ; but as they seemed to apply the term to every- 
thing shown them, or rather continued its repetition almost 
incessantly, it was found impossible to ascertain its real 
meaning or application. In their dress and physiognomy 
they resembled the Patagonians, and were supposed to belong 
on the other side of the straits of Magellan ; they wore 
guanaco skins over their shoulders, and fillets were bound 
around their heads. Some members of the party had san- 
dals, also made of the guanaco skin, on one foot. They were 
provided with bows and arrows, the latter having flint 
heads ; but they seemed to depend principally on fish for 
subsistence. All were exceedingly dirty, though well formed, 
and most of them were troubled with a disease of the eye, 
occasioned, perhaps, by the dazzling reflection from the snow 
during their long winters. 

It was evident that they had had intercourse before with 


the sailors of civilized nations, as many manufactured arti- 
cles, which they could have obtained in no other way, were 
found in their possession, and the report of fire-arms did not 
intimidate them in the least. The hair on the tops of their 
heads was cut short, and their faces were painted with a 
kind of clay, like red ochre. They were particularly well 
pleased with a looking glass and a string of glass beads 
which were shown them. Although they attached great 
value to their bows and arrows, they were willing to ex- 
change them for a piece of iron hoop or a few rusty nails. 

From Good Success Bay the Relief continued her course 
towards Orange Harbor. On the way, she touched at New 
Island ; no natives were seen here, but there were indications 
of their having recently been on the island. On the 30th of 
January, Captain Long cast anchor in Nassau Bay, and sub- 
sequently entered Orange Harbor. Immediately after he got 
his anchor down in the bay, a native canoe came alongside, 
in which were three men, one woman, and a child. Two 
of the men came on board without hesitation. They were 
found to differ in many respects from those seen at Good 
Success Bay. They did not speak the same language; they 
were not so tall in stature, nor so well-proportioned; and 
they were far more filthy and disgusting in their appearance. 

(5.) Orange Harbor is decidedly the safest, and the most 
spacious and convenient of all the harbors on the Fuegian 
coast. Captain Cook anchored and refitted here previous to 
his Antarctic cruise, as did also Captains King and Fitzroy 
while engaged in their expeditions. It is surrounded by lofty 
hills, intersected with numerous small inlets or coves, in 
which boats can enter and obtain wood and water, which are 
both abundant and of excellent quality. 

Shortly after the arrival of the squadron at Orange Har- 
bor, they were visited by the natives, a most abject, ill- 
shapen, and miserable race of beings. On one occasion, a 
party consisting of five men and one woman, the latter old 
and ugly, but as strong and muscular as those of the other 
sex, approached one of the vessels in a frail and leaky 

72 TIERRA DEL FUEGO. [1839. 

canoe which required constant bailing to keep it afloat. But 
one of the number a young man not far from nineteen 
years of age could be induced to come on board. They 
brought with them a number of spears, and a necklace of 
shells, which they exchanged for pieces of cotton and an iron 
hoop. In dress, language and appearance, they resembled 
those at Nassau Bay. They were highly delighted with 
music, and fond of mimicking everything they heard ; the 
flute and guitar were played for their amusement, and they 
endeavored to imitate the accompanying songs. 

(6.) Tierra del Fuego properly includes the group of 
islands lying off the southern extremity of South America, 
and separated from it by the straits of Magellan ; but the 
term is usually applied, by way of distinction, to the largest, 
or main island, formerly called King Charles' South Land. 
The eastern part of this island is low, with sloping plains 
like those of Patagonia, though there is really no level land. 
On the west side it is traversed, from north to south, by a 
chain of mountains four thousand feet high. The island is 
all mountainous, and appears to have been partially sub- 
merged in the sea by some convulsion of nature, by which 
so many inlets and bays are occasioned where valleys would 
otherwise have been. The surface at the foot of the hills is 
covered with a thick bed of swampy peat. On the mountain 
sides, reaching up to an elevation of twelve hundred feet, 
there are dense forests; the trees rise uniformly to the height 
of forty or fifty feet, and generally incline towards the north- 
east, in consequence of the prevailing southwestern winds. 

The principal trees are beech, birch and willow. One 
species of birch, the betula antarctica, has a stem from thirty 
to forty-six inches in diameter. Winter's bark, (drymis 
winteri) first introduced as a medicine in 1579, was origi- 
nally discovered here. In Tierra del Fuego and the adjacent 
islands, hornblende is the most common rock, but slate is 
abundant. Lava and other volcanic products were discov- 
ered by Captain King, but nothing of the kind was found 
during the limited, and necessarily imperfect, reconnaissances 

839.] THE FUEGIANS. 73 

of the American Exploring Squadron. The line of perpetual 
snow descends as low as three thousand feet ; yet, notwith- 
standing the unfriendliness of the climate, the scenery of the 
island is in many respects grand and imposing. " There is 
a degree of mysterious grandeur," says Mr. Darwin, in his 
Journal of a Voyage round the World," in mountain behind 
mountain, with the deep intervening valleys, all covered by 
one thick, dusky mass of forest. The atmosphere, likewise, 
in this climate, where gale succeeds gale, with rain, hail, and 
sleet, seems blacker than anywhere else. In the Strait of 
Magellan, looking due southward from Port Famine, the 
distant channels between the mountains appeared from their 
gloominess to lead beyond the confines of this world." 

(7.) Guanacoes, wolves, foxes and otters, are the only wild 
animals of importance found in Tierra del Fuego. Fish and 
seals are quite numerous. Among the birds are the cape 
pigeon, the petrel, and the albatross. Wild fowl, geese, 
ducks, and plover, dfre also plenty. The cape pigeons are of 
a white and lead color ; they fly in large flocks, and seem 
much attached to each other ; their flesh is equal to that of 
the American teal. The albatross resembles a goose, and its 
feathers, down, and quills, are equally valuable ; its meat is 
dark-colored but not unpalatable ; by sailors, it is considered 
as a rara avis, indeed, from the fact that it has no gizzard, 
and many of them look upon it with the same abhorrence 
with which the Mussulman regards pork. 

(8.) The Fuegians are elevated by only a few degrees 
above the brute creation. They have small low foreheads, 
prominent brows, diminutive eyes, large mouths, wide nos- 
trils, thick lips, black lank hair, and long and slender arms. 
Their bodies are large in comparison with their extremities, 
but they are rarely over five feet in height. On the eastern 
coast, the natives wear guanaco skins, and on the western, 
seal skins. The central tribes have otter skins. Sometimes 
a small scrap takes the place of a whole skin, and where this 
is the case, or the skin is too small to protect the whole per- 
son, it is laced across the breast by strings, and shifted from 


74 MODE OP LIFE. [1839. 

side to side, according as the wind blows. It is by no means 
uncommon, however, to see them entirely naked. They ap- 
pear stunted in their growth ; their dark copper colored skins 
are filthy and greasy ; and their hideous faces are generally 
bedaubed with ashes or paint. Their voices are discordant, 
and their gestures, in conversation, animated and even vio- 

Their wigwams are sometimes built of the trunks of trees, 
arranged in a circle and leaning against each other at the 
top, like a cone ; the interstices are chinked in with earth, 
leaves, and wild grass. Another kind of wigwam is made 
ot boughs or small branches bound together at the top with 
sedge or twigs ; other branches are interlaced with these so 
as to form wicker-work, and the whole is covered with grass, 
peat or bark. They subsist almost wholly on fish, seals, sea- 
eggs, and testacea. A few tasteless berries and fungi are the 
only productions of the moist soil which they make use of to 
satisfy hunger. The only habitable land is directly on the 
coast, and in summer and winter, through the endless mists 
and storms, parties of them may be seen wandering along the 
beach in quest of food. Their only mode of conveyance is a 
canoe drawn through the water by the kelp, or propelled by 
a rude paddle ; it is made of strips of bark sewed together, 
and is usually about twenty-five feet long and three feet 
wide. The bottom of the canoe is covered with a layer of 
clay a foot thick, on which a fire is always kept burning. 
Sea-eggs are obtained by diving, and small fish are caught 
by a baited hair-line, without any hook. Larger fish are 
speared. Shell-fish are picked from the rocks whenever it is 
low water, be it night or day, in storm or sunshine. 

Seasons of famine are frequent among the Fuegians, and 
at such times they often kill and eat the old women, before 
they devour their dogs. They are divided into different 
tribes, and when at war they are also cannibals. It is rarely 
the case that they object to any kind of food ; and if the car- 
cass of a putrid whale is discovered, it is hailed as a special 
blessing. Traces of superstition exist among them, and each 


tribe has a conjuring doctor ; yet it has been found impossi- 
ble clearly to ascertain his duties. They exhibit a dread of 
some mysterious and invisible superior powers, but have no 
definite idea of a future life. Bows and arrows, spears, and, 
in the northern part of the island, the bolas of the Patago- 
nians, are their only weapons. The arrow and spear heads 
are made of bone, or iron where it can be procured. The 
different tribes have no particular head or chief, nor any form 
of government ; but they speak different dialects all of 
which have many affinities with the Araucanian and reside 
in different districts. 

For three hundred years, notwithstanding they have been 
frequently visited by navigators and the crews of whalers and 
sealing vessels, the Fuegians have made little or no advance 
in intelligence. According to Drake, they travelled in the 
same canoe, and slept in the same wigwam, two hundred 
and fifty years ago, which they now do. In some respects 
they are even more sunken and degraded than the Aus- 
tralians, who have generally been considered the lowest in 
the scale of humanity. Their skill and sagacity are like the 
instinct of animals, and they manifest still less invention and 
foresight in providing the means of comfort and subsistence. 

(9.) On the 25th of February, Captain Wilkes left Orange 
Harbor in the brig Porpoise, accompanied by the Sea Gull 
under Lieutenant Johnson, for a short cruise in the Southern 
Polar regions. Captain Hudson sailed on the same day with 
the Peacock and the Flying-Fish the latter in charge of 
Lieutenant Walker in the direction of Cook's Ne Plus 
Ultra, under instructions to penetrate as far south of that 
point as the season and other circumstances would permit. 
Lieutenant Craven remained at Orange Harbor in command 
of the Vincennes ; and the R.elief was ordered to the straits 
of Magellan, for scientific duty the corps of scientific gentle- 
men being temporarily transferred to that vessel. 

The Sea Gull returned to Orange Harbor on the 22d of 
March, having separated from her consort during the cruise, 
and the Porpoise arrived on the 30th. No new discoveries 


of importance had been made. The weather had proved un- 
favorable, and on penetrating as far south as the sixty-sixth 
degree of southern latitude. Captain Wilkes found himself 
surrounded on all sides by innumerable icebergs and field ice, 
and was therefore obliged to retrace his course. While he 
was absent from Orange Harbor, he visited the South Shet- 
lands and Palmer's Land, but was only able to verify the 
discoveries of former navigators. 

Captain Hudson encountered the first icebergs on the llth 
of March, in latitude 63 30' S. and 80 W. longitude * 
The Flying Fish separated from the Peacock in a gale, in 
the early part of the cruise, but fell in with her again before 
its termination. Captain Hudson ascended a little above the 
sixty-eighth degree of southern latitude, and Lieutenant 
Walker went as high as the seventieth degree, where his 
further progress was impeded by impassable barriers of ice. 
Both vessels came near being hemmed in by these frozen 
bulwarks. The Flying Fish was once rescued from a most 
perilous position by a fortunate breeze, and the Peacock, after 
being enveloped for six days, from the 19th to the 25th of 
March, in ice and icebergs, was with great difficulty worked 
out into the open sea, through a dense fog, by carrying on all 
her canvas. The decks and rigging of the vessels were coated 
with ice, and everything was dark, dreary and cheerless. If 
there was a pause in the howling of the wind, it seemed to 
bellow with increased fury when it again swept above the 
wintry waste. If the leaden-colored clouds parted over head, 
and the beautiful tints of blue sky were reflected in the water, 
they could scarcely be admired, before the heavens were once 
more overshadowed by that black and dismal pall which al- 
most shut out the light of day. 

As if to compensate for all this dreariness and gloom, sev- 
eral splendid exhibitions of the aurora australist were wit- 

* In the South Pacific, the Polar currents being very little interrupted by land, 
deviate less from their general course than those in the northern hemisphere, 
and, consequently, carry icebergs nearer to the tropics than is usual north of the 

) The aurora australis is the phenomenon in the southern hemisphere corre- 
sponding to the aurora borealis in the northern. 


nessed. The Magellan Clouds, the Zodiacal Light, and the 
brilliant constellation of the Southern Cross, whose magic 
beauties have so often been remarked and admired by trav- 
ellers in the Polar regions, were seen in all their perfection. 
Other luciform appearances, less striking, perhaps, but full 
of interest and beauty, were likewise observed. 

From these vast southern solitudes, where the sea-lion, the 
petrel, the albatross and the penguin, are rarely disturbed in 
their ice-bound retreats, Captain Hudson and Lieutenant 
Walker gladly turned the heads of their vessels to the north, 
when they found that the season was so far advanced, that 
nothing further could be gained by protracting their stay. 

(10.) The Flying Fish sailed for Orange Harbor, where 
she arrived on the llth of April, and the Peacock shaped her 
course for Valparaiso. On the 17th of April, orders were 
issued to the squadron at Orange Harbor to get under way. 
The Vincennes and Porpoise dropped down to Scapenham. 
Bay in the afternoon, when the wind being light and un- 
favorable, they came to anchor. A heavy squall coming up, 
they ran back into Orange Bay for a few hours. At daylight 
on the 18th, a more propitious breeze finally wafted them 
from those desolate regions, and launched them upon the 
broad and comparatively peaceful bosom of the Pacific.* 
The south east trades are the favorite winds of this ocean, 
but it was not until the Exploring Squadron had passed the 
latitude of Chiloe, that they felt the genial influence of these 
prosperous gales, which wafted them on far more rapidly than 
before towards the Valley of Paradise. 

Early in the morning of the 12th of May, they came in 
sight of the coast of Chili, and not long after, the grand and 
majestic peaks of the Andes were seen towering up in the 
back ground. In a few days, the Vincennes and Porpoise 
joined the Peacock in the harbor of Valparaiso. The Sea 
Gull and Flying Fish were left at Orange Harbor to await 
the return of the Relief from her cruise in the Straits of Ma- 

* The Pacific received its name from Magellan, in consequence of the pros- 
perous weather with which he was favored while navigating its surface. 


gel] an. That vessel, however, had been so long delayed that 
it was thought best to sail direct to Valparaiso, where she 
arrived in safety. The two schooners left Orange Harbor 
on the 28th of April, but were separated in a gale, and the 
Sea Gull probably foundered, as no tidings have ever been 
heard of the vessel or crew. The Flying Fish reached Val- 
paraiso on the 19th of May. 


(1.) Approach to the Chilian Coast. The Andes. (2.) Valparaiso. Appear- 
ance of the City. Principal Attractions (3.) Chili. Early History. Rev- 
olutionary Struggles. War with Peru. (4.) Santiago. Other Towns. 
(5.) Dress of the Chilenos. Manners and Customs. (6.) Geological For- 
mation of the Country . Productions. Zoology. (7.) Commerce. (8.) Mines. 
(9.) Departure from Valparaiso. 

(1.) FEW travellers approach the coast of Chili, or Chile, 
without turning their eyes in the direction of the lofty crests 
of the Andes, the giant vertebrse of South America. On 
entering the harbor of Valparaiso, fine glimpses are obtained, 
in the northeast, of the peaks of the Great Cordillera ; though 
the distance from one hundred to one hundred and fifty 
miles at which they are situated, cannot be truly appreci- 
ated till you ascend the hills overlooking the beach. These 
peaks begin to be numerous in latitude 30 S., and increase 
in number as the cordillera trends away to the south. The 
principal one is Aconcagua, at least 23,200 feet high an 
elevation greater than that of Chimborazo which is, at in- 
tervals, an active volcano. 

In pleasant weather, the general rule, rather than the 
exception, in Chili, the sunset view of the Andes, off the 
coast, is remarkably beautiful and picturesque, probably more 
so than at any other time of the day : the soft, transparent 
atmosphere ; the clear blue heavens ; the light fleecy clouds, 
glowing with all the colors of the rainbow, sailing along the 
pure depths of the sky, or floating around the rugged moun- 
tain summits ; the purple hue of evening falling in the nooks 
and crevices, and the golden flush yet lingering on the bolder 
rocks and precipices, impart to it all the charms of romance 
and enchantment, and Fancy roams half bewildered, through 

80 VIEW OF THE ANDES. [1839. 

lordly castles and fairy palaces, glittering with all the wealth 
of Ophir, sparkling with gems and precious stones, and 
crowned with burnished domes supported on pillars of ivory 
and gold, beneath which hang 

" Pendant by subtle magic, many a row 
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, feC 
With Naphtha and Asphaltus." 

But at early dawn, just before the sun peeps above the hor- 
izon, when the morning light streams from the east through 
every cleft and fissure, when Night still enshrouds the bases 
of the mountains in her sable mantle, and the tops are tinged 
with the maiden blushes of Aurora, the rough outlines are 
more clearly distinguished, and, perhaps, a more powerful 
impression of vastness, magnificence, and sublimity, is made 
upon the mind of the beholder. 

(2.) Were it not for its beautiful and matchless climate, 
Valparaiso could boast of nothing that would entitle it to the 
distinction implied by its name.* The country in its vicinity 
is sterile and monotonous ; along the sea coast there extends 
a range of steep round-topped hills, from fifteen to sixteen 
hundred feet high, covered with a bright grayish" red soil, 
worn into numberless gulleys, in consequence of the slight 
protection afforded by the dry and scorched turf scattered 
about over it in small patches ; there are few or no trees 
except half-withered cacti ; and the clumps of low stunted 
bushes and brambles occasionally seen, do not go very far to- 
wards relieving the dreary sameness of the landscape. In 
the deep valleys, the vegetation is a little more abundant 
and the plants and shrubs, which possess, as in most dry 
climates, peculiarly strong and pungent odors, and, when in 
blossom, present greater liveliness and richness of color than 
is usually met with, are considerably more numerous. 

Still, the view of the town from the anchorage is quite 
pretty. It appears to be built in terraces, at the foot of the 
range of hills flanking the coast. The houses are mostly con- 

* The meaning of Valparaiso s Vale, or Valley, of Paradise. 

1839.] VALPARAISO. 81 

structed of adobes, from one to two stories high, and sur- 
mounted with heavy red tiles. They are for the most part 
erected in a loose and straggling manner. All are plastered 
on the outside, and whitewashed ; and when the level rays 
of the declining sun are poured full upon the walls, they 
glisten like burnished silver. A closer examination, how- 
ever, destroys much of this pleasing and picturesque illusion. 
On the north, the town stretches out on the level sea shore, 
in a long double row of houses, called the Almendral ; to- 
wards the south, it rises in the direction of the hills, upon 
which there are many neat cottages, with tasteful flowei 
gardens. One of these eminences, Mount Alegre, rises ab- 
ruptly from the centre of the city, and is chiefly occupied by 
the residences of wealthy foreigners and merchants. The 
main street is intersected by a number of quebrddas, or 
gorges, running parallel to each other, and leading up which 
there are narrow and inconvenient thoroughfares, with a few 
houses built at intervals ; these streets are badly lighted, and 
are very dangerous at night. The southern part of the town 
is divided by two principal ravines, into three districts, to 
which sailors have given the names of Fore Top, Main Top, 
and Mizen Top. 

The harbor, or bay of Valparaiso, is open to the north and 
northwest ; but on the south and southwest, it is protected 
by the small promontory of Punta de Coronilla, though the 
shore on this side of the bay is steep and rocky, and the waves 
dash against the heights with great fury. From the point, 
the bay sweeps round to the northwest, in the form of a cres- 
cent, having a sloping sandy beach which rises gradually to- 
wards the hills. In entering the harbor from the south, there 
is great danger, at times, of drifting upon the point, from the 
sudden dying away of the wind. The holding ground being 
of stiff clay, the anchorage is secure, except during the north- 
erly gales, which, though far less frequent than those from 
the opposite quarter, sometimes blow with terrible violence, 
and often terminate in severe storms. The bay is protected 
by three small forts ; the most strongly fortified is the castle 



of San Antonio, containing about a dozen guns, which stands 
in the southern inlet of the bay ; el Castillo del Rosario, 
which has six guns, is in the northern part of the town, and 
the remaining fort, mounting five guns, in the southern. 

Formerly, there was no facility for landing goods at Val- 
paraiso, except by launches moored to the shore, across which 
packages were carried on men's shoulders, or by boats ; but 
a mole has been recently built at the most favorable point 
for landing. This is considered perfectly safe, except during 
the prevalence of north winds, when it is exceedingly danger- 
ous to approach it, on account of the violence of the surf. A 
wooden jetty stretches out into the sea about sixty paces, 
which is frequently submerged by the waves, and has been 
several times demolished. The harbor-master's boats, and 
those belonging to men-of-war, land on the right side of the 
jetty, and those of merchant vessels on the left. Small boats, 
usually manned by two Indians, are always to be found near 
the landing-place, ready to convey passengers to and fro the 
vessels in the harbor. Whenever a stranger makes his ap- 
pearance on the muele, or mole, he is sure to be greeted with 
the importunate inquiry Vdmos abordo, senor? (Going 
aboard, sir ?) which sometimes gives place to, " "Want a 
boat ? want a boat ?" in English. 

On reaching the shore, almost the first object that attracts 
the attention is the motley crowd of Choices, or country peo- 
ple, dressed in their long coarse ponchos,* who congregate 
here for the purpose of disposing of their wares. Passing 
through the clamoring boatmen and jabbering peasantry, you 
approach the custom-house, a large and fine building erected 
on the mole. Near the custom-house is the exchange, a more 
unpretending structure, but containing a spacious and elegant 
reading-room well supplied with foreign newspapers. This is 
the favorite resort of ship-masters and commercial travellers, 

* The poncho is a long blanket, varying in color according to the taste of the 
wearer, with a hole, or slit, in the middle, through which the head is thrust 
thus permitting the ends to hang down behind and before. 


great numbers of whom are constantly to be seen at Val- 

The other public buildings are a government house situated 
on the plaza, a small triangular space in one of the quebradas. 
In the vicinity of the plaza, are the principal church, and 
the Dominican and Franciscan chapels ; and between it and 
the castle of San Antonio, is the arsenal, consisting of a 
number of low buildings and sheds. About the middle of the 
Almendral, are the ruins of the church and convent of La 
Merced, destroyed by the great earthquake of 1822. There 
are several monasteries in the city, but all wear a gloomy 
and cheerless look. The churches are unusually plain and 
simple ; they are neither distinguished for architectural 
ornaments on the outside, nor for their decorations in the 

For places of amusement, the inhabitants of Valparaiso 
have a theatre poorly fitted up, and a ckingdno, both of 
which are open, and generally crowded, on Sunday evening. 
The chingdno is a large amphitheatre, surrounded by apart- 
ments, or booths, where liquors and refreshments are sold ; 
it is much frequented by both sexes, particularly of the lower 
classes, and one of its most attractive entertainments is a 
lascivious dance, termed the samacueca, which is performed 
by a young man and woman, on a stage, under an open 

One of the most remarkable objects in the city, is the 
moveable prison. This is a large covered wagon, resembling 
those used for the conveyance of wild beasts. The door, at 
which a guard is stationed, is at the back end ; inside, there 
are plank bedsteads, like those in guard-houses, large enough 
to accommodate eight or ten persons ; and in front is a small 
apartment for cooking. A large number of these prisons may 
be seen in the streets ; they are drawn by the prisoners, who 
are mostly employed in working on the roads and bridges. 

There is a great plenty of taverns in Valparaiso, though 
not much can be said in their favor. The best are kept by 
Frenchmen, but these are incommodious and expensive. 

84 POLICE OF THE CITY. [1839. 

Want of cleanliness is the chief fault of all. The tables 
are amply provided from a market, held in the plaza, always 
well supplied with good meat, poultry, fish, bread, fruit, and 

No one ever visits this town, of late years, without re- 
marking the efficiency of the police established by Diego 
Portales, formerly Minister of War and the Interior. It 
Consists of two bodies, the vigilantes, or police proper, and 
the serenos, or watchmen. The former are armed and uni- 
formed, and patrol the streets on horseback ; the latter are 
provided with swords alone, and go on foot. Each sereno 
has his particular beat or district, and carries a small whistle, 
which makes a loud and shrill noise. It is customary to call 
the hours at night, and announce the state of the weather. 
At ten o'clock the sereno commences with Viva Chile ! 
viva Chile ! las diez lian dado cldro y sereno ! (past ten 
o'clock and a clear and fine night !) In the morning they 
say, Viva Chile ! viva Chile ! Ave Maria purissima las 
cuatro de la mafiana, y nublddo ! (past four o'clock in the 
morning, and cloudy !) or, la sets de la mandna, y lluvioso! 
(past six o'clock in the morning, and rainy !) These calls 
are uttered in a sort of tune, pitched to a high key, which is 
rather pleasing than otherwise. If an earthquake takes place, 
it is announced in the same manner by the sereno, as he goes 
his round. Midnight brawls and murders were formerly quite 
common, but they are now of very rare occurrence, and are 
mainly confined to the southern quarter, the most abandoned 
part of the town. 

Valparaiso contains not far from thirty thousand inhabi- 
tants, a large proportion of whom are foreigners, from Ger- 
many, England, France, and the United States, and it is 
annually increasing in extent and population. The old Span- 
ish families are few in number, but they are^remarkable for 
the combined grace and dignity of their demeanor, the neat- 
ness of their personal appearance, and the cleanliness and 
tidiness of their dwellings. The main dependence of the 
city is its commerce, and the avocations and tastes of the 

j.839.] POPULATION. 85 

inhabitants are, consequently, almost exclusively of a mer- 
cantile character. They are hospitable and kind to strangers, 
not more from interest than from impulse. With the influx 
of so many foreigners, new customs have been introduced, 
and those of the ancient Spanish residents are gradually dis- 
appearing. Their costumes likewise are being supplanted 
by French styles and fashions. That these changes have 
taken place without serious disagreement or difficulty, is 
probably owing to the intermarriage of the foreigners with 
Spanish ladies. Now and then a genuine Castilian one of 
the old noblesse may be found, who looks with mingled 
emotions of contempt and abhorrence on these innovations ; 
but the great majority have long since learned to regard them, 
if not with love, at least without hatred. Until quite re- 
cently, it was not customary for the ladies of Valparaiso to 
wear either hats or head-dresses, even in the streets, their 
dark glossy ringlets being gathered into two plaits, and suf- 
fered to hang down the back, sometimes nearly reaching the 
ground, but latterly bonnets have been introduced, and they 
are becoming quite the fashion. 

In point of morals, Valparaiso does not compare favorably 
with many other South American towns. The higher classes 
are excessively fond of amusements, and those beneath them 
in position imitate their example, though manifesting less 
regard for the decencies of life, and substituting coarser en- 
joyments for those of a more refined character. A great part 
of the houses in the southern quarter of the city, are grog- 
shops, brothels, and kindred places of resort ; at every step 
you discover the wrinkles of cankering care and passion dis- 
figuring the countenance of the chevalier d? Industrie, who 
strives, in vain, to conceal his repulsive features under his 
broad sombrero, or start at the dark flashing eyes of the 
courtesan, who gathers her gay crimson or green bayeta* 
more closely about her half-exposed person, not from any 
instinct of modesty, but rather to hide the dirty calico dress 
beneath it. 

* The bay eta is a coarse baize shawl worn by women of the lower classes. 

86 CEMETERIES. [1839. 

On a high hill overlooking the town, are the burial grounds. 
The principal one is divided by mud walls into two compart- 
ments, one of which is used by Catholics, and the other is 
appropriated to heretics. Near by is a charnel house full of 
skulls and bones. Interments are conducted with very little 
care or attention. The graves are shallow excavations, in 
which the dead are laid, with their heads to the west, often 
without either coffin or shroud. A small quantity of earth 
is then thrown in and beaten down with a billet of wood ; 
not unfrequently half of this thin covering is blown off by the 
wind in a few days, and the decaying body exposed, wholly 
or in part, to the sight. A rudely-fashioned cross placed at 
the head of the grave, is, usually, the only designation em- 
ployed. In the Protestant cemetery, which adjoins the for- 
mer, there are neat marble slabs, and every other indication 
of the respect paid by the living to the dead. 

(3.) Previous to the Spanish conquest, Chili formed a part 
of the possessions of the Peruvian Incas. In 1535, Almagro 
invaded the country, under the orders of Pizarro ; and in 
1540 it was overrun and subjugated, with the exception of 
Araucania, by Valdivia. The first insurrectionary move- 
ment looking towards a separation from the mother country, 
was made in 1810, and terminated in 1814, when the prov- 
ince was temporarily quieted. From that time till the year 
1817, the disaffected inhabitants were overawed by the pres- 
ence of a large body of royalist forces. But the tocsin of 
liberty had not been sounded in vain ; its echoes continued 
to reverberate among the fastnesses of the Andes, and to 
awaken glad responses in the breasts of the true-hearted 
patriots of Chili. In 1817, the banner of freedom was again 
flung to the winds, and after a bloody and obstinate engage- 
ment on the plains of Chacabuco, in which General Mendoza, 
at the head of the patriot army of four thousand men, de- 
feated five thousand, the Spanish troops were expelled from 
the country. The preliminary measures for forming an in- 
dependent government were being taken, when a new and 
increased force of royalists appeared in the field, under the 


command of General Osorio. This force was likewise 
routed, at Maypu, on the 5th day of April, 1818, by the 
Chilian troops under San Martin, O'Higgins, and other 
patriot leaders. Still another effort was made by Spain to 
regain her lost dominion, and a fifty-gun frigate, convoying 
eleven transport ships, with twenty-five hundred men on 
board, was ordered to Chili. This formidable armament was 
met at Talcahuano, and captured, by a small squadron com- 
manded by Captain Manuel Blanco, consisting of two armed 
ships, a corvette and several trading vessels, hastily collected 
and equipped, after the enemy had reached Cape Horn. 

This was the last attempt made by Spain to reconquer the 
country ; and the independence of the latter being now per- 
manently secured, a form of government was established. 
The first government was dictatorial. General O'Higgins, 
originally chosen Dictator on the 16th of February, 1816, 
was continued in office, under the title of Supreme Director 
of Chili, till the year 1823. He was succeeded by Ramon 
Freyre, who resigned in 1826. Meanwhile various factions 
had sprung up, all evidently desirous of securing the advance- 
ment of the country in prosperity and greatness. Civil dis- 
turbances and dissensions naturally grew out of these politi- 
cal divisions ; repeated changes were made in the Executive, 
but the government does not appear, at any time, to have 
been administered with sufficient firmness and rigor. In 
1828, a republican constitution was proclaimed, and Gen- 
eral Pinto was elected president. The latter shortly after 
resigned, and was succeeded by Ramon Vicuna, then presi- 
dent of the Senate. Vicuna soon became unpopular ; and 
the friends of liberal institutions, under the lead of General 
Joaquin Prieto, took up arms against him. The civil war 
ended in the complete overthrow of Vicuna. The brief ad- 
ministrations of Tagle and Ovalle followed, and in 1831, 
General Prieto was elected to the presidency. After holding 
the office two terms, of five years each, he gave place to his 
nephew General Bulnes, the constitution of the republic 


prohibiting the election of the same person for a third succes- 
sive term. 

With the accession of Prieto to the Chief Magistracy, a 
new era dawned upon Chili. He found everything in con- 
fusion and disorder ; the military fast gaining the ascen- 
dency ; and a national debt already contracted amounting 
to the enormous sum of over eight million piasters.* He 
was just the man for the crisis ; and he was warmly and 
ably seconded in his efforts to restore the credit and char- 
acter of the country, by his minister of war and the interior, 
Diego Portales. Certain means were taken to develop the 
resources of the state ; commerce was fostered, and industry 
.md enterprise of every kind encouraged ; the government 
was administered firmly, but mildly ; the taxes were re- 
duced, and order and economy rigidly enforced in every 
branch of the public service. Congress kept pace with the 
Executive ; and its legislation was so directed as to secure 
the perfect liberty of the citizen, so far as was compatible 
with the public safety, and absolute equality under the law 
to every man. No titles or special privileges were permitted 
to be conferred, and all distinctions between native and 
adopted citizens were abolished. One happy result of the 
financial measures of Prieto, was the rapid increase of the 
revenue an advance of more than two hundred and fifty 
per cent, in the annual receipts being realized in the short 
space of twelve years and, as a necessary consequence, the 
speedy extinguishment of the public debt. Ever since the 
year 1835, there has been a surplus of the revenue over the 
expenditure; in 1842, the former amounted to three million 
eight hundred thousand piasters, and the latter to two million 
four hundred thousand, showing a surplus of nearly fourteen 
hundred thousand piasters. In May, 1843, Chilian six per 
cents rose to 93, and in 1845 they were quoted at 104. Too 
much praise cannot be awarded to Prieto, for his wise, skil- 
ful, and successful statesmanship ; the chief merit of accom- 
plishing these splendid results within so brief a period is 

* About ten million dollars, federal currency. 

1839.] GOVERNMENT. 89 

certainly due to him, as his successor, Bulnes has but carried 
out the principles of political economy introduced under his 

Chili is what may be called a central republic. The Ex- 
ecutive power is vested in a President, who receives an annual 
salary of twelve thousand dollars ; he is assisted in the dis- 
charge of his duties by four ministers, who constitute his 
cabinet. There is also an executive council of eight mem- 
bers. The legislature consists of a Senate and a House of 
Deputies ; the former containing nineteen members, and the 
latter eighty-two. The senators are chosen for the term of 
five years, in ten provinces ; and the deputies for three years, 
in thirty-five departments. The administration of justice is 
not yet free from the old Spanish forms, but it is expeditious, 
and, in the main, impartial and equitable ; the judges hold 
their offices for life. The arrny, in time of peace, numbers 
about three thousand men. 

Within the past ten years, Chili has steadily pursued a 
career which promises at no distant day to produce a high 
state of national prosperity. The indications of a sound and 
healthful progress are everywhere visible. Flourishing towns 
and villages, rich farms and plantations, occupy the places of 
the miserable huts and haciendas of former times. Schools, 
colleges, and other public institutions, have been established, 
and the young people are now generally instructed in the 
rudiments of knowledge. The national religion is the Roman 
Catholic, but an exceedingly tolerant spirit prevails even 
among the clergy. Protestant denominations are allowed 
to worship after their own mode, but not to erect churches. 

The republic of Chili is bounded on the north by the desert 
of Atacama, which separates it from Bolivia and Peru ; on 
the south by Patagonia ; on the east by the Great Cordillera 
of the Andes ; and on the west by the Pacific. The islands 
of Mocha and Juan-Fernandez, and the archipelago of 
Chiloe, also belong to Chili. Within the limits above men- 
tioned, however, the province of Araucania is embraced, 
which, perhaps, may be a subject of dispute, as the warlike 


tribes who inhabit it have never yet been subdued, and claim 
to be entirely independent. Including the islands, the total 
area of Chilian territory is about one hundred and thirty 
thousand square miles. Various estimates in regard to the 
population have been made ; but the most reliable authorities 
fix it at one million two hundred thousand. The people are 
mostly of Spanish and Indian descent, although there are 
some negroes and mulattoes. In the seaport towns, as in 
Valparaiso, there are great numbers of foreigners, to whom 
the country is much indebted for its present commercial im- 

There are no slaves in Chili, but there exists in the coun- 
try a condition of servitude, called peonage, common to most 
of the colonies of Old Spain. After its conquest by the 
Spaniards, Chili was divided into three hundred and sixty 
portions, which were given to that number of individuals. 
These, of course, have been frequently subdivided, but there 
are still many large estates, which are generally kept for 
grazing purposes. The proprietors usually reside with their 
families in the towns ; the management of their farms being 
entrusted to a major-domo, or steward, under whom are a 
chief, and a few subordinate herdsmen, or guachos. These 
are assisted in taking care of the land, by tenants, who hold 
their dwellings under the proprietor, by a sort of feudal 
tenure being obliged to give their services in any kind of 
labor required of them, either without pay, or for a small 
remuneration and are termed peons. They are for the most 
part entirely dependent on their landlord, and sometimes the 
most arbitrary exactions and impositions are practiced with 

One great drawback on the prosperity of Chili, has been 
her difficulties with Peru. The latter was essentially aided 
in her struggle with Spain by the men and money of the 
former, and her independence was finally achieved, in 1821, 
by a Chilian army under San Martin ; it would, therefore, 
have been but reasonable to suppose, that the strongest ties 
of gratitude and fraternal feeling would have united the 


people of the two countries firmly together. But the disaf 
fected politicians and malcontents of Chili were always wel- 
comed in Peru, and not only allowed, but encouraged, to 
concoct their plans, and carry on their intrigues, for the 
overthrow of the government of their own country. The 
growing commerce of their neighbors had attracted the at- 
tention of the Peruvians, and commercial jealousies and 
rivalships were, doubtless, at the bottom of the inimical 
feelings which they soon began openly to manifest. The 
Chilians are resolute, independent, and high-minded, and 
they took no pains to conceal their displeasure. The ani- 
mosity thus engendered became more marked and decided, 
in 1836, when Santa Cruz was elected Supreme Protector 
of the Peru-Bolivian Republic. 

The Protector not only issued a decree nullifying the treaty 
with Chili then in existence, but he received the disaffected 
Chilians with open arms, and even went so far as to arm 
three men-of-war at Callao, which he placed at their dis- 
posal in order to effect a revolution. The government of 
Chili was not idle, however ; an expedition was fitted out, 
and the vessels captured by a bold and well-executed coup 
de main, the legality of which Peru was ultimately obliged 
to acknowledge, before they had left the harbor of Callao. 
The difficulty between the two governments did not end 
here ; one act of aggression was followed by another ; and 
at length Santa Cruz procured the passage of a law forbidding 
all foreign vessels to visit any place on the Pacific coast of 
South America, without having first entered a Peruvian 
port, under the penalty of being required to pay additional 
entrance duties. Chili promptly resented this insult by a 
declaration of war ; a large military force was immediately 
raised, and placed under the command of General Bulnes, 
who invaded Peru, and occupied Lima and other towns with 
his forces. In January, 1839, a general engagement took 
place at Yungay, which resulted in the complete defeat of 
Santa Cruz The loss of his power followed the loss of his 
army, and the Protector was subsequently banished to 

92 SANTIAGO. [1839. 

Europe. A new treaty of peace was now concluded be- 
tween Chili and Peru, the provisions of which have been 
faithfully regarded and observed. 

(4.) Sixty four miles from Valparaiso, in a south easterly 
direction, is Santiago, the capital of Chili. It is pleasantly 
situated on the eastern verge of the broad and fertile plain 
of Maypu, at the foot of the Cordilleras.* The city proper 
is on the southwestern bank of the Maypocho, a mountain 
stream which is generally dry for nine months in the year, 
but during the rainy season is swollen into a powerful 
torrent. A. handsome stone bridge, of five arches, spanning 
the river, connects the suburb of La Chimba with the cap- 
ital. On the southeast side of the latter is its suburb of 
Canadilla, from which it is separated by the Canada, a 
pleasant promenade, fifty yards wide, and planted with pop- 
lars. At the southwestern angle of the city is the suburb 
of Cuchunco. 

At a distance Santiago has a very imposing appearance 
In the outskirts, there are numerous pretty quintets, delight 
fully embowered amid groves of laurel, myrtle, and poplar 
The approaches to the city are mostly through shady lanes, 
or avenues, flanked by high adobe walls, inclosing extensive 
vineyards, well-stocked orchards and gardens, and finely- 
cultivated maize fields. Passing these, you catch sight of 
the domes and steeples of the capital towering above the 
humbler edifices around them. Like most Spanish towns, 
Santiago is divided into quadras, or squares, whose sides are 
each a little over four hundred feet in length. The streets, 
which are generally well-paved, and have good side-walks, 
are about thirteen yards wide. In the city and its suburbs, 
there are between two and three hundred quadras, which 
are included in five parishes. As the ground slopes gently 
towards the west, the location of the town is peculiarly favor- 
able for supplying the inhabitants with water, and for under 
drainage ; in the latter respect, no other city in South Amer- 

* Santiago occupies the site of an ancient Indian Settlement. It was founded 
bv Valdivia in 1541. 


ica can compare with the Chilian capital. The waters of the 
Maypocho are also employed for ornamental purposes ; there 
being a great number of public fountains and reservoirs scat- 
tered through the city. The Pldza^ occupying an entire 
quadra in the centre of the town, contains the largest foun- 
tain, furnished with water by a subterraneous aqueduct, 
from which the inhabitants principally obtain their supplies 
for drinking. The water is conveyed in barrels holding ten 
gallons each two of which are a load for a mule and sold 
for about ten cents per barrel. 

A solid brick wall, or rampart, six feet broad, and ten feet 
high, extends along the south bank of the Maypocho, as a 
protection against inundation during the heavy rains. Be- 
tween the river and the town is the Alameda, which is 
planted with willows, and furnished with seats, reservoirs, 
and artificial streams of running water ; in pleasant weather, 
it is thronged, in the afternoon and evening, with all classes 
and sexes, with beggars and hidalgos, rosy-cheeked padres, 
dark-eyed senoritas, and stately caballeros, and the soft 
moonlight that streams down the rugged sides of the Andes, 
and falls tremblingly upon the plain of Maypu, rests nowhere 
on happier or more picturesque groups, than those which may 
be seen in the cool paseos of this favorite promenade of the 
citizens of Santiago. At the northeastern angle of the city- 
proper, is the hill of Santa Lucia, the site of the fortress 
bearing the same name, intended to command the town ; 
there is no other defence, and the artillery in this work 
could be easily silenced by guns planted on the neighboring 

In cleanliness, regularity, and salubrity, Santiago greatly 
surpasses the other cities of South America ; but it is inferior 
to Lima in its public buildings. On the northwest side of 
the plaza, are the presidential mansion, the palace of govern- 
ment, the prison, and the chamber of justice ; on the south- 
west side stands the cathedral, and the old palace of the 
bishop, now occupied by the estddo mayor ; on the south- 
east there is a range of shops with a colonnade in front, and 


the remaining side is occupied by private residences. All 
these buildings, except the cathedral, are built of brick, 
plastered over and whitewashed, and show more or less 
marks of the injuries occasioned by the frequent earthquakes. 
The palace, originally built for the vice-regal government, 
makes the most pretensions to architectural beauty ; it con- 
sists of two stories surrounding a large open quadrangle ; in 
the lower story are the armory and treasury, in the upper, 
the great hall of audience and the ministerial offices. 

The cathedral is the only stone edifice in the city ; the 
material of which it is constructed was quarried in the suburb 
of La Chimba ; its design is Moorish, and has been executed 
with considerable taste and skill ; it is a large and extensive 
building, and contains, inside, an abundance of gold and silver 
ornaments, paintings, tapestry, and wax figures. The parish 
churches are comparatively mean structures ; but the con- 
ventual establishments, of which there are many, are well 
built and furnished. The bishop's palace is a heavy, sombre- 
looking building, fast going to decay. The largest public 
edifice in Santiago is the mint, which covers a whole square. 
To most strangers it seems unsightly enough, but the natives 
really look upon it with admiration. It is of plain brick, and 
like the other buildings erected for state purposes, was con- 
structed by bricklayers sent out from Spain expressly for 
this purpose. Its front presents a series of heavy pilasters, 
supporting a rude cornice and ponderous balustrade, in the 
centre of which is a massive arched portico. It is still in- 
complete, and is much dilapidated, principally by reason of 
the earthquakes. It consists of a variety of offices arranged 
round three quadrangular courts. Few of the modern im- 
provements have been introduced here, and the operation of 
coining is still in a rude state. The Consul ado, a spacious 
structure, plastered and whitewashed, in which the commer- 
cial tribunal, and the national congress, meet, is also worthy 
of notice. Santiago likewise boasts of a custom-house, a 
theatre, and a chingdno. There is a national college, too, 
occupying what was formerly one of the Jesuits' convents : 


and another of these edifices is used for the public library and 
printing-office. The library contains several thousand printed 
volumes, and a number of curious manuscripts relative to the 
Indian tribes, who originally occupied the country. 

Most of the private dwellings in Santiago are but one story 
high, being built in this manner on account of the earth- 
quakes. They have red tiled roofs projecting so as to form 
a piazza, or covered- way ; and the outside walls, as well as 
those around the orchards and gardens, are all whitewashed 
over every year, which gives them a peculiarly neat and lively 
appearance. The houses occupy considerable ground ; many 
of them take up one sixth part of a quadra. They consist 
of different compartments, or suites of rooms, ranged round 
three patios, or quadrangular courts ; the first, or outer 
court, is usually paved with pebbles from the bed of the 
Maypocho ; the second is commonly laid out as a parterre, 
and decorated with shrubs and flowers ; and the third is used 
for domestic purposes. A wide archway opening into, the 
front patio, is open during the day, but closed at night by 
heavy folding gates. The windows looking into the two 
outer courts, are protected by ornamental iron gratings ; the 
windows in the rear court are generally small openings in 
the doors also covered with gratings. The two fronts, on 
either side of the gateway, and the sides facing the streets, 
where there are not blank walls, are often divided into rooms 
separate from the apartments occupied by the family, and 
rented for shops and fancy stores. 

There are three markets in the city, the principal one of 
which is held in the Bassordl, a large open space covering 
four or five acres, at the foot of the bridge. The area is sur- 
rounded by a low building, with a tile roof, supported by 
columns. Good meat, and fruit and vegetables of all kinds, 
can be procured here. The other markets are mere movea- 
ble stands at either end of the Canada. Meat, kitchen 
vegetables, fruits, and lucerne, the common fodder for horses, 
are continually hawked about the streets. 

Santiago is famous for its fine horses. Large quantities 

96 MARKETS. [1839. 

of stock are raised on the extensive grazing grounds near the 
city, and there is scarcely a family in the town but has one 
or more horses. These animals are generally well broken, 
and are more docile than those of Buenos Ayres. The aver- 
age price of a horse is twelve dollars, but when thorough!} 
trained they command as high prices as in the United 
States. Beef and mutton, of the finest quality, are both 
cheap and abundant. 

The inhabitants of Santiago are remarkably obliging and 
courteous ; somewhat too fond of their chief national amuse- 
ments, dancing and music, and, to a certain extent, addicted 
to their fashionable game of monte, yet, withal, orderly and 
well-disposed. They are sincerely attached to the devotional 
forms and ceremonies of their religion. No obtrusive exhi- 
bition of this feeling is made, but the stranger cannot wel) 
avoid noticing it ; even though it may be common in most 
of the cities and towns of South America. It is particularly 
remarkable, when the bells of the cathedral announce the 
arrival of the hour for the oration, or sunset prayer. The 
streets are then filled with the gay and lively population, and 
all is mirthful and joyous. But as the first peal echoes from 
the cathedral tower, everything is hushed and still, as if some 
mighty spell had been thrown over the city ; the cabal lero 
reins back his steed on his haunches ; the laughing senorita 
hesitates in the midst of her witty repartee ; the artisan suffers 
his hammer to fall silently on his bench ; even the gamester 
pauses in his throw of the dice ; and in tha pauses of the 
chimes, the cool plash of the water falling over the marble 
statutes in the fountain, may be heard many a yard, from the 

As in Valparaiso, the gentlemen in Santiago follow the 
European fashions ; but the ladies, notwithstanding the 
French milliners and mantuamakers who have immigrated 
to Chili, adhere more closely to the customs of olden time, 
and a bonnet, thanks to the soft atmosphere and beautifu] 
climate which allows them to dispense with this incumbrance, 


is almost as great a rarity on the plains of Maypu, as it would 
be in the Feejee Islands. 

Santiago contains about sixty-five thousand inhabitants, 
aiji . is constantly increasing, a fact which speaks volumes 
in favor of Chilian industry and enterprise, since the same 
cannot be said of another inland capital in South America. 
Besides Santiago and Valparaiso, there are several other 
towns in Chili of considerable note. Coquimbo, or La Serena, 
in North Chili, has a population amounting to nearly ten 
thousand ; it is the chief port of the mining country, and its 
copper is esteemed the best in the world. The town is re- 
markably clean, and well laid out the streets intersecting 
each other at right angles. It has several churches, a public 
school, and a hospital; the houses are built of sun-dried 
bricks, with few exceptions, and are one story in height. 
Numerous gardens of fruit-trees and evergreens, give the 
placje a refreshing and agreeable look. Huasco, still farther 
to the north, is famed for its rich silver mines. Concep9ion 
and Valdivia, in the southern part of the republic, are noted 
for their fine harbors. The former, was once a flourishing 
town containing twenty thousand inhabitants, but it has 
latterly declined in trade and manufactures, and the popula- 
tion does not now exceed eight thousand. It stands on a 
low neck of land between the river Biobio and the bay of 
Concep9ion ; it is laid out like Coquimbo, and the houses 
are constructed in the same manner ; previously to 1835, it 
possessed a large cathedral and several other fine buildings, 
but, in that year, these, with the greater part of the town, 
were destroyed by an earthquake. Yaldivia is rather an 
insignificant collection of wooden huts, but it contains five 
thousand inhabitants, and has the finest, and one of the most 
strongly fortified harbors, in the South Pacific ; this consists 
of an estuary, formed by the Valdivia and several smaller 
rivers, entered by a narrow strait, the shores of which are 
garnished with batteries, mounting, in all, one hundred and 
thirty guns ; ships of the line ride here in safety there being 
from six to seven fathoms of water in the centre of the bay, 


and five fathoms near the shore. The town is about sixteen 
miles from the mouth of the Valdivia, and was almost ruined 
by an earthquake in 1837. It is the capital and market 
town of the province of Valdivia, and has a large and rapidly 
increasing trade. 

(5.) What has been said in regard to the style of dress 
prevalent in Valparaiso and Santiago, is applicable to the 
Chilenos generally, and especially so to the inhabitants of 
the larger towns. Elsewhere, the old Spanish costumes are 
more frequently met with among the better classes ; but the 
dress of the common people is a mixture of Spanish and In- 
dian. The latter are fond of bright colors. The males wear 
a blue or brown poncho, over their shirt and trowsers, and 
a steeple-crowned, small rimmed hat, beneath which is a 
bright cotton handkerchief, tied on with strings under the 
chin. In very warm weather the tall hat is laid aside for 
the broad-leafed sombrero. The women wear gowns- of 
calico or woolen stuff, and mantillas, or bay etas ^ as at- 
tractive in color and quality, as the ability of the wearer will 
permit her to purchase. In the mining districts, a most pic- 
turesque dress is worn by those who work in the mines. It 
consists of a long shirt of dark baize, with a leathern apron 
fastened around the waist by a bright-colored sash ; very broad 
trowsers ; and a small cap of scarlet cloth fitting closely to 
the head. 

The Chilians possess fewer vices than the Creoles of the 
other Spanish colonies in South America, but they are fre- 
quently dissipated and profligate in their habits, and, in the 
towns, much too fond of dress and display. They are mod- 
erate in their food, though addicted to drinking to excess. 
They are less indolent, and more hardy than the Castilian 
race generally ; more industrious and enterprising, and more 
of a money-getting and monoy-loving people. Kindness am 1 
courtesy characterize their intercourse with strangers; yet 
are they proud-spirited and high-mettled, somewhat jealous 
in disposition, quick to take affront, and of an unforgiving 

1839.] TOPOGRAPHY. 99 

As in Valparaiso and Santiago, most of the better class of 
private dwellings throughout Chili, are built of adobes, one 
story in height ; the habitations of the peasantry, and of the 
lower classes in towns and cities, are mere huts, usually hav- 
ing but one room, constructed of reeds and mud, and thatched 
with straw. 

Educational improvement, and the introduction of a more 
refined taste, will, doubtless, produce great changes in the 
manners and customs of the people of Chili ; but, while earth- 
quakes continue to be so frequent, it is questionable whether a 
finer or more expensive style of building will prevail. Pru- 
dence and economy, in neither of which are they lacking, will 
always give the preference to the safest and cheapest mode. 

Most of the Indian population continue to dwell in a state 
of independence south of the Biobio ; but a considerable number 
live in missions. The former belie, in almost every respect, 
the highly-wrought and flattering descriptions in the Arau- 
cana of Ercilla y Zuniga ; they are wild, fierce, and intracta- 
ble, and but little more advanced in civilization than the rude 
inhabitants of Patagonia. 

(6.) In the northern part of Chili, the country rises from 
the coast to the Great Cordillera, by a number of successive 
terraces running parallel to the sea ; but, elsewhere, it is a 
broad expansion of the mountainous Andes, spreading forth 
its spurs and branches from the central ridge towards the 
Pacific, which diminish continually, but irregularly, till they 
reach the ocean. These ramifications of the main Cordillera 
are generally two thousand feet above the bottom of the val- 
leys that intersect them, and seldom less than one thousand 
feet. The patches between the ridges constitute the finest 
portions of middle Chili. Some of the valleys are broad, as is 
the case with the boasted vale of Aconcagua, one of the most 
fertile spots on the American continent. North of 30 30', 
the Cordillera is divided into separate ranges, inclosing the 
immense valley of Uspallata, celebrated more particularly for 
its extensive mineral rbhes. There are a few small plains 


along the coast, between the spurs of the mountain chains ; 
but the shores are mostly high, rocky, and precipitous. 

The climate of Chili is equable and healthy. In the sum- 
mer the weather is remarkable fine. Day after day, for 
weeks and months together, the atmosphere is transparently 
pure and clear ; save, perhaps, the light blue haze which 
sometimes adds a new, and almost unnecessary charm, to what 
is all brightness, gayety, and joy. The interior is much 
warmer than the coast ; at Valparaiso, the thermometer 
ranges, in midsummer, from 64 to 72 ; and. at Santiago, 
the mean summer heat, from December to March, is about 
84i at midday, and 58 at night. During the summer, the 
wind blows steadily from the southward, and a little off the 
shore, but at sunset there is almost always a cool and pleas- 
ant breeze. No rain falls in the summer ; it is abundant, 
however, through the winter months, from June to September, 
in the southern provinces. No snow falls along the coast, 
and frost is very rare. North of Santiago there are only a 
few occasional showers even in the winter ; and in the arid 
province of Coquimbo, no rain whatever falls, but its place 
is occasionally supplied by heavy night dews. 

Chili abounds in small rivers, which carry off the melted 
snow from the Andes, but it has none capable of being navi- 
gated to any extent, except the Maule and the Biobio. 

The high chain of the Andes is chiefly composed of argil- 
laceous schist, and the lower chains and groups, of granite. 
Sienitio, basaltic, and felspar porphyries, serpentines of vari- 
ous colors, quartz, hornblende and other slates, pudding-stone 
and gypsum, are found in the Cordillera, and there is fine 
statuary marble in the department of Copiapo. The soil of 
the northern provinces is sandy and saline, and probably not 
one fiftieth part of the north half of the country can ever be 
cultivated. In the central provinces, some of the valleys are 
considerably inclined, and admit of irrigation where water can 
be procured ; but the hills and ridges, for the greater part of 
the year, are dry and parched. South of the Maule, the pro- 
portion of arable land is greater, and the soil becomes mora 

1839.] PRODUCTIONS. 101 

stiff and loamy. At Concep9ion, in about 37 southern lati- 
tude, the plains and valleys are decked with the brightest 
and richest flowers, or clothed with the most luxuriant foli- 
age ; while hills and mountains are wooded to their summits 
with stately forest trees. In the latitude of Valparaiso, from 
one hundred and fifty to two hundred miles further north, it 
is only in the cultivation of the interval lands, that the hus- 
bandman finds a recompense for his toil. At Coquimbo, the 
sickly grass and stunted brushwood which alone redeem the 
hills in the neighborhood of Valparaiso from the curse of bar- 
renness, are no longer to be found, and, in their stead, are 
seen only a short wiry grass, and a feeble apology for the 
prickly-pear. At Guasco, vegetation entirely disappears ; the 
country is diversified, indeed, with hill and plain, but all is 
one vast and dreary Sahara, the little rivulets, that carry 
off the liquefied snows of the Andes, sing their lullaby in vain, 
and their moisture is soon evaporated by the dry scorching 
heat, that, vampire-like, robs the earth of nourishment and life. 
Most of the hard woods abound in the forests of Chili ; and 
laurels, myrtles, cypresses, and other evergreens, attain to 
such a size that they are highly valuable and useful for their 
timber. The mimosa farnesiana, and the algarob, are quite 
common ; and the guillai, from the bark of which a natural 
soap is made, is brought to the towns as an article of trade. 
The palm and cinnamon tree were formerly met with in 
abundance, but they are now rarely seen. Apricots, figs, 
plums, pears and cherries, of large size and fine flavor, are 
produced in great quantities. Herbaceous plants and flowers 
are as various and abundant, as they are rich and beautiful. 
The climate and soil of southern and middle Chili are pecu- 
liarly well calculated for the culture of the cereal grains. 
Wheat is the principal agricultural staple, and is largely ex- 
ported from the central provinces. Barley is grown to a con- 
siderable extent, in the south. Little attention is paid to the 
culture of corn. All kinds of pulse and culinary vegetables 
are raised, and potatoes are extensively produced.*' The vine 

* The potato is a native of South Chili. 

102 ZOOLOGY. [1839 

and olive, where they are properly cultivated, yield an abun- 
dance of good fruit ; but the manufacture of wine and oL 
is in a very rude state. 

The art of agriculture is greatly behindhand in Chili, and 
the implements of husbandry are of the most primitive models. 
The plow consists of the part of a trunk of a tree, with a crooked 
branch projecting from it which serves as a handle ; the fore- 
part of the trunk is wedgeshaped, and has a flattish pointed 
piece of iron nailed to it which performs the double duty of 
colter and share. For the harrow, a heap of brushes, weighed 
clown with stones, is substituted ; and the blade-bone of a 
sheep is the principal implement used for weeding the garden. 
The greater part of he labor at the haciendas, or farms, is 
performed by oxen ; mules being principally employed in car- 
rying burdens, and horses kept for riding and similar purposes. 
The yoke is fastened not to the shoulders, but to the horns of 
the cattle, according to the ancient Spanish method. Reap- 
ing is done with a rough sickle, and the grain is thrashed, or 
stamped out, with horses, on a hard dry spot of ground. 
From eight hundred to a thousand bushels are thrashed at 
one time. The grain is generally left in the open air till the 
rainy season begins. 

Cattle-breeding, however, is probably the most important 
branch of agricultural industry. In the middle provinces, 
from ten to twenty thousand head of cattle are often fed on 
a single hacienda, and the smallest grazing farms support 
from four to five thousand head. Horses, mules, asses, goats 
and sheep, are likewise plentiful. Hogs are not so common, 
and are of an inferior quality. 

Llamas and guanacoes, the puma, the jaguar, and other 
wild animals found in South America, inhabit Chili. There 
are likewise numerous varieties of the monkey tribe. Foxes 
are very common. A kind of beaver which frequents the 
rivers, and the chinchilla abounding in the deserts at the 
iiorth, are hunted for their furs which are much prized. The 
country is comparatively free from venomous quadrupeds, and 
noxious insects and reptiles ; the skunk being almost the only 

1839.] COMMERCE. 103 

really annoying animal to be found there. There are good 
fishing grounds on the coast, at which whales, dolphins, cod, 
pilchards, and other small fish, are caught. Now and then 
a sea-dog is observed, but they are quite rare. Among the 
birds are the great condor, several species of vultures, the 
cormorant, the penguin, the cut-water or shear-bill, and the 
snipe. Flocks of parrots and parroquets are found. Small 
green parrots, not larger than finches, are caught in the in- 
terior, tamed, and sold in the towns. But the most beautiful 
and majestic bird is the swan, which is often seen sailing in 
the bay of Valparaiso ; its body is of dazzling white, and its 
neck and head are black. 

(7.) Chili is said to be the only American state, formerly 
subject to Spain, whose commerce has increased since the 
separation from the mother country ; and this single fact is, 
of itself, a high encomium upon the enterprise and industry 
of its inhabitants. Under the Spaniards, Chili had no inter- 
course but with Peru and Buenos Ay res; now the vessels of 
all the principal commercial nations on the globe frequent her 
harbors. From 1825 to 1829, the annual average receipts 
from customs were less than nine hundred thousand dollars ; 
in 1834, they amounted to nearly one and a quarter million ; 
and in 1841, they were but little short of two millions of 
dollars. Linens are imported from Germany ; silks, paper, 
leather, wines and brandy, from France ; manufactured 
goods, hardware and iron, from Great Britain ; silks, nankeens, 
tea and sugar, from China and the East Indies ; tobacco, oil, 
spermaceti candles, sugar, and manufactured goods, from the 
United States ; and various products from the different coun- 
tries in South America. The principal exports are bullion, 
copper, hides, tallow, pulse, wheat, fruits, and drugs. During 
the year ending the 30th of June, 1847, the imports from, 
and exports to the United States, amounted to about one 
million seven hundred dollars ; there being a small balance 
in favor of Chili. 

Valparaiso enjoys the honor of being the chief seaport town, 
and is commonly called " The Port," by way of distinction. 

104 INTERNAL TRADE. [1839 

In 1834, only 450 vessels, aggregating 77,700 tons, entered 
this harbor, and in 1842 there were GS5 vessels, 617 of which 
were commercial, aggregating 187,453 tons. The transit 
trade is enormous. On the 21st of May, 1842, there were 
over seven hundred thousand bales of merchandise, valued at 
upwards of seven millions of dollars, and coined metals ex- 
ceeding three millions, at the custom-house of Valparaiso 

The internal trade of Chili is not very great ; there being 
no principal towns in the interior except the capital. Be- 
sides, there are few accommodations or facilities for travelling. 
The only passable roads are thoss leading from Santiago to 
Valparaiso and Concepcion ; bridges are scarce and poorly 
constructed, and in some places the mountain torrents and 
ravines are crossed by Indian hanging bridges, made of osiers 
and thongs of raw hide, which sway to and fro fearfully, 
with the weight of the person crossing them. Burdens are 
chiefly carried, over the high ridges separating the valleys, 
on the backs of mules ; on the main roads, heavy merchan- 
dise is hauled in ox-carts constructed entirely of wood, strongly 
framed and pinned together. From two to four yoke of oxen 
are attached to one cart; the box, or top, similar in shape 
to the tilt of a Pennsylvania wagon, but not so large, is 
made of wattles covered with stout bull's hide. The vehicle 
principally used for the convenience of travellers is a sort of 
double gig, called a birloc/ie, carrying two passengers. Three 
birlocheroS) or drivers, and from ten to fifteen horses, accom- 
pany the carriage. One horse is secured in the shafts, and 
one on either side, attached to the vehicle by thongs of hide, 
is ridden by a driver. The horses on duty are relieved by 
those that run along in the cabalgada. These conveyances, 
like the Irish jaunting-car, are driven at break-neck speed, 
and the traveller is fortunate if he reaches his journey's end 
without any injury. The paisdnos, or country people, bring 
their wares to the market towns in panniers, on the backs of 
asses or mules, which they delight in scourging with the long 
poles that they invariably carry. Hay, mainly consisting of 

1839.] MINES. 105 

lucerne grass, is brought in the same manner, the owner 
sitting in the midst of his load, almost out of sight, and his 
lower extremities completely lost in the brobdignag stirrups, 
nearly as large as a peck measure, that dangle beneath him. 
Connected with the commerce are the manufactures of the 
country. The Chilenos are excellent potters, and make light 
and strong earthen jars that ring like metal. Hempen cloths, 
common hemp cordage, soap, leather, wine, brandy, tallow, 
charcoal, and some rough articles of copper ware, are the 
chief articles manufactured. Besides the acida and a^uar- 


diente, or wine and brandy, made from the grape, a potation 
called chicha* is made by boiling down the clear grape-juice 
after fermentation. 

(8.) Though so large a portion of Chili is not susceptible 
of cultivation, nevertheless, even there, it contains vast depos- 
itories of wealth, which more than compensate for the defi- 
ciency. The country is extremely rich in minerals. Silver 
is found there at a greater elevation than any other metal ; 
it is also met with in the valleys, or bowls, in the lower 
ranges, but it generally decreases in quantity in proportion 
to its distance from the Andes. The most valuable silver 
mine is that of Huasco. Gold occurs altogether in alluvial 
formations, and most, if not all, the rivers, wash down this 
valuable mineral. Lead and iron are abundant, but are not 
much sought after. Zinc, antimony, manganese, arsenic, 
tin, alum, salt, nitre, and sulphur, so pure as not to require 
refining, are plentiful. Coal mines, which improve as they 
are worked, have been opened near Concep9ion, and already 
form a principal article of trade and consumption at Valpa- 

* This is not the chica, or intoxicating beer, found among the aborigines of 
Chili and Peru. That was produced by fermenting maize or Indian corn, pre- 
pared in a most disgusting manner, according to the account given in Acosta's 
Natural History of the Indies, and Frezier's voyages to the South sea, and the 
western coast of South America. the saliva of the females being used for barm 
in producing the fermentation. The Abb6 Molina says it was customary with 
the aborigines, when burying their dead, to deposit an earthen jar filled with 
chica in the mound, with the deceased, to subsist him on his journey to the other 

106 MINING SYSTEM. ^1839 

raiso. From 1790 to 1830, gold to the value of two million, 
seven hundred thousand pounds sterling, and about half that 
amount of silver, were produced in Chili. In 1833, the gold 
coinage at the mint in Santiago amounted to three hundred 
ninety-two thousand, five hundred dollars, and the silver to 
ninety-two thousand dollars. 

But the copper mines in Coquimbo, at Jajuel, near San 
Felipe, and other localities, constitute the chief sources of 
national wealth. The mineral is extracted in different forms, 
as native copper, orange oxide of copper, carbonate of cop- 
per, and copper pyrites associated with some muriate of cop- 
per. In a few mines, masses of native copper, of extraordi- 
nary magnitude have been found. In 1834, nearly 42,860 quin- 
tals of copper and copper ore, were exported from Coquimbo 
alone ; the total value of the product in all Chili, in the same 
year, was 75,000 hundred weight. The annual exportation 
of copper is now worth upwards of two millions of dollars. 

Every facility and encouragement in the search for mines, 
is afforded by the government. The discoverer may work a 
mine in any ground by paying five shillings sterling ; and 
before paying this, he may try, even in the garden of another 
man, for the space of twenty days. At the copper mines, the 
laborers undergo the severest hardships for a trifling remun- 
eration ; one pound, sterling, a month, together with food, 
being the usual compensation. In winter and summer, they 
begin work at early dawn, and leave off at dark. But little 
time is allowed for meals. The food furnished to the miners 
consists of sixteen figs and two small loaves of bread for 
breakfast, boiled beans for dinner, and broken roasted wheat 
grain for supper. Once a week, very rarely, but never oftener, 
they are provided with the hard dried beef of the country, 
called charqui. 

There are two classes of laborers, the barretej'os, or min- 
ers, who work the lode, and the apircs^ who carry the ore 
upon their backs to the surface. The latter perform the most 
difficult and laborious part of the work. According to a gen- 
eral regulation, the apire is not allowed to halt for breath, 


except the mine is six hundred feet deep. With a lighted 
candle in a cloven stick grasped in his hand, and over two 
hundred pounds of ore on his back, twelve times in the day, 
where the mine is not over eighty yards deep, the apire climbs 
the notched trees placed in a zig-zag line up the shaft, and 
during the intervals is employed in breaking and picking 
ore. Yet, notwithstanding this great tax upon his physical 
powers, he appears healthy and cheerful. On reaching the 
surface with his carpdcho he is nearly overcome, and the 
perspiration rolls down in streams ; but after depositing his 
burden on the pile of ores, a few seconds serve to revive him, 
and he again descends the mine at a quick pace, and with a 
light step. 

Two principal persons the proprietor -, and the habilitador 
-are usually concerned in a mine. The proprietor is the 
actual miner ; he resides at his hacienda near the mine, the 
working of which he superintends, and supplies his laborers 
with vegetables and meat from his farm. The habilitador 
is the capitalist, who resides at one of the seaport towns, and 
manages the financial affairs of the partnership. The melt- 
ing-house is generally built on the hacienda, and where the 
mine is distant, the ore is brought from it on the backs of 

(9.) The Porpoise sailed from Valparaiso for Callao on the 
26th of May, and the remainder of the squadron got under 
way on the 6th of June. The Peacock and Flying Fish 
came to anchor in the harbor of Callao, under the island of 
San Lorenzo, on the 18th of June, and the Vincennes joined 
them on the 20th. 


(1.) San Lorenzo. Callao. (2.) Lima. Public Buildings and Private Resi- 
dences. Its Inhabitants. (3.) Other Principal Towns in Peru. (4.) History 
of Peru. Civil Dissensions. (5.) The Peruvians. Traits and Characteris- 
tics. Mode of Building. Vehicles for Travelling and Carrying Burdens. 
(6.) Topography. Mineral Wealth. (7.) Climate. Agricultural Products. 
(8.) Commerce and Manufactures. (9.) Birds and Animals. (10.) Sailing 
of the Exploring Squadron. 

(1.) SAN LORENZO is a small, long-shaped, barren island, 
which protects the southwest side of the bay of Callao. It 
is about fifteen miles in circumference, and is intersected, 
throughout its whole length, by a ridge of sharp crested hills, 
the highest of which are nearly thirteen hundred feet above 
the level of the sea. Few or no signs of vegetation are to be 
seen. Seals and sea-otters inhabit the steep rocks on the 
southern side of the island, and flocks of water-fowl make 
their nests on the desolate shore. On the south, San Lorenzo 
is separated by a narrow strait, from a small rocky island 
called El Fronton, and between it and the coast of the main- 
land, is an extensive shallow two miles wide, termed the 
Camotal. Two centuries ago, the Camotal was dry land, 
upon which large quantities of camotes (sweet potatoes) were 
raised, but was completely inundated, either in the great 
earthquake of 1687, or in that of 1630. The geological ap- 
pearances presented on the island and along the main coast 
indicate a gradual rising of the land since its submersion, 
but sufficient facts have not yet been ascertained, to estab- 
lish any reliable or satisfactory data. The only object of 
attraction which San Lorenzo contains, is the burying- ground 
of foreign seamen who are not of the Catholic faith. The 
graves are covered with white stones, and a white board, 

1839.] HARBOR OF CALLAO. 109 

placed at the head of each, contains the name of the person 
interred beneath, and, in many instances, poetic inscriptions, 
commemorative, alike, of his virtues, and of the friendship of 
his surviving comrades.* 

The bay of Callao is one of the largest and calmest on the 
western coast of South America. The roadstead is decidedly 
the best in Peru ; there being good anchorage in from seven 
to ten fathoms. In former times, a raft or float, called the 
balsa^ formed of two long skin bags, blown up like bladders, 
and covered with a light platform, was used to load and un- 
load vessels ; afterwards a rude pier was constructed, behind 
which vessels of heavy burden could discharge or receive car- 
goes, in perfect security from the breakers ; and, more re- 
cently, a fine mole has been erected, surrounded by an iron 
railing. The beach is flat, and for the most part shingly ; 
about the mouths of the Rimac and the Rio de Chillon, two 
small rivers that debouch into the bay, it is somewhat marshy. 
The harbor is, or rather was, well fortified. Two massive 
fortresses built in low situations, extending far out into the 
sea, once commanded the harbor and its entrances, and the 
plain between Callao and Lima.t The northern fortress con- 
sists of two castles, the largest of which the Spaniards named 

* Some of these inscriptions are as quaint as those on the tomb-stones in the 
old English churchyards. One of the wooden monuments, erected to the memory 
of Thomas Hedrick, a lad belonging to the U. S. ship of the line North Carolina, 
has the following : 

" In vain had youth its flight impeded, 
And hope its passage had delayed ; 
Death's mandate all has superseded, 
The latest order Tom obeyed." 

Another, reared above the remains of one of H. B. M. Royal Marines, says: 

" I 'm here at rest from busy scenes ; 
I once belonged to the Royal Marines ; 
I 'm now confined within these borders, 
Remaining here for further orders." 

f The principal fortress is now used for custom-house purposes, and tide- 
waiters and messengers, utterly guiltless of everything like cleanliness, occupy 
the places once honored by the presence of the brave Rodil and his gallant 
brethren in arms. 


Real Felipe, but since the Revolution it has been called El 
Castillo de la Independencia ; it has two round towers, 
wide, but not high, spacious courtyards, and a deep ditch 
which can be filled with water from the sea. The southern 
fortification is called El Castillo del Sol. Before the War of 
Independence, the two together mounted four hundred pieces 
of cannon, many of them of very large calibre ; but they are 
now dismantled and decayed ; the armaments have disap- 
peared ; the cross and shield of Castile and Leon no longer 
float above their ruins, and the gale6ns which once poured 
an unbroken tide of wealth into the coffers of old Spain have 
forever vanished. Gloomy witnesses are these relics of the 
past, of ancient Castilian pride, and power, and wealth of 
modern lethargy and retrogradation ! 

Callao is comparatively of modern origin. The ancient 
town bearing the same name stood a little nearer the ocean, 
and was completely destroyed and submerged by the dread- 
ful earthquake of 1746 ; it contained, at that time, four 
thousand inhabitants, barely two hundred of whom escaped. 
It has often been said that the old town could be seen beneath 
the waves, on a calm day and with a clear sky; and Captain 
Wilkes seems to have adopted this opinion, probably without 
a very careful examination, in his Narrative of the Exploring 
Expedition.* Dr. Von Tschudit and other intelligent travel- 
lers have repeatedly examined the Mar brava the spot de- 
signated as the locality of the ruins but without discovering 
the least trace of these chateaux en Espagne. The story is, 
doubtless, all a mere fiction, originating like many another 
marvel, which, though equally unfounded, has not been with- 
out believers. 

Modern Callao is situated on the north side of a projecting 
tongue of land. It contains about five thousand inhabitants, 
and begins to wear the appearance of a populous town ; yet 
it is damp and dirty in the winter, dry and dusty in the sum- 
mer, and excessively filthy at all seasons of the year. The 

* Vol. I. p. 235. f Travels in Peru, (Wiley and Putnam's edition.) p. 33. 


principal street, parallel with the beach, is paved in a misera- 
ble manner ; the others, with the exception of that leading 
to Lima, are mean, narrow lanes. The houses are slightly 
built, and are usually one story high ; the walls are con- 
structed of adobes, or of reeds plastered over with loam or 
red clay ; the azoteas, or flat roofs, consist of a framework 
of reeds with straw mats laid upon them. In order to ensure 
privacy, the windows are generally in the roof; they are mere 
trap-doors, with wooden gratings, closed by shutters on the 
inside. The houses are all whitewashed outside and in, and 
most of them are furnished with clumsy verandas and flag- 

Very little attention is paid anywhere to comfort and clean- 
liness. Heaps of offal and rubbish are suffered to accumulate 
in the streets, around which the dogs and buzzards congre- 
gate in droves. Unshorn and unwashed padres jostle each 
other on the trottoir. Groups of lazy, idle soldiers, consist- 
ing of Indians, negroes, and mulattoes, all attired like raga- 
muffins, may be seen collected about every dirty and mis- 
erable cafe / while their officers, in popinjay costume, saunter 
along the mole, or lounge at the Custom-house. Fowls and 
hogs are free commoners in door and out. The orange-women, 
who sit all day long in front of their houses, beside the rich 
and luscious fruit that tempts the passer-by, when not en- 
gaged with their chaffering customers, are busily occupied in 
hunting for vermin on their own persons ; and the fine ladies 
over the way, who thrum their guitars, or exhibit their finery 
on the paseOj in the after part of the day, would scarcely be 
recognized in their slatternly costume in the morning. 

Callao derives most, if not all, its importance, from its ex- 
cellent harbor, and its proximity to Lima, from which it is 
about six miles distant ; and should the country ever be freed 
from the misrule of military demagogues, it may yet become 
one of the most populous and important seaports on the 
Pacific. A broad, and what was formerly a well. paved road, 
runs, nearly in a straight line, from the Castle of Independence 
to the Callao Gate of Lima, Omnibuses built in Newark, 

112 LIMA. [1839. 

New Jersey, ply regularly between the city ana the port. 
For more than half the distance, the road is flanked on either 
hand by sandy and uncultivated fields, or low brushwood ; 
but about one mile from the capital commences the Alameda 
del Callao, through which the road passes, a charming 
promenade, provided with beautiful shade trees, and stone 
seats for the weary foot-passenger, and bordered with beauti- 
ful gardens and luxuriant fruit trees. Less than half a mile 
from the castle is the small village of Bella Vista ; beyond 
this are the ruins of an ancient Indian town ; and midway 
between the harbor and the city are the convent of la Virgcn 
del Carmen, a chapel, and a Tambo. The Tambo is an inn, 
and, were it among us, would probably be styled " The Half- 
way-House." Among the Peruvians, however, it is called 
La Legua The League which conveys the same idea, as 
the house is a Spanish league distant from either town. 

(2.) Lima is built in an amphitheatre formed by the spurs 
jutting out from the great chain of the Andes, near the eastern 
side of a broad plain which slopes gradually down to the 
Pacific, and is elevated nearly five hundred feet above the 
level of the sea. It lies on both banks of the river Rimac, 
from which the modern name of the city was derived by a 
corrupt pronunciation. The larger part of the town the 
city proper -is on the southern bank of the river, and is con- 
nected with its suburb of San Lazaro, or the fifth section, on 
the opposite shore, by an excellent stone bridge of six arches, 
furnished with recesses and seats, and forming a delightful 
and favorite promenade. The city is about two miles long 
from east to west from the Gate of Maravillas to the Mon- 
serrate and a mile and a quarter broad. The plain on 
which it stands slopes from the east to the west. Like other 
Spanish towns in South America, it is laid out with great 
regularity, in quadras, or squares of houses, the sides of 
which average from 140 to 145 varas* The streets, gen- 
erally about thirty-four feet wide, intersect each other at 

* Each vara is about thirty-three inches English measure. 

1839.] THE PLAZA MAYOR. 113 

right angles, and, in the older and principal part of the city, 
run from south-east to north-west, so that the walls of the 
houses cast a shade both in the morning and afternoon. At 
noon, there can be no shade, as the city is situated in lati- 
tude 12 south. 

Through the centre of most of the streets in Lima, there 
runs a stream of water, three feet wide, which is the recepta- 
cle of all the garbage, refuse and filth, thrown from the pri- 
vate dwellings ; yet, as there are buzzards and dogs, without 
number, to perform the part of scavengers, the nuisance is 
not so intolerable as it would otherwise be. The streets 
generally are paved with round pebbles, and the sidewalks 
are flagged ; but the latter are almost always in bad repair. 

Ever since the foundation of the Peruvian capital, by 
Francisco Pizarro and his fellow adventurers,* it has been 
celebrated for the beauty, richness, and splendor, of its public 
edifices ; and, in this respect, it has long maintained a posi- 
tion, second only to the proud city reared above the ruins of 
" the Venice of the Aztecs." In passing through the Peri- 
phery, or outer circle of the town, the stranger is not favora- 
bly impressed by the groups of old houses, whose dirty and 
dilapidated walls seem ready to topple down at the first blast 
of the tempest ; but on entering the Plaza Mayor, in the cen- 
tre of the business part of the city, his eye rests with delight 

* Historical records differ widely, in regard to the year in which Lima was 
founded; some asserting it to be 1534, and others 1535. Garcilaso of Cuzco, 
Herrera, Montalvo, and Ulloa, adopt the latter date ; and Mr. Prescott, in his 
Conquest of Peru, (vol. II, p. 24,) does the same, on the authority of Quintan a, 
and Bernabe Cobo. Dr. Von Tschudi, however, (Travels in Peru, p. 42, nota,) 
says the city was founded in 1534. According to Captain Wilkes, also, (Nar- 
rative, vol. I, p. 242,) the title of the book in the city hall of Lima containing the 
signatures of the viceroys, fixes the date of the organization of the municipality 
at 1534. There has likewise been considerable dispute in regard to the day of 
the month; but it is now generally acknowledged to have been the 6th of Jan- 
uary, (the day of the Epiphany,) as the original name of the city was Ciuddd 
de los Reyes, (City of the Kings ;) and in Germany, and other countries on the 
European Continent, the day of the Epiphany was called " the festival of the 
three holy Kings." At the time of the foundation, it will be recollected, Charles 
V, emperor of Germany, was also King of Spain. 


on the lofty spires, the swelling domes, and splendid fa9ades, 
rising everywhere around him, and he then begins really to 
appreciate the fact, that he is treading on " the silver soil of 

The great square forms a quadrangle, each side of which 
is 510 feet long. It is unpaved, but the ground is covered 
with fine sand. From each of the four corners run two 
handsome streets, at right angles to one another. In the 
centre of the Plaza, is a massive bronze fountain, of three 
basins, forty feet high, and raised on a level table of masonry 
forty feet on each side. From the middle basin rises a pil- 
lar, surmounted by a figure of Fame, represented in the 
attitude of spouting the water from her trumpet. In the 
other basins, the water is thrown from the mouths of four 
lions. The pillar and figures were cast in 1650, by the 
order of the then reigning viceroy, Count de Salvatierra. 

On the north side of the square, is the government palace, 
a mean unsightly structure, formerly the residence of the 
viceroys, but now appropriated to the courts of justice, and 
other government offices. It is a square building, and the 
front facing the Plaza is disfigured by a long range of shops, 
called La Rivera, above which is a balcony. On the west 
side of the square, are the Cabildo, or senate-house, and the 
city jail ; and on the south there is a range of private dwell- 
ings, with balconies looking upon the Plaza. The cathe- 
dral and the archbishop's palace occupy the east side of the 
square. The latter has a fine fa9ade, but the former is, by 
far, the most imposing edifice in Lima. The foundation 
stone of the cathedral was laid by Pizarro on the 18th of 
January, 1534: ninety years elapsed, however, before its 
completion, and it was finally consecrated, with great pomp 
and ceremony, on the 19th of October, 1625. The remains 
of its founder were deposited beneath its walls. 

This edifice has a front of 186 feet, and is 320 deep. At 
either corner, in front, there is an octagonal tower, 200 feet 
high, resting on a base elevated 40 feet above the ground. 
The multitudinous ornaments profusely scattered in and 

1839.] THE CATHEDRAL. 115 

about the building, detract very much from the effect that 
so large a structure would naturally produce ; yet they indi- 
cate the vastness of the means at the command of its projec- 
tors. Says Caldcleugh, in his Travels in South America:* 
" The riches which have been lavished at various times upon 
the interior of this edifice, are scarcely to be credited any- 
where but in a city which once paved a street with ingots of 
silver to do honor to a new viceroy. The balustrades sur- 
rounding the great altar, and the pipes of the organ, were of 
silver. It may be mentioned, as a proof of the abundance 
of silver ornaments, that in 1821, one and a half ton of silver 
was taken from the churches in Lima without being missed, 
to meet the exigencies of the state." The columns, or pillars, 
forming the balustrade, are of Ionic form, twelve feet high 
and one and a half thick. Above the altar is a massive sil- 
ver gilt crown. The tabernacle is seven feet and a half high, 
and composed of wrought gold, set with a profusion of dia- 
monds and emeralds. On either side of the altar there are 
tall silver candelabra, each weighing over seven hundred 
pounds. The seats and pulpit in the choir are exquisitely 
carved. The interior of the cathedral is divided into three 
naves, and it is paved with large tiles. The roof is richly 
pannelled and carved, and rests on arches springing from a 
double row of square stone pillars. On high festival days, 
the priests wear robes and ornaments embroidered in gold, 
and set with precious stones, to correspond with the magnifi- 
cent decorations of the altar at which they minister. 

Besides the cathedral, there are upwards of fifty other 
churches and convents, which cover full one fourth of the 
area of the city. Conspicuous among the former, are those 
of San Lazaro, San Francisco, and Santo Domingo the last 
two belonging to convents of the same name. San Lazaro 
boasts of a tasteful exterior, and its interior is rich, but ex- 
ceedingly chaste. The Franciscan convent is the largest 
monastic establishment in the city. It stands near the Plaza 
Mayor, and covers, including all its buildings, two entire 
* Vol. II, p. 56. 


quadras. Its church, next in size to the cathedral, is deco- 
rated with great splendor. The convent of Santo Domingo 
is probably the wealthiest in Peru. its yearly revenue, de- 
rived mostly from the ground-rents of houses in Lima, exceed- 
ing seventy thousand dollars. The steeple of the church of 
Santo Domingo is the loftiest in the city ; it is 188 feet high, 
and is distinctly visible at the distance of three leagues. The. 
interior of the church is gorgeously adorned, and its grand 
altar is almost as splendid as that of the cathedral. 

There are sixteen nunneries in Lima, the largest of which 
is the Monasterio de la Concep9ion : it has an annual revenue 
of upwards of one hundred thousand dollars, but is more 
celebrated for its wealth, than for the piety or vestal perfect- 
ness of its inmates. There are several establishments, how- 
ever, in which the conventual rules are rigidly observed. 

In addition to the convents and nunneries, there are beate- 
rios, which pious women who desire to lead a cloistered life 
without taking the veil may enter and quit at pleasure ; and 
also, cdsas de exercicio, into which females retire during Lent, 
to perform acts of penance. For the other sex, there are 
cells in the convent of Recoleto. 

Lima also possesses eleven public hospitals and two found- 
ling .asylums. The two largest hospitals, San Andres and 
Santa Ana, contain nearly four hundred beds each. At- 
tached to San Andres is a botanic garden, and adjoining it is 
the medical college of San Fernando, established in 1809. 

The second large square in the city is the public market- 
place. Before the war of Independence it was known as the 
Plaza de la Inquisition; it is now called the Plazuela de 
la Independencia. On this square are the Palace of the In- 
quisition, now occupied as a jail and a store-house for provi- 
sions, and the University. The latter was founded under a 
decree of Charles V, dated in 1551. The exterior of the 
building is by no means imposing, but it has a spacious 
quadrangular court, entered by a lofty door, along the sides 
of which are pillared corridors. On the walls of the corri- 
dors there are allegorical paintings in fresco, representing the 

1839.] UNIVERSITY. 117 

different branches of science, underneath which are inscribed 
apposite quotations from classical authors. The lecture rooms 
open into the corridors ; and in the left angle of the court are 
great double doors opening into the Aula, or principal hall. 
On the walls of the Aula are hung portraits of distinguished 
scholars. The university is partly supported by congress, 
and partly by the produce of an annual bull-bait ! There 
are only between thirty and fifty students, and most of the 
professorships are mere sinecures. Besides the university, 
there are several colleges in the city, one of which (San Car- 
los) has about one hundred students. There are also good 
Lancasterian, Latin, and primary schools, and a number of 
private ones conducted by Europeans. Notwithstanding the 
many causes, growing out of the social and political condi- 
tion of the country, which have a tendency to check or hinder 
intellectual improvement, the cause of education is slowly, 
perhaps, yet steadily progressing. 

In the vicinity of the square of Independence is the Mint, 
at which from two to two and a half millions of dollars are 
annually coined. Near the convent of San Pedro, the ancient 
Colegio maxiino of the Jesuits, is the National Library, 
founded in 1821, one of the first fruits of the Revolution. It 
contains not far from thirty thousand volumes, embracing 
many valuable theological and historical works, and is open 
to the public daily, Sundays and Fridays excepted. In the 
left wing of the library building is the national museum, still 
in its infancy. 

Lima likewise boasts of a theatre, more notorious for the 
myriads of fleas that infest it, than for the skill and talent 
displayed in its performances ; a coliseo de gallos, or cock- 
pit ; a tennis-court ; and an amphitheatre, Plaza firme del 
Acho, in the suburb of San Lazaro, where bull-fights are 

With the exception of the suburb of San Lazaro, and a 
part of the north side of the city proper, Lima is surrounded 
by a brick wall, between eighteen and twenty feet high, from 
ten to twelve feet thick at the base, and nine feet at the top 


It was originally built in 1585, and repaired in 1807 ; but it 
is now in a state of complete dilapidation, and furnishes an- 
other sad commentary on the history of Spanish colonization. 
Similar mementos of past magnificence, of the faded splen- 
dor of the viceroy alty, arrest the attention full often in the 
streets of Lima. To the philosopher and historian, these de- 
caying memorials of a by-gone age furnish matter for serious 
thought and reflection. 

Nearly a hundred years elapsed, after Pizarro and his com- 
panions unfurled the victorious bander a of Castile and Leon, 
over the ancient palaces of the Incas of Peru, before the Pil- 
grim Founders of the Colony of Massachusetts landed on the 
rock-bound coast of Accomack.* The former found a land 
blushing in loveliness and beauty, possessing a genial tem- 
perature, yielding with scanty labor an abundant product of 
luscious fruits and valuable grains, and abounding in silver, 
and gold, and precious stones ; countless galeons, freighted 
with the treasures which they poured into the coffers of the 
mother country, soon crossed the sea, and seemed to fore- 
shadow a long and prosperous career for those who should 
come after them. The latter, fleeing from the tyranny and 
persecution of kingcraft ard priestcraft, were welcomed to a 
bleak and inhospitable clime, by the howling of the wintry 
wind and the shrill war- whoop of the murderous savage. 
Centuries have passed away : indolence and effeminacy on 
the one hand, have ended in corruption and anarchy; and 
industry and enterprise on the other, have terminated in hap- 
piness and prosperity. The descendants of the Puritans have 
not only preserved their patrimonial inheritance unimpaired ; 
they have beautified and improved it to an unexampled de- 
gree ; they have carried the arts and institutions of their 
forefathers from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The offspring 
of the Spanish colonists already begin to experience the evils 
springing from wealth too easily acquired ; enervated by lux- 
ury and licentiousness, though still clinging with superstitious 

* Accomack was the ancient Indian name of Plymouth. 


veneration to the shrines of their ancestors, they lack the 
spirit to preserve them from the ravages of premature decay ; 
their peculiar traits and characteristics as a people are fast 
disappearing ; their trade is in the hands of foreign merchants ; 
and their government, nominally a republic, is, in fact, the 
worst kind of oligarchy. 

Formerly, the city wall of Lima had nine gates. But six 
of these are now open, the remainder having been walled up. 
At -each of the gates is stationed a custom-house guard, 
mainly to prevent the introduction of unstamped silver. The 
wall was also designed for a fortification, and was once put 
in a condition to be mounted with artillery. It is now en- 
tirely valueless in this respect, and the only work of defence 
really worthy the name, is the pretty little castle of Santa 
Catalina, at the eastern side of the city, between the gates 
of Cocharcas and Guadclupe, and about two hundred yards 
from the wall. The castle is flanked by two bastions, and 
its internal arrangements exhibit more of cleanliness and 
regularity than are usually met with. 

Few of the private houses in Lima are more than one 
story high, and those exceeding that have the upper walls of 
cane, or wattled reeds, plastered over with clay, and white- 
washed or painted. The lower walls are usually built of 
adobes. The better class of dwellings correspond with one 
another in the style of building. The fronts are mostly quite 
plain, but occasionally a house may be seen with a finely 
ornamented facade. There are two doors in front : one called 
the azaguan, forming the principal entrance, and the other 
leading to the cochera, or coach-house. Above the door to the 
cocker a, or on the side of the main door, there is often a small 
chamber, with a window, closed by a wooden railing, looking 
towards the street. At this window the ladies of the family 
frequently place themselves, to see and be seen, and if young 
and pretty, to be admired, even if they do not admire in their 
turn. Entering the azaguan, you find yourself in a broad 
court, called the patio, on either side of which there are small 
rooms Faring the azaguan is the main dwelling-house, 


usually surrounded by a balcony. Two large folding doors 
lead into the sdla, or hall, which is generally carpeted with 
straw matting, and furnished with a sofa, a hammock, and 
several chairs. From the hall a glazed door opens into the 
cuddro, or drawing room ; among the wealthier classes this 
room is always elegantly furnished. Adjoining the cuddro, 
are the sleeping rooms, the dining room, and nursery. AD 
these apartments communicate with the traspdtio, an inner 
court yard laid out as a garden, the walls of which are taste- 
fully adorned with decorative paintings in fresco, some illus- 
trating scenes from scripture, others the festival of the Aman- 
caes, and others representing various subjects, according to 
the taste of the painter or the fancy of his employer. Beyond 
the traspdtio is the kitchen and stable, the latter often noth 
ing more than a mere yard, or corral. 

The roofs are uniformly flat. The best houses have a large 
terrace, called the azotea, over the sdla and cuddro, which is 
paved with free stone, or thin baked bricks, and surrounded 
by a railing. The azotea serves as a play-ground for the 
children, is ornamented with flower pots, and covered with 
an awning to shade it from the sun. Where there is an 
upper story, the roof is composed of mats and bamboos, cov- 
ered over with mortar or a light layer of earth. As in Cal- 
lao, the windows of some of the rooms are in the roof. The 
other windows, generally few in number, are on each side of 
the house-door; they are ornamented with casings of carved 
work, in stone or wood, and often have richly gilt lattices. 

It was once the custom in Lima to bury the dead in graves 
dug within the churches, but the heat of the climate forbade 
the continuance of this custom, and early in the present cen- 
tury, a general cemetery, styed the Pant eon, was established 
outside the walls, on the eastern side of the city, on the high 
road leading to the Sierra de Tarma. It is a square inclos- 
ure, neatly laid out in walks and gardens. The surrounding 
walls are filled with niches for the reception of corpses. Bur- 
ials are not permitted to take place after noon. The bodies 
of the rich are deposited in coffins, but those of the poor are 


provided with winding sheets only. Unslacked lime is ap- 
plied to the remains to accelerate their decay, and to prevent 
contaminating the atmosphere with noxious gases. 

Various estimates have been formed in regard to the popu- 
lation of Lima. The wide difference in the accounts that 
have been published, may, probably, be attributed to the re- 
markable fluctuations that have taken place since the Revo- 
lution. The most reliable statement in regard to the number 
of inhabitants may be found in the tax register drawn up in 
1836, under the protectorate of Santa Cruz, in which it is 
said to be a little over fifty-four thousand. It is very evi- 
dent, however, that the population has diminished, rather 
than increased, during the last forty years. In 1810 there 
were said to be nearly ninety thousand inhabitants in the 
city, and about seventy thousand in 1826. No one familiar 
with the history of the country, or the scenes which have 
transpired there, need wonder at this. Earthquakes and 
epidemic diseases have swept away their thousands ; many 
more have fallen victims to the social and political anarchy 
which have prevailed, to the bloody war of Independence, 
and the sanguinary tumults that have since disturbed the 
peace of the country.; and numbers of families belonging to 
the ancien regime have either voluntarily expatriated them- 
selves, or been included in some compulsory decree of ban- 

The present population of the city is made up of white 
Creoles, the descendants of foreigners, principally Spaniards ; 
Indians, descended from the ancient Peruvians ; and people 
of color, consisting of the offspring of whites and Indians, 
called Mestizos, of whites and Mulattoes, called Cuarterons, 
of Indians and Negroes, called Chinos, and of Negroes 
and Mulattoes, or Mestizos, called Zambos. To these are to 
be added about five thousand slaves, mostly Zambos, and not 
far from one thousand ecclesiastics, lay and monastic. 

(3.) Among the other principal towns in Peru, are Cuzco, 
the ancient capital of the Incas, Arequipa, Cerro di Pasco, 
Guamanga, Huacho, Huancavelica, and Truxillo, or Tru- 


122 cuzco. [1839, 

jillo. Cuzco is about four hundred miles from Lima, in a 
southeasterly direction. It is situated in an extensive valley, 
at the foot of some lofty spurs of the Andes, nearly twelve 
thousand feet above the level of the ocean. Its population is 
about twenty-five thousand, and consists mostly of Indians. 
They are exceedingly industrious, and are celebrated for 
their skill in embroidery, painting and sculpture. Cuzco is 
famed for its magnificent ruins, particularly those of the 
Temple of the Sun, and for its splendid religious edifices. 
The cathedral church and convent of St. Augustine are said 
to be the finest in South America. The Dominican convent 
is also an imposing structure, and is raised on walls that 
originally formed part of the Temple of the Sun ; the high 
altar, according to Ulloa, standing on the very spot occupied 
by the golden image of the Peruvian deity. There are six 
other convents in the city, five churches, three monasteries, 
four hospitals, a university, and three collegiate schools. 
Most of the private dwellings were either constructed before 
the conquest of the city by Pizarro, in 1554, or have been 
built of the stones that once formed part of the edifices of the 
ancient Peruvians. On a hill north of the town, are the ruins 
of a large fortress, principally constructed of the angular Cy- 
clopean stones so frequently found among the ruins of Eastern 
cities. A great part of the town was destroyed, during the 
siege shortly after it was taken possession of by Pizarro, but 
there is still left much to interest the scholar and antiqua- 

Arequipa has a population of thirty thousand souls. It 
lies at the foot of Mount Ornate, on the road leading from 
Lima to the south, thirty miles east of the Pacific, and two 
hundred miles southwest from Cuzco. It was founded by 
order of Pizarro, in 1536. The houses are strongly and neatly 
built, though, on account of the prevalence of earthquakes, 
but one story in height. A cathedral, a fine bronze fountain 
in the Plaza Mayor, a college, and several convents, are the 
only objects of particular attraction in the city. Its foreign 
trade is carried on through its port, Mollendo. Though this 

1839.] CERRO DI PASCO. 123 

town is elevated upwards of seven thousand feet above the 
level of the sea, its environs are highly cultivated and remark- 
ably fertile. Beautiful groves and gardens dot the landscape ; 
hedges and fruit trees, trimmed en espalier, are occasionally 
to be seen ; and the shrubs and flowers exhibit a luxuriance 
of foliage, and a gorgeous brilliancy of color, not surpassed in 
any other locality in Peru. 

For more than two centuries, Cerro di Pasco has been 
famed throughout the world for its rich silver mines. It con- 
tains, at times, when the mines yield abundantly, some eighteen 
thousand inhabitants, and at others not more than five or six 
thousand. It is situated in an irregular basin-shaped hollow 
in the table land of Bombon, on the mountain chain of Ola- 
chin, and is 13,673 feet above the level of the sea. At a dis- 
tance, the town presents quite a picturesque appearance, but 
a nearer approach dissolves the illusion. The streets are 
filthy, and mere narrow and crooked lanes. Some few of the 
dwellings are European in style, and well-built ; yet in close 
proximity to them are clusters of miserable adobe huts and 
hovels, covered with thatch, but nearly destitute of chimneys 
and windows. The town is so burrowed under, by the nu- 
merous adits leading to the main lodes, some of which are 
almost fathomless and usually half full of water, that a ram- 
ble through it, even in broad daylight, is attended with no 
little danger. 

Two hundred and ten miles southeast of Lima, on the 
road to Cuzco, is Guamanga, formerly called San Juan de 
la Victoria, or de la Frontera. It was founded by Pizarro, 
and stands in the middle of an extensive and beautiful plain. 
The houses are constructed with neatness and taste, mainly 
of stone, and have pretty orchards and gardens attached to 
them. It has several large squares, and the streets are spa- 
cious and convenient. The population is said to be fifteen 
thousand. There is a cathedral in the city, and several other 
churches and convents. The climate is very fine, and the 
situation is regarded as being quite healthy. Huacho is a 
small village, containing some five thousand inhabitants, 


which, since the war of Independence, has been dignified 
with the title of city. It is situated on the coast north of 
Lima. Four fifths of the population are Indians, and the 
remainder mestizos. The natives employ their time in fish- 
ing, agriculture, and the rearing of poultry. Every Friday, 
large caravans of Indian women, mounted on mules, start 
for Lima, with fowls, ducks, and turkeys. Two bunches of 
fowls, consisting of from fifteen to twenty each, are attached 
by every chola to the pommel of her saddle, one hanging 
down on either side. About two days and a half are re- 
quired to perform the journey, and the poor creatures are 
kept all the while in this position, except when the caravan 
is halted. 

Huancavelica lies about midway between Lima and Gua- 
manga. Its population is estimated at about twelve thou- 
sand. This town has long been celebrated for its rich quick- 
silver mines ; they have been worked for almost three hun- 
dred years, and are still highly productive. Truxillo is the 
principal town in North Peru, and contains not far from ten 
thousand inhabitants. It lies on the coast, and was named 
after the birth place of the conqueror of Peru, Francisco 

(4.) The handful of Spaniards, commanded by Pizarro 
and Almagro, entered Peru in 1532. Availing themselves 
of the dissensions among the Indian tribes then occupying 
the country, as Hernando Cortes and his warriors had already 
done in ancient Azteca, they at first formed an alliance with 
Atahualpa, or Atabalipa, the reigning Inca, and afterwards 
deprived him of his liberty and pat him to death. This deed 
of cruelty having been perpetrated, the whole country was 
rapidly overrun and reduced to submission. It was after- 
wards formed into a viceroyalty, and continued subject to the 
dominion of Spain until the year 1821. The inhabitants 
were long firm in their loyalty, and the royalists were event- 
ually put down, only by a strong Chilian army under San 
Martin, in cooperation with the Peruvian patriots. The inde- 
pendence of Peru was proclaimed at Lima, on the 28th of 


July, 1821, under the auspices of San Martin, who was de- 
clared protector of the new republic and invested with dicta- 
torial power. 

In 1823, San Martin retired, and Riva-Aguero was pro- 
claimed president. At the same time, General Jose La 
Mar was placed at the head of the Peruvian division of the 
great liberating army under General Bolivar. The Spaniards 
and royalists had now rallied, and the patriot garrison of Cal- 
lao hoisted Spanish colors, in February, 1824. Aided by 
General Bolivar, then president of Bolivia, and clothed 
with supreme military power in Peru, under the title of Li- 
bertador, and a strong Colombian force under General Sucre, 
the republicans firmly maintained their ground. Meanwhile. 
Riva-Aguero had been driven from the presidency by Boli- 
var, and a new constitution formed on the model of that of 
the United States had been adopted, which was not to take 
effect, however, till the expiration of his dictatorship. 

After sustaining a number of reverses, the patriots were 
finally victorious over their enemies, who were defeated by 
Bolivar at Junin, on the 6th of August, 1824, and by Gen- 
erals Sucre and La Mar, on the 9th of December following, 
at Ayacucho. This secured the independence of Peru, al- 
though the Spaniards, under General Rodil, remained in 
possession of the fortress at Callao till the 22d of January, 
1826, when they were forced, by famine, to surrender. Dur- 
ing the whole struggle for liberty, the country was in a most 
wretched condition. Civil war, at all times dreadful, had 
little here to mitigate its horrors. Life and property were 
insecure ; murders and assassinations were of frequent occur- 
rence ; and the most glaring outrages were committed with 
impunity. Reckless cruelty was exhibited, alike by the gen- 
eral in the field, and the statesman in the cabinet ; and the 
prevailing looseness in private morals was only equalled by 
the licentiousness openly exhibited in public life. No change 
for the better took place while Bolivar maintained his author- 
ity as dictator. 

In January, 1827, the Peruvians revolted, and freed them- 


selves from the presence of the dictator and his armed legions. 
The constitution established by Bolivar was now abrogated, 
and that of 1823 restored ; and General La Mar, a man 
not more pure and honest in private life, than just and blame- 
less in his public career, was then elevated to the presidency 
by the Peruvian Congress. La Mar remained at the head 
of affairs till June, 1829, when he was deposed by General 
La Fuente, in consequence, as was alleged, of the imbecility 
displayed by the former at the battle of Tarqui,in the month 
of February previous, at which the Peruvians had been de- 
feated by the Colombians under General Sucre. But, in 
fact, La Mar was too pure-minded to hold the reins of gov 
vernment, in a country where military success was the only 
passport to public favor, and among a people so easily duped 
by the demagogues who readily pandered to their vices and 
ministered to their corrupt tastes and depraved appetites. 
The deposition was, really, the result of a conspiracy be- 
tween General Gamarra, through whose treachery or coward- 
ice the battle of Tarqui was lost, General La Fuente, and 
General Santa Cruz, then the President of Bolivia. The 
conspirators were completely successful in obtaining the con- 
trol of the government. In August, 1829, Gamarra was 
elected President, and La Fuente Vice President, of Peru. 

Gamarra remained in office, though much dissatisfaction 
was evinced in regard to the mode in which he administered 
the government, till 1833, when he resigned, shortly before 
the expiration of his constitutional term of service. It was 
evidently his intention to establish a strong central govern- 
ment and place himself at its head; but his friend and minion, 
Bermudez, whom he supported for the presidency as his suc- 
cessor, being himself ineligible for a second consecutive term, 
was defeated by General Orbejoso. The latter, owing to the 
distracted state of the country, called in the assistance of 
Santa Cruz, who was made Supreme Protector of Peru. He 
divided the country into two separate republics, North and 
South Peru, but they were ultimately reunited. The war 
with Chili ensued; Gamarra was again restored to powe~ 


at the point of the bayonet, and in 1839 Santa Cruz was 
driven into Bolivia. Peru was then involved in a war with 
Bolivia, which was at length brought to a close, through the 
mediation of Chili, by the treaty of Puno, concluded on the 
7th of June, 1842. Since that date one military chieftain 
after another has gained the ascendency, and assumed to di- 
rect the government. At this time General Castilla exercises 
the functions of the presidential office.* He belongs to the 
centralists, but the plan of government they propose to adopt, 
if honestly and justly administered, is probably the best cal- 
culated to secure the internal peace and tranquillity of the 
country, at least while so great a laxity of morals prevails in 
public and private life, and the masses seem so unwilling, or 
so unable, to comprehend the great principles of self-govern- 

(5.) Different estimates have been made, and different ac- 
counts published, in regard to the population of Peru. It 
cannot vary far from 1,700,000. Full three fourths of the 
inhabitants are Indians, or of Indian extraction, and the re- 
mainder are white Creoles and Negroes. The white Creoles 
are of moderate stature, yet well-formed, and slender in figure. 
Their complexions are almost colorless, but usually quite fair ; 
their hair and eyes are black; and their features strongly 
marked. The men are as feeble in mind as in person ; they 
look prematurely old ; they are effeminate, irascible, incapa- 
ble of long-continued physical or mental exertion, and as im- 
patient of contradiction as a Milesian. Though not entirely 
destitute of frankness, yet they know how to dissemble. They 
are just the men for demagogues to excite and inflame ; just 
the men for emeutes and conspiracies. Smoking, gaming, 
and cock-fighting, are the chief occupations of their lives, yet, 
withal, are they singularly abstinent in the use of intoxioat- 

* President Castilla is by no means firmly seated in power. Several conspir- 
acies have recently been formed, through the instrumentality of Generals San 
Roman and Torrico, both prominent federalists, and noted revolutionists, to over- 
turn the existing state of affairs. One project was set on foot as late as the month 
of February, 1849, but the conspirators were arrested before they had time to 
mature their plans. 


ing drinks. The wealthy devote their whole time to idleness 
and amusement, and the poor, who are- compelled to earn 
their own livelihood, pursue some light handicraft, which will 
afford them plenty of leisure for gossip and recreation. 

But what Nature has denied to the men, she has bestowed, 
with a liberal hand, upon the Creole women. In the streets 
of Lima, at almost every hour of the day, you may discover 
rich and rare specimens of female loveliness and beauty. The 
fair Limena can boast of a complexion of velvety softness 
white and clear as the purest Parian marble, and beneath 
whose polished surface the delicate tracery of each vein and 
artery is distinctly visible. Eye-brows exquisitely pencilled, 
and long silken lashes, shade a pair of orbs dark as the moon- 
less night, that charm and fascinate, alike when kindling 
in anger, or glowing with the fire of an unworthy passion, as 
when beaming with the blessed light of an honest and holy 
love. Masses of luxuriant hair, black as the plumage of the 
raven, fall in long wavy plaits down the finely arched neck, 
and over the nicely rounded bust and shoulders. Teeth of 
pearly whiteness, a form of small but elegant proportions, and 
a neatly turned foot and ankle, complete the picture, and 
form a tout ensemble not often seen in other climes, and, 
when once seen, not easily forgotten. 

To these personal attractions miist be added, a captivating 
deportment, ease and grace of manners, amiability of temper, 
and, generally speaking, a far greater degree of intelligence 
than is found in the other sex. The glowing breath of the 
tropics, indeed, has given to every passion and emotion, a 
depth and intensity not common in colder countries, and if 
the Peruvian seftorita hates, the feeling is not idly manifested ; 
but if she loves, it is with an unselfish abandon, a generous 
and trustful confidence, and a whole-souled devotion, that 
would startle the prudishness of northern dames and belles. 
One knowing anything of the national character, would not 
be apt to fancy that the Creole women were notable house- 
keepers. In fact, almost everything is left to the domestics, 
particularly in Lima ; and but little attention is paid to clean- 

1839.] PERUVIAN LADIES. 129 

liness, in private dwellings, except in the sdla and cuddro, 
the more public apartments. More regard for personal neat- 
ness, however, is exhibited. The Limena cleans her teeth 
several times a day, with the razz de dientes (root for the 
teeth) ; considerable time is spent at the toilet ; and perfum- 
ery is lavishly used. The climate naturally produces indo- 
lence ; and, while at home, she is fond of reclining on a sofa, 
or swinging in a hammock, and, at the same time, enjoying a 
plate of sweetmeats, or smoking a cigar. Visiting, promen- 
ading, the theatre, the ball, and the concert, occupy the rest 
of her time. When she has passed the prime of life, and 
her beauty begins to fade, the missal takes the place of 
the mirror, and she devotes herself to works of piety and 

Travellers in Spain have often remarked upon the fondness 
of the people for scriptural names. This custom is carried 
to a greater extent even, in Peru, than in the mother coun- 
try. Marias, Conceptions, Asunpions, Natividads, and 
Josefas, are quite common. A girl born on Candlemas-day 
is called Candeldria. If a child's birth day is the first day 
of the year, it is called Jesus, or Jesusito, if a male, and 
Jcsusita if a female. A married woman does not assume 
the surname of her husband, except as an addition to her 
own family name ; as for instance, if Dona Maria Dolores 
Castilla should marry Don Lafuente, she would style herself 
Dona Maria Dolores Castilla de Lafuente. 

Little more can be said of the mixed races, than that they 
resemble similar classes the world over. The bad qualities 
of their progenitors are more frequently copied than their 
good qualities ; their vices are pretty sure to be inherited, but 
their virtues generally prove a lapsed legacy. In the remote 
districts, descendants of the ancient Indian tribes may occa- 
sionally be found, who preserve unimpaired the nobler and 
better traits and characteristics of their ancestors, bui it is 
oftener the case that they exhibit the demoralization and cor- 
ruption consequent on their intercourse with the whites. 
The mestizos constitute the most active and enterprising 

130 THE MIXED RACES. [1839 

part of the population, but the zambos are lazy, sensual, and 

The divers shades of blood, and the peculiar and distinct 
characteristics, found among the different races composing 
the population of Peru, have tended in a great measure to 
produce the disaffection and turbulence which have so long 
prevailed in the country. For many years, it has been every- 
where known as 

" The field of freedom, faction, fame, and blood ;" 

and it will, doubtless, continue to remain so, till the prejudice 
of birth and caste is done away. Something has been already 
gained in this respect, and we have much to hope for, so far 
as regards the future, in the prevailing religion. The Cathol- 
icism of Rome is a sad leveller of distinctions, out of the pale 
of the church ; and its worship teaches nowhere more forci- 
bly than in Peru the important truth, that there is a power 
before which the hereditary taskmaster and the hereditary 
bondsman are alike equal.* In Lima, when the great bell 
of the cathedral announces the raising of the host, during the 
performance of high mass, business and conversation of all 
kinds are suspended ; every sound is hushed ; the humble tire- 
woman uncovers her head, and kneels beside the proud senora 
whom she serves and the old decrepit beggar utters the 
same prayer with the haughty cavalier who bears a prince's 
ransom on his shoulders. A similar effect is witnessed, at 
evening, as the church bells sound for the orapion; and 
when the prayers are ended, each one makes the sign of the 
cross, and salutes his nearest neighbor, whether he be slave 
or freeman, rich or poor, with the kindly greeting, " Buenas 
noches !"t 

Until quite recently, the prevailing style of dress in Peru 
was Spanish, blended, in the interior, and among the lower 

* The charter of Independence says that " no man is born a slave in Peru -," 
but the National Congress have, practically, legislated to the contrary. Theta 
are between four and five thousand negro slaves in Lima alone. 

f Good night ! 

1839.] STYLE OF DRESS. 131 

classes throughout the country, with an occasional imitation 
of Indian costume ; but latterly, according to Lieutenant 
Revere, " English tailors have transmogrified the men, and 
French milliners have played the deuce with the women."* 
The cholo still adheres to his poncho, and his embroidered 
jerkin, or zamdrra; the Indian woman does not lay aside 
her gay-colored bay eta ; the mestizo continues to display his 
vest and breeches of shining velvet, decked with bright fili- 
gree buttons ; but the prevailing fashions, among the upper 
classes, are French and English, and these are fast extend- 
ing to every rank and condition. 

At Lima and Truxillo, a singular dress, peculiar to those 
two cities, is worn by the ladies, at church, in religious pro- 
cessions, in their promenades, and sometimes during a morn- 
ing call ; but it is never seen in a ball room or theatre. This 
dress consists of the Sdya y Mdnto, literally, a petticoat 
and veil. There are two kinds of sdyas the sdya ajustdda, 
and the sdya culepa, or sdya desplegdda. The former is a 
skirt, or petticoat, of thick silk, either of a brown or some 
other dark color, which is plaited at the top and bottom, in 
small fluted folds, drawn close together at the waist, but 
widening as they descend. It fits tightly to the form, and 
nothing could be better devised to display the symmetry of 
the wearer's limbs, unless it were complete male attire. It, 
of course, prevents any rapid movement in walking, though 
it does not reach quite as low as the ankle, the inventor, 
probably, not caring entirely to hide the tasteful chaussure. 
This garment, however, is rapidly going out of date, few 
really modest females making use of it, and the sdya desple- 
gdda is taking its place. The latter is plaited close at the 
waist, but from thence downwards, it presents the appear- 
ance of a hooped petticoat. 

The mdnto is a veil of thick black silk, fastened at the 
back of the waist, where it joins the sdya, by a narrow band. 
It is thonce brought over the shoulders and head, and drawn 
over the face, so as to leave a small triangular space, in 

* Tour of Duty in California, p. 11. 


which glistens the eye of the wearer, like a diamond set in 
jets. Sometimes a rich shawl is thrown over the shoulders, 
beneath the mdnto. The folds of the veil are confined by a 
small hand, always neatly gloved ; in the other hand is car- 
ried a richly embroidered handkerchief, or a pretty nosegay. 

Those who wear this strange costume are called tapddas. 
Its original design, it is said, was to secure privacy and pre- 
vent intrusion ; but, of late, it has been sadly perverted, and 
is now a convenient shield and cover for the demirep and 
intrigant. Many are the tales related, in the gay capital of 
Peru, of jealous lovers and husbands outwitted, and of frail 
friars, and frailer nuns, forgetting the solemn vows which 
they had taken, and soiling forever the vestal purity and per- 
fectness of their high calling. 

All classes in Peru are passionately fond of amusements 
of every kind, of dancing, theatrical performances, and musi- 
cal entertainments. Religious processions may likewise be 
classed in the same category, as many seem to regard them 
in that light. The festivals of Corpus Christi, Santo Do- 
mingo, and San Francisco, are celebrated, in the cities, with 
great pomp and ceremony ; and from the highest to the low- 
est, the brilliant pageant is enjoyed with unusual zest. On 
St. John's day, (24th of June,) a grand festival is held by the 
lower classes in Lima and not, as Captain Wilkes, perhaps 
hastily, conjectured, by the population generally* in the 
valley, or plain, of Amancaes, which is about half a mile 
northwest of the city, and derives its name from a beautiful 
yellow lily, whose blossoms are liberally sprinkled over its 
surface at the time of the fete. It is merely a drunken bout, 
however ; drinking, gaming, gormandism, and dancing the 
obscene samacueca, constituting the principal attractions of 
this Peruvian Floralia. 

As has heretofore been stated, the white Creole in Peru, is 
not much addicted to the use of intoxicating drinks. When 
he takes wine, it is usually some sweet and light kind, and 
is partaken of sparingly. But the mixed races, and the peo- 

* Narrative of the Exploring Expedition, Vol. I, p. 244. 


pie generally in the interior of the country, are not so abstem- 
ious as those who reside in the cities and along the coast. 
The mestizo loves his aguardiente, and the cholo his chica. 
Smoking is an almost universal practice among all classes 
and sexes. Among the other stimulants made use of, is 
coca. This is a shrub extensively cultivated in the moun- 
tainous districts of Peru, the leaves of which, when dried, 
are mixed with burnt lime. It forms a powerful stimulating 
narcotic, which is used as a masticatory. Like opium, it 
brings on an apathy to surrounding objects, but its effects are 
more pernicious, and a confirmed coca-chewer, or coquero, is 
with difficulty reclaimed.^ 

The private habitations of the Peruvians, in the interior, 
resemble those in Chili. Those of the better class are built 
of adobes, one story high, with thatched roofs ; but the In- 
dians, and the poorer inhabitants, live in miserable hovels 
constructed of cane and mud, which are dirty and filthy in 
the extreme. In the northern part of the country, among 
the sandy lomas, or hills, which are so common in that sec- 
tion, houses may often be seen that are erected on posts, from 
eight to ten feet high, in order to render them cool and airy, 
and to protect the occupants from the sand-flies. The ma- 
terial used in their construction is a species of reed, and the 
roofs are thatched with leaves. 

Mules and llamas are the principal carriers of burdens in 
Peru, and travelling is performed, either on horseback, or, 
where the roads will admit, in antique coaches of Spanish 
patterns, or in the calesa, a small chaise. Since the intro- 
duction of steam navigation, there have been steamers to 
accommodate those persons wishing to go from one port on 
the coast to another. In Lima, omnibuses have become quite 
common, and they have almost superseded the other modes 
of riding in the city, and between it and Callao. 

(6.) Two great mountain chains, running parallel with 
each other and the coast, intersect Peru, and divide it into 

* The annual value of the coca prepared in Peru and Bolivia, is estimated at 
two and a half millions of dollars. 

134 TOPOGRAPHY. [1839 

three regions These two ranges are called the Cordillera 
and the Andeb. Strictly speaking, the Cordillera is the chain 
nearest the coast, and the Andes the eastern chain ; but the 
terms are now used indiscriminately. The strip between the 
coast and the first chain, is from sixty to seventy miles wide ; 
some portions of it are covered with dry, barren sand ; others 
are less arid ; and, here and there, are small oases, like that 
in which Lima is built, which are exceedingly fertile. The 
space inclosed between the two mountain ridges, is called 
the Sierra. This tract is partly occupied by the cross ranges 
intersecting the two principal chains, and by huge naked 
rocks ; partly by wide-spread table lands, known as the Puna, 
or Despoblddo, which are mostly uninhabited, and scantily 
covered with sickly looking yellow grass, stunted quinuti 
trees, and large patches of the Ratanhia shrub ; and partly 
by expansive valleys, which make a suitable return for the 
labor of the husbandman.* But little is known of the third 
region, along the base of the eastern mountain chain, although 
the old inhabitants chiefly dwelt there, and obtained from the 
mines the metal which they manufactured into the curious 
forms and shapes that aroused the cupidity of Pizarro and his 

The Peruvian coast is rugged and lofty, throughout its 
whole extent, except in the northern provinces, where some 
miles of a loose sandy desert occasionally intervene between 
the high lands and the Pacific. There are but few secure har- 
bors in the whole sixteen hundred miles of sea coast. Those 
of Callab, Payta, Sechura, Salina, Pisco, Islay, and Iquiqua, 
are esteemed the best. At Truxillo and Lambaqeque, there 
are mere open roadsteads, which, in rough weather, are ex- 
tremely insecure. On account of the great depth of the water, 
vessels are generally obliged to anchor within a quarter of a 
mile of the shore. Where there are no moles, or piers, the 
operation of landing, usually effected by means of the balsa, 
is very dangerous, in consequence of the heavy surf occa- 

* It is veiy evident from the appearance of these valleys, that they once sus- 
tained a much larger population than they now do. 

1839.] CLIMATE. 135 

sioned by the mighty swell almost constantly rolling in upon 
the shore. 

Peru cannot boast of any great rivers. The Rimac merely 
carries off the melted snow of the mountains ; it has not suf- 
ficient force to break through the sand-bar at its mouth, and 
its waters percolate through it in the most lazy manner im- 
aginable. But the largest tributaries of the Amazon, the 
Tunguragua, the Huallaga, and the Ucayale, have their 
origin here. The Tunguragua has its source in the small 
lake, Llauricocha, lying north of Cerro di Pasco. There is 
another lake, the Titicaca, the largest and most elevated in 
South America, situated partly in Peru and partly in Bo- 
livia, which abounds in fish, but its navigation is not free 
from danger, as it is liable to sudden squalls and storms; 
and there are several smaller lakes in different parts of the 
country. The sources of the Amazon are considerable streams, 
and if the occasional obstructions were removed, they could 
be navigated for some distance, by steam-vessels of light 

In most of the provinces of Peru, the climate is said to be 
proverbially fine, but the bills of mortality indicate that this 
must be taken with some reservations and exceptions, though, 
upon the whole, it may be pronounced salubrious. There 
are two seasons during the year the wet and the dry. 
From April till October, the coast lands are covered during 
the morning, and often throughout the day, by a dense fog or 
mist, which serves to moisten the ground, instead of the rain 
which nature has denied to it. Towards the north the fogs 
grow lighter, and in the extreme northern province rain some- 
times falls ; and when this blessing is vouchsafed, the arendles, 
or arid sands, are soon covered with an exuberant vegetation. 
In October and November, the mists begin to rise, and, by a 
gradual transition, the dry season, which commences in De- 
cember and terminates in March, is at length introduced. 
During the summer on the coast, heavy rains, often accom- 
panied with thunder, fall among the montanas, or mountains, 
in the interior. The rivers and smaller streams now rush 

136 EARTHQUAKES. [1839 

down to the ocean swollen far beyond their customary size, 
and thus furnish abundant means for irrigation. 

Notwithstanding its proximity to the equator, the temper- 
ature in the coast region is not so high as would naturally be 
supposed. - The prevailing winds are from the southwest, and 
are very cooling. West winds are not common, but they 
sometimes blow with terrific violence, and when they break 
against the mountains, often form dangerous whirlwinds. 
The northern winds, or, rather, currents of air, for they 
can hardly be called winds, are very sultry and oppressive. 
At night, the land breezes take the place of the sea breezes 
that blow during the day. The mean temperature of the 
year in Lima is about 70, but there are villages in its im- 
mediate vicinity, subject to the same atmospherical influences, 
where it is still higher. The great humidity of the atmos- 
phere upon the coast gives rise to severe fevers, and the 
change from the damp to the dry season frequently produces 
violent attacks of dysentery. Colics, bilious and inflamma- 
tory diseases, and small -pox, are also very common. 

The most agreeable climate in Peru is probably to be found 
in the extensive elevated valleys, between the Cordillera and 
Andes, and the paramos, or ranges connecting the two great 
ridges. The valley of Cuzco has long been admired for its 
fine climate, though it is ten thousand feet above the level 
of the sea. Earthquakes are of frequent occurrence in the 
country, and have repeatedly been attended with the most 
disastrous consequences. The entire town of Callao, and the 
greater part of Lima, were destroyed by an earthquake, in 
1746. Shocks are felt more or less powerful every year. 
Since 1746, there have been two destructive earthquakes, in 
1806 and 1828, and another is confidently predicted as being 
soon to take place, by those persons in Lima and Callao who 
are fond of relating marvels, and divining signs and wonders. 

Were Peru deprived of all beside, she would still have 
much to boast of, in the vast mineral wealth concealed be- 
neath the frowning buttresses of the Andes. For centuries 
she has poured forth an almost unbroken current of gold and 

1839.] MINING. 137 

silver, but the supply is not yet exhausted. Stories border- 
ing upon the marvellous have long been told in regard to 
these precious deposits, but though they have not, and will 
not be realized, they are not wholly fictitious."'* 

Silver has always been the principal mineral obtained in 
Peru. The most productive mines of this metal now wrought, 
are at Cerro di Pasco. These were accidentally discovered 
in 1630, by an Indian shepherd, who was tending his flocks 
on a small pampa southeast of the lake of Llauricocha. Hav- 
ing wandered one day further from his hut than usual, he 
found himself, towards evening, in the vicinity of the Cerro 
de Santiestevan. After building a fire to protect him against 
the cold, he lay down to sleep. On awaking the following 
morning, he discovered that the stone underneath his fire had 
melted and turned to silver. The discovery was immediately 
made known to his master, who forthwith commenced active 
preparations for working the mines. Since that time they 
have been constantly worked by a greater or less number of 
persons. One class of speculators has been eagerly followed 
by another class ; but few of them, however, owing to the 
want of thrift and proper management, have amassed any 
very considerable wealth. 

All the mine laborers are Indians. They consist of two 
classes, one working in the mines the year round, and re- 
ceiving regular wages from the proprietors of the mines, 
and the other making only temporary visits to Cerro di Pasco, 
when an unusual supply of the metal is procured. In the 
mines, also, the laborers are divided into two classes ; the 
barreteros, who break the ore, and the aptres, who bring 
up the ore from the shaft. From fifty to seventy-five pounds 
of metal is the usual load of the apire ; this he carries up 
the shaft in an untanned hide, called a carpdcho. When the 

* At the commencement of the present century, the annual value of the gold 
and silver produced in Peru, was upwards of six millions of dollars. It is now 
between three and four millions. But about one thirtieth part of this amount ia 
gold. Great quantities of gold and silver are smuggled out of the country, r 
the latter in the shape of pldta piiia, or native silver. 

138 MINERAL WEALTH. [1839. 

mines yield abundantly, the laborers receive a share of the 
ore instead of wages ; but at other times, the barretero is 
paid six reals per day, and the apire four. 

Mining at Cerro di Pasco, as well as at the other mines in 
Peru, is not managed with as little difficulty as in other 
countries, where improvements in science and the arts are so 
quickly employed to diminish labor and expense. One ad- 
vantage is possessed at the former place, by which a great 
saving is made : the mines are near a large coal bed which 
has recently been opened. 

Besides the mines at Cerro di Pasco, there are other rich 
mining districts in the provinces of Pataz, Huamanchuco, 
Caxamarca, and Hualgayoc. The mines of Cerro de San 
Fernando, in Hualgayoc, were discovered in 1771, and there 
are now more than fourteen hundred bocammas ; the veins 
of metal intersect each other in every direction ; they are 
easily worked, and are very productive. The mines of Huan- 
tajaya, on the coast near Iquiqua, were at one time consid- 
ered quite valuable, as they yielded, annually, about fifty-two 
thousand pounds of silver. The metal obtained was nearly 
pure, but it was soon . exhausted.* In southern Peru, there 
are some rich mines, among which are those of San Antonio 
de Esquilache, Tamayos, Picotani, Cancharani, Chupicos, 
and Salcedo. 

Gold is obtained in Tarma, from the mines of Pataz and 
Huilies, and in the washings on the banks of the upper Ama- 
zon. At Huancavelica there is one of the richest quicksilver 
mines in the world. Between 1570 and 1800, they yielded 
537,000 quintals of the metal, and the annual product is now 
estimated at 18,000 quintals. Most of it is used for the pur- 
poses of amalgamation, at the silver mines. 

Besides the precious metals, Peru produces iron, copper, 
tin, coal, and saltpetre. 

(7.) Agriculture has never been in a prosperous state in 
Peru, and it is now languishing more than ever. None of 

* Two masses of native silver were found at Huantajaya, one weighing 225 
pounds, and the other 890. 

1839.] AGRICULTURE. 139 

the inhabitants appear fond of moiling in the earth, and, in 
most cases, where the maize fields or gardens, exhibit more 
than ordinary luxuriance of vegetation, it must be attributed 
to the kindness of Nature, rather than to the industry of man. 
The implements of husbandry are rude enough. The plough 
is slightly made, has but one handle, and is constructed of 
wood, without a mould-board. The ploughshare is a thick 
iron blade, or piece of hard iron- wood, tied, when in use, to 
the point of the plough, by a strip of leather. There are no 
harrows ; but large, clumsy rakes, are used in place of them ; 
and, sometimes, a green bough with heavy stones laid upon 
it, is dragged over the sown ground, in the same manner as 
in Chili. Cane plantations are ploughed and cross-ploughed 
eight or ten times, and the earth is then broken down with 
the heel of a short handled hoe. The Indians use, for the 
same purpose, a flat round stone, with a long handle inserted 
in a hole perforated through the centre. 

Instead of the scythe, the sickle is used for cutting grass 
and grain ; and among the large planters, two or three per- 
sons are kept constantly employed in cutting lucern, or alfalfa, 
for the cattle and working oxen which are confined at night 
in pens, or corrals. Potato grounds are turned up with long 
narrow spades. The same instrument is used for preparing 
the soil on the hillsides, for the reception of maize. The seed 
is planted in holes made by a sharp-pointed stick. 

The fields and gardens in Peru are principally inclosed 
within tapias, or mud fences, and hedges of maguey and the 
Indian fig. Considerable attention is paid to irrigation, with- 
out which a great portion of the land now yielding abun- 
dantly, would be wholly unproductive. Manure, however, 
is not deemed of much consequence. Quantities of guano 
are brought every year from the adjacent islands in the Paci- 
fic, but this is applied rather to horticultural, than to general 
agricultural purposes. 

Cotton, sugar cane, maize, and camotes, or sweet potatoes, 
are the principal products along the coast. The sweet pota- 
toes are of two kinds, the yellow and the violet ; they do 

140 SUGAR AND MAIZE. [1839 

not grow beyond the height of 3500 feet above the level of 
the sea. Cotton and maize are grown in almost every part of 
the country. The former ranks next to the Sea Island and 
Egyptian, in the English market, and, except in the province 
of Piura, is all short-stapled. Maize has formed, from time 
immemorial, the chief farinaceous food of the Peruvians. 
There are three sorts of this grain : the mdis morocho has 
small bright yellow or reddish brown kernels ; the mdis ama- 
rillo is large, shaped like a heart, solid and opaque ; and the 
third species, the mdis amarillo de clianqay, resembles the 
second variety, but is a square-shaped grain, semi-transparent, 
and having an elongated head. The maize stalks are from 
eight to nine feet high and bear very large ears. 

The sugar plantations lie on the sea-coast or along the 
banks of rivers, below the altitude of 4500 feet above the sea 
level, on the western declivity of the Andes, and extending as 
high as 6000 feet on the eastern declivity. In former times, 
the Creole, or West India cane, was the species most culti- 
vated ; but, latterly, the Otaheitan cane has been introduced, 
and the product is both more abundant in quantity, and much 
better in quality. The sugar mills are very rude structures. 
In the valley of Huanuco, which contains the largest and 
finest plantations, the cane is passed through wooden presses 
with brass rollers. These clumsy machines are called trapi- 
ches or igenios ; they are mostly worked by oxen or mules ; 
though, upon the largest plantations, water power is some- 
times employed, and steam-engines have recently, in a few 
instances, been put up. A portion of the expressed cane juice 
is distilled into rum, or used for making a liquor called gud- 
rapo; the remainder is boiled down into sirup, or simmered 
till it forms cakes (chancdcas) of brown sugar. From the 
latter, loaves of white sugar are made, by purification, which 
usually weigh about two arrobas* The Peruvian sugar 
exceeds the Havana in sweetness, but its color is not so pure, 
nor is its grain as fine. 

* The arroba'm Spanish America, as in old Spain, contains twenty-five pounds 


Maize is likewise produced abundantly in the fertile moun- 
tain valleys, on the warm slopes of the Andes, and in the 
elevated Sierra. Wheat and other European cerealia are 
little cultivated, though they succeed admirably in the high 
lying sections of the country. Potatoes do not thrive very 
well near the coast, where both the climate and soil are un- 
favorable to their growth ; but on the high ridges and in the 
elevated valleys, from seven to ten thousand feet above the 
level of the sea, they constitute a profitable and productive 

A most agreeable and nutritive tuberous vegetable, called 
the aracdcha, grows in abundance on the coast. It resem- 
bles celery in flavor, and is either boiled or made into a soup. 
In favorable districts, two crops are obtained within the year. 
The yucca, or jatropha manikot, is another fine vegetable 
found almost everywhere below the elevation of 3000 feet. 
The stalks of this plant grow to the height of five or six feet, 
and are about the size of a finger. The roots, which are the 
edible parts, are from one to two feet long, and shaped like 
a turnip ; the external skin is tough, but internally they are 
pure white. In taste they resemble chestnuts. They are 
boiled in water and then laid in hot ashes, when they become 
quite mealy. Flour is prepared from them by the Indians, 
out of which the finest bread and biscuits are made. The 
yucca is propagated by cuttings from the stalk, which are 
placed obliquely in the earth. The roots are fit for use in 
five or six months. 

Nearly all the different kinds of pulse are raised on the 
coast, but beans flourish best in the hilly country. Cabbages 
and salads of every variety, tomatoes, and peppers, are pro- 
duced in all parts of Peru except in the very coldest sec- 
tions. Rice is also grown to a considerable extent. Of culi- 
nary vegetables there is a generous supply, as well in kind 
as in quality, throughout the year. The vine is cultivated 
in some quarters to great advantage ; the grapes are exceed- 
ingly well-flavored, but the wine made from them is rather 
insipid. In the southern coastwise provinces, the olive tree 


is found. Its fruit resembles that of the Spanish olive, though 
the oil is by no means as good, probably on account of the defec- 
tive manner of expressing it. . The olives are permitted to 
ripen thoroughly on the tree ; they are then gathered, sub- 
jected to a slight pressure, dried, and packed in small earthen 
jars. They are served at table with pieces of tomato and aji 
(Spanish pepper) laid upon them. Sometimes they are pre- 
served in salt water, when they remain plump and green, 
instead of becoming shrivelled and black, as in the other pro- 
cess. The castor-oil plant grows wild in Peru, and is culti- 
vated also on many plantations ; the oil, however, is not 
purified, but is used for the street lamps in Lima, and for 
greasing machinery. Another oil plant is the pinoncillo tree, 
which produces a fruit shaped like a bean, and, when roasted, 
having an agreeable flavor. 

One of the most nutritious, and one of the most important 
articles of food, in the Sierra, is the quinua, or quinoa. Its 
leaves, when green, are eaten like spinach ; but the most 
valuable parts of the plant are the seeds. These are boiled 
in milk or in broth, and are sometimes cooked with cheese 
and Spanish pepper. They are highly prized by the Peru- 
vians, and most travellers commend their agreeable flavor. 
The dried stems of the quinua are also made use of as fuel. 
Besides the potato, there are three other tuberous plants cul- 
tivated with success in the Sierra. These are the ulluco, the 
oca, and the maxima. The ulluco is much smaller than the 
potato, and varies in its form, being either round or oblong, 
straight or curved. The skin is thin and of a reddish yellow 
color ; the inside is green. When boiled, its flavor is nearly 
the same as that of the potato, yet it is much more savory 
when cooked as a piquante. In addition to the root, that 
part of the plant above the ground furnishes an agreeable 
and wholesome vegetable, something like the bean ; three 
crops of this green portion of the ulluco may be gathered in 
the same season.* 

* The ulluco has been cultivated with success in the gardens of the Luxem- 
bourg palace, and is regarded as a very good substitute for the potato. 

1839.] FRUITS. 143 

The oca is an oval-shaped root ; the outer skin is a most 
delicate red, and inside it is white. It is watery when cooked, 
but has a sweetish taste. The mashua resembles the oca in 
this respect, though it is somewhat more insipid ; it is of a 
flat pyramidal shape, however, and its lower end terminates 
in a fibrous point. 

Lucern, or alfalfa, as it is called by the natives, is the 
great article used for fodder. From the " sea-beat shore" of 
the Pacific, across the sunny slopes of the tierra caliente, up 
the luxuriant valleys and gloomy quebrddas of the interior, 
to the rocky heights of the Sierra, eleven thousand feet above 
the level of the ocean, it is scattered lavishly around. It is 
cut from three to five times during the year, and, as may 
readily be presumed, furnishes an almost inexhaustible sup- 
ply of provender. The hot weather of the coast, in Febru- 
ary and March, and the keen frosts of the mountainous dis- 
tricts, occasionally dry it up, and the maisillo is then used 
in its stead. 

The most fastidious epicure would be delighted with the 
fruits which ripen in the fine climate, and on the rich soil, of 
Peru. Besides the vine and olive, the succulent pomegran- 
ate, famed for its " pleasant sweetness," the luscious plantain, 
the grateful and nutritious banana, and the juicy guava,* 
are found here in profusion. Apples and pears grow but in- 
differently ; and cherries, plums, and chestnuts, are likewise 
as inferior as they are rare. The absence of these produc- 
tions of temperate climes is more than made up, however, by 
the extensive groves of oranges, lemons, limes, nectarines, 
and granadillas, which occupy the warm mountain valleys 
even as high as ten thousand feet above the sea. Peaches 
and apricots, too, of the finest and most agreeable flavor, are 
abundant. In the months of April and May, excursions to 
the durazndles, or apricot-gardens, are all the rage. Melons 

* The fruit of the guava is yellow and smooth, and ft little larger than a hen's 
egg. The pulp is flesh colored, and has a very agreeable aromatic taste. It is 
used at the dessert and made into a preserve. The jelly prepared from it is one 
of the finest conserves. 


of every variety are raised on the coast, and in the woody 

Of figs there are two kinds, the higos and the brevets. 
The pulp of the former is red, and that of the latter white. 
Fig-trees grow wild in every section of the country. No one 
thinks of drying the fruit, as the almost perpetual summer 
furnishes a constant succession of figs. The mulberry tree 
also flourishes without cultivation, but its fruit is so little 
esteemed in comparison with others more tempting to the 
appetite, that the birds are left to enjoy it with impunity.. 
Quinces are rare on the coast, but are plentiful in the que- 
brddas. Among the other fruits are the patta, resembling 
the pear in shape, which dissolves like butter on the tongue, 
and has a not unpleasant bitter taste ; the tuna, the product 
of different varieties of cactus, which is almost the only indi- 
genous fruit in the Sierra ; the pacay, a white, soft and flaky 
substance, contained in the seed pods of the prosopis dulcis, 
which is extremely sweet ; the lucuma, a dry, fibrous, yel- 
low-colored fruit, inclosed with its kernel in a gray-brown 
husk ; the pepino, or Peruvian cucumber, a fruit produced 
by a small plant grown in the fields, the pulp of which is 
solid, juicy, and highly-flavored; and the mani, or earth 
almond, an oily kernel contained in a shrivelled husk, which 
is roasted and crushed, and then eaten with sugar. 

Pine-apples are not much cultivated on the coast. They 
were formerly brought to Lima, in considerable abundance, 
from the Montana de Vitoc; but since the era of steam navi- 
gation on the Pacific coast, they have been brought, in much 
less time, from Guayaquil, and, consequently, they are gen- 
erally allowed to ripen before being cut. Cocoa palms are 
tolerably abundant in the northern provinces, and the date 
palm grows excellently well about Yea at the south. 

But the just pride and boast of the Peruvian, is the chiri- 
moya ; beyond, question excelling all other tropical fruits in 
the delicacy of its flavor. The tree which produces this rich 
fruit is from fifteen to twenty feet high, and has a broad flat 
top. Its foliage is of a pale green color. In Lima and its 

1839.J PERUVIAN BARK. 145 

vicinity, the fruit is small, being scarcely larger than an 
orange ; but in Huanuco and other districts, where it is in- 
digenous, it attains to the greatest perfection, and often 
weighs sixteen pounds and upwards. It is of a roundish 
pyramidal or heart-shaped form, and unites with the stem at 
its broadest base. Externally it is green, and is covered with 
scaly knobs, and black marks resembling network. When 
it becomes perfectly ripe, black spots appear on the surface. 
The skin is thick and tough, but, underneath this, there is a 
juicy, snowy-white fruit, containing a number of seeds, which 
is prized above all other delicacies by those who have once 
tasted it. Both the fruit and the flowers emit a fine fragrant 
odor that fairly intoxicates the senses. 

Cedar, ebony, mahogany, and walnut, are the most valua- 
ble forest trees. Numerous medicinal plants are obtained in 
the country, and the bark of the cinchona lancifolia, so well 
known under the name of Peruvian bark, forms an important 
article of export. The various species of cinchona grow spon- 
taneously in the forests of Peru. The tree resembles the 
cherry in appearance, and bears large clusters of red flowers. 
Its medical properties were discovered by the natives, and 
brought into use by the Jesuits, for which reason it was 
originally called Jesuits' bark. It takes its botanical name 
from the Countess del Chincon, the wife of a Spanish vice- 
roy, who was cured by it. The natives collect the bark from 
May till November. The trees are felled close to the roots, 
and then cut up. After the sticks have dried three or four 
days, the bark is peeled off in broad strips, which are imme- 
diately exposed to the heat of the sun. This causes them to 
roll up in a cylindrical form, the folds or coils being some- 
times so close that there is no cavity in the centre. The 
value of the bark depends mainly on the rapidity with which 
it is dried. The drying process being completed, it is packed 
in bales, each containing four or five arrobas, and exported 
in chests carefully inclosed in skins.* 

* It is comparatively but a few years since the French chemists, Messrs. Pel- 
letier and Caventou,made the discovery, that the medical properties of Peruvian 


146 BALSAM OP PERU. [1839, 

Balsam of Peru is an important product, chiefly valued for 
the benzoic acid it contains, and also employed as a perfume. 
It is extracted from the myroxylon permferum, sometimes 
by incision, and sometimes by evaporating the decoction of 
the bark and branches of the tree. The first kind is very 
rare, and is exported in cocoa husks, from whence it is called 
balsam en coque ; it is of a brown color, of the consistence of 
thick turpentine, and has an agreeable smell, but an acrid and 
bitter taste. The second kind is called the black balsam, and 
is quite common. It is of a deep reddish brown color, and 
is much more acrid and bitter, and has a stronger smell, than 
the other sort. The balsam of Peru always commands a 
high price, and is, therefore, frequently adulterated. 

A species of red thorn apple, (the datura sanguined] is 
found in the Sierra, from which a powerful narcotic drink, 
called tonga, is prepared by the Peruvian Indians. It pro- 
duces a heavy stupor, during the continuance of which the 
natives who make use of it fancy they can hold communica- 
tion with the spirits of their forefathers, and obtain from them 
a clew to the rich treasures said to be concealed in their 
graves, or hudcas. From this superstitious belief, the thorn- 
apple has obtained the name of hudca-cachu, or grave-plant, 
among the Indians. 

In the Puna there are large patches of ground covered with 
the ratanhia shrub (krameria triandria.) This is used by 
the Indians for fuel, and for roofing their huts. It is also a 
favorite remedy among them, for spitting blood and dysen- 
tery. The extract was formerly prepared in Peru, and ex- 
ported in large quantities to Europe, but latterly very little 
has been shipped. 

Warmed by a tropical sun, and blessed with a genial cli- 
mate, Peru exhibits a most magnificent flora during the 
greater part of the year. Blossoms and flowers constantly 

bark depended upon the presence of the valuable alkaloid known in pharmacy 
as quinine. It is said that the use of 90,000 ounces of the sulphate of quinine 
produced in France in a single year, obviated the necessity of swalbwing at 
least 10,000,000 ounces of the bark. 

1839.] COMB1ERCE. 147 

alternate with each other. The great and mysterious agents 
of decay and reproduction are incessantly at work. If, at 
one moment, Nature seems to sicken and die, at the next, 
borrowing, as it were, renewed beauty, life and loveliness, 
from death itself, she springs forth again, like the Phenix 
from its funeral pyre. The fertile oases of the coast country 
are liberally sprinkled with tropical flowers, not more rich in 
color than agreeable in fragrance ; and even in the Sierra, 
amidst rushes, and mosses, and syngenesia, may be seen the 
purple gentian, the brown calceolaria, the echino and ananas 
cactus. The different varieties of cacti can scarcely be 
enumerated ; their Protean shapes and divers hues excite the 
wonder and admiration of the traveller ; and in many in- 
stances, where the vegetation is otherwise scant and sickly, 
they clothe the landscape in rare and beautiful apparel- 

(8.) Peru not only carries on her own commerce through 
her seaports, but she is the great entrepot of the adjacent 
state of Bolivia.* The total value of Peruvian and Bolivian 
produce shipped through the ports of Peru, in 1837, amounted 
to near seven and a half millions of dollars. The principal 
articles of export were bark, bullion and copper ore, hides, 
seal skins, and vicuna, alpaca, and sheeps' wool. The im- 
ports for the same period were also about seven and a half 
millions. Two thirds of the imports, and rather more than 
that proportion of the exports, belong to Peru alone. For 
the past ten years the foreign commerce has increased but 
slowly, and in some years has sensibly declined. Great Bri- 
tain enjoys by far the better part of the Peruvian trade ; the 
United States, in 1847, exported goods only to the amount 
of $227,537, and imported from Peru $396,223. 

Internal commerce languishes under the numerous disad- 
vantages which have long obstructed its successful prosecu- 
tion. In the days of the Incas, anterior to the Spanish con- 
quest, there were several great roads traversing the country, 

* Iloliva has but one small seaport, ihat of Cobija, or La Mar. 

148 MANUFACTURES. [1839 

which, aside from the bridges constructed of osiers, would 
compare favorably with the vias of ancient Rome, that 

" Time, and Goth, and Turk, have spared." 

In addition to these important and extensive thoroughfares, 
the remains of which, grand and imposing though in ruins, 
are still visible, various passes were cut in the steep para- 
mos, or mountain ridges, of the Andes. But the deplorable 
effects of the same want of spirit and energy, that, elsewhere 
in Peru, have suffered her morning splendor to be prematurely 
dimmed and overshadowed, may be witnessed here. The 
roads built by the rude and unlettered aborigines have fallen 
to decay under the auspices of their European masters ; and 
the passes excavated with so much labor and care, have dis- 
appeared beneath the debris washed down from the Cordil- 
leras. With a few exceptions in the neighborhood of the 
large cities, the roads laid out by the Spaniards are mere 
bridle tracks for horses or mules, and the gulleys and streams 
that cannot be crossed or forded, are passed by means of hang- 
ing bridges, in nine cases out of ten a very unsafe mode of 
transportation. Quite recently, laudable efforts have been 
made for the improvement of the roads, but the want of suit- 
able means of communication constitutes the chief drawback 
on internal commerce, and is a great obstacle in the way of 
social and commercial progress. 

But little can be said in commendation of the manufactur- 
ing industry of a country whose pedigree dates back so many 
hundred years. Lima can boast only of her mint, some 
smelting houses, and a glass house lately established. At 
Cuzco, cotton, linen, and woolen stuffs, and leather and 
parchment, are manufactured, in which considerable trade is 
carried on with the neighboring provinces. There are flour- 
ishing manufactures of woolens and cottons, and gold and 
silver cloths, at Arequipa ; and at Guamanga is made the 
fine filigree silver work for which inland Peru is celebrated. 
Coarse straw hats, and mats called petdtes, are manufactured 
at Huacho, and brought into Lima for sale. In Piura, cord- 

1839.] BIRDS. 149 

age for packing is prepared from the maguey, and at Tar ma, 
luose cloaks, or ponchos, are made, of great beauty and firm- 
ness. In the Sierra, coarser and heavier blankets and pon- 
chos are manufactured by the Indians. In the lower districts, 
goat skins are made into cordovans ; cow hides into saddle- 
bags, and travelling cases for beds and bedding ; and rushes 
into mats and carpets. 

(9.) The bay of Callao abounds with the finest water-fowl. 
Humboldt's penguin, and the common gray penguin, are the 
most remarkable. There is another small species, called by 
the Peruvians the paxdro nino, or child-bird ; it is easily 
tamed, and follows its master like a dog, waddling along 
after him on its short legs and balancing itself with its wings. 
Among the other marine birds, are the banded cormorant; the 
iris, which changes throughout the whole circle in regular 
square spots of the most delicate white and sea-green ; and 
the spotted gannet, and the inca tern. 

Of the land birds, the turkey, or red-headed vulture, is, 
perhaps, the most commonly seen on the coast, and in the 
interior the black gallinazo takes its place. There are some 
beautiful gold-feathered colibri in the country. A small bird 
about the size of the starling, of a deep blue color, and with 
a short curved bill, is called the horse-protector ; it is ex- 
tremely fond of perching on the back of the horse or ass and 
catching the flies and insects a kind of amusement which 
both the animal and bird enjoy with equal zest. The 
principal singing birds are the crowned fly-king, the red- 
bellied picho, the black chivillo, and the cuculi ; the picho 
and chivillo are of the starling species, and the cuculi is a 

The most extravagant notions once prevailed respecting 
the size and strength of the condor, the king of Peruvian 
birds. A full grown condor measures from twelve to thirteen 
feet, from the tip of one wing to that of the other, and about 
five feet from the point of its beak to the extremity of its 
tail. It feeds chiefly on carrion. When hungry it is some- 
times extremely fierce, and will seize and carry off lambs 

150 WILD ANIMALS. [1839 

and the young of the llama and vicuna. It is unable, how- 
ever, to sustain a greater weight, when flying, than eight or 
ten pounds, and it is absurd to suppose, as has been frequently 
stated, that sheep and calves could be carried off by it. The 
Indians of the Sierra relate numerous instances of its attack- 
ing children, but their stories must be received with a great 
deal of allowance. The plumage of the condor is strong and 
thick, and forms a very good protection against fire-arms. 
It is usually caught by the natives, in traps or by the lasso ; 
or killed by the bolas, or by stones thrown from slings. 

Among the wild animals are the puma, or American lion, 
the ounce, a kind of tiger cat called the uturuncu, the tapir, 
and the hucumari, a black bear that inhabits the mountains. 
The anas, or skunk, and a singular kind of guinea pig. are 
found in the bushes. The red deer, the wild boar, and the 
tarush) or Puna stag, are the favorite objects of the chase. 
Armadillos, rock rabbits, chinchillos, and the venddo, a spe- 
cies of roe, are also caught in large quantities by the hunters. 
Of the amphibia, the iguana, the land agama, and the fresh 
water tortoise, are the most numerous. Alligators infest the 
streams, but noxious reptiles and insects, though occasionally 
found, are not as frequently met with as in many other coun- 
tries. Monkeys are abundant in the forests. 

Of far greater importance than the other native animals of 
Peru, are the llama, or South American camel, the alpaca, 
the guanaco, and the vicuna. Both the llama and alpaca 
are domesticated, and previously to the Spanish invasion 
they were the principal beasts of burden among the Peru- 
vians. The young llama is left with its dam for about a 
year, after which it is removed and placed with flocks. When 
four years old, the males and females are separated ; the lat- 
ter being kept for breeding, and the former trained to carry 
burdens, principally in the silver mines of North Peru. They 
are usually made to carry about one hundred pounds each, 
as they are only capable of sustaining one hundred and twenty- 
five without injury, and if overloaded they will lie down, 
and utterly refuse to rise again till some part of the load is 

1839.] LLAMA AND ALPACA. 151 

removed. These animals will rapidly and safely ascend, or 
descend, the steep mountain sides, where the ass, or mule, 
cannot maintain its footing. They cannot well travel more 
than three or four leagues during the day, as they will not 
graze at night. The Indian drivers, or arrwros, are very 
fond of them, and often attach bows of ribbons to their ears, 
and hang bells round their necks. The llama is not used for 
riding or draught ; the Indian lads sometimes mount them, 
but this is very rare. The price of one of these animals, 
when full-grown, is from three to four dollars ; but in Cuzco 
and Ayacucho, where they most abound, they may be pur- 
chased in flocks for one and a half or two dollars per head. 
The flesh of the llama is spongy and of a disagreeable flavor. 
Its wool is used for making coarse cloths. 

The alpaca, or paco, whose wool enters into so many fabrics 
now commonly worn, is smaller than the llama, and but lit- 
tle larger than the common sheep, which it resembles in form. 
Its neck is longer than that of the sheep, and its head is much 
better proportioned. The fleece is from four to five inches 
long, and is beautifully soft. Its color is commonly white or 
black, but it is occasionally speckled. These animals are 
kept in flocks, in the elevated pastures, and are driven to the 
Indian huts or villages, only at shearing time. The wool is 
made into blankets and ponchos, and always commands a 
good price for exportation. They are very shy, but equally 
obstinate. It is almost impossible to separate one from the 
flock ; if the attempt is made, the alpaca will cast itself upon 
the ground, and neither punishment nor entreaty will avail 
in the least. If separated from its species when very young, 
it may be reared ; otherwise it soon dies, where it cannot 
escape to its companions. 

The guanaco is the largest of the family to which all these 
animals belong. It measures five feet from the bottom of the 
hoof to the top of the head, and resembles the llama very 
nearly in form, though its color is different, and its wool is 
shorter and coarser. Its neck, back, and thighs, are reddish- 
brown, and the under part of the body and breast, and the 


inner sides of the limbs, are of a dusky white. The face i? 
of a dark gray color, and the lips of a pure white. The 
guanacos live in herds, from five to seven in number. If 
taken young they may easily be tamed, but it is with great 
difficulty that they are trained to carry burdens. 

Still more beautiful than either of the animals of which it 
is the co-genera, is the vicuna. In size it is between the 
llama and alpaca, but it has a longer and more slender neck 
than either. The crown of its head, the upper part of the 
neck, and the back and thighs, are of a reddish-yellow color, 
possessing so peculiar a hue that it is called by the natives 
color de vicuna. The lower part of the neck, and the inner 
parts of the limbs, are of a bright ochre, and the breast and 
belly are white. While the rainy season continues, the 
vicuna inhabits the ridges of the Cordillera, but does not 
venture up the rocky acclivities, as its hoofs are soft and ten- 
der, and better adapted to turfy ground. Like the guanaco, 
it lives in herds, consisting of from six to fifteen females and 
one male ; the latter is the leader and protector of the herd, 
and is as jealous of his companions as the Grand Turk of the 
beauties in his harem. Unlike the latter, however, the female 
vicunas exhibit tho utmost fidelity and affection to their lord 
and master ; and if he be wounded, when pursued by the 
hunters, they will gather about him in a circle, uttering their 
shrill tones of lamentation, and suffer themselves to be cap- 
tured rather than desert him. This animal is principally 
caught in what the Indians call a chacu ; this consists of a 
circular inclosure surrounded by stakes connected by ropes 
or cords. The vicunas are driven into the chacu through an 
opening left for the purpose, and are prevented from leaping 
over the ropes by the fluttering of colored rags which the 
Indian women hang upon them. Thus secured, the animals 
are easily dispatched by the bdlas. 

The flesh of the vicuna is more tender and better flavored 
than that of the llama. After a hunt the meat is divided 
among those engaged in it, and the skins are always set 
apart for the church. The price of a skin is four reals 


Fine cloth and hats are made of the wool, which is soft, deli- 
cate, and curly. The vicunas can be tamed when young ; 
but when old they are intractable and malicious. 

Most of the domestic quadrupeds now used by the Peru- 
vians are descended from foreign stock. This is the case 
with the horse, the mule, the famous black cattle of the 
Sierra, the sheep and goats. The sheep were the easiest 
acclimated, and have succeeded the best. On the great-com- 
mons or pastures of the Puna, flocks may be seen containing 
many thousands, which are mostly coarse wooled. Few 
sheep are raised on the coast, and the markets of Lima and 
the seaport towns are mainly supplied with mutton from the 
interior. The fecundity of the sheep in Peru is remarkable. 
The farmer usually calculates on obtaining one hundred and 
fifty lambs from one hundred ewes, at a single yeaning. The 
ewes bear twice a year, also, generally in June and De- 

Goats are common in Peru, and the province of Piura is 
especially famous for them. Great numbers of pigs are like- 
wise fattened for the markets ; when from ten to sixteen 
months old, they sell readily at from six to nine dollars per 
head, if of a good breed. 

The cattle of Peru are, upon an average, as large as the 
generality of English, American, or Spanish breeds. The 
horses and mules are particularly fine. The former far ex- 
cel their Andalusian progenitors in grace and elegance of 
form, and in the rapidity and precision of their movements. 
The saddle horses trained for the Lima market are practiced 
in every art of the manege, and are highly esteemed by all 
competent judges. Ordinary horses and mules bring from 
forty to fifty dollars ; but the best mules raised in Piura, 
which is noted for its excellent breed, will often command 
two hundred and fifty dollars each. 

(10.) After spending about a month in making the neces- 
sary repairs, furnishing their outfits, and taking in stores, the 
Exploring Squadron completed its preparations for the pro- 
jected western cruise, on the 13th of July. At five o'clock 


in the afternoon of that day, the flag ship of the Expedition 
stood out to sea, having the whole squadron in company, 
with all canvas spread. The Relief directed her course tow- 
ards the Sandwich Islands, under orders to proceed thence 
to the United States, by way of the port of Sydney ; but the 
other vessels steered nearly due west from Callao. 


^1.) The Paumotu Group. (2.) Clermont de Tonnerre. Unsuccessful Attempts 
to Communicate with the Natives. Other Islands. (3.) Subsequent Explo- 
rations. (4.) The Lagoons. Geology. (5.) Various Theories in regard to 
the Origin of this Group. (6.) Productions. (7.) Birds and Animals. 
(8.) Population. Character. Dress. (9.) Habitations. Canoes. 

(1.) SKIRTING the Southern Oriental Ocean on the west, 
between the tenth degree of southern latitude and the Tropio 
of Capricorn, is a group of low coral islands, sixty-five in 
number, which, though comparatively little known, form one 
of the most striking features of Polynesia, " the region," as 
the name imports, " of many islands." Different navigators 
visited this group previous to the Expedition under Captain 
Wilkes ; but their observations and reconnoissances were 
directed rather for hydrographical purposes, than with a view 
of making valuable contributions to physical geography and 
ethnology. There is another reason why the information ob- 
tained in regard to these islands has been so limited ; which 
is, that the crews of whalers have repeatedly stopped here, 
and so grossly maltreated the poor and inoffensive inhabitants, 
that it is with great difficulty they can be brought to have 
the least intercourse with the whites. 

This cluster was formerly designated on maps and charts, 
as the Low Archipelago ; but it is now known as the Pau- 
motu Group, or Cloud of Islands, the term applied to it by 
the natives themselves, and by the inhabitants of the Society 

(2.) It was with considerable reluctance that the officers 
and men of the Exploring Squadron bade adieu to the glo- 
rious climate and fertile soil of Peru ; yet the prospect of 
visiting the fairy islands towards which they were fast wend- 


ing their way, soon compensated them for the absence of the 
oeautiful scenes they had witnessed, and they had not been 
out many days, ere they began anxiously to cast their eyes 
over the western waters, and to fancy they already felt the 

"gentle airs which breathed, 
Or seemed to breathe, fresh fragrance from the shore." 

On the afternoon of the 13th of August, they caught sight 
of the feathery shrubs cresting the surface of Clermont de 
Tonnerre, or Minerva Island. English navigators have given 
the latter name to this island, but the former, by which it is 
at this time more generally known, was bestowed upon it in 
1823, by Captain Duperrey, of the French navy, in honor of 
his countryman, Count Clermont de Tonnerre, who fell a vic- 
tim to his opposition to the Jacobins, in 1793. On approach- 
ing the island, the boats were lowered, and some of the officers 
and scientific corps started to reconnoitre. Though obliged 
to swim through the strong surf, they succeeded in reaching 
the shore, and obtained a number of specimens of shells, 
plants, and coral. Several natives were discovered, but could 
not be induced to approach near enough to have any conver- 
sation with them. A second attempt to hold communication 
with the islanders, which proved equally fruitless, was made 
on the 14th instant, by means of one of the crew of the Vin- 
cennes, a New Zealander by birth, who spoke the Tahitian 
language. It being evident that further efforts, even if suc- 
cessful, would most likely lead to collisions with the natives, 
the island was surveyed, by stationing the vessels at inter- 
vals around it, and measuring base lines by means of guns 
fired at each station in quick succession, and noting the lapse 
of time between the flash and the report ; and the commander 
then issued orders for the squadron to get under way. 

From Clermont de Tonnerre, the squadron proceeded to 
Serle Island, further to the west and north, which was sur- 
veyed in like manner. They then continued on their north- 
westerly course, and on the 19th of August made Hennake, 
or Honden Island. On the 23rd instant, they reached the 


Disappointment Islands, (Wytoohee and Otooho,) so named 
by Commodore Byron, who discovered them in 1765. The 
natives of these two islands appeared far more friendly than 
those seen at Clermont de Tonnerre ; yet they did not seem 
over anxious to cultivate an acquaintance with their visitors ; 
they were shy and timid, and manifested great fear lest their 
women, whom they had concealed, would be taken from them 
by violence. These islands having been surveyed, the squad- 
ron bore away for Raraka, one of the principal islands be- 
longing to the group. 

On the 29th instant, a small island, named King's Island, 
after the man at the mast-head, who first saw it, was dis- 
covered in latitude 15 42' 25" S., and longitude 144 38' 
45" W. This is a small island, being only about four or 
five miles in circumference, and averaging one mile in width. 
The highest point on the island is not over twenty feet above 
the level of the sea. Springs of fresh water were found here ; 
cocoa-nuts were abundant ; and the soil appeared to be highly 
productive. No natives were seen, but there were indications 
that the island had been recently visited by persons engaged 
in the pearl-fishery. 

Early in the morning of the 30th of August, they came 
up with Raraka Island, the inhabitants of which, though few 
in number, exhibited every feeling of kindness and friendship. 
The influence of the missionaries at the Society Islands has 
been extended hither, and a native missionary from Tahiti 
was found among them. Every opportunity was afforded to 
the commander of the American Expedition and his officers, 
to obtain the information they desired ; a few presents dis- 
tributed among the natives permanently secured their good 
will ; and a couple of sheep given to them by the purser, 
Mr. Waldron, elicited the warmest expressions of gratitude. 

Leaving Raraka towards sunset on the 31st of August, 
the squadron proceeded to Vincennes Island, called by the 
natives Kawahe, and from thence to Aratica, or Carlshoff 
Island, where they arrived in the morning of the 3rd of Sep- 
tember. Hogs and fowls were found on Aratica. There 

158 ROUTE TO TAHITI. [1839. 

were large quantities of fish seen also in the lagoon. Cocoa- 
nuts and bread-fruit likewise appeared to be abundant. A 
large supply of very good water was procured by the squad- 
ron, from a deep pool near the lagoon ; after obtaining which, 
the vessels again got under way, with the intention of mak- 
ing King George's Group, to the northeast. This being 
found to be impracticable, without great loss of time, the 
tender was dispatched to survey the group, with directions 
to follow the squadron to Tahiti. Previous to this time, on 
the 1st of September, the Porpoise had parted company with 
the other vessels ; she coasted along the south side of Ra- 
raka Island, and then proceeded to Tahiti, the appointed 
place of rendezvous, where she arrived on the 9th instant, 
having taken, in her way, the islands of Katiu, or Sacken, 
Makima, Aratica, and Nairsa. 

The Vincennes and Peacock now bore further westward, 
and on the 5th instant made the island of Manhii the Water- 
landt of Schouten and Le Maire, so named by the former of 
those navigators, in allusion to a large pool of fresh water on 
the southwest side of the island. Having surveyed this 
island, they proceeded to Ahii Island, still further to the 
west, which was found to be uninhabited. The two vessels 
then separated; the Peacock proceeding to Aratua Island, 
and thence around the southern side of Nairsa, or Dean's 
Island, the largest of the Paumotu Group, and the Vincen- 
nes steering directly for Nairsa, and then continuing her 
southerly course, by way of Metia Island, to Tahiti. 

(3.) All the islands visited by the squadron at this time 
were carefully examined and surveyed. Subsequently, in the 
winter of 1840-1, the Porpoise, in command of Lieutenant- 
Commandant Ringgold, was again dispatched to this quarter, 
from the Sandwich Islands. She visited the principal islands 
which had been missed on the former occasion ; and while 
engaged in surveying, a small party, under Lieutenant John- 
son, landed on Aratica Island with boring instruments, in 
order to ascertain, if possible, with some precision, the geo- 
logical character of this extensive group. But the rainy sea- 

L839.] THE LAGOONS. 159 

son having already come on, the soil was found to be so 
saturated with water, that very little progress could be made 
in boring, after attaining a depth of twenty feet, and the 
project was abandoned without arriving at any satisfactory 

(4.) A remarkable peculiarity of the Paumotu Group, is 
the existence of large and deep tunnel-shaped lagoons, con- 
taining salt water, in the centre of most of the islands. Some- 
times these are entirely isolated from the surrounding ocean, 
and, at others, its waves break over the broken ramparts of 
coral which appear here and there above the surface of the 
water. Such of them as have their pretty little lakes com- 
pletely insulated, present a singularly picturesque appearance 
when viewed from the mast-head of a vessel. In the centre 
is the lagoon, " deeply, beautifully blue," neither disturbed 
oy the tempest whose sullen roar is heard amidst the neigh- 
boring breakers, nor ruffled by the tossing surge rolled lazily 
in upon the shore by the soft winds of the summer ; imme- 
diately around this, is a strip of earth, in some cases but a 
few, and in others several hundred yards, in width, covered 
with a vegetation varying with the character of the island, 
and either sparse or luxuriant, according to the nature and 
depth of the soil ; and further beyond, extending to the brink 
of the ocean, is a belt of white sand glistening like silver in the 
perpendicular rays of the tropical sun. Within is the blue 
turquoise, looking up to the bright heavens reflected from its 
polished surface ; about it, is a gorgeous setting of emeralds ; 
and the latter is, in turn, encircled by a rich chasing of 

Most of the islands are of a curvilinear form, and, with the 
exception of Metia, which is a coral island uplifted, and sur- 
rounded by a bold coralline shelf, rarely exceed twenty or 
thirty feet in height. They are composed, at least near the 
surface, of corallites, conglomerates, and limestone, above 
which are coral debris, decayed vegetable matter, and guano, 
with coral blocks occasionally cropping-out. The bottoms 
and sides of the lagoons are lined with coral, and the shores, 


which are generally shelving, are likewise of the same for- 

(5.) Various theories have been advanced in relation to the 
geology of this group. Some have supposed that the islands 
were entirely the work of the lithophy te ; but the better opinion 
seems to be, that they are the crests of submarine volcanoes, 
the ruins and bottoms of whose craters are overgrown with 
coral.* Captain Wilkes has based a very pretty theory on 
the result of his examinations, which has certainly the merit 
of originality, if not of ingenuity. He supposes that the coral 
islands of the Pacific originally composed a vast continent, 
the several portions of which have been separated from each 
other ; and that the borders of the islands, being less compact 
in some places than in others, have been torn asunder, the 
underlying strata carried off by the influx and efflux of the 
sea, and thus undermined, the central portions have caved in 
and formed the lagoons. t In support of this view, he lays 
great stress upon the facts, that the islands are evidently in 
a state of dissolution, produced, in the main, by the constant 
abrasion of the sea, and that there are comparatively few liv- 
ing polyps to be found.! 

But assuming his own premises, and taking his own facts, 
although they may tend strongly to show that the islands 
could not be the work of zoophytes, they clearly do not prove 
the existence of a continent; on the contrary, the theory 
which he advances, appears to be left very much in the situa- 
tion of the central portions of the islands, without any under- 
lying strata to support it. It requires far less stretch of the 
imagination, to suppose these islets to have been thrown up 
separately, by volcanic agency, than that a whole continent 
was upheaved, with its superincumbent load of corallites. 
The position of the Paumotu Group, also, with regard to the 
currents of the Pacific, the conical form of the islands, and 
the existence of coral, in a living, or decomposing state, all 

* Lyell's Geology, Vol. III,p.226, et seq. 

t Narrative of the Exploring Expedition, Vol. IV, p. 268, et seq. 

^ Narrative, ut supra. 

1839.] PRODUCTIONS. 161 

around them, and in the basins of the lagoons, show, conclu- 
sively, that the coralline substances must have been depos- 
ited, either by the animals themselves, or by the sea, since 
the upheaving of these submarine mountains. If this be so, 
why put the fancy to so severe a test, when a much sim- 
pler, more probable, and more rational explanation, is at 

(6.) The productions of these islands are not numerous. 
A species of short wiry grass, and low tropical shrubs, cover 
many of them, but on others there are trees from fifty to sixty 
feet high. Endogenous plants are the most frequently met 
with. The cocoa-nut (cocos nucifera), the bread-fruit, and 
the pandanus odoratissimus, are the most valuable trees. 
On the island of Anaa, the cocoa-nut is exceedingly abundant. 
Like the other palms, this tree is tall and straight, and from 
thirty to sixty feet in height. It has leaves only at the top, 
under which the nuts hang in bunches. Fresh blossoms ap- 
pear every four or five weeks, and there are generally ripe 
fruit, and newly opened flowers, on the tree at the same time. 
One tree will sometimes produce a hundred nuts within the 
year. There are few trees which furnish more useful pro- 
ducts to the islander. Besides the milk and kernel of the 
nut, whose nutritive qualities are so well known, the woody 
shell of the trunk, when old enough to be tough and durable, 
is employed in building huts and canoes ; the leaves are used 
for thatching and ceiling houses, and for making baskets and 
wicker-work ; and of the fibres of the nut, twine and sennit, 
and even strong ropes and cables, are twisted, which last 
longer in salt water than those made of hemp. 

Pisonias, tournefortias, euphorbias, and apapas. are found 
on the islands. Hibiscus tiliacus, bamboo, and wild cane, 
are likewise common. Among the principal roots are the 
taro, (arum esculentum,) and the sweet potato, the latter 
probably introduced by the Spaniards. The leaves of the 
taro resemble those of the water-lily : the roots, which are 
large, thick, and oblong, are baked and eaten by the natives, 
and a favorite paste, called poe, is also made of them. Mel- 


ons, yams, and tobacco, are more rare than other products, 
but they thrive excellently well where they have been intro- 

(7.) Pigs and fowls are the only domesticated birds or 
animals, except the sheep recently introduced, on which the 
inhabitants rely for food ; and these are alone found upon 
those islands to which the influence of the Tahitian mission- 
aries has extended. Fish are plentiful in the lagoons, and 
are principally caught in pens into which they are driven ; 
latterly, however, nets woven of cocoa-nut fibres have been 
used for the purpose of taking them. Cetaceous animals of 
all kinds abound in the vicinity of the islands. Aquatic 
birds of almost every species are equally numerous, and some 
of the uninhabited islets are perfect rookeries. Among the 
sea-fowl, the frigate and the tropic bird, the gannet, and the 
sooty tern, are the most important. 

Crabs and snakes to the former of which the natives are 
especially partial exist in great numbers. The pearl oyster 
is tolerably abundant in the lagoons, and the fishery promises 
at no distant day to be quite valuable. Quantities of biche 
de mer, or the sea-slug, are also obtained on the rocks ; and 
this may, in like manner, ultimately prove an important arti- 
cle of commerce. 

(8.) It is difficult to form any precise estimate of the pop- 
ulation of the Paumotu Group. It can scarcely exceed ten 
thousand, and very likely may not be over eight. Full one 
half of this number live on the island of Anaa ; one fourtb 
on Gambier Island ; and the remainder are scattered about 
among the different islands, some containing from one to 
five hundred, and others not exceeding twenty or thirty in- 

Since the first discovery of these islands, and since the 
establishment of the missionaries at Tahiti, the character of the 
population, particularly on those members of the group west 
of 144 W. longitude, has changed materially for the better. 
The inhabitants of the easternmost islands are now, or were 
recently, cannibals ; but on the western islands, there are 

1839.] POPULATION. 163 

already many native missionaries, and a degree of comfort 
and prosperity is witnessed among the people, which com- 
pares favorably with th^ loathsome wretchedness exhibited 
further to the east. 

In regard to the physical character of the inhabitants, there 
is a wide field for speculation. The distinctive features of 
the Malay and the aboriginal American, are presented in a 
blended form, and now and then some peculiar characteristic 
of the Papuan negro is observed, which threatens to overturn 
all the carefully-constructed theories of the ethnologist. It 
is by no means improbable that these islands were originally 
peopled by American aborigines and Asiatics, or by the de- 
scendants of those races found intermingled on the other 
islands of the Pacific; and, perhaps, some of the Papuan 
stock inhabiting the Admiralty Islands, New Ireland, New 
Britain, New Hebrides, etc., may have found their way 
hither. Trees of American and Asiatic growth, have been 
often carried to this part of the ocean, by the winds and cur- 
rents ; and Indians in their canoes, and Japanese in their 
junks, who had strayed too far out to sea, have been picked 
up by European and American vessels, in the middle of the 
Pacific. Junks, boats, or canoes, might easily pass in the 
variable winds, without the tropics, from the Asiatic coast 
and the neighboring islands, till meeting with the trades, 
they would naturally be driven towards the Sandwich or the 
Society islands ; and they might also be blown in that direc- 
tion, by strong westerly winds prevailing for a long time.* 

The dress of the females usually consists of a dirty piece 
of tapa, swathed about the form like a petticoat ; but among 

* Lyell well remarks in his Principles of Geology, (vol. ii. p. 121,) that if the 
whole of mankind, with the exception of a single family occupying either of the 
two great continents, or Australia, or e\ an one of the coral islets of the Pacific, 
were cut off, " we should expect their descendants, though they should never 
become more enlightened than the South Sea Islanders or Esquimaux, to spread, 
in the course of ages, over the whole earth, diffused partly by the tendency of 
population to increase beyond the means of subsistence in a limited district, 
and partly by the accidental drifting of canoes by tides and currents to distant 

164 COSTUME. [1839 

the more intelligent and civilized natives, mantles of delicate 
matting, made from the bark of the hibiscus, are worn over 
the shoulders, and a pareu, or robe of cotton cloth, is wound 
round the body. The maro, or covering for the loins, and a 
mat of pandanus leaves, are the principal articles of clothing 
for the men. The children are allowed to go entirely naked. 
Upon a gala day, however, the Paumotuan costume exhibits 
a droll melange^ representing, in some feature, that of every 
nation on the globe. These holiday dresses consist of articles 
obtained by barter from the crews of vessels touching at the 
islands, and are in general highly prized. 

Among the inhabitants of the eastern islands, whose ex- 
treme squalidity and wretchedness so pointedly contradict 
the assertion of Locke, that " a person is a thinking, intelli- 
gent being," it is customary to bedaub the face with cocoa- 
nut oil and ashes. The beauties of these cosmetics are never 
so well appreciated by the European or American, as when 
going through with the process of salutation. When they 
wish to welcome a stranger, they approach him with a purring 
noise, like that of a cat, clasp the right arm about his neck, 
and rub their noses across his, backward and forward, three 
times ; and when the ceremony is ended, it will not surprise 
him to find that, in color at least, they are all birds of a 
feather. On the other islands a little more refinement is ex- 
hibited at the toilet, and cocoa-nut oil and turmeric* are used 
to give a bright shining polish, and an orange tint, to the 

(9.) As great a difference exists among the Paumotuans, 
in the mode of constructing their habitations, as in their 
dress. On some of the islands, they are mere huts, consist- 
ing of four or five poles stuck into the ground at both ends, 
with strips of cocoa-nut wood, or bamboos, laid upon them 
horizontally, and tied down, over which grass and pandanus 
leaves, or mats, are spread : they are from six to eight feet 

* The turmeric dye of the East Indies, and of the Pacific islands, is obtained 
from the curcuma longa, a very different ulant from the blood-root (sanguinaria 
eanadcnsis) of America, to which the name is sometimes applied. 


long, four feet high in the centre, and five feet wide. In the 
other parts of the group neat and tasteful houses are con- 
structed of stakes of the bread-fruit tree driven into the 
ground, the framework of the walls being composed of bam- 
boo or hibiscus rods ; they are thatched with pandanus leaves, 
and mats are hung against the sides when the state of the 
weather requires it. Some of these framed huts are mere 
temporary structures, and may be taken up, and removed 
from place to place, like the tents of a nomad. 

The canoes of the natives are made of the excavated trunks 
of the pisonia and other trees, or of strips of cocoa-nut wood 
sewed together over a framework. In navigating from one 
island to another, double canoes, which are two single ones 
lashed side and side, are mainly used. Across these is laid 
a platform, above which is sometimes spread an awning 
of plaited cocoa leaves. Moveable masts are inserted, with 
vines for stays. The sails are made of matting of the pan- 
danus leaf, and the oars and paddles of hibiscus wood. Oat- 
riggers are also common, especially among the vessels be- 
longing to the inhabitants of Anaa, or Chain Island. 


(1.) View of Tahiti from the Sea. (2.) Size and Description of the Group. 
(3.) Rivers. Harbors. Principal Towns. (4.) Form of Government. Queen 
Pomare. (5.) Social and Physical Condition of the Inhabitants. (6.) Dress. 
Manners and Customs. (7.) Trees. Fruits. Vegetable Products. (8.) Zo- 
ology. (9.) Dwellings. (10.) Commerce. Manufactures. (11.) Influence 
of the Missionaries. 

(1.) TAHITI well deserves the appellation which has been 
bestowed upon it, of " the brightest gem of the Pacific." 
When its tall pinnacled cliffs and rugged peaks are first 
descried, far out at sea, but little promise is afforded of the 
luxuriant beauty and magnificence which a nearer view pre- 
sents. The object that soonest attracts the attention, is the 
fringe of snow-white surf, wreathing itself, as if instinct with 
life, about the coral reef that encircles the island. Within 
this is a girdle of quiet water, deep, calm, and placid, 
sheltered from the ocean-storm by the line of breakers, and 
rarely disturbed, save by the soft invigorating breezes wafted 
from the shore, 

" where the pale citrons blow, 
And golden fruits through dark green foliage glow." 

In the centre of the circle is the island itself, the coast 
irregular in outline, and indented with numerous bays, but 
having a decidedly pleasing effect ; beyond it, extend a suc- 
cession of undulating slopes and pleasant valleys, carpeted 
with rich verdure or enamelled with flowers, interspersed 
among embowering groves and noble forests, conspicuous in 
which, are the leafy canopies overshadowing, like the pana- 
che of the Peruvian warrior, the branchless trunks of the 
stately cocoa ; and in the midst of these Hesperian gardens, 

1839.] VIEW OP TAHITI. 167 

rise the lofty mountains of Aorai and Orohena the former 
seven, and the latter nearly nine thousand feet, above the 
level of the sea with their rough sides decked with the vines 
and parasitic plants, creeping up over the escarped rocks to 
their summits, around which hover clouds of white mist, like 
guardian angels from the spirit-land. 

Contrasting finely with the bright mantle of vegetation 
spread o>ver the lower portions of the island, are the little 
streams and rivulets coursing down the mountain ravines, 
and winding their way, like threads of silver, between thick 
banks of foliage preserving ever its perennial bloom, hither 
and thither, till they mingle their crystal waters with those 
of the dark green sea. The landscape is dotted, too, with 
clustering hamlets, composed of the sombre huts of the na- 
tives, or the more modern and more tasteful cottages of the 
foreign residents. In the harbors there is always more or 
less shipping, either men of war, or merchant vessels, visit- 
ing the island for purposes of traffic, or to obtain supplies. 
Gay flags and streamers float from their mastheads, and 
numberless canoes may be seen plying between them and the 
shore, reminding the beholder how vast has been the change 
since the pennant of the gallant but unfortunate Cook first 
appeared in these waters. The flowers are not more bright, 
perhaps, the grove and the forest not more beautiful, but 
the air is no longer filled with scents of slaughter, nor the 
sky darkened with the smoke of human sacrifices ; the songs 
of David are borne on the evening wind instead of the wild 
notes of the savage, and the dark and bloody rites of pagan- 
ism have given- place to the solemn and impressive worship 
of the Christian ! 

(2.) The group now known as the Society Islands, of 
which Tahiti, or Otaheite, as it was formerly called, is the 
largest and most important member, was first discovered by 
Captain Cook, in 1769. It consists of eight large islands, 
and several smaller ones. The names of the principal islands 
are, Tahiti and Eimeo, sometimes distinguished from the 
others under the name of the Georgian Group, Raiatea, 


Huahine, Tahaa, Borabora, Tubai and Maurua. The first 
two, with some small islands, form one cluster, and the others 
compose a separate cluster, over one hundred miles to the 
northwest ; but all lie between latitude 16 and 18 S., and 
longitude 149 and 152 W. 

Tahiti, tho largest and most populous, is one hundred and 
eight miles in circumference, and contains seven thousand 
inhabitants, supposed to be not far from one half of the popu- 
lation of the whole group. This island rises gradually from 
the sea, and in the interior is mountainous ; extensive and 
fertile valleys open on every side towards the ocean ; and 
from the water's edge to its topmost heights, it is clothed 
with an abundant vegetation constantly renewing the fresh- 
ness and vigor of its appearance. Eimeo, ten miles west of 
Tahiti, is about forty miles in circumference ; it is still more 
wild and mountainous, and has an abrupt coast, rising in 
some places precipitously to the height of twenty-five hundred 
feet ; it derives its chief importance from the fact that it is 
the central station of the missionaries, where a separate school 
for the education of their children, and a printing office the 
latter on a limited scale have been established. 

Ulietea, or Raiatea, one hundred and thirty miles north- 
west of Tahiti, is sixty miles in circumference ; it is encircled 
by a reef of coral, bordered by numerous small islets, and 
has a bold, mountainous, and highly picturesque appearance. 
Huahine, fifteen miles east of Raiatea, is nearly as large ; 
this, as well as the other islands, partake of the same general 
features of those which have been described. All consist of 
basalt and other igneous formations. Their rounded sum- 
mits, and the character and composition of the soil, clearly 
indicate their volcanic origin. Iron is so abundant on some 
of the hills that the magnet cannot be used, and the sand on 
the sea-coast is more or less impregnated with it. Olivine 
and pyroxene are plentifully distributed through the rocks, 
and lava everywhere abounds. 

(3.) From the small size of these islands, it could not be 
expected that they would contain any considerable rivers or 


lakes. There are a number of mountain torrents, however, 
dignified with the name of rivers, which are swollen to such 
an extent during the rainy season that it is really dangerous 
to attempt to ford them. The principal of these on the island 
of Tahiti, are the Pappino on the north, and the Ooaigarra 
on the south side, both rapid streams, but narrow, and usually 
only a few feet deep. Tahiti also has a pretty lake, seven- 
teen hundred feet above the level of the sea, called Lake 
Waiherea ; it is of an oval shape, ninety-six feet deep, half a 
mile long, and one third of a mile in width ; and is bordered 
with a beautiful fringe of woody plants. The lake has no 
visible outlet, but the natives say that if a bread-fruit be 
thrown in, it will appear after a while in a spring, whose 
waters gush forth from the hill-side, at a distance of nearly 
three miles. 

The excellence of the harbors of Tahiti and her sister 
islands, is well known to navigators. Deeply embayed be- 
tween lofty hills, which have a sheer descent to the water, 
and often many hundred feet below, or faced by perpendicu- 
lar piers of coral, and protected in front from the waves of 
the ocean, by the massive breakwaters reared by the same 
skilful engineer, they afford ample and perfect security against 
both wind and tide. Papieti, on the north side of Tahiti, is 
the most capacious and the first in importance. Fronting a 
deep recess in the island, is a reef of coral trending away for 
several miles to the east, but broken just on the right of the 
fiorde, by a stream of fresh water putting in, which, it is said, 
always interrupts the labors of the polyp. Tall hills rise on 
either side of the recess, and between these and the reef, is 
the harbor, or bay, of Papieti. It is about one mile in length, 
and half a mile in width. It affords a deep and secure an- 
chorage, large vessels being safely moored within a stone's 
throw of the shore, and is capacious enough to accommodate 
a hundred sail. 

As you pass through the opening in the reef, and enter the 
circular and land-locked harbor, the beautiful little coral 
island of Moto-utu starts up on the left, like Aphrodite, from 

170 PAPIETI. [1839. 

the frothy sea, with its cool, verdant groves, and its old, 
dilapidated fortress, over which waves the red flag of Tahiti.* 
Across the fine sheet of smooth water spreading out before 
you, along the middle of tho curvature of the hot sandy beach, 
lies the town of Papieti, backed by pinnacle-shaped moun- 
tains, and half-hidden beneath the dark green foliage of the 
bread-fruit, beneath the round-leaved myrtle, the luxuriant 
palm, and the noble cocoa. The white cottages of the foreign 
residents, with their thatched roofs and green blinds, and the 
light-built and sombre-looking huts, of the natives, are scattered 
along the shore, or peep out, here and there, from the thickets 
of limes and oranges in which they are imbosomed. 

Papieti is the largest town on the island, or in the group. 
It is difficult to form any estimate in regard to the popula- 
tion. The habits of the Tahitian are extremely migratory ; 
his wants are easily and quickly supplied, and a few hours' 
work will provide him with a comfortable habitation. When 
there are a number of foreign vessels in port, and on other 
great occasions, the village is overrun with inhabitants, who 
flock thither in crowds, but soon betake themselves again to 
other parts of the island. This is the ordinary residence of 
the queen and the foreign consuls. It boasts a wharf and a 
warehouse, and the harbor is probably the best and safest in 
the Pacific ; it is frequently visited by whalers, and is now 
second only, in commercial importance, to Honolulu. 

Five miles east of Papieti is the town of Matavai, which 
has a fine harbor. Vessels pass up to it from Papieti, inside 
the reef. It is situated on lower ground ; but its location, 
nevertheless, is quite pleasant. Point Venus, on Matavai 
Bay, is chiefly celebrated, and, indeed, derives its name, 
from the fact, that Captain Cook observed the transit of 
Venus over the sun's disk from this place. Papoa and Toa- 
noa, also on the northern side of the island, have good harbors. 
On the south side is Otapuna, next in size and importance 
to Papieti; it is built on a low point of land, and the pearl 

* The Tahitian flag consists of two red horizontal stripes ; with a white one 
between them. 


fishery of the Paumotu Group centres here. Papara and 
Panawea, both of which have convenient harbors, are on the 
same side of the island. 

Taloo is the principal town and harbor on Eimeo. The 
anchorage ground is an inlet three miles in depth, inclosed 
between walls of precipitous mountains ; it is deep and spa- 
cious, and, though exposed to the western winds, they do not 
often blow hard enough to injure shipping. At its head is a 
broad flat of alluvion, well adapted for the cultivation of the 
sugar-cane. Papoa, also on the northern side of the island, 
and Afareaitu on the south side, are safe and excellent har- 

(4.) Europeans became earlier acquainted with the Society 
Islands than with any of the other groups in the Pacific ; and 
the language of Tahiti was the first Polynesian language re- 
duced to writing by the English missionaries. As early as 
1797, there were eighteen missionaries settled on the island 
of Tahiti ; and, in 1814, there were about fifty adult natives 
who had embraced Christianity. Although the number of 
converts was so few, a general and visible improvement fol- 
lowed the introduction of Christianity ; many useful arts 
were introduced ; schools were founded ; the meliorating in- 
fluences of the law of kindness and love daily became more 
manifest ; and the change was finally marked by the estab- 
lishment of comparative order and tranquillity, and the adop- 
tion of a form of government, modelled, under the auspices 
of the English missionaries, after the British Constitution. 

The present constitution was originally framed by the mis- 
sionaries in 1823, and was revised in 1826. The form of 
government, like that of England, is a limited monarchy. 
The crown is hereditary in the male or female line. The 
sovereign appoints all the principal officers of state, the gov- 
ernors of the different islands, and the chiefs of districts ; and 
has an unqualified veto on all legislative enactments, though 
a bill which has failed to receive the royal signature may 
subsequently be revised and modified. The legislature is 
composed of two members from aach district, who are trien- 

172 aUEEN POMARE. [1839 

nially elected ; annual sessions are held for the general pur- 
poses of legislation, and extra sessions may at any time be 
convened. Each district has a court of its own, and there is 
also a general supreme court consisting of seven judges, five 
of whom reside at Tahiti, and two at Eimeo. All the So- 
ciety Islands, and some of the Paumotu Group, acknowledge 
the authority of the sovereign ; but the more remote islands 
are little known or civilized, and are not represented in the 
national assembly. 

Aimata, or Pomare IV, the present queen, is the grand- 
daughter of king Pomare I, so well known in the early his- 
tory of Tahiti. She is now (1849) about thirty-nine years 
of age, is a good-looking, though not a pretty woman, and has 
a clear olive complexion, dark intelligent eyes, and black 
hair. She is not above the medium height, and is somewhat 
inclined to corpulency. The queen has been twice married. 
She was divorced from her first husband. Her second is 
called Pomare-faui, or " Pomare's-man," equivalent, proba- 
bly, to " king-consort," in the more refined courts of Europe. 
He is nine years younger than the queen, and is a gay, easy- 
humored man, comparing favorably with the other young 
men of Tahiti in personal appearance, but rather too much 
given to the use of intoxicating drinks. Matrimonial squab- 
bles are not wanting, it is said, to disturb the harmony of the 
royal menage. When her consort was a mere lad, Pomare 
exercised quite a motherly sort of authority over him, and, 
if reports be true, frequently applied the rod of correction. 
But as soon as he reached man's estate, the tables were 
turned ; although she could rate him soundly as ever with 
her tongue, she was no match for him in physical strength, 
and he repaid the inflictions of his august spouse, in kind, with 
something added, too, in the shape of interest. Happily, per- 
haps, for the safety of the state, both parties seem to havo 
been benefited by this reciprocal chastisement, and jog along 
together, without seriously disturbing the peace of the island 

Both their majesties are fond of state and display. There 
are sentinels constantly parading in front of the royal resi- 


dence, and when the queen attends church, or shows herself 
to her loving subjects, she is accompanied by a body-guard, 
as an escort, consisting of about one hundred men, com- 
manded by officers who can hardly be called martinets in 
discipline. The uniform of this corps is a blue coat with 
white pantaloons. The former is made after various pat- 
terns, and worn in different ways sometimes being buttoned, 
sometimes hooked, and sometimes sewed about the person of 
the wearer. The guard have muskets ; but, on Sundays, 
they are only allowed to carry their ramrods. When the 
queen and her husband issue forth, the royal standards are 
borne before them, and the soldiers follow, two by two, with 
the rabble at their heels. If an aquatic excursion is the 
order of the day, a whaleboat, dignified as the royal barge, 
receives the cortege. 

Although royalty is so often exhibited in caricature, at 
Tahiti, it is probable that the people of this, and the other 
islands belonging to the group, are as well-governed, and that 
as great a degree of order is observed as in those countries 
where there is more real brilliancy and show. Generally 
speaking, the statesmen and politicians of the Society Islands 
are well-informed, reasonable, and sagacious. They always 
appear willing to redress grievances, and anxious to promote 
the welfare and prosperity of their fellow-citizens. As in 
more enlightened countries, there are two opposing parties, 
one of which is headed by the queen and the missionaries, 
and the other, by Pab'fai, chief judge of the supreme court, 
and Hitoti and Taua, two prominent chiefs. The former 
are constantly proposing new innovations in laws and cus- 
toms, and the latter, though by no means unfriendly to 
reform, have resisted, with more or less earnestness, their 
adoption. Sometimes the queen and her advisers have 
pushed their favorite measures with too great zeal and sever- 
ity, and their opponents, by appealing to the national feel- 
ing and spirit, or threatening resistance, have achieved a 
temporary success ; but the queen usually manages, in one 
way or another, eventually to secure everything she wishes. 

174 STATE OF SOCIETY. [1839 

She rarely fails, also, in maintaining the dignity of her queenly 
state, though once in a while, as in the difficulty with France 
in 1842-3, obliged to yield to the force of circumstances, or 
compelled to humor the caprices of Pomare-taui, who, at the 
dictation of the foreign residents, occasionally interferes in 
questions of state, and, for the most part, successfully. 

The police regulations, especially on the island of Tahiti, 
are excellent, though some might term them severe. At 
eight o'clock in the evening a gun is fired, followed by an- 
other at an interval of fifteen minutes, after which all strag- 
glers found in the streets are carried to the guard-house by 
the patrol. The members of the police, with few exceptions, 
are faithful and efficient, and do not leave much cause to 
regret the abolition of the ancient custom of taboo* 

(5.) In enterprise, industry, and intelligence, this people 
are, doubtless, far behind the inhabitants of the Sandwich 
Islands ; yet, one who has read the accounts of the old navi- 
gators, can hardly fail to be struck with the vast change 
effected by the missionaries. The natives of this group, 
though indolent by nature, were originally wild and turbu- 
lent, when aroused, and fierce and vindictive. Long and 
bloody wars desolated the islands ; parental affection, love, 
and tenderness, were almost entirely unknown ; woman was 
sunk in the lowest state of degradation ; polygamy was 
common ; a species of marriage was in vogue, but not es- 
teemed sacred ; female virtue was prized as .a thing of little 
worth ; depravity and licentiousness abounded ; sexual indul- 
gences and infanticide were encouraged by a singular insti- 
tution called the Areo'itf- all the finer feelings of humanity 
were nearly obliterated, and 

11 hardened mothers in the grave could lay 
Their living babes with no compunctious tear." 

* This custom, formerly prevailing throughout Polynesia, but now nearly done 
away, may be regarded as something like a police regulation in a rude and bar- 
barous state of society, and, no doubt, was highly beneficial, in curbing the pas- 
sions, and controlling the lawlessness, of the savages, even though it may some 
times have been the instrument of wrong and oppression. 

f The baneful influence of this society once extended over the whole Pacific. 


There was, indeed, little to encourage the missionary in 
such a condition of society, and the light of civilization strug- 
gled long before it was able to penetrate the Cimmerian dark- 
ness which overspread the Pacific like a pall. But the Chris- 
tian soldier, clad in the robes of righteousness, and brandishing 
a weapon from the arsenal of Jehovah, fought and toiled, long 
and manfully, till his labors were ultimately crowned with 
success ; and, though he may have achieved less than what 
he might once have anticipated, the good seed has been 
planted, and he can console himself with the hope, that in 
God's own time it will yield an abundant harvest. 

True enough, there is great room for improvement ; the 
influence of the foreign traders, like their interests, has been 
adverse to that of the missionaries ; outbreaks and disturb- 
ances, fomented by them, are sometimes witnessed ; and the 
chastity of the female sex has not been proof against the 
temptations offered to their vanity by the introduction of 
European finery. But these things were to have been ex- 
pected, for civilization has its vices as well as its virtues; 
and we need not despair, when we see wise enactments en- 
forced, instead of ancient laws and customs, a written con- 
stitution adopted, and order steadily rising out of chaos and 
confusion. Though the morais described by Cook, within 
whose sacred inclosures human sacrifices were offered up, are 
still visible, they are pointed out by the natives only as relics 
of a by-gone age. 

The inhabitants may be said to be constitutionally indolent. 
The influence of the climate is decidedly enervating, although, 
owing to their small extent, the islands have the temperature 
of the ocean, and, on the west, are favored by the prevailing 

Its members were not prohibited from marrying, but if they had children, they 
were obliged to put them to death. It is computed by the missionaries, that at 
least two thirds of the children born were murdered ; but though the number 
was undoubtedly large, the correctness of this estimate is doubted, simply, perhaps, 
for the reason, that it seems too revolting for belief. It is certain, however, that 
the fact, that the islands are far less populous now than they were at the period 
of their discovery, may be attributed to the prevalence of infanticide, and the 
bloody and desolating wars. 


winds. The heat is not often really oppressive, as there is a 
constant succession of light sea and land breezes, but it soon 
produces, if one is disposed to yield to its seductions, a soft 
dreamy languor and lassitude that cannot easily be resisted 
A considerable variety of character is presented here. Gen- 
erally, the people are light-hearted, merry, frank, honest and 
well-behaved, kind and affable in disposition. Exceptions 
aro not uncommon. Some are deceitful and thievish, and 
addicted to the use of ardent spirits, though drunkenness 
and rioting are not common save when provoked or incited 
by the whites. Chastity is not the chief virtue of the femalo 
sex, but licentiousness is not near as prevalent as in former 

All are excitable, fond of music, dancing, social enjoyments 
and amusements, of which the missionaries, perhaps un- 
wisely, have endeavored, in some respects, to deprive them. 
Their fondness for music is natural, a-nd they frequently as- 
semble in parties to sing in the open air in the evening. 
Their voices have a slight nasal twang, but chord unusually 
in harmony. They will quickly imitate a new tune, and 
readily adapt symphonious parts to it. The native music is 
now rarely heard, and its place is supplied by the songs 
which they have learned from the sailors, and the familiar 
tunes of "God save the King," "Cambridge," and "Old 

They are attentive at worship the elderly people particu- 
larly so and pay due respect to the authority of the law. 
Of pride they have not much to boast ; and the highest min- 
isters of state, and the officers of the queen's body-guard, 
may often be seen swimming out to a vessel newly arrived, 
with nothing on but the maro, to solicit the honor of washing 
clothes. From the ease of procuring food, clothing, and lodg- 
ings, they are as improvident as they are indolent, though 
there are many who keep more than one eye on the main 
chance. Both men and women arrive at maturity at an 
early age ; the latter look older at thirteen than American 
females at twenty-three. Their mode of salutation is veiy 


friendly ; the parties shake hands, as with us, and say " ta 
ora na oe /" "peace be with you !" 

Scrofulous complaints, which are attributed to drinking 
the water of the rills descending from the mountains, are 
quite prevalent. Syphilitic diseases, and elephantiasis, are 
also common. Intoxication often produces, or aggravates, 
many of the prevailing complaints, and the inhabitants suffer 
a great deal for the want of suitable medical attendance. 

They are of good stature, tall and well-made. Their com- 
plexions are a light olive, or reddish brown. They have 
regular, open, and prepossessing features, with a facial angle 
as perpendicular as in the European head ; full, jet-black, 
and brilliant eyes those of the women " half languor and 
half fire ;" finely-arched eye-brows ; straight or aquiline 
noses ; well- formed mouths ; coarse, but not wiry hair, either 
black or brown. They are lithe and supple of limb, but not 
inclined to exertion. There are few very ugly women ; most 
of them are good-looking, and some are really handsome, with 
their long dark tresses hanging gracefully over their shoul- 
ders, and interwoven with roses and jasmine blossoms. 

Tattooing is not practiced as much now as formerly. At- 
tempts were made a few years ago to abolish it in Tahiti, 
but they were not entirely successful. It is often performed 
at the age of eight or ten. A great deal of taste is displayed 
in this barbarous custom of deforming the person. The 
bodies of those who have been tattooed are sometimes com- 
pletely covered over with beautiful figures exhibiting every 
variety of curve with animals, flowers, and the sprigs and 
branches of trees. 

There is a close analogy between the dialects spoken hero 
and those observed in other parts of Polynesia. The lan- 
guage is similar to the Hawaiian, and many words are pre- 
cisely the same, though the two groups are twenty-three 
hundred miles apart. Some words resemble the Malay, 
some the Indian, and some every language spoken on the 
shores of the two great continents from which these islands 
were, directly or indirectly, peopled. The inhabitants of the 


178 DRESS. [1839. 

Sandwich, Marquesas, and Society Islands, communicate 
with each other without difficulty, after a few days' practice, 
and the Tahitian and New Zealander readily understand 
each other.* 

A translation of the scriptures into the Tahitian tongue 
has been made by the missionaries, and printed at Eimeo. 
Other books, too, have been published, and the cause of edu- 
cation is progressing, more slowly than might be desired, but 
still progressing. The schools are tolerably well attended; 
more pains are taken to instruct the rising generation ; and 
a greater degree of interest in their improvement has recently 
been manifested. 

(6.) So many new fashions and customs have been intro- 
duced by Europeans, that it is difficult to say what consti- 
tutes the national dress. The queen usually appears in pub- 
lic, in a dress of satin or figured silk, made after the European 
style, with slippers and gloves of corresponding color, a white 
satin hat, open and flattened on the upper rim, and sur- 
mounted with ostrich feathers. So fastidious is she, that she 
will not appear at church in the afternoon, in the same dress 
she wore in the morning ; and it is needless to say that others 
follow her example. The king-consort displays himself in a 
brilliant crimson uniform, decorated with gold epaulettes, a 
sword, and a chapeau ornamented with the plumes of tho 
ostrich. The princesses wear white frocks, shoes and stock- 
ings, and flaring chip, or straw bonnets, which last are all 
the rage in Tahiti. The chiefs and higher dignitaries also 
appear in the European dress, on all public occasions, though 
their coats and trowsers are of all colors and fashions, tho 
half worn costume of the sailor generally having the pref- 

The ordinary costume of the natives consists of a kind of 
mantle covering the upper part of the person, and reaching 
down to the pareu. The latter is about two yards long, is 
wound around the waist, and extends just below the knees. 
Some of the men have pareus made of blue cotton cloth, and 
* Cook's Voyages, Vol. I, book i, chap. 8 ; Moerenhout, Vol. I, p. 305, et seq. 

1839.] CUSTOMS. 179 

red check, or calico shirts, of gaudy colors ; others wear duck 
trowsers and sailors' round-jackets, and use the pareu as a 
mantle. A full loose dress, resembling a night gown, but- 
toned at the wrists, but not confined at the neck or waist, is 
worn by the better class of females, but those who are un- 
able to indulge in this luxury appear in the pareu alone, 
which merely conceals the lower part of the body, and leaves 
the bosom and shoulders bare. Shoes are rarely seen, and 
stockings may be classed among the prerogatives of royalty. 
Straw hats are worn by both sexes, though it is more com- 
mon to go bareheaded ; and black felt hats, some high and 
some low crowned, some with broad and some with narrow 
brims, are possessed by a very few, whom their countrymen 
esteem as fortune's especial favorites. 

Naked Tahitians, with the maro only, are scarcely ever 
seen. Clothing of some kind or other is deemed essential, no 
matter how odd or fantastical it may be. 

Formerly, tapa was the principal article used in the manu- 
facture of clothing, but cotton cloths and calicoes are now 
much more common at Tahiti and Eimeo. The men appear 
singular enough in their calico pareus, and a stranger coming 
among them, ignorant of their manners and customs, would 
be very apt to suppose he had introduced himself into one of 
the most approved gyneocracies of the modern school of philos- 
ophers. On the other islands, the original dress of the natives 
is the most frequently worn. 

A love of flowers is characteristic of the Tahitian female, 
and her sisters on the other islands of the group, though far 
less civilized, are not a whit behind her in this womanly trait. 
They are fond of wearing flowers stuck in their hair, and 
through the lobes of their ears. Sometimes they decorate 
their heads with wreaths of the most fragrant and beautiful 
flowers, and they have also an ornament called a hau, which 
consists of a rim of braided pandanus leaves, projecting on 
either side of the head like a chapeau. 

Though the inhabitants of the Society Islands are not over- 
much attached to labor, contenting themselves, in the main, 

180 PRODUCTIONS. [1839. 

with the cultivation of a few bananas, and a small patch of 
yams and sweet potatoes, they are always ready for any kind 
of amusement. Fishing is one of their chief sports, and every 
fine night the romantic scenery of the numerous bays and 
inlets is illuminated by the glare of their torches, and the 
coral rocks echo back their cheery songs and joyous shouts. 
They fish mostly with the spear, in the use of which they 
are very expert. 

(7.) There are few trees or plants usually found in the 
tropics, which are not indigenous to, or have not been accli- 
mated in, this group. The soil made by the decomposing 
rocks and decayed vegetable matter, is of great fertility, yet 
agriculture is in a languishing state ; and there are acres of 
the most fruitful ground, to which, were it not for the spon- 
taneous growth of its products, the expressive phrase of part 
du diable, used in designating the fallow corners of the 
ploughed fields of Finisterre, might well be applied. There 
is, indeed, no very powerful inducement to labor, where the 
means of subsistence are so easily obtained. 

On the hills and uplands there are forests of stately trees, 
and the mountain sides are variegated with shrubbery, and 
richly embroidered with the parasitic plants that grow in 
every rift and cranny. Ornamental shrubs and aromatic 
plants are common. Yellow, orange, red, and party-colored 
acacias, enliven the scene with their gorgeous dyes. Tho 
laughing sunlight rests lovingly on the rich yellow fruit of 
the lime and orange, and the soft breezes of the ocean delight 
to linger amid the bright green foliage of the banana, the 
broad leaves of the bread-fruit, and the waving tufts of the 

Of the apapa and faifai the latter the more valuable of 
the two the canoes of the natives are made ; and the tarn- 
anu and hibiscus of the plains, are used for the same purpose, 
and also for making furniture. The mape (inocarpus edulis) 
furnishes excellent timber for small vessels, but only a lim- 
ited supply can be obtained. The wood of the bread-fruit 
tree is used in various ways, in house and ship building. 

1839.] FRUITS. 181 

Besides the fruits which have been mentioned the cocoa, 
bread-fruit, orange, lime, banana, yam, and sweet potato 
pine-apples, shaddocks, citrons, plantains, papayas, lemons, 
vi-apples, taro, figs, guavas, and cape mulberries, are found 
in great abundance. Pumpkins, melons, turnips, onions, 
beans and cabbages, would flourish with proper care and til- 
lage, but the ground is scarcely ever turned up, except with 
an iron-shod stick, and little can be expected from such 
husbandry. From the ti-root (dracona terminalis) an infe- 
rior spirit, called ava, is made ; this was once drank by all 
classes, to excess, but the introduction of foreign spirits has 
banished it from use, unless it be among the poorer people. 
A native chestnut, the rata, (tuscarpus edulis^) has a sweet 
nut, and is an agreeable substitute for the bread-fruit. On 
the south side of Tahiti, the grape thrives luxuriantly ; the 
coffee shrub has been tried and succeeds well ; tobacco is 
grown in small quantities ; and sugar cane, cotton, and in- 
digo, may be raised with little effort. The Otaheitan cane 
produces four crops, while the common variety, requiring a 
better soil, yields only three ; its cultivation is yet in its in- 
fancy, but there are a number of fine plantations at Tahiti 
and Eimeo, which promise in the future to be highly pro- 
ductive.* The tuitui tree, the nut of which is used in tattoo- 
ing, is a native of the group ; so is, also, the tacca, from 
which arrow-root is prepared. 

The pine-apples raised here are excellent, and the oranges 
delicious. The latter are sold at fifty cents per hundred ; 
they are often prepared so as to keep for a long time, by 
selecting them with care, and drying them in the sun, dur- 
ing which process the moisture of the rind evaporates, but 
the juice of the pulp is not impaired. Lemons are unusually 
large, and limes are so abundant that it is quite a traffic to 
supply ships with the juice, prepared by fermenting the fruit 
with chalk, which is highly valued for its anti-scorbutic 
properties. Citrons are plenty, but are hardly equal to those 
obtained in the East Indies. The vi-apple resembles the 

* The cane is often seen growing wild, in tufts, in the interior of Tahiti. 

182 GUAVA AND COCOA. [1839. 

egg plum, and is the product of a rough tree like the oak. 
Of the banana and plantain there are numerous varieties ; 
they are sometimes preserved by cutting them in slices, and 
exposing them to the heat of the sun, by which they are 
dried, and at the same time covered with a rich saccharine 

A species of banana, called fei, or fayee, by the natives, is 
found wild on the mountains and highlands. Unlike the other 
varieties, which it resembles in shape, its spikes of fruit rise 
up from the stalks instead of depending down. Internally, 
the fruit is of a bright chrome yellow ; it has no seeds, and 
is covered with a rind of a brilliant red tint. In taste it re- 
sembles the parsnep. There are two kinds of the taro, one 
of which is the denizen of wet, marshy places, and the other 
of higher and dryer ground. The guava is wonderfully pro- 
lific, and threatens eventually to overrun the islands, if se- 
rious attempts are not made to exterminate it, or confine it 
in proper limits. It here attains the height of from six to 
twelve feet; its fruit is like that of the quince bush in 
shape and size, pulpy and rich in flavor like the strawberry, 
of a deep crimson color in the interior, and covered with a 
yellow skin shaded with a tinge of carmine. So abundant is 
this fruit, that the swine are allowed to go at large, in order 
that they may feed upon it. 

The natives pluck the cocoa when it LS still quite green, 
and do not wait for 

"Th' imbrowning of the fruit, that tells 
How rich within the soul of sweetness dwells." 

When in this unripe state, the kernel is pulpy and the shell 
soft ; it can then be eaten with a spoon, and, if a little 
Madeira wine and lime juice be added, it is really excellent. 
At this time the nut contains from a pint to a quart of a 
slightly acidulous, but fine beverage. The mode of obtain- 
ing the cocoas is peculiar. A boy with a long line in his 
hand, and his feet fettered by a short rope so that they are 
from ten to twelve inches apart, ascends the tree by pressing 
his feet against the shaggy trunk, and clasping it with his 

1839.] THE BREAD-FRUIT. 183 

arms. He vaults up with astonishing rapidity his body 
swinging clear from the tree at every spring and lowers 
down the nuts with the long rope. The cocoas are so pro- 
ductive that the nuts are often sold at one dollar per hundred. 

Valuable and important as are the productions which have 
been described, the bread-fruit, after all, is the vegetable 
Corypheus of the Society Islands. The tree grows to the 
size of a middling oak, is umbrageous, and has its broad 
leaves deeply notched, like those of the fig. The trunk rises 
to the height of ten or twelve feet without a branch, and has 
a rough light-colored bark. The foliage is a dark green, rich 
and glossy. Its fruit is circular or oval, from eight to nine 
inches long, and averaging about six inches in diameter ; it 
is covered with hexagonal warts, and grows in clusters of 
five or six ; at first it is of a pea-green color, subsequently 
changing to brown, and, when fully ripe, assuming a yellow- 
ish tinge. The pulp is white and soft, partly farinaceous and 
partly fibrous, and in its ripe state is yellow and juicy. In- 
side of the pulp there is a hard core extending from the stalk 
to the crown, about which there are a few imperfect seeds. 
The fruit is gathered before it is entirely ripe, for it soon de- 
cays ; it continues in season above eight months in the year, 
and is so prolific that two or three trees will yield a sufficiency 
for the yearly support of one person. 1 * 

This delightful esculent is boiled or baked, or roasted under 
ground, after the true native fashion. The second rind is 
scraped off, and the interior is eaten in the same manner as 
bread. It has a pure white, mealy appearance, resembling 
potatoes, and an agreeable sweet taste, between that of wheat 

* There are, in fact, two species of bread-fruit the artocarpus integrifolia, 
and the artocarpus incisa. The leaves of the former are not sinuated ; it grows 
chiefly on the continent of Asia, and is called jaca by the inhabitants ; the fruit 
is very large, often exceeding thirty pounds in weight. The latter is the proper 
bread-fruit of the South Sea, originally discovered in the Ladrones. Through 
the exertions of Captain Bligh, who had just left Tahiti, while on an errand 
of this kind, when the crew of the Bounty mutinied, and at the expense of 
the English government, plants of the bread-fruit were introduced into the West 
Indies. It is easily cultivated there, but does not excel the banana. 

184 BIRDS AND ANIMALS. [1839. 

bread and roasted chestnuts. Sometimes it is beaten up with 
cocoa-nut and milk. It is highly nutritive, but must be 
eaten new, as it becomes harsh and unpalatable in twenty- 
four hours after being cooked. As it is impossible to keep 
this fruit in a crude state, it is often buried in pits, when it 
ferments, and forms a substance called mahi, that may be 
preserved for a long time, and is resorted to out of the bearing 

Since the abolition of the custom of taboo, it is usual for 
the owner of a private grove, if he wishes to protect it from 
strangers, to tie girdles of leaves about the trees. This sig- 
nal is always respected, and the most tempting fruits remain 
unmolested, without any other guard or protection. The 
people of other countries, who boast of their intellectual ad- 
vancement, and moral perfectness, might well profit by this 

Having such an abundance, and so great a variety, of the 
finest and most luscious fruits, the people of these islands are 
bounteously provided for in respect to food. They live prin- 
cipally on vegetables ; though pigs, fowls, and fish, are con- 
siderably eaten. Bread-fruit, taro, and pig, is the standing 
dish. All are fond of poe, particularly the children. They 
prepare a delicious hotchpot, of taro, cocoa-nut, and bread- 
fruit, called poe-poe, and another, equally good, called poe- 
maia, of feis, taro, bread-fruit, and cocoa-nut. They eat no 
salt, but, instead thereof, use a sop, or compound, made of 
sea- water, cocoa-nut milk, and the nut of the ti ; taro or 
bread-fruit is dipped in this, and sucked, before being eaten. 

(8.) The albatross, tropic bird, petrel, heron, wild duck, 
woodpecker, and turtle dove, are the principal birds found in 
the islands. Pigeons and swallows are common, as is, also, 
the trichoclossus, a species of parroquet. Horses, asses, cat- 
tle, hogs, goats and sheep, have been introduced, and thrive 
well. The horses are quite numerous ; they are never shod, 
as they are used exclusively for the saddle. The cattle roam 
at pleasure through the fine pasture grounds, and the leaves 
of the bread-fruit form excellent fodder for them. Lanje 

1839.] DWELLINGS. 185 

numbers of hogs are reared, and they are fast supplanting 
the wild ones, belonging to an entirely distinct breed, that 
once abounded in the mountainous regions of Tahiti and 
Eimeo. Dogs and cats are domesticated; and rats, mus- 
quitoes, and horse-flies, are plenty enough to be regarded as 
great pests. 

Fish are abundant. The best of them are the albicore, 
bonito, ray and shark, all of which are eaten. Fine rock fish 
are caught in the small streams, and salmon and eels in the 
rivers. As has been stated, fishing is a favorite employment 
of the natives. Besides the spear, they use nets made of the 
twisted bark of the hibiscus. They are likewise fond of tak- 
ing the molluscous crabs and turtles, numbers of which are 
obtained on the coral rocks and reefs. 

(9.) The queen's residence at Papieti is the most conspic- 
uous house there. It is one story in height, and has a 
peaked roof of thatch, and a wide piazza extending com- 
pletely across the front. The church at the same place is a 
large and convenient edifice ; the rafters and frame work sup- 
porting the roof are concealed, in part, by ornamental mat- 
ting reaching up ten or fifteen feet from the wall. The resi- 
dences of the foreigners are light wooden structures, painted 
white, with green blinds and thatched roofs. The " palace," 
and some few other houses, have glazed windows. The raft- 
ers are generally left uncovered, on the inner side. Some 
dwellings are divided off into separate rooms, by board parti- 
tions, though, in general, there is but a single room. 

Most of the timber used in house-building, and in making 
the heavier articles of furniture, is obtained from the bread- 
fruit ; but the tamanu (calophyllum) is sometimes employed 
as a substitute. The wood of the former tree is of the color 
of mahogany, and is exceedingly durable : it is hewn into 
posts, or sawed into boards, as may be required. 

The natives, ordinarily, build their habitations, however, 
very differently from the more modern style just represented. 
They are a single story high, and of an oblong shape, resem- 
bling more closely, at a distance, a Dutch hay -stack, than 

186 COMMERt E. [1839. 

anything beside. They consist of posts or stakes, at the 
corners, and at intervals between them, driven firmly into 
the ground. The walls are built of bamboo interlaced, or of 
strips of hibiscus. Where there are floors, they are made of 
planks from the bread-fruit. There is not often more than 
one apartment ; but, occasionally, a separate shed is employed 
for cooking. Frequently a part of the hut is railed off, for 
the use of a sow and her litter. 

Some of the houses, on Tahiti and Eimeo, have neat in- 
closed gardens for vegetables and flowers. The queen's 
palace is surrounded by a fine lawn well stocked with shade 
and fruit trees. 

Of furniture there is but little. The principal articles are 
a few mats and low wooden stools ; a trough and stone for 
preparing poe ; and a number of cups and eating vessels made 
of cocoa-nut shells. A log of wood is used for a pillow, and 
a mat for a bed ; in the better class of dwellings, they have 
pillows stuffed with cotton or aromatic herbs. An old mus- 
ket and several fishing spears, extended on rude hooks, and 
some bunches of fruit depending from the rafters, are the 
customary ornaments witnessed in the native houses. 

(10.) Though they make no long voyages, the Society 
Islanders are essentially a maritime people. Their commer- 
cial resources are limited, however ; and most of their trade, 
which is carried on exclusively by foreigners, principally 
French and English, is with New South Wales, whose ports 
are opened to their vessels on the same footing as the English. 
They export thither, sugar, cocoa-nut oil, and arrow-root, to 
an amount exceeding thirty-five thousand dollars annually, 
and receive in return, hardware, calicoes, and other manu- 
factured goods. In the course of a year, perhaps one hun- 
dred whalers visit the islands to barter, whose trade amounts 
to nearly fifty dollars for each vessel. The American prop- 
erty annually visiting the group is estimated to be worth at 
least five million dollars. About ten thousand dollars' worth 
of pearls are annually obtained from the Paumotu Group, 
most of which are sent to France. 


Double canoes are the only large vessels belonging to the 
natives. Recently, small schooners of one hundred tons bur- 
den have been built at Tahiti, under the superintendence of 
Americans, which are employed in the trade to New South 
Wales. The large timbers of the schooners are made of 
mape, and the smaller ones of hibiscus. The native canoes 
are of various sizes and shapes, either double or single, and 
are decidedly superior to those found elsewhere in the Pacific. 
Some of them are seventy feet long and but two feet wide, 
with high stems and sterns, ornamented with grotesque 
carved work. The war canoes are from forty to sixty feet 
long, well-modelled and firmly built, and fancifully ornamented 
with carving, and decorated with gay flags and streamers. 
The canoes built for trading with vessels anchored in the 
harbors, or for fishing on the reefs, are always single, and 
rarely hold more than two persons. Mape and hibiscus fur- 
nish the principal materials used in the construction of canoes. 
The cordage is made of grape-vines, or the fibres of the bread- 
fruit. The sails, usually of a half oval shape, are made of 
matting of pandanus leaves ; they are very large, and one 
would suppose that the canoes might be easily upset in a 
squall, but the native sailors are expert and skilful, and, at 
such times, they get far out on the outriggers, and thus keep 
their frail barks in an upright position, while they dash for- 
ward with the utmost velocity. 

There is little or no internal traffic. Almost every one 
raises what food he needs for himself and family, and the 
poorer class of natives manufacture their own clothing, from 
that never-failing source of supply, the bread-fruit tree. Ve- 
hicles for carrying burdens are not much used, although there 
is a fine road, called the Broom Road, extending completely 
around Tahiti near the beach, and finely arched with trees, 
among them many cocoas, termed the queen's, the fruit of 
which is free to strangers and travellers. The mode of car- 
rying articles, in general use, is the same with that observed 
in the East Indies, and throughout the islands of the Pacific : 
a stout stick, from four to five feet long, is extended hori- 


zontally over the shoulder, and a portion of the burden at- 
tached to either end. 

Sugar, cocoa-nut oil and arrow-root, are the chief articles 
of commerce, which require to be manufactured before being 
fit for market. Much larger quantities of these might be 
produced, were the natives more industrious. The annual 
product of sugar, probably the most important of all, is 
steadily increasing. Nearly two hundred tons are raised on 
the plantations of Tahiti, and half that quantity on those of 
Eimeo, in the space of a year. One hundred tons of cocoa- 
nut oil were once annually exported, but, in consequence of 
some unwise restrictive measures of the government, there is 
much less obtained. The oil is extracted in a very simple 
manner : the kernel is chopped up in fine pieces, and placed 
in a trough, so inclined, that when the oil is expelled by the 
heat of the sun it will trickle down into a reservoir placed 
beneath ; it is preserved in pieces of bamboo cut off at the 
joints, arid is used for lubricating machinery and making 
soap, and, when perfumed, is burnt in lamps. The value of 
the arrow-root annually prepared, is about five thousand 
dollars. As in other countries, the root is washed and beaten 
into a pulp, and the fecula separated from the fibrous matter 
by elutriation through sieves. 

Attempts have been made by the missionaries to introduce 
cotton spinning and weaving, at Tahiti, but with little or no 
success ; and a carpet factory established at Eimeo, has 
failed. Yet the natives are not deficient in mechanical in- 
genuity. In former times, skill in the manufacture of tapa 
was esteemed an important female accomplishment, and, as 
such, highly prized. All the labor in preparing this native 
cloth is performed by women, and those who continue to 
make it are as proud of their stores, as were our Dutch 
grandmothers of their rolls of kersey and heaps of linen. 
The tapa is made of the inner fibres of the bark from the 
branches of the bread-fruit tree. These fibres are macerated, 
and then beaten on a long spring-board, slightly convex, with 
a small grooved mallet, under which process, while in a moist 

1839.] TAPA. 189 

state, they become interlaced with each other, and assume 
the appearance of woven cloth. Bales of it are sometimes 
made, two hundred yards long, and four yards in width. Its 
color, in an unbleached state, is a darkish brown ; and it is 
customary either to bleach it, or to color it with vegetable 
dyes. Since the introduction of European cloth, there has 
been a great deal less made, especially on Tahiti and Eimeo, 
and it is now chiefly worn by females, children, and the 
poorer classes 

(11.) There is some contrariety of opinion in regard to the 
general influence exerted by the missionaries in the Society 
Islands. No doubt, the condition of the inhabitants is very 
different from what it would naturally have been, had they 
remained enveloped in the mists and darkness of heathenish 
superstition, but might it not have been still better ? The 
missionaries were unquestionably right in theory, yet they 
lacked practical tact. They discouraged the fondness for 
flowers which characterized the natives, because it was con- 
nected with ancient customs and a dark and cruel faith, in- 
stead of teaching the poor benighted pagan to love them bet- 
ter, from a higher and nobler impulse from adoration for 
their Creator, whose matchless handiwork is nowhere more 
strikingly or beautifully exhibited, than upon the islands of 
the Pacific. They endeavored to check, or prohibit altogether, 
some of their favorite amusements among others, those of 
singing and dancing forgetting, meanwhile, that amuse- 
ments are far more necessary to an excitable people, though 
they may be indolent by nature, than to those who are cold 
and phlegmatic in disposition. Though he failed to profit 
by it in the end, Louis Philippe understood better the char- 
acter of his subjects of course more refined and enlightened 
than the Society Islanders, but, like them, volatile, gay- 
hearted, and mercurial in temperament when he enriched 
the collections, and added new beauties, to the noble Jardin 
des P/antes, and filled the lofty halls and corridors, the 
vaulted chambers and saloons, of Versailles, with all the 


glories of France.* True, the one labored to establish a 
temporal power on a firm foundation, while the others were 
employed on a divine mission ; but the laws of nature, of 
man's physical constitution, can never be disregarded with 
impunity. As the love of flowers might have been made to 
subserve a happy purpose, so might the amusements of the 
natives, by rendering them harmless, or substituting others 
in their stead, if that were impossible, have produced a hap- 
piness, and contentedness of feeling, under the influence of 
which they would have been less likely to fall into the vices, 
and become victims to the temptations, introduced, or placed 
before them, by some of the foreign residents. 

The traders and merchants who followed the missionaries, 
have undoubtedly done much to counteract their efforts ; but 
the influence exerted by their own children has been equally 
pernicious, and the establishment of a separate school for 
them, looks so much like exclusiveness, like an aristocratic 
barrier, that its tendency cannot be otherwise than prejudi- 
cial. Until quite recently, very little pains have been taken 
to instruct the natives in any useful arts, or to present in- 
ducements for them to be active and industrious. Had they 
been taught some light and easy employments, particularly 
the females, and been allowed to indulge their native tastes 
and customs, where they were not decidedly immoral, it is 
but reasonable to suppose that they would have been a hap- 
pier, more virtuous, and better contented people. 

* "A toutes les gloires de la France" is the inscription on the portico of the 
palace of Versailles. 


(1.) Arrival of the Squadron at Tahiti. Voyage to the Samoan Group. (2.) 
Geographical Description of the Islands. Geology. Climate. (3.) Principal 
Towns and Harbors. (4.) Inhabitants. Character and Appearance. Dress. 
Manners and Customs. (5.) Government. State of Society. The Mission- 
aries. (6.) Mode of building Houses. (7.) Commerce. Canoes of the 
Natives. (8.) Zoology. (9.) Soil. Productions. (10.) Movements of the 
Squadron. Departure from the Group. 

(1.) AT sunset on the 10th of September, the Vincennes 
anchored in Matavai Bay, where she found the Porpoise, 
the latter having arrived in Papieti Harbor the day previous. 
The Peacock arrived on the 12th, and the Flying Fish on 
the 14th instant. Immediately after the arrival of the Squad- 
ron, the instruments were landed, and observations made, 
on Point Venus, a convenient and airy house having been 
kindly offered for this purpose by Queen Pomare. While 
the Americans remained at the island, their intercourse with 
the civil authorities, the missionaries, and the natives, was 
of the most friendly character ; they experienced the most 
hospitable and generous treatment on every hand ; and dur- 
ing their stay, a number of grievances complained of by the 
American consul, were promptly redressed, through the in- 
tervention of the commander of the expedition. 

All the harbors of Tahiti and Eimeo were carefully sur- 
veyed, and correct charts made, by one or other of the vessels 
of the Squadron. On the 20th of September, the Vincennes 
put to sea for a short cruise in the Paumotu Group, with 
instructions to join the flag ship, at Rose Island, the eastern- 
most of the Samoan, or Navigators' Group, between the 1st 
and 5th of October. The Vincennes moved to Papieti Harbor 
on the 22d of September, and was joined, on the 24th instant, 

192 THE SAMOAN GROUP. [1839. 

by the other vessels belonging to the Squadron. On the 25th, 
she sailed to Eimeo, and on the 29th pursued her course to 
the west. Passing Bellinghausen's Island on her route, 
where she stopped to make some magnetic experiments, she 
hove in sight of Rose Island on the 7th of October, two days 
later than the appointed time, where she found the Porpoise 
awaiting her arrival. The Flying Fish was detained at 
Papieti, for repairs, till the 10th of October the Peacock re- 
maining to bear her company on which day both vessels 
sailed for the place of rendezvous. 

(2.) The Samoan Group formerly called Navigators' Is- 
lands is situated between latitude 13 30' and 14 30' S., 
and longitude 168 and 173 "W. These islands were dis- 
covered in 1768, by the distinguished French navigator, 
Count de Bougainville, who gave them the name which they 
have heretofore usually borne. There are eight of the islands 
inhabited, viz. Manua, Oloosinga, Ofoo, Tutuila, Upolu, 
Manono, Apolima, and Savaii and there are several smaller 
and uninhabited islands, among which is Rose Island, a low 
circular coral islet, with a lagoon in the centre, nearly inun- 
dated in high water, and covered to the very rim with tall and 
graceful pisonias. The other small islands resemble this in 
general formation and appearance, and are mainly situated 
within the shore reefs of the larger islands. 

Manua is the first island west of Rose Island. It is about 
sixteen miles in circumference, and upwards of twenty-five 
hundred feet above the level of the sea. Its shores are high 
and bold, rising, in most places, precipitately, to the height 
of three or four hundred feet. Above this the ground swells 
gracefully, upward and inward, till it attains its greatest ele- 
vation, like a vast dome reared above some mighty citadel. 
It is well-wooded, and covered with rich verdure to its sum- 
mit. Four miles northwest of Manua is Oloosinga, which 
consists of a narrow ledge of rocks, three miles long, rising 
abruptly from the water. The only portion of it that is pro- 
ductive, is a narrow strip running lengthwise of the island, 
and overspread with the most luxuriant vegetation. Ofoo 


lies west of Oloosinga, from which it is separated by a channel 
for boats, one quarter of a mile in width* It is of but little 
importance, and contains but few inhabitants, most of them 
having been cut off during the bloody wars that have mom 
than decimated the population of the islands. 

Fifteen miles west of Ofoo and Oloosinga, from which it is 
visible in fine weather, is Tutuila, the most central island, 
and one of the most important of the group. It is nearly 
fifty miles in circumference ; its shores are precipitous ; and 
it has, generally, a broken and rugged appearance, occasioned 
by the numerous sharp spurs and ridges that vary its surface, 
though its scenery is highly romantic, and its unevenness 
is more than half concealed by the dense forests of cocoas and 
bread-fruits, whose thickly-matted foliage, interlaced with 
innumerable vines and creepers, covers the island as with a 
carpet, which, when disturbed by the summer wind, rises 
and falls, in wavy undulations, like the billows of the ocean. 
The highest peak on Tutuila is Matafoa, upwards of twenty- 
three hundred feet above the ocean. It contains a large pop- 
ulation, who are chiefly congregated in the valleys and plains 
sloping down to the sea. Lofty and impassable hills separate 
the island into two parts, the only communication between 
which is by the sea shore, the one, on the northeast, ex- 
ceedingly rough and uneven ; and the other, on the south- 
west, lower, more level, and more easy of cultivation. 
Tutuila was visited by the unfortunate La Perouse, in De- 
cember, 1788, and derives something of its importance from 
the fact, that M. de Langle, the captain of the Astrolabe, 
and the naturalist of the Expedition, with ten other persons, 
lost their lives on the island, in a collision with the natives. 

Upolu, thirty-six miles west of Tutuila, is seventy miles 
in circumference. It is not so lofty, nor so much broken, as 
the other islands of the group, and in population, beauty and 
fertility, far exceeds either of them. The land rises gradu- 
ally, for some distance from the shore, and then breaks into a 
succession of mountainous ridges, clothed to the top with 
verdure of the richest green. Wide tracts of table land lie 



along the coast ; and there are broad valleys between the 
ridges, carpeted with the finest tropical flowers, and sprinkled 
with clumps and groves, of bread-fruit, pandanus, and cocoa- 
nut. The steep hill-sides are fringed with the white foliage 
of the candle-nut, with the long waving fronds of arborescent 
ferns and the graceful plumes of the mountain palrn. The 
clustering hamlets of the natives are scattered here and there ; 
and the tasteful cottage of the missionary, and the neat 
chapel, peep out, once in a while, from the deeply-shaded 
bowers that overhang them. The beautiful and the wild, 
the pretty and the picturesque, are exhibited in striking 
contrast. On one side, there is all the dreamy softness of 
an Italian landscape ; on the other, the sublime grandeur of 
Alpine scenery. Tiny brooklets, singing ever so many a 
joyous lullaby, course down the upper slopes, and anon, 
widening into miniature rivers, leap in cascades of milky 
foam over precipices seven hundred feet above the level of the 
ocean. Wild glades and glens there are, within whose 
sylvan recesses the spirit of romance might forever love to 
linger, and where 

tc Gentle gales, 

Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense 
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole 
Their balmy spoils." 

Within the sea reef of Upolu, and near its western extrem- 
ity, is the island of Manono, but four miles in circumference, 
yet containing eleven hundred inhabitants and a missionary 
station. Connected with Upolu and Manono by a line of 
soundings, is Apolima in former days the olo (citadel), or 
place of refuge, of the inhabitants of Manono in time of war 
and danger. This is a small castellated -island, the crater of 
an extinct volcano, surrounded by perpendicular cliffs almost 
five hundred feet high, which are unbroken and inaccessible 
save at one point, where there is a slight indentation, forming 
a bay, with an entrance large enough to admit the passage 
of one small boat at a time, and therefore quite ea,sy to be 
defended against a much superior enemy. On the elevated 

1839.] STREAMS AND LAKES. 195 

tableau there is sufficient depth of soil to support the cocoa, 
bread-fruit, and banana ; and taro and yams are cultivated 
by the inhabitants, who do not exceed five hundred in 

Savaii, the farthest west, and the largest of the group, is 
also connected with Apolima by a line of soundings. It is 
not as populous or as important as Upolu, and its coast out- 
line is much less beautiful. It is over one hundred miles in 
circumference, and is protected, on the north and east, from 
the violence of the surf, by reefs of coral ; but, on the oppo- 
site sides, the breakers dash unchecked against its rocky 
bulwarks. Except on the south and west, the shores are low, 
and there is a gradual ascent to the centre of the island, 
where many abrupt volcanic craters are seen, whose fires 
were long since silenced, above which towers a single peak, 
four thousand five hundred feet high, almost always envel- 
oped in clouds, and in a clear day visible at a distance of 
fifty or sixty miles. 

Mountain streamlets, sometimes forming quite respectable 
rivers, frequently intersect the larger islands, with the ex- 
ception of Savaii, which has no permanent streams, though 
possessing an abundance of copious springs. There are like- 
wise numerous lakes and waterfalls, the latter of which 
may one day be serviceable for mills or machinery. On 
Upolu there is a pretty lake, called Laiito, occupying the 
basin of a crater, twenty-four hundred and fifty feet above 
the sea, with nine and a half fathoms of water in its deepest 
part, and a subterranean outlet. 

Like the Society Islands, the members of this group are 
generally surrounded by coral reefs, with occasional channels, 
or openings, dividing them, through which vessels may pass, 
and appear to be of volcanic origin. The general structure 
of the islands is conglomerate, of a drab color, lying in hori- 
zontal strata. The mural walls and precipices upon which, 
as it were, the upper stratum, or productive soil, rests, are 
of basaltic rock. There is an abundance of scoria ; currents 
of lava are visible ; and it is also found in large blocks full of 


vesicles. The rocks of basaltic lava contain augite, olivine, 
common feldspar and albite. All the higher hills and moun- 
tain peaks are crateriform. The beaches consist of a light- 
colored sand, composed of a mixture of coral and shells. 
Coral debris is found on the smaller islands, and along the 
shores of the larger ones. The soil is principally formed of 
decomposed volcanic rocks and vegetable mould. 

The climate is mild and agreeable, and the mean temper- 
ature about 80. It is more moist than at Tahiti, and the 
vegetation is more thrifty. Nearly one third of the days in a 
year are rainy. From April to November, the season is fine, 
the winds being light, and affording merely a pleasant 
variety to the long-continued calms. During the remainder 
of the year high winds prevail, principally from the south- 
ward and eastward. Destructive hurricanes sometimes 
occur, and earthquakes are not infrequent. The latter are 
not usually violent, but produce a slight wavy motion, like 
that of a vessel in an ordinary sea. 

(3.) On the northwest side of Manua, there is a small 
settlement, and anchorage ground for vessels of light draught, 
with a pretty little cove to land in, in pleasant weather. 
Near the village are a number of irregularly-shaped stone 
walls, the object of the erection of which is not known, but 
they are supposed to have been intended for defence. 

Pago-pago, on the south side of the island of Tutuila, is 
the largest, and in many respects the most important harbor, 
in the group. It is deep and land-locked penetrating so far 
into the interior as to cut the island nearly in two, and lined 
on both sides by steep inaccessible precipices, from eight 
hundred to a thousand feet high. The coast, on either hand 
of the entrance, which is about one third of a mile in width, 
is bold and rugged. Opposite the opening, at some three 
miles distance from the shore, is a coral bank on which the 
sea breaks in stormy weather. Except during a strong 
southerly gale, vessels of almost any class may run into the 
harbor in safety. If the wind be unfavorable, it requires con- 
siderable tacking to get in or out, but the place boasts a white 


pilot, who has established himself there, and is always ready 
to come off when the proper signal is given. The village of 
Pago-pago contains but about forty dwellings, a council-house, 
(f ale-tele), and a neat church. Supplies can be obtained 
here in abundance. 

On the southern coast of Tutuila, there are, also, two other 
small villages, called Faigatua and Leone, belonging to the 
" devil's men," as the heathen, or unconverted natives, are styled 
by the Christian party. There are, likewise, desirable ports, 
or bays, on the north side of the island, at which vessels can 
procure water and supplies. Among them are Fungasar and 
Massacre Bay, the latter the scene of the murder of M. de 
Langle and his party. 

Apia, on Upolu, is a safe and spacious harbor, less difficult 
of access than Pago-pago. It faces the north, and ordinarily 
admits of easy ingress and egress. The bottom is sandy, 
and at twenty-five yards distance from the shore, there are 
five fathoms of water. As a river empties into the bay 
which forms the harbor, fresh water is easily obtained. The 
town of Apia is about the same size as Pago-pago, and con- 
tains a large fale-tele, and a pretty white stone church, con- 
structed under the direction of the missionaries. Twenty 
miles west of Apia, is Fasetootai, having a small harbor 
within the reef ; and between the two places is Sagana, a 
neat settlement containing six hundred inhabitants, and 
a missionary school. It is situated on a peninsula, and is 
surrounded by cultivated grounds, intersected by broad walks 
and paths, the fruits and crops growing on which are pro- 
tected from the ravages of the swine by a stone wall extend- 
ing across the isthmus. 

Savaii has numerous inlets, but they are either too shal- 
low to float large vessels, or only large enough to admit the 
entrance of small uoats. Mataatua Bay, on the north point of 
the island, is an exception, however, and affords good anchor- 
age except when northwesterly winds prevail. Paluale on 
the eastern end of the island, and Felialupo on the north- 
western point, are small but pleasantly located villages. 

198 INHABITANTS. [1839. 

(4.) Formerly, the population of the Navigator Group was 
supposed to be one hundred thousand, but it is now estimated 
by the missionaries at only sixty thousand. Infanticide has 
never been practiced here, as at the Society Islands ; but se- 
vere and bloody wars have been frequent, sometimes whole 
districts being depopulated by them. It is not improbable, 
therefore, though by no means certain, that the number of 
inhabitants is not so large as at the time of the first discovery 
of the islands. 

In complexion, the Samoan is, perhaps, a shade darker 
than the Society Islander, but in their features there is a 
strong resemblance. The first is taller and better formed, 
and altogether of more commanding presence, than any of 
the other Polynesians, except, it may be, the Tongese. Gen- 
erally speaking, the inhabitants of the Navigators' Islands 
have frank and open, intelligent and pleasing countenances ; 
their eyes are black ; their teeth good and white ; and their 
hair dark, coarse, and straight, though sometimes curled, or 
frizzled. The men are strong and muscular, fierce and war- 
like, active and energetic in disposition. There is a wide 
difference, however, between the chiefs and the kanakas, or 
common people, in regard to personal appearance. The for- 
mer are more athletic, better made, and superior in physical 
strength and dignity of deportment.* 

When young, the Samoan women are tolerably handsome ; 
but as they advance in years, they become too stout and cor- 
pulent to be called even good-looking. But this change is 
not produced, as might be supposed, by hard labor or ill- 
usage. On the contrary, woman is here treated with a 
respect not usual among the savage islanders ; she enjoys 
nearly the same privileges as the man ; the affections are 
strongly manifested, and the ties between husband and wife, 

* This fact has been remarked almost everywhere in the Pacific, and has led 
many travellers and scientific men to suppose, not without reason, that the 
Polynesian chiefs belong to a distinct race who reduced the former occupants 
of the islands to subjection. See Ellis' Polynesian Researches, Vol. I, p. 78, et 
aeq. ; and Moerenhout, Vol. II, p. 247, et seq. 

1839.] THE SAMOAN WOMEN. 199 

parent and child, in the main sacredly regarded. All the 
hard work, even that of cooking, is performed by the men, 
while their wives and daughters are engaged in beating tapa, 
or some other light employment. The women are reserved 
in their manners, and particularly cautious in their inter- 
course with foreigners : though chastity is a rare virtue in 
the Pacific, where they have not been corrupted by the 
whites, they possess a great deal of that native modesty, 
which, like the element of fire, can never change its nature, 

" But burns as brightly in a gipsy camp, 
As in a palace hall." 

Adultery is not common, even among the u devil's men ;" 
and wherever the missionary influence has extended, it is 
regarded as a high offence, and is severely punished. Polyg- 
amy is still practiced to some extent, but it is nearly abol- 
ished ; and a great many have been forced to yield to public 
opinion on this subject, who, wedded to ancient customs, look 
back to the days when that abomination was generally toler- 
ated, with regret. The husband may repudiate his wife, 
however, if he is so inclined ; but the wife cannot separate 
herself from her husband without his consent. 

The Samoans are thrifty and industrious, though, as their 
wants are so easily supplied, there is little inducement to 
labor. They are cunning and inquisitive, yet generally 
honest and well-behaved. On public occasions, in the church 
or council-house, they are sedate in manner, but they have 
kind and social dispositions, and are extremely fond of visit- 
ing. They can conduct themselves with great propriety, 
whenever it is necessary, for they are not deficient in self- 
respect ; but their hearts are naturally as light as the soft 
atmosphere that rests over their verdant hills and lovely 
valleys. They are fond of receiving presents, and often lib- 
eral in tendering them, in return, though not offended when 
they are declined. Hospitality is one of their chief virtues ; 
still they always expect pay for any services they may ren- 
der, not so much out of selfishness, as because they have 


always been accustomed to receive gifts, by way of remun- 
eration or otherwise, from the whites, ever since the first 
discovery of the group. Their minds are susceptible of cul- 
tivation, and a thirst for obtaining information pervades all 
classes. They are a poetic people, and have numerous- 
beautiful legends, which they are fond of repeating. They 
have some considerable musical talent, too, and the males 
have clear and fine voices ; their singing is monotonous, but 
correct in harmony. 

Pride of character is not wanting among them ; their chiefs 
know very well how to maintain their dignity, and, while 
thus solicitous on their own account, they hold the memory 
and reputation of their ancestors, in great veneration and 
esteem. A calm and dignified mien is thought to be the 
most fitting at their public assemblages, except where amuse- 
ment is the order of the day ; the utmost decorum is pre- 
served ; no one stands in the presence of his superior ; and 
all conversation is carried on in a whisper. In respect to 
talent, they are far above mediocrity, as those will bear wit- 
ness who have observed the shrewdness, tact, and ability, 
displayed by the speakers at the native councils. 

Cleanliness in their personal habits is another characteristio 
of this people. The first thing the Samoan does in the morn- 
ing, after he rises from his rude couch, and before going 
to his daily occupation, is to bathe thoroughly ; and then he 
anoints his body with cocoa-nut oil and turmeric, both for 
the sake of the shining appearance thereby communicated, 
which they esteem an ornament, and, as they allege, to pre- 
serve their suppleness and elasticity of limb. The females 
bathe daily, and anoint their bodies, as well as the men. All, 
of every age and sex, practice frequent bathing, not merely 
as a cleanly habit, but as an amusement; and they have 
become so much attached to it, that the missionaries have 
felt constrained to prohibit it altogether on the Sabbath. 
Excessive eating, bordering on gluttony, is a common vice, 
but they drink sparingly of wine and liquors, unless it ba 

1839.] THE "DEVIL'S MEN." 201 

among the inhabitants of the " devil's towns," where greater 
latitude is claimed and allowed. 

There are, of course, exceptions to these general remarks 
in regard to the traits and characteristics of the people of the 
Navigator Group. A striking difference is observable be- 
tween the towns belonging to the " devil's men," and those 
of the other party ; and a similar difference may be remarked 
in the conduct of their respective inhabitants. But their 
natural dispositions are the same, whether they be Christian 
or heathen, only the better qualities which all possess, are 
more conspicuous in the former than in the latter. The hea- 
then are more wild, blood-thirsty, and vindictive than the 
Christians ; but, though living side by side, there are com- 
paratively few broils and contentions between the two par- 
ties. The " devil's men" are equally hospitable with their 
neighbors, when the fit is on them, but they are sometimes 
sullen and surly, though it is said that strangers may travel 
through their towns and districts, entirely unarmed, without 
being molested. Fondness for ava was once a national fail- 
ing, and the heathen continue to drink it to excess ; they are 
also great gormands, and frequently have large feasts, at 
which they devour numbers of hogs, and quantities of other 
eatables, till their literally swinish appetites become com- 
pletely satiated. The heathen women are bashful and re- 
served to some extent, more so, indeed, than might be 
expected, yet they lack the remarkable naivete of the 
Christian damsel. 

For some reason or other, also, the people of Savaii differ 
slightly in physiognomy, and in their manners and appear- 
ance, from the inhabitants of the other islands ; their features 
are more regular, and the women more gracefully formed. 
Their spears and war-clubs, too, are not exactly of the same 
fashion, and they are more neatly made. 

A fondness for traffic is common to them all ; they aro 
ever ready to exchange their fruit, fowls, and hogs, for tools, 
cloth, powder, tobacco, and trinkets, though the Christians 
care but little for the last two. They are quite shrewd at a 

202 DISEASES. [1839. 

bargain, and the people of Savaii would dc no discredit, in 
this respect, to the land of wooden nutmegs and cucumber 

Fevers and syphilitic complaints are very rare on these 
islands. The diseases to which the inhabitants are subject, 
are generally of a sporadic character. The most prevalent 
are dysentery, caries, catarrh, and bronchial disorders. Oph- 
thalmia is often produced by the heat of the sun reflected 
from the sand. Elephantiasis, which is here attributed to 
eating food without salt, drinking cocoa-nut water,, exposure 
at night, and want of exercise, is also quite common. 
Children are very liable to an eruptive complaint, called 
ilumea, which breaks out on their heads. The only remedy 
which the natives had for disease, besides bathing, was sham- 
pooing; but since the missionaries appeared among them, 
they have been supplied with proper medicines as far as was 
possible, and have received better medical attendance. 

It has been well doubted whether any living language 
could be properly regarded as the parent stock of the Poly- 
nesian.* The language of the Samoa' n Group is, doubtless, 
a branch of the Malay ; but it has so many features analo- 
gous to other tongues and dialects, that it would require all 
the credulity of Lord Kingsborough to reconcile them. It is 
constructed like the Tahitian, though it is smoother, softer, 
more flexible, and not so easily spoken. It is the only Poly- 
nesian language in which the sound of s is heard. Notwith- 
standing the resemblance, in its construction, to that of the 
Society Islands, the inhabitants of that group and the Samoans 
cannot understand each other. 

The maro was, originally, almost the only article of cloth- 
ing worn by the natives ; and it is now the ordinary dress of 
the common people, being well adapted for active exercise, 
not cumbersome, light, easily made, and easily renewed. It 
is constructed of the leaves of the ti, (draccena,) which are 
sometimes slit, and thus form a short petticoat. It is worn 
about the loins and between the thighs, so as to conceal the 

* Crawfurd's Indian Archipelago, Vol. II, p. 80, et seq. 

1839.] DRESS. 203 

pubes. A dress, called the tttt, made of the same materials, 
is also worn in the heathen villages, particularly by the fe- 
males : it is merely an apron or girdle extending round the 
body, and reaching from the loins half way down the thighs 
or to the knees. The titi is much cooler than the maro, but 
like the latter requires frequent changing, as the leaves soon 
wilt and decay. Tapa mantles are worn by the chiefs and 
their attendants, whenever they appear in public. Beautiful 
shaggy mats made of the fibres of the hibiscus, fastened at 
the neck and hanging down to the feet, are worn by the 
wives and daughters of chiefs. 

Latterly, the missionaries have introduced the siapo from 
the Friendly Islands. This garment resembles the Tahitian 
pareu, and is either made of cotton cloth, or of ti or pandanus 
leaves. They have also brought the tiputa, the ancient 
dress of the women in the Society Islands, and like the South 
American poncho in shape and form, into partial use, among 
the Samoan women. 

Articles of European costume are occasionally seen. Some 
of the chiefs are the owners of white striped cotton shirts, 
white vests, sailors' blue cloth round jackets and pantaloons, 
fur hats and coarse brogans, in which they appear on extraor- 
dinary occasions ; and their wives and daughters are equally 
fortunate in the possession of calico or gingham frocks, waist 
ribbons, flaring straw bonnets, and morocco shoes. 

Of ornaments but few are worn. After taking her daily 
bath, and anointing her person, the Samoan girl sometimes 
arranges her hair in ringlets, entwined with flowers : but 
this practice is fast going out of date, as it is now the custom 
to crop the hair close in the Christian towns, and it is often 
filled with fine coral sand, lime, or ashes, to destroy the ver- 
min. The missionaries, too, have interdicted the use of 
flowers. The native men wear a shell suspended from the 
neck by a string, as an amulet. Tattooing is regarded as 
the emblem of manhood ; it is performed, at from fourteen to 
eighteen years of age, and is very expensive. The males 
have their whole bodies, from their breasts to their knees, 


covered with the ornaments ; but the females have only a 
few lines around their hands, arms, and legs. The young 
women in the heathen villages also paint a spot on each 
breast, from the size of a dollar to that of a small plate, of a 
reddish brown color. 

In the Christian towns the hair is shaven close, but among 
the heathen it is suffered to grow, and gathered in a knot at 
the back of the head, which adds very much to their wild 
and ferocious appearance. 

Having few wants, the Samoan has few cares. A house, 
a taro and yam patch, a visiting canoe, a half dozen pigs, 
several bread-fruit and cocoa-nut trees, and a neat, well-form- 
ed woman, for a wife, will satisfy the ambition of any man. 
But though all these are easily acquired, the converted Sa- 
moan is not improvident, though eating, bathing, sleeping, and 
dancing, are the chief employments and occupations of his 
heathen neighbor. In the Christian villages the men assist 
in cooking, cultivate and weed their taro and yam patches, 
repair their fences, build houses and canoes, and make sennit 
The women do the light household work, beat tapa, and 
weave mats and other similar articles. The boys and girls 
in a family either wait upon their parents, or spend their 
time in playing. Both young and old occupy a great many 
of their leisure hours in reading and study, of which they are 
very fond ; and there are now between ten and twelve thou- 
sand persons in the group who can read with great facility. 

Fishing and bird-catching are favorite amusements of all 
classes ; and it is needless to say that a great deal of skill 
and expertness is exhibited in their prosecution. Of boxing 
and wrestling they were likewise once fond, but these sports 
are much less common now. Singing and dancing are not 
so much in vogue as formerly, except in the heathen towns. 
The chief dance is called siv a ; it is lascivious and ungrace- 
ful, and the Christian girl cannot easily be induced to exhibit 
in it. This dance consists in throwing the legs, arms, and 
bodies, into divers graceless and wanton postures ; and is per- 
formed at the f ale-teles in the heathen towns, by the native 

1839.] AMUSEMENTS. 205 

girls, for the entertainment of guests and visitors. The men 
likewise have their dances, which are not so indecorous, and 
which they perform in parties, advancing and retreating, 
clapping their hands, and stamping with their feet. 

Their principal musical instruments are the drum and flute. 
The first is long and narrow, and is made of a part of a tree 
hollowed out. The flute is of bamboo, usually about one 
inch in diameter and sixteen inches long. They also make 
pipes of the bamboo, and have a rude sort of guitar formed of 
a loose slat fitted into a piece of board, upon which they beat 
with two sticks. 

They have a number of games. Among them is that of 
lafe, which resembles shuffle board, and is played by the 
chiefs only, on a mat, with cocoa-nut shells finely carved and 
ornamented. Tuae-fua consists in keeping balls in the air, 
like the Chinese jugglers ; and litia, in throwing light spears 
of hibiscus rods. Lupe is played by two persons ; the one 
strikes the back of his closed fist on a table, and then holds 
up, instantly, one or more fingers ; if his opponent fails to 
hold up the same fingers immediately, he loses one point, and 
there are ten in the game. 

In each village there is a f ale-tele, or council house, where 
the fonos, or public meetings, are held. In the heathen 
towns, also, strangers are entertained in them with feasts and 

When the Samoan salutes a friend, or visitor, he takes his 
hand, and rubs the back of it against his own nose. 

As in most savage, or unenlightened nations, wives are 
obtained by making presents to the parents, usually to the 
father. Marriages take place early. Girls are betrothed 
without regard to age, and are sad, or taboo, till they become 
marriageable. After the betrothal, the parties commence the 
preparations for housekeeping ; a house is built, and a supply 
of mats and tapas made. Two days previous to the marriage 
are taken up with feasts and amusements ; and on the third 
day, the bride is produced before the guests, the Jewish cere- 
mony customary on such occasions is performed, the mar- 

206 CUSTOMS. [1839. 

riage is consummated, and the day ends, among the heathen, 
in riotous feasting and dancing. 

Parturition takes place without danger, difficulty, or cere- 
mony. After delivery, the mother takes the infant to the 
nearest spring, bathes it, and returns to her ordinary occupa- 
tions, just as if nothing had happened. Names are given to 
males and, females indiscriminately, previous to the birth. 
Children are usually suckled till they are six years old, and 
some women have been known to suckle two or three of their 
offspring of different ages, at the same time. 

They are not very ceremonious in regard to burials, but it 
is customary to feast those who are present. 

In the preparation of food, their customs are similar to 
those which prevail throughout the Pacific islands. Their 
stove is the well-known Polynesian one a hollow in the earth 
lined with heated stones, and another layer over the articles 
to be cooked, with a thin covering of earth and leaves above. 
They have no fixed time for taking their meals, but eat when 
they are hungry. Pork, fowls, birds, fish, bread-fruit, cocoa- 
nuts, bananas, taro and yams, are their chief articles of food. 
Rata, the native chestnut, is also much eaten. The sour 
paste, called mahz, made from the bread-fruit, is used when 
the trees are not in a bearing state. Pig, taro and bread- 
fruit, are served up for visitors on banana leaves ; and some- 
times cooked bread-fruit, or the delicious cocoa-nut pudding 
(faiai), is handed round in wooden trays. When eaten, the 
bread-fruit is dipped in salt water, or cocoa-nut oil. Their 
drinking vessels are made of cocoa-nut shells. 

As has been before mentioned, the heathen are exceeding 
great gluttons. They eat hogs, biche de mer, echina, holi- 
thuria, and wood-maggots, entrails and all, with unusual 

They have a fine beverage in the cocoa-nut milk, which 
they heat in shells ; but they are far more attached, espe- 
cially the " devil's men," to their stimulating ava. This is 
prepared in a most disgusting way. The ava plant, (piper 
mythisticum,) is chewed by the women, and then thrown 

1839.] GOVERNMENT. 207 

into a large bowl the saliva of the females, as in the manu- 
facture of chica among the Indians of Chili, being supposed 
to produce the necessary fermentation ; water is then added, 
after which the delectable compound is strained through the 
leaves of the plant. Being now fit for use, it is guzzled 
down by the Samoan toper, in copious draughts, stinted 
neither in number nor quantity. 

(5.) There is no general sovereign head in these islands, 
and the Executive power is claimed, and in most cases really 
possessed, by the principal chiefs. There are what may be 
termed four different estates the principal chiefs, the alii, or 
minor chiefs, the tulafales, or landholders, and the common 
people. The islands are divided into districts, each of which 
has a principal chief, though some are of superior rank to 
others, and a distinct government. The fonos, or public 
meetings, are attended by the alii and tulafales, who decide 
what is to be done. The most influential chiefs generally 
carry everything before them. The tulu-fono, or decision 
of the council, is always held in respect, and must be obeyed. 

Upolu and Savaii, though divided into districts, and Ma- 
nono, which, with Apolima, constitutes a district by itself, 
are united together in a sort of compact ; that is, on occa- 
sions affecting the general welfare, the principal" chiefs of the 
different districts meet together in council, and act in concert 
in carrying their determinations into effect. Tutuila is divid- 
ed into several districts, the head chiefs of which frequently 
hold similar councils. Manua, Ofoo, and Oloosinga, have 
what is called, by way of courtesy, a king, who resides some- 
times on one island and sometimes on another ; bat he is 
little more than a chief of the highest rank, and his authority 
is treated with very little respect. 

Few crimes are committed ; and the state of society is 
fully as good, and personal rights are as much respected, as 
could reasonably be looked for, considering how short a time 
has elapsed since the light of civilization and Christianity first 
dawned upon these islands. Among the Christians, the ten 
commandments constitute their common law ; and any in- 

208 STATE OF SOCIETY. [1839. 

fringement of them is punished, usually with promptitude, 
by expelling the offender from the church and forbidding his 
attendance on public worship. Deep disgrace always at- 
taches to those who have been thus dealt with. In the 
heathen towns, crimes are punished by expulsion from the 
particular village or community to which the offending per- 
son belongs, by exposure of the body to the heat of the sun, 
by flogging, by cutting off the ears, by confiscation of prop- 
erty, or by being compelled to eat noxious herbs. A murder 
is avenged by the friends and relatives of the deceased, by 
putting to death the murderer and his family, if they are 
within reach. A compensation, however, is sometimes made, 
in property, for a murder ; and there are places of refuge, 
such as the tombs of great chiefs, which are deemed sacred, 
and those who escape to them are free from molestation. 

Numerous divinities are worshipped by the heathen, and 
were formerly held in reverence and esteem by all the inhab- 
itants of the group. They have one chief, or principal god ; 
three war gods ; a god of earthquakes ; a god who supports 
the earth ; gods of lightning, wind, and rain ; and a great 
number of inferior deities, called aitus. Each chief has his 
aitu t or familiar spirit, who adheres to him through life, like 
the Demon of the ancient Greek, and whose commands he 
is bound to obey. Some of the chiefs, whose vanity and 
self-esteem are pretty prominent, believe that after death 
they become aitus, and, in turn, exercise the office of spirit- 
ual guide and protector. These aitus are adopted arbitrarily, 
and, in general, are birds, animals, or reptiles. After their 
conversion, the Christian chiefs treated them ,with little cere- 
mony ; and it is said of one, whose aitu was fresh water eels, 
that the first thing he did was to kill and eat them. 

It is now but about thirty years since the missionaries of 
the British Board began their labors in the Samoan Group. 
Relying solely upon moral suasion, preaching, in truth, a 
gospel of peace, and discarding entirely the use of forcible 
means, they have obtained an influence which is felt, and 


that beneficially, everywhere throughout the islands.* A 
few abandoned white men, in connection with the heathen 
chiefs, have endeavored to counteract their efforts ; but they 
have never been injured or insulted. The results of their 
ministry are before the world. 

Old customs, some of which, the use of flowers, for in- 
stance, might, we think, have been retained without preju- 
dice, have been done away, and newer and better ones 
introduced. One third of the whole population are professed 
Christians. The schools established in the different towns 
are attended by over twelve thousand pupils, children and 
adults. Ordinarily, it is as still and quiet on the Sabbath 
as in a New England village. Great attention is paid to 
religious duties ; frequent exercises are held during the week ; 
and grace before meals, and morning and evening prayers, 
are said. There are about a dozen missionaries, who are 
assisted by one hundred and fifty native teachers, on the dif- 
ferent islands. They have a printing press at Upolu ; and 
nearly all the Bible has been translated and printed by them, 
and read by the natives. 

(6.) The houses of the natives are of an elliptical form, and 
from twenty to forty feet in length. They are generally built 
amidst groves of bread-fruit trees, which afford their inmates 
a shelter from the storm, and a protection against the rays 
of the sun. Sometimes they are erected on the bare earth, 
and sometimes on flagged terraces of stone raised from two 
to four feet above the ground. In the former case, it is 
usual to cover the floors with a layer of small stones, in order 
to keep them dry. In the centre of one of these houses, there 
are several upright posts, varying in number with the size of 
the building, from twelve to fifteen feet high, upon which a 
ridge pole is laid and firmly secured by lashings of sennit. 

* One of the most efficient and successful of the missionaries on the Naviga- 
tors' Islands, was the Rev. John Williams, author of " Missionary Enterprises," 
and " The Missionary's Farewell," who fell a victim to the cause in which he 
was so zealously engaged, shortly after the squadron sailed from the group, 
being murdered by the natives of the New Hebrides, whither he had gone to 
propagate the gospel. 

210 NATIVE HOUSES. [1839. 

Rafters, fastened in the same manner, reach from this pole 
down to the outer circle of posts, about four feet in height, 
upon which are extended long sticks or plates. The rafters 
are connected with centre posts, nearly half way down, by a 
network of cross beams and braces. The roof is thatched, 
beginning at the top and working downwards, and projects 
from twelve to eighteen inches, like eaves. Bamboo, hibis- 
cus rods, and the small branches of other trees, wattled to- 
gether, form the siding. 

Great ingenuity is displayed in building their houses, 
though in their shape they have probably imitated those of 
the Friendly Islanders. The wood of the bread-fruit is prin- 
cipally used for all the main timbers and posts. The rafters 
are made of hibiscus. All the fastenings are of sennit. 
Their fale-teZes, or council houses, are of the same general 
fashion, though larger and more firmly built. 

The floors of the houses are covered with coarse mats, 
and in the better class, finer ones are spread over these, on 
all occasions of ceremony. A few rough-hewn stools and 
benches are the seats commonly seen ; but in the houses of the 
wealthier chiefs, a raised dais extends round the inside of 
the outer wall. They sleep on the coarse mats used for car- 
peting, with a piece of bamboo, or tamanu wood, supported 
on sticks, for a pillow ; and sometimes a piece of colored tapa 
is hung above their place of repose, to protect them against 
the musquitoes. Baskets, mats, and cocoa-nut shells for eat- 
ing and drinking, of which they usually have an abundance, 
are scattered about in every part of the dwelling, and con- 
spicuous among the articles of furniture, is the vessel in 
which ava is prepared the wassail bowl of the Samoan. 
Now and then an old musket may be observed ; and in the 
houses of the " devil's men" there is always a formidable 
array of clubs and spears, made of the iron wood (casuarina,) 
and of bows and arrows. At night, a lamp, consisting of a 
cocoa shell, filled with the oil of the nut, and having a piece of 
vine stalk for a wick, is kept burning till daylight, near one of 
the main centre posts, where the hearth for the fire is situated. 

1839.] COMMERCE. 211 

(7.) Next to the inhabitants of the Caroline Islands, the 
Samoans, or Navigators, are the most skilful sailors and 
fishermen in all Polynesia ; and they received their name 
from De Bougainville, because of the superior construction of 
their canoes, and their surprising dexterity in the water. 
Abundant supplies of water and provisions may be obtained by 
vessels on these islands, but there are few articles adapted for 
foreign commerce ; still they may eventually become of some 
importance in this respect, especially as their situation in the 
Great Archipelago is so central, and they have such fine har- 
bors. Tamanu wood for furniture, the casuarina for its rich 
dye, and other trees for their valuable gums, may yet be 
profitable articles of exportation. The inhabitants now have 
considerably more cocoa-nut oil and arrow- root, than can be 
used by themselves and their ordinary visitors. Tortoise 
shell can also be obtained in great plenty at Savaii. In ex- 
change for what they are willing to dispose of, they mainly 
desire useful articles, such as cotton cloths, writing paper, 
hardware, needles and tools. 

Springs, lakes, and streams, abound in the islands, and 
machinery might be worked advantageously in many places. 
The natives have shown that they did not lack ingenuity, by 
their discovery of the uses to which the wood of their forest 
and fruit trees might be applied, and the construction of so 
many articles of necessity and comfort, with their miserable 
adzes and other tools, made of stone, shell, or bone. Since 
they have been able to procure iron instruments, they have 
executed their work much more neatly and handily. Cocoa- 
nut oil is made in the same manner as in the Society Islands. 
They likewise prepare a very good article of lampblack from 
the candle-nut, by burning large quantities of it in a curiously 
constructed oven. This is used in painting their canoes, 
idols and drums, and ornamenting their garments with vari- 
ous devices. 

Tapa is not made as good here as at the Society Islands, 
The mallet used is larger, and the board is not springy. 
Some of their mats, however, are very beautiful, and are as 

212 CANOES. [1839 

smooth and soft as nankeen cotton. But few of this quality 
are now made, as a single one requires nearly a year's 'la- 
bor. A species of cloth, of which pareus, siapos, and tipu- 
tas, are made, is manufactured, by the women, of course, of 
the inner bark of the Chinese paper mulberry (morus papy- 
ri/era)] and the tree is now cultivated for this purpose in 
nurseries. The stems, or branches, are cut when small, and 
the gum separated from the bark by washing. The bark is 
then beaten like tapa. Both the mulberry cloth and tapa 
are varnished with the gum obtained from the tuitui tree, 
or dyed in fanciful colors with other materials. 

The largest canoes of the natives are from thirty to forty 
feet long, and will hold twenty or twenty-five persons. Some 
are built of a single log, having pieces fastened upon it, to 
raise it as high as is desired. Others are formed of several 
pieces of bread-fruit planks, rudely dovetailed together, and 
secured with sennit. They are covered in at both ends, 
thus presenting decks forward and aft. The former is the 
post of honor, where the chiefs usually sit crosslegged on a 
platform, underneath an awning made of pandanus leaves. 
For cement, they use pitch manufactured from the gum of 
the bread-fruit tree. The paddles are long, narrow, and ele- 
gantly shaped ; and they are used with great dexterity. 
Double canoes are made by lashing two single ones side by 
side. Both are very swift, and are managed with a skill 
almost unparalleled. The sail, usually of a half oval shape, 
serves the purpose of an outrigger, and is used to windward 
or leeward, as may be necessary. On the opposite side a 
boom projects, to steady the craft, which is secured to the top 
of the mast with guys. 

Recently, several small vessels, of from twenty-five to forty 
tons burden, have been built by foreigners, to trade between 
the different islands, and with the neighboring groups. 

(8.) Pigs and fowl in great numbers are found here 
The natives are fond of the former, but they prefer selling to 
eating them. There are no native quadrupeds the hog 
having been imported ; and the only mammal observed, is 


the bat, which is very destructive to the bread-fruit. Cattle 
have been introduced by the missionaries, and have increased 
so rapidly that vessels can now be supplied with fresh beef. 
There are but few horses in the group ; yet these are highly 
prized. There are no venomous reptiles ; but eels, and land 
and water snakes, are seen. Turtles are also quite common. 

Frigate birds, boobies and noddies, abound. Tern breed 
in great numbers in the thickets on the smaller islands. 
Sixty or seventy different kinds of pigeons are found, some 
of which are held sacred and kept as playthings. The prin- 
cipal singing bird is the philomel ; but the woods and groves 
are filled with countless warblers, prominent among which 
is the poe, that make them vocal with their " wordless 

The most common fish are the mullet and the lou the 
latter much smaller than the other. They are caught in 
casting nets, seines, and fishing weirs. Women also catch 
them by placing baskets near the holes in the reefs, where 
they take shelter. They are likewise speared by torchlight, 
and taken in deep water with a hook. 

(9.) Being favored with a soil so fertile, and a climate so 
propitious, the productions of the Samoa' n Group are hardly 
excelled anywhere within the tropics. The thick tufts of the 
cocoa, and the long branching sprays of the tree-fern, proba- 
bly cause the vegetation to appear more abundant than it 
really is ; but if these were removed, a wilderness of choice 
fruits and rich blossoms would be revealed, to please the eye 
and gratify the appetite. But a small portion of the land is 
under cultivation, and there are thousands of acres untilled, 
where the coffee bush, the sugar cane, and the cotton plant, 
would thrive luxuriantly. 

The cultivated trees and plants are the bread-fruit, cocoa- 
nut, banana, plantain, ti, paper-mulberry, tacca, sugar cane, 
coffee, ava plant, sweet potato, pine apple, melon, papaya, 
yam, taro, lemon, sweet orange and lime. The manufacture 
of sugar from the cane is yet in its infancy, the natives 
having hitherto been accustomed to use the saccharine matter 

214 TREES. [1839 

resembling molasses, obtained by baking ti-root in an oven 
and subjecting it to a heavy pressure. Arrow-root of a su- 
perior quality is made in limited quantities from the tacca 
The yam, which is propagated like the potato the vines 
running up trees, and when they die indicating that the roots 
are fit to eat was formerly cultivated a great deal ; but it 
is now giving way, in a measure, to the taro, which is thought 
to be preferable by the natives. 

Innumerable varieties of medicinal herbs spring up spon- 
taneously in the valleys and on the mountain sides. Wild 
oranges are so abundant in some sections that the forest-paths 
are literally strewn with them. The cerbera, from which 
caoutchouc might be made, wild nutmeg, wild ginger, and 
the iris, abound. The trees are of great beauty and variety, 
and are often hidden beneath dense masses of ferns, convol- 
vuli, and other vines the rich drapery whose web and woof 
are supplied by Nature's own hand. They are remarkable 
not only for their size, but also for the beauty and fragrance 
of their flowers, and the lusciousness of their tempting fruits. 
Evergreens are quite numerous. Indeed, there are but two 
or three deciduous trees in the group. The new leaves push 
out the old ; and buds and blossoms, the young fruit and the 
ripe, appear together throughout the year. 

Among the trees are the tamanu, hibiscus, pandanus, rata, 
pisonia, apapa, amai, or miro, tou (cordia), toi, toa (casua- 
rina), candle-nut (aleurites triloba)^ ohwa, or native banyan, 
leafless acacia, bread-fruit and cocoa-nut. The most valu- 
able of these for timber, are the tamanu, amai, tou, toi, toa, 
and bread-fruit. The tamanu attains a vast size, and is 
often five feet in diameter. It has a beautiful veiny grain, 
and will take a high polish. Canoes, stools, pillows, bowls, 
and other articles, are wrought from it with great labor. It 
would be extremely useful in ship building, as it is very 
durable, and holds a nail with great tenacity : iron likewise 
'asts better in it than in any other wood. The wood of the 
amai is of a close firm texture, and of a dark brown color. 
It is but little variegated, but will receive a fine polish. It 

1839.] TREES. 215 

is worked without difficulty, and makes beautiful furniture, 
Its leaves were formerly used in religious ceremonies, and 
embassadors invariably carried a branch of it as an emblem 
of authority and of peace, like the vervain of the Roman 

The tou is a low umbrageous tree, and is generally planted 
near the dwellings of chiefs. It is not so hard as rosewood, 
but resembles it in grain. Rich looking furniture is manu- 
factured from it ; and the natives also use it in making 
wooden drums, which give a more sonorous and mellow 
sound than those made from the wood of other trees. The 
toi is of medium size and height. In the vicinity of the 
heart, the wood is of a blood red color, but the outer parts 
are lighter and beautifully waved. It is like satin wood, and 
is susceptible of a high polish. The toa, or iron wood, is a 
large tree, and bears a heavy canopy of graceful foliage. The 
wood is exceedingly hard and durable, and of a reddish brown 
color. The richly carved clubs and spears of the natives are 
made from it; and the missionaries have tried, and proved 
it to be valuable, for the sheaves of blocks, and for the cogs 
in their sugar mills and other similar articles. A fine and 
rich red dye may also be obtained from the wood of the toa. 

Probably the bread-fruit is the most abundant of all the 
trees found in this group. Besides the numerous uses to 
which it is applied in the Society Islands, a thick cream is 
here obtained from it, by puncturing, which hardens when 
exposed to the sun, and, after being boiled, is a good substi- 
tute for pitch. 

The candle-nut tree is plentifully distributed throughout 
the mountainous districts, where its white shining leaves 
contrast finely with the dark glossy foliage of the banana and 
bread-fruit. This tree bears an oily nut of the size of a 
walnut, of which domestic candles are made. A number of 
the nuts, having their husks stripped off, are strung on a rib 
of the cocoa-nut leaf, which is lighted when required for use. 
Lampblack is likewise prepared from this nut, as has been 
mentioned. A gum, of which a good varnish is made, i.s 


also obtained from the tree ; and from the inner bark, a juice 
is procured, which is used instead of paint oil, and when 
mixed with lampblack, or with the dye of the.casuarina, be- 
comes so permanent that it cannot be washed off, differing, 
in this respect, from the oil of the cocoa-nut, which, when 
joined with paint, does not dry. 

(10.) Immediately after the arrival of the Squadron in the 
Samoan group, the different islands were divided among the 
vessels, for surveys and examinations. An observatory was 
established on Tutuila, and the head-quarters of the com- 
mander of the Expedition temporarily fixed on that island. 
The Peacock and Flying Fish joined the Vincennes at Pago- 
pago, on the 18th of October, and were at once ordered to 
proceed to Upolu. 

While the Squadron remained at these islands, a fono, or 
council, was held by the chiefs of Upolu, Manono and Savaii, 
at the request of Captain Wilkes, in which rules and regu- 
lations were agreed upon and adopted, for the security and 
protection of American whalers. A son of the Rev. Mr. 
Williams was likewise appointed Consul of the United States, 
and recognized as such by the Council. But little depend- 
ence, however, is to be placed upon the agreement entered 
into at that time by the Samoan chiefs, as they have since 
shown, on more than one occasion, an undue readiness to 
violate their most solemn pledges. During the stay of the 
American Expedition, also, a native was tried by a council 
of chiefs, for murdering an American citizen twelve months 
previous, and found guilty. He was in the first instance 
sentenced to be executed, and preparations were made to 
carry the sentence into effect ; but at the suggestion of Cap- 
tains Wilkes and Hudson, his punishment was commuted to 
banishment for life, and he was afterwards conveyed to Wal- 
lis Island, on board one of the vessels of the Squadron, in 
their subsequent passage to Sydney. 

All the islands, with their harbors, having been surveyed, 
with the exception of the south side of Upolu, which was 
finished by the Porpoise, during another visit to the group, 

1839.] ARRIVAL AT SYDNEY. 217 

in September, 1840, the whole Squadron assembled at 
Apia early on the 10th of November. At eleven o'clock in 
the forenoon, the signal was made to get under way ; and in 
a short time thereafter, all sails were spread to catch the soft 
breezes of the Pacific. On the 18th instant, they entered the 
Eastern Hemisphere, when they corrected their time, one 
day having been lost in doubling Cape Horn, as is always 
the case. Passing round the Feejee Islands, and between 
them and the New Hebrides, they approached the coast of 
New Holland on the 29th of November, and at sunset made 
the light house on the headland of Port Jackson bay. Hav- 
ing a fair wind, though the night was dark, they ran up to 
Sydney, seven miles from the mouth of the inlet, without a 
pilot. On the following morning, the people of the town, and 
the garrison in particular, were very much chagrined, when 
they caught sight of the stripes and stars waving over the 
flotilla which had entered their harbor with so little ceremony, 
unheralded and unannounced. 



(1.) Australia. Discovery. Chorography. (2.) Harbors. Lakes. Rivers. 
(3.) Soil. Minerals. Climate. (4.) Vegetable Productions. Fruits and 
Trees. (5.) Birds. Animals. Fish. (6.) Aborigines. Appearance and 
Character. (7.) Native Habitations. Dress. Customs and Superstitions. 
(8.) Different Colonies and their Establishment. Government. (9.) Life and 
Manners among the Colonists. (10.) The Convicts. (11.) Van Diemen's 
Land. (12.) Sydney. Other Towns. (13.) Commerce and Manufactures, 

(1.) NEW HOLLAND now more properly called the Con- 
tinent of Australia* was facetiously termed by Sydney 
Smith, " the fifth or pickpocket quarter of the globe." Not- 
withstanding there is full as much truth as wit, in this des- 
ignation of the late reverend canon of St. Paul's, the great 
extent of this portion of the world, the peculiarities of its soil 
and climate, the riches of its vegetable and botanical king- 
dom, and the character of the colonial establishments founded 
here by Great Britain, surround it, as it were, with a deep 
and absorbing interest. 

The continent lies between latitude 10 39' and 39 II' 
S., and longitude 113 5' and 153 16' E. Its coast line is 
estimated at 7750 miles, within which is an area of three 
million square miles. Its greatest length, from east to west, 
between Sandy Cape and Dirk Hartog's point, is twenty-four 
hundred miles ; and its greatest width, from north to south, 
is a little short of two thousand miles. 

* Australia should not be confounded with Australasia. The former name 
( Terra Australis*) was originally given by the early navigators, to what they 
supposed to be the vast Antarctic Continent, of which the different islands, and 
points qf land, they had discovered in the southern ocean, formed parts; but it 
is now applied to the continent heretofore known as New Holland, whereas 
Australasia embraces Australia, Tasmania, or Van Diemen's Land, New Cale- 
donia, New Hebrides, Queen Charlotte's Islands, Solomon's Archipelago, the 
Louisiades, New Britain, New Guinea, and N;ew Zealand. 


As early as 1526, a few accidental discoveries on the Aus- 
tralian coast were made by the Spaniards ; but the first 
accurate information was obtained by the Dutch yacht 
Duyf hen, in 1606, which, while engaged in exploring the coast 
of New Guinea, discovered that portion of Australia extending 
south of Endeavor Straits, and gave it the name of New 
Holland. A few months later, Louis de Torres, a Spanish 
navigator, passed through the straits which bear his name, and 
made the northeastern point of Australia, an account of which 
was given to the world on his return. From 1616 to 1628, 
various discoveries, of greater or less extent, were made by 
the Dutch navigators, Hartog, Zeachem, Dewitt, and Car- 
penter ; in 1627, Van Nuyt sailed along the southern coast 
of Australia, from Cape Leeuwin to Spencer's Gulf, to which 
his name has been given ; and between the years 1642 and 
1644, Tasman completed the discovery of a great part of the 
Australian coast line, and the island of Van Diemen's Land. 

The result of these discoveries by the Dutch was, that 
about one half of the coast outline of the continent was sur- 
veyed ; but the information which they had obtained was 
deemed of little consequence, and attracted so little attention, 
that it was soon more than half forgotten. At length, the 
English navigators entered with zeal and spirit upon the ca- 
reer of discovery. Between 1684 and 1690, Dampier ex- 
plored a part of the west and northwest coasts, and subse- 
quently extended his surveys to the neighboring islands. 
From 1763 to 1766, Wallis and Carteret were engaged on 
a similar errand, in the same quarter of the world. But it 
was reserved for the talented, and indefatigable Cook, to ac- 
complish more, in a far briefer period, than the united labors 
of all those who had preceded him : he surveyed, in 1770, 
the whole eastern coast of Australia, and was the first to 
make known the important fact, that this terra incognita 
was a vast island-continent. 

Shortly after the return of Cook, a number of expeditions 
were set on foot for exploring the newly discovered country ; 
and in 1788 the first colony arrived there from England. In 


1789, after the mutiny of the crew of the Bounty, Captain 
Bligh ran for a considerable distance along the north-eastern 
coast, and made some valuable observations. From 1791 to 
1793, a series of discoveries on the northern coast were made 
oy Edwards, Bligh, Portlock, Bampton, and Alt. In 1798, 
Flinders and Bass sailed round Van Diemen's Land, and 
made extensive surveys of the Australian coast, mostly in 
open boats. Grant, in the following year, explored that por- 
tion of the southern coast which bears his name. During 
the five ensuing years, Flinders was actively engaged in pros- 
ecuting his surveys and examinations along the eastern and 
southern coasts and the gulf of Carpentaria, till, unfortu- 
nately coming into collision with Baudin, the commander of 
the French expedition employed on the same coast and Van 
Diemen's Land, he was forcibly taken to the island of Mau- 
ritius and detained there for six years. His discoveries in re- 
gard to the coast outlines, and general geographical features 
of the new continent, were of great value, and were made 
use of by the French authorities without acknowledgment. 
Since his time, Captain King, and other officers of the British 
navy, have succeeded in exploring the whole northern coast. 

In its coast outline, particularly on the south and west, 
Australia is iron-bound, and almost unbroken. It has numer- 
ous large and small harbors and inlets, on the eastern and 
northern shores ; Port Phillip on the south, and Van Diemen's 
gulf on the west, are spacious harbors ; Hervey's bay on the 
east, and Shark's bay on the west, are from forty to fifty 
miles in width and depth ; but the only two great indenta- 
tions are the Gulf of Carpentaria on the north, and Spencer's 
Gulf on the south. 

From Cape Leeuwin to Spencer's Gulf, a distance of over 
thirteen hundred miles, the southern coast, generally, is low, 
sandy and barren, with only here and there an occasional 
eminence. The northern coast resembles the southern in this 
respect ; but on the east and west coasts, there are parallel 
ridges or ranges of steep and precipitous mountains, extend- 
ing northwardly from the southern extremity of the continent. 

1839.] MOUNTAIN RANGES. 221 

In regard to the interior but little was known for many years 
after the establishment of colonies on the island, and there 
is probably much yet to be learned. A most remarkable fea- 
ture in the coast outline, observed by all the navigators who 
examined it, was the absence of any outlets for large rivers ; 
and the want of the facilities which they would have afforded, 
long retarded, and has always obstructed, inland discovery. 
In spite, however, of the numerous obstacles to the explo- 
ration of the interior sustained by a patience that was in- 
exhaustible, and animated by a spirit of perseverance that 
no danger or difficulty could intimidate different parties 
have penetrated into the country from different points, and 
examined, for the most part satisfactorily, nearly one-fifth part 
of the whole continent. 

Near the southern coast, in the neighborhood of Portland 
Bay, commences a dark and rugged mass of mountain land, 
called the Australian Grampians, which runs due north as 
far as latitude 36 12' S., where a range of grassy hills, di- 
verging to the north-east, connects it with the Warragongs, 
or Australian Alps, whose lofty peaks, rising to the height of 
fifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea, are covered 
with eternal snow. The Warragongs are the highest moun- 
tains in Australia, the loftiest peak of the Grampians, 
Mount William, being but four thousand five hundred feet 
high, and that of the Liverpool range, from six to seven 
thousand feet : they run in a north-easterly direction, from 
the southern termination of the continent, near Cape Wilson, 
as low as 35 20' S. In latitude 36 S., a chain called the 
Blue Mountains, which, in the early history of the colony, 
was long deemed impassable, branches off from the Warra- 
gongs, and following generally the direction of the eastern 
coast, forms the watershed between the eastern and western 
streams, and is finally lost in the more elevated Liverpool 
range, on the thirty-second parallel of southern latitude. 
Mount York, the highest peak of the Blue Mountains, is a 
little less than thirty-three hundred feet high. The Liver- 
pool range at first runs due east, for sixty or seventy miles ; 


but it then inclines again to the north, and may be traced as 
far as latitude 26 S. 

At the western extremity of the continent, there are three 
parallel mountain ranges, all running northerly across the 
continent. The easternmost range is not continuous, but 
consists of two detached parallel chains extending longitu- 
dinally, near the 118th meridian, and separated from each 
other by a broad plain : they are comparatively unimportant, 
and in no case attain a greater elevation than one thousand 
feet. The second, called the Darling range, rises at Cape 
Chatham, and runs in a direct course to the northern coast, 
opposite Dampier's Archipelago : these mountains are from 
thirty to forty miles in width, and their highest altitude is 
about two thousand feet. The western chain runs close to 
the shore from Cape Leeuwin, and is called Koikyennuruff 
by the natives ; one of its peaks, Toolbrunup, is three thou- 
sand feet high, and is supposed to be the loftiest in West 

In latitude 33 S., a series of irregular mountain spurs 
or ranges branch off to the west, from the Blue mountains, 
which soon divide into detached groups ; and the interior of 
the country, as far as has been explored, appears to be 
studded with isolated hills and mountains. Some of these 
are only of moderate elevation, but others are of great height. 
The Canobolas, for example, one of the detached groups 
branching off from the Blue mountains, are between four and 
five thousand feet high. 

It was for a long time supposed that the interior of the 
continent was one vast desert ; and this supposition was 
strengthened by the fact, that the wind which blew from that 
quarter was often as hot, dry, and scorching in its effects, as 
the African Harmattan. But after the repeated attempts to 
cross over the rugged and abrupt wall of mountains border- 
ing upon the coast country, had at length proved successful, 
and the remarkable parallelism of the different ranges was 
made known, it was thought a broad expanse of table-land 
lay spread out between them. This opinion had scarcely 


been entertained, when the continued discoveries which were 
made, disclosed the existence of numerous rivers and streams, 
whose courses seemed to tend towards some great internal 
ea. All these ideas, however, are now known to be errone- 
ous. Although, as remarked by Mr. Oxley, in the narrative 
of his adventurous tour,^ " the whole form, character, and 
composition of this country, is so singular, that a conjecture 
is hardly hazarded before it is overturned," still, it seems 
but reasonable to infer, that Australia, so far as it respects 
the interior, is in an inchoate or imperfect state, or, in other 
words, yet in process of formation. All the masses of moun- 
tain land, and the detached peaks, between the great ranges 
at either extremity of the continent, are separated by monot- 
onous levels, or dead flats, singularly deficient in vegetation, 
which wear every appearance of having been recently sub- 
merged beneath the waters of the ocean. 

Plutonic rocks are tolerably abundant in the principal 
ranges, yet the interior, though exhibiting so much that is 
anomalous in character, is apparently of Neptunian forma- 
tion. The isolated peaks are composed of sandstone, and 
the soil of the flats is loose and porous, and strongly impreg- 
nated with salt. Small salt-lakes, or brine-pits, are very 
common in the dead levels. These low grounds are subject 
to inundations ; but they are by no means regular, and are 
usually succeeded by long periods of drought. Box trees, 
polygonum, reeds, kangaroo grass, and other marsh plants, 
and trees and shrubs that delight in excessive moisture, 
taking root in the soil formed of the debris washed down 
from the high lands, spring up in the low wet places after 
each overflow, live their brief life, and wither and die. Other 
plants, to which the fertilizing slime and decomposing vegeta- 
tion, though lacking humidity, afford sustenance enough, 
now make their appearance ; stately rows of yarra trees, 
like files of soldiers, line the channels of the rivers, and the 
bights are crowded with dense thickets of eucalypti ; yet all 
these are, in their turn, destroyed by the constant exposure 

* Page 81. 

224 THE UPLANDS. [1839, 

to too much water. But remote from the streams and 
marshes, the country is, at all times and seasons, an arid 
desert barren, dreary, and desolate. 

The mountainous districts, on the contrary, are exceed- 
ingly rich and picturesque. Deep and impassable gulleys y 
generally the beds of rivers, sometimes three thousand feet 
deep, on either hand precipice rising above precipice, rocks 
piled on rocks, Ossa upon Pelion, intersect the ranges, and 
probably form the avenues by which the waters confined in 
lakes, in the elevated basins, originally escaped through their 
rocky barriers to the ocean. Plains and valleys are scattered 
everywhere amid the mountains, and grassy hills and undu- 
lations, slopes and terraces, lie spread out on their flanks, 
whose abundant fertility presents a strong contrast to the 
barrenness of the low country. Golden glades interspersed 
among the green holts, mark the progress of the settler ; and 
the flocks and herds clambering up the mountain sides, indi- 
cate the certain rewards of industry and enterprise. 

In all ordinary seasons, the high-lying plains and valleys 
are well- watered ; but it is a remarkable fact, that the streams, 
which, when they leave the mountains, are rushing and im- 
petuous torrents, at their embouchures are scarcely larger 
than mere burns or brooks. Near the bases of the ranges, 
they have high bergs, that protect the plains bordering upon 
them from the extremes of drought and flood, and the banks 
are being gradually extended by the process of formation con- 
stantly going on ; but when the waters reach the low sandy 
levels, they spread over the surface, forming in the marshes 
dank pools, or tarns, which are connected together like the 
links of a chain. Evaporation, under the vertical sun, soon, 
diminishes their volume ; the thirsty and porous soil drinks 
up another large portion ; and the remainder, after divers 
meanderings, at length reaches the ocean. This is especially 
true of the rivers and streamlets of the interior, whose systems 
are not yet developed, nor their courses permanently estab- 

If any reliance may be placed upon the appearances which 

1839.] HARBORS. 225 

indicate the recent origin of the continent, the theory, or ex- 
planation, of its geological formation, may be this : The moun- 
tain ranges and peaks were originally islands, and the spaces 
or intervals between them have been filled up by the wash of 
their streams. This process may now be witnessed in the 
flats of the interior ; and, if we may so speak, we must wait 
for the complete development of the country, until these are 
covered to a still greater depth, by the decayed vegetable mat- 
ter, and the deposits of the mountain torrents and until the 
latter, as rivers, have established for themselves permanent 
channels. There is, indeed, much to be done. While Ba- 
thurst plains, lying on the west of the Blue mountains, are 
nearly two thousand feet above the level of the sea, the coun- 
try sinks so rapidly as you advance to the westward, that, at 
a distance of eighty miles, the altitude is only six hundred 
feet. Ages may elapse, therefore, before the work will be ac- 
complished ; but Nature is never idle in her laboratory, and 
the designs of the Great Architect must, sooner or later, be 

(2.) From what has been said in regard to the coast outline 
of Australia, it will readily be inferred, that there are few 
large harbors. It would, perhaps, be improper to place among 
these the Gulf of Carpentaria and Spencer's Gulf, since ves- 
sels are as liable to disasters within their headlands as upon the 
ocean itself, and sometimes even more so. Hervey's Bay on 
the eastern coast, and Shark's Bay on the western, are ca- 
pacious natural harbors, being from forty to fifty miles in 
width and length, and have deep soundings. Van Diemen's 
Gulf, also on the western coast, and Port Phillip on the south, 
may likewise be ranked among those of the largest class. En- 
counter Bay, at the mouth of Murray river, King George's 
Sound, Western Port, and Corner Inlet, are likewise good har- 
bors on the southern coast. But the harbors on- the north and 
east are by far the most numerous. On the former coast are 
Exmouth Gulf, King's Sound, Brunswick Bay, Admiralty 
Gulf, Cambridge Gulf, Raffle's Bay, find Port Essington. On 
the east are Twofold Bay, Jcrvts Bay, Botany Bay, and Port 

226 PORT JACKSON. [1839. 

Jackson. The last is, in a commercial point f view, of much 
greater importance than any of the other harbors that have 
been mentioned. This magnificent bay, or inlet, is of irreg- 
ular form, and stretches about fifteen miles into the country. 
It is completely land-locked, and protected from every wind. 
The anchorage is excellent, its soundings being more than 
sufficient for the largest ships : and the whole British navy 
could safely ride within it. Its shores' are indented by nu- 
merous small bays and coves, which also afford shelter from 
the wind, and have, in many cases, good anchoring grounds. 
Two gigantic cliffs, not quite two miles apart, and from two 
hundred and fifty to three hundred feet high, rise on either 
side of the main entrance ; upon the most southerly of which 
is a lighthouse, whose lantern is elevated sixty-seven feet 
above the ground, and consequently, near three hundred and 
fifty feet above the sea. The bay is navigable for ships of 
any burden seven miles above Sydney. 

Besides these more important harbors, there are a great 
number of smaller inlets, and estuaries at the mouths of the 
rivers, which are easy of access, safe and spacious, and may 
one day become serviceable. 

Owing to the vicinage of the great dividing ranges to the 
eastern and western coasts, large rivers cannot accumulate ; 
but as they mostly run through parallel valleys, the streams 
which are found at these two extremities of the continent, 
have longer courses than might be supposed. The rivers on 
the western coast are neither numerous, nor important ; al- 
though burns of excellent water, many of which issue to the 
sea by noble estuaries, are abundant. The chief streams are 
the Swan and Canning rivers, which unite in Melville water, 
near the parallel of 32 southern latitude. The most import- 
ant rivers that rise in the Blue mountains, on the east, art) 
the Murroo, Clyde, Shoalhaven, Hawkesbury, Hunter, Has- 
tings, and Brisbane, which have their outlets between the 
parallels of 27" and 36 S. The Boyne, a rapid mountain 
stream, falls into Port Curtis, in latitude 23 56' 30" S., and 
the Pumice-stone into Moreton Bay, in 26 54' 30". Endeav- 

1839.] RIVERS. 227 

or river, celebrated as the place where Captain Cook repaired 
his ship after it had lain for twenty-eight hours on a coral 
reef, is in latitude 15 27' 1.2" S. : it has a wide mouth, easy 
of entrance, but, at a short distance inland, will not float the 
smallest boat. The Brisbane is undoubtedly the largest river 
on the eastern coast. The Shoalhaven and Hawkesbury 
have fine large bays at their mouths, but like all the other 
rivers mentioned, their currents are so tortuous that they pos- 
sess few facilities for internal navigation. The Hawkesbury 
carries off much the greater share of the rain that falls on the 
eastern face of the Blue mountains ; its two most important 
tributaries^ the Grose and Cox, issue directly from this range, 
through ravines in the sand-stone rocks, * of from one to thirty- 
four hundred feet in depth ; and the Nepean, the only other 
principal affluent, runs along the base of the same chain from 
fifty to sixty miles. The current of this stream is laggard, 
not usually exceeding two miles per hour, and it is subject to 
inundations. Its banks are near thirty feet high ; but the 
water, in a freshet, sometimes rises as high as ninety feet, 
and spreads over a great extent of country. The floods occur 
as often, upon an average, as once in three years, frequently 
in the midst of harvest, when houses and barns, crops and 
herds, are suddenly swept to destruction by the rushing 

The Paramatta river, which enters Port Jackson, is but a 
small stream, and is navigable for steamers, only, sixteen 
miles above Sydney, where the tide ceases to flow. 

Between longitude 124 53' E. and the 135th meridian, on 
the northern coast, are the Prince Regent, Roe, Hunter, Al- 
ligator, and Liverpool rivers. The first three flow between 
rocky and precipitous hills, from three to four hundred feet 
high ; and the others wind their way lazily through muddy 
flats, and sandy and monotonous levels. All are fall and 
wide streams, and enter the ocean by vast estuaries, in which 

* It is computed that a mass of rock equal to 134 cubic miles, must have been 
displaced by the Cox, and nearly the same quantity by the Grose, in opening 
their way to the ocean. 

THE MURRAY. [1839. 

the tide often rises to the height of thirty feet ; but the lar- 
gest of them, the Prince Regent, is not navigable for boats 
more than fifty miles from its mouth, including all its tortu- 
osities. On the southern coast are the Blackwood, which 
falls into Flinder's Bay near the 115th meridian, and the 
Kalgan, or French river, about one hundred and fifty miles 
further east, which debouches into Oyster Harbor, the north 
part of King George's Sound. About sixteen miles east of 
Cape Northumberland, is the mouth of the Glenelg, one of 
the largest coast rivers in Australia : its source is in the 
Grampians, seventy miles from the sea ; it has numerous af- 
fluents, and, counting its windings, is upwards of one hun- 
dred and thirty miles in length ; it presents a narrow outlet 
to the sea, the entrance of which is choked up by sand-bars, 
but it soon expands, and, with this exception, is a wide and 
deep stream throughout its whole course. 

There is no other river of importance on the southern 
coast, except the Murray, which rises in the Warragongsy 
and empties into Encounter Bay, in longitude 139 E. At 
ite mouth it appears to be an insignificant stream, but, in 
fact, it includes within its basin an area of more than four 
hundred thousand square miles, and carries off the surplus 
waters of a great number of the rivers of the interior, whose 
systems, as has been before remarked, are yet undeveloped. 
Its principal tributaries are the Macquarrie, Lachlan, Mor- 
rumbidgee, and Darling. The first frwo are formed by the 
torrents descending the western face of the Blue mountains, 
and, in their progress to the interior, diverge, near the 149th 
meridian, the Lachlan stretching to the north-west, and the 
Macquarrie pursuing a more northerly course. Both are 
large rivers, the Macquarrie being sometimes capable of 
floating a ship of the line, within one hundred miles of its 
source. The Lachlan is more than twelve hundred miles in 
length, and the Macquarrie from seven to eight hundred. 
The Morrumbidgee rises in the Warragongs, and after run- 
ning a tortuous westerly course, for not less than one thou- 
sand miles, joins the Murray in latitude 34 45' S. and Ion- 

1839.] LAKES. 229 

gitude 143 23' E., having previously received the waters of 
the Lachlan. The Darling is a most singular stream ; its 
waters being in some places brackish, then becoming sweet, 
and, still further below, again impregnated with salt : it is 
formed by the Gwydir, Dumaresq, and Castlereagh, all large 
streams, and other affluents of considerable size, whose 
sources are north of the Liverpool range ; it describes, in its 
course, a curved line, upwards of one thousand miles long, 
inclosing all the country west of the Blue mountains ; and, 
being joined by the Macquarrie, finally unites with the Mur- 
ray near the 142d meridian, in latitude 34 7' S. 

After receiving the Darling, the Murray, which has al- 
ready traversed over fifteen hundred miles from its remote 
source in the Warragongs, continues on to Lake Alexan- 
drina, which communicates by a narrow outlet with En- 
counter Bay, a further distance, inclusive of the numerous 
windings, of fifteen hundred miles. Notwithstanding it has 
so many tributary streams, this river loses so much of its 
waters, like its affluents, by absorption and evaporation, 
that it is neither wide enough nor deep enough to admit of 
navigation ; and, in addition, its mouth is defended by a 
double line of breakers, whose foam extends from one end of 
the bay to the other. 

Lakes are abundant in Australia, but no very large ones 
have so far been discovered. Lake Alexandrina is the largest, 
and is fifty miles long and forty wide ; yet, it is so shallow, 
in many places, that it cannot float even a boat. In 1828, 
there was a fine sheet of water, called Lake George, seven- 
teen miles long and seven miles wide, in 35 5' southern lati- 
tude, and longitude 149 15' E.; but, in 1836, its site was 
a grassy plain. All the lakes of the interior are subject to 
the same variation. They abound, however, along the 
courses of the rivers. The waters of some are sweet, of 
others brackish. None of them have any outlet : a very few 
are entirely isolated; but the most are reservoirs for the re- 
ception of the surplus waters of the neighboring streams, 
with which they communicate. 

230 SOIL AND MINERALS. [1839. 

(3.) Fertility is mainly confined to the higher parts of 
rivers, and not, as in other countries, to their lower valleys. 
The mountain plains and elevated terraces, and the sides 
and summits of the hills, near the great ranges, are covered 
with a highly productive, dry, vegetable soil. The desolate 
levels of the interior are either composed of a red tenacious 
clay, or of a dark hazel-colored loam, rotten and full of holes. 
In the coast country the soil is a black mould, mixed with a 
clean white sand. The latter is so plentiful that it affects 
the vegetation in dry weather, and large quantities of it are 
imported from Sydney to England, for the manufacture of 

The connected ranges are mainly composed of granite, 
with a thick overlying stratum of ferruginous sandstone. In 
the Blue mountains the former is rarely seen, except in the 
valleys and beds of streams, when it has cracked the upper 
stratum. Limestone is not often met with in Australia : it 
has been found in a district west of the Blue mountains, and 
in some other parts of the continent, but in no case presents 
any conclusive appearance of stratification. Trap occurs 
quite often, though its location, with reference to that of 
other rocks, cannot be assigned. Vesicular lava is abundant 
in the neighborhood of Mount Napier, an extinct volcano 
lying between the Grampians and the southern coast, called 
by the natives, Murcoa.^ In a low range called Wingen, a 
little south of the Liverpool range, there is a bituminous 
burning hill, composed of a great variety of rocks : this con- 
tains, in close proximity, clay, shale, argillaceous sandstone, 
feldspar, basalt, ironstone, trap, and hornblende, while the 
adjacent peaks are chiefly porphyritic. 

From what has been said, it will be perceived, that, al- 
though all the usual formations are found in this remarkable 
country, they occur without order, and in defiance of the es- 
tablished laws of geology. It is not safe, therefore, amid so 
many anomalies, to affirm, that the mountainous strata are 
not metal lifferous ; yet the indications strongly warrant the 

* This is the only volcano which has so far been discovered in Australia. 

1839.] CLIMATE. 231 

presumption, that they are destitute of the more precious 
metals. Copper has been found in the Blue mountains and 
the Darling range ; and traces of lead, occasionally mixed 
with silver and arsenic, have been observed in the same local- 
ities. Alum and plumbago are likewise tolerably plentiful. 
Of geiiis, only rock crystals, topazes, garnets, and agates, 
have yet been met with. But iron and coal, the former, 
in*nany respects, the most valuable of metals, and the latter 
the most useful of fossils, exist in profuse abundance. Iron 
is spread over the whole continent, and the oxide is so abund- 
ant on the northern coast, that several of the mountains vio- 
lently affect the magnetic needle. Coal-fields of immense 
extent lie beneath the barren sandstone, and in the Blue 
mountains and the Darling range, which occur in nearly 
horizontal strata, and are rarely more than eighteen fathoms 
below the surface. 

Not far from one-third of the Australian continent is in the 
torrid zone. The climate of the southern, or extra-tropical 
portion, is said to assimilate very closely to that of the lower 
half of the Italian peninsula ; but the average heat is less, 
and the extremes of temperature greater. The atmosphere, 
also, is considerably more arid, and the thermometer falls 
with much greater rapidity as you ascend the mountains. 
The mean temperature of the year is rather above 65 at 
Sydney, about 63 at Paramatta, 67i at Perth, and 60i at 
King George's Sound. The seasons are distinctly marked. 
The mean heat during the summer months, (December, Jan- 
uary, and February,) is about 80 at noon, on the southern 
coast ; but this is tempered by the sea breeze, which blows 
freshly, from nine o'clock in the morning till about sunset. 
During the three autumn months, (March, April, and May,) 
the thermometer ranges from 55 at midnight to 75 at noon. 
In the coast districts, during the winter months, (June, July, 
and August,) the mean temperature at daylight is from 40 
to 50, and at noon from 55 to 60. Frost occurs here but 
rarely, and though snow sometimes falls, it never lies upon 
the ground ; yet the mornings and evenings are chilly, and 


the nights comparatively cold. Further inland, the cold is 
more excessive ; hoar frosts are frequent and severe ; heavy 
falls of snow are common, and the upper flats and downs 
often remain covered for several days. In the spring months, 
(September, October, and November,) the thermometer varies 
from 60 to 70. 

But there is little to relieve the aridity of the climate in 
the interior, where the heat is insupportable, alike in seasons 
of flood as in those of drought ; and there is nothing pecu- 
liar in the climatic phenomena of this desert region, unless 
it be, that when the coast country is inundated with rain, it 
is invariably the season of dry weather here, and that the 
converse is also true. On the coast, May is the wet season ; 
but in the interior, the rains fall between September and 

Tropical Australia is by no means so well known as the 
southern portion of the continent ; but sufficient facts have 
been ascertained to render it quite certain, that its climate 
does not differ essentially from that of other parts of the world 
similarly situated. Running water is scarce, and a large share 
of the country is burned up with the intense heat. On the 
northern coast, the temperature is sometimes suddenly raised 
by the scorching winds from the interior. These hot fiery 
blasts are, fortunately, not of frequent occurrence. The av- 
erage temperature at Melville Island is 83 ; the extreme av- 
erage being 75 in July, and 87 in December. The coolest 
part of the day is about six o'clock in the morning. The 
Indian monsoons are irregular in their recurrence, often vary- 
ing more than a month. The north-western, or summer mon- 
soon, usually sets in early in November ; and the south-east- 
ern about the first of April. During the prevalence of the 
summer monsoon, there are heavy falls of rain, yet these sel- 
dom continue above two or three hours at a time, and rarely 
interrupt out-door labor. From June to September, there is 
no rain, but this is the healthiest part of the year. While 
the dry monsoon prevails, the atmosphere is exceedingly 
moist ; so much so, that iron articles are with difficulty kept 

1839.] WET AND DRY SEASONS. 233 

from rusting ; and the exposed surfaces of the rocks along the 
coast are coated over with the oxide of iron. 

Periods, or cycles, of ten or twelve years duration, distinctly 
mark the division of the Australian climate into wet and 
dry. In the course of each cycle, there is ordinarily one year 
of unmitigated drought, during which no rain falls, whose ef- 
fects are visible, as well in the mountains and fells of the ele- 
vated regions, as in the boggy marshes and desert flats of the 
interior as well in the sandy plains along the southern coast, 
as in the jungles of tropical Australia. This dry season is 
followed by a year of freshets and floods : the rains are then 
incessant, but they dimmish in number and quantity, in each 
succeeding year, until the dry epoch again recurs. It is only 
in the years intervening between these two extremes, that 
the regular transitions from one season to another, before 
hinted at, are observable. 

Dews are abundant at all seasons, and especially so in the 
summer, and during the long droughts. Earthquakes are 
not common except on the northern coast, where they are oc- 
casionally felt. Hail storms often occur, and thunder and 
lightning are likewise frequent. Sometimes a brilliant dis- 
play of the most vivid electricity may be witnessed for a suc- 
cession of days, flash following close upon flash, with but 
brief intermissions, and unaccompanied by either thunder or 
rain. In the sandy districts a singular phenomenon is often 
witnessed. Tall columns of dust, or whirlwinds, twenty feet 
broad, and from seventy to one hundred feet high, may be 
seen moving along in stately procession, striding majestically, 
like giant spirits, over brook and plain, with the speed of a 
race horse. At Sydney, these dust winds, or " brick-field- 
ers," as they are called, are a great source of annoyance; 
and though doors and windows are always carefully closed 
when they are seen approaching, everything in the house 
is sure to be covered with the thick, fine powder, which pene- 
trates through the smallest crevice. 

Were this not a country of singularities, the inference fairly 
deducible from the facts which have been detailed, would be, 

234 DISEASES. [1839. 

that the climate of Australia was prejudicial to the human 
constitution; but it is, in reality, highly favorable, for the 
reason, probably, that as the vegetation is so scanty, the at- 
mosphere is but little tainted by the miasma formed by its 
decomposition. Deaths from disease are very rare ; and all 
disorders, even the worst cases of syphilis, soon yield to the 
simplest remedies. Endemic diseases are not at all common ; 
and small-pox, measles, and hooping-cough, are almost un- 
known. Dysentery is the most prevalent complaint. Chil- 
dren suffer considerably from the presence of the teres, or 
round worm. Ophthalmia is often produced at the south by 
the hot dusty winds from the interior. It may be said to be 
unhealthy within the tropics, but it is certainly less so than in 
other countries lying in the same latitude. Typhus and acute 
fevers prevail there during the wet monsoons ; and in the sea- 
son of the variable winds, pectolapia, or moon-blindness, su- 
persedes ophthalmia. Scurvy also appears to be endemic on 
the northern coast, and manifests itself with peculiar viru- 
lence where the tropical heat is exercised full upon the damp 
soil. But even in these warm latitudes, though disease is far 
from being a stranger, it generally puts on a mild form, and 
is easily subdued. 

(4.) Peculiar as are the geology and climate of Australia, 
it might be expected that the vegetable creation would pre- 
sent appearances equally wonderful. Nature seems here to 
have escaped from her leading strings, and displayed the pow- 
ers of a giant. Discarding the customary shapes in which 
she appears in the old world, she develops herself in new and 
unwonted forms. The humble grasses that carpet our plains 
and valleys, here collect in tall clumps and tussocks, as if too 
proud to spread themselves over the earth, for man or beast 
to tread upon with impunity ; and the pretty honeysuckle 
that shelters or conceals the prairie home of the American set- 
tler, or twines its graceful tendrils around the porch of the 
peasant's cottage in merry England, rears itself in stately 
majesty among the other denizens of the Australian forests, 
and disdains either to give protection, or to ask it in return. 

1839.] BOTANY. 235 

The fruits, too, are singular, as well in form as in their attri- 
butes ; and what are simple shrubs in other climes, attain a 
wondrous growth ; while the monarchs of the wood are Ti- 
tans in stature, and of gigantic girth. But, what is stranger 
still, all the trees, with a single exception, possess one of the 
gifts of perpetual youth, and rejoice in a foliage that never 
fades or perishes, but is always green. 

Botany Bay, it will be remembered, received its name from 
the abundant vegetation discovered on its shores, by Captain 
Cook and Sir Joseph Banks. After their return, and the pub- 
lication of their animated descriptions of the floral beauties 
they had witnessed, general attention was instantly attracted 
to the country, and the most extravagant expectations were 
formed, in regard to its productiveness. Those who subse- 
quently visited it, for purposes of colonization, and from sci- 
entific motives, saw much to charm and interest ; but a care- 
ful examination disclosed comparatively little of what was 
really useful and beneficial. The copses of palm, the jungle 
patches and mangrove thickets, of tropical Australia, and the 
wide reaches of scrub along the southern coast, afforded a pic- 
turesque and pleasing contrast to the dark waves of magni- 
ficent vegetation creeping up the sides of the Blue Mountains 
and the Warragongs, and mingling their rich emerald dyes 
with the brilliant azure of the o'erarching heavens ; yet some- 
thing more than mere beauty of scenery was requisite, as was 
well remarked by Governor Phillip, in his account of the first 
attempt at colonization, " in a place where the permanent 
residence of multitudes was to be established." 

There is a remarkable peculiarity in the arrangement of 
the primary orders of plants in Australia. Of the crypto- 
gamia, there are about seven hundred species, less than one- 
third of which are common to this and other countries. 
There are nearly twelve hundred monocotyledons, only forty 
of which are found in other regions ; and out of almost four 
thousand different species of dicotyledonous plants, there are 
but twenty which are not peculiar to Australia. It will 
thus be seen, that Australia contains, as peculiar to herself, 

236 GRAINS AND FRUITS. [1839. 

not quite one-fifth part of all the species of plants in the 
known world ; and if their utility only equalled their variety, 
she would, indeed, be a paradise. But so far from this be- 
ing the case, there is, in reality, a deficiency of native fruits 
and vegetables, adapted for human food, without parallel on 
the globe. 

Of the cerealia there is not a single species indigenous to 
the country ; the only substitute for them being a kind of 
reed, which the early settlers found to make very light and 
palatable cakes. But since its colonization, every species of 
grain wheat, rye, Indian corn, barley and oats has been 
introduced into Australia, and is now cultivated with suc- 
cess, though the crops are far more liable to fail here than 
they are in more equable climates. The yield of wheat 
ranges from ten to forty bushels per acre, the greatest 
quantity being obtained on the low grounds. The kernel is 
large and plump, and the average weight of a bushel of the 
best quality is sixty-two pounds. 

Grasses of all kinds are abundant and highly nutritious ; 
but these, like the numerous ferns and nettles, and many 
varieties of flowers, have the form and habits of trees, and 
grow in detached clumps, and not in a continuous sward. 
The only native fruits are raspberries, currants, a species of 
cherry, one or two tasteless fruits, and a nut deservedly 
held in small estimation. The currants are much like cran- 
berries in form and appearance ; but the Australian cherry is 
a most singular monstrosity. It grows on a large bush ; the 
fruit consisting of a spongy pulp, that shrinks a good deal 
when fully ripe, on the outside of which, contrary to the 
usual order of things, and firmly adhering to it, is the stone 
or pit. Of the tasteless fruits, the wooden pear is one of the 
most remarkable : it is the product of a low shrub, and, in 
outward appearance, resembles the rich fruit of the same 
name which we prize so highly ; but, within, it is as hard as 
lignum vitse. When this plant was first discovered, it occa- 
sioned the remark concerning Australia, that it was a strange 


country, indeed, since the leaves and fruit of its trees were 
of wood, and the wood itself like stone. 

Among the natural productions are flax, tares, indigo, 
chicory, trefoil, and burnet, the last a first-rate substitute 
for tea ; and nearly all the useful fruits and vegetables of 
other lands have now been acclimatized. Of the foreign 
fruits, the orange, lemon, citron, date, pomegranate, almond, 
filbert, nectarine, apricot, peach, plum, English cherry, fig, 
mulberry, olive, quince, granadilla, banana, guava, pine- 
apple, water and musk-melon, strawberry, grape, and chiri- 
moya, are quite plentiful in the older and more thickly popu- 
lated districts. Except in tropical Australia, the oranges, 
citrons, and lemons, are not so large or luscious as in their 
native climates ; the trees present a scraggy appearance, and 
the velvety green of the foliage is changed into a pale sickly 
yellow by the dry cutting winds. The stone fruits thrive 
well, but they are not very rich in flavor. Peaches and apri- 
cots are so abundant in New South Wales that hogs are fat- 
tened on them ; and a quart of green gages, or a pound of 
delicious grapes, is often sold, in the season, for an English 

All the most valuable vegetables, such as potatoes, car- 
rots, turnips, beets, parsneps, pumpkins, squashes, cabbages, 
broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, capsicum, 
(Guinea pepper), asparagus, spinach, egg-plant, capers, arti- 
chokes, radishes, and pulse, are likewise very common in the 

Tobacco is a native production, but it is extremely liable 
to be nipped by the frequent frosts. In other respects it suc- 
ceeds admirably, and with good culture yields a profitable 

Great attention, of late years, has been paid to the culti- 
vation of the grape, for which the climate is decidedly favor- 
able. Numerous varieties of foreign grapes have been intro- 
duced, and liberal premiums have been offered by the Agri- 
cultural Society of New South Wales, for the best specimens 
of native wines. 

238 TROPICAL PLANTS. [1839. 

Attempts have been made in New South Wales, and other 
districts in southern Australia, to cultivate the cotton plant, 
but without much success. The soil and climate of the 
Cobourg peninsula, on the north, and the tropical portion of 
Australia generally, are well adapted, however, to its growth. 
Indeed, no other description of produce promises so well in 
this section of the continent : if the seed is sown at the 
proper season, the plants come forward rapidly, and arrive at 
maturity just after the close of the rainy season, when the 
long period of dry weather which ensues, affords ample time 
and opportunity for gathering the crop without any liability 
to be injured by moisture. 

The coffee bush has been tried in northern Australia, but 
the attempt to cultivate it proved a decided failure. This 
plant delights in a volcanic soil, and will not flourish else- 
where. Yet it is remarked, that the peculiar aspect of Aus- 
tralian vegetation disappears, in some measure, in that portion 
of the continent within the tropics ; the greater number of 
those plants common to other countries are found here ; and 
the trees and shrubs assimilate more nearly to those seen in 
India. Chili pepper has been tried with success, and the 
round pepper would, undoubtedly, thrive equally as well. 
Spices, too, when planted under the shade of the forest trees, 
like the nutmeg bush at Banda, grow vigorously, and bear 
an abundant product. The sugar-cane, and almost all other 
tropical productions, would, in like manner, thrive in the 
lower latitudes of the north ; and when this portion of the 
country becomes more thickly settled than it now is, its hith- 
erto untried capabilities will be shown fully to equal the ex- 
pectations of those who may test them, if any reliance what- 
soever may be placed on the appearance of the soil, and the 
character of the climate. 

One who is familiar with the forest scenery of Brazil will 
not fail to be struck with the marked resemblance of the 
Australian woods. Here, also, there is an almost entire 
absence of underbrush, and the trees are rarely set so close 
as to impede travelling, either on horseback or in a carriage ; 


though, strangely enough, they are usually the most abund- 
ant on inferior soils. Except in the tropical districts, how- 
ever, there are few or no woody vines, or parasitic plants ; 
but where they are found, their growth is most luxuriant. 
Scandent pipers, wild bignonias and passion-flowers, and 
vines whose foliage and blossoms are of various hues, are 
trailed along the mangrove bushes, and cling to the tall 
palms of northern Australia, whose fan-like branches seem 
to incline downwards, as if rejoicing to lift them up into the 
bright sunshine that smiles above them. Tree-ferns, of dif- 
ferent varieties, are scattered all over the country ; and the 
grass tree (xanthorrhosa hastilis), presenting when in flower 
a most gorgeous sight, is frequently seen. Flowering and 
aromatic plants, of great beauty and powerful odor, are found 
in abundance. On the sandy soils grow numerous prickly 
shrubs, which bind them down, and prevent their drifting. 
The lily, the tulip, and the honeysuckle exist here, but they 
are standard trees of enormous size, and incomparable beauty. 
Of acacias there is no end, either in number or variety ; but 
the palms are limited to the north and east of the continent. 
Nearly all the timber is of the hard- wood kind. It is gen- 
erally of greater specific gravity than water, but is liable to 
rot at the heart, and is so contractile that it has been known 
to shrink upwards of two inches within a week ; conse- 
quently, its usefulness to the architect is very much im- 
paired. All the varieties of eucalyptus and casuarina grow 
here, together with different species of rose-wood, sandal- 
wood, mountain ash, apple, sallow, turpentine wood, cedar, 
and pine. Most of the eucalypti are called gum trees, 
there being the blue gum, gray gum, iron, flooded gum, and 
black-batted gum ; but in some instances this is a misnomer ; 
for the exudations of many of the trees are not properly 
gums, but resins, and are insoluble in water. Some of them, 
too, yield a fine and pure manna, and others the very best 
gum Arabic. The foliage possesses powerful aromatic prop- 
erties, and resembles that of the camphor tree in taste. 
Boards and plank are made from these trees, and some of the 

240 TREES. [1839. 

varieties are used in fencing and ship-building. The pine is 
equal to maple, and is used for cabinet work. T.he white 
cedar (melia cozedarach) is the only deciduous tree yet 
known : it attains a vast size, and is used for making shin- 
gles and cabinet work. The she-oak, and swamp oak, are 
applied to the same purposes, and the turpentine wood is made 
use of in boat-building. There is another valuable tree, 
called the miniosa, or black wattle, the bark of which is ex- 
ported to England for tanning. 

Of the medicinal trees, the peppermint, sassafras, and cas- 
tor-oil tree, are the most conspicuous. The timber of the first 
two is also held in considerable estimation. There is also a 
tree called the tea-tree, the leaves of which are used instead 
of those of the Chinese plant, and make a very potable bev- 

An unusually large growth is characteristic of all the Aus- 
tralian trees, except in the deserts of the interior, where 
clumps of stunted bushes are sometimes seen, and the occa- 
sional tracts in the coast country, which are covered with 
dwarf shrubs, known among the colonists by the name of 

A stranger, on entering an Australian forest for the first 
time, is forcibly impressed with its grandeur and sublimity. 
He seems to have crossed the hallowed precincts of some 
Druid shrine, or entered the mighty portals of some ancient 
temple a relic of ages long since numbered with the past. 
The huge bolls of the trees appear like pillars supporting the 
fretted dome above, and each step along the dim aisles, 

" Brown with o'erarching shades," 

conducts him nearer the high altar to which they lead. And 
if, perchance, the babbling of the fountain, or the soft mur- 
murs of the shaded rivulet, are heard in the distance, their 
strains sound like choral symphonies, and the illusion is com- 

Sometimes, also, feelings of melancholy are produced. 
These are naturally inspired by the dark and sombre hue of 


the foliage of the evergreens, aud the peculiar appearance of 
the leaves of many of the gum trees. These are often seen, 
for Nature here is delighted with showing her perverseness, 
inverted in position, or set edgewise, the margin being di- 
rected towards the stem, and the two surfaces resembling 
each other. 

In regard to the state of agriculture in Australia, bat little 
can be said. The extensive plains on the terraces of that part 
of the country lying in the temperate zone, afford such excel- 
lent facilities for pasturage, that the prejudice of the colonists 
is strongly in favor of that branch of husbandry Among the 
grains produced in this section, wheat predominates ; its cul- 
tivation, like that of the other cerealia, is carried on much in 
the same manner as in England. The Illawarra district, 
south of Sydney, is especially famous for the large crops of 
fine grain which it produces. In the tropical regions, but 
little attention is paid to raising edible productions, as sago is 
obtained in abundance from different species of palm, and 
there are several varieties of arum much used for food. 

Agricultural and horticultural exhibitions are frequently 
held at Sydney, which exert a highly beneficial influence. 
In all the large towns, a great deal of taste is displayed in 
ornamental gardening. Bowers and trellises, loaded with 
choice grapes, or flowering vines; elegant fuchsias, twenty 
feet high ; geraniums, of such thrifty growth, that they are 
twined into hedgerows ; passion-flowers concealing the entire 
fronts of pretty little cottages ; and American aloes, of pro- 
digious size, attract the notice of the passer-by. In the coun- 
try there are beautiful orchards and gardens, separated by 
neat hawthorn hedges, and well stocked with fruits and veg- 
etables. And even in the new settlements, you will often see 
a cleared patch of ground, amid the stumps, surrounded by a 
ring fence to keep out the cattle and pigs, abounding with 
the choicest esculents and the freshest flowers, and 

" With tulips, like the ruddy evening, streak'd." 

(5.) If anomalies and peculiarities mark the botany of 

842 BIRDS. [1839. 

Australia, the same is equally true of animal existence in 
this singular region. There are three hundred and sixteen 
different species of birds, but twenty-seven of which are 
common to this and other countries ; yet there is no order of 
birds without its representative, and there are only two, the 
Australian species of which are wholly peculiar. Of the com- 
mon species, the most numerous are the birds of prey, eagle- 
haws, crows, shrikes, pies, and others of similar character. 
The most remarkable of the rapacious birds is a white eagle, 
which was at one time supposed to be an albino of some oth- 
er species, or a hawk, but has since been proven to be a true 
eagle. The usual singing birds are wanting. There is a bird, 
called the superb warbler, having the habits of the redbreast, 
and a number of variegated thrushes, which are very beau- 
tiful, yet, notwithstanding their names, they are said to be 
songless. The mountain pheasant, however, and the Austra- 
lian magpie, are birds of song. 

A species of thrush, called the thunder bird, has received 
from the colonists the name of the " laughing jackass," from 
its peculiarly shrill and discordant cry. Swallows, goatsuck- 
ers, crows, magpies, and larks, are quite numerous. The lark 
is a poor imitation of the European bird, and the swallow is 
much smaller. Birds of paradise, and the various species of 
the epimachi, whose beautiful plumage has so often called 
forth the encomiums of the poet, are confined to the northern 
part of Australia. The sacred kingfisher and the variegated 
bee eater are likewise famous for the brilliancy and beauty of 
their covering. The parrots, parroquets, and cockatoos, are 
numerous, and are peculiar to the country. Of the bustard 
there are several species, two of which have been often mis- 
taken for wild turkeys : the emu, or Australian cassowary, 
belongs to the same order. It resembles the ostrich very 
much in appearance, but its legs are thicker, and it is more 
stoutly built. It runs with great rapidity, and will outstrip 
the swiftest racer. It has small wings, which are nearly hid- 
den beneath the thick tufts of feathers that lie above them, 

1839.] WILD ANIMALS. 243 

and its head is protected by a helmet consisting of a horny 
substance disposed in plates or scales, one above another. 

Curlews, blue plumaged herons, avosets, and rails, belong- 
ing to the same order with the bustard and emu, are also 
abundant. Ducks, petrels, albatrosses, penguins, and peli- 
cans, are numerous ; and boobies are so plentiful that they 
have given name to an island on the northern coast. Aus- 
tralia can also boast of producing, in considerable numbers, 
the black swan neither brown or umber, but genuine coal 
black the rara avis in terris of the Snlmian bard. 

Geese, turkeys, ducks, and fowls, were introduced by the 
first colonists, over sixty years ago : and since that time they 
have increased so rapidly that the country is liberally supplied 
with them. 

Of the mammalia, there are fifty-eight known species, only 
twelve of which are found in other regions; and of these 
twelve, five are whales and four are seals. Thus, there are, 
in reality, but three terrestrial mammals common to Aus- 
tralia and other countries ; one of which is the large, strong- 
winged " Flying Fox," or " Great Bat" of Madagascar ; 
another is a rodent, a co-genera of the American and Asiatic 
jerboas ; and the third is that well known cosmopolite the 
dog.* Thirty-three of the whole number of Australian mam- 
malia belong to the order marsupialia, and of these more than 
one half are limited to the continent and the adjacent islands. 
The most prominent peculiarity of this order of animals is 
the birth of the young in an immature state : at the time of 
their birth, the fasti are destitute of limbs and other external 
organs, and remain attached to the teats of the mother, which 
enlarge so as to fill the mouth, inclosed in a pouch, or second 
matrix, formed by the skin of the abdomen, that constitutes 
the distinctive mark of the order ; and when fully developed, 

* It is doubted by Mr. Ogilby, (Linnaean Transactions, vol. xviii., p. 121, et 
seq.) whether the Australian dingo, or wild dog, is a native of the continent, and 
he supposes it may have been carried there by the first primitive settlers. It was 
certainly unknown in Van Diemen's Land, previous to the settlement of the 
British colonists on the island. 


they fall from the teats, and are for the first time ushered into 
the world. But for a long time after this takes place, the 
dam carries her young in her pouch, even when they can walk, 
and on the approach of danger, they always conceal them- 
selves in this secure retreat. When Australia was first dis- 
covered, these animals were very numerous, but they are now 
fast disappearing. 

First in importance, and the largest in size, of the animals 
belonging to this order, is the kangaroo, which, in some of 
the species, has the proportions of a large calf. Its head, neck, 
and shoulders, are small, but it increases disproportionately to- 
wards the hind quarters. Its fore legs are short, and are of 
no service in walking, but are only used in burrowing in the 
ground, or in conveying food to the mouth. The hind legs are 
long and powerful, and are highly useful in locomotion, which 
the animal effects by a succession of springs or leaps, some- 
times jumping thirty feet at a single bound, in which it is 
materially assisted by its strong prehensile tail. The color 
is generally gray, varying in different shades, though there is 
one species which is red and white. Except when feeding, or 
lying down, its attitude is erect ; squatting on its hams and 
tail, like a South Sea islander. Its habits are herbiverous 
and gregarious, and it is exceedingly shy and timid. Hunt- 
ing the kangaroo, affords great amusement to the colonists. 
Its flesh is edible, and is esteemed quite a luxury by the na- 

Besides the kangaroo, there are seven other genera of the 
marsupialia the dasyuri, the phalangers, the petaurista, the 
parameles, the phascolarctos, the phascolomys, and the potorvus 
the different species of which vary in size, from that of a rat 
to that of a dog. The dasyuri found in Australia, resemble 
the weasel tribe in size and appearance, though there are 
larger species on Van Diemen's Land : all the species are 
carnivorous. The phalangers are not all distinguished by 
united toes, as the name implies: some of them approach 
the quadrumana in the formation of their extremities ; and 
one of the latter class, the vulpine phalanger, is a pretty 


and graceful animal. This genera is insectivorous. The 
petaurista are a sub-genus of the phalangers, and are some- 
times called flying phalangers, from a kind of parachute, 
formed by an extension of the skin of the side, which dis- 
tinguishes them : the squirrel opossum (didelphis sciurus) 
belongs to this genus, and has so much the appearance of a 
squirrel that it is not easy to detect the difference ; it skips 
from tree to tree in the same manner as the squirrel, and is 
hunted on moonlight nights, like the American opossum. 
The pararneles are commonly called pouched badgers, from 
their resemblance in form and habits to the common badger : 
unlike the other genera their tails are very weak. Of the 
phascolarctos, or koala, as it is generally termed, there is but 
one species ; which has a clumsy body, like that of a moder- 
ate sized dog, with short legs armed with claws, adapted for 
climbing or burrowing : its motions are very slow, and on 
this account is often called the New Holland sloth ; it pos- 
sesses cutting teeth, but is destitute of canines ; the female 
carries her young for some time, on her shoulders, and not 
in her pouch, as is customary in this order. There is, also, 
but one species of the phascolomys, which is called the wombat 
by the colonists : it is a plantigrade animal, like the bear, a 
true rodent, and in size approaches the badger. The wom- 
bat lives in holes, and when roasted, its flesh is said to be as 
delicate as that of a young pig. The potorvus, or wallaby, 
likewise consists of but one species : it is the most diminu- 
tive of the kangaroo family, and is sometimes called the kan- 
garoo rat. 

There are four species of the edentata : these are all tooth- 
less, or so near it, that the term applied to them is not inap- 
plicable. There are two genera of this order, the echidni, 
or porcupines, and the ornithorhynohi, both of which are des- 
titute of teats, and do not suckle their young. Of the por- 
cupines there are two species: one is entirely covered with 
closely serried spines, and the other has a coat of shaggy hair 
which half conceals the spines. The ornithorhynchi are, 
probably, the most singular animals found in Australia. 


There are two species of the genera, the ornithorhynchus 
paradoxus, and the ornithorhynchus fuscus : they have the 
body and habits of a mole, the feet and bill of a duck, and 
the internal formation of a reptile, though they are not cold 
blooded ; they lead a burrowing life, in the mud of rivers 
and swamps, and are so extremely shy, that their mode of re- 
production has not yet been discovered. 

The rodentia consist of two species of hydromys, called 
muskrats, uniting the peculiarities of the dormouse, common 
rat, and beaver ; a rat (conilurus constructor] , bearing a 
general resemblance to the rabbit, and remarkable for the 
formidable defences of earth which it constructs against the 
dingo and birds of prey ; two peculiar species of mice ; a red 
shrew mouse ; and the Australian jerboa. 

When the first colonists went out from England, in the 
spring of 1787, they took with them one stallion, three brood 
mares, three colts, forty-nine hogs, twenty-five pigs, two bulls, 
five cows, twenty-nine sheep, nineteen goats, and five rabbits. 
The last two have not thriven remarkably well, but the 
other species of stock have increased with great rapidity. 
During the first twenty- five years, frequent importations 
were made, and in 1797, through the exertions of Captain 
M'Arthur, a number of fine wooled sheep were imported from 
the Cape of Good Hope, the original breed of which had 
been brought from Holland, in order to improve the coarse- 
wooled varieties then in the country. So favorable is the 
climate of Australia to the domestic animals, and such abund- 
ant pasturage is afforded them on the unlimited plains and 
terraces among the mountains, that they thrive unusually 
well. The ratio of increase of horses has been about eleven 
per cent, yearly : in 1817 there were not far from three thou- 
sand, and there are now over forty thousand. The horned 
cattle have multiplied so fast, that many of them have 
escaped from the distant stations ; and there are now large 
herds in the interior, numbering from eight to fifteen hun- 
dred, in a completely wild state. In 1821, there were about 
120,000 sheep in the country, and in 1838, the number was 

1839.] REPTILES AND FISH. 247 

computed at 5,000,000. The average annual increase is not 
far from forty per cent. The wool obtained is of the best 
quality; the finer varieties being equal to the best Spanish, 
and averaging two and a half pounds to each animal. Sheep 
are apt to stray, as well as the horned cattle, though they 
are kept in flocks, and watched by shepherds, either natives 
or convicts ; but they do not return to a wild state, as they 
are soon cut off by the ferocious dingo, or native dog. 

Reptiles are abundant. There are twenty-three known 
genera, twenty-one of which are peculiar to this country. 
There are two or three varieties of turtles, and about the 
same number of alligators. Lizards and snakes are numer- 
ous, and some of them are exceedingly venomous. The land 
lizards, or guanas, and the crimson-sided snake, are of ex- 
traordinary beauty, but their bite is deadly. The black, the 
diamond, and the whip snake, and the deaf adder, are also 
poisonous ; and as it is not easy to distinguish them when 
curled up amid the tufts of grass, it is sometimes dangerous 
to frequent the places where they abound, on foot. Sand- 
leeches, or blood-suckers, are quite common, and are much 
dreaded on account of their bite, as the wound always ulcer- 
ates, and is very painful. 

The bays and inlets along the Australian coast, and the 
adjacent islands, are favorite places of resort for cetaceous 
animals ; and the whale fishery is annually increasing in im- 
portance. All the surrounding waters and the rivers abound 
in fish. The largest of the edible varieties is said to be the 
river perch, or rock, specimens of which have been taken in 
the Murray and Morrumbidgee rivers, weighing from one 
hundred to one hundred and twenty pounds. Besides this 
species, there are barracoota, native salmon, flat-head, trum- 
peter, crawfish, rock oysters, muscles, and cockles, all in great 
plenty. Sharks, of different varieties, are numerous along 
the shores, and are frequently found a great distance up the 
rivers. The smallest of the species is called Watts' shark, 
and is remarkable for having the mouth near the extremity 


of the head, and not underneath, as is the case with the 
other varieties. 

Insects are also found in considerable numbers, yet they do 
not differ essentially from those found in other countries simi- 
larly situated. Flies, spiders, cockroaches, chintz, and mus- 
quitoes, abound. Of ants, there are many varieties, and of 
different colors and sizes. Some of them are as large as 
wasps, and have visible stings ; and nearly all the kinds are 
said to be poisonous. 

(6.) Mr. Crawfurd insists that the East insular negro is- a 
distinct, find decidedly inferior variety of the human race ;* 
and so far as the native Australian is concerned, his many 
peculiarities afford strong reasons for separating him from 
the African Ethiop, whom he resembles more nearly than 
any other species. He is by nature stupid, and puny and 
weak in person. Both in his physical character, and in his 
moral and intellectual attainments, he bears the impress of 
inferiority. His average stature barely exceeds five feet. 
He has a higher forehead, and a thicker skull than the Afri- 
can negro, and his nose is not so much depressed; but his 
jaws advance still more boldly, and his buttocks are consid- 
erably lower. His chest and shoulders are slenderly built, 
yet the abdomen is quite prominent. The muscles are not 
very powerfully developed, though he is remarkable for his 

The complexion of the aborigines is chocolate colored, or 
a tint between the sooty black of the African, and the clear 
olive of the Malay. Their lips are not unusually thick, and 
their teeth are white and even. Their eyes are small, black, 
and deep set. Their hair is long and black, generally straight, 
but sometimes slightly curled: it is commonly cropped short, 
but almost always matted and filthy, though without grease, 
and free from vermin. The beards of the males are thick 
and bushy, but are not suffered to grow long. They be- 
smear their bodies with fat or oil, when it can be procured 

* History of the Indian Archipelago, Vol. I. p. 24 

1839.] CHARACTER. 249 

and red ochre, black paint, or soot. Sometimes, also, they 
scarify their breasts and shoulders, which gives them an ex- 
tremely unpleasant appearance. Their voices sound like the 
cackling of geese ; and they jabber away so rapidly, and in 
such a confused lurry, that it is almost impossible to distin- 
guish words, or articulations, so as to comprehend their 
meaning. They have various dialects among them, which 
differ from any other language in the world, though approx- 
imating the most nearly to that of the Indians of South 

In regard to character, they are said to be treacherous and 
deceitful, though naturally proud and independent. They 
are timid, and silent and reserved in disposition. Being al- 
most entirely ignorant of the distinction between meum and 
tuum, they are consequently arrant thieves. Of agriculture, 
or arts, or manufactures, except the construction of rude huts, 
and a few arms and implements, they are utterly ignorant. 
Placed by their Creator in an inhospitable climate, and on an 
unfriendly soil, they seem to have no desire to better their con- 
dition. To care they are strangers, and their wants are but 
few. If the necessities of to-day are supplied, they are con- 
tent, and leave to-morrow to take care of itself. Since the 
settlement of the country by the English colonists, great pains 
have been taken to ameliorate their situation ; missionaries 
have been sent among them, and other means liberally em- 
ployed, but the results have not been very flattering. Some 
of their habits have been changed, and, perhaps, they are not 
as ferocious and murderously inclined as they once were ; yet 
their minds do not seem to be susceptible of improvement ; 
and no excitement can remove the natural sluggishness of 
their temperaments, and the inertness of their faculties. Lat- 
terly, too, they have contracted many of the pernicious hab- 
its and appetites of the whites, and have become much ad- 
dicted to the use of intoxicating drinks. It is not strange, 
therefore, that they are dwindling away as a people ; for, like 
the North American Indian, it seems to be their destiny, to 


250 HUTS AND WEAPONS. 1839.] 

give place to the fairer, and more highly gifted races, who 
are gradually supplanting them.* 

(7.) The native huts are of the simplest and rudest charac- 
ter, consisting merely of a few pieces of bark, inclined against 
a pole laid horizontally across a couple of forked sticks, which 
are driven into the ground. They sleep on dried herbs or grass, 
and cover themselves with kangaroo skins. In the warmer 
Latitudes, it is not often that they construct a hut, or provide 
any protection against the weather. Originally, they went 
entirely naked, but since their intercourse with the Europe- 
ans, many of them clothe themselves with kangaroo skins, 
and wear caps made of the bark of trees. Those in the im- 
.Tiediate vicinity of the settlements array their persons in the 
3ast-ofF clothing of the whites. 

Considerable skill is displayed in the construction of their 
implements and weapons. They make hooks, and spears, the 
latter usually three pronged, for fishing; and they have, also, 
stone hatchets. Their weapons consist of a spear, or javelin, 
ten feet long, made of cane or other wood ; a club, called 
nulla-nulla, made of ti wood, and about three feet in length ; 
the dundumel, or tomahawk ; the bundi ; and the boomereng. 
They have likewise shields, made of the thick bark of the 
3ucalypti, which, though small, with their agility and quick- 
ness of eye, are sufficient to protect the whole body against 
the missiles of an enemy. Their spears are slender, and ta- 
per gradually to the barbed point : they are thrown with the 
wammera, a straight flat stick, three feet long, with a socket 
of bone or hide at the extremity, in which the heel of the 
spear is placed. The wammera is firmly grasped by three 
fingers of the right hand, and the spear steadied between the 
forefinger and the thumb, till the thrower is prepared to hurl 
it. Such is their dexterity in the use of this weapon, that a 
native is a dangerous neighbor, particularly if he cherishes 

* The number of native inhabitants of Australia was computed, at the time 
of its discovery, to be about 200,000 ; but it is now rated at 60,000, and this is 
supposed to be an over estimate. It is certain, however, that the aboriginal popu- 
lation is diminishing. 

1839.] CANOES. 251 

any enmity . he will crawl through the tall grass like an 
American savage, and his aim is deadly, and his spear strikes 

The boomereng is the most singular offensive implement 
in use among the Australians. It is made of tough and hard 
wood, aboq,t three feet long, two inches wide, and three quar- 
ters of an inch thick. It is curved or crooked at the centre, 
so as to form an obtuse angle, and sharpened at the ends. 
When hurled by a skilful hand, it rises with a rotatory motion 
in the air, strikes at a great distance, and then returns to 
within a few feet of the thrower ; or if thrown upon the 
ground, it rebounds in a straight line, and ricochets along till 
it reaches the thing aimed at. It is useful in hitting one ob- 
ject concealed behind another, and it may also be thrown with 
the back of the thrower turned towards the mark. It is em- 
ployed by the natives in hunting, as well as in war. 

Rude canoes, fourteen feet long, and three feet wide, are 
made by the natives from the bark of the gum tree. For 
this purpose the tree is girdled, and a piece of bark, of the 
proper size and dimensions, is stripped off; this is folded in 
at either end, and fastened together with cords made of the 
fibres of the bark, or wooden pins. The canoe is then com- 
pleted, and though not very strong, answers their purpose in 
coasting along the shores within the surf, or ferrying across 
the creeks and rivers. It is customary among them, as with 
the Fuegians, to build fires in the bottom of their canoes, on 
layers of earth or clay. 

They are not great eaters, nor are they fastidious in their 
diet. Hunger is appeased by the spontaneous products of 
the soil, such as roots and berries, and the shell fish found on 
the sea shore, with reptiles, insects, and their larvae. They 
sometimes kill a bird or kangaroo, or find one dead ; in either 
case it is greedily devoured. The latter has become so 
scarce, that young men are forbidden to eat it. The great 
quantities of wild cattle now roaming at large over the plains 
and through the valleys of Australia, might afford a great 
deal of sustenance to the natives, and contribute much to 

252 CUSTOMS. [1839 

their comfort ; but they seem wholly unable to profit by this 
streak of good fortune. 

Of government they have little or no knowledge. They 
have chiefs among them, but the distinction is merely nomi- 
nal, and the respect paid to them is only personal. Their 
habits are gregarious, rather than social. They live together 
in families, or tribes, holding everything in common except 
their women, and rove about from one place to another, 
usually confining themselves to a circuit of fifty or sixty 
miles in extent. Frequent conflicts take place between the 
rival tribes, and encounters between individuals are not of 
rare occurrence. The former are not very bloody ; neither 
are the latter, except when the feelings of the parties are very 
much embittered, or the injury sought to be avenged is es- 
teemed of a very grave character. They have a sort of duel, 
frequently resorted to for the redress of personal affronts, which, 
though not in accordance with the code of honor, is certainly 
less harmless than pistols at ten paces : The challenged party 
offers his head, with the crown uppermost, to the challenger, 
who strikes him a blow with a waddy, sufficient to drive in 
the skull of a white man. The other party then returns the 
compliment, and thus they continue alternately striking each 
other, till one or the other is satisfied. 

"Women are considered and treated in the same manner as 
goods and chattels. They are sold or given away by their 
friends, without consulting their inclinations or wishes. The 
natural consequence is, that all the finer affections are blunt- 
ed, and parental tenderness, and filial love, are almost un- 
known among them. Polygamy is commonly practiced ; but 
the men are exceedingly jealous, and infidelity is punished 
with great severity. 

When the boys arrive at the age of puberty, they are 
" made into young men," as the settlers say, after a strange 
fashion. An evening or two previous to the time appointed for 
the ceremony, a dismal wailing cry is heard in the woods, pro- 
ceeding from some of the old men of the tribe or family, which 
the lads are told is the voice of the Bulu, or spirit that 


watches over the destinies of young men, calling upon them. 
They then proceed with their elders to some secluded spot, 
where each one has a front tooth knocked out, and is obliged 
to submit to other inflictions calculated to test his courage, 
fortitude, and powers of endurance. The ceremony differs 
among the different tribes, and in the interior it is said that 
the teeth are not knocked out. After their initiation, the 
now young men are restricted in their diet, and are never al- 
lowed to speak to or approach a female till their marriage. 

Though reserved in their dispositions, the natives have their 
amusements, the principal one of which is the corrobory, a sort 
of dance, in which the performers bedaub themselves with pipe 
clay, and go through a series of saltatory motions, neither 
very easy or graceful, round a large fire, with a monotonous 
accompaniment chanted by themselves, and beaten by the 
spectators upon their shields. 

They bury their dead in mounds, constructed with great 
skill and taste, which resemble the barrows of the ancient 
Celts. Like that people, too, the corpse is disposed with the 
head towards the east ; though the limbs are doubled back, 
so that the soles of the feet touch the crown of the head. 

Comparatively little is known in regard to the supersti- 
tions of the natives. Either from their natural timidity, or 
from a fear that it would be improper to communicate the 
information sought, they appear unwilling to talk on the sub- 
ject of their religion. No adults have yet embraced Christian- 
ity ; consequently, that means of obtaining intelligence, has 
not been possessed by the missionaries, and others who have 
directed their attention to this subject. None of the tribes 
appear to have a just idea of God ; and when his character 
and attributes are explained to them, they seem unable to 
comprehend what is said. They have some indistinct notions 
of a Deity, or Supreme Being, called Bai-a-mai, whom, with 
his son Burambin, they regard as the creator of all things. 
According to their superstitious belief, Bai-a-mai resides on 
an island beyond the sea, and lives upon fish, which come up 
out of the water at his call. Balumbals are white angels, 


who live a great way off, on a high mountain to the south- 
west, and feed on honey. They also believe in an evil spirit, 
or devil, called Wandong, or Metagong. 

They have no definite idea concerning a future state of 
rewards and punishments. After death, they suppose the 
spirit, or goor-de-mit, is conveyed through the bosom of the 
ocean to some distant land, in which it then takes up its 
residence. As he is obliged to pass through so much water, 
the deceased person, as they suppose, is washed white ; 
hence, they deem the whites the returned spirits of their 
ancestors and friends. The Malays and Lascars are also 
regarded as returned spirits, but on account of their bad 
conduct they have been left black. 

The night-bird, or cuckoo, which the natives call pogo- 
mit, is considered by them as the cause of boils and erup- 
tions, which it produces by piercing them, when asleep, with 
its beak. They have, also, a great dread of sharks; and 
a fabulous aquatic monster, termed way gal ^ which they 
represent as having long arms, long teeth, and large eyes, 
and inhabiting the depths of the ocean, is regarded with simi- 
lar emotions. Certain round stones found along the coast 
they believe to be the eggs of the waugal, and when they 
discover one of them, they always stop, and make a bed for 
it, of leaves ; believing that by thus treating them with care 
and veneration, they will be spared by the monster, which is 
said sometimes to devour great numbers of the inhabitants. 

In sorcery and enchantment they are firm believers, and 
there are persons among them, who are supposed to possess 
the power of curing many of the ills that flesh is heir to, of 
healing wounds and sores, and of dooming or devoting those 
who fall under their displeasure to sudden death. If a fire 
be lighted at night, or stirred with a crooked stick, it is 
thought that some young child will immediately die. It is 
considered ominous of ill, to burn the blood of a wounded 
person ; to eat the flower of the honeysuckle too soon ; or to 
sleep on the spot where the blood of a relative has been shed, 


until a victim has been sacrificed to appease the shade of the 

There are some hills, to pass over which, as they fancy, 
is certain death. They have quite a beautiful superstition 
in regard to sleep : when a person is in a slumber, they say 
he is away "over the water," meaning thereby, that his 
spirit or mind has returned to the country from which he 
came, to revisit the scenes of his nativity. With respect to 
their own origin, they suppose that their earliest progenitors 
either sprung from emus, or were brought to the country 
they now inhabit, on the backs of crows. Of conception 
they have a singular idea ; believing that the infant is con- 
veyed into the mother's womb, by a secret and unknown 
agency, from some place across the sea. 

(8.) In May, 1787, the first British colony, for the estab- 
lishment of a proposed penal settlement in Australia, was 
sent out from England, under Captain Phillip, the person 
selected for the office of governor. The Expedition con- 
sisted of eleven vessels, conveying, besides their complement 
of seamen, two hundred marines, and seven hundred and 
seventy-six convicts. They first landed at Botany Bay ; but 
becoming satisfied that the adjacent country was barren and 
unprofitable, the governor sailed for Port Jackson, and on 
the 26th of January, 1788, laid the foundation of Sydney, 
the future capital of New South Wales. 

For the first twenty-five years after its establishment, the 
colony was nothing more than a work-house or penitentiary, 
constructed on an isolated spot, in a defective and costly 
manner, and altogether too remote from the supervision of 
the home government. Subordinate settlements were soon 
attempted at Paramatta and Norfolk Island. The former 
was eventually successful, but the latter failed, though the 
attempt has been since renewed, under more favorable aus- 
pices, with complete success. A number of voluntary im- 
migrants now arrived, but they were of dissolute habits, and, 
with the discharged convicts, formed a population not very 
well calculated to build up a new colony. At length a 


regiment of troops destined for service in New South Wales, 
was raised in England, and subsequently recruited from 
there. The officers' commissions were sold to dissipated 
adventurers, and the men placed under their command were 
little better than convicts in character and habits. Governor 
Phillip had hitherto manfully contended against numerous 
difficulties; but on the arrival of this regiment, in 1791, the 
embarrassments of his position were increased in a tenfold 
degree. The officers set at defiance the civil authority, and 
organized a separate faction ; and having secured the mono- 
poly of the trade in Sydney, they encouraged the use of 
ardent spirits, and in that way exercised a most pernicious 

Utterly despairing of accomplishing any good by remain- 
ing at his post, the governor resigned his office in 1792. 
He was succeeded by Governor Hunter in 1795, who founded 
Castlehill, Bankstown, and Windsor. He, too, was unable, 
with the powers at his command, to repress the disorders and 
excesses in the colony, which daily grew more outrageous, 
wherefore he also resigned. Captain King was then appoint- 
ed to succeed him, in 1800. He likewise soon resigned, and 
was followed, in 1806, by Captain Bligh, who first attempted 
to resist the military ; but a rebellion ensuing, headed by 
Captain M* Arthur, he was seized by the insurgents, and 
sent as a prisoner to Europe. Governor Macquarrie was 
then sent out, in 1810, and continued at the head of affairs 
till 1822. During his administration, the refractory and 
turbulent leaders of the military combination were effectu- 
ally put down, and law and order in great part restored. 
Settlements were established on every side ; roads were con- 
structed between the principal towns ; and measures taken 
to develop the resources of the country, and ensure its con- 
tinued advance in prosperity. Under the administrations of 
the subsequent governors, Brisbane, Darling, Bourke, and 
Gipps, the affairs of the colonies in Australia have grown 
more and more promising, till now nothing short of a miracle 
could retard them in their successful career. 


The establishment of the colony of New South "Wales, was 
neither easily nor cheaply effected. From 1788 to 1815, in- 
clusive, the expenses of the colony were nearly three and a 
half million pounds sterling. The annual cost of maintain- 
ing each convict, during the same period, was upwards of 
thirty pounds, while his earnings did not exceed twenty. 
The cost of transporting the convicts, from England to the 
colony, was about thirty-seven pounds sterling per head, and 
it was computed that nearly one-tenth died on the passage 
out. Various propositions of reform in these particulars 
were suggested ; arid, after some delay, improvements were 
introduced into the system, which secured the better health 
of the convicts, and greater economy in the administration 
of the fiscal affairs of the colonies. 

The increase of population, too, did not keep pace with 
the expectations of English legislators, and vessels were 
freighted with abandoned females, fresh from the purlieus of 
St. Giles, designed as wives for the male convicts. Of course, 
every cargo was taken up as soon as landed : all were 
promptly secured, for better or worse, and pretty surely the 
latter. It could hardly have been expected that a career of 
lewdness and vice would have fitted them for being chaste 
wives, and affectionate mothers ; inasmuch as personal vanity, 
and the rum and gin shops of Sydney, were ready to allure 
them back to their old habits. Doubts have, therefore, been 
entertained, whether this step operated beneficially so far as 
regards the morals of the colonists. Still there are as many 
arguments on one side as the other. The convicts were, 
no doubt, better contented ; and some of them, with their 
wives, became thrifty and industrious, and made quite decent 
members of society. 

Encouragement was also offered to the emigration of per- 
sons of respectable character and standing. A large tract of 
land was given, gratis, to every man going to New South 
Wales with his family : after his arrival, he was allowed as 
many servants as he. might require, from among the convicts, 
at a very low rate of wages ; and he and his family were 


victualled for six months, at the expense of government, 
all points, said Sydney Smith, worthy of serious attention, 
to those who were " shedding their country." 

In 1839 and 1840, there was a great deal of speculation 
in the government lands in Australia, and the sales in New 
South Wales exceeded, for the two years, three hundred and 
forty thousand acres. When the reaction took place, a gen- 
eral depression of business followed ; the sales for 1841 were 
less than sixteen thousand acres ; and a check was therefore 
given to emigration. The whole number of immigrants that 
arrived in the Australian colonies in 1841, was 28,721 ; and 
in 1842 there were only 5,740. Since that time, however, 
business has revived ; and every year witnesses the arrival 
of great numbers of immigrants, who locate themselves on 
the unoccupied lands, of which there are still immense tracts, 
in the interior. 

A penal colony was established on Van Diemen's Land in 
1803, which is subordinate to that of New South Wales, 
and is under the charge of a lieutenant governor. Until 
1813, it continued to be merely a place of transportation 
from the mother colony, but since that time it has gradually 
taken the place of the latter as a penal settlement, and con- 
victs are now sent thither direct from England. This settle- 
ment, though requiring an enormous outlay for its establish- 
ment, has advanced more rapidly in prosperity than New 
South Wales, and is destined to become of great importance. 

The other settlements on the main continent, besides New 
South Wales, were formed by voluntary immigrants, and 
not by convicts. The proximity of northern, or tropical 
Australia, to China and the Indian Archipelago, pointed it out 
as a proper site for a colony many years ago ; and attempts 
were made, with that object in view, as early as 1824. But 
the difficulties encountered led to the abandonment of the 
project, and in 1829 the foundation of a colony on the Swan 
river, at the foot of the Darling range, now known as West 
Australia, was laid, by commencing the construction of three 
towns Guilford, Freemantle, and Perth the last of which 

1839.] GOVERNMENT. 259 

was made the seat of government. In 1834, a settlement 
was formed on Vincent's Gulf, called South Australia, under 
the patronage of a joint stock association constituted in Eng- 
land, to whom the management of the affairs of the colony 
was intrusted. The association had the power of disposing 
of the unappropriated lands within the colonial limits, on 
condition that the proceeds should be devoted, in the first in- 
stance, to replacing the outlay incurred on the original estab- 
lishment of the colony, and then to be applied for the com- 
mon benefit of the inhabitants. It was further stipulated, 
that the colony should remain under the immediate su- 
perintendence of the crown, the governor appointed by 
whom was also to be the agent of the company, till the 
population should reach fifty thousand, when a representative 
legislature might be organized. This colony enjoyed a large 
share of prosperity for several years ; the price of land, in 
March, 1836, rose as high as a pound sterling per acre ; and 
by the 1st of January, 1838, 64,358 acres had been sold. 
But a period of severe financial embarrassment now followed ; 
in 1841, the land sales amounted to only three hundred and 
twenty acres ; and in 1842, there were less than one hun- 
dred and fifty immigrants arrived. Still, this colony pos- 
sesses many of the elements of wealth ; it contains some of 
the finest pasture lands in Australia, and there are nearly 
half a million of sheep, many of which are merinos, now 
owned by its inhabitants. 

In 1838, a new colony was established to the south-east 
of New South Wales, to which it was annexed, and received 
the name of Port Phillip. This settlement lies in the region 
known as Australia Felix, one of the most delightful and 
productive tracts of country, as may be inferred from the 
appellation bestowed upon it, in all Australia. In the course 
of the previous year, it was, by some means, understood, 
that the French government were preparing an expedition to 
form a settlement in northern Australia. They were antici- 
pated, however, by the English authorities ; who, in 1838, 
dispatched a number of persons, and an armed force, to estab- 

260 POPULATION. [1839. 

lish a colony and military post, at Port Essington, on the 
Coburg peninsula. The situation fixed upon for the settle- 
ment is a favorable one in a military aspect, and well located 
for a commercial emporium, though there is not, in its im- 
mediate neighborhood, a sufficient extent of soil for an agri- 
cultural or pastoral colony. 

According to a census taken in 1841, the population of 
New South Wales, including Port Phillip, amounted to 
87,298 males, and 43,558 females, making, in all, 130,856, 
double the number seven years previous. In this computa- 
tion were included 26,977 convicts. The population of West 
Australia, at that time, was supposed to be about three thou- 
sand, and the white settlers of the two other colonies proba- 
bly amounted to about fifteen thousand. 

The executive power in the colony of New South Wales 
resides in a governor, who is assisted by a council consisting 
of the highest officers of government. He also shares the 
legislative power with a council, composed of private individ- 
uals appointed from among the principal settlers and mer- 
chants, and persons elected as representatives by the people, 
constituting altogether a sort of colonial assembly. Both 
councils are appointed by the king. Every new law is pro- 
posed by the governor, who, after submitting it to the chief 
justice, to obtain his opinion whether or not it contains any- 
thing contrary to the law of England, lays it before the leg- 
islative assembly. If they approve of the bill, it must be trans- 
mitted to the home government and laid before the British 
Parliament within six months. The sovereign may inter- 
pose his, or her veto, at any time within three years. This 
tedious process of legislation has naturally created discontent, 
and elicited frequent murmurs among a people unusually 
firm in their loyalty, and devoted in their attachment to the 
" fast-anchored isle." They are now making strenuous ex- 
ertions to obtain a colonial parliament, and it is to be hoped 
their wishes will be regarded ; for when we consider the im- 
mense distance, about twelve thousand miles, that separates 
them from the home government, it seems as unjust as it is 

1839.] COLONIAL LIFE. 261 

absurd, to continue their present state of dependence on a 
power so remote. 

The judicial power of the colony is vested in a chief jus- 
tice, and two assistant judges, who try all cases, both crimi- 
nal and civil. In criminal actions, which mostly arise among 
the convicts, a jury consisting of seven naval and military 
officers, selected by the governor, is associated with one of 
the judges. The party on trial has the right of challenge, 
however, and the judge decides all questions that rnay arise 
in relation thereto. Civil causes are tried before one of the 
judges, and two assessors, who must be magistrates of the 
colony, unless the parties mutually consent to have a jury of 
twelve men, when the proceedings are conducted pretty much 
in the same manner as in the English courts. An appeal 
lies to the governor, in all cases where the amount in contro- 
versy exceeds five hundred pounds, and, where a judgment 
has been reversed, or the amount in litigation exceeds two 
thousand pounds, to the king in council. 

Similar powers are possessed by the executive officers in 
the other colonies, and the legislative and judicial depart- 
ments are constituted in like manner, and exercise their func- 
tions in nearly the same way. 

An Englishman may well be pardoned for being proud of 
these colonial establishments of his country. They are stu- 
pendous monuments, more enduring than marble or brass, 
of the greatness and power of his native land. The penal 
settlements, founded at such an enormous outlay, afford un- 
mistakable evidences of her wealth ; and the prosperous con- 
dition of the colonists, declares, in eloquent terms, the all- 
conquering industry and indomitable perseverance of the race 
to which they belong. There is, in all this, much to excite 
feelings of pride ; and he who manifests them, does but justice 
to the nature God has planted within him. 

(9.) Colonial life is the same in Australia as in the other 
possessions of England, of a similar character. In the towns 
situate in those colonies which are not penal, there are no pe- 
culiarities observable, that seem to require particular mention ; 

262 X MANNERS. [1839. 

and were it not for the presence of the convicts, the same 
might be said of those in the penal settlements. At Sydney, 
and other places in New South Wales, the government offi- 
cers, and the wealthier inhabitants who have never been con- 
victs, constitute the aristocracy, and are called exclusionists ; 
the commonalty is composed of the liberated convicts, or eman- 
cipationists ; and lowest in the scale, are the convicts them- 
selves, on whom rests heavily the ban of social outlawry 
Each class looks with contempt on that beneath it ; and each, 
in turn, although there may be some little friendliness of 
feeling between the emancipationists and convicts, regard 
with hatred that which is placed above it. The aristocracy 
are as exclusive in the bestowal of their favor and preference 
as the lady patronesses of Almack's ; and the liberated con- 
victs and their families are not admitted into their society, 
even though the wealth of Croesus may be theirs, the sins 
of the fathers being literally visited on the children, even to 
the third and fourth generations. The native born sons and 
daughters of the emancipationists, too, are very reluctant to 
associate with, or marry, liberated convicts. 

In the interior, there is, of necessity, a more intimate fusion 
of the mixed classes composing the society, and, consequently, 
the prejudice of caste is not so great, nor so strongly marked. 
The Australian farmer, or grazier, resembles his prototype in 
the old country, and grumbles as incessantly, over his glass of 
poor gin or rum, about the bad weather, the bad crops, and the 
bad government, as does the other, over his pot of brown stout 
or humming ale. 

Balls, fetes, and dinner parties, are, of course, of frequent 
occurrence at Sydney, and the other large towns. All those 
who possess the necessary means, ape the manners of Bond 
street ; and the fashions are mere copies, with an interval of 
twelve months, of those of the Rue St. Honore and Picca- 
dilly. Some articles of dress, however, are more in accord- 
ance with tropical fashions ; and broad-leafed Panama hats, 
and white linen jackets and trowsers, are commonly worn in 
warm weather. 

1839.] DWELLING-HOUSES. 263 

A most commendable interest is manifested in the estab- 
lishment of schools, colleges, and literary and benevolent so- 
cieties ; and government has liberally extended to them her 
fostering care and patronage. As early as 1817, one eighth 
of the revenue of the colony was set apart for educational 
purposes. Large tracts of land were also given to female or- 
phan schools, and a portion, consisting of fifty or a hundred 
acres, allotted to each orphan. Schools were likewise founded 
for the civilization and education of the natives, and funds 
provided for sending missionaries among them. In 1838, 
the number of scholars attending the public schools in New 
South Wales, to the support of which government contributed 
over twelve thousand pounds, was nearly four thousand ; and 
there were upwards of eighteen hundred scholars attending 
private schools. There were three collegiate institutions, at 
the same time, which were well attended ; King's School at 
Paramatta, and Sydney College, and Australian College, at 

In the towns, the mode of building is similar to that wit- 
nessed in European and American cities, except that every- 
thing looks much fresher and newer than in the antiquated 
capitals of the old world. Some of the cottages, or country 
*eats, are very neat and attractive, particularly when embo- 
somed amid the luxuriant foliage with which they are often 
surrounded. They are usually of one story, constructed either 
of stone or wood, and have high sloping roofs, attic rooms and 
dormer windows, with a portico in front and sometimes in the 
rear, and are flanked by wings whose roofs descend at right an- 
gles to those of the main building. The dwellings of the set- 
tlers are rude buildings, consisting of slabs driven into the 
ground, or attached to frames, with puncheon floors, roofs of 
straw thatch or bark, glazed windows, perhaps, and chimneys 
of stone or mud, erected on the outside, after the Dutch fashion. 
Occasionally a little more taste will be exhibited, and balco- 
nies may be seen running along the fronts of the houses, sup- 
ported by rough trunks of trees, and decorated by vines and 
creepers. In the adjoining gardens, too, there will most likely 

264 THE CONVICTS. [1839. 

be trellises made of rough slats or twigs, covered with climb- 
ing plants, the fragrance of whose blossoms load the air with 

(10.) Much has been written in regard to the misery, 
wretchedness, and depravity, of the convicts in New South 
Wales, and Van Diemen's Land. Some of these accounts 
have, no doubt, been somewhat too highly colored ; but the 
unvarnished truth possesses dark and repulsive features in 
abundance. Vice and licentiousness, in every form and 
shape, may be witnessed among the convicts in 'the penal 
settlements, and with these odious characteristics, drunken- 
ness, of the most bestial character, pretty surely goes hand 
in hand. 

Criminals of the worst description are either confined in 
prisons, or sent to the penitentiary on Norfolk Island. The 
mode of discipline practiced here is what is called the social 
system : the convict is first placed in solitary confinement 
for a certain time, and then put at hard labor, in company 
with his fellows. During the latter period, he is supplied 
with books, and allowed numerous privileges and recreations, 
which, unless he is beyond the reach of moral influences, are 
calculated to bring him back to a correct way of life. All 
the public work in Sydney and other towns in New South 
Wales, is performed by convicts, and a strong body of 
mounted police, and a large military force, are required to 
keep them in subjection. They are driven through the 
streets in gangs, accompanied by guards and sentinels, and 
work chained together in pairs. Their dress consists of a 
coarse canvas jacket and trowsers, of a peculiar fashion, 
with " chain-gang" conspicuously marked on the back of the 
former, and a jockey cap. 

Those convicts whose crimes are of an inferior grade, are 
assigned to the settlers, on their application, who put them 
to such labor as they please, and aje at the expense of their 
maintenance alone. Those who behave well, for, perhaps, 
half their term, often have their sentences mitigated, and are 
furnished with tickets of leave. They are then called ticket- 

1839.] TASMANIA. 265 

of-leave men, and are allowed to hire themselves out, their 
employers stipulating to keep a strict watch over their con- 
duct. Most of the female convicts are also assigned, and the 
refractory and turbulent ones are sent to the factory at Par- 
amatta, where they are employed in making clothing, pick- 
ing oakum, and plaiting straw. 

Sometimes a convict takes to the bush, as it is termed ; 
that is, makes his escape to the woods in the interior, where 
lie leads a roving, depredatory life, and is called a bush- 
ranger. The natives generally stand in great awe of the 
fugitive convicts, who terrify them by feigning to be " native 
devils ;" yet they frequently render important services to the 
government officers in recapturing them. 

Recently, in compliance with the earnest importunities of 
the free settlers, New South Wales has been discontinued as 
a penal colony, and Chatham Island, in 43 52' southern 
latitude, and longitude 179 14' W., has been selected as a 
convict settlement. The foregoing remarks, therefore, will 
be taken as applying to the former condition of the convicts, 
except as to those who are still left there to serve out their 
terms of service. Since this change was made, and no more 
convicts are sent to the colony, those who had not been for- 
tunate enough to secure such as they needed for servants, 
have been forced to employ free laborers, at an average rate 
of thirty pounds sterling per year, in addition to rations. It 
was to be expected, therefore, that some considerable incon- 
venience should be at first felt ; but the colony has already 
recovered from the shock, and is steadily pursuing her career 
of prosperity. 

A few, and but a few, in comparison with the whole num- 
ber of convicts, become good citizens. Many of them engage 
in trade, and amass great wealth. A large proportion of the 
shopkeepers in Sydney are liberated convicts ; and ticket-of- 
leave men often follow similar pursuits, with the consent and 
patronage of their nominal employers. 

(11.) Tasmania, or Van Diemen's Land, has long been 
associated, in idea, with New Holland, and it should be men- 

266 GEOLOGY. [18391 

tioned in connection therewith. This island was originally 
discovered in 1642, by the Dutch navigator, T asm an ; but 
it received the name of Van Diemen's Land, which is now 
justly giving place to that in honor of its first discoverer, 
after a governor of the Dutch East Indies. It was visited, 
and partially explored, by Cook, Furneaux, and other navi- 
gators, but was not known to be an island till 1798, when 
Bass sailed through the straits to which his name has been 

The island is shaped like a heart, and lies between lati- 
tude 41 20' and 43 40' S., and longitude 144 40' and 148 
20' E. It contains about twenty-seven thousand square 
miles. The population, in 1838, numbered 45,846, of whom 
18,133 were convicts. What has been previously said in 
regard to the free colonists and convicts of New South Wales 
will apply, with some trifling and unimportant exceptions, to 
those of Tasmania. 

Geological appearances seem to lead to the eonclusion that 
this island, and the main continent of Australia, were once 
united, though they are now separated by a deep sea, aver- 
aging one hundred and forty miles in width. Tasmania is 
much smaller, it is true, and, therefore, there is scarcely 
room for the same variety of scenery observed in Australia ; 
yet its outlines, form and appearance, are very different. 
The shores are bolder and more picturesque ; and the moun- 
tains rise, not in continuous ranges, as on the Australian 
Continent, but in isolated peaks, often abruptly, to the 
height of from three to four thousand feet, their rough sides 
deeply indented with furrows, and the jutting crags, and tall 
cliffs of basalt, on their cloud-capt summits, frowning gloom- 
ily on the valleys at their feet. The surface of the country 
is broken and uneven, consisting of elevated table lands, and 
fertile valleys, disposed alternately, most of which are fit 
either for cultivation or pasturage. Sandstone, limestone, 
and basalt, are the principal rocks. Coal, copper, lead, zinc, 
and manganese, exist ; and iron ore has been obtained, yield- 
ing eighty per cent, of metal, in considerable quantities 


The upper soil is a rich vegetable mould, or sandy, or argil- 
laceous. A large portion of the island is adapted to cultiva- 
tion : there are immense tracts of the finest land lying along 
the coast; and in the interior, there are extensive reaches 
of prairie, covered with thrifty herbage, and already fitted by 
Nature for the plough. 

Lands were at first granted to the voluntary settlers, 
the average price per acre ranging from five to six shillings, 
English currency. Subsequently they were sold at auction. 
Great quantities were thus disposed of, yet it is estimated 
that there are full eleven millions of acres on the island still 

Europeans are much sooner acclimatized in Tasmania, 
than in New South Wales. The climate is more healthy, 
and the changes of temperature more regular in their recur- 
rence ; happily, too, the extremes of drought and flood so 
common in Australia, are not witnessed here. The winters 
are colder, and the summers more mild, than in the neigh- 
borhood of Sydney. 

Vegetation is much the same as in Southern Australia. 
The same trees, plants, and flowers, with few exceptions, are 
found in tolerable profusion. The most valuable timber 
trees are the Huon and Adventure bay pines, and the black 
wood, which last is peculiar to the island. Apples, currants, 
plums, and gooseberries, attain maturity, but the peaches and 
grapes are quite inferior. Citrons, oranges, and pomegran- 
ates, are not raised. Agriculture is yet in a backward state, 
rather on account of the improper or deficient culture, than 
the inferiority of the soil. The latter is probably better cal- 
culated for grazing than cropping, and the climate is alto- 
gether too cold for maize. Wool is the staple product of the 
colony, and the amount sheared is said to double every ten 
. years. The stock of horses and cattle is also very large, and 
goats are quite numerous. 

The animal kingdom is likewise similar to that of Aus- 
tralia. Kangaroos are more plenty, however ; but there is 
no native dog. Still, his place is well filled by the forester, 

268 HARBORS AND LAKES. 1839.] 

a species of panther, which commits great havoc among the 
sheep. All the different genera of the marsupialia are found, 
and there are two species of dasyuri peculiar to the island ; 
these are the dog-faced dasyurus, and the dasyurus ursinus. 
The former resembles an ill-made dog, but is marked with 
stripes like the zebra. The latter is an ugly and disgusting 
animal in appearance, whence the colonists have called him 
the " devil." 

Numerous excellent harbors are furnished in the frequent 
indentations of the coast, and at the mouths of the rivers there 
are some of the finest roadsteads in the world. The two 
principal streams are the Derwent and the Tamar. The lat- 
ter is formed by the North Esk and the South Esk. All 
these rivers rise near the centre of the island. The Derwent 
pursues a south-easterly course, and the others run to the 
north. The harbor, or roadstead, at the mouth of the Der- 
went, is forty-three miles in length : it is completely land- 
locked, and varies in breadth from two to eight miles ; the 
water is from thirty to forty fathoms deep, and good anchor- 
age is afforded for vessels of the largest class, twenty-three 
miles above the mouth of the river ; vessels of fifty tons bur- 
den can proceed twenty miles higher up, where the naviga- 
tion is interrupted by an abrupt ridge of rocks. The Tamar, 
which, perhaps, should more properly be considered as an 
inlet of the sea, is navigable for vessels of three hundred tons 
burden, forty miles from its mouth. There is a dangerous 
bar, however, at the mouth of the river, and the passage up, 
unless aided by steam, is rather intricate. 

There are several lakes of large size in the interior ; one 
of which, near the centre of the island, is said to be about 
sixty miles in circumference, to abound with fine fish, and to 
be surrounded with a profusion of tall funereal pines, and 
cedars, and eucalypti, whose dark and gloomy shadows are 
reflected in its clear still waters. Profound silence, broken 
only by the dismal wailings of the forester, or the shrill cries 
of the wild fowl that flit slowly over the solitary scene, 
reigns everywhere around. 

1839.] GOVERNMENT. 269 

Nominally, the government of Van Diemen's Land is sub- 
ordinate to that of New South Wales ; but, in fact, the local 
government is administered, independent of the parent colony, 
by the lieutenant governor, with the assistance of the execu- 
tive and legislative councils. The former is composed of the 
lieutenant governor, chief justice, colonial secretary, treas- 
urer, and the officer commanding the forces on the island; 
and the latter consists of the members of the executive 
council, ex officio, and ten or fifteen other persons appointed 
by the sovereign. Special acts may be passed by the gov- 
ernor and council ; but the common law of England, and the 
acts of the British parliament, are supreme. In other re- 
spects, the civil affairs of the colony are administered in a 
similar manner with those of New South Wales. The 
administration of justice, and the mode of discipline adopted 
with the convicts, are also similar. 

The public revenue, mainly derived from the sales of the 
public lands, amounted, in 1840, to upwards of one hundred 
and eighty-five thousand pounds sterling : its annual increase 
being about forty per cent. The annual expenditure, includ- 
ing over ten thousand pounds appropriated to the support of 
public schools, fell a little short of that amount. 

In 1838, the number of natives on the island was only 
one hundred and thirty. The aboriginal race had been 
gradually disappearing; but frequent bloody encounters hav- 
ing taken place between the few that wers still left and the 
settlers, they were nearly all caught and sent to Flinders' 
Island, in Bass' Straits, where they are maintained at the 
expense of the colonial government. They are, probably, an 
off-shoot of the Papuan race of the Eastern Archipelago, and 
are sunk in the lowest depths of degradation, being at the 
very bottom of the scale of civilization, and seeming almost 
to defy the efforts of the missionaries to cultivate their minds 
or Christianize their hearts Their habits, modes of life, and. 
superstitions, are similar to thoso of the Australians. 

Hobarton, or Hobart Town, on the south-east, and Laun- 
ceston, on the northern shore, are the only important towns 


on the island. The former is the seat of government, and 
is situated on the Derwent, about twenty miles from its 
mouth. Its fine harbor, which has been described, affords it 
great commercial advantages, and it is rapidly increasing in 
wealth, population, and importance. In 1838 its tonnage 
already amounted to 6079 tons ; and the number of its in- 
habitants was 14,382, over thirty-five hundred of whom 
were convicts. Its position is highly picturesque. It lies on 
the declivities of two hills, sloping gently upwards, on either 
hand, from the valley of a small stream that intersects them, 
and is surrounded by delightful villas and country residences, 
tastefully disposed amid groves, and orchards, and gardens, 
of surpassing luxuriance and beauty. In the rear of the 
town, on the west, tower up the rough and rocky walls, and 
the battlemented heights, of Table Mountain, to an elevation 
of four thousand feet above the sea. The streets are wide, 
and for the most part intersect each other at right angles. It 
is regularly and neatly built, and possesses, among its archi- 
tectural attractions, a spacious and handsome government 
house, a pretty church, constructed of brick, and a jail. It 
has, also, a large and convenient quay, at which vessels of 
the heaviest burden can load or unload. 

Launceston lies on the Tamar, about forty miles from its 
mouth, and, in 1838, contained about six thousand inhabit- 
ants. It is pleasantly and agreeably situated, and is laid out 
with uniformity and regularity. Most of the houses are of 
two stories in height, and it contains some very good public 
buildings. Georgetown, at the mouth of the Tamar, is a 
pretty little village, to which the inhabitants of Launceston 
resort for sea-bathing, and to enjoy the fine breezes. 

(12.) Sydney, however, the capital and seat of govern- 
ment of New South Wales, is the chief mart of the Aus- 
tralian colonies, and the commercial entrepot and emporium 
of all the settlements in its vicinity. It is likewise a favorite 
place of resort, to refit or to obtain supplies, of the whalers 
that frequent the " middle ground" between New Zealand 
and Australia. This town contained a population of about 

1839.] SYDNEY. 271 

thirty thousand, in 1841, including over two thousand con- 
victs, and has increased with considerable rapidity since that 
time. It occupies two hilly necks of land, bounding, on the 
east and west, a cove on the south side of Port Jackson, and 
a broad extent of interval ground lying between them. In 
the old town, called ' The Rocks,' occupying the eastern 
peninsula, the streets are narrow and irregular, lined with 
grog shops and brothels, and everywhere presenting scenes 
of vice and depravity, painful to the sight, and that sicken 
the heart. The new town, separated from the former by 
George street, the principal thoroughfare, and lying on the 
left side of the cove, and towards the south part of the in- 
terval, is laid out more uniformly, and contains many hand- 
some dwellings, rising in successive terraces, and agreeably 
adorned with the rich foliage of the Australian forest trees. 

The old town, though the best adapted for the erection of 
wharfs and warehouses, is occupied, in great part, by the 
government domain. The government house is a new build- 
ing, standing near the road leading to the south head of Port 
Jackson, and having in its front a fine range of English oaks 
and Cape pines, where the inhabitants usually go for a drive 
or promenade. The other public buildings are the barracks, 
occupying one side of the principal square ; the convict hos- 
pital, a spacious stone building, with open verandas; the 
military hospital ; the convict barracks ; the court-house, jail, 
and custom-house. There are some fine church edifices ; 
among them, two Episcopal churches, a Roman Catholio 
cathedral, built in the Gothic style, and several chapels be- 
longing to various dissenting denominations. 

Most of the houses are built of a light drab colored sand- 
stone, or of red brick ; and many of the private residences 
are only one story in height, and almost concealed by the 
masses of dark foliage in the surrounding gardens. House 
rent is high. Building land on George street has been sold 
for twenty thousand pounds per acre. There are extensive 
auction rooms and commercial establishments in the town ; 
hotels and inns in abundance ; a number of steam mills \ and 

272 OTHER TOWNS. [183& 

a good theatre. As the soil in the neighborhood of Sydney 
is so sandy, and as there is a total absence of springs, the 
inhabitants suffered under great disadvantage, in former 
years, for the want of water during the long droughts. In 
order to remedy this evil, and to provide for a permanent 
supply, Governor Gipps adopted the expedient of damming 
up all the small water courses, and then distributing the 
water, when required, from these reservoirs, through the 

Banking is, perhaps, the chief business carried on in Syd- 
ney. There have been several joint stock associations estab- 
lished, the oldest of which, called the bank of New South 
Wales, was founded in 1816. A savings bank has likewise 
been founded, and auction, insurance, gas, and steam com- 
panies, formed. 

Among the literary institutions are the Australian college 
and Sydney college ; a normal institution ; several denomina- 
tional schools ; and numerous boarding schools, and private 
seminaries of learning. There are a number of newspapers 
published in Sydney, which are conducted with some ability; 
but the licentiousness of the press is a subject of universal 
complaint. Every facility for the printing and publication of 
books is afforded here, and those which have appeared are de- 
cidedly creditable to the taste and skill of those concerned in 
their issue. A museum, rich in Australian curiosities, and a 
botanical garden, occupying a part of the public grounds on 
the east side of the town, complete the list of attractions. 

Paramatta, fifteen miles above Sydney, and one below the 
head of steam navigation on Paramatta river, is a small town, 
built in a straggling manner, but containing many fine coun- 
try residences. Among its public buildings, are the govern- 
ment house, which the governor occupies during the summer 
months, the female penitentiary or factory, the barracks, the 
court-house, and several churches. Most of these edifices are 
constructed of stone. Woolongong, the principal port in the 
lllawarra district, which has a good artificial harbor formed 
by a massive stone breakwater, the material for the construe* 

1839.] COMMERCE. 273 

tion of which was taken from the basin it protects, and 
Bathurst, beyond the Blue Mountains, on the river Mac- 
quarrie, are the only other important towns in New South 

Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, lies on the east 
side of the Gulf of St. Vincent. Its construction was com- 
menced in 1837, and, in 1841, it contained about six hun- 
dred houses, and four thousand inhabitants. It has a bank, 
with an extensive circulation, and dealing in exchange on 
Europe, India, and Cape Town. It has, also, two newspapers, 
and is quite a thriving business place. Port Lincoln, founded 
in 1838, on the west side of Spencer's Gulf, is said to possess 
still better natural advantages, and to be increasing with 
equal, if not greater, rapidity. Perth, on Swan river, and 
Albany, on the southern coast, in West Australia, are small 
towns ; and the same is true of Victoria^ in North Australia. 

(13.) The commerce of the Australian colonies has made 
wonderful strides. Nine tenths of the trade is probably car- 
ried on through the ports of New South Wales. The imports 
into this colony, principally consisting of liquor, grain, pro- 
visions, and manufactured goods, amounted to over two and 
half million pounds sterling in the year 1840. The exports 
for the same year fell a little short of two millions. Wool is 
the great article of export : the amount sent out of the coun- 
try, in 1840, was 7,668,960 pounds, valued at fifteen pence, 
sterling currency, per pound. Next in importance is oil ; 
about two thousand tons of sperm, valued at eighty-five 
pounds per ton, and over four thousand of black whale oil, 
valued at eighteen pounds per ton, were exported in the same 
year. There were two hundred and fifty tons of whale bone, 
worth one hundred pounds per ton, also exported. The ex- 
ports of Van Diemen's Land, amounted, in 1840, to nearly 
one million pounds sterling, of which wool was the principal 
article ; and the imports exceeded eight hundred and fifty 
thousand pounds. Timber is also an important article of e 
port, particularly to the mother country, from all her 



lian possessions, though of less pecuniary va^uo than the 
others which have been mentioned. 

But little attention has, so far, been paid to manufactures ; 
and the enterprise and industry of the population are display- 
ed more prominently, in their pastoral and agricultural pur- 
suits. Water power is scarce, and not very permanent where 
it can be obtained. As a substitute, steam has been intro- 
duced in Sydney and other towns. Flour and saw mills, the 
machinery of which is propelled by this agent, have been 
constructed in considerable numbers. In the saw mills, large 
quantities of timber are prepared for exportation. Red and 
white wines, resembling hock and claret, are manufactured 
to some extent, and the cultivation of the grape is constantly 
growing in favor. There are extensive saltworks at Newing- 
ton, near Paramatta, where the water is drawn from the river 
into ponds, and the salt obtained by evaporation. Salt may 
likewise be procured from many of the springs and streams in 
the interior ; and in the low places impregnated with this 
substance, it is sometimes only necessary to cut a small hole, 
or tank, in the ground, when a convenient pickling pan is at 
once furnished. 


(l s ) Departure from Sydney. Antarctic Expedition. Macquarrie Island. (2.) 
Discovery of the Antarctic Continent. Return of the Squadron. (3.) 
Discoveries of other Navigators. Biscoe. Balieny. Dumont d'Urville. 
{4.) Ross' Voyages. Volcanic Mountains. Cruise of the Pagoda. (5.) 
Results of the different Expeditions. (6.) Supposed Geological Structure 
of the Antarctic Continent. (7.) Icebergs. Aurora Australia. (8.) Vege- 
table and Animal Life. (9.) Rendezvous of the American Squadron at the 
Bay of Islands. 

(1.) THE American Exploring Squadron was detained at 
Sydney for a long time, in making the necessary repairs, and 
completing the outfits, requisite for the service of the vessels 
in the high southern latitudes whither they were bound. 
And even when orders were finally issued to get ready for 
sea, much remained undone that might have promoted the 
health and comfort of the crews, and rendered the expedition 
more productive in results. In truth, the vessels belonging 
to the squadron were not originally calculated for a cruise in 
the Antarctic regions, and they were not strong enough of 
build, nor sufficiently fortified, to make their way in safety 
through the ice-packs which they were expected to encoun- 
ter. They were poorly supplied, too, with anti-scorbutics, 
and other necessaries and conveniences, the want of which 
was seriously felt during the whole voyage. The officers in 
command were well aware of the deficiency in their prepara- 
tions, yet the season was now far advanced ; from one cause 
or another they had been behind time ever since they left 
home ; and further delay, at this juncture, was entirely out 
of the question. Wisely, therefore, and from the most com- 
mendable motives, they determined that no trifling difficul- 


ties or embarrassments should balk them in the execution 
of the enterprise which they had so much at heart. 

All the preparations that were possible having been made, 
sails were set and anchors hove up, and on the 26th of De- 
cember the entire squadron stood out to sea. The scientific 
corps were left at Sydney, with orders, after completing their 
researches in New South "Wales, to proceed to the Bay of 
Islands, in New Zealand, which was fixed upon as the ren- 
dezvous for the squadron, on their return from the Antarctic.* 

For several days after leaving Sydney, the weather was 
very fine ; the sea was remarkably phosphorescent ; the tem- 
perature of the air was mild ; and the favoring wind, that 
came in gentle puffs, and distended the bellying sails just 
enough to display the beauty of their graceful outlines, 
seemed to speak of a softer and balmier atmosphere than that 
of the bleak and frozen solitudes to which the vessels 
were rapidly hurrying, like birds on the wing. Availing 
themselves of the opportunity thus afforded, all hands on 
board were actively employed in building hurricane houses 
around the hatches, and calking and chinsing the seams and 
openings, so as to keep the cabins warm and dry ; it being 
designed to maintain an even temperature of about 50, in- 
side the vessels, throughout the cruise. 

On the night of the 1st of January, 1840, the wind fresh- 
ened, and the weather came on thick and misty. Before 
morning, the tender separated from the rest of the squadron, 
and was unable to come up with them again. She cruised 
about for upwards of a month, visiting meanwhile Macquarrie 
and Emerald islands, and on the 5th of February com- 
menced her return voyage to the Bay of Islands, where she 
arrived on the 9th of March. 

* Before the departure of the squadron from Sydney, the scientific corps re^ 
quested permission of Captain Wilkes to charter a small vessel, in which, dur- 
ing his absence, they might survey and examine some. of the interesting and 
important islands in the vicinity. For some reason, which, as the commander 
vouchsafed no explanation, seems to have been both arbitrarily and unwisely 
adopted, no notice was taken of their communication. 

1840.] MACaUARRIE ISLAND. 277 

After the 1st of January, there were comparatively few 
pleasant days. Dense fogs, and heavy snow squalls and 
storms, alternated with the open and favorable weather. On 
the 3d instant, the Peacock separated from the Vincennes 
and Porpoise, and on discovering this, Captain Hudson 
steered for Macquarrie Island, which he found to be a lone- 
some and dreary spot, destitute of either trees or shrubs, 
its only verdure consisting of long tufted grass, and tenanted 
by myriads of penguins, (eudyptes chrysocome). This bird, 
in respect to size, is an inferior variety of the species. It is 
from sixteen to twenty inches in height, when standing erect. 
Its plumage is white on the breast, black on the back, and 
elsewhere of a dark dove color, except on the head, which is 
adorned with four or five beautiful yellow feathers. Leaving 
Macquarrie Island, Captain Hudson proceeded to the south- 
ward, and again fell in with the Vincennes and Porpoise. 
The three vessels were now rapidly approaching the great ob- 
ject they hoped to discover, though all on board were fearful 
that the solution of the mystery would disappoint their half- 
formed expectations. 

(2.) Ever since Cook penetrated to the southward, in 
January, 1774, on the 107th meridian, west longitude, till his 
further progress was stopped by a mighty wall of icy moun- 
tains, which he was unable to approach sufficiently near for 
a careful or satisfactory examination, the existence of a vast 
antarctic continent has been a reasonable supposition with 
navigators and geographers, although never positively as- 
serted. Captain Wilkes, indeed, asks, in a tone bordering 
closely upon assurance " Who was there prior to 1840, 
either in this country or in Europe, that had the least idea 
that any large body of land existed to the south of New 
Holland ?"* It is not necessary to impute to him a desire to 
magnify his discoveries beyond their real importance ; this, 
perhaps, natural and excusable feeling, may have prompted 
his inquiry ; but, however that may be, it is quite certain 
that he is mistaken. Dumont d'Urville, in the account of 

* Narrative of the Exploring Expedition, Vol. II. p. 282. 


his expedition to the south pole, does not even affect any- 
where to conceal his expectations of the discovery of large 
bodies of land.* Captain Balleny was expressly sent, by his 
principals, in search of land ; t and the instructions of the 
Board of Admiralty to Captain Ross, clearly show that land 
of great extent was supposed to exist in the neighborhood of 
the south pole.$ 

Icebergs were first encountered by the American squadron, 
in latitude 61 08' S., and longitude 162 32' E. Expectation 
was all the while on the quivive ; and on the 13th of January, 
Lieutenant Ringgold, in command of the Porpoise, then in lati- 
tude 65 08' S., and longitude 163 E., from the great number 
of sea-elephants that were visible, the discoloration of the water, 
the dark earth-colored veins and dusty appearance of the ice- 
bergs, and the hoarse cry of innumerable penguins distinctly 
heard above the roar of the ocean, fancied he had discovered land, 
and thought he saw something like distant mountains to the 
south-east. Soundings of one hundred fathoms, however, 
gave no bottom, and the dense masses of floe-ice prevented 
any nearer approach. This was undoubtedly a mere decep- 
tion, and the objects seen must have been clouds of condensed 
vapor not an unusual appearance in these high latitudes 
hovering over the margin of the ice, and unable to ascend 
beyond a certain height in the clear cold space above. In 
confirmation of this supposition, it may be mentioned, that 
on the 6th of March, 1841, Captain Ross sailed directly over 
and through the mass of mountain land, which Lieutenant 
Ringgold, no doubt sincerely, believed he had disco vered. 

But on the 16th of January, appearances of land, much 

* Expedition au Pole Austral, passim. 

f Account of Balleny's Discovery. Atheneum (London), November, 1839. 

Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, 
Vol. I. (Introduction) p. 25. 

<j After his return from the Antarctic regions in April, 1840 Captain Wilkes 
addressed a letter to Captain Ross, detailing his experience, and accompanied 
with a copy of a chart, showing the discoveries of the American squadron. 
The supposed land of Lieutenant Ringgold was also included, and not distin- 
guished from the other discoveries, though marked as Balleny's land on the 

1840.] DISCOVERY OP LAND. 279 

darker and altogether different from ice-islands, were dis- 
covered from all three vessels. They then continued in a 
westerly course, coasting along the icy barriers that shut 
them out from the frozen regions of which they caught fre- 
quent glimpses. Repeated but vain attempts were made to 
effect a landing ; their progress either being stopped by impass- 
able fields of ice, or the massive icebergs gathering round and 
threatening to embay them. Wearied with cold and fatigue, 
and worn out with excitement, both officers and men still 
persisted in their efforts. On the 24th and 25th of January 
the Peacock lost her rudder in the ice, her bulwarks were 
partially torn off, and she was otherwise so seriously disabled, 
that her commander decided to return to Sydney forthwith, 
where he arrived with his vessel, in a shattered and sinking 
condition, on the 21st of February. The Vincennes and Por- 
poise kept on to the west, and on the 30th of January the 
former discovered Piner's Bay, so called by Captain Wilkes, 
in latitude 66 45' S., and longitude 140 02' 30' ; E. The 
name of Antarctic Continent was now first given to the newly 
found land. On the 14th of February, the greatest extent of 

original. Hence, Captain Ross was led to regard it as an original discovery, for 
he could not consider it as a verification of Balleny, inasmuch as the land seen 
by him was more than seventy miles distant. When, therefore, the non-exist- 
ence of the land was practically demonstrated by Captain Ross, a certain de- 
gree of discredit naturally, yet unjustly, attached to the other discoveries of the 
American expedition. This was heightened, too, by the ill-temper manifested 
by Captain Wilkes, in his explanations. In the narrative of the latter, Captain 
Ross was charged with a want of courtesy in not acknowledging the reception 
o his letter ; whereas the British navigator, in the account of his voyage, 
thanked Captain Wilkes in the kindest terms, for his friendly attentions, though 
complaining, at the same time, that both he and d'Urville had occupied the very 
ground which they both knew, in advance, the British expedition was designed 
to visit. Captain Ross' work was not published till long after Wilkes' narrative, 
yet it is to be regretted that the American commander should have anticipated 
a want of courtesy, where none in reality existed ; and that when he had in- 
cautiously committed an error, he should exhibit so much bitterness and passion 
in offering the easy and simple explanation it was in his power to make. See 
Wilkes' Narrative, vol. ii. p. 282, and App. No. 24 ; Synopsis of the Cruise of 
the Exploring Expedition, p. 21, et seq. ; Defence of Captain Wilkes before the 
Court-Martial, p. 48, et seq. ; Ross' Voyage, vol. i. pp. 115, 116 p. 285, etseq. 
and the appendix. 


coast in sight at any one time, computed to be about seventy- 
five miles in length, and its highest land attaining an eleva- 
tion of three thousand feet, was discovered in latitude 65 59' 
40" S., and longitude 106 18' 42". On the same day, the 
progress of the Porpoise was checked by an immense wall 
of ice trending far to the north, and she then commenced her 
return, arriving at the Bay of Islands on the 26th of March. 
The Vincennes was stopped by the same barrier on the 17th 
instant, whereupon her head was turned towards Van Diemen's 
Land. Unfavorable winds cut her off from Hobarton, and she 
proceeded to Sydney, where she joined the Peacock on the llth 
of March. 

During this cruise, a line of coast, plainly visible, except 
at occasional intervals, was discovered, between the 104th and 
159th meridians, eastern longitude, and the parallels of 64 
and 67. The furthest point south which the vessels were 
able to reach was Disappointment Bay, in latitude 67 04' 
30" S., and longitude 147 30' E. A very near approach was 
made to the magnetic pole, which, according to the observa- 
tions obtained, was supposed to be in about latitude 70 S., 
and longitude 140 E. 

(3.) Other discoveries by different navigators, prior or sub- 
sequent to the explorations of the American squadron, have 
. verified what they saw, and contributed additional informa- 
tion ; yet the merit of having made the first discovery of a 
large body of land, supposed, though not absolutely proven, 
to be an extensive continent, is clearly their due. Captain 
Biscoe, the discoverer of Enderby Land, believed that he 
saw detached portions of the same land in 1831, when in the 
brig Tula. In July, 1838, Captain Balleny was sent out from 
London, with two small vessels, owned by the Messrs. Enderby 
and other merchants, under special instructions to push as 
far south as possible, in search of land. In obedience thereto, 
Captain Balleny proceeded along the 17^d meridian, east lon- 
gitude, as high as latitude 69 S. Then turning westward, 
he discovered a group of islands, five in number, on the 9th 
of February, 1839, in latitude 66 44' S., and longitude 


163 11' E. He also thought he saw appearances of land in 
the direction of the American discoveries. But the exami- 
nations of Biscoe and Balleny were merely cursory, and there 
is no reliable evidence that they were not deceived by ice- 
blinks or fog-banks, except the naked fact that a continent 
was subsequently discovered in this quarter by the exploring 
squadron under the command of Captain Wilkes. 

Another claimant to the original discovery appeared in the 
French admiral, Dumont d'Urville, so deservedly held in high 
estimation, while living, for his numerous important discove- 
ries, and his great scientific acquirements, and whose melan- 
choly fate elicited such general expressions of regret.^ This 
eminent navigator left France, in 1837, with two corvettes 
V Astrolabe and la Zelee on a voyage of discovery in the 
Antarctic seas. After visiting the southern Pacific, and dis- 
covering Louis Philippe Land, he proceeded to Hobarton to 
refit his vessels for another cruise. He sailed again from that 
port, on the 1st of January, 1840. On the evening of the 
19th instant he discovered land on the 142d meridian, east 
longitude, and near 66 southern latitude.! 'Attempts to 
reach the main shore were vainly made, but on the 21st 
instant, some of the officers of the expedition succeeded in 
gaining a small islet within a short distance of the coast, and 
obtained a number of specimens of the granitic rock of which 
it was composed. The land was then traced in a continuous 
line for a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, between 
the longitudes of 136 and 142 E., and in about the latitude 
of the Antarctic circle. It appeared to be entirely covered 

* M. d'Urville was one of the victims of the fire that destroyed the cars on 
the railroad between Paris and Versailles, on the 8th day of May, 1842. 

t Voyage au Pole Sud, ect, ect, torn, viii., p. 170 et seq. Land was first dis- 
covered by the American squadron, as has been stated, on the 16th of January, 
some distance further to the east than the Terre Adelie of d'Urville, although 
Captain Wilkes and his officers were not fully convinced on the subject till the 
19th instant, the very day of the French discovery. This fact, and that of the 
Americans necessarily following in the track of d'Urville, after they reached, in 
their progress to the westward, the meridian where he was on the 19th instant, 
though they went far beyond him, are the only really plausible arguments upon 
which the French base their claim to the prior discovery. 


with perennial snow, destitute of vegetation, and averaging 
about thirteen hundred feet in general height. The name of 
Terre Adelie was now given to it by the French commander, 
and he continued his way to the west. In a few days he dis- 
covered, and sailed for about sixty miles along, a solid wall of 
ice one hundred and fifty feet high probably near the Piner's 
Bay of Captain Wilkes which he believed to be the crust or 
covering of a solid body of land, and named Cdte Clairee. 
The discovery was soon after made that the line of coast 
trended to the southward, and as his crews were in an en- 
feebled condition, and the vessels, which, like those of the 
American expedition, were illy adapted for such service, had 
suffered considerable damage, Admiral d'Urville issued orders 
on the 1st of February to bear away for the north, and on the 
17th of the month he once more anchored in the Derwent. 
Having repaired his vessels he set sail for France, where he 
arrived in safety, having performed, as it eventually proved, 
his last voyage. The magnetic observations of the French 
vessels corresponded very nearly with those of the American 
squadron, and indicated that the magnetic pole was not far 
from Terre Adelie. 

(4.) But by far the most important, and the greatest amount 
of information in regard to the Antarctic Continent, was ob- 
tained by Captain Sir James Clark Ross, of the British navy, 
and the discoverer of the northern magnetic pole, in three 
successive voyages, made between the years 1840 and 1843. 
The principal objects had in view in fitting out his expedition 
were the improvement of the science of magnetism, and the 
determination of the position of the southern magnetic pole. 
He left England with two vessels, the Erebus and Terror, in 
September 1839, and arrived at Hobarton on the 16th of Au- 
gust, 1840. Unlike those of the French and Americans, his 
vessels were amply provided with suitable stores and neces- 
saries, and so strongly fortified to penetrate the ice, that he at 
one time forced them through a thick belt two hundred miles 
across, which would have completely destroyed any other 
craft, into the open sea beyond. 


Having been apprised of the discoveries of the American 
and French squadrons, and learning that they had failed to 
get beyond 67 southern latitude in the quarter he had select- 
ed for his own operations, Captain Ross determined to deviate 
from his original plan. He left Hobarton, therefore, on the 
12th of November, 1840 ; and entering the Antarctic regions 
still farther to the east, he found himself, early in January, 
1841, amid immense fields of ice. The first land seen was 
discovered on the llth instant, and consisted of a mountain- 
ous range, from seven to nine thousand feet high, whose sum- 
mits were covered with snow and the intervening valleys filled 
with glaciers, with the bare rocks peeping out here and there 
through their wintry coverings, reaching away, far beyond the 
view, in a southeasterly direction. In front of the main coast, 
at a distance of thirty miles, loomed up a tall mountain, like 
some hoary sentinel, called Mount Sabine, which was estimated 
to be from seven to ten thousand feet above the level of the 
sea. Not far distant was Possession Island, as it was christ- 
ened, in latitude 71 56' S., and longitude 171 07' E., ap- 
proachable only on the northern side, and covered with a deep 
bed of guano that emitted an intolerable stench. 

The 28th of January, 1841, was signalized by the discov- 
ery of two lofty mountains one of which, called Mount 
Erebus, was 12,400 feet high, and an active volcano, and the 
other, called Mount Terror, was an extinct volcano having 
an elevation of 10,900 feet. Mount Erebus is in about lati- 
tude 76 06' S., and longitude 168 II 7 E., and Mount Terror 
lies a little further to the east and south. The former is con- 
nected with the main land, and is described as presenting a 
most grand and imposing spectacle. The officers fancied they 
saw the streams of red-hot lava ploughing their way through 
the snows of ages, down its corrugated sides ; and they plainly 
witnessed the dark gyres and tall columns of smoke hurled 
into the air, to the height of fifteen hundred or two thou- 
sand feet above the mouth of the crater, where glowed un- 
ceasingly the forked flames, whose meteor glare illuminates 
the profound darkness that broods over this dreary clime in 


the long nights of winter, and literally and truly sheds its 
light upon the physical construction of the globe. Captain 
Ross might well congratulate himself upon the discovery of 
this beacon-fire, standing, as it were, at the very outposts of 
the world. 

Pursuing their westerly course still further, the English 
vessels reached the highest point of southern latitude, in 
78 04', where they found the way blocked by a perpendicu- 
lar wall or cliff of ice, ov^r one thousand feet thick, from one 
hundred and fifty to two hundred feet high, and four hun- 
dred and fifty miles in length, along whose base were scatter- 
ed wide fields of blocks and bergs of ice, which rose and fell 
with the restless waves that spent their fury in vain against 
the frozen bulwarks that confined them. For many a weary 
mile, the Erebus and her consort coasted along this ice-bound 
shore, to which Captain Ross gave the name of Victoria Land, 
inside the ice-pack, through which they forced their way. 
Sixty-three days were spent to the south of the Antarctic 
circle, and the approach of the winter season Captain Ross 
having in vain sought for a place where he might remain till 
the ensuing spring alone compelled them to return to a 
warmer climate. On the 28th of February, they caught the 
last glimpse of Victoria Land as they bore away to the north. 
In their subsequent route, they crossed over the land supposed to 
have been seen from the Porpoise, and the tracks of the Amer- 
ican vessels, and on the 6th of August following, came to 
anchor within the head lands of the Derwent. 

Two voyages were subsequently made by Captain Ross in 
these regions. In the winter of 1841-42, he penetrated as 
far south as 78 10', but was less successful than on the for- 
mer occasion. At an early per ocl he was entangled in an ice- 
pack through which he pushed h:s vessels, and from which he 
never emerged for a thousand miles. The barrier of ice was 
traced ten degrees further to the eaet, when the winter again 
set in. In 1842-3 the third and last aittmpt was made ta 
reach the pole, but this was attended with saA less success , 
and the persevering and undaunted navigaf<v wn oHi^ec 1 t' 


abandon the ambitions hope he had cherished, of completing 
the coronal of his fame by the discovery he longed to achieve. 
He penetrated to latitude 71 30' S., between 10 and 20 of 
west longitude, and from the extensive and minute magnetic 
observations he had taken, assigned the position of the south- 
ern magnetic pole in 75 05' S., and longitude 154 08' E. 
Forced to content himself with this, as his officers and men 
were well nigh exhausted, he relinquished all further efforts 
in this quarter, and returned to England. 

In the winter of 1844-45, Lieutenant Moore proceeded 
to the Antarctic regions, from Cape Town, on a scientific ex- 
pedition, in the barque Pagoda, hired for that purpose by the 
British government. He made a little further southing, be- 
tween the meridian of Greenwich and 120 east longitude, 
than any other vessel had previously done, but was unable to 
reach the magnetic pole, in consequence of the pack ice and 
bergs he encountered. He completed the observations, how- 
ever, left unfinished by Captain Ross, and confirmed the ex- 
istence of the Antarctic continent discovered by Captain 
Wilkes, of which Victoria Land is probably a continuation. 

(5.) As one of the results of these various expeditions to the 
Antarctic seas, we have the discovery of the vast feeding 
grounds of innumerable whales, who will probably soon be- 
come accustomed to be disturbed in their icy retreats. Naviga- 
tion in these bleak latitudes, where the thermometer ranges at 
12 during the warmest summer month, and at noon rises only 
to 14, and where the waves that break over the vessels fre- 
quenting their waters freeze as they fall on the decks and 
rigging, must always be difficult and dangerous ; yet whale- 
men are proverbial for their fearlessness in encountering the 
perils of the deep. Appalling, therefore, as these obstacles may 
be, if possible to be surmounted, they will both defy and over- 
come them. 

But of primary importance, in a scientific aspect, are the 
magnetic observations obtained, and the geological discoveries 
that have been made. The true position of the southern 
magnetic pole has been pretty nearly ascertained, and a very 

286 GEOLOGY. [1840 

correct knowledge gained in regard to the dip of the whole 
southern hemisphere, and the courses of the variation lines, 
and of the intersecting lines where they approach their respec- 
tive poles all indispensable to the establishment of a com- 
plete and reliable theory of terrestrial magnetism. 

(6.) It is quite evident, from the comparatively few well 
authenticated facts so far established, that the Antarctic Con- 
tinent is of a volcanic character, and mainly composed of 
lava and basalt. Large masses of earth have been seen on 
the bergs near the main shore, and boulders of granite, and 
fragments of sand and gravel, found firm]y imbedded in the 
ice. Soundings obtained by the Peacock, too, in five and 
eight hundred fathoms, brought up granite, red clay, and 
dead coral. The coast outline is exceedingly bold. Bluff 
capes and promontories jut out into the ocean, behind which 
the land rises precipitately, peak above peak, in stupendous 
mountain ranges, whose steep escarpments present vast icy 
masses of crystallization, or are enveloped in perpetual snow. 

Along the coast there is a belt of field ice, with occasion- 
ally an ice-pack, averaging about fifty miles in width. In 
this there is but little change. Masses of ice are constantly 
being disrupted, in the winter, by the difference in tempera- 
ture between the air and the water, and the outer bergs are 
sometimes driven away by the prevailing southerly winds 
into warmer regions, where they gradually disappear. But 
the stationary ice can scarcely be said to thaw, and congela- 
tion is constantly taking place to supply any deficiency. 
Large pools of fresh water, probably rain, in sufficient abund- 
ance to supply a navy, are often found on the tops of icebergs, 
covered over with a thin crust of ice. 

(7.) When the icebergs are first disrupted, they are com- 
monly of a tabular formation ; but after they have been for 
a long time exposed to the action of the waters and the occa- 
sional heat of the sun, they present greater irregularities, 
and frequently assume the most fanciful appearances.* Wide 

* Icebergs one-third of a mile in length, and from one hundred and fifty to 
two hundred feet high, are frequently seen, in the high southern latitudes. 


holes are worn into their fluted sides, over which depend 
gigantic icicles ; and as the shadows appear and disappear in 
the crevices, with the wavy motion of the sea, it requires 
but little stretch of fancy on the part of the beholder, to re- 
gard them as fairy habitations, or Gothic shrines, or he may 
be reminded of that Neptunian palace which the genius of 
Scott has hallowed 

" That wondrous dome, 
Where, as to shame the temples deck'd 
By skill of earthly architect, 
Nature herself, it seem'd, would raise 
A minster to her Maker's praise !" 

When the sky is unobscured by the dense mists, and the 
heavy cumulous clouds, whose deep shadows are so com- 
monly thrown over this chosen abode of the gloomy winter, 
and the glorious rays of the sun are permitted to dart forth 
in perfect freedom, they seem to run riot with gladness, and 
the whole atmosphere, the sky, the ice, and the ocean, fairly 
flicker with their splendor. And when the long twilight 
comes on, everything is adorned with their rich tintings of 
puce and salmon color, till the entire landscape glows with 
their parting effulgence. 

The Aurora Australis is also represented as appearing like 
some vision of enchantment. It is so brilliant at night that 
the smallest print is distinctly legible. The upper points of 
the rays are often more beautifully attenuated than those of 
the Aurora Borealis. Sometimes there is no exhibition of 
color, and at others the aurora is of a yellow color, with 
edges of the purest pink or green. The coruscations are 
usually most brilliant. Vivid flashes of a bright pink dart 
upward continually, and tall streamers float along the sky, 
from the cloud to the zenith, having a tremulous lateral 
motion, and presenting a most brilliant display of all the 
prismatic colors. 

(8. ) All traces of vegetation, unless exhibiting itself in new 
forms hitherto unknown, disappear on entering this region of 
eternal frost and snow. The cabbage (pringlea anti-scor- 


bulled] of Kerguelen's Land, is, perhaps, the only plant that 
flourishes, with even tolerable vigor or luxuriance, as high 
as 50 southern latitude. Beyond this, only the hardiest 
lichens, and the very lowest order of plants, are seen. Cock- 
burn's Island, in latitude 64 12' S., and longitude 59 49' 
W., presents the last appearances of vegetation. Unfriendly 
as are the soil ana climate of this bleak spot, lichens are 
found here as high as fourteen hundred feet above the sea; 
but coldness and moisture seem to be far less prejudicial to 
their growth than the warmth of the sun, which causes them 
to become crisp and parched, so that they crumble in pieces at 
the slightest touch. 

The animal kingdom is much better represented. Here 
may be seen the extensive "rookeries," as they are termed by 
seamen, of countless numbers of seals ; the feeding- grounds, 
abounding with animalcules and Crustacea, of whales who 
have never yet been disturbed by their great enemy, man ; 
and the teeming abodes of penguins and petrels, whose cries 
are ever heard rising shrill and clear, as if in proud defiance, 
above the wild howling of the wintry blast. There are many 
of the large hunch-back and sperm whales, and it is almost 
impossible to count the numerous seals, that may be discov- 
ered on a pleasant sunny day, enjoying their favorite pastime 
of basking on the ice. Sea-lions and sea-elephants are abund- 
ant. The former is a large earless seal, having a heavy 
mane like the lion : the latter also belongs to the seal family, 
and is sometimes called the elephant seal ; it is from twenty 
to thirty feet long, and from fifteen to eighteen feet in circum- 
ference ; the full-grown male possesses the power of elongat- 
ing his nose into a proboscis, or trunk, about twelve inches 
in length, and hence the appellation which it usually bears, 
has been bestowed upon it. The Antarctic seas are filled 
with the molluscous and minute marine animals on which 
the whales feed. One of the most remarkable varieties of 
the finny tribe found in their waters, is the " killer :" this is 
a fish about twenty feet long, of a brownish color on the 
back, and white on the belly? having a long dorsal fin, and 


possessing immense strength ; it often attacks one of the 
largest whales, catching him by the throat, and worrying 
him to death, but, as the whalers say, it contents itself with 
devouring the tongue of its victim thus indicating, savage 
and ferocious as it may be, the possession of a most refined 
epicurean taste. 

Among the wild fowl are albatrosses, Port Egmont hens, 
and petrels, in great abundance. Large flocks of cape 
pigeons are often seen. The edges of the cliffs are filled with 
the nests of the pintado birds and rapacious skua gulls ; and 
the loud coarse notes of the innumerable penguins make an 
eternal din. The largest of the penguins found here weigh 
upwards of sixty pounds each : their flesh is of a dark color, 
and has a rank fishy flavor. 

(9.) On overhauling the Peacock at Sydney, it was found 
that extensive repairs would be necessary. She therefore re- 
mained here, with orders to follow the squadron to Tonga- 
taboo, while the Vincennes sailed for New Zealand on the 
19th of March. In the morning of the 30th instant, the 
latter entered the Bay of Islands, and came to anchor in the 
Kawa-Kawa river, where she found the Porpoise and Flying 
Fish, and the scientific corps, looking for her with some 
anxiety. The Peacock, having completed her repairs, and 
replenished her stock of provisions, sailed from Sydney, on 
the same day, for the Tonga Islands. 



(1.) Acquisitions of England. (2.) New Zealand. Discovery. Geography 
(3.) Harbors and Towns. (4.) Soil. Climate. (5.) Population. Gov- 
ernment. (6.) Natives. Character. Houses. Dress. Customs. (7.) 
Botany and Zoology. (8.) Commerce and Manufactures. (9.) Voyage to 

(1.) IT has been well said that England girdles the world 
with a chain of fortifications. At home, though small and 
diminutive in area, she bristles with bayonets, and forts, and 
armaments, and from her prolific hive sends forth army after 
army of soldiers ; yet the vicissitudes of climate, and the 
chances of war, seem never to diminish the supply. Her 
vessels, too, are dispatched to every clime, and when new dis- 
coveries are made, they are promptly occupied by her people. 
Her indomitable will and untiring energy are rarely foiled ; 
and whatever spot on the habitable globe, in the possession 
of a weaker race, excites her cupidity, or appears to be ne- 
cessary or convenient for the accomplishment of her projects, 
it is doomed, sooner or later, by peaceable or forcible means, 
to fall under the dominion of her flag. 

In the East Indies she is supreme, and in China her power 
has been felt, and is now tremblingly acknowledged. In the 
Eastern Archipelago she knows no rival ; and from the Lion's 
Rump at Cape Town, she looks forth over the broad ocean, 
with the air of a conqueror, whose superiority none question 
or dispute. She has planted herself firmly on the coasts of 
Africa, and of North and South America ; and the best of the 
West India islands are hers. Malta is no longer held by the 
knights hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, but the pride of 
the Mediterranean has passed into the hands of the Briton. 

1840.] NEW ZEALAND. 291 

The rock of Gibraltar, occupied by the soldiery of England, 
like the Acropolis of Corinth, throws its shadow over two 
seas ;* and the banner of St. George, waving in sullen maj- 
esty over the rock of St. Helena, is seen far out in the Atlantic. 

(2.) One of the most recent acquisitions of the British 
government, is New Zealand, which consists of a group of 
two large and several smaller islands in the Southern Pacific 
ocean, lying between the parallels of 35 and 47 of southern 
latitude, and 166 and 179, east longitude. Tasman, in 
1642, was the first discoverer of New Zealand, but he ob- 
tained very little information in regard to its extent and char- 
acter. Captain Cook, however, made two voyages hither, 
in 1769 and 1774 ; his examinations of the islands and the 
neighboring waters were carefully and critically made, and 
the real merit of the discovery may, therefore, with much 
justice, be claimed for him. At any rate, its substantial ad- 
vantages have, after some delay, accrued to the government 
by which he was commissioned. 

It is mentioned as a singular fact, that the natives had no 
name originally for either of the islands, or for any part of the 
country. Cook and d'Urville were evidently ignorant of this, 
and gave them appellations which they had heard among the 
natives, and supposed to be applied to the islands. Until the 
English occupation, the two larger islands, however, were gen- 
erally designated among sailors and whalemen, as the North, 
and the South Islands ; and the small island, still further south, 
was called Stewart's Island, after the master of an English ves- 
sel, who assisted the natives of the northern island in a bloody 
foray among the inhabitants of South Island. The present 
masters of the group have latterly provided names for their 
new acquisitions. North Island is now called New Ulster ; the 
middle, or South Island, New Munster ; and Stewart's Island, 
New Leinster. New Ulster is the widest of the two prin- 
cipal islands, being about three hundred miles in its greatest 

" Qua summas caput Acrocorinthos in auras 
Tollit, et aiterna, geminum mare protegit umbra." 

P. Statius, Thebaid., lib. vii. 

292 GEOGRAPHY. [1840 

breath, but New Munster is considerably the largest. The 
area of all the islands is estimated at about 86,000 square 

Along the centre of New Munster, throughout its whole 
extent, and along rather more than the southern half of New 
Ulster, runs a mountainous range, from south to north, which 
has every appearance of having been once continuous. Sub- 
ordinate hilly ranges lie on either side, and, here and there, 
are detached outliers of vast dimensions. Along the line of 
the main cordillera are tall mountains, overtopping their com- 
panions, and lifting their heads into the region of perpetual 
snow. The loftiest peaks are the * Lookers-on,' and Mount 
Egmont, lying near the southern extremity of New Ulster, 
which are supposed to be from eight to fourteen thousand feet 
high. The country at the bases of the mountains is made 
up of plain, pasture, marsh, and woodland. Some of the 
hills are barren, or covered with a thick growth of fern, but 
they are generally wooded to their very summits ; and there 
are immense forests spread out along the flanks of the cor- 
dilleras, which climb the sides of the highest mountains, and 
encircle their snow-tipped peaks with rich fringing borders 
and belts of evergreen. 

All the islands, so far as known, are well watered. Small 
brooklets thread their way down the sides of the great central 
mountain range that intersects New Ulster and New Mun- 
ster, and singing ever so many a pretty refrain, as they wind 
out and in among the nooks and fissures, or spring from rock 
to rock, finally descend to the plain beneath. Here larger 
streams are formed, by the union of several of the smaller 
torrents, which proceed on their oceanward course, now 
lazily crossing some sandy barren, now flashing through the 
interstices of the leafy forest, now half hidden beneath the 
long waving fern, and now leaping gayly forth into the sun- 
light, and bounding over the rocks and precipices, in pictur- 
esque falls and charming cascades, till at length they mingle 
their waters with those of " the dark, deep sea." 

Five principal rivers, and numerous minor streams, debouch 

1840.] HARBORS. 293 

into the Bay of Islands. The names of the former are Kawa- 
Kawa, Kiri-Kiri, Loytangi, Waicaddie, and Warooa. There 
are some fine cascades in the last mentioned stream, and in 
the Kiri-Kiri there is a magnificent waterfall to which the 
natives have given the poetic appellation of Wani-Wani, or 
" the waters of the rain-bow." One hundred and forty 
miles south of the Bay of Islands, is the Thames, or "Waihou, 
and on the west side of the island is the Hokianga, both of 
which are considerable streams. The tide flows up many of 
the smaller rivers, and the larger ones are navigable for 
some distance by vessels of heavy burden. The Hokianga, 
however, has a bar at its mouth which obstructs the naviga- 
tion, though it is ascended by boats as high as tide water, 
thirty miles up. 

(3.) Perhaps there is no country in the world, having an 
equal extent of coast, that possesses more or finer harbors 
and roadsteads. This is especially true of New Ulster, whose 
shores are generally iron-bound, and quite dangerous to those 
not familiar with the channels and openings. Its harbors are 
principally formed by indentations in the coast. The chief 
importance is justly attached to the Bay of Islands, on the 
eastern shore. This is shaped like an open hand in the act 
of grasping the island, and derives its name from the great 
number of rocky islets with which it is studded. At its en- 
trance, which is about eleven miles in width, it has Cape Brett 
on the south, and Point Pocock on the north. It is spacious 
and commodious, affording ample room for vessels to beat in, 
and is surrounded with bays and inlets, some larger and some 
smaller, extending in every direction, and presenting secure 
places of retreat when the winds mutter their hoarse wail- 
ings, and the loud roar of the beating surge is echoed from 
headland to headland. 

Within the Bay of Islands, the anchorages most frequented 
are the roadstead of Tepuna, on the north side of the bay, 
and opposite to the mission of that name ; and the Bay of 
Kororarika, and the Kawa-Kawa river, on the southern shore. 
Other numerous inlets and indentations afford deep and safe 

294 TOWNS. [1840 

anchorage grounds. An occasional patch of marshy ground 
may be seen along the shores of the bay, but the scenery is 
for the most part bold and picturesque, the surrounding 
hills averaging from three to five hundred feet in height, and 
at the head of the bay attaining an elevation of one thousand 
feet. Forests of magnificent timber, and pretty groves, amidst 
which the beautiful cottages of the foreign residents are 
tastefully disposed, give to all a most pleasing effect. 

Wangarara Bay, thirty miles south of Cape Brett, is said 
to be still safer than the Bay of Islands. It is a deep inden- 
tation running parallel to the coast, and is separated from 
the ocean by a narrow belt of high and rocky land. The an- 
chorage is good six miles from the entrance, which, though 
but one mile in width, is deep and free from danger. Cloudy 
Bay, near the south end of New Ulster, is a great place of 
resort for whalers, many of whom live there ; and Port 
Cooper, on the north side of Bank's Peninsula, is also an ex- 
cellent harbor. 

First in commercial importance, of the towns in New 
Zealand, is Kororarika, on the southern shore of the Bay of 
Islands. It has the deepest water, in its bay, and is the best 
sheltered from the wind. It contains over one hundred houses, 
and other buildings, among which is a Roman Catholic chapel, 
and is filled with a heterogeneous population, numbering 
about one thousand, and made up of civilized and uncivilized 
natives, foreign residents, escaped convicts from the British 
penal settlements, and runaway sailors. So famous was it, 
at one time, for the scenes of iniquity and degradation it con- 
stantly presented, that it was called " Black-guard Beach ;" 
but since the British government have taken possession, a 
police similar to that at Sydney has been introduced, and a 
much better state of things now prevails. 

Pahia, on the opposite side of the bay, is very pleasantly 
situated : the principal missionary establishment of the Epis- 
copal church is located at this place , *iid here are the resi- 
dences of those attached to the mission^ "*nd their printing 
presses. East of Pahia is a new town, calls * Victoria, which 

1840.] GEOLOGY. 295 

at first grew, under the impetus of speculation, with con- 
siderable rapidity. Its progress has since been checked to 
some extent, but it must eventually become quite a town. 
Eleven miles from the Bay of Islands, up the Waicaddie 
.river, is Waicaddie Pa, probably the largest native town in 
the islands. It is a neat and cleanly place, and, as might be 
presumed from, this fact, has a prosperous mission estab- 

Auckland, the capital of New Zealand, is situated on the 
Waitemata river, which affords it a spacious harbor, in lati- 
tude 36 51' 27" S., and longitude 174 45' 20" E. : it is a 
thriving town, and contains between two and three thousand 
inhabitants. The other principal stations are Port Nicholson, 
which has upwards of five thousand inhabitants, Port Nelson, 
and New Plymouth. 

(4.) Volcanic phenomena may be witnessed almost every- 
where in the interior. There is an active volcano on the Bay 
of Plenty, on the east coast of New Ulster, and at the north- 
ern extremity of the island there are a great number of coni- 
cal hills, from three to five hundred feet high, with small cavi- 
ties in their tops, which appear to be extinct craters. Cellular 
lava, and lava in boulders, are abundant. In those districts, 
too, where these indications of a volcanic origin are more 
conclusive, there are hot springs, resembling the geysers of 
Iceland, the waters of some of which rise to the boiling point, 
and are used by the natives in cooking,* The coasts are 
lined with dark basaltic rocks, which are worn into various 
shapes by the constant attrition of the waves. Quantities 
of pumice stone are found, and it is used by the natives for 
polishing their spears. Quartz, iron, and iron pyrites, have 
been discovered imbedded in the soil. Coal is plentiful in the 
middle island, which also furnishes the green talc, both in 
lamins and of a loose form, of which the natives make some 

* About fifteen miles west of the Bay of Islands is the hot spring of Taiaimi, 
which is said to be an emission of heated gas bubbling up through 'he water, 
and thus giving the latter a boiling appearance. Sulphur is abundant in the 
vicinity, and a slight crust of alum is formed. The water is strongly impreg- 
nated wilh iron. The gas has no smell, neither is it inflammable. 


of their weapons and ornaments. Manganese, alum, sulphur, 
slate, copper, whinstone, granite, and marble, are quite com- 
mon ; and clay, suitable for making bricks, is easily obtained 
in every part of the islands, 

In the vicinity of the Bay of Islands, the rocky subsoil is 
compact and argillaceous, and it is covered with a layer of 
stiff clay. In the neighborhood of the craters the land is 
much more productive than elsewhere. On the ridges arad 
elevated plains, the upper stratum, is thin, on account of its 
being washed into the valleys and gulleys, that divide or in- 
tersect them, by the frequent rains. Marshes alternate now 
and then with the rocky bluffs and precipices along the coast, 
and are often met with on the banks of the streams. In gen- 
eral, the soil may be said to be a rich yellow loam or vegeta- 
ble mould, very fertile, and well adapted to the production of 
all the vegetables, and most of the grains, raised in Europe 
and America. 

Though the climate of New Zealand is changeable, it is 
temperate and healthy ; being analogous to that of France, 
southern England, and the middle states of our own country, 
and therefore well adapted to European constitutions. At 
Auckland, the mean annual temperature is about 59 ; in the 
summer months it averages about 67, and in the winter about 
52. The oppressive heats of the mid-day at Sydney, and the 
long continued droughts that parch and wither up the vege- 
tation of the Australian continent, are unknown. Of moisture 
there is a great abundance. North-easterly and south-westerly 
gales prevail at every change of the moon, and almost al- 
ways bring heavy rains, particularly in the winter season. 
In the interior, the weather is much colder, but is also more 

Nevertheless, on the whole, the climate may be pronounced 
salubrious, and decidedly favorable to longevity. In some 
situations scrofulous and glandular affections are common ; 
pectoral diseases, rapid consumptions, phthisis, pleurisy and 
rheumatism, are by no means rare ; yet, after all, most of the 
prevalent forms of disease have been either introduced bj 

1840.] POPULATION. 297 

Europeans, or occasioned by the habits and vices which they 
nave imported. 

(5.) It admits of great doubt, whether the native popula- 
tion of New Zealand comes up to 150,000, which is the num- 
ber usually fixed upon, though some estimates reduce it 
nearly as low as 100,000. The white, or European popula- 
tion, occupying New Ulster, which has alone been regularly 
colonized, is not far from twenty thousand. 

At the general peace in Europe, the claims of Great Bri- 
tain to the different islands included in the term of New Zea- 
land, under and by virtue of the discovery of Cook, were 
recognized. No effort was made, however, to enforce them 
by occupation and possession, till the year 1833, when a res- 
ident, subordinate to the authorities of New South Wales, 
but clothed with limited powers, was sent thither. The 
islands had already become infested with runaway convicts 
and sailors, and marauders of every dye and description. Oat- 
rages were daily committed on the persons and property of the 
natives ; the latter were fast learning to imitate the vices 
and crimes of the outlaws, who both persecuted and demoral- 
ized them ; and drunkenness, with its consequent evils, 
crimes, and wretchedness, was becoming everywhere prev- 
alent. Here and there, where the missionary stations were 
established, and their influence felt, bright spots appeared 
amidst the moral darkness that overshadowed the land ; but 
beyond their limits, there was nothing to relieve the general 
depravity, and sensuality, licentiousness, and excess, rejoiced 
in one continued holiday. 

British, American, and French whalers, frequently visited 
the islands, but they were liable to be molested by the free- 
booters and their native retainers ; resistance often provoked 
renewed aggressions ; and they were sometimes attacked and 

Combinations were likewise formed, principally in New 
South Wales, to purchase land of the natives. Associations 
of this character, by the grossest swindling and imposition, 
obtained the control of extensive tracts in the northern island 


298 GOVERNMENT. [1840. 

Influenced by their representations, settlers emigrated in con- 
siderable numbers from New South Wales, and the other 
Australian colonies ; but colonization, so far from keeping 
pace with speculation, was completely distanced by it. Mat- 
ters were in this position, in 1839, and would probably have 
continued to remain so ; but at that time it was reported, 
either with or without sufficient cause, that the French gov- 
ernment contemplated taking possession of the southern 
island, and planting a colony there. The British authorities 
promptly interfered ; a colonial organization subordinate to 
that of New South Wales was formed in January, 1840 ; 
and Captain Hobson, of the Royal Navy, was appointed 
lieutenant governor of the new dependency. 

On the arrival of the lieutenant governor at the Bay of 
Islands, he issued his proclamation, announcing that all 
future purchases of land from the aboriginal inhabitants would 
be absolutely void, unless made through the British local gov- 
ernment. A commission was then appointed to inquire into 
the validity of all claims to land, under instructions to recognize 
and confirm those only which were founded on just and equi- 
table considerations, with the proviso, also, that no claim 
should be allowed for a greater extent than twenty-five hun- 
dred and sixty acres. The lieutenant governor likewise ob- 
tained from the principal chiefs, a cession to the British mon- 
arch, of the paramount right of sovereignty in the islands, 
and extinguished the native titles to large bodies of land. 
These government lands were divided into suitable tracts, 
and disposed of at auction, to the settlers, and the immigrants 
who were daily arriving. 

Since this formal occupation by the British, a more healthy 
state of things has existed in New Zealand. In April, 1841, 
it was separated from New South Wales, and placed under 
a governor possessing similar powers with the chief executive 
officers in the colonies of Great Britain. With the governor, 
the colonial secretary and treasurer, the attorney general, and 
three senior justices of the peace, constitute the legislative 
council, by whom all laws and regulations, of minor irapor- 


tance, are enacted. The annual expense of administering 
the government exceeds fifty thousand pounds sterling. 

(6.) Ethnologically considered, the native New Zealanders 
may be classed as belonging to the Malay family, and they 
are undeniably the best specimens of the race. The men are 
tall, well-formed and athletic ; many of the chiefs are up- 
wards of six feet high; and all possess great strength and 
activity. The women are likewise well shaped, but they 
lack the fulness of muscle, and the soft rounded contour, wit- 
nessed among other Polynesians. Their color varies in indi- 
viduals, from a dark chestnut to a light copper or brunette, 
and resembles very nearly that of the European gypsy, or 
the Eurasian in India. They have round faces, high fore- 
heads sloping backwards, aquiline noses full at the point, 
large lips, and fine white teeth. Their eyes are black, strong, 
and piercing. Their hair is black and commonly straight, 
but sometimes thick, bushy, and curly ; that of the women is 
frequently fine, soft, and silky. Some crop their hair, leav- 
ing only a small bunch on the top of the head, and others 
suffer it to grow long. Whiskers and beards are not con- 
sidered at all in good taste among the New Zealand ex- 
quisites. Tattooing is practiced, by all who can afford the 
expense, and often gives a dark expression to the counte- 
nance, where it does not really exist. The men ornament 
their faces and arms, and their whole bodies and limbs, from 
the navel downwards ; but the women rarely tattoo any other 
parts of their persons except the mouth and the pubes tha 
latter taking place on their arrival at the age of puberty 
though a few ornamental devices about the wrists and ankles 
are occasionally seen. They pay little regard to personal 
cleanliness, rarely ever bathe, besmear themselves with grease 
and dirt, and seem to delight in being filthy. 

Portions of the middle island, or New Munster, are said to 
be inhabited by individuals evidently of the Papuan race, 
who differ widely from the true New Zealanders, and bear a 
strong resemblance to the natives of Australia, and the 
islands of the Eastern Archipelago. 

300 CHARACTER. [1840 

We have different accounts in regard to the cnaracter of 
the New Zealander ; some pronouncing him vindictive, crafty y 
and treacherous ; and others again insisting that he is frank r 
generous, and confiding. Probably all these traits are by 
turns displayed. The fierce and bloody conflicts, which are 
known to have taken place between the different tribes, in- 
dicate a warlike disposition. They are exceedingly proud, 
and when insulted, inclined to be revengeful ; yet they are 
hospitable to strangers, and seem to know how to appreciate 
kind treatment. Though practicing infanticide, to a greater 
or less extent, they are strongly attached to their children. 
Honesty is not one of their failings ; but they are somewhat 
given to trickishness in their dealings, and their intercourse 
with the whites has hardly contributed to divest them of it. 
The men are capable of enduring fatigue, yet as their wants- 
are few and easily supplied, they are naturally indolent ; the 
labor and drudgery, as is generally the case in Polynesia, and 
among all savage races, being performed by the weaker, more- 
suffering, yet less complaining, part of humanity. 

A fondness for curiosities and ornaments is characteristic 
of both sexes. Besides tattooing their persons, they bore 
holes in their ears, in which are inserted small rings of jade 
or talc, or shark's teeth ; these are tipped with sealing wax, 
or ornamented with white and red, or other bright colored 
feathers. The principal chiefs and their wives wear green 
talc stones, called heitikis, depending from their necks ; these 
are carved so as to resemble a human figure sitting cross- 
legged; they are held very sacred, and with the me'dra^ a 
short cleaver or club, are handed down as heirlooms, from 
father to son. Acquisitiveness is a prominent trait among 
them, and they are always ready for trading and bartering. 
They will sell everything they have, even their sacred 
heitikis. At one time a considerable trade was carried on 
in New Zealand curiosities, which were purchased at the 
islands, and exported to Australia, Europe, and America, 
Prominent among the articles of traffic were the tattooed 
heads of their chiefs, which commanded very high prices ; 


but the supply has recently been out off, in consequence of 
the absolute prohibition of the sale of them by the British 

Comparatively few of the vices usually witnessed among a 
savage people, are observed here. Cannibalism and infant- 
icide were formerly very common, and they are now practiced 
in those districts remote from the white settlements, though 
they are gradually decreasing. The New Zealand chiefs, 
and many of the common people, are polygamists, yet always 
having one favorite wife. They are very jealous of their 
marital rights, and adultery is punished by the death of the 
offending parties, and often of their friends. The effects of 
dissipation are plainly visible among those natives who have 
adopted the habits and imitated the practices of the abandoned 
whites. Since 1815, missionaries have been laboring among 
them with considerable success. In 1843, there were a bishop 
and twelve clergymen of the established church, and about 
seventy ministers of the Roman Catholic, Church Missionary, 
Wesleyan and Scotch Churches. Wherever the influence 
of the missionaries has extended, though their labors have 
not been as practically directed as they might have been, a 
marked change is observable. As the natives have been so 
much accustomed to receiving presents, they sometimes ex- 
pect to be paid for their good conduct, and their zeal in at- 
tending to their devotional duties. Gifts and proselytes are 
often made at the same time. But all those who have em- 
braced Christianity, or regularly attend church services, are 
much more virtuous and happy than the other natives ; the 
men are more industrious, and more ready to share the 
burdens of their wives, while the latter are better-looking and 
lighter of heart, and no longer seek to check the jocund 
sprightliness of their daughters, by pointing them to a sad 
destiny a dark future of misery and care. 

In intellectual endowments they are by no means deficient. 
They possess a great deal of mechanical skill and ingenuity, 
though exhibiting it, hitherto, rather in the construction of 
their richly carved and ornamented canoes, and their fine and 


delicate mats, than in the erection of their habitations. They 
have shown a singular aptitude in accustoming themselves to 
the usages of civilized life. Of poetry they have an abund- 
ance, chiefly of a lyrical kind ; rude it is, indeed, yet they 
are not entire strangers to metre and quantity. They have 
a passionate attachment for music, and, in fact, noise of any 
kind is scarcely ever unwelcome to them. Their voices are 
monotonous, and when singing pitched in a high key. They 
have their war dances and love dances, and sometimes sham 
fights : these are much like exhibitions of a similar character 
throughout Polynesia, very picturesque by candlelight, but 
not bearing the full glare of day, and always tiresome on 

It is customary, however, among the New Zealanders, on 
almost every occasion of ceremony, be it a funeral festivity, 
or a dance, to intersperse the proceedings with discharges of 
fire arms, the noise produced by which seems to afford them 
real delight. 

Surprising though it may be, they have a kind of astronomy 
among them ; and like all Polynesians, they appear to have a 
faint, though imperfect idea of the creation. In regard to 
their own origin, they have no tradition, except that their an- 
cestors came from the east in canoes, sewed together with 
sennit.* While they have given no names to their islands, 
strangely enough, there is not a single thing in the animal or 
vegetable creation, for which they have not a distinct appella- 
tive term by which it is generally known. 

There was not originally, at the time of the discovery, any 

* They have likewise a tradition, that their kumara, or sweet potato, was 
brought from the east. Might not these islands, then, have been visited by 
South American Indians, who found them peopled with Malays, or Papuans, 
and from whom the present inhabitants have descended 1 or did the ancestors 
of the latter come from some of the intermediate isles of the Pacific 1 The ease 
with which the New Zealander and the Tahitian converse, on first meeting each 
other, has before been remarked (ante, p. 178) ; and it is by no means improbable, 
that the canoes, the memory of which is preserved in the traditions of the former, 
may have originally come from the Society Islands. Nevertheless, how true it 
is, that the more ethnology is studied, the more speculative it seems to become. 


general head among the natives, even those who were evi- 
dently of the same race ; but they were divided into tribes, 
distinguished by separate names, which were governed by 
principal chiefs, or arekees, and between which fierce and ex- 
terminating wars often took place. A very large proportion 
of the people were slaves, being subject to chiefs who were 
owners of the soil, and had the power to dispose of their lands, 
and alienate their servants, at will. These chiefs were them- 
selves dependent on the arekees, or head chiefs, but often 
proved refractory and disobedient subjects. 

Fortified towns, called pas, are the permanent places of resi- 
dence of the natives. They consist of collections of huts or 
houses, built closely together, on high promontories or insu- 
lated hills ; such a position being usually selected as will af- 
ford the greatest natural resistance to an attacking enemy 
These clusters of houses, or pas, are surrounded and protected 
by palisades, or upright stakes, perhaps ten feet high, driven 
firmly into the ground. Some of the inclosures contain as many 
as two or even three hundred huts. The main entrance, or 
gateway, opening through the row of palisades, is commonly 
flanked with larger posts, on which are sometimes carved dis- 
torted representations of human figures. Within the princi- 
pal inclosure, there are frequently minor ones, containing five 
or six houses, separated from each other by intervening alleys 
or walks, from two to four feet wide. Formerly, when the 
natives were ignorant of the use of fire arms, a pa may 
have been pretty secure against attack, but it would now 
form a feeble defence. 

The huts of the New Zealander are most sorry affairs. 
They are of an oblong shape, low and small, blackened inside 
and out with soot and smoke, and defiled from top to bottom, 
with grease, filth, and dirt, of every kind. Those of the largest 
class are only twenty feet long, by twelve feet broad. In 
erecting them, they begin with the frame, which consists of 
four posts driven into the ground at the corners. These pro- 
ject from two to five feet above the ground, and are connected 
by horizontal beams firmly secured in their places with twine 

304 DRESS. [1840. 

or sennit. The rafters are laid upon the horizontal beams, 
and ascend upwards by a slight slope to the ridge pole, which 
is laid upon two or three posts set on a line running through 
the centre of the building. The roof descends on all sides, 
and is composed of rush thatching. Smaller poles fastened 
to the upright posts, with interstices of a foot in width, form 
the sides of the building. Twigs are sometimes wattled with 
the poles to fill up the chinks, or mats are hung up as screens. 
The doorways are under the eaves at the gable ends, over 
which mats are hung, though good and substantial doors of 
deal may now be occasionally seen. A few mats, a number 
of bark dishes and baskets, two or three fishing nets, an old 
sea chest in which the household goods are deposited for safe 
keeping, an iron pot that does all the cooking, and an old- 
fashioned rusty musket, or double-barreled gun, are about the 
usual assortment of furniture. Outside the house, there may 
be a few fruit trees growing, and sometimes a small garden 
spot can be discovered, though it is more common to see noth- 
ing but the former. 

Mats, called kakahus, made of flax and braided by hand 
are worn by both sexes. Those of the men are often very 
fine, and are sometimes interwoven of various colors, or beau 
tifully embroidered. The women of the lower classes weai 
coarse corn leaf mats, particularly when at work. The 
kakalm is worn tied round the waist, or thrown over the 
shoulders. Short cloaks, or patutus, about three feet long, 
made of mat, coarse cloth, or dogskin dressed with the hair 
on, are worn by the chiefs. Loose slips of calico drawn about 
the neck, resembling the ancient tiputa of the Tahitian female, 
are frequently displayed by the women. Latterly European 
fashions have been introduced. Sailors' jackets and trowsers 
and often the former without the latter may sometimes 
be seen adorning the person of a swarthy New Zealander. 
Blankets, too, have been introduced, and they are now worn 
in the same manner as the kakahu. 

Pork, fish, and potatoes, are the chief articles of food among 
the natives ; and when other vegetables fail them, they 

1840.] BOTANY. 305 

have recourse to the roots of the fern. They are quite partial 
to rice, and as fond as bears, of sugar, molasses, and other sweet 
things. The Polynesian mode of cooking was formerly in 
vogue, but it has now given place to the iron pot, in which 
everything is boiled. Where the influence of the mission- 
aries has not proved sufficient to restrain their appetites, they 
are much addicted to the use of spirituous drinks, and scenes 
of revelry and debauchery, in which both sexes participate, 
are often witnessed in the native pas. They also make for 
themselves a very pleasant beverage, resembling spruce beer, 
and having slight intoxicating properties, which they call 
wai-maori. They are quite fond of tobacco, and often use it 
to excess. 

The custom of taboo has yet the force of law. It is for 
the most part enforced with great strictness, and carefully 
observed ; and it is found exceedingly useful in protecting their 
kumara-patches and vegetable gardens. 

Funeral ceremonies are noisy enough ; a few rounds of 
musketry being always regarded as a sine qua non. When 
a chief dies, unusual attention is paid to the rites of sepul- 
ture. A small canoe is cut through the middle, and the two 
sections being joined together, the body is placed in the cavity. 
These receptacles of the departed chiefs are painted some 
bright color, and ornamented with feathers. Instead of being 
deposited in the ground, however, they are placed beneath 
sheds, round about which are fence inclosures. 

(7.) Owing to the prevalence of the dark green foliage of 
the evergreens, New Zealand wears the appearance of per- 
petual vegetation. Yet the islands are not within the tropics, 
neither do they possess the fruits or vegetables indigenous to 
countries so situated. Barren wastes alternate with their 
dense forests ; and nowhere is there exhibited the exuberance 
of growth in the vegetable kingdom that may be witnessed 
in warmer latitudes. Scandent and parasitic plants, which 
always add so much to the beauty of tropical landscapes, are 
rarely met with ; though now and then a tree may be seen 
completely garlanded over with vines. The timber trees 


nevertheless are really magnificent ; they are mostly of the 
pine species, and are regarded as among the most valuable in 
the world >r ship building. The Kauri pine attains an enor- 
mous size : in 1841, one was cut and shipped which meas- 
ured twenty-five feet in circumference at the base, and was 
one hundred and fifty feet long ; and quite lately there was 
another standing on the eastern coast of New Ulster, seventy- 
five feet in circumference, and estimated to be considerably 
more than two hundred feet high. The Kaikotia pine does 
not grow as large as the Kauri, but it is highly valued for 

The plains and low lands of New Zealand, in their natural 
state, are overrun with masses of tall impenetrable fern 
(pteris esculent a ,) and with thick bushy shrubs, while the 
swamps and marshes produce rushes and the native flax 
(phormium tenax). From the latter is procured what has 
already become, and what will henceforth be, one of the most 
important staples of New Zealand. The flax is obtained from 
the leaves, and not the stem, of the plant. It is remarkable 
for the length, strength, and flexibility of its fibres ; and when 
the necessary improvements shall have been introduced in its 
preparation, it must yield a handsome profit to the grower. 
The preparation is now left to the native women, who cut it, 
and after dividing it into strips an inch wide, separate the ex- 
ternal epidermis, while still in a green state, from the inner 
fibres, by means of a muscle-shell or a piece of glass. Great 
care is required to keep the inner fibres straight, in order to 
preserve their beauty ; and when the separation is completed, 
they are hackled and divided, washed, and then bleached in 
the sun. 

Among the other indigenous products of New Zealand, are 
the kumara, or sweet potato ; a species of arum esculentum, 
known as coccos or eddoes ; several varieties of gourds ; and 
the tetragonia expansa. The last is the well-known New 
Zealand spinach, which has been introduced into Europe and 
America. It is a succulent trailing plant, having no preten- 
sions to beauty, but possessing this advantage over the com- 

1840.] AGRICULTURE. 307 

mon spinach that, if well watered, it will produce leaves of 
the greatest juiciness during the entire summer. It is said 
that a bed of twenty plants will afford a supply sufficient for 
a large family. 

The natives are not ignorant of the art of cultivating the 
soil. When Cook first visited the islands, he found that they 
turned up the earth in their kumara patches with sharp-pointed 
sticks and other rude implements. Of late years spades and 
plows have been introduced. A great incentive to industry 
is furnished by the almost indestructible native fern. It springs 
up everywhere where the forests have been cut down, or in 
the open ground where its cultivation is neglected. When it 
has once established itself, it is with difficulty extirpated ; and 
it can never be got rid of except by plucking it up by the 
roots, and burning it. Even then, wherever there is careless- 
ness in tillage, it again makes its appearance, as if it were a 
judgment or a punishment for indolence and neglect. 

Before he sailed from the islands, at the time of making 
his discovery, Captain Cook planted, and left with intelligent 
natives, the seeds of wheat, peas, cabbages, onions, potatoes 
and turnips. All these soon run out, with the exception of 
the turnips and potatoes ; the latter of which is the chief de- 
pendence of the New Zealander during the winter season. 
In those soils where black loam, vegetable mould, or decom- 
posed basalt, predominates, most of the cerealia flourish, 
though Indian corn is the principal grain that is cultivated. 
Sometimes wheat is sowed where the fern has been dug up 
and burned, yet it rarely yields over fourteen bushels to the 
acre, and after it is reaped the ground is seeded down to grass. 
Of native grasses there are scarcely any, but the foreign 
grasses thrive well. The New Zealanders themselves do not, 
in general, raise over two crops from the same ground, but 
after tilling a piece for two seasons they prefer breaking 
up new soil. Apples, peaches, grapes, cape-gooseberries, 
and many kinds of melons and other vegetables, have been 
introduced and cultivated with success. The apples and 

308 ZOOLOGY. [1840. 

peaches are very fine, but the grapes do not succeed very well 
except on volcanic soils. 

There being such an excess of moisture in New Zealand, it 
is quite doubtful whether grain growing, unless it be for home 
consumption merely, will ever prove very profitable, but for 
pasturage the climate is decidedly favorable, and the rearing 
of stock will undoubtedly make handsome returns. 

It is a singular fact, that when these islands were first dis- 
covered, they possessed no indigenous mammalia whatever ; 
the only quadrupeds, in fact, being a few species of lizards 
that were objects of terror and veneration to the natives. 
The hog, the dog, and the rat, were early introduced. The 
first was allowed to run wild, and multiplied so rapidly that 
the islands were soon well stocked. The hogs are very fond 
of the roots of the fern, which is so exceedingly abundant. 
When required for food, they are caught by the dogs. The 
flesh of the rat was esteemed a great delicacy by the natives, 
and it is now the principal species of game. Cattle, sheep, 
and goats, were imported by the missionaries, and large 
additions have been made to the stock of the first two, 
since the formation of settlements by the whites ; excellent 
browsing is afforded by the immense thickets of shrubs, where 
grass cannot be procured, and both appear to thrive unusually 

Fish abound on the coast. Whales are taken in great 
plenty ; but it is said their numbers are diminishing, in con- 
sequence of the indiscriminate massacre which has been go- 
ing on for so many years. Smaller fish are taken by the 
natives with hooks and nets ; they also catch great quantities 
of shell-fish for food, and there is a clam, called pipi, which 
they esteem highly delicious. 

Of the bird kind, there are parrots and parroquets, and 
wild ducks and pigeons, of large size and fine flavor, in the 
forests ; and there is an abundance of sea fowl on the coasts. 
Poultry have been introduced, and are now reared in con- 
siderable numbers. The principal singing birds are the 
native nightingale and the tm. The latter is also called 

1840.] COMMERCE. 309 

the "parson-bird," probably for the reason that its loud, 
screaming, and not very pleasant notes, resemble the declam- 
atory articulations of the Wesleyan missionary. 

(8.) The chief articles of export from the islands, are flax, 
spars, pine timber, potatoes, and kauri gum. The last is 
obtained from the pine tree of that name, and is shipped to 
New South Wales and Europe, where it is made into excel- 
lent varnish. In return for their commodities, the inhabit- 
ants of New Zealand import, or purchase from the trading ves- 
sels in exchange for their products, domestic goods, blankets, 
guns, powder, lead, agricultural implements, rice, sugar and 
molasses. At one time the whale fishery was the most profit- 
able employment connected with commerce, and both French 
and American vessels participated largely in it ; but since the 
establishment of custom houses, and a regular government, 
they do not visit the islands as much as formerly, and from 
the causes before mentioned, the fishery is said to be less 
valuable, though numbers of persons are still engaged in it. 

Though exhibiting so little skill or taste in the construction 
of their mean, low, and dirty houses, the native New Zea- 
landers in reality possess great mechanical ingenuity. This 
is displayed in their preparation of the flax, in their beautifully 
woven mats, in their canoes, which are carved and orna- 
mented with great care, and particularly in the aptitude with 
which they imitate the whites in the use of weapons, tools, 
or implements. For common purposes, they now use whale- 
boats instead of canoes ; and have substituted the square sail 
for the triangular one. They have no outriggers on their 
craft, and though liable to accidents, they show themselves 
to be expert seamen in their management of them. Their 
war canoes are from forty to seventy feet in length, with 
prows extending up to the height of ten or twelve feet, and 
adorned with waving tufts of bright-tinted feathers, and richly 
carved ornamental work. 

Mills have been set up in New Ulster, and there is a great 
abundance of water power for propelling machinery on all 
the larger islands. In the opinion of Mr. Terry, when they 

310 MANUFACTURES. [1840. 

become cultivated and stocked with cattle, and, as an imme- 
diate consequence, when the necessaries of life, and labor, 
grow cheaper, they must be the seat of extensive manufac- 
tures. "In addition," says he. "to moderate wages and cheap 
food, there would be the farther important auxiliaries of coal, 
timber, and clay, with endless excellent localities, having 
water communication. New Zealand would then bring into 
profitable production her timber, for ship-building ; flax, for 
canvas, ropes, &c.; copper, for sheathing her ships, and all 
other purposes ; sulphur, for brimstone, &c.; alum and dye 
woods, in manufacturing the wool of Australia or the cotton 
of India ; tan, for leather from the hides of her own cattle, or 
from Australia and South America ; tobacco, which could be 
manufactured ; breweries and distilleries, for barley and hops 
of native growth, &c. But it is far more rational to con- 
ceive that, instead of attempting fruitlessly to compete 
in the exports of raw produce, the colonists, in the first in- 
stance, will endeavor to render themselves independent of any 
other colony for the supply of food ; and when food and labor 
are cheap, they will direct their capital and energies to bring 
into play the other national products, in manufactures for 
their own wants, as well as to supply Australia, India, China, 
and Spanish America, all of which are not far distant." * 

(9.) Having completed their repairs, all the vessels belong- 
ing to the American Exploring Squadron, with the excep- 
tion of the Peacock, left the Bay of Islands on the 6th day 
of April. Prosperous breezes wafted them rapidly on their 
way ; no incidents of special importance occurred on the pas- 
sage ; and on the 22d instant they made the islands of Eooa 
and Tongataboo. On the 24th they came to anchor off 
Nukualofa, the principal town on the latter island, and on 
the 1st day of May they were joined by the Peacock. 

* Terry's New Zealand, etc., pp. 260, 261. 


(1.) The Tonga Islands. (2.) Physical Geography. Climate. Productions. 
(3.) Population. Character and Appearance. Dress. Customs. Super- 
stitions. (4.) Houses. Canoes. (5.) Missionaries. Wars between the 
Christians and the " Devil's Party." (6.) Sailing of the Squadron, and 
Arrival at the Feejee Group. 

(1.) AMONG the many other important discoveries of the 
eminent Dutch navigator, Abel Janssen Tasman, were the 
Tonga Islands, or Hapai Group. He touched at Tongataboo 
in 1642, and afterwards visited the Feejee Group ; but in 
conformity with the general policy of his government, the 
world was not enlightened in regard to his discoveries, till 
other navigators had found their way to the islands. Captain 
Cook first saw the Tonga Islands in 1773 ; he spent consider- 
able time in the group, and in allusion to the kind and hos- 
pitable treatment he received from the native inhabitants, 
named them the Friendly Isles, by which term they are now 
most commonly designated.* 

There are six principal islands : Eooa, Tongataboo, 
Hapai', Vavao, Keppel's Island, and Boscawen, besides 
which, there are a number of small and uninhabited isles, 
visited by the natives only for fishing and obtaining biche de 
mer. Eooa, and Tongataboo, or Tonga, are the southernmost 
of the group, and the others lie further to the north ; all be- 
ing included between the parallels of 17 and 22 south lati- 
tude, and 172 and 176 west longitude. A strait eight 
miles in width, separates Eooa from Tonga, and the other 

* The term " Friendly Islands" is often applied, as a general appellation, to 
the extensive group embracing the Navigators', Feejee, and Tonga Islands. 


islands are divided in the same manner by deep sea channels, 
of greater or less width, in which vessels are often protected, 
in a degree, from the violence of the waves in the open ocean, 
by the immense coral reefs that encircle the group. These 
are low and sunken in many places, and unless provided w r ith 
a correct chart, or the weather be particularly favorable, it 
is dangerous for a strange vessel to attempt to pass through 
the openings. Passages of this kind, however, are quite 
numerous, and once inside the reefs, still water may fre- 
quently be found, even when the storm rages the most fear- 
fully without. 

(2.) Quite a variety of scenery is presented in this group 
of islands. Eooa is rocky and barren, and rises to the height 
of six hundred feet above the level of the sea. Tofooa, one 
of the smaller islands, attains a still greater elevation, and is 
the highest of the group. Hapai, Vavao, and Tonga, are 
much lower, and far more fertile. Some of them are of volcanic 
origin, and exhibit all the distinctive features peculiar to that 
formation ; but the only active volcano is on the island of 
Tofooa. Others are the work of the coral. Tonga is low 
and almost level ; there being only here and there a small 
hillock from twenty to forty feet high, and near the northern 
extremity of the island a conical hill about sixty feet in 
height. It is not far from one hundred miles in circumfer- 
ence, and has a shallow lagoon, like those in the atolls of the 
Paumotu Group, extending some ten miles into the interior, 
though, of course, surrounded by a much greater mass of 
elevated ground. 

Hurricanes and earthquakes are frequent, and the former 
are very destructive. Rain falls in great quantities, and 
heavy dews descend at night. The mean temperature in the 
summer months is about 80, and the thermometer often rises 
to 98 in the shade. In consequence of the moist atmosphere, 
the oppressive heat, and the sudden transitions from the ex- 
tremes of temperature, the climate is not at all healthy, 
though the natives, where their habits are regular, frequently 
live to an advanced age. Fevers, with the exception of in- 

1840.] PRODUCTIONS. 313 

termittents, are not unusually prevalent, but colds, coughs, 
influenza, and consumption, are common. Glandular swell- 
ings and eruptive complaints, superinduced in many cases by 
intemperance and excess, are more or less prevalent. 

Tonga is, perhaps, justly entitled to be called the garden 
of the group, since it is the most fruitful, and exhibits a 
greater exuberance of foliage. Yet all the coralline islands 
are covered with a deep and rich vegetable mould, containing 
very little sand, which is highly productive. They are beauti- 
fully feathered with bread-fruit and cocoas, and adorned with 
the graceful and majestic trees of the tropics, whose boughs 
are often interlaced with luxuriant vines and creepers, and 
with shrubs and plants, in all stages of growth, desirable 
either for their utility or for ornament. Like the happy val- 
ley of Cashmere, each is a paradise rejoicing in " perpetual 
spring," and when fanned by the soft breezes of summer, waft- 
ing the many odors of its perfumed flowers among its sister 

All the principal tropical productions flourish on these 
islands in great abundance. Yams, sweet potatoes, bananas, 
taro, bread-fruit, cocoa-nut, sugar-cane, shaddocks (citrus de- 
cumana), limes, papaw, or Carica papaya, and the ti, are the 
most important indigenous products. The sweet orange of 
Tahiti has been introduced by the missionaries, and appears 
to be well adapted to the soil and climate, but the fruit is 
almost always destroyed by an insect that deposits its larvae 
on it, which cause it to fall before it becomes fully ripe. 
Pine-apples, water-melons, cabbages, turnips, mustard, pep- 
pers, maize, a species of chirimoya, and the North American 
papaw, or custard-apple, have likewise been introduced, and 
richly reward the time and labor expended in their cultiva- 
tion. The heathen cultivate the tobacco-plant with great 
success. The ahia, (eugenia malacconsis,) producing a 
pulpy fruit something like the apple in shape, is occasionally 
found. There are several species of palms, and different va- 
rieties of cane and reeds. The casuarina affords the material 
for the native clubs, the shafts of their spears, their drums. 

314 THE TONGESE. [1840., 

and some of their culinary utensils. There is a species of 
nutmeg-tree, yielding an abundance of fruit, which is up- 
wards of forty feet in height. Specimens of the ficus-treo 
may be seen here, having trunks, as it were, composed of in- 
tertwining roots, one hundred feet in circumference. Orna- 
mental shrubs and climbing-plants, euphorbias, tournefortias, 
the apapa, and the faifai, are quite common. The pandanus 
is also plentiful, and great care is taken by the natives to 
prune it, and otherwise encourage its growth, as all their mats 
are made from its leaves. 

Most of the fruits and other edible productions of the Tonga 
Islands are cultivated by the natives, though they have latterly 
become less industrious than they once were, probably for the 
reason that they have contracted many of the bad habits of 
the whites, and not a few of the vices of their neighbors of 
the Feejee Group. Still, their yam-grounds, and their sweet- 
potato patches, receive a great degree of attention, and are 
often objects of pride, especially since the substitution of more 
modern agricultural implements for the rude ones formerly 
in use. 

(3.) Like most of the island-groups of Polynesia, the popula- 
tion of the Tonga Islands has been much overrated. It has been 
estimated as high as fifty thousand, but the missionaries loca- 
ted there, who have had ample means of observation, do not 
think it can possibly exceed twenty thousand. Almost one 
half of this number are inhabitants of Tongataboo, or Tonga ; 
Hapa'i and Vavao each contain near four thousand inhab- 
itants ; and the remainder are scattered about among the 
different islands. 

The Tongese have a strong resemblance to the people of 
the Sarnoan Group, and the evidences of a generic affinity be- 
tween the two are very striking. The former are more fair, 
perhaps; but their countenances have the same general cast 
and expression. The men have large and powerful frames, 
with an abundance of bone and muscle. Many of the women 
and children are almost white, and the Tonga maidens are 
remarkable for the possession of great personal beauty. Their 

1840.] CHARACTER. 315 

hair is straight and fine, and naturally of a dark color, but the 
frequent use of lirne-water and lime turns it red ; yet they have 
black, expressive eyes ; their oval faces are just tinged with 
olive ; their busts and shoulders are well developed, their forms 
rounded and full, but not gross, and their limbs neatly turned. 
These are certainly attractive charms, and when united to an 
intelligent expression of countenance, gayety, but not frivolity 
of heart, frank and easy manners, and a true inbred modesty, 
almost always proof against temptation, surely entitle their 
possessors to an enviable distinction. 

Cleanliness is characteristic of both sexes. The habit of 
frequent bathing is early acquired, and not often neglected. 
They are a cheerful and light-hearted people ; fond of music, 
dancing, and other amusements ; docile ; ingenious ; apt at 
imitation; and great chafferers in making bargains. Gen- 
erally speaking, they are virtuous and industrious ; but, though 
not yielding so much as might be expected to the enervating 
influences of the climate, they cannot resist the temptations 
placed before them by the whites or the neighboring islanders. 
They are usually quite happy in their domestic relations; 
the attachment between husband and wife is strong, and the 
" olive branches" that twine themselves about their hearts, 
serve to knit them more firmly together, and render the tie 
that binds them to each other nearer, dearer, and more indis- 

A warlike disposition does not appear to have been origi- 
nally characteristic of the Tongese, but they have imbibed it 
in their intercourse with the natives of the Feejee Group, and 
with it, have learned to be crafty, cunning, and treacherous. 
They are courageous, however, and are well acquainted with 
the use of fire arms. Muskets are quite plenty among them. 
Their other principal offensive weapons are clubs and spears, 
commonly made of the casuarina, or iron-wood. 

Many of the natives possess European articles of dress, of 
which they are exceedingly proud, yet it is not usual for 
either sex to wear anything but the siapo, a sort of short 
petticoat made of tapa, and descending from the waist half- 

316 DRESS. [1840. 

way down the thighs. The pareu is also worn, and the mis- 
sionaries have prevailed upon the Christian women to arrange 
its folds so as to cover their bodies as high as the neck, but 
they do not like to conform to this new custom, and very 
often disregard it. Neither sex wear a covering on their heads, 
upon ordinary occasions, and the children are rarely incum- 
bered with any clothing whatsoever ; but the latter have their 
hair cropped close, except a small lock over each ear, to keep 
out the vermin. 

When the native warriors array themselves in their mar- 
tial costumes and war-paint, and put on their richly orna- 
mented mats, and their gay belts and turbans, they present 
a most striking and picturesque appearance. A sight like 
this was witnessed during the visit of the American Explor- 
ing Squadron, which is thus described by Captain Wilkes in 
his narrative : "I was now surrounded by large numbers 
of warriors, all grotesquely dressed and ready for the fight, 
with clubs, spears, and muskets. In addition to the usual 
tapa around their waist, they had yellow and straw-colored 
ribands, made of the pandanus-leaves, tied around their arms 
above the elbows, on their legs above and below the knees, 
and on their bodies : some had them tied and gathered up in 
knot-s ; others wore them as scarfs some on the right shoulder, 
some on the left, and others on both shoulders. Some of 
these sashes were beautifully white, about three inches wide, 
and quite pliable. Many of them had fanciful head-dresses, 
some with natural and others with artificial flowers over their 
turbans (called sala) ; and nearly all had their faces painted 
in the most grotesque manner, with red, yellow, white, and 
black stripes, crossing the face in all directions. Some were 
seen with a jet black face and vermilion nose ; others with 
half the face painted white. When a body of some eight 
hundred of these dark-looking, well-formed warriors, all eager 
for the fight, and going to and fro to join their several com- 
panies, is seen, it is hardly possible to describe the effect."* 

Beating tapa, and weaving mats of pandanus leaves, and 

* Narrative of the Exploring Expedition, Vol. III. p. 8. 

1840.J OCCUPATIONS. 317 

baskets of the same material, or of reeds or cane, with the 
performance of the necessary household duties, are the chief 
occupations of the women. All the out-door work is performed 
by the men. They cultivate the yam and sweet potato 
patches, gather the bread-fruit and cocoa-nut, build houses 
and canoes, weave sails of pandanus leaves, and hunt and 
fish. They also display a great deal of ingenuity in making 
boxes of their beautiful woods, baskets of cane and reeds, and 
miniature canoes. Rat-catching was once a favorite amuse- 
ment, and when the animals were captured they were often 
eaten uncooked. But the natives now subsist mainly on the 
produce raised by themselves, and the fruit of the cocoa and 
bread-fruit. Hogs and poultry are reared among them, and 
are gradually becoming quite plenty. Fish are abundant, 
especially the edible kinds, though sharks and whales are like- 
wise numerous. Birds of different species, abound along the 
coasts, and in the groves and forests of the interior, the 
most conspicuous among them being the tropic bird, wood- 
pecker, turtle dove, and parroquet (trichoclossus), but 
though often hunted, and killed or snared, they are not much 
eaten. The mode of preparing their food is similar to that 
practiced in the Samoan Group. 

Among the heathen, smoking tobacco is a common 
practice. The leaf of the plant is cut, and rolled up inside 
of one of the finest and most delicate pandanus leaves, like a 
cigar. They are also fond of foreign liquors, and often drink 
to excess. These indulgences are forbidden to the Christians ; 
they do not smoke, yet they occasionally give way to their 
love for ardent spirits. The fondness for ava is universal, 
it being drank alike by Christian and heathen. It is pre- 
pared from the piper mythisticum^ and the natives frequently 
meet together in small parties, to drown their sorrows, or 
heighten their joys, in the flowing ava-bowl. 

Singing is a favorite diversion with all classes. The voices 
of the females are very musical, and all take great delight in 
displaying their powers. Both men and women have their 
tunes, appropriate to the employment or occupation in which 

318 CUSTOMS. [1840. 

they may be engaged. These are hummed or sung, when at 
labor, whether it be beating tapa, weaving mats, plucking 
the bread-fruit, or sculling the canoe. The heathen have 
their war and love dances, as among the Samoans; but they 
are by no means so beastly or sensual in their habits and 
appetites, as the same class in the Navigator Group. Their 
principal musical instrument is the drum, or toki, which is 
made of the half section of a circular hollow log of hard sono- 
rous wood. 

No general head is recognized in the Tonga Group, though 
the king of Tongataboo and the southern islands is usually 
regarded as superior in rank to the other kings and chiefs. 
There are different tribes, often on the same island, and not- 
withstanding there may be a nominal king to whom all pay 
allegiance, their loyalty is not of the most devoted kind, 
being neither very loud in its profession, nor enthusiastic in 
its manifestation. All business affecting the general wel- 
fare, is transacted in the foiios, or councils. 

Tonga was originally the sacred island of the group, and 
here were the principal morais, and temples, to which the na- 
tives of the other islands were obliged to bring their votive offer- 
ings. These temples are now maintained by the heathen in 
some of the districts, yet ancient superstitions and observances 
are fast losing their hold upon the minds of the people. Tho 
religion of the heathen is not exactly feticism, though they 
have images of some of their gods, for most of their divinities 
are purely imaginary, and many, perhaps, are the distin- 
guished heroes and kings of Tonga in former days, apotheo- 
sized by their countrymen for their good deeds and qualities, 
whether real or fanciful. They worship a great number of dei- 
ties, who are fabled to possess unlimited power over them, for 
good or for evil. These are called the gods of Bulotu, or Atua 
faka Bulotu, and are supposed to be immortal. Their oldest 
god was Maui, who drew the islands out of the sea with a 
hook and line ; he and his two sons live under the earth, and 
when he turns over he produces earthquakes ; the worship of 
this divinity is now entirely neglected. Tangaloa is their 

1840.] SUPERSTITIONS. 319 

second god, who resides in the skies and is esteemed equal to 
Maui in dignity. Hikuleo is the god of spirits, and is the 
third in order ; he dwells in a cave on the island of Tonga. 
The gods who produce evil are called Atua Banuu. 

Bulotu, however, is the principal deity. He inhabits a 
cave on a fabulous island bearing his name, which lies at a 
considerable distance north-west of Tonga. In consequence 
of his long tail he is unable to leave the cave, but holds his 
feasts there, and solaces himself with a great number of 
wives. He possesses absolute power over all, but is destitute 
of either love or goodness. The most valuable presents are 
deposited in his spirit-temple, and human sacrifices are offered 
to him, when an act of sacrilege has been committed, within 
the morais, or sacred inclosures. Other gods inferior to Bu- 
lotu reside on the same island. When the natives of the 
lower class die, they remain in the world, and feed on ants 
and lizards, but the spirits of the kings, nobles, and mata- 
booles, or inferior chiefs, are wafted to Bulotu " the island 
of the blessed." This island is supposed to be larger than 
the whole Tonga Group, and to be well stocked with useful 
and ornamental plants, in a high state of perfection. It pro- 
duces the richest fruits, and the most beautiful flowers, al- 
ways imbathed in fragrance. Brilliant-tinted birds fill the 
air with their melody. There is also an abundance of hogs 
and other animals. Neither fruit nor flower ever fades ; but 
if either be plucked, another starts forth, its exact image, in 
the very place it occupied. So, too, the birds and animals 
are immortal. If one of the former be destroyed, ere its 
song be hushed, its rich melody is continued, without the loss 
of a single note, by another warbler that instant called into 
existence. If a hog be killed for the use of the gods, its 
place is supplied in a moment, and the occupants of porker- 
dom, like the birds, and fruits, and flowers, never diminish in 

It is supposed by the natives, that the air of Bulotu can- 
not be inhaled by mortal bodies without producing speedy 
death, unless the gods so will ; that it is dangerous to go 

320 HOUSES. [1840 

thither in their canoes, that they cannot reach the island, or 
if safely arriving there, return again, except through the same 
special interposition of their deities. Yet it is said, that a 
party of Tongese once visited this enchanted spot, and were 
delighted with its beauties, but on attempting to pluck the 
luscious bread-fruit, it eluded their grasp ; and they walked 
through the trunks of the trees, and the houses, which were 
built after the Tongese fashion, without encountering any 
resistance. Trees and dwellings, fruits and flowers, birds 
and animals all appeared but as shadows ta those who were 
strangers in this spirit-land. 

(4.) When speaking of the dwellings in the Samoiin Group, 
it was remarked that they had borrowed their style of house- 
building from the Tongese. The houses of the latter are of 
an elliptical form, twenty feet long by fifteen wide, and about 
fifteen feet high under the ridge-pole. The posts are either 
of cocoa-nut or bread-fruit, and are set in the same manner as 
has been previously described.* Indeed, the houses are con- 
structed similarly to those of the Samoans, in every respect, 
except that the sides are made of wicker-work, composed of 
the slender stalks of the sugar-cane firmly wattled together. 
Glazed windows are nowhere seen except in the residences of 
the missionaries. Mats are hung at the doors, and sometimes 
they are made use of within, to divide a house into several 
compartments. The floor is also covered with mats ; coarse 
ones being commonly used, and the finer ones kept in reserve 
for extraordinary occasions. In the centre of the house,, a 
small space of ground is left uncovered, where the cooking is 
performed. Clubs, spears, muskets, fishing gear, an occasional 
shelf, the ava-bowl, a supply of mats, drinking- vessels made 
of cocoa-nut shells, earthen jars dried in the sun, a few cook- 
ing utensils, and a chest or box to contain all the principle val- 
uables, are the ordinary embellishments and articles of fur- 
niture found in a Tongese habitation. Besides their more 
common mats, they have stiffer ones about two feet wide, 
made to stand on the edges, supported by scrolls at either end ; 

* Ante, p. 209 et se<j. 



these are curled about the young children when laid down 
upon the larger mats, or are used as screens by the females, 
to hide their persons when seated on the floor and engaged at 
their occupations. Fans are made of the same material with 
the mats, and both are often highly ornamented. In addition 
to their other uses, the mats of the Tongese are their couches 
at night ; their pillow is made of a strip of bamboo, supported 
on legs from eight to ten inches high ; if the weather be very 
cool they cover themselves with their lighter mats, and in the 
summer they are obliged to swathe fine tapa cloth about their 
limbs and bodies to protect them from the troublesome mus- 

Nukualofa, near the northern end of Tongataboo, and Le- 
fooka on the island of Hapa'i, are the largest towns in the 
group. The former contains between six and seven hundred 
houses, and is situated on the hill before mentioned, being half 
imbosked amid a grove of bread-fruits and cocoas, which pro- 
tect it from the fierce radiance of the tropical sun, and sheltej 
it from the destructive hurricanes. This is a fortified town, 
being defended by a high wall or embankment made of earth 
and logs, which is surrounded by a ditch. On the top of the 
parapet there is a wicker-work fence, from five to eight feet 
high, and in some places of several thicknesses. Narrow 
openings through the glacis, terminating in gateways admit 
ting the passage of two persons abreast, and which can be 
easily filled up with earth, constitute the entrances to the 
fort. Hollow logs are placed obliquely in the embankment 
which are used as loop-holes for the musketry. Most of the 
other towns in the group are similarly fortified. 

The Tongese are fond of the water. They are daring and 
expert sailors and swimmers. Some of their canoes are one 
hundred feet long. They are made like those in use among 
the inhabitants of the Feejee Group. The double canoes 
will often hold from forty to fifty persons ; they consist of 
two single ones united together by a deck or platform project- 
ing two or three feet beyond the canoes on each side. One 
of these canoes is smaller than the other ; it serves the pur- 

1840.] MISSIONARIES. 323 

pose of an outrigger, and is always kept toward the weather 
side. There is a single mast, usually about thirty feet high, 
which is supported by guys, and has a long yard bearing a 
huge triangular sail or mat. On the platform there is a house 
or cabin, for shelter in stormy weather, the roof of which is 
flanked by railings, and constitutes a sort of hurricane-deck. 
There are small hatchways at each end of the double and 
single canoes. The Tongese have a mode of sculling that 
seems to be peculiar to them and the Feejees. The oar is 
confined in a hole in the platform, behind which stands the 
sculler, who holds his implement perpendicularly, and bears 
his whole weight upon it. Canoes are propelled in this man- 
ner with great rapidity, often making three miles in an hour. 
Both kinds of the Tongese craft leak badly, and though man- 
aged with great skill, they require constant bailing. 

(5.) In 1821, the Wesley an missionaries first began their 
labors in the Tonga Islands, but permanent establishments 
were not made till 1829. In the last mentioned year stations 
were formed on Tonga and Hapa'i, and in 1830, on the island 
of Vavao. The smaller islands are under the care of native 
teachers. About one quarter of the inhabitants of the group 
are professed Christians, one half of whom are church-mem- 
bers. Not only have the islanders benefited by the religious 
instruction of their spiritual teachers ; numbers of them have 
been taught to read and write, and to understand the first prin- 
ciples of geography and arithmetic, while many of the females 
have learned to knit and sew. 

As a people, the Tongese are much attached to their an- 
cient customs, and fierce and bloody contests have taken 
place between the heathen and Christian parties. The mis- 
sionaries have not always been the friends of peace. When 
the American Squadron touched at the islands, the hostile 
factions were marshalling their forces for battle. Captain 
Wilkes made an ineffectual attempt to procure a pacific ar- 
rangement of all difficulties, but his efforts were not very well 
seconded by the missionaries, who seemed perfectly willing 
that there should be a trial of strength between the rival 


bands. The " Devil's party" were completely successful in 
repelling an assault made upon their fortifications, and after 
various conflicts and reverses, peace was restored. Though 
the intercourse of the Tongese with the natives of the Feejee 
Group has had the tendency to impair or detract from the in- 
fluence of the missionaries, they have much to encourage 
them ; and, if pursuing their labors with patience and per- 
severance, they may at no distant day accomplish the com- 
plete civilization and moral regeneration of the inhabitants 
of the Tonga Islands. 

(6.) Early in the morning of the 4th of May, the Explor- 
ing Squadron got under way, and sailed out of the harbor of 
Nukualofa. The Porpoise was detached, under the command 
of Lieutenant Ringgold, with orders to proceed to the eastern 
group of the Feejee Islands, and to examine and survey the 
long line of islets and reefs extending to the north, between 
the 178th and 179th meridians. The other vessels pursued a 
north-westerly course, towards the main Feejee Group ; and 
on the 8th of May the Vincennes and Peacock came safely 
to anchor in the harbor of Levuka, on the east side of the 
island of Ovolau. The Flying Fish did not arrive till the llth 
instant, having been delayed in her passage by running on a 
coral reef off the island of Nairai, and carrying away a por- 
tion of her false keel. Preparations were forthwith made, 
upon the arrival of the vessels, to proceed with the examina- 
tion of the islands, and to make an accurate survey of all the 
reefs, coasts, and harbors. 


(1.) The Feejee Group. Geographical Description. (2.) Principal Harbora 
and Towns. (3.) Geology. Climate. Productions. (4.) Zoology. (5.) 
Personal Appearance of the Natives. Traits and Characteristics. (6.) Pop- 
ulation. Government. (7.) Dress. Customs and Superstitions. (8.) Mode 
of Building Houses and Constructing Canoes. (9.) Commercial Importance. 
(10.) Movements of the Exploring Squadron. Murder of Lieutenant Un- 
derwood and Midshipman Henry, and Chastisement of the Natives. 

(1.) BUT very few years have elapsed since any consider- 
able amount of information has been obtained in regard to 
the Feejee Group. Tales of the covetousness, treachery, and 
barbarity of the inhabitants, were often heard. Occasionally 
it was said that an European or American vessel had been 
cast ashore, or had touched at the islands to obtain water or 
supplies, and that it had been attacked and plundered, and 
its crew murdered and their bodies devoured at the horrid 
cannibal repasts of the natives. In consequence of these 
stories, which were rife in the Pacific, whalers and traders 
were careful how they ventured thither ; and those who were 
compelled to do so for the purpose of procuring the provisions 
with which the islands were bountifully stocked, wary and 
cautious as they might be, rarely escaped without the loss of 
one or more articles of property, or some member of the crew. 
Hidden coral reefs, too, were known to abound in the vicin- 
ity of the group, upon which vessels were frequently wrecked, 
and the dangers of the navigation, therefore, also deterred 
strangers from venturing too far where the sailing was so 

* Between the years 1828 and 1840, eight vessels, five of which were Ameri- 
can, were lost in the Feejee Group, and twelve vessels ran ashore, within the 
same period, and were more or less damaged. 


Tasman first discovered this group of islands, in 1643 
When Cook was at Tongataboo, in 1773, he heard of their 
existence, but did not visit them. Captain Bligh fell in with 
the eastern group, in 1791, when on his westward passage in 
the launch of the Bounty, after being set adrift and aban- 
doned by his crew. Captain Wilson touched at the islands, 
in the ship Duff, to land some missionaries, in 1797 ; but on 
account of the difficulty of the navigation, and the hostile 
and threatening appearance of the natives, he felt constrained 
to abandon his original intention. D'Urville visited the group 
on his first expedition, and gave them the name of the Viti 
Islands : he was there again in 1839, and to him and Captain 
Wilkcs is the merit due, of having made the first critical and 
scientific examinations and accurate surveys of the islands. 

There are three divisions of the Feejee Islands, which are 
disposed in the form of a semi-circle, whose base is in about 
19 30' southern latitude. On the east, or weather side, is 
the Eastern Group ; on the north are Vanua-levui, and 
Vuna ; and on the west are Viti-levui, Ovolau, and Kan- 
tavu. Other islands of less importance serve to complete what 
is almost a continuous chain. That portion of the ocean 
included within the periphery is called the Sea of Goro. Tho 
group is quite numerous; it is said to comprise over one 
hundred and fifty different islands, sixty-five of which are in- 
habited all lying between 15 30' and 19 30' southern lat- 
itude, and longitude 177 E. and 178 W. The uninhabited 
isles are often resorted to by the natives to obtain cocoa-nuts, 
and to take fish and biche de mer. Most of the islands belong- 
ing to the eastern division, consist of chaplets or rings of coral 
inclosing high and broken volcanic peaks or bluffs. The north- 
ern and western islands are bold and mountainous in the inte- 
rior ; but the peaks and ridges are flanked by broad slopes, and 
separated by wide valleys, covered all over with the profuse 
vegetation of a tropical clime. 

All the islands are surrounded in great part by coralline 
reefs, whose beautiful tints, and varied and delicate structure, 
always excite admiration ; some of these are covered with a 


sufficient depth of soil to support vegetation ; and others are 
half concealed by the combing waves that spend their fury in 
impotent efforts to destroy the labors of the tiny zoophyte. 
In addition to the reefs, there are sunken patches of branch- 
ing coral, whose brilliant colors of pink and purple, brown, 
green, white, and yellow, seem like reflections in the clear 
water, or like the enchanted palaces of tritons and mermaids. 

The most important islands of the eastern group are Fu- 
langa, Kambara, Lakemba, and Vanua-valavo. Fulanga is 
of a semi-circular form, and is rough and uneven ; its bluffs 
rising to the height of one hundred and fifty feet above the 
level of the sea. Kambara is three and a half miles long and 
two miles wide : it is three hundred and fifty feet above the 
ocean, and clothed to its topmost heights with the richest 
verdure. Lakemba is the largest island in the eastern group ; 
its highest peak has an altitude of over seven hundred feet ; 
it is five miles long and three in width, and is well wooded 
and highly productive. Quite a number of converted Ton- 
gese reside on Lakemba, and their example, with the efforts 
of the missionaries, has produced a most happy change in the 
conduct and appearance of the native population. Vanua- 
valavo is in the shape of a half-moon ; it is quite narrow, but 
fourteen miles in length, and beautifully fringed with bread- 
fruits, cocoas, and palms. 

Vuna is twenty-five miles in length, from north to south, 
and five miles wide. It is separated from Vanua-levui, or 
the "large land," by the straits of Somu-Somu, which are five 
miles in width at the narrowest point. It has a central 
ridge, over two thousand feet high, almost always shrouded 
in dense masses of clouds, which slopes down gradually on 
every side to the beach ; but it is generally far more level 
than the other islands, and in consequence contains a much 
greater proportion of land adapted to cultivation. The gen- 
eral direction of Vanua-levui is from east to west : it is 
shaped like an elongated heart, with its opening, Natava 
Bay, facing the north-east ; and including all its indentations, 
it cannot be far from two hundred and fifty miles in circum- 

328 VITI-LEVUI. [1840. 

ference. The coast country partakes of the same general 
features characteristic of the other members of the group ; 
mud flats alternating with swelling bluffs along the shore, 
but soon giving place to a succession of richly carpeted hills 
and plains stretching away to the lofty volcanic peaks of the 
interior, that tower above the surrounding landscape to the 
height of four or five thousand feet. 

Viti-levui, about thirty-five miles south of the western end 
of Vanua-levui, is somewhat smaller and less hilly than the 
"large land." It is nearly of a circular form; on the west 
the country is comparatively low, being broken only by a 
few hills, scarcely ever rising above the height of five or 
seven hundred feet ; but far in the interior there are lofty 
ranges of blue mountains, running from north to south, that 
attain an elevation of four or five thousand feet. Ovolau 
lies off the east end, and in sight of Viti-levui : it is eight 
miles long, from north to south, and seven miles in width ; 
it is intersected by a range of mountainous peaks, the tallest 
of which is twenty-three hundred feet above the sea, and 
from its base, gently undulating slopes, divided by lovely val- 
leys, all adorned with magnificent groves of bread-fruits and 
cocoas, stretch down to the sea-shore. Malolo, lying off the 
western point of Viti-levui, and inside the same great reef, is 
a small circular island, remarkable only for the unfortunate 
celebrity it has acquired as the scene of the murder of two 
of the most promising officers of the American Exploring 

The island of Mbenga, five miles south of Viti-levui, is 
five miles long and three wide ; the land rises boldly on all 
sides towards the interior, terminating in two prominent basal- 
tic peaks thirteen hundred feet above the sea level. Twenty- 
six miles further to the south is Kantavu, one of the most 
important and densely populated islands in the whole group ; 
it is likewise high and mountainous, and about twenty-five 
miles in length. Twenty miles a little to the south of east 
from Ovolau, is Nairai, an oblong island seven miles in length 
and from two to three miles wide, and particularly famous 


for its manufacture of mats and baskets ; it has two elevated 
peaks, and its scenery partakes of the same general character 
of that of the other islands. Goro, about fifteen miles north 
of Nairai, is one of the most fruitful of the Feejee islands ; 
it is nine and a half miles long and four miles wide ; the sur- 
face is high but not much broken, and from the tops of its 
loftiest hills to the foaming breakers, it presents a most abun- 
dant vegetation. From fifteen to eighteen miles west of Viti- 
levui, is a long chain of rocky islands, all of volcanic forma- 
tion, extending in a north-easterly direction from thirty to 
forty miles, which are classed together as the Assua Group. 
There are fewer reefs to obstruct the navigation in the vicin- 
ity of these islands, and on the west there are no sea-reefs of 
importance. Many of them are inhabited, but all are rugged 
and broken, their mountain peaks sometimes rising to the 
height of sixteen hundred feet. 

Almost all the islands are well watered. The numerous 
valleys that intersect the slopes and plains along the coasts, 
often form the channels of streams that carry off the surplus 
waters of the interior, of which there is usually an abundance, 
and dispense their grateful moisture, lavishly and without 
stint, as they wend their way to the ocean. In the two 
larger islands there are several considerable rivers, which may 
be navigated for some distance in boats. Mbua Bay, at the 
western end of Vanua-levui, receives the waters of two or 
three large rivers, one of which is two hundred feet wide at 
its mouth. Wai-levu river is the most considerable stream 
on the island of Viti-levui : it rises in the mountains, and, 
after tumbling over a precipice seven hundred feet high, di- 
vides into two branches, about forty-three miles from its mouth, 
the larger of which enters the sea at Rewa on the southern 
shore of the island, and the other at Indimbi, ten miles fur- 
ther to the west. For eight miles above Rewa, the river is 
lined with rich alluvial flats, intersected with a great number 
of creeks, either tributaries to the main stream, or diverging 
from it.* 

* The boats of the American Squadron ascended the Wai-levu for a distance 


(2.) Most of the harbors in the Feejee Group are, like 
those of the Society Islands, mere indentations in the coast 
outline, protected by the encircling reefs of coral. Probably 
the best of them all is that of Levuka, on the east side of 
Ovolau, which is safe and easy of access for vessels of the 
largest class. The town contains about forty houses, and, 
after the prevailing fashion, is located in the midst of a grove 
of bread-fruits and cocoas, whose feathery canopies afford a 
most delightful shade ; its site is a beautiful valley, through 
which courses a fine stream of fresh water, opening to the 
ocean, flanked on either side by verdant hills, and rising by 
a gradual ascent to the lofty peaks of basalt that bound the 
view to the west. Most of the foreign residents make this 
their place of abode, and the society is altogether better than 
that of any other place in the group. 

In the two principal islands there are a number of large 
bays. Vanua-levui has Natava Bay on the east, Savu Bay 
on the south, and Mbua, or Sandal-wood Bay, at the west 
end. Natava Bay is much the largest of the three, and 
has a number of towns on its borders ; it is bounded on the 
south-east by Rambe Island, and by Point Unda on the north- 
west ; it is spacious, and sufficiently easy of access, but con- 
tains a great many hidden reefs and sunken patches of 
coral. . Savu-Savu Bay is ten miles long, from east to west, 
and five miles in breadth; it is a fine sheet of deep water, 
surrounded by high broken ridges which unite in the rear in 
a saddle-shaped peak. There are several towns in the vicin- 
ity, and the district contains over two thousand inhabitants. 
It was at one time more thickly settled than it now is, and 
the remains of some of the strongest fortifications in the 
Feejee Group may be seen here. Its principal attractions, 
however, are the hot springs, impregnated with salt and sul- 
phur, which ooze from the ground like those of New Zealand, 
and cover an area of nearly half a mile square. They lie 

of forty-eight miles from its mouth. The natives informed the party that it was 
the outlet of a large lake in the interior, but the formation of the country does 
not favor the idea in the least. 

1840.] AMBAU AND REWA. 331 

directly upon the bay, and close beside them is a stream of 
fresh water. The natives resort to these springs to boil their 
food : particularly when they make great feasts ; one of them 
is held sacred, and none but human victims, whose bleaching 
bones are piled around in heaps, are cooked in it; they also 
attribute healing qualities to the waters, which are doubtless 
real to some extent. Mbua Bay was formerly much frequented 
by foreigners to procure the odorous sandal- wood that was 
once found in abundance on its borders, but the supply is now 
nearly exhausted, and it has consequently diminished in im- 
portance. The bay is of a circular shape, and affords ample 
anchorage at some distance from the shore ; yet it is filled 
with reefs, and the country around is quite low, though soon 
rising into picturesque ridges and peaks as you advance into 
the interior. The principal town in the adjacent district is 
Vaturna, which lies about a mile up the large river before 
mentioned : it contains from fifty to sixty houses, and several 
mbureSj or temples ; the inhabitants are more kind and hos- 
pitable than in many of the other towns, which is probably to 
be attributed to their frequent intercourse with the whites. 
Muthuata, on the north side of Vanua-levui is a pretty town, 
having a fine harbor, which is protected from the north winds 
by an island of the same name. 

The most important harbors in Viti-levui, are the Bay of 
Ambau, and the roadstead of Rewa, at the mouth of the Wai- 
levu river. The former is at the south-eastern point of the 
island : the anchorage is much obstructed by the coral reefs 
and shoals, and vessels of large draught cannot approach near 
the shore. Within the bay are two small islands, Ambau 
and Viwa, connected with the main land, which is about a 
mile distant, by coral flats or reefs. Both are well covered 
with houses, but the town of Ambau is considerably the 
most populous, and in a political point of view possesses 
greater importance than any other town in the Feejee Islands. 
The harbor of Rewa is just round the point of the island 
from Ambau, but hardly ten miles distant from it over land. 
It is formed by two small islands and their reefs, fronting the 


debouchure of the Wai-levu river. There are three passages 
through the encircling reefs, inside of which the water is 
deep and the anchorage secure. The town of Rewa is three 
miles up the river, on an island, in the midst of an alluvial 
tract formed of the detritus washed down from the highlands 
in the interior. This low ground, though subject to frequent 
inundations, is exceedingly productive. Dense thickets of 
mangrove-bushes, in some places almost impervious, alternate 
with copses of palms, and groves of bread-fruits and cocoas ; 
the valleys and ravines that divide the hilly range along the 
coast are concealed beneath the thrifty vegetation ; and above 
them are spread out the wide patches of deep green verdure 
extending to the red cliffs of the distant mountains. In the 
vicinity of the town there are cultivated gardens and fields, 
not, indeed, affording very strong evidence in favor of tho 
skill and industry of the husbandman, but, as if in sheer spite, 
fairly teeming with their almost spontaneous products. The 
open spaces are crowded with bananas ; the shade trees afford 
both protection and nourishment, and 

" rich fruits o'erhang 

The sloping walks, and odorous shrubs entwine 
Their undulating branches." 

Rewa contains a larger population than Ambau ; the num- 
ber of its inhabitants is about five thousand, while that of 
the latter is only three thousand. The natives there also 
seem better disposed, and a residence among them is more 
desirable, inasmuch as there are a number of abandoned 
whites at Ambau who have corrupted the original inhabitants, 
and made them, if possible, still worse than they formerly 

Mbenga is nearly divided in two by the harbor of Sawau, 
which faces to the north, and is about two miles deep. The 
entrance is narrow, being only a quarter of a mile from head- 
land to headland, but it immediately opens out to a mile in 
width, and contains from four to ten fathoms of water. 
There are several small villages lying around the harbor, each 

1840.] GEOLOGY. 333 

imbosomed in its pleasant grove of tropical fruit-trees. Kan- 
tavu has merely a harbor formed by the coral reefs. Near 
the centre of the island is Malatta Bay, whose shores are 
bordered with an abundant growth of pine timber, which is 
highly esteemed for masts and spars ; and most of the large 
canoes in the group are built here. There are upwards of 
forty towns on the island, containing, altogether, from twelve 
to fifteen thousand inhabitants. There are many snug bays 
in the Assua Group, upon which, on the steep and precipitous 
bluffs, are situated most of their little villages or towns. 

The largest town and best harbor on Nairai is Toaloa, at 
the north end of the island. Vuna has a very good harbor at 
Somu-Somu, on its western shore. The town of the same 
name, which is a missionary station, is divided into two 
parts; one lying on the beach, and the other on the bluffs 
above, nearly screened from view by the thick foliage of the 
numerous bread-fruits, cocoas, palms, and bananas. There 
are no very important harbors in the Eastern Group. On the 
south side of Lakemba there is a slight indentation, in front 
of which is a coral reef, but there is not sufficient depth of 
water for a vessel of over one or two hundred tons burden. 
Situate on the harbor is a small town containing six hundred 
inhabitants, which can likewise boast of a church and a mis- 
sion house. The former is eighty feet long by thirty-two feet 
wide, twenty-five feet high, and well carpeted with mats. 

(3.) Evidences of the volcanic origin of this group are so 
abundant and so general, that it is hardly necessary to refer 
to them in detail. There are a number of tall, sharp-pointed, 
conical hills, of basaltic formation, which at no very remote 
age were the craters of active volcanoes, although no running 
streams of lava have been discovered, and the only indica- 
tions of volcanic heat are at the hot springs of Savu-Savu- 
The islets of the eastern group are mostly composed of scoria - 
ceous materials. There are extensive beds of ferruginous 
marl on the island of Ovolau, above which are masses of black 
lava and pudding stone, and lofty blocks of basalt. Volcanic 
conglomerate, scoria, agglutinated basalt or tufa, porphyritio 

334 CLIMATE. [1840. 

pumice stone, and sandstone, are found throughout the 

There can be no richer soil than that afforded by the de- 
composition of these formations, especially when mingled with 
the vegetable mould constantly accumulating in such vast 
quantities. This is shown in the rapid and thrifty growth of 
everything adapted to the climate. The dark green man- 
groves that cover the marshy and alluvial flats along the 
coasts, and at the mouths of the rivers ; the graceful palms 
that adorn the acclivities of the hills, and the slopes and val- 
leys ; and the tall and gloomy pines that cast their deep 
shadows along the mountain sides all denote the capacity 
of the islands for the production, with ordinary culture, of an 
almost exhaustless supply of tropical fruits and vegetables. 
The proportion of the unproductive land to that suited for 
tillage is very small. The general character of the soil is a 
brownish yellow, or red loam ; in some few places a kind of 
indurated blue clay, containing nodules of grit, is found ; and, 
only here and there, are occasional barren patches of gravel. 

In respect to climate, too, these islands are highly favored. 
Of warmth and moisture there is no deficiency, except that 
on the leeward side of the islands, as is always the case in the 
larger and mountainous groups of Polynesia, showers are 
much less frequent, and sometimes long continued droughts 
occur, during which the vegetation often assumes a burnt 
appearance. Still, there is a great quantity of rain falls. 
There is a good deal of taunder and lightning ; severe gales 
and hurricanes are frequently experienced ; and earthquakes 
are not uncommon, though the shocks are usually quite 

Over the verdant hills and lovely valleys of the Feejee 
Group, there generally rests a soft and pure atmosphere, and 
even in the winter months, when it is the most rainy, the 
weather is remarkably fine. A cloudless sky is soon dark- 
ened, it is true, but when the sun shines forth again, and 
nature glistens through her tears, everything seems brighter 
and fairer than it is wont to do, and the laughing hours glide 

1840.] DISEASES. 335 

smoothly on, filling each heart with new-born gladness and 


The extremes of temperature daring the year are from 58 
to 100, in the shade. The nights are cool, frequently even 
when no dew falls. In the summer months the heat con- 
tinues very intense for many days in succession, but it is 
often moderated during some part of the day by the delicious 
sea breezes. 

Colds, coughs, influenza, and acute diseases of the lungs, 
are quite prevalent. Ulcerous affections and rheumatism 
the latter being principally confined to the women are not 
uncommon. Cases of syphilis are exceedingly rare, and 
fevers are unknown. Elephantiasis does not prevail to any 
great extent. There is a singular disease, resembling syph- 
ilis, called by the natives dthoke, which is supposed to be 
peculiar to these islands. It attacks both children and 
adults, and commences with rheumatic pains and swellings, 
followed by the appearance of ulcerous pustules on the body. 
If the eruptions do not appear, or dry up too soon, the disease 
is pretty sure to terminate fatally. 

All the -ordinary productions of tropical climes may be 
found in the Feejee Group. Among the larger trees are the 
bread-fruit, cocoa, toa, or casuarina ; several varieties of 
palms ; a species of pine called dackui, resembling the kauri 
of New Zealand ; the hibiscus tiliacus, pandanus, tamanu, 
rata, or native chestnut, plantain, banana, and Carica pa- 
paya. There are nine different kinds of bread-fruit, and three 
of cocoas, but all resemble one another in their general prop- 
erties. The value of the annual product of these two trees 
alone must be enormous : they furnish the native with 
bread and clothing, and from them also he obtains a great 
proportion of the materials for his habitation. The cocoa 
does not flourish very well above the elevation of six hundred 
feet ; but below that level its luxuriance of growth is unsur- 
passed. Besides the ordinary preparations of the bread-fruit, 
the natives scrape off the rind, and pack it in earthen jars, 
or bury it in pits lined with banana leaves and covered with 


thatch, where it ferments and forms an incrassated mass like 
cheese, which they call mandrai ; a similar preparation is 
also made of unripe bananas: both are cooked with cocoa-nut 
milk, and are exceedingly palatable and nutritious. It is 
said that mandrai will keep for a number of years, and a 
supply is always kept on hand for a season of scarcity.* 

Bananas and plantains are very plentiful, but not highly 
prized, though they are more or less cultivated, and grow 
with great rapidity ; in a few years after the plants are set 
out, they form delightful umbrageous groves round the homes 
of the islanders. Besides the common plantain, the wild 
species, or fei, is also cultivated. Among the other trees 
that afford sustenance to the natives are the shaddock, tara- 
vou, or native plum, Malay apple, and indiva. The bitter 
orange is indigenous, and both the lemon and sweet orange 
have been brought here from Tahiti. On the uplands the 
wild nutmeg is found in considerable abundance, but the 
kernel does not possess much aromatic flavor. Plantations 
of the paper mulberry receive a great share of attention, as 
the bark of the young trees is manufactured into tapa, by 
scraping it with a conch shell, macerating, and beating it on 
a log with a grooved mallet. The tapa is afterwards bleached 
in the sun, and dyed to suit the taste of the person making 
it. Mats are made of pandanus leaves, bands and sashes of 
the bark of the hibiscus, and baskets of willow and rattan. 

Building materials are principally obtained from the cocoa, 
bread-fruit, tree-fern, and palm. Bamboo and hibiscus are 
also used for the sides of the houses : of the former light rafts 
for taking fish, torches, and drinking vessels, are also made. 
When the joints of the bamboo are burned as torches, they 
are first saturated with cocoa-nut oil, and the twisted leaves 
of the cocoa are likewise used for candles. The mangrove 
completely covers the low grounds, if pains are not taken to 

* The taro, and other fruits, are often preserved in the same manner. Tha 
term mandrai appears to be a general one ; for instance, the preserved bread 
fruit, which is like the mahi of Tahiti, is called mandrai-uta, the banana mandrai- 
vuncli, the native chestnut mandrai-sivisiri, and the taro mandrai y taro. 


extirpate it, or keep it down, and where there is room for a 
single shoot to grow, it will spring up and flourish ; the 
flexible twigs of this shrub are employed in wattling, and 
the tough and elastic roots are made into bows. The toa, or 
iron- wood, is manufactured into clubs, spears, bowls and 
other vessels, and articles of furniture ; it is also used for 
arrows, the strips of wood being charred and inserted in 
pieces of cane Spears are also made of the cocoa-nut wood : 
they are ordinarily ten or fifteen feet in length, sometimes 
wound with sennit, and either tipped with bone or charred at 
the point. 

Pine timber is quite plenty, and is chiefly used in building 
their canoes ; for masts and spars it is very valuable. The 
sandal- wood, or yase, is almost exhausted. 

Edible roots of different kinds are in great abundance, and 
most of them are cultivated. The most important of these 
are the yam and the taro ; the kawai, resembling the Malay 
batata ; the ivia, arrow-root, and ti. Other wild roots, and 
wild berries growing on the mountains, are eaten when there 
is a failure in the supply of other products. Turmeric is 
cultivated for cosmetic purposes, and the sugar cane is found, 
both in a wild state, and in the gardens and plantations of 
the natives. Two varieties of the gossypium are indigenous ; 
one producing a nankeen-colored, and the other a clear white 
cotton of fine and even texture. The cotton-tree, (bomb ax) 
is also found growing to the height of fifteen or twenty feet. 
Tobacco is grown in considerable quantities, and smoking is 
one of the chief enjoyments of the Feejeean. Melons, cu- 
cumbers, pine apples, guavas, capsicums, cape-gooseberries, 
and native tomatoes, are abundant; and nearly all of the 
most valuable foreign vegetables found in the tropics, or in 
the temperate zone, have been introduced here and cultivated 
with success. 

Flowering plants and shrubs are quite common. The 
scarlet flowers of the callistemon, and the bright yellow blos- 
soms of the cordia, everywhere peep out from amid the 

dense mangrove thickets. Acacias, gorgeously decked with 


338 AGRICULTURE. [1840. 

the rich and variegated dyes of innumerable creepers, am 
scattered over the landscape. Here and there may be seen 
the rich orange-colored fruit of the xylocarpus, or the white 
tufts bursting from the capsules of the cotton-tree. The 
numerous family of the orcbidese are lavish in the display of 
their charms. Beautiful mosses cling to the tall forest-trees, 
whose dark foliage contrasts so well with the gay parterre 
smiling in beauty and loveliness beneath them. Arborescent 
and trailing ferns adorn the acclivities of the mountains. 
Mingled with all these varied forms of vegetation, there are 
aromatic shrubs dispensing their fragrance on every hand ; 
and while the beholder feasts his eyes on the beauties before 
him, he inhales an odor delightful as the ambrosia of 

Agriculture is one of the principal employments of the 
poorer class of natives ; the chiefs and higher dignitaries 
being relieved from the necessity of labor, by the exactions 
imposed on those below them in rank and position. The 
earth in their plantations, and their yam and taro patches, 
is dug up for the most part with sharp-pointed sticks, though 
spades and shovels, usually made after a very rude fashion, 
have been introduced to some extent. Before working the 
soil, in new ground, they set fire to the underbrush, or the 
dry native grass, (scirpus.) which is coarse and thickly mat- 
ted, and often spreads over large tracts of country. The 
young banana or mulberry trees, or the cane sprouts, are 
then set out, and the yam and taro planted. So far the labor 
is mainly performed by the men ; but the women do most 
of the weeding, and when the yams and taros are dug, or 
other fruits gathered, they are obliged to carry them to the 
places where they are deposited for safe-keeping. In fact, 
nearly all burdens are borne by the women on their backs, in 
jars or baskets, which are secured from falling, by cords 
passing round and under the shoulders. Often may a Feejee 
woman be seen staggering under a heavy load, like the squaw 
of the North American savage, while her lord and master 
saunters leisurely along at her side. 

1840.] ZOOLOGY. 339 

(4.) All the quadrupeds, except the rat, which, as in New 
Zealand, is considered game, are of the domestic kinds. Cattle, 
hogs, and fowls, have been introduced by the whites, and thrive 
very well. The first should, perhaps, be excepted from this 
general remark ; for, though the islands abound in excellent 
pasturage, they do not appear to multiply very fast ; but this 
is probably owing to the want of due attention, or the im- 
proper selection of food. There are but few reptiles lizards 
and snakes being the most common ; the latter are often wor- 
shipped as spirits. 

Numerous whales frequent the neighboring waters for three 
or four months in the year ; their teeth are highly prized by 
the natives, yet, notwithstanding their skilful seamanship, 
they seem to be utterly ignorant of the mode of capturing 
them, and only secure those which are driven on shore. 
Hawk's-bill and green turtles are abundant ; and the tortoise 
shell obtained from the former is one of the most valuable 
articles of traffic to be procured in the islands : these animals 
are caught in nets of sennit made of the husks of the cocoa- 
nut, and are kept in pens. The average weight of the shell 
is about fourteen pounds, and it is often stripped off without 
killing the animal. Crustacea are in great abundance, and 
the most delicious crabs are found among the mangrove 
bushes. Shellfish of all kinds are obtained in plenty. The 
conch shell is the native trumpet or horn. Other beautiful 
varieties of shells, and especially the cyprcea ovula, are col- 
lected in large quantities for decorating their canoes, the ridge 
poles of their houses, and other ornamental work. Fish are 
plentiful in the ocean, and in the rivers and streams; they 
are speared, or taken with bone hooks or in nets of sennit ; 
and sometimes they are driven into pens formed of rocks and 
stones in the shallow water, where they are easily speared or 
caught by hand, or they are poisoned by throwing the stems 
and leaves of the glycine, a climbing plant, into the water 
where they abound. 

A green salt water worm, called balolo, is eaten by the 
natives, and is considered quite a delicacy. But the biche de 

340 BICHE DE MER. [1840. 

, or sea slug, is the most highly prized of the animals of 
this genus. It is from two to nine inches in length, resembles 
a caterpillar in its motions, and feeds by suction. There are 
several different sorts, and they are of various colors, being 
red, white, gray, yellow, brown or black. They live among 
the rocks and in the holes of the coral reefs, where the water 
is from one to two fathoms deep, and are caught by the na- 
tives, who either dive for them, or fish by moonlight or torch- 
light. Traders frequently visit the islands, and make arrange- 
ments with a prominent chief for the services of the natives 
in procuring the desired supply. After the animals are 
caught, they are placed in bins, where their entrails are 
ejected ; the next process is to cut them open, and they are 
then boiled, and thoroughly dried in a building erected for the 
purpose by the person engaged in the fishery. When 
completely cured in this manner, they are fit for market, and 
find a ready sale in China, where they are esteemed as one 
of the richest ingredients of their soups. Some of the species 
of biclie de mer are eaten raw by the natives of 'the Feejee 

There is an abundance of singing birds in the group. 
There are parrots and parroquets, of the most beautiful and 
richly variegated plumage. Wild ducks and pigeons, too, are 
quite common. All the different kinds of sea fowl usually 
seen in the Polynesian groups, may be found on the coasts. 

(5.) A disciple of Lavater would form a pretty correct idea 
of the Feejee Islander from his physiognomy. The remark- 
able prominence of the cheek bones, and the projection of the 
jaws, indicative of the coarse and animal natures of the pos- 
sessors, would not escape notice. The organs of taste and 
smell are unusually developed. In their countenances the 
distinctive features of the Malay and the Papuan seem to be 
blended. There are different shades of complexion, generally 
many degrees darker than that of the Tonga Islander, some 
being as fair as the lightest mulatto, and others dark as the 
sootiest negro. Their foreheads are high, but often narrow ; 
their noses well-formed, though large ; and their teeth white 


and evenly set. Their eyes are black as night, and when 
kindled with the demoniacal passions so easy to be inflamed, 
they glow like coals of fire. The forms of both sexes are cast 
in a fine mould, and corpulence is almost unknown. Their 
hair is naturally black, but it is so much discolored by the 
use of the ley obtained from the ashes of bread-fruit leaves, 
lime, white clay, and other substances, to destroy the vermin, 
that it often assumes a reddish appearance. The women, 
too, dye their hair with various pigments for the sake of im- 
proving their beauty, of which last commodity, however, they 
do not ordinarily possess a superabundance, although now 
and then a tolerably pretty and pleasing face may be seen. 
If they were confined more to their houses they might im- 
prove in this respect, but as they are now employed for a 
great part of the time out of doors, and almost in a nude 
state, whatever personal charms they naturally possess soon be- 
come impaired. They are the mere creatures and slaves of 
their husbands, yet from custom and habit seem to bow them- 
selves willingly to the yoke. 

It is usual among the Feejeeans to wear moustaches, and. 
to allow the beard to grow long. The hair of the boys is 
kept cropped short, in order to keep out all strange intruders, 
with the exception of a single lock which is allowed to grow, 
till they arrive at man's estate, when it is spread out in a 
mop-like form, and often frizzled with great care and skill by 
the native barbers. Instead of the curling-irons of the friseur, 
a long and slender hair-pin, made of tortoise-shell or bone, is 
used for this purpose. Some of the chiefs keep several bar- 
bers among their retainers, and spend a great deal of time 
in dressing their heads, and their beards and moustaches. 
Cocoa-nut oil, scented with sandal- wood, is liberally applied to 
their hair. This singular mode of wearing that useful appen- 
dage gives the Feejeean dandies a most strange appearance ; 
but they pride themselves much on the exquisite finish of their 
toilet, and like other fops, will spend hour after hour in sur- 
veying themselves in a mirror. The loss of the- hair is 
esteemed a great misfortune, and its place is always supplied 

342 CHARACTER. [1840 

by wigs, in the manufacture of which the native barbers dis- 
play considerable skill, and often imitate nature so closely that 
it is impossible to distinguish the counterfeit except by care- 
ful observation. 

The girls wear their hair long, and are fond of ornament- 
ing it with pretty flowers. After they are married, however, 
their locks are cut off, and their hair frizzled like that of the 

It is not difficult for the Feejeean to put on a friendly man- 
ner, even when the demon of malice and revenge is lurking 
in his heart. He is proud, irascible, treacherous, and vindic- 
tive ; haughty to his inferiors, and abject and servile to those 
who are above him. When he speaks fair words, he is rarely 
to be trusted. He will lie and steal with the utmost effron- 
tery ; and if anything excites his covetous disposition, he 
will commit any crime to obtain it. He is changeable in 
mood ; at one time appearing jocose in disposition and fond 
of merriment, and at another sullen, morose, and reserved, 
or giving way to the fierce passions that may be smothered 
for a time, but are always kept alive in his bosom. He can 
be kind and hospitable to a guest, and will not molest him at 
his own fireside, but once across his threshold, he will murder 
him with as little compunction as a tiger devours its prey. 

The common people, or kai-sis, are more industrious than 
the Tahitian, and all possess greater activity and energy of 
mind and body ; but they are nearly as licentious, and many 
of the chiefs are equally indolent. The domestic affections are 
not strongly manifested, though instances of devoted personal 
attachment are by no means rare. They will not tolerate 
drones among them, and deformed children, and old and in- 
firm people, are put to death : this is often done by the nearest 
relatives, and not so much from a want of affection, as for 
the reason that they wish to relieve themselves from a bur- 
den, and to save their victims from living on in misery or dis- 
tress. Their appetites are grossly sensual, and their tastes 
depraved. They wear very little clothing, but are careful 
not to expose their whole persons in public ; yet the women 

1840.] CANNIBALISM. 343 

are not over chaste, and the men will prostitute their wives 
and daughters for a compensation, or sometimes from motives 
of friendship. Their cannibal propensities are unusually strong, 
and they feed upon the bodies of their victims with a hearty 
relish. These are obtained in war, or are selected by the 
chiefs. If a canoe be upset, the occupants are prize to those 
who rescue them ; and when a chief launches a new vessel, 
he slaughters a number of his retainers, or the prisoners he 
may have taken for the purpose, on its deck, after which their 
corpses are cooked and served up in a horrid repast. Great 
feasts are often made, for which human victims are provided : 
when the bodies are cooked, they are dissected with as much 
skill as could be displayed by a surgical operator, and dis- 
tributed among the guests. Women are frequently captured 
when they have strayed away from home, and killed and 
eaten : their flesh is more highly prized than that of the 
other sex ; and there are choice portions of the body, such as the 
fleshy part of the arm and the thigh, which are always pre- 
ferred. Unnatural as it may seem, it cannot be doubted that 
they are really fond of this sort of food. The earthen pots in 
which it is cooked are used for no other purpose ; it is 
esteemed as a luxury ; and women, therefore, are forbidden 
to eat it, though it is said the wives of the chiefs often par- 
take of it in private. 1 * 

Wars between the various tribes, or inhabitants occupying 
different districts, are very frequent, and serve to increase the 
natural ferocity of their dispositions. These often grow out 
of difficulties in regard to women, for, though prizing them at 
such little value, the men are prone to jealousy where their 
rights are invaded without their consent, and will promptly 
resent the taking away their wives and daughters by force. 
Their wars are sometimes protracted for a great length of time, 
and are commonly fierce and bloody. When one of the rival par- 

* The Feejee chiefs are as proud of the heads of their enemies whom they 
have slain and eaten, as the North American savage of the scalps he has taken on 
the war-path, and it is customary to preserve them in earthen jars, as the trophies 
of their ferocious warfare. 

344 MISSIONARIES. [1840 

ties acknowledges itself vanquished, if peace cannot be ob- 
tained on any milder terms, the chiefs and leading men crawl 
on their hands to the conquerors and humbly sue for mercy. 
This is not always accorded, but the victors generally content 
themselves with taking the daughters of the chiefs, who are 
brought by the suppliants and tendered to the vanquishers, 
and selecting some of the lower class of the people for vie- 
tims at their cannibal feasts. 

The Feejeean is not deficient in intelligence ; he is shrewdy 
apt to learn, skilful, and cunning. But his soul is uninformed 
by that moral beauty which might relieve or conceal the dark 
and repulsive features of his character. In this respect s how 
great is the contrast between him and the matchless scenery 
by which he is surrounded, whose purity he has desecrated, and 
whose beauty sullied, by crimes the most odious, and customs 
the most abhorrent. In the midst of all that can please the 
taste, or charm the fancy, or gratify the imagination where 
everything is fair, and bright, and beautiful where the 
dreamy haze of a tropical clime rests lovingly on hill-top and 
valley where the sun smiles in gladness upon landscapes 
picturesque and charming as the sweet spots, buried in foliage 
and flowers, that nestle in the bosom of the Italian Alps 
where brook and fountain send forth unrestrained their un- 
ceasing melody where the breezes are soft and balmy, and 
the perfumed breath of an unending summer fills the air with 
its intoxicating odor man is alone debased. Nature dis- 
plays her brightest charms, and revels in her gayest attire 
but God's own image is loathsome and deformed I 

Here is, indeed, a field for the missionary, and laborers 
are not wanting. In fulfilment of the divine command 
" Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel !" the hum- 
ble, self-denying, and persevering followers of Wesley, have 
found their way to this group. At Lakemba, Somu-Somu, 
Levuka, and Rewa, they have permanently established them- 
selves. Hitherto their labors have been attended with little 
success, except among the natives of the Eastern Group, but 
it may be as true in the moral condition of man, as it is in 

1840.J POPULATION. 345 

nature, that " the darkest hour is that which just precedes 
the dawn." At least, if they accomplish nothing more, they 
may produce an impression on the rising generation, who are 
willingly placed under their instruction, that will be lasting 
and beneficial in its effects. 

(6.) In the whole Feejee Group, there are about one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand inhabitants. Vanua-levui and Viti- 
levui contain about forty thousand each, Ovolau eight thou- 
sand, Kantavu fifteen thousand, Vuna seven thousand, and 
Nairai seven thousand. The population is divided into five 
classes the kings, chiefs, warriors, landholders (mantaniva- 
nu'd), and common people, or slaves, called kai-sis. The kai-sis 
are by far the most numerous class, but they are much op- 
pressed by their superiors, and sometimes rise in rebellion : 
this class, too, in appearance and character, resemble the 
Papuan, while the others are more like the Malay. 

There are a number of kings in the group, and there are 
several on the two principal islands. They are nominally in- 
dependent of each other, but many of them pay tribute to 
their brother sovereigns. Ambau is the great centre of power, 
and the king of that district is generally feared and respected 
throughout the group. The political power is wielded mainly 
by the kings and chiefs, who are complete despots so far as 
they can be, and the warriors and landholders are more or less 
under their control. As in many other countries more ad- 
vanced in civilization, the influence of the native priests is 
exerted to sustain the government, and prevent the spread of 
disaffection among the lower classes. 

(7.) The males, among the common people, rarely wear 
any other article of clothing except the maro. The chiefs 
have the ends of the maro lengthened before and behind, so 
as to nearly touch the ground, when it is called seavo. Some- 
times the seavo is fifty yards long, and on state occasions is 
upheld by a train-bearer. Pareus, similar to those of the 
Samoans, are also occasionally worn by the chiefs ; but their 
principal distinguishing mark, so far as regards dress, is the 
turban, or sala, which is made of the finest tapa, of gauze- 


346 DRESS. [1840. 

like texture, and worn about the head in several folds. Thus 
furnished , the Feejee chief looks much like a half-naked Moor. 
Wreaths of flowers are frequently wound round the salas, or 
the feathers of the parroquet attached on the inside by the 
gum of the bread-fruit tree. Necklaces of shells, or the 
teeth of the whale, or those of human victims ; and armlets 
made of the trochus-shell ground down into rings ; likewise 
adorn the persons of the chiefs. Single shells of the valuable 
kinds are worn by the high chiefs, depending from their necks, 
and are handed down from father to son. They have a comb, 
or hair-pricker, made of bone, or stiff splints of reed, which 
is worn by the king as a coronet in front of his mop of hair ; 
the chiefs wear their combs a little at one side, so as not to 
interfere with the prerogative of royalty ; and the kai-sis stick 
it behind their ears. 

One only garment, and that very diminutive in extent, is 
worn by the women. This is the liku, an elastic band, bor- 
dered on the lower side with fringe dyed either red or black, 
which is neatly braided of the bark of the hibiscus. It is 
worn about the loins, and for a maiden is only three inches 
wide, but married women, after they have borne children, 
tengthen it considerably. Tapa cloth is absolutely forbidden 
to be worn by the softer sex. They sometimes wear neck- 
laces of shells, and adorn their persons with wreaths of 
flowers. Both sexes bore holes in the lobes of their ears, 
which are often distended so as to admit the whole hand, 
and insert in them gay feathers and beautiful flowers. 

As has been before remarked, their toilets occupy a great 
share of the time and attention of the natives, considering 
the small quantity of clothing which they wear. Dressing 
the hair, combing, frizzling, greasing it with cocoa-nut oil, 
and daubing it over with ivory-black or some other dyeing 
material, are all matters of the first importance. Bathing is 
attended to punctually by all sexes and classes, after which 
their bodies are anointed with oil and turmeric, to prevent 
taking cold, and for the sake of beauty. Paint is lavishly 
used by both sexes on the face ; no color is ever absolutely 

1840.] CUSTOMS. 347 

discarded, but vermilion, for ornamenting the tip of the nose, 
is considered almost priceless, and the surest way to win. 
the favor of the Feejeean is to present him with a small 
quantity of this pigment. 

Tattooing is performed only on the females, by persons of 
the same sex. It is mainly confined to the lips and corners 
of the mouth, and the parts covered by the liku the latter 
only being the most commonly tattooed. Ornaments about 
the wrists and ankles are rarely seen. This decoration of the 
body is regarded as highly important; it being thought essen- 
tial to the safe passage of the women to the other world. It 
is performed about the age of puberty (usually fourteen 
years,) and this period is celebrated by the young damsel 
and her associates. Circumcision is practiced on boys, as 
part of the ceremonies at the burial of chiefs, or on other 
great occasions, and it is said that a similar custom is ob- 
served with regard to the other sex in some districts. 

In sitting down the males rest their bodies on their 
haunches, and dispose of their limbs by curling them up in 
front. The women assume a sort of oblique kneeling posture, 
so as not to expose their persons, sitting, as it were, on the 
calves of their legs. 

Baked pig, bread-fruit, taro, and yams the last three pre- 
pared in various ways, are the articles of food most com- 
monly eaten. They have also several agreeable preparations 
of the cocoa-nut which are made use of. Bananas and 
plantains are eaten, but are not so highly prized as the other 
edible productions of the group. The food of the common 
people is principally of a vegetable character. Fish and 
fowls often appear on the tables of the chiefs. Human flesh, 
as has been mentioned, is a rarity. Their cooking is prin- 
cipally performed by steam. For this purpose they use 
earthen pots made by themselves, in which their food is 
placed with a small quantity of water. These pots are 
manufactured by women who follow this employment only; 
they are made of clay, which is first fashioned into nearly the 
desired shape with the hand ; a smooth round stone is then in- 


serted, and the clay beaten or moulded about it with a mallet. 
If the vessel is to have but a small opening, it is first made in 
two or more pieces, which are afterwards joined together with 
great skill. Figures are traced upon them, if required, with 
the fibres of a cocoa-nut leaf. The pots are now baked be- 
fore an open fire, and finished off by glazing, or varnishing 
them, with the resin of the Feejee pine, mixed with a de- 
coction of the mangrove bark. 

In serving up their food, the natives are certainly very neat, 
as everything is nicely wrapped up in fresh banana leaves. 
There is as much regularity in the courses, at the tables of 
the chiefs, as in the fashionable hotels of Europe and America j 
and when a new dish is to be brought on, the mats and other 
appendages previously used, are first removed. They usu- 
ally eat with their fingers. Their principal meal is at the 
close of the day, or in the evening. The common people are, 
of course, obliged to work most of the time ; but the aristoc- 
racy spend the greater part of the day at their toilets, and in 

Ava-drinking is a national vice. The ava is prepared in 
the familiar mode common throughout Polynesia ; their bowls 
are sometimes over three feet in diameter. Partaking of this 
beverage is quite a ceremony in the houses of the chiefs, and 
it is always brought to an end by a shout and a general 
clapping of the hands on the thighs. 

Dancing is esteemed a great accomplishment, and there are 
regular dancing masters and mistresses employed to perfect the 
young men and maidens in this art. Terpsichore would be 
shamed, however, could she witness the manner in which her 
votaries display themselves in these islands. Their motions are 
mere writhings and contortions of the body, accompanied with 
monotonous chants, clapping of the hands, and beating of the 
hollow drum. Other amusements are resorted to among 
them to pass away the time agreeably ; the young women 
have a kind of game, like forfeits ; and the young men prac- 
tice archery and throwing the spear. Hunting and fishing 
are favorite pastimes. The former is now often done with 


the musket, with the use of which they have become pretty 
well acquainted. 

The language of the Feejeean has most of the character- 
istics usually noticed in the dialects of Polynesia. It is ex- 
ceedingly full and copious. They have an appropriate term 
for every passion and emotion of the mind, and for every 
species of plants, trees, fruits, flowers, and animals, that is 
found in the group. 

Polygamy is common. Every man has as many wives as 
he can afford to keep. The higher chiefs sometimes have 
from one to two hundred ; but the middling classes content 
themselves with ten or a dozen ; and the poor kai-si is unable 
to indulge in the luxury of more than one. Wives are procured 
by making presents to the parents, or by capturing them from 
a hostile tribe. The marriage ceremony is performed by the 
priests, who enjoin upon the parties the duty of loving, 
honoring, and obeying, very much in the same manner as in 
civilized countries. Adultery is punished by the injured 
husband, if he possesses the power, with great severity, often 
in a mode too disgusting to be mentioned. When a chief 
dies some of his wives are usually strangled, either with or 
without their consent, and buried with him. Old people are 
frequently put to death, at their own desire, to escape decrepi- 
tude, and are sometimes forcibly strangled, or buried alive, by 
their children. Persons in an infirm condition, or sick of a 
lingering disease, are often served in the same manner. 

The women are the mere slaves of their husbands, and are 
beaten by them at pleasure. From fear, rather than affection, 
they are generally faithful. Parturition is not severe among 
them, probably on account of their active habits of life ; and 
some women will resume their ordinary occupations within an 
hour after their delivery. 

The Feejeean has a great number of divinities. The prin- 
cipal one is Ndengei, who is worshipped in the form of a 
large serpent. There are many subordinate deities, some 
good and others evil. They have a tradition that all men are 
descended of one pair of parents, and that they are darker 

350 SUPERSTITIONS. [1840. 

colored than the Tongese, or the whites, because they have 
behaved so badly. They have likewise a tradition of a great 
deluge happening many years ago, which destroyed all the 
persons on the island except eight. Mbures, or spirit-houses, 
are the temples in which they deposit their offerings to their 
gods. These are held very sacred, and women are not allowed 
to enter them. Their priests, called ambati, constitute a 
separate and distinct class, and possess great influence over 
the lower orders of the population. Human sacrifices to their 
deities are quite common. They have also a great festival, 
or harvest moon, to celebrate the ingathering of their fruits. 

After death, the natives of this group believe their spirits 
go immediately to Ndengei, by whom they are judged ; some 
of them are allotted to the devils, who roast and eat them, 
and others are sent to an island, variously located by the dif- 
ferent tribes, where they remain for a certain period, and are 
then annihilated. There are, of course, various shades of 
belief, and modifications of their superstitions, prevailing in 
the group ; for instance, there are some who think the spirit 
is purified by Ndengei, after which it returns to hover about 
its former place of abode. The idea of a second death, how- 
ever, in some form or other, is common throughout the islands. 

(8.) The houses of the Feejeeans are of an oblong form, 
except in the Eastern Group, where they are oval. They are 
from twenty to twenty-five feet long, and usually about fif- 
teen feet wide. The harems of the chiefs, however, are often 
huge barn-like structures, from one to two hundred feet long. 
They consist of a frame- work of cocoa-nut posts and sills, 
with rafters ascending to a ridge pole as in American houses. 
The roofs have a steep pitch, and are thatched with wild 
cane. The ridge pole projects several feet at either end, and 
is often fancifully adorned with the cyprcea ovula, or other 
beautiful shells. The sides are filled in with reeds and cane 
woven neatly together. All the lashings are of sennit, and 
considerable pains are often taken in ornamenting the fronts 
of the houses with prettily braided lattice work of the same 
material, or of willow or cane. On the island of Vanua-levui, 

1840.] HOUSES. 351 

it is customary to allow the eaves of the houses to project 
till they touch the ground. Sometimes, too, they are built 
in an elliptical form, like those of the Tongese, but the ridge 
pole always projects. They have yam-houses, which are 
elevated on four posts to keep out the rats and mice, and 
covered with thatch, to preserve the roots dry. 

Mbures, or spirit-houses, are constructed after the same 
general fashion, except that their roofs are steeper. '*?. They 
are sometimes circular, and are placed either on stone plat- 
forms, or large timbers laid across each other in a rec- 
tangular form. Many of the towns, or koros, as they are 
called, are fortified with embankments of earth and cocoa- 
nut palisades with openings or creneles, for musketry ; and they 
are provided with gateways, as in the Tonga Islands. Forti- 
fications are likewise erected, to which they retire for safety 
when attacked by their enemies, which consist of stone walls, 
composed of blocks of basalt, four or five feet high, and sur- 
rounded by moats ten feet wide, and from five to six feet 
deep. Bridges, also, are frequently built over their streams, 
on piles made of cocoa-nut wood. 

Inside the houses there is a plentiful supply of tapa mats, 
and other similar articles. Earthen jars, drinking vessels, 
clubs, spears, muskets, and bows and arrows, are the ordi- 
nary embellishments. At one side of the centre, is a pit, or 
platform of stones, where the fire is built, and the cooking 
performed. The rest of the floor is for the most part covered 
with mats, and one end is elevated like a dais, by the same 
means, where the couches for repose are arranged. This por- 
tion of the apartment is often separated into divisions by tapa 
mats or screens, and liberally provided with musquito nettings. 
They sleep on mats, with pillows of bamboo resting on four 
legs. The latter often produce a scirrhous lump at the back 
of the head where it joins the neck, and it seems strange 
enough that the natives do not substitute in their stead the 
softer material of their tapa mats. 

Their canoes are of superior construction, and are managed 
with more than ordinary skill. The bottom consists of a 

352 CANOES. [1840. 

single plank of pine timber, or bread-fruit, dovetailed to the 
sides, which surround a frame-work of ribs lashed securely 
together with sennit. The joints and chinks are closed with 
the gum of the bread-fruit tree, with which also the sides are 
varnished. In other respects they resemble those of the Ton- 
gese, before described ;* indeed, that people have imitated the 
Feejeeans, and frequently resort to this group to construct their 
craft. The canoes are likewise managed in a similar manner 
with those in the Tonga Islands. They are often fancifully 
ornamented with the shells of the cyprcea ovula, and have 
beautifully white, or party-colored sails of tapa cloth, decora- 
ted with long pennants and streamers. When scudding be- 
fore the wind, though trembling like an aspen leaf at every 
plunge, they present a most magnificent appearance. 

Great ingenuity and skill are exhibited by the natives in 
building their houses and canoes; and their mechanical ex- 
pertness is far superior to that of most other Polynesians. 
Prior to their intercourse with the whites, they had only a 
few rude tools, among which were an adze, and a hatchet, made 
of bone ; a knife of bamboo cut down to an edge when green, 
and afterwards dried and charred ; gimlets of bones, and the 
long spines of the echina ; and carving instruments of the 
teeth of rats and mice set in pieces of iron- wood. They now 
make their adzes of plane-irons lashed to crooked sticks with 
sennit, and use hatchets of American or European manufact- 
ure when they can be obtained. 

(9.) Tortoise shell, biche de mer, and the whales frequent- 
ing the neighborhood of the Feejee Islands, are the only in- 
ducements for vessels to make voyages thither, except it be 
merely to obtain water and provisions. Tortoise shell sells 
readily in Europe and the United States for seven or eight 
dollars the pound, and a picult of biche de mer brings from 
fifteen to twenty dollars in the Chinese market. Axes, 
hatchets, plane-irons, gimlets, scissors, knives, beads, ver- 
milion, muskets, powder, trunks and chests, looking-glasses, 

* Ante, pp. 321, 322. f The picul is about 133J pounds avoirdupois. 


buttons, bottles, and brushes, are the articles best suited for 
traffic in these islands. 

(10.) Shortly after the arrival of the American Squadron 
in the Feejee Group, a prominent native chief, by the name 
of Vendovi, who had been one of the chief instigators and 
actors in the murder of a part of the crew of an American 
vessel, several years previous, was captured by the address 
of Captain Hudson.* This had the effect to intimidate the 
natives, to some extent, and the friendly footing established 
by Captain Wilkes with the king of Ambau, served for a 
long time to protect the American vessels and their crews 
from molestation. But it was natural, perhaps, that the many 
new articles which the savages saw should excite their cu- 
pidity ; and on the 12th of July, a cutter was lost on the reefs 
in Sualib Bay, twenty-five miles east of Mbua Bay, in the 
island of Vanua-levui. Parties of natives had been hovering 
along the shore all day, and when they discovered that the 
cutter had grounded, they rushed forward and captured it 
with everything it contained, except the arms and chronom- 
eters, with which the crew succeeded in making their es- 
cape. Restitution, and prompt satisfaction for the outrage, 
were forthwith demanded by Captain Wilkes. After some 
parleying the boat was restored, but without the property. 
Becoming satisfied from the numerous prevarications of the 
natives, that they were trifling with him, the American 
commander ordered Captain Hudson to land with an armed 
party and destroy the town of Tye on Sualib Bay, where 
the natives concerned in the capture of the cutter were 
known to have collected. This was effected on the 13th of 
July : the natives were driven from their koro, which con- 
tained about sixty houses ; and the buildings were then fired 
and burnt to the ground, together with a number of yam- 
houses in the vicinity. Several chiefs were captured, but, it 
being ascertained that they were not concerned in the outrage, 
they were restored to liberty. 

* Vendoyi was brought as a prisoner to the United States, where he sickened 
and died. 


This summary chastisement prevented any further acts of 
aggression in that quarter ; but on the 24th of the same 
month, a still more lamentable incident occurred at the 
island of Malolo. Strict orders had been issued by the com- 
mander of the Squadron, in regard to their intercourse with 
the natives, while engaged in prosecuting the survey of the 
group ; but on the morning of the 24th, Lieutenant Under- 
wood went ashore from the first cutter of the Vincennes, to 
obtain provisions, unfortunately for himself neglecting to take 
with him a sufficient number of men or weapons. On discov- 
ering that the natives manifested symptoms of hostility, a 
hostage was seized and sent on board the cutter, which now 
drew in towards the shore, to be detained as a prisoner while 
the party were engaged in bartering with his fellows. Con- 
siderable time was spent in chaffering, and the natives grad- 
ually collected around the little party of Lieutenant Under- 
wood. In the meanwhile the latter were joined by Midship- 
man Henry in a canoe. One or two attempts were made by 
the hostage to escape, and he at length succeeded in plunging 
into the water, when he struck out for the shore. Shots 
were fired at him, but without effect. 

This was the signal for the attack, which had no doubt 
been premeditated. Lieutenant Underwood and his party 
were instantly beset by the natives. They were at first kept 
at bay, and the Americans attempted to retreat to the small 
boat, which they had left over six hundred yards from the 
beach, on account of the shallowness of the water on the reef. 
But the savages were not to be balked, and they now pressed 
eagerly on the feeble band, using their clubs and spears with 
great dexterity and effect. Both Lieutenant Underwood and 
Midshipman Henry defended themselves gallantly, and with 
praiseworthy intrepidity, but overpowered by superior num- 
bers, they were unable to make their escape, and were at 
length knocked down and killed by the natives with their 
clubs. Others of the party were severely wounded, but none 
fatally except the two officers. Lieutenants Emmons and 
Alden had witnessed the beginning of the affray from the 


cutter, and instantly pulled in to the shore in their small 
boats. But it was too late to rescue their companions, and 
they had only the melancholy satisfaction of recovering their 
dead bodies. 

On the reception of this sad intelligence, with a prompt- 
itude and decision worthy of commendation, Captain Wilkes 
determined to chastise the murderers in a manner that would 
long be remembered. The first duty, however, was owing 
to the dead. The bodies of the ill-starred officers were buried 
on one of the deserted islands of the group, and the cutters 
and boats of the Squadron then in that vicinity were stationed 
around Malolo, so as to prevent any persons making their 
escape. This being done, the Americans landed on the island 
in two divisions one commanded by Captain Wilkes in per- 
son, and the other by Lieutenant Binggold early in the 
morning of the 26th of July. Two of the native towns, the 
only ones upon the island, were completely destroyed, and the 
plantations of the inhabitants laid waste. One of the koros 
was strongly fortified, and offered an obstinate resistance to 
the party under Lieutenant Ringgold, who had been ordered 
to attack it. A warm skirmish ensued, which was main- 
tained for some time with spirit and bravery by the besieged 
as well as the assailing force. The American tars were not 
to be resisted, however ; unharmed by the missiles showered 
upon them, they pressed forward to the ramparts, applied 
torches to the bamboo work, and drove the enemy from 
every part of their defences. About sixty of the savages 
were killed, and a great number wounded. Of the Ameri- 
cans but one was wounded, and he not dangerously. On 
the following day, the remainder of the natives, who had 
made their escape to the hills in the interior, appeared before 
Captain Wilkes effectually cowed down, and sued after their 
own abject fashion for mercy and forgiveness. This was 
accorded, but accompanied with a wholesome admonition for 
the future. It is almost unnecessary to add, that the Amer- 
icans were not again molested while they remained in this 


All the islands and reefs of the Feejee Group were care- 
fully examined and surveyed by the Squadron, with the ex- 
ception of a part of the southern shore of Kantavu, which 
was known to have been included in the surveys of M. d'Ur- 
ville ; regulations in regard to vessels frequenting the islands, 
for traffic or other purposes, were also adopted and signed by 
the principal kings ; and on the llth of August, the Ameri- 
cans finally took their departure for the Sandwich Islands, 
with hearts saddened by the recollection of the severe loss 
which they had sustained. 


(l.)The Sandwich Islands. Discovery. Geographical Description. (2.) Char- 
acter of the Population. Dress. Manners and Customs. (3.) Government. 
Missionaries. (4.) Soil. Climate. Diseases. (5.) Vegetable Productions. 
(6.) Birds and Animals. (7.) Principal Towns and Harbors. Dwelling 
Houses. (8.) Commerce and Manufactures. Vessels. (9.) Departure of the 
American Squadron. 

(1.) WITH the acquisition of California by the government 
of the United States, -and the introduction- of steam naviga- 
tion in the Pacific, commences a new era in the history of 
the Sandwich Islands. Heretofore this group has been the 
mere depot of stores and supplies for the whalemen of the 
Pacific, but, for the future, a new career opens before it. 
A glance at the map will show the favorable and important 
position which it occupies with reference to other countries. 
Midway it is placed, directly on the track of communication, 
between two worlds, one passing, it may be, into decline, 
yet still teeming with the rich products of the Orient the 
other, in the newness and freshness of youth, possessing min- 
eral and agricultural resources without parallel in the world, 
inhabited by a persevering, energetic, and industrious people, 
and advancing on the road to greatness and prosperity with 
the vigor and stride of a giant. On the one hand are the 
silks, the teas, and the spices, of China and the East Indies ; 
on the other, the treasures of the Sierra Nevada, and the 
cotton and corn of the valley of the Mississippi. These must 
be exchanged ; and San Francisco and Canton must one day 
become to the Pacific, what New York and Liverpool now 
are to the Atlantic Ocean. This immense trade will, of ne- 
cessity, pass directly through or by the Sandwich Islands. 
Whatever, then, may be their fate, in a political sense, 


whether, fully redeemed from the darkness of Paganism, they 
take their stand permanently among the nations of the earth, 
or fall under the dominion of some foreign power, their des- 
tiny is fixed. 

The Sandwich, or Hawaiian Islands, as they have been 
more appropriately termed by the missionaries, were dis- 
covered in the year 1778, by Captain Cook, who gave them 
the name by which they are generally known, in honor of the 
Earl of Sandwich, then first Lord of the Admiralty. Here, 
too, on the shore of the bay of Kealakekua, upon the west 
side of the island of Hawaii, that eminent navigator came to his 
tragic and untimely end, on the 14th day of February, 1779. 

These islands are eleven in number, and are many hun- 
dred miles distant from any of the other Polynesian groups. 
They lie in the North Pacific, between latitude 18 50 ; 
and 22 20' N., and longitude 154 55' and 160 15' W. 
Their general direction is from southeast to north-west, 
Hawaii, the southernmost of the group, being about two 
hundred and eighty miles distant from Kauai and Niihau, 
tho two islands lying furthest to the north. The total area 
of all the islands is about six thousand square miles. 
The principal members of the group are Hawaii, Maui, 
Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau : the 
remaining three, Molokini, Lehua, and Kaula, are mere 
rocky and barren islets. 

Hawaii, formerly known as Owhyhee, has an area of four 
thousand square miles, being about two thirds that of the en- 
tire group. It is eighty-eight miles in length, by sixty-eight 
in breadth. The surface slopes up gradually from the beach 
towards the interior, which is a broken, elevated plain, three 
thousand feet above the level of the sea, with here and there 
a tall conical mountain-peak rearing its jagged front to the 
height of thirteen or fourteen thousand feet. Overlooking 
Waiakea, or Hilo Bay, is Mauna Kea, flanked on either hand 
by similar peaks of less altitude, which attains an elevation 
of 13,953 feet ; and just to the east of Kealakekua Bay, is 
the towering dome of Mauna Loa, 13,760 feet above the 

1840.] MAUI MOLOKAI OAHU. 359 

ocean, forever belching forth its volcanic fires, and casting its 
unearthly, waving shadow, far and wide over the broad ocean. 

Maui is thirty miles north-west of Hawaii. It is forty- 
eight miles in length, and twenty-nine in breadth, and con- 
sists of two parts, each containing its separate ridge of moun- 
tains, which are united together by a belt or isthmus of low 
ground. Originally, there were, in all probability, two distinct 
islands, the space between which has been filled up by the 
scoria and lava thrown from their respective volcanoes when 
in a state of active operation. West Maui is considerably 
lower than the eastern part of the island, but both are high 
and volcanic, and, like Hawaii, rise gradually from the shore 
to the mountainous ridges in the interior. The loftiest peak 
on the island is Mauna Haleakala, or the " House of the Sun," 
whose cleft summit overlooks the eastern and southern shores 
of East Maui, and is 10,200 feet above the level of the 
ocean. West of Maui, and separated from it by a strait 
averaging about twelve miles in width, are Lanai and Ka- 
hoolawe. The former is seventeen miles long, and nine miles 
wide ; it is shaped like a dome, and in the centre, or highest 
part of the island, attains an elevation of sixteen hundred 
feet. Kahoolawe lies opposite to the southern coast of Maui, 
and has Lanai on its north ; it is eleven miles long, and eight 
miles wide. It is a low, uninviting spot, covered with barren 
peaks and ridges, none of which attain a greater elevation 
than two hundred feet, and is tenanted only by a few miser- 
able fishermen, and now and then an exile sent hither by 
order of the government. 

Eighteen miles north of Maui and Lanai, and separated 
from them by the Pailolo channel, is Molokai. This island 
is forty miles long, from east to west, and nine miles wide : 
the western portion, embracing about one third of the whole 
extent, is a barren waste ; and the remaining two thirds is 
mountainous, in some places rising to the height of twenty- 
eight hundred feet, with the exception of a narrow strip of 
land on the south side, which has a most favorable exposure, 
and is highly productive. Oahu lies about thirty miles north- 


west from Molokai, and, both politically and commercially, is 
the most important island in the group. It is forty-six miles 
in length, and twenty-three in breadth. Like Hawaii, it 
rises on all sides from the ocean, to an elevated plain in the 
interior, that is dotted with numerous mountain peaks, none 
of which, however, exceed four thousand feet in height. In- 
deed, the general character of the surface of this island is 
level in comparison with the other islands, and a very good 
carriage road might be constructed from one end to the other 
without much difficulty. 

Kauai is between seventy and eighty miles still further to 
the north-west. It is nearly circular in shape ; its greatest 
length being thirty-three miles, and its greatest breadth 
twenty-eight. Its scenery resembles that of the other islands, 
but is more delightfully varied. It is considerably broken, 
and has mountains towering to the height of five thousand 
feet. The climate is very fine ; agriculture is here in a most 
flourishing state; and this, in connection with its natural 
attractions and advantages, has rendered it a favorite place 
of retreat during the hot summer months. Niihau, sixteen 
miles south-west of Kauai, is eighteen miles long, from north 
to south, and seven miles wide. It is much lower than any 
of the other principal islands, having no elevation above eight 
hundred feet, but its surface is quite rocky and uneven. It 
is celebrated chiefly for the beautiful mats manufactured by 
its inhabitants, and is likewise said to be a fine place for 
making salt. 

The same general features, in respect of scenery, charac- 
terize the whole group. Coral reefs encircle the coasts, with 
frequent openings, and occasionally they wholly disappear. 
In some places the shores are low, and this is most commonly 
the case ; but in others, the ocean waves are dashed against 
rocky piles of lava, and tall cliffs, of basalt. Belts of tropical 
vegetation, of the most exuberant growth, begirt the islands, 
just inside the fringe of snowy breakers ; beyond these are 
strips of fresh green verdure, plants, and shrubs, and vines, 
and grasses, all mingled confusedly together, which creep 

1840.] GEOLOGY. 361 

up the slopes of the hills and mountains to the height of two 
thousand feet ; here the productions of a new climate display 
their manifold beauties, and the dark foliage of the cone- 
bearers, and other trees belonging to the lower part of the 
temperate zone, imbordcrs the loftiest peaks, up to the eleva- 
tion of six thousand feet ; and above all, stretch upward to 
the region of eternal frost, the magnificent cones, with their 
fluted sides and perforated summits, like stupendous monu- 
ments reared by the art of man. 

Numerous small rivers and streams have their sources in 
the mountainous ridges, and carry off the surplus waters 
which fall during the frequent rains, to irrigate the low levels, 
and add freshness and beauty to the diversified landscapes 
through which they wend their way, or to mingle again with 
the ocean. Some of these rivers, or brooks, are very consider- 
able streams, and may be navigated for a short distance in 
boats. They often form picturesque falls and cascades, 
where they descend from the elevated plateaus to the coast 
level ; and in a few instances their utility has been demon- 
strated by the employment of their waters in propelling ma- 

Evidences of the volcanic origin and character of this group 
meet the eye wherever it is turned. Wide fields and plains 
of lava, regularly piled strata of volcanic rock and cinders, 
and vast columnar masses of basalt, are scattered everywhere 
throughout the islands ; although blocks of sandstone, and 
compact limestone with a stratification of pebbles, may occa- 
sionally be seen. But the most decisive indications of the 
geological formation, as well as the most prominent features 
of the islands, are the numerous conical craters, and the lofty 
hills of scoriaceous lava evidently poured forth from the 
bowels of the earth during some volcanic cataclysm. Most 
of these craters are now silent ; their quaquaversal beds of 
lava no longer glow with fervent heat ; their fires are slum- 
bering, perhaps forever, it may be, to gather new strength, 
and break out once more with redoubled fury. 

The only active volcanoes are those of Maun a Loa and 


362 KILAUEA. [18401 

Kilauea, on the island of Hawaii. The first, which has been 
be/fore referred to, Is much higher than the other ; but Kilauea 
is by far the most striking and peculiar. It is totally unlike 
other volcanoes, and exhibits no permanent jets of fire, or flam- 
ing cones, or eruptions of heated stones ; but it consists of a 
vast depression, or basin, on the flank of Manna Loa, four 
thousand feet above the ocean, and about twenty miles east of 
the main volcano, within which is a seething cauldron in a 
constant state of terrific ebullition, where the boiling waves of 
molten lava are continually surging to and fro, while they howl 
and hiss like angry demons. This, in olden time, was the abode 
of the great Pele, the principal goddess of the Hawaiian \ 
and it is scarcely to be wondered, that the pagan should have 
associated his chosen deity with a phenomenon that filled 
him with so much awe, terror, and astonishment. 

It is not far from one thousand feet, from the crest of the 
overhanging bank down to the surface of this fiery lake. 
The crater is of an oval figure, and is three and a half miles 
long and two and a half miles wide. It is surrounded by 
drifted heaps of scoria, and massive piles of lava, among 
which are frequently found bundles of capillary glass, called 
"Pete's hair" by the natives, springing from the crevices 
and fissures, and waving in the wind like long threads of the 
softest cotton. An occasional aperture from which the hot 
steam escapes, now quite often employed in cooking food by 
strangers and natives, both alike indifferent to the good 
pleasure of mistress Pele, breaks the surface of the mountain. 
Vegetation is but scanty. A few ferns, that derive their 
principal sustenance from the vapors rising from the lake be- 
neath, take root in the crannies amid the ledge of basaltic 
rocks that surrounds the crater ; and in their rear are stunted 
shrubs, and tall and sickly tufts of grass, which dot the sides 
of the mountain, at wide intervals, down to the dark line of 
vegetation that encircles its base. 

Nearly seven hundred feet below the outer bank is a black 
ledge of indurated lava, to which the mass boiling in the pool 
below occasionally rises, and having lost a great part of its 


volume by an eruption, subsides again to its customary limits. 
The pool is about fifteen hundred feet long, and one thousand 
feet across. It is dangerous to descend from the black ledge 
to the border of the lake itself, although it has been done ; for 
the reason that the thin crust of lava, formed above the glow- 
ing furnace, sometimes gives way. The descent from the 
outer bank to the black ledge is comparatively easy, as the 
declivity is very gradual, and presents few obstructions. The 
ground beneath is coated with a crust of vitreous or scoria- 
ceous lava from half an inch to an inch thick. Below the 
ledge there are many beautiful cones and jets of hardened lava 
scattered about in different positions. Suspended over the 
blazing pool, in mid air, is a cloud of vapor, by day assuming 
a silvery appearance, and by night resembling a sea of fire. 

The pool or lake undergoes frequent changes on its sur- 
face. Besides rising and falling, as has been mentioned, some- 
times a great number of cones start up from the midst of the 
liquid mass, and like miniature volcanoes eject red-hot stones, 
and streams of smoke and flame ; then all at once they are 
silenced, and crumble down into the lake from which they 
had risen, while its fiery waves sweep away every trace of 
their existence. But whatever be its condition, and in what- 
ever aspect it is observed, the beholder is startled by the 
grandeur and sublimity of the scene ; and the unearthly 
sounds that meet his ear, as if the whole brood of Cyclops 
were thundering at their subterranean forges, serve to 
heighten the emotions that steal upon him. " The fiercely 
whizzing sound of gas and steam," says Mr. Bingham, 
"rushing with varying force, through obstructed apertures in 
blowing cones, or cooling crusts of lava, the laboring, wheez- 
ing, struggling as of a living mountain, breathing fire and 
smoke and sulphurous gas from lurid nostrils, tossing up 
molten rocks or detached portions of fluid lava, and breaking 
up vast indurated masses with varied detonations, all im- 
pressively bade us stand in awe."* 

(2.) When the Sandwich Islands were first discovered, it 

* Bingham's Sandwich Islands, pp. 387, 388. 

364 POPULATION. [1840 

was computed that they contained at least two hiv.idred 
thousand inhabitants. Subsequent to that time a great part 
of the population fell victims to the bloody and devastating 
wars waged between the rival tribes and factions ; and even 
after peace and harmony were restored by the benign influ- 
ence of Christianity, who, with her twin sister Civilization, 
dispensed innumerable blessings throughout the group, and 
awakened new hopes and aspirations in the breasts of the 
illiterate and benighted pagans, other causes contributed to 
produce the same result the rapid and alarming diminution 
of the native population. Foreign diseases and vices have 
been introduced, and have swept away their thousands. In- 
fanticide, and the abandonment of children, have been almost 
done away ; but in their stead, there has been a marked in- 
difference to the welfare of their offspring manifested by the 
natives of the islands, and every year witnesses the death of 
a great number of infants, solely from the inattention and 
neglect of their parents.* Superadded to this cause of the 
reduction of the population, is the somewhat singular fact, 
that sterility, occasioned either by indulgence in pernicious 
habits and vices, or by the settled gloom and melanchol} 
that have taken possession of the Sandwich Islander, is un 
usually common. Both these causes combined must, of ne 
cessity, lead to the result which has been witnessed hen 
among any people ; if the species is not reproduced in suffi 
cient numbers to supply the inroads made by time, in th 
ordinary course of nature, utter annihilation will be the IE 
evitable consequence. 

In 1832, the population of the group was about one hun 
dred and thirty thousand ; in 1836, it had dwindled down t< 
about one hundred thousand ; and in the winter of 1849, i' 
was supposed not to exceed eighty thousand. Nearly on< 
half of the whole number reside on Hawaii. Ever since the 
first settlement of the missionaries in the islands, the for- 
eign population has been steadily increasing, and immi- 

* Cases of abortion are not rare in some districts, though they can hardly 
be said to be of frequent occurrence in the group. 


grants are now annually arriving in greater or less numbers. 
But the additions made in this manner, fail to make good 
the deficiencies in the native population, about one sixth of 
whom die every year. In some of the districts, the families 
of the ancient chiefs are almost extinct, and in nearly all 
they are much less numerous than they formerly were. 

The foreign population of the group is composed of the 
most heterogeneous materials, and in Honolulu and some of 
the other towns the most striking contrasts are exhibited. 
There are phlegmatic Dutchmen, beer-drinking and pipe-lov- 
ing Germans, mercurial Frenchmen, conceited and self- 
opinionated Englishmen fresh from the paradise of all true 
Cockneys, calculating down-east Yankees, western hoosiers, 
California Indians, greasy Mexicans, and last, but not least. 
in this hotchpot of humanity, veritable flat-nosed and sallow- 
faced Chinamen with the long tails and singular costume 
peculiar to the natives of the Celestial Empire.* 

There is a close resemblance between the natives of the 
Society and Sandwich Islands. Those inhabiting the latter 
are several shades darker in complexion than the Tahitian, 
but their features are very similar. Their color is a brownish 
olive ; they have dark hair, expressive and intelligent eyes, and 
more firm and muscular limbs than the natives of the Society 
Islands, resembling more nearly, in this last respect, the 
people of the Samoan Group, to whom, also, they appear to 
be related. Both sexes of Hawaiians are inclined to become 
corpulent as they advance in life. The females do not possess 
much personal beauty, and their features are generally coarse 

* " A Bakery has been established here [Honolulu] by 'Sam & Mow,' bakers 
from Canton, where bread, cakes, and pies, are manufactured in every variety, 
and of excellent quality. Their advertisement contains a classical allusion in 
the last line, which will not be readily perceived, except by those who are aware 
of the arrogance of the Celestial Empire. 

' Good people all, come near and buy 

Of Sam and Mow. good cake and pie, 

Bread, hard or soil, for land or sea, 

' Celestial' made ; come buy of we.' " 

Olmsted's Incidents of a Whaling Voyage, p. 213. 


and disagreeable. Between the two classes of the population 
the chiefs and the kanakas, or common people there is 
the same striking difference observed throughout Polynesia, 
although each has some characteristics in common with the 
other. The former are more active in their movements than 
the latter ; they have lighter complexions and more harmo- 
nious features ; and they are more graceful and stately in 
their gait, and less embarrassed in their address. 

Equally with the Society Islanders, the Hawaiians are 
naturally indolent. This predisposition has been in some 
measure overcome by the missionaries, and the necessity of 
cultivating the soil to supply their wants has rendered them 
more energetic and industrious. But they are far from be- 
ing provident, nor do they show any particular desire to ac- 
cumulate property. A sufficiency of food and clothing, usu- 
ally limited within the narrowest bounds, is all they care to 
possess. They are not as sensual as the Tahitian, but licen- 
tiousness is still quite prevalent, and excess in eating and 
drinking is one of the chief causes that are accelerating the 
steady decrease of the population. They are tolerably 
honest and hospitable ; possess a respectable share of in- 
telligence ; and are quick to learn, and apt at imitation 
They are daring and courageous, and completely reckless of 
life ; yet they do not possess the frankness and generosity 
which often accompany those traits. On the contrary, they 
are extremely selfish, and have very little natural affection ; 
there are striking exceptions, of course, to this general rule, 
but infidelity, infanticide, and the abandonment of children, 
are not looked upon with that abhorrence which they natu- 
rally excite in a well-educated and right-feeling community. 
Parents, and mothers in particular, are exceedingly neglect- 
ful of their offspring ; the pleasurable cares and anxieties of 
true affection, for them have no alleviation ; and when they 
are able to put their children out to nurse, which is frequently 
done, they feel relieved of a most grievous burden. 

Of national pride, the Sandwich Islander cannot boast. 
Whether, since he has become partially enlightened and civil- 

1840 ] DRESS. 367 

ized, the comparison he has been able to draw, between his 
own and other countries, has created an unnatural loathing 
towards his race, or that memory still clings with regret to 
the customs and associations of former days, certain it is, 
that despair has cast its dark shadow over his countenance, 
and, like the vulture, is forever gnawing at his heart. Some 
few there are, who, not indifferent to the rapid dwindling 
away of their people, look forward to the future in trustful 
hope and confidence, and are zealous in urging forward those 
reforms and improvements that afford the promise of better- 
ing their condition and checking the progress of decay ; but 
the great mass, when not under the influence of the tempo- 
rary excitement produced by amusement or intoxication, are 
sorrowful, moody, and melancholy. It is painful to contem- 
plate the sad expression of the common people, when at work, 
or when resting from their labors ; and when those possessing 
greater intelligence, and occupying a higher sphere, reflect 
on the alarming decrease of the native population, their 
thoughts are not pleasant ones. Civilization seems to them 
to have been a bane as well as a blessing ; they have been 
redeemed from the darkness of heathenism, but the full light 
of day has overpowered them, and like Semele, they are 
perishing in the embraces which they courted. 

European, or peculiar national costumes, prevail among the 
foreign residents. The greatest incongruity is exhibited in the 
apparel of the natives, especially in the seaport towns. The 
better classes often appear well clothed, in a manner similar 
to the whites ; the women in flaring chip bonnets, and silk 
or satin dresses, though sometimes accompanied with the 
coarsest brogans drawn over a stockingless foot ; and the men 
in broad-leafed straw hats, and nankeen jackets and trowsers. 
A great effort has been made by the missionaries to do away 
the primitive style of dress altogether, but they have not been 
entirely successful. The common people, or kanakas, still 
adhere to the maro, and both males and females can with dif- 
ficulty be persuaded to put on anything else when they are 
.at work. Sometimes, on Sundays or holidays, the former 

368 ORNAMENTS. [1840 

conceal their nether limbs in a pair of pantaloons, if fortunate 
enough to possess them ; and provided the state of their ward- 
robes permits the indulgence, a coarse cotton shirt is added 
On a week day, a native may often be seen clad simply in a 
shirt, or sailor's round jacket, with the indispensable mara. 
Pareus are likewise occasionally worn by both sexes. Since 
the missionaries have established themselves on the islands,, 
they have persuaded the females, at least when they appear 
in public, to put on long gowns, like the loose morning dresses 
of our own American ladies. These are confined at the waist, 
if at all, by embroidered, or party-colored tapa scarfs or 

Articles of apparel made of tapa, are, however, much less 
common now than they formerly were. Mantles, called 
kapas or kikeis^ are still made of this material ; and there 
are girdles, or mahs, also, of the same fabric. The mantle- 
is passed over the right shoulder of the wearer, and knotted 
under the opposite arm. Besides the tapa shawls, bright 
yellow or scarlet ones, of foreign manufacture, are frequently 

The king, Kamameha III, usually wears the European 
dress, consisting of a blue broadcloth coat, and white vest 
and pantaloons ; but for great occasions he has robes of state, 
made of tapa, and adorned with rich yellow or scarlet feath- 
ers the latter obtained from the beautiful melithreptes Pa- 
cifica. His royal spouse ordinarily appears in public with 
an embroidered shawl of scarlet crape thrown over her silk 
or satin dress ; and when still greater state is desired, she, 
too, displays a gorgeous robe, showily, if not tastefully trimmed 
with feathers. Costly tiaras of yellow or scarlet feathers are, 
likewise, indicative of high rank. The chiefs wear helmets 
made of linen network, with brilliant feathers inserted, and 
the chiefesses, as they are called, pretty wreaths, either of 
feathers or flowers, or, sometimes, of both intermingled. 

Ornaments are not very common. Amulets of bones or 
ivory shaped like a hook, or carved after some other pattern, 
or beautiful shells, are often seen. Necklaces of braided 


hair, or of the bright red fruit of the pandanus,' sometimes 
tinged with orange color, and strung by the women on a 
cord, are worn about their necks. Wreaths of flowers 
were formerly much worn by the females around their 
heads, but these have been interdicted by the missiona- 
ries, and are, therefore, pretty generally discarded. Very 
little attention is paid by either sex to the hair : the males, 
among the higher classes, wear it cropped short, and the 
females gather it up in dark masses on the top of the head. 
Tattooing is almost abandoned, though now and then a na- 
tive damsel will be seen, with her dusky legs and ankles pret- 
tily ornamented, " as a sort of substitute for open-work he 
siery." The kanakas commonly go barefooted, though 
when travelling over the rough paths in the interior, they put 
on sandals made of ti leaves. 

Ancient manners and customs are nearly done away, and 
the natives are gradually accustoming themselves to the 
habits of the whites. Some few of their amusements the 
relics of former times are still preserved. They are an am- 
phibious race, and being totally fearless of danger, will spend 
hours at a time, disporting themselves, in the most furious 
surf. In bathing, each person is usually provided with a 
surf-board. This is from six to nine feet long, and from 
twelve to eighteen inches wide. It is from one to two inches 
thick in the centre, but quite thin at the edges. Throwing 
himself flatwise upon this, the bather plunges forward from 
the shore on the top of the recoiling surf. When he meets a 
roller he dives under it, and emerging on the other side, darts 
ahead once more with great rapidity, till he gains the outer 
line of breakers, from a quarter to half a mile distant from 
the shore. Now watching the opportunity, he mounts one 
of the loftiest waves, balancing himself on his board on his 
hands and knees, or extended thereupon at full length. With 
the speed of a maddened courser he darts towards the shore, 
his shout of triumph ringing loud and clear, and distinctly 
heard above the roar of the surge, if he is so fortunate as to 
distance his companions. Accidents sometimes occur, but 


370 AMUSEMENTS. [1840. 

if the bather is dismounted from his board, or thrown from 
the wave on which he has placed himself, nothing daunted 
by the failure, he attempts to reach another, and though still 
unsuccessful, will persevere till he is obliged to return to the 
beach, at which he often arrives panting for breath and com- 
pletely exhausted by his efforts. This is esteemed glorious 
sport by all ages and classes, and both sexes engage in it in- 
discriminately, with nothing on but the maro. 

Lascivious dances, or hulas, are not uncommon, though 
the civil authorities and missionaries make every exertion to 
prevent such displays. Their music consists principally of 
drumming on hollow vessels or calabashes, or on the native 
drum, which is made of a hollow log, with a piece of 
shark skin drawn over the end. Foreign instruments have 
been introduced, as a matter of course, and the violin, the 
pipe, and the trumpet, may now frequently be heard in the 
fashionable assemblies held in the drinking houses of Hono- 

Riding on horseback is as much of a passion with the 
Sandwich Islander, as with the sailor when ashore. All 
classes and conditions look upon this as their favorite pas- 
time. They will mount without saddle or stirrups the wo- 
men sitting astride like the Peruvian seilorita ; anything 
serves for a bridle ; and once fairly seated, away they go with 
a loud hurrah, dashing over hill and plain at a furious rate. 

All who are not restrained by their religious principles, or 
through fear of the missionaries, are much addicted to gam- 
bling, either with cards or dice, in the use of which many of 
the natives have become very expert. They have, also, a 
kind of thimble-rigging among them, w^hich is called buhe- 
nehene : in this game a stone is hidden underneath various 
colored piles of tapa by one of the party, and the others guess 
where it is concealed, each player pointing to the pile where 
he supposes it to be hidden with a short stick. Throwing 
quoits, too, is much practiced ; and there is another game, 
called maiku, which consists in hurling stones in a narrow 
trench dug in the ground, sometimes a mile in length, he 

1840.] HOOLTIA. 371 

who can throw the furthest being considered the best player. 
This last amusement, however, is giving place to bowling, 
alleys for which have been erected at Honolulu, and some of 
the other seaports. 

The young people amuse themselves at a sort of see-saw, 
not dissimilar to that seen among us. A long pole is ex- 
tended across a forked stick, planted upright in the ground, 
on either end of which two or three of the company place 
themselves, and the great object is to see which party can 
throw the other the soonest. 

One of the ancient sports was hoolua, or sliding down hill; 
and many of the natives are still as much attached to their 
mode of " coasting," as was the young Albanian in days of 
yore. The Sandwich Islander, of course, practiced his rec- 
reation without the accessory of snow or ice ; but, in its 
stead, he placed a thin layer of grass along a broad smooth 
furrow made down some steep declivity, and prolonged for a 
short distance across the level ground at its foot. Light built, 
and long, and narrow sleds, were used in this sport. Grasp- 
ing his vehicle in his hands, the player planted himself a few 
paces in rear of the starting point : then suddenly darting 
forward at his utmost speed, as he reached the brow of the 
slope he threw his sled forward, sprang headlong upon it, 
and darted down the hill. This was once a very common 
mode of gambling the person who went the greatest dis- 
tance the most frequently being considered the winner of the 

When the missionaries first arrived in the islands, the 
ancient custom of taboo, or tabu, was the law of the land. 
It was the instrument of gross oppression and wrong ; it had 
reduced the common people to a state of abject servitude ; it 
encouraged the gratification of every whim and caprice on 
the part of the kings or chiefs ; it entered the lowest hut, and 
restrained its occupant from the gratification of his simplest 
wishes, as well as from indulgence in connubial pleasures 
and, at the same time, it forbade the wife from eating with 
her husband, in order that he might enjoy his amours with 


other objects of his desire, unabashed by her presence. The 
marriage relation was scarcely acknowledged, and where the 
tie existed at all, it was regarded but as a rope of sand. 
Polygamy, or concubinage of the grossest character, was 
common among the higher chiefs throughout the group. Al- 
most the first changes brought about by the missionaries 
affected the relations between the two sexes, and proceeding 
from one step to another, they finally caused it to be enacted, 
that marriages should not be solemnized between parties who 
were unable to read. It is somewhat doubtful whether this 
law is not too severe, and by its great stringency often lead 
to illicit connections. It is very natural that it should have 
that tendency ; and it is certainly no reproach to the mission- 
ary, that his theory, however correct in itself, does not always 
prove beneficial in practice. The law has been hitherto en- 
forced, however, pretty strictly ; and adultery and fornication 
are punished with considerable severity. Persons found guilty 
of these offences are imprisoned in the forts or otherwise con- 
fined, and put at hard labor the women being compelled to- 
work with wreaths of flowers about their heads. 

Most of the prisoners are employed on the roads, and in 
quarrying coral stone from the reefs for governmental pur- 
poses. There are particular days, also, called pahau days, 
on which the kanakas are obliged to work for the govern- 
ment. This class of the population have received altogether 
more credit than they really deserved for their industry. It 
is but their humiliating and debased condition, nevertheless, 
that produces the apathy, indifference, and indolence, which 
they show in every feature of their countenances, when col- 
lected together in groups, or arranged in long files, in the 
streets of Honolulu, and sitting squatted upon their hams 
their favorite attitude perfectly listless and immovable, until 
the voice of the overseer or director arouses them for the re- 
sumption of their task. Mere machines, endowed but with 
life, they have nothing to live or to hope for, except the grati- 
fication of the animal passions and appetites. No system of 
society can be sound, or permanently prosperous, that tolerates 

1840.] PREPARING TARO. 373 

such debasement of its members, and here we have another 
important cause of the degeneracy and decay of the Hawaiian 

Fish and taro are the chief articles of food among the 
natives. One of them will make a meal from a small fish, 
either dried or roasted, and a little poe. The latter is com- 
monly eaten by thrusting the finger into the vessel containing 
it, and turning it round until a sufficient quantity is gathered, 
when it is carried to the mouth, and the paste sucked off 
very much as American youngsters eat treacle. Pigs and 
poultry, and most of the fruits and vegetables common in the 
tropics, or the lower part of the temperate zone, are more or 
less eaten by all classes of natives. Their mode of cooking 
is after the true Polynesian fashion ; the articles being placed 
in a hollow, or pit, dug in the earth and lined with heated 
stones. The taro is converted into poe in this way : the 
root is baked in the ground, in the manner above mentioned, 
till it becomes dry and mealy, when it is mixed with a little 
water, and beaten with a smooth stone, or pestle, until it has 
the consistence of bookbinder's paste ; it is now set aside for 
twenty-four hours, at the expiration of which it has a slightly 
acidulous, but agreeable taste, and is fit for use. It is also 
made in a harder state, for sea voyages or long journeys by 
land. At such times, jerked beef, prepared from the flesh of 
the wild cattle that roam at large through the pasture grounds 
in the interior of the larger islands, is used instead of fish. 

All sexes and classes are much addicted to smoking, and 
even the poorest kanaka carries his short pipe, with a quan- 
tity of tobacco, wherever he goes. At night, too, the natives 
will frequently get up, light their pipes, take a few puffs, 
and then lie down again for another nap. When they smoke 
they often blow the vapor down through their nostrils. 

Frequent bathing is practiced by the Sandwich Islanders, 
and they are tolerably cleanly in their habits. When a per- 
son is fatigued, they have a practice of rubbing and knead- 
ing him, called lomi-lomi, which is quite refreshing. 

Whenever any one dies, a great outcry is made ; and the 


relatives lament the loss they have sustained, by wailing for 
several days and nights in succession over the corpse of the 
deceased. The most doleful cries are uttered at these wakes, 
and should one of the royal family be the object of their lam- 
entations, the sad auwe is echoed from every town and ham- 
let throughout the group by a whole nation of mourners. Joy 
at the meeting of friends after a long separation is expressed 
in a somewhat similar manner. They take each other by 
the hand, rub their noses together, and at the same time utter 
the word aloha, in a low wailing tone. 

(3.) When these islands were first discovered by Cook, 
they were governed by different chiefs or sovereigns, but 
after a series of long and bloody wars, they were reduced by 
the great Kamameha, the founder of the present dynasty, 
under one general head. He was succeeded in 1819 by his 
son Kamameha II, under whose auspices taboo was abol- 
ished ; the accustomed sacrifices were withheld from the 
gods, or akuas ; and pleasure, licentiousness, and intemper- 
ance, engrossed the time, and occupied the thoughts, of the 
whole people. Matters were in this condition when the first 
missionaries, sent out by the American Board of Foreign 
Missions, arrived at the islands, in March, 1820. They 
were kindly, if not cordially received, and permitted at once 
to enter upon their labors. Though, like others of the same 
class, they seem to have long entertained the hope of con- 
verting the Hawaiian Islands into a real, and not visionary 
Utopia, their efforts have, nevertheless, been far more practi- 
cally directed, than those of missionaries generally in the 
Polynesian groups. Well knowing that idleness was the fruit- 
ful parent of irreligion and vice, they commenced instructing 
the natives in the useful arts, and endeavored to create in- 
centives to the prosecution of industrial pursuits. In procur- 
ing the abolition, however, as far as was possible, of the an- 
cient customs and amusements of the people, without sub- 
stituting something of a similar character in their stead, they 
have, perhaps, committed an irreparable error ; but if it be 
such, the motives that animated them have been pure and 


noble. He who passes, by a sudden transition, from the 
darkness of slavery to the full light of liberty, may remain a 
freeman, but he is liable to degenerate into a ruffian ; instan- 
taneous changes can never be made with safety, especially 
among an uneducated people ; and if the recreations and in- 
dulgences to which they have been long accustomed, are de- 
nied, without a suitable and gradual preparation for so great 
an innovation, it is but natural that they should either revolt 
against the authority enforcing these restrictions, or sink into 
a melancholy lethargy from which it may be impossible to 
arouse them. 

The last is the present condition of the inhabitants of the 
Sandwich Islands. A noble work was attempted by the mis- 
sionaries, and they have, in reality, accomplished an untold 
amount of good. But they aimed too high their error was 
one into which mere schoolmen were very liable to fall ; they 
set up the standard of perfection, and acted upon the suppo- 
sition that they could, bar the doors, and keep vice and temp- 
tation away from the natives, and at the same time render 
them a happy, industrious, and contented people. Amuse- 
ments and pastimes, sports and recreations, the song and the 
dance, were abolished ; and the wreath of flowers, to which 
God himself had given beauty and freshness, was made the 
emblem of shame. For these were substituted the plain and 
simple mode of worship and of life so well adapted to the 
Puritan character, but here requiring some modification to 
render it less repulsive. Liberty and enjoyment were to be 
instantly exchanged for a rigid sobriety and sedateness. What 
could be the result of these errors, but that which we now 
witness one half of the nation abandoned to intemperance 
and excess, and the other half struggling almost hopelessly 
against the melancholy and gloom that have overshadowed 
their hearts ?* 

* Of late years, a powerful attempt has been made to introduce the Roman 
Catholic religion into the islands. It is not denied that the natives have been 
much struck by the splendid shows and attractive worship of that church ; and 
there is a moral in this fact, of vital importance to the missionary. 


Doubtful as is the prospect for the future, there may still 
be a remedy, and the missionary may yet be spared the pain 
which he certainly must feel, when he reflects that he has 
aided in christianizing a people, only to fit them for their 
burial. Upon the present generation, but little impression 
can be made; yet, by providing social, and strictly moral 
amusements, for the young, by banishing sadness from their 
countenances, and substituting the light and life and joy 
springing from happy and contented hearts, much good may 
be effected. The encouragement of intermarriages with for- 
eigners, for the improvement of the race, may also be bene- 
ficial. But, above all, it is necessary, that the practical, 
though not nominal, union of church and state, should be 
absolutely dissolved. The missionaries may then confine 
themselves to their appropriate sphere, and leave politics and 
legislation, where none of the great principles of the Christian 
religion are involved, to those who are responsible for the civil 
administration of the government.* 

For some years after the arrival of the missionaries their 
progress was quite slow ; but in 1822 they established a print- 
ing press, and commenced the publication of the bible and 
such tracts as were calculated to do good among the heathen. 
In 1823, the government publicly acknowledged the Christian 
sabbath, and required all ordinary business and sports to be 
suspended on that day. In 1824, Kamameha II. was suc- 
ceeded by his brother, Kamameha III. The latter being but 
a mere lad, at the time of his accession to the throne, the 
government was administered by Kaahumanu, one of the 
wives of his father, as regent, during the first eight years of 
his reign. Many important and valuable reforms were intro- 
duced during her regency, and when the youthful monarch 
assumed the reins of government, in 1832, he continued the 

* The Rev. Mr. Bingham, in his " Residence in the Sandwich Islands" a 
work from which I have obtained much valuable information insists (p. 278 
et seq.) that the charge, or assertion, of a union of church and state in the 
Hawaiian Group, is utterly erroneous. In theory, this is doubtless so ; but it is 
scarcely possible for an unprejudiced reader to examine his book, without com- 
ing to the conclusion that in practice it is directly the reverse. 


good work which had been commenced. The repeated 
strifes between the foreign residents, and particularly between 
the agents of France and Great Britain, to obtain a control- 
ling ascendency in the islands, operated very unfavorably, both 
to the missionary cause, and to the improvement of the social 
and political condition of the people. 

At length, in October, 1840, a written constitution, modelled 
in many of its features after those of the United States and 
Great Britain, was adopted by the kings and chiefs, through 
the instrumentality of the missionaries, and publicly promul- 
gated. This constitution contains the following declaration 
of rights, which, while acknowledging the divine authority, 
seems to afford an ample guaranty of protection to the rights 
and interests of the common people : 

" God has made of one blood all the nations of men, that 
they might alike dwell upon the earth in peace and prosperity. 
And he has given certain equal rights to all people and all 
chiefs of all countries. These are the rights or gifts which 
he has granted to every man and chief of correct deportment, 
life, the members of the body, freedom in dwelling and act- 
ing, and the rightful products of his hands and mind : but 
not those things which are inhibited by the laws. 

" From God also are the office of rulers and the reign of 
chief magistrates for protection ; but in enacting the laws of 
the land, it is not right to make a law protecting the magis- 
trate only and not subjects ; neither is it proper to establish 
laws for enriching chiefs only, without benefiting the people, 
and hereafter no law shall be established in opposition to the 
above declarations ; neither shall taxes, servitude, nor labor, 
be exacted, without law, of any man, in a manner at variance 
with those principles." 

Under the Hawaiian constitution, the government is in the 
nature of a limited monarchy. The sovereignty is declared 
to exist, forever, in Kamameha III, and his heirs, to be des- 
ignated by him and the chiefs during his life-time, or, in de- 
fault thereof, by the nobles and representatives. A premier, 
or prime minister, appointed by the king, is associated with 


him in the executive administration. Lands cannot be 
alienated without the consent of the king, and where there 
are no persons to inherit real estate, it reverts to him. No 
law, at variance with the word of God, can be enacted ; and 
no man can be punished without due trial and conviction. 
Representatives are elected by the people to a national legis- 
lature, or parliament ; and there is also a public council, the 
members of which are the chiefs. No law can be enacted 
without the consent of a majority of the representatives and 
counsellors, respectively. The king appoints four governors 
under him, one for Hawaii, one for Maui and the adjacent 
isles, one for Oahu, and one for Kauai and the adjacent isles. 
The supreme court consists of six judges, four of whom are 
appointed by the elected representatives, and the other two are 
the king, who is the chief judge, and his premier. Subordi- 
nate judges are appointed by the governors. Tax-officers re- 
ceive their commissions and authority from the monarch and 

After the adoption of the constitution a new code of laws 
was established, under which strangers, as well as residents 
and natives, are amply protected in their persons and prop- 
erty. Indeed, none of the other groups in Polynesia, afford 
as great security in this respect. The authorities, in the 
main, are very impartial ; and an excellent police has been 
organized. Whenever a vessel is landing her cargo at Hono- 
lulu, two or three constables, who carry canes as the badges 
of their authority, are posted along the wharfs, to keep off 
all intruders. The intrigues of foreign agents have occasion- 
ally disquieted the country, but as its independence has been 
guaranteed by France, Great Britain, and the United States, 
there can be no immediate danger of an overthrow of the ex- 
isting government. Should the native population ultimately 
dwindle away altogether, and the foreign residents be left in 
the occupancy of the islands, although they may not seek any 
more intimate connection with the United States, the tone 
of the government, and the national character, will be decid- 
edly American. 


Taxes, in the Sandwich Islands, are paid, for the most part, 
in kind. There is also a land tax occasionally imposed, when 
the exigencies of the state require it. At one time the poll 
tax was very heavy on fathers of families ; but latterly this 
has been changed, ana encouragement has been given to rais- 
ing children, by providing that where a man has a certain 
number, he shall be exempt from paying taxes. 

Public and charity schools for the instruction of the chil- 
dren of the common people, are located all over the islands ; 
and there are higher seminaries for the education of the sons 
and daughters of chiefs for the males at Lahainaluna, and 
for the females at Wailuku, on the island of Maui. The ob- 
servance of the Sabbath is strictly enforced by the authori- 
ties, and all offences and misdemeanors are punished with 
great promptitude. There are upwards of twenty churches 
in the group, and full one third of the native population are 
church members. 

Two weekly newspapers have been established at Honolulu, 
and have a pretty extensive circulation. Most of the chiefs, 
and the principal members of the legislature, are men of very 
good education, and possess a respectable degree of judgment 
and intelligence. They take a deep interest in the welfare 
of their own country, and exhibit a pretty correct knowledge 
of the affairs of other governments. 

(4.) The lofty mountain peaks of these islands, which are 
mainly destitute of vegetation, or, if really existing, not per- 
ceptible at a distance, give an aspect of barrenness to the 
country that is scarcely warranted by the fertility of the 
lovely valleys lying sweetly imbosomed amid the broken hills 
and ridges. Few more beautiful spots can be found in the 
world than these charming valleys ; that of Nuuanu near 
Honolulu, and that of Manoa, in the rear of Waikiki, have 
excited the admiration of every traveller who has visited 
them. The scenery of the other islands is similar ; and 
where the hoary mountains, rising amid the fields of indurated 
lava, attain the loftiest e'.evation, and display upon their sum- 
mits the snow and frosts of cold and dreary winter, around 

380 SOIL AND CLIMATE. [1840. 

their feet are garlanded the richest fruits and flowers, min- 
gled with the greenest verdure, of a tropical clime. On 
the hill sides the soil is very often a hard red clay, which can 
never produce anything but grass for pasturage ; but in the 
valleys and low grounds it consists of decomposed lava and 
vegetation, intermixed with coral sand, and the detritus 
washed down by the mountain torrents. This last is highly 
productive, though, in dry weather, it is easily converted into 
dust, and is sometimes quite annoying. 

None of the Polynesian islands can boast of a more delight- 
ful climate. The purity, elasticity, and equability of the at- 
mosphere, are unsurpassed. The nights, in particular, are very 
fine. The ordinary range of the thermometer is from 65 to 
86. Showers are not very frequent directly along the coast, 
but clouds are continually forming in the mountains, and are 
driven by the winds over the delightful valleys upon which 
they discharge their refreshing tribute. In some seasons, the 
condensation of vapor constantly taking place in the moun- 
tains is remarkable ; drizzling mists are ever descending in 
the upper ravines, and in the intervals and plains beneath, 
rain rapidly alternates with the sunshine. It might be sup- 
posed, from this fact, that the climate must become so moist 
as to be prejudicial to health ; but as the islands are situated 
within the northern trades, blowing from the north-east to the 
south-west, the fierce winds, called by the natives momukus, 
prevent this result. On account of the prevalence of these 
winds, it is much more pleasant on the leeward side of the 
islands, than on the opposite side, and the vegetation has not 
that peculiar burnt appearance often noticed to windward, 
but looks fresher, greener, and more thrifty. Earthquakes 
occur somewhat frequently, but the shocks are usually quite 
slight, and it is very seldom that they produce any great 

Pulmonary affections, and scorbutic complaints, are quite 
common. The principal diseases are asthma, consumption, 
croup, influenza, catarrh, dropsy, fevers, apoplexy, diarrhea, 
dysentery, inflammation of the viscera from over-eating and 

1840.] DISEASES. 381 

excessive drinking, cutaneous eruptions, ophthalmia, fevers, in- 
flammatory rheumatism, ulcers, scrofula, and syphilis. Bil- 
iary complaints and hepatic diseases are very rare. Previous 
to the arrival of the missionaries very little was known about 
medicine, though there were native physicians who practiced 
a great deal on the credulity of their countrymen. Almost 
the only remedies then prescribed in cases of sickness, were 
doses of salt water, or decoctions of the candle-nut, the bitter 
calabash, the seeds of the castor-oil nut, or the ipomoea, as ca- 
thartics. The want of proper medical attendance is now 
generally felt throughout the islands, although the missiona- 
ries render all the medical services in their power, without 
charge. The mortality among the native children is very 
great, and it is computed that full one sixth of the population 
die annually. The foreign residents, however, appear to 
enjoy excellent health ; and the climate seems to be exceed- 
ingly well adapted to persons born in the United States. 

(5.) Almost all the choice fruit and timber trees of the 
tropics are found in the Sandwich Islands. The bread-fruit 
and cocoa flourish very well along the coasts ; they are as 
tall and as stately, but not so umbrageous, as in the Feejeo 
Group or the Society Islands. The other important trees 
are the koa (acacia), ahia, pandanus, hibiscus, and tuitui ; of 
the wood of the koa, the finest panel work of the native churches, 
and the best and most beautiful furniture, are made. The 
shady tuitui is also a most valuable tree ; oil is obtained in 
great quantities from the nuts ; they are also roasted and eaten ; 
and they are strung on a straw, or a fibre of the pandanus 
leaf, and burned as torches. The yase, or sandal- wood, was 
once quite plenty, and this valuable timber was at first the 
main attraction that drew foreigners to the islands ; but it is 
now nearly extirpated, and there are only a few scraggy 
bushes to be found. The dark evergreen mangrove is spread 
all over the low country, and the sides of the mountains, above 
the customary strip of woodland, are covered with ferns of 
every variety, the roots of which are edible, with whortleber- 
ries, called ohea by the natives, and wild rasp and strawber- 


ries. The ti (draccena) has been found very useful for 
hedges, as the bushes will grow closely matted together. 
The tacca grows wild in considerable abundance, yet there is 
comparatively but little arrow-root manufactured. 

Bananas, melons, pine-apples, grapes, figs, plantains, rose 
apples (eugenia), yams, and other rich fruits and vegetables, 
are raised in great variety. The sweet potatoes produced 
here are unusually fine ; they are like the delicious amor- 
phous yams of the West Indies, and of every shade of color, 
from dark purple to red, green, or yellow. Irish potatoes 
have been acclimated and succeed well. Indian corn is ex- 
tensively cultivated. The coffee bush, and the indigo and 
cotton plant, are admirably adapted to the soil and climate, 
and come forward vigorously, with very little trouble or at- 
tention. The same may be said of the sugar-cane, large 
plantations of which can be seen on the alluvial flats in all 
the principal islands. Thirteen varieties of the taro are cul- 
tivated, both on the uplands, and in low wet places. They 
are more plentiful in the latter, and the wide green patches 
are the most conspicuous objects to be seen along the shores 
of the islands. This plant requires a great quantity of mois- 
ture, and the land where it is grown is frequently irrigated 
during the dry weather, the water being pumped from the 
ponds and reservoirs by means of windmills. 

The black mulberry is a native of the islands. Several 
years since an extensive silk plantation was established by a 
company of foreigners, on the island of Kauai, and quantities 
of the morus papyfera and morus alba were imported, and 
set out with the native mulberry. The trees grew with ex- 
traordinary vigor and luxuriance, and the morus multicaulis 
was subsequently introduced. Some difficulty was experi- 
enced in acclimating the cocoons, but on crossing the Ameri- 
can breed with the Chinese, everything promised well. 
Machinery was now constructed, and steam power provided. 
But the sanguine expectations of the projectors of this enter- 
prise were doomed to a sudden disappointment. In 1840 a 
severe drought came on ; the trees at once began to wither ; 

1840.] CALABASHES. 383 

aphides, in countless numbers, attached themselves to the 
limbs and trunks, and exhausted the juices ; and myriads of 
spiders threw their webs over the leafless branches, and com- 
pleted the work of destruction. Utterly despairing of suc- 
cess, the company relinquished the undertaking in the fol- 
lowing year, and turned their attention to the cultivation of 
the sugar-cane. 

One of the most useful, if not the most valuable products 
of the Sandwich Islands, is a species of calabash-tree, the 
fruit of which is very large and more flat than the common 
varieties. The calabashes are often from eighteen to twenty 
inches in diameter, and some of them are said to be large 
enough to hold two bushels. They are much used by the 
common people, in conveying fruit, vegetables, and other 
light articles. For this purpose they are suspended in a net- 
work attached to the extremity of a pole, which the kanaka 
balances over his shoulder. At the other end of the pole there 
is usually a similar network, containing, also, one or more 
well-filled gourds, or a large stone, to preserve the equilibrium. 

Rich succulent grasses carpet the plains and valleys, from 
the low grounds where the cocoa displays its long and ele- 
gantly shaped fronds, and the waving plumes of the bread- 
fruit are lifted by the tropical breezes, to the elevated regions 
where the beautiful outlines of the graceful koa are distinctly 
traced against the light reddish background of the distant 
mountains. Excellent pasturage is therefore afforded, in the 
interior of Hawaii, for considerable herds of wild cattle, 
originally, it is said, imported from California. 

Among the many plants and shrubs that add so much 
beauty and loveliness to the flora of the Hawaiian Group, are 
numerous arborescent and shrubby geraniums, vacciniums, 
and daphnes. There are the most beautiful amaranths ; and 
the crimson flowered dock, the white viola, the orange and 
scarlet clusters of the agati grandiflora, and the dark crim- 
som and lilac blossoms of the pelargonium, with the varied 
hues of many a more humble plant, lend their rich dyes to 

384 ZOOLOGY. [1840. 

deck the Hawaiian valleys with mantles of the most gor- 
geous embroidery. 

(6.) Singing birds, and others whose tones are not melo- 
dious, but displaying the most beautiful plumage, abound in 
the groves and forests. Of aquatic fowl there is also an 
abundance. Tropic birds, whose brilliant-colored tail feathers 
adorn the robes of royalty, are very common ; and every- 
where along the coral reefs, and upon the rocky islets, 

" Up and down ! up and down ! 
From the base of the wave to the billow's crown, 
And amidst the flashing and feathery foam, 
The Stormy Petrel finds a home." 

Among the fish are whales and sharks, which frequent tho 
coasts at certain seasons, and the black-fish, bonito, ray, rock- 
fish and albicore. Black-fish, and others of the smaller kinds, 
are taken in great quantities by driving them into pens made 
of stones in the shoal-water. They are also caught with 
nets and hooks, or with poisonous herbs. Shrimps are ob- 
tained in plenty, and the pearl oyster is quite abundant in 
Pearl river and its inlet, on the southern coast of Oahu. 
After the taro has been gathered, the patches are converted 
into fish-ponds, in which large supplies of fish are kept till 
they are required in the markets of the seaport towns. 

Of wild animals there are none but rats and mice, except 
a few dogs who inhabit the caves in the mountains.* There 
are small herds of cattle, too, who are partially wild, in the 
mountainous regions of Hawaii, though they are said to be 
fast disappearing. Spaniards from California used frequently 
to come hither for the purpose of capturing them, after their 
own fashion, with the lasso. They are likewise often caught 
in deep pits, covered over lightly with brush and dirt, upon 
which the hoof-prints of a bullock are impressed. After they 
are taken, the cattle are marked by branding, and kept in 

* Baked dog was once a favorite dish with the Hawaiian chief, and rats and 
mice were not unacceptable ; but of late years, these dishes are no longer re- 
garded as luxuries. 

i840.] HONOLULU. 385 

pastures, in readiness to supply the vessels touching at the 
island. Goats, hogs and poultry, are raised in considerable 
numbers on all the larger islands. 

Musquitoes, fleas, scorpions, and centipedes, are very 
abundant, and excessively annoying. The natives insist that 
the musquitoes were first introduced there by stranger vessels ; 
and they stoutly affirm, also, that the flea is a foreign impor- 
tation. The tradition in regard to the advent of the latter 
on their shores is as follows : Many years ago a woman from 
Waimea went out to a ship to see her lover, and as she was 
about to return, he gave her a bottle, saying that there was 
very valuable property (waiwai) contained in it, but that she 
must not open it, on any account, until she reached the shore. 
As soon as she gained the beach, she eagerly uncorked tha 
bottle to examine her treasure, but nothing was to be dis- 
covered, the fleas hopped out, and " they have gone on hop- 
ping and biting ever since." 

(7.) Honolulu on the southern coast of Oahu is the 
seat of government, and the most important town in the 
group. It contains about ten thousand inhabitants, one fifth 
of whom are foreigners. It is prettily situated on a plain 
sloping gently down to the beach, and has a very good harbor, 
formed by a barrier reef of coral with a single opening, which 
is capable of accommodating from sixty to seventy vessels of 
five hundred tons burden. Groves of tall cocoas border the 
beach, and a few years ago they were the only shade trees to 
be seen, but now many of the streets are well ornamented 
with them. Its principal thoroughfare is called Main Street, 
and most of the houses on this street, or within two or three 
squares, are situated within neat inclosures, surrounded by 
adobe walls, and around them are well cultivated gardens, 
stocked with fruit trees, plants, shrubbery, and vegetables, 
that impart to them a cheerful rural aspect. On the out- 
skirts of the town are the grass-thatched habitations of the 
natives. At the distance of half a mile in the rear of the 
town is the Puahi, or Punch-bowl Hill, an extinct crater 
rising by a steep ascent to the height of five or six hundred 



feet, which obtained its present name from the foreign resi- 
dents, on account of the cavity at the top being shaped very 
much like a bowl. On the west are the mountains of Wai- 
anae, and on the east is Diamond Hill, considerably larger and 
higher than Puahi, but of the same general character. On 
Punch-bowl Hill there is an apology for a fortification, con- 
sisting of a flagstaff, a rude stone wall, and a few natural em- 
brasures in the lava rock, with a straw-built and mud-plas- 
tered powder magazine ; and on the flank of Diamond Hill is 
a battery, also in a state of dilapidation. These positions, 
however, command the harbor and its entrance, and if prop- 
erly fortified would afford ample defence to the town. 

There are three large churches in Honolulu, one of which 
is a thatched building, two hundred feet long ; another, 
whose walls are made of plastered adobes, is one hundred 
and twenty feet long and sixty feet wide ; and the third and 
more recent structure, which is built of coral stone hewn out 
in entire blocks, is two stories high, one hundred and forty- 
four in length and seventy-eight in breadth, and adorned 
with a tall tapering spire much like those of American 
churches.* Honolulu likewise contains a number of pretty 
school-houses with neat cupolas ; it has a charity school and 
an orphan school ; and, furthermore, it can boast of an Insti- 
tute established for scientific investigation in Polynesia, which 
has a museum of curiosities and specimens of natural history, 
and a library of several hundred volumes. Besides these 
more important and useful structures and institutions, Hono- 
lulu contains a great number of grog-shops, billiard rooms, 
dancing halls, and sailors' boarding houses ; it has its hotels 
and livery stables, and if reports be true, its cock-pits and 
gambling saloons. 

Waikiki, five miles east of Honolulu, is a very pleasant 

* This edifice was erected mainly by the contributions of the natives, and it 
would seem that they are, as a general rule, very willing to bestow their laboi 
and means on such objects. This is probably owing, in some degree, to the 
fact, that in former times, their heiaus, or heathen temples, were constructed in 
a similar manner ; each individual, from the highest to the lowest^ being required 
to bring one or more stones for the erection of the contemplated building. 

1840.] OTHER TOWNS. 387 

town ; and Kailua, on the eastern coast, is delightfully situ- 
ated amid a charming grove of waving cocoas. Near the 
latter is a cavern extending for a distance of twelve hundred 
feet under ground, and adorned with the most beautiful sta- 

Lahaina, on the western shore of Maui, opposite to the 
island of Lanai, is the country residence of the king, Kama- 
meha III. It is also a great resort for whalers frequenting 
this quarter of the Pacific. It is built in a straggling man- 
ner, for three quarters of a mile along the beach, and has but 
one principal street. Most of the private dwellings are built 
of grass in the native fashion. The most imposing edifices 
are the king's palace which is constructed of coral rock, his 
storehouses for the reception of the royal revenue, and a rectan- 
gular fort, inclosing an area of about one acre, with walls 
twenty feet high. About a mile and a half in the rear of the 
town, at the foot of the mountains, is the seminary of Lahai- 
naluna, the main building of which is two stories high and is 
surmounted with a cupola. Wailuku, where the female 
seminary is located, is on the opposite side of the island. 

Hilo Bay, on the eastern side of Hawaii, is one of the best 
harbors in the group. It receives the waters of the Wailuku 
river, is easy of access, and quite spacious. Its shores are 
thickly settled, and there are some fine native villages situ- 
ated near or upon it. The town of Hilo, on the western side 
of the bay, is, in the season, almost concealed amid the luxuri- 
ant growth of sugar-cane, which is extensively cultivated in 
the vicinity. It contains the largest church on the island, 
a thatched building capable of holding seven thousand per- 
sons. It has also a boarding-school for boys, and one for girls, 
conducted on the manual labor plan. There are a number 
of houses in this village which are built of coral or lava blocks^ 
and others neatly framed and put together, and there are a 
few surmounted with zinc or shingle roofs. Waiakea, on the 
east side of Hilo Bay, is the best place for landing, and it is 
quite prettily located and presents a neat appearance. 

On the western side of Hawaii is Kealakekua Ba^, the 


scene of the murder of Captain Cook. It is narrow, and does 
not afford very good anchorage, but the scenery around it is 
highly picturesque. Napolo, on its southern shore, is a small 
but pleasant town, where there is a missionary station. 

Waimea, on the southwestern shore of Kauai, is said to 
have the best anchorage in the group, except when the trades 
are interrupted by the south-westerly winds, which is for 
near three months in the year. It contains about four hun- 
dred houses, and is situated on the right bank of the Waimea 
river, at the mouth of which is the harbor, or roadstead, in 
the centre of a beautiful valley opening to the ocean and 
lavishly sprinkled with groves of bread-fruits, cocoas, bananas, 
and tuituis, or candle-nut trees. On the left of the entrance 
to the harbor, there is a rectangular fort, indented with em- 
brasures and garnished with several pieces of cannon. The 
river is navigable for boats, only for a distance of three 
quarters of a mile. It has a course of about fifteen miles, 
\ and affords a number of excellent mill sites. At its head 
' there is a fine cascade, the soft murmur of whose falling 
waters is borne sweetly along the valley, amid the groves 
that rejoice in their grateful moisture. 

Most of the better class of dwelling houses in the group 
are built of coral or lava blocks, which are cemented together 
with a fine white plaster made of lime produced by burning 
coral. The foreign residents pattern after the styles of build- 
ing peculiar to their respective countries. Glazed windows, 
porticos and chimneys, have become quite common. The 
roofs are made of zinc or shingles, or they are thatched with 
pandanus leaves. In Honolulu, and other seaports, many of 
the private dwellings have a cupola or look-out on the roof, to 
which the inmates betake themselves when a strange vessel 
is announced in the offing. 

But the natives generally, and the kanakas in particular, 
prefer their old-fashioned grass-houses. The manner of their 
construction is thus described by Mr. Bingham : " Round 
posts, a few inches in diameter, are set in the ground about 
a yard apart, rising from three to five fee v from the surface. 

1840.] SRASS-HOUSES. 389 

On a shoulder, near the top, is laid a horizontal pole, two or 
three inches in diameter, as a plate ; on this, directly over the 
posts, rest the rafters. A point of the post, called a finger, 
rises on the outside of the plate, and passes between two 
points of the rafter projecting over the plate and below the 
main shoulder. The joint thus constructed is held together 
partly by the natural pressure of the roof, and partly by lash- 
ings of bark, vines, or grassy fibres, beaten, and by hand 
twisted and doubled into a coarse twine, and put on manifold, 
so as to act as four braces two from the post, and two from 
the rafter, extending to the plate, all being attached six to 
twelve inches from the joint. Three poles or posts, about 
three times the length of the side posts, are set in the ground, 
one in the centre of the building, and the others at the ends, 
on which rests the nether ridge pole, supporting the head of 
the rafters. These crossing each other, the angle above re- 
ceives the upper ridge pole, which is lashed to the nether and 
to the head of the rafters. Posts of unequal length are set 
at the ends of the building, sloping a little inward and reach- 
ing to the end rafters, to which their tops are tied. A door 
frame, from three to six feet high, is placed between two end 
or side posts. Thatch-poles are tied horizontally to the posts 
and rafters, from an inch to three inches apart, all around, 
and from the ground to the top ridge pole. At this stage the 
building assumes the appearance of a huge, rude bird-cage. 
It is then covered with the leaf of the Id, pandanus, sugar- 
cane, or more commonly (as in the case of the habitations 
far us) with grass, bound or in small bundles, side by side, 
one tier overlapping another, like shingles. A house thus 
thatched assumes the appearance of a long haystack without, 
and a cage in a haymow within. The area, or ground within, 
is raised a little with earth, to prevent the influx of water, 
and spread with grass and mats, answering usually instead 
of floors, tables, chairs, sofas, and beds. Air can pass through 
the thatching, and often there is one small opening through 
the thatch besides the door, for ventilation and light."* 
* Bingham's Sandwich Islands, pp. 115, 116, 


When these houses are first constructed, the smell of the 
sweet-scented grass is quite refreshing, but when they be- 
come old, the rats and other vermin harbor in them, and the 
thatching readily contracts dampness and mould. In the 
better class of native habitations, there are window frames, 
shutters, and partitions ; but the kanaka is content with a 
single apartment, which is his kitchen, parlor and bed-chamber, 
and often his hen-coop and pig-sty. The natives sleep prin- 
cipally on mats of pandanus leaves, or tapa, neatly interwoven 
with colored straw, piled up several thicknesses deep. Since 
they have been able to procure iron tools and instruments, 
their mechanics manufacture a great many articles of furni- 
ture of the koa wood, such as tables, chairs, chests, and 
bureaux ; and some or all of these are now frequently seen 
in their houses. 

(8.) The supremacy of the law, at length permanently 
established, as it is believed, in the Sandwich Islands, must 
be of great benefit to them in a commercial point of view. 
To the whalers frequenting the Pacific this is of great im- 
portance, and it is to be hoped, for their sake, that the 
attempt of the French government to compel the authorities 
of this group to do away with the heavy duties on ardent 
spirits, now (1849) being made, may prove wholly unsuccess- 
ful. The position of the islands is favorable, not merely for 
whalers desiring to recruit or to obtain supplies, but for mer- 
chant vessels, proceeding by the shortest route, according to 
the principles of great circle sailing, from the American ports 
on the Pacific to China and the East Indies, to stop at for 
refreshments, or for steamers to obtain a new supply of coal 
from depots established here.* The capacity of the country 

* About five hundred whaling vessels annually visit the Hawaiian Islands 
for refreshment. The average time of a passage from California to the islands 
is twenty days; from Astoria or Tahiti, twenty-five days; from China, sixty 
days ; from Sydney, eighty-four days ; from New York, by way of Cape Horn, 
one hundred and forty-six days ; and from London, one hundred and fifty-nine 
days. Quite recently, a commercial treaty has been entered into, by commis- 
sioners representing the respective governments of the United States and the 
Hawaiian Group, under which a line of steamers to ply between San Francisco 
and China are to touch at the islands. 

1840.} MANUFACTURES. 391 

for the production of valuable articles of commerce is hardly 
yet ascertained, but these seem to be annually increasing in 

The chief products, besides the provisions and refreshments 
furnished to whalers and other vessels stopping at the islands, 
are sugar, cotton, tuitui oil, salt, hides, goat-skins, molasses 
and sirup, sandal-wood, leaf tobacco, sperm oil, and arrow- 
root. The exports, including with the above mentioned ar- 
ticles the supplies sold to vessels, amount annually to not far 
from two hundred thousand dollars. The imports often ex- 
ceed six hundred thousand dollars in a single year ; but about 
one half of this amount are purchases by traders designed for 
reshipment to the Russian and American settlements on the 
Pacific, and to the southern islands. It is estimated that 
there are twenty-five hundred tons of shipping owned in the 
islands ; one half of this amount belonging to Americans, one 
third to Englishmen, and the remainder to the natives, 
Much the larger proportion of the foreign residents are Amer- 
icans, and the trade of the islands is mainly in their hands. 
Nearly one half of the imports come from the United States, 
and the number of American ships arriving at the islands is 
more than double those from all other foreign countries. Now 
that California has attained so much commercial importance, 
this ascendency of the American interests in the Hawaiian 
Islands must be still greater. 

But little attention has yet been paid to manufactures, al- 
though the numerous streams that descend from the moun- 
tain ridges in the interior of the islands, afford the finest 
water power. Great skill and taste are displayed by the 
native women in making their beautiful tapas, some of which 
are printed in close imitation of merino shawls and ribands. 
Cotton manufactories have been established, but none except 
the coarser fabrics have been made ; though, with improved 
machinery and experience in its management, they will pro- 
duce articles much superior to the tapa cloth, and the latter 
must consequently soon go out of use. Sugar mills are quite 
plenty. The salt works are very extensive on some of the 

392 CANOES. [1840 

islands. Between Honolulu and Waikiki, on the island of 
Oahu, there are a great number of ponds, where large quan- 
tities of salt are obtained by evaporation. Niihau is well 
adapted for this purpose, and affords every facility for em- 
barking in the manufacture to any extent. 

Building vessels and canoes, at this day^ is far more- of a>n 
art, and a great deal more neatly done, at the Sandwich 
Islands, than when they were first visited by the whites. 
Whaleboats are frequently used by the natives for short jour- 
neys along the coasts, though they still adhere, more or less, 
to the ancient canoe. The latter is much better built than 
formerly, and the lashings of sennit, and the gum of the bread- 
fruit, have given place to good spikes and pitch. They are 
very narrow, and are usually provided with an outrigger, 
which consists of two light sticks secured upon the gunwale 
of the craft, arid projecting to windward from six to ten feet, 
where they are crossed and connected by another stick run- 
ning parallel to the canoe. The outrigger serves to steady 
the boat, and prevent its upsetting ; but if it breaks or gives 
way, when the huge sail is stretched by the fierce wind, woe 
be to the luckless mariner. 

(9.) On the 24th day of September, the Vincennes came 
to anchor in the roads of Honolulu, and was joined by the 
Peacock on the 30th instant. The Porpoise and tender were 
employed for several days, subsequent to the departure of the 
two larger vessels from the .Feejee Group, in examining Na- 
tava Bay and watching the conduct of the natives to the mis- 
sionaries at Sornu-Somu ; but they also reached the Sand- 
wich Islands in safety, early in the month of October. As 
the time for which the crews had originally engaged, was 
about expiring, they were here reshipped, with a few excep- 
tions, for an additional period of eighteen months, and the com- 
plements were filled by the temporary employment of a suit- 
able number of kanakas, who were to be discharged on the 
return of the Squadron from the north-west coast of America. 
The Porpoise, Lieutenant Ringgold, sailed on the 16th of No- 
vember, to make areexamination of the Paumotu Group, which 


has been previously mentioned ; and on the 2d of December, 
the Peacock and Flying Fish, under the command of Cap- 
tain Hudson, took their departure, to resurvey a part of the 
Samoiin Group, and to look for doubtful islands to the north 
and west. The Vincennes remained in the Hawaiian Group, 
mostly at Honolulu and Hilo Bay, during the winter. On 
the 24th of March, 1841, the Porpoise rejoined the flag ship 
at Honolulu, and on the 5th of April they set sail, in com- 
pany, for the American coast. They were favored with a 
pleasant passage, and on the 2d day of May, came to anchor 
at Port Discovery in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. 



(1 ) Cruise of the Peacock and Flying Fish. Washington Island. Phoenix 
Group. (2.) Duke of York's, Duke of Clarence, and Bowditch Islands. 
Appearance of the Inhabitants. (3.) Visit to the Samoan Group. Burning 
of the Heathen Towns. (4.) Ellice's Group. Character of the Population. 
Dress and Houses. (5.) The Kingsmill Islands. Manners and Customs of 
the Inhabitants. (6.) Arrival at the Mouth of the Columbia River. Loss of 
the Peacock. 

(1.) RAPIDLY speeding on their way to the south, the Peacock 
and Flying Fish made the first land at Washington, or New 
York Island, in latitude 40 41' 35" N., and longitude 160 
15' 37" W. This is a charming little islet, rising only about 
ten feet above the surface of the ocean, but fringed to the 
very breakers with the graceful cocoas, whose long trailing 
fronds are beautifully mirrored in the clear glassy waters of 
the ocean, and with numerous other tropical trees and plants, 
that fill the air with the perfume of their ripening fruit and 
odorous flowers. It is only three and a quarter miles in 
length, by one and a quarter in width, and is supposed to be 
uninhabited. The American vessels were unable to send a 
boat ashore in consequence of the heavy surf, but no evidences 
of its being occupied by human beings were discovered ; and 
the sea-birds are, in all probability, rarely, if ever, disturbed 
in the shady retreats where they have built their nests, and 
rear their young. 

Continuing on his southerly course, Captain Hudson 
passed Jarvis Island, just south of the Equator, on the 20th 
of December, and on the 9th of January, 1841, made Ender- 
bury's Island, belonging to the Phoenix Group. Passing 
through this cluster of coralline reefs and islands, which lie 
just north of five degrees southern latitude, and west of the 

1841.] THE UNION GRCKJP. 395 

170th meridian, western longitude, and are famous only for the 
quantity of turtles taken here by parties of Tahitians and 
Samoans, the Peacock and Flying Fish made the Duke of 
York's Island, or Oatafu, in latitude 8 36' S., and longK 
tude 172 23' 52" W., on the 25th day of January. On the 
28th instant, they arrived off the Duke of Clarence Island, 
called by the natives Nukonono, a few miles further to the 
south-east.* Early in the morning of the 29th, having con- 
tinued on their way in the same direction, they discovered 
a new island, to which the name of Bovvditch Island was 
given, though the proper native appellation was ascertained 
to be Fakaafo. These three islands form the Union Group. 

(2.) The three islands last mentioned lie very nearly in a 
straight row or line, running from south-east to north-west 
Oatafu being about one hundred and thirty-five miles distant 
from Fakaafo, or Bowditch Island. These islands are of coral 
formation, and consist of rings or circlets of coral surrounding 
Jagoons, like the atolls of the Paumotu Group. The reefs, 
which are in no place over ten feet above the water, are covered 
with a soil consisting of decomposed coral, vegetable mould, 
and guano ; and they are adorned with the most beautiful 
cocoa-nut trees, with the pandanus, the pisonia, the ficus, and 
the tournefortia. The most luxuriant parasitic ferns cover 
the loftiest trees, and the long delicate sprays of the jasmine 
depend here and there from the overhanging branches, and 
scatter their flowers and their perfume on every passing 

Oatafu is but thre^ miles in length, from east to west, and 
two and a half miles wide, and contains about one hundred 
and fifty inhabitants. Nukunono is seven and a quarter 
miles long, from north to south, and five miles wide : it is 
also populated, and is supposed to contain two or three hun- 
dred inhabitants. Fakaafo is the most important island of 
the three, and the great chief, to whom the natives of the 
group, or cluster, pay deference, resides here. It is called 

* Lord Byron, the English navigator, discovered Oatafu and Nukonono, in 
1765, and named them after the Royal Dukes. 

396 THE INHABITANTS. [1841. 

by the inhabitants Fanua Loa, or the " Great Land," to dis- 
tinguish it from the other islands ; it is about eight miles- 
long and four wide, and its population numbers not far from 
six hundred. 

The people inhabiting these islands resemble, both in form 
and feature, the natives of the Samoan Group, and their dia- 
lect is. also similar. Some of the young men and women are 
quite good-looking, and have very light complexions. They 
have had but little intercourse with the whites, and still erir 
tertain the notion that the latter came from the skies in their 
ships. They are a quiet, harmless, timid, and tractable 
people, but much addicted to thieving. The young persons 
of both sexes go entirely naked, but the adults wear the maro, 
which is made of pandanus leaves of the finest texture. 
The maro worn by the males is from six to eighteen inches 
wide, and is often bordered with fringe : that of the females- 
resembles the liku of the Feejeean women, and consists of a 
great number of leaves tied to a cord, slit into fine threads, 
and made perfectly pliable by frequent oiling ; they form, a 
thick mat about the body, and sometimes weigh as much as fifty 
pounds. Tattooing is practiced by both sexes ; their cheeks, 
breasts, legs and loins, being ornamented with the figures 
of turtles, fish, arrows, and divers other designs, some intended 
to imitate nature, and others originating with the fancy of 
the operator. On their heads they wear a piece of matting 
or tortoise-shell, shaped like the front of a cap, or an eye 
shade, to protect their faces from the scorching heat of the 
sun : some of them are adorned with the feathers of the tropic 
bird, to indicate the superiority of the wearer. For ornaments 
they have necklaces and ear-rings of shell and bone. 

Their houses are built in clusters, or villages, surrounding 
an open space called malcc. They are of an oblong form, 
about fifteen feet high in the centre, and sloping down grad- 
ually with a slight convexity to within two or three feet of 
the ground. The rafters are secured to the supporting posts 
and to the ridge pole by lashings of sennit. At the gable- 
ends, the roof, which is a loose thatching of pandanus leaves, 


projects several feet, as a protection against the weather, the 
sides and ends of the houses not being closed in. Like their 
persons, the houses of the natives are kept quite clean and 
neat. Their only articles of furniture are a few gourds and 
cocoa-nut shells, some boxes or buckets cut out of the 
solid wood and neatly fitted with lids or covers, and large 
mats woven of pandanus leaves, four feet square, on which 
they sleep at night, covering themselves, if necessary, with 
lighter mats made of the same material. They have, also, a 
reclining stool, or lounge, cut from a solid block of wood, and 
elevated at one end, by two legs, so as to form an angle of 
forty- five degrees. 

On Bowditch Island is the house or temple of their god, 
Tui-Tokelau. It is of the same shape as the private houses, 
and is from thirty to fifty feet long, and twenty feet high. 
The roof is concave, and projects some distance at the eaves, 
where the pandanus leaves that compose the thatching' are 
tied together at intervals, and present a notched or scolloped 
appearance. The sides and ends are open, with the excep- 
tion of a low railing, only fifteen inches high. Within, there 
is an abundance of mats, and rudely fashioned benches carved 
out of the solid wood ; also a number of gods, or idols, of 
wood or stone, from ten to fourteen feet high. 

The natives of these islands seem to be ignorant of the uses 
of fire. They never cook their victuals, but subsist mainly 
on the fruit of the cocoa and pandanus, with the fish that they 
capture near the reefs, and in the lagoons, all which are eaten 
in a raw state. On the larger islands they dig wells in the 
ground, which are neatly walled up on the inside ; but where 
the ground is very low, as is the case on Oatafu, they catch 
fresh water in excavations made in the body of the cocoa-nut 
trees, on the lee-side, and about two feet from the ground. 

They have both double and single canoes, made of pieces 
of wood sewed together with sennit, like those of the 
Samoans, and their paddles are of the same fashion. They 
have outriggers, likewise, but no sails ; and they ornament 
their craft with the shells of the cyprece ovula. These canoes 


are principally used in fishing, for which they have hooks of 
shell, bone, or shark's teeth, attached to long lines made of 
twisted bark. For the protection of their boats they have 
large quays built of coral blocks, containing slips ten feet 
wide, in which there are boat houses erected on poles and 
thatched with pandanus leaves. 

Of mechanical ingenuity they possess a great share. Their 
houses, canoes, mats, stools, boxes, and fish hooks, all denote 
the possession of considerable skill by the makers. The in- 
struments with which they work are saws and files, formed 
of shark's skins stretched on sticks, and a drill. The drill 
consists of a long stick passing through a flat circular piece 
of wood, designed to steady it when in operation : at the 
lower end a sharp-pointed stone is attached with bark twine, 
and the motion is communicated by means of a handle cross- 
ing the upright stick at right angles, near the centre, and 
secured in its place by a lashing of sennit. 

They have a keen relish for the ridiculous, and are fond 
of dancing. Their dances are like those on the other islands 
of Polynesia. For music they have two different kinds of 
drums ; one made of a hollow log, like those of the Feejeeans 
and Tongese, and the other consisting of a cylindrical frame 
set upright in the ground, with a shark's skin drawn over it, 
as in the Hawaiian Islands. When they salute each other, 
or a stranger, they rub noses and chins together, and encircle 
the neck with their arms, uttering at the same time a low 
wail, like the aloha of the Sandwich Islander. 

(3.) Captain Hudson remained but a short time at 
Fakaafo, but continued without delay on his route to the 
Samoan Group, stopping on the way only long enough to sur- 
vey Swain's Island, a circular coral islet, without a lagoon, 
but little over four miles in circumference, in latitude 11 5' 
S., and longitude 170 55' 15" W. On the 5th of February 
the tall mountains of Savaii were discovered looming up 
above the southern horizon, and on the afternoon of the 6th 
instant, the Peacock anchored in the harbor of Apia, while 

1841.] ELLICE'S GROUP. 399 

the Flying Fish proceeded to survey the south side of the 
island of Upolu. 

One of the chief objects of the second visit of Captain Hud- 
son to the Samoan Group was to obtain satisfaction for the 
recent murder of an American seaman belonging to a whal- 
ing vessel. The murderer had been protected by Sangapo- 
lutale, the principal chief of the heathen towns of Saluafata, 
Fusi, and Salalese, on the island of Upolu, who refused to 
surrender him. On the 22d of February, Captain Hudson 
made an ineffectual attempt to capture the chief, with the 
intention of detaining him until the murderer should be sur- 
rendered. Failing in this, it was deemed important to inflict 
a severe punishment, in order that the crews of vessels visit- 
ing the islands might be secure from molestation. Accord- 
ingly, a party was landed at Saluafata on the morning of the 
25th of February, the inhabitants having been first driven 
from the town by the guns of the Peacock, and that town, 
as well as those of Fusi and Salalese, were reduced to ashes, 
without encountering the natives or sustaining any loss. 

From Apia Captain Hudson proceeded to Mataatu, on the 
northern side of the island of Savaii ; and on the 6th of 
March he took his departure, with both vessels, for Ellice's 

(4.) At noon on the 14th instant, the island of Fanafute 
was made. This is one of Ellice's Group, or the Depeyster 
Islands, and is in latitude 8 30' 45" S., and longitude 179 
13' 30" E. It is thirteen miles long and seven and a quar- 
ter miles wide, and consists of a series of small islets on a 
coral reef, with two openings on the west side, surrounding a 
lagoon that affords good anchorage. There are about two 
hundred and fifty inhabitants on the island. Not far from 
forty miles to the north-west of Fanafute, or Ellice's Island, 
is Depeyster's Island, called by the natives Nukufetau. It 
contains one thousand inhabitants, and is eight miles in 
length, and about the same in width ; and in its centre there 
is a lagoon, having from seventeen to twenty fathoms of 
water, and connected with the ocean by a deep ship channel. 


Nearly thirty miles north-east of Nukufetau, is another 
atoll of about the same size, known as Tracy's Island among 
navigators, but called Oaitupu by the natives. The popula- 
tion of this island is said to be from three to four hundred. 
Near the sixth parallel of southern latitude, still further to 
the north-west, are three coral islets St. Augustine, Spie- 
den's Island, and Hudson's Island the last two named, 
respectively, after the purser and commander of the Peacock. 
All three of these islands are inhabited, but the population 
cannot be very large. 

The islands belonging to Ellice's Group are well-wooded 
with the cocoa-nut, pandanus, and pisonia. The inhabitants 
subsist on the fruit of the first two, together with a species 
of taro and another larger root, called pulaka, and the fish 
that they take in abundance from the neighboring waters ; 
to which is now and then added a pig from the small stock 
on the islands. They are evidently descended from the 
natives of the Union Group, though they are far less re- 
served, and appear to have had more frequent intercourse 
with the whites. Their complexion is several shades darker 
than that of the Samoans, but there is a striking similarity 
in their respective dialects. They are of middle size, slen- 
der, and well-proportioned, though not handsome ; and their 
features are sharp and distinctly marked, like those of 
the Hawaiians. They salute strangers in the same manner 
as the natives of the Union Group, but they are more active 
and sociable, and, withal, more licentious. Their hair is 
fine, black, and glossy, and is worn long, sometimes hanging 
over the ears and shoulders, and at others gathered up in a 
number of puffs or rolls on the head. The men allow their 
beards and moustaches to grow, and seem to be as proud of 
these appendages as a Feejeean. Holes are bored in the 
lobes of their ears and distended, and tortoise-shell rings 
inserted in them. 

Tattooing is quite tastefully performed among them. 
The men ornament their bodies, from the navel half-way 
down the thighs, principally with horizontal stripes ; and the 

1841.] KINGSMILL GROUP. 401 

arms and legs of the women are similarly embellished. 
Both sexes wear the maro, which is made of the finest pan- 
danus leaves, and prettily fringed; also a girdle, called taken, 
with a heavy fringe, two feet broad for the women, and from 
eight inches to a foot for the men ; and some have mats as 
wrappers about their bodies. The women, too, often wear 
soft mats over their bosoms, and the men have similar arti- 
cles sometimes thrown over their shoulders. The fringe of 
the maro and the girdle are usually dyed red, or some other 
bright color ; and the fringes of the mats are tinged of 
various colors, in large squares or diamonds. A band of 
pandanus leaves is frequently tied about the head or waist, 
with the strips sticking out horizontally in every direction 
like so many horns or points. 

Their canoes are rudely made. They are dug out of a 
single log, usually about twenty feet long, and have strips 
lashed on at the sides to raise them higher. Their sails are 
of a triangular shape, and their outriggers and paddles resem- 
ble those seen in other Polynesian groups. Their fish-hooks 
are carved out of wood or of shark's teeth. They have roughly 
hewn war-clubs and spears, consisting merely of poles of 
cocoa-nut wood sharpened at the point. Swords and knives 
are made of shark's teeth fitted into a stick, and fastened 
with gum and sennit. 

(5.) Holding on his course to the north-west, Captain 
Hudson fell in with Taputeouea, or Drummond's Island, on 
the 3d day of April. This island, and fourteen or fifteen 
others, constitute the Tarawan or Kingsmill Group,* lying 
just west of the 175th meridian, east latitude, and stretch- 
ing across the equator, from latitude 1 20' S. to about 4 N, 
They are of all sizes, Drummond's Island, which is the 
largest and southernmost of the group, being thirty miles in 
length, and from a half to three quarters of a mile in width, 
and the smaller ones, or the atolls, having a diameter of from 
two to five miles. They are of coral formation, and none 

* This group is also known as the Gilbert Islands. 


of them rise more than twenty-five feet above the ocean. 
The soil is but a few inches in depth, and is composed of 
coral sand and vegetable mould : it is exceedingly produc- 
tive, however, both in its natural state, and when cultivated. 
Small pieces of pumice, that have probably drifted on the 
islands, are found inconsiderable abundance, and are pounded 
up and used as a manure. 

Bread-fruit trees are seen on the islands north of the 
equator, but not on those south of it. The cocoa and the 
pandanus are very plenty, and the former is cultivated by 
the natives, the trees being fenced in, and pounded pumice 
mixed with the soil at the roots. On some of the islands 
there is a great scarcity of shrubbery, the ground being 
covered only with a scanty growth of dry grass (sida) ; but 
on others, dense thickets of underbrush are scattered amid 
the clumps of pandanus trees and cocoas. The pisonia, 
tournefortia, cordia, boerhavia, urticse, mangrove, scsevola, 
ficus, and hibiscus, are quite common, though they are 
generally small in comparison with the specimens found on 
other islands. There are two varieties of taro, and two of 
yams. One species of taro (arum cor di folium), called by 
the natives potpoi, is extensively cultivated in deep trenches 
excavated for the purpose. These are often placed near the 
lagoons, and separated from them by a narrow embank- 
ment, in order that the water may percolate through the 
coral sand. The api is also cultivated to some extent. 
Purslane is abundant, and is much eaten in seasons of 
scarcity. There is also a bush, bearing a fruit resembling 
the gooseberry, which the natives call teiparu. 

The climate of these islands is delightful. The heat is 
of a high temperature, but not as oppressive as might be 
expected. There are no sudden, changes, and the range of 
the thermometer is limited. Earthquakes, in which the 
oscillations are rapid and powerful, occasionally occur, and 
violent gales from the south-west are not uncommon. From 
October to April there are frequent rains; but during the 
remainder of the year the weather is fine, the air is pure 

1841.] POPULATION. 403 

and elastic, the sky is rarely mottled with clouds, and 
showers and sunshine agreeably alternate with each other 
In consequence of the equability of the climate, the inhabi- 
tants enjoy remarkable health, and suffer from but few 
diseases except those of a cutaneous character. 

Rats in great numbers infest the islands. The other quad- 
rupeds are a few dogs and cats. No land birds were seen by 
the American vessels, but white terns, golden plovers, noddies, 
curlews, turnstones, and tropic-birds, are very common. 
Whales, sharks, Crustacea of different kinds, biche de mer, 
and numerous edible fish of the smaller varieties, abound in 
the vicinity of the group, and all are eaten by the inhabitants. 
Whales are often killed when they get aground on the shoals 
by the natives with their spears. Sharks are caught by drop- 
ping pieces of bait alongside a canoe, and when they rush for- 
ward to seize them, throwing a noose over their heads. Small 
fish are taken with scoop-nets, seines, hooks and lines, and 
traps made of withes and resembling eel-pots ; and they are 
also driven in shoals into large stone weirs or pens. 

These islands are densely populated ; the whole number of 
inhabitants being estimated at sixty thousand, of which 
Drummond's Island alone contains about ten thousand. Their 
dialect differs essentially from that of the Samoan Group, but 
preserves many of the peculiarities of the great Polynesian 
root from which the various tongues are derived. Their 
features are small, but strongly marked, and indicate clearly 
their Malay origin.* They are of middle size, the men rarely 

* The natives of these islands have a tradition that the first inhabitants came 
from Barness, or Baneba. an island said to lie to the south-west, in two canoes ; 
that they were subsequently joined by other persons, arriving from Amoi, an 
island lying to the south-east, also in two canoes ; and that after they had lived 
together in harmony for one or two generations, the male members of the two 
parties had a quarrel, in which those who had arrived first were successful and 
killed off all their opponents, after which they made wives of their women, who 
were better looking, and had fairer complexions, than the others. Amoi is sup- 
posed by Captain Wilkes, (Narrative, vol. v. p. 82.) and with good reason, to be 
the Samoan Group; and he conjectures that Baneba may refer to Boneba, or 
Ascension Island, one of the Caroline Group, although its position Goes not 
correspond with the assigned locality. Bidera and Bouka, of the Solomon Archi- 
pelago, at the south-west, and Banda and Borneo (the latter not unlike Barness), 


exceeding five feet eight inches in height ; slender, but well 
proportioned ; and lithe and active in their movements. Their 
cheek bones are prominent, and their noses slightly aquiline. 
They have large and bright black eyes. Their hair is also 
dark, and unusually fine and glossy. Their lips are full, and 
their teeth small and even, but often decayed. Their com- 
plexion, in general, is a shade or two darker than that of the 

The young women are models of personal beauty, so far as 
mere softness of contour, and shapeliness of limb, are concerned. 
Their figures are slight, but as harmonious in their propor- 
tions as the finest statuary. Their full orbed eyes are alike 
beautiful, whether glowing with desire, or kindling with anger 
or jealousy. Long, glossy ringlets, glistening like silver in 
the sunlight, and of ebon darkness in the shadow, float in 
ample profusion down their finely-rounded shoulders, and over 
the softly-swelling bust. Their forms taper gracefully to- 
wards the waist, and are supported on limbs turned with 
great neatness and delicacy. These charms, too, are not 

" veiled and curtained from the sight 
Of the gross world." 

They rarely wear any clothing whatsoever, and the simple 
iriri seems to be put on rather for ornament than conceal- 

But the mothers of these Polynesian sylphs are as uncouth, 
not to say hideous, as their daughters are handsome. The 
wrinkles of age appear prematurely, and their features soon 
become distorted. This cannot be produced by out-door labor, 
for that is performed almost entirely by the men, but is prob- 
ably owing in great part to the common practice of producing 
abortions. A woman seldom has more than two children, and 
never more than three ; when she discovers herself to be en- 
ceinte for the third or fourth time, the fetus is destroyed by 

in a westerly direction, are the only other islands lying in this part of the Pa- 
cific, whose names are in any respect similar. 


a midwife, by external pressure upon the womb. This prac- 
tice is not looked upon with the least abhorrence, and unmar- 
ried women always avoid having children in this way. In- 
fanticide, however, is never known to occur. Indeed, parents 
are very fond of their children, and indulge them in every 
whim and caprice. 

The inhabitants of Makin, or Pitt's Island, which lies 
furthest to the north, differ in some respects from the natives 
of the other islands, in their personal appearance. Instances of 
corpulence are not rare among the latter, but the former look 
much like over-fed porkers. Both men and women are ex- 
ceedingly gross ; but they are as good-natured and inoffensive 
as they are fat, and vessels stopping at the island are likely 
to meet with much better treatment than among the southern 
islands. Their faces are more oval, and they are somewhat 
lighter and fairer in complexion than the inhabitants of the 
other members of the group. 

With the exception of the natives residing on Pitt's Island, 
the Kingsmill Islanders are all fierce and warlike in disposi- 
tion. There are frequent bloody encounters between the 
inhabitants of rival towns, and the different islands. They 
are naturally intelligent, cheerful and sociable, and fond of 
mirth and merriment, though they sometimes give way to 
fits of sulkiness and despondency, and commit suicide by hang- 
ing themselves on trees. Among their own people they are 
both hospitable and generous, but treacherous and deceitful 
in their intercourse with the whites. They are also dishonest 
and thievish, inclined to be jealous, and very passionate. 
They are cruel and reckless of human life, but pay unusual 
respect to the dead, washing their bodies and anointing them 
with cocoa-nut oil, and then burying them in the ground under 
their houses, with the head to the east, or wrapping them in 
mats, till the flesh decays, when the remains are exhumed, and 
the skulls preserved with great care. When they kill an 
enemy they dig out his teeth and string them in necklaces ; 
the hair is also clipped off and twisted into wreaths, cords, and 
bands ; and of the bones various instruments are made. 


Chastity is not considered a virtue in either sex, and the 
want of it by an unmarried woman is esteemed no reproach. 
Fathers and brothers freely offer their daughters and sisters, 
to the crews of vessels stopping at the islands ; for purposes of 
prostitution. Of their wives, however, they are more chary; 
and it is said that in the northern, or Pitt's Island, the men 
sew them up in mats so that they cannot give way to temp- 

The male population are divided into three classes: the 
neas, or omatas, who are the principal chiefs ; the katokas, 
who are the landholders, not of noble birth ; and the kawas, 
or slaves. On some of the islands there are kings, but the 
rank is mainly nominal, though tribute is paid to them by the 
several towns over which their sway extends. Each town is 
separate from the other in its municipal government. Public 
councils of all the different estates are held ; but the political 
power and authority are mainly wielded by the neas, or 
omataSj who are all of noble birth as well as landholders. 
When a council is to be held, the oldest chief, who always 
presides at the meeting, sends out his messengers to summon 
the inhabitants by blowing conch shells. No regular vote is 
ever taken at these assemblages, but the opinion of the majority 
decides the subject matter under consideration. The dis- 
tinction between those of high birth, and the ignobly born, 
prevails throughout the islands, but in some parts of the group 
the class of katokas is not recognized. 

Slaves are regarded and treated as mere personal chattels. 
The chiefs have absolute power over their families and kawas. 
All minor crimes are punished by the person injured or ag- 
grieved, or by his relatives ; but more serious offences are 
brought before the council. Rank and property are heredi- 
tary. The son of a chief by the mother of the highest rank 
succeeds to his father's position. Where there is no inequality 
of birth, the eldest son either has twice as much land as the 
others, or succeeds to all the property, subject to the incum- 
brance of supporting and maintaining his brothers and sisters, 

1841.] DRESS. 407 

who are obliged to work for him, and the latter cannot marry 
without his consent. 

Most of the inhabitants go entirely naked, with the excep- 
tion of a conical cap of braided pandanus leaves on their heads, 
and the remainder have very little clothing. Among the men 
this consists of a maro, covering merely a part of the back 
and abdomen, and a small oblong mat with 'a slit in the centre, 
which is put on over the head like a poncho. The appropri- 
ate dress of the women is called iriri^ and consists of a fine 
and beautiful fringe made of the softest cocoa-nut leaves split 
into narrow strips ; it is about a foot in width, and is dipped 
in cocoa-nut oil to render it perfectly flexible ; it is also dyed 
and perfumed, and is often quite ornamental, though com- 
monly worn so high up on the abdomen, like the maro of the 
men, that it affords but little concealment to the person. Of 
ornaments both sexes are very fond. They often wear a white 
ovula shell attached to a wreath about the neck, made of the 
pith of the scaevola, and hanging down over the bosom. In 
the lobes of their ears they insert shells and strings of leaves. 
They have also necklaces of beads and shells, of shark's teeth 
and small bones, and of human teeth or hair. Their beads 
are made of the cocoa-nut and shell. Girdles of hair are like- 
wise worn about their bodies. Tattooing, too, is general 
among the higher classes, but not permitted to slaves : it is 
considered essential, in order to enable the spirit after death 
to be happy in Elysium, and is performed by professional 
operators; the ornaments usually consist of short, oblique 
lines, in parallel and perpendicular rows, at greater or less 
distances apart, descending from the neck as low as the knees, 
and sometimes to the ankles. The women are tattooed in the 
same manner, but not so much, and they have frequently a 
circle of spots surrounding the navel. The men do not shave 
off their beards and moustaches, but they are not generally 
of very luxuriant growth. 

War is the favorite occupation of the inhabitants of the 
southern islands. They have weapons both of offence and 
defence. The former consist of shears, clubs, and swords. 


The handles of the swords, the shafts of the spears, and the 
clubs, are made of cocoa-nut wood. Shark's teeth are in- 
serted in the sword handles and fastened with gum, and barbs 
for the spears are also made of them. For defensive purpo- 
ses, they have a sort of cuirass, like an ancient shirt of mail, 
covering the body as far down as the haunches, and rising 
above the back of the head from three to four inches : this piece 
of armor is drawn on over the head, there being holes for the 
arms ; and it affords complete protection against the native 
weapons, as it is nearly half an inch thick, and is made of 
the fibres of the husk of the cocoa-nut closely matted together. 
They have, also, a similar defence for the arms, and cuishes 
and greaves for the thighs and legs, made of netted sennit ; 
and the head is defended by a helmet consisting of the skin 
of the porcupine fish, with the tail sticking upwards like a 

When not at war, the men spend most of their time in 
taking care of their taro beds and yam plantations, and culti- 
vating the cocoa and pandanus trees ; or in building houses and 
canoes, taking fish, and fashioning their tools and weapons. 
Both sexes pay considerable attention to personal cleanliness, 
and wash their bodies daily, and anoint them with cocoa-nut 
oil. They rise at daylight, and after their morning toilet is 
performed, the men go out to work while the women pursue 
their in-door occupations, such as preparing food, and making 
mats, sails, baskets, maros and iriris. When the heat be- 
comes too oppressive, which it usually does about nine o'clock, 
out-door labor is suspended, and the first meal during the 
day is then eaten. Sleeping, chatting, and light occupations 
inside of their houses, now occupy the time until four o'clock, 
when the rays of the sun begin to lose their power, and the 
men again sally out to continue the labors of the morning. 

They have several divinities, the chief one of which is 
Wainangin, or Tabu-eriki, who is worshipped in the form of 
a coral stone, surrounded with the leaves of the cocoa, that 
are always changed when they begin to wither. Their prin- 
cipal female deity is Itivini : she is worshipped in a small 

1841.] MARRIAGES. 409 

circle, three feet in diameter, made of coral stones, and cov- 
ered with white gravel ; in the centre of the ring js a cocoa- 
nut, which is bound round with leaves when prayers are of- 
fered up to the goddess. Almost every family of distinction 
has one of the stones typical of Wainangin, but some of the 
'inhabitants do not recognize him, and worship birds, fish, an- 
imals, and the souls of their ancestors represented by their 
skulls, which are religiously preserved. Each family, too, 
in the higher ranks, has an iboya, or priest, to offer up prayers, 
and receive and eat the food presented to the tutelar deity. 
After death, according to the belief of the natives, their spirits 
ascend into the air those of the children being carried by 
their female relatives and are there tossed about for some 
time by the winds, until finally, if of high rank, they are 
wafted to Kainakaki, or Elysium; but the shade of the poor 
kawa, or the person who is not tattooed (except in some parts 
<jf the group), is intercepted, and doomed by a large giantess, 
called Baine. The Kainakaki of the natives is supposed to 
be in the island of Tavaira, one of the group, where there are 
a number of curious oblong mounds, upwards of twenty feet 

On a reef between the islets of Kuria and Oneoka, is a 
large flat coral stone, which the natives suppose to represent 
another female deity called Itituapea ; and whenever they 
pass that way they invoke the protection of the goddess, and 
bestow upon her a portion of their food, if they chance to 
have any with them. 

Children are named by the priest as soon as they arc born ; 
but if they are soon taken sick, another name is substituted 
for the first, in the hope that it will prove more fortunate to 
the possessor. Females are betrothed immediately after their 
birth, or at a very early age. Polygamy is practiced by all 
the males of high rank, or who can afford to keep up a large 
harem. Some of the principal chiefs have from twenty to 
fifty wives, an;l they are pretty sure to monopolize all the; 
comcliest damsels in their vicinity. The kawas, however, 
are denied the privilege of marrying, except with the consent 



of their masters, though they sormtimss- form temporary 
connections with the unmarried females in the group. 

Where a female is betrothed at her birth, no ceremony of 
marriage is requisite. In other cases the friends of the 
parties, who are left to choose for themselves, as women are- 
not esteemed articles of traffic, assemble at the house of the 
bride's father, all clad in their gayest attire. The couple are 
seated on a mat in the midst of the company j the priest then 
presses their foreheads together, pours a little cocoa-nut oil 
over their heads, and sprinkles- their faces with the branch of 
a tree dipped in water, at the same time uttering a prayer 
for their happiness and prosperity. The friends now offer 
their congratulations and rub noses the latter being their 
customary mode of salutation. The ceremony being com- 
pleted, feasting and dancing succeed, which are commonly 
kept up till a late hour in the evening, and for several days 
in succession. On the third day, the bridegroom takes his 
A T ife to his own habitation, and for the first ten days the house 
where she lives is screened with mats, and she remains at home 
to receive the calls of her friends. Both parties are expected to 
contribute either land or household goods, or both, to the com- 
mon stock : but no questions are asked by the suitor, in regard 
to the dowry of an intended wife, of her parents, till after the 
consummation of the marriage, and sometimes not until 
shortly before the birth of the first.chiiJ. 

Playing at foot-ball, sailing miniature canoes, swimming 
in the surf with a board like that of the Hawaiians, and fly- 
ing kites made of split pandanus leaves drawn over a frame, 
are the principal amusements of the men. The other sex 
join them in singing and dancing, of which they are extrav- 
agantly fond. Most of their dancos resemble those of other 
Polynesians, consisting of violent motions of the bodies, rock- 
ing themselves to and fro, and clapping their hands together 
and slapping them upon their thighs. They have, however, 
a peculiar dance that consists of a combination of fencing and 
singing with dancing. They often collect in large parties 
for dances, intermingled with songs, in the evenings, and 

1841.] HOUSES. 411 

protract their sports to a late hour by the light of the rnoon 
or of a large fire. They have feasts, either public or private, 
quite often, but the only periodical one is at the full of the 

The dwelling houses of the natives are peculiarly constructed. 
They are of an oblong shape, and ordinarily about sixteen 
feet wide and twenty feet long. The frame work consists of 
cocoa-nut posts, and beams, supporting high sloping roofs, 
which descend from the ridge pole to within three feet of the 
ground, and are thatched with pandanus leaves. At the 
gable ends the roof is perpendicular for about one third of the' 
descent, and then slopes off as at the sides. The ridge pole 
is from fifteen to twenty feet above the ground, and the 
rafters and cross-pieces are small poles only an inch or two in 
diameter. This main building for there are two stories 
rests on large beams of cocoa-nut wood, which are supported 
by four round posts of the same material, one at each corner, 
and made perfectly smooth so as to prevent the rats from 
climbing up. These posts are but three feet high, and within 
them is the basement of the house, which is used exclusively 
for sleeping. '1^-a upper apartment, where all the valuable 
goods and chattels are kept, is floored with pandanus boards 
resting on cross-beams. The sides of the houses are inclosed 
with mats or thatching, and they are entered by a square 
hole that serves the purpose of a door. 

Besides the private dwellings of the inhabitants, each town 
has a mariapa, or council-house, which is built like the 
former, but of much larger dimensions, and- frequently sup- 
ported on blocks of coral. There are atamas^ too, where 
the chiefs receive company and .the natives meet to exchange 
their commodities : these are constructed after the same- 
general fashion,. but have no upper apartment. In some parts 
of the group the towns are surrounded by pickets and pali- 
sades of cocoa-nut woo:' ; and within the principal inclosure, 
there are smaller ones containing tm or twelve houses bo- 
longing to the same family, as^in the pas of New Zealand. 

Baskets, made of twigs or leaves woven firmly together, 

412 FOOD AND DRINKS. [1841. 

fans, screens, mats, cocoa-nut shells, wooden bowls and 
troughs, spoons fashioned out of human ribs, and the skulls 
of their enemies, used as drinking vessels, are the principal 
articles of furniture in the habitations of the Kingsmill 
Islanders. Some of their mats are very beautiful, the bright 
yellow of the young pandanus leaves contrasting finely with the 
dark brown of the older ones, and the clear white of those that 
have been bleached, with which they are interwoven. They 
always have an abundance of conch shells in their houses, 
and they use the tridachna gigas, which are found here of 
an enormous size, for troughs to catch rain water. 

For cooking, the natives have stone ovens built above the 
ground, and they roast the bread-fruit on hot stones. Their 
food consists chiefly of fi^h of all kinds, from a whale to a 
sea-slug, of the cocoa and pandanus nuts, bread-fruit and taro. 
Yams and purslane are eaten when other articles of food are 
scarce. Of the pandanus-nut they make a preparation which 
will keep for several years ; the edible portions of the nut are 
first pounded to the consistence of dough, and then baked in an 
oven, after which they are reduced to powder and fashioned 
into rolls, or karapapa. The taro, too, is often baked hard, 
and grated to a powder, which is dried and formed into rolls, 
called kabuibui, which keep for a long time. Another prep- 
aration, called manam, is made of baked taro and cocoa-nut, 
grated fine, and then mixed together and rolled up in large 
bulls. They have no intoxicating drinks, but they procure a 
toddy, called karaca^ from the spathes of the cocoa-nut ; the 
formation of the fruit being prevented by tying a bandage of 
sennit tightly around the spathe, and then cutting off the end 
of the latter. When this sap is first obtained it is like the milk 
of the young cocoa-nut, but it soon ferments and forms a 
pleasant acidulous beverage. Of the karaca, a molasses is 
made called kamoimoi, by boiling the former down in cocoa- 
nut shells placed on hot stones, which in color and flavor re- 
sembles that obtained from the cane. The kamoimoi is eaten 
with the preparations of pandanus, bread-fruit, taro, and 

1841.] CANOES. 413 

cocoa-nut, and when mixed with water forms the common 
drink at their feasts,, and is called karave. 

Since the natives have had intercourse with the whites, 
they have become exceedingly fond of tobacco, which they 
call tebake, and chew and swallow it as if it were really 

The canoes belonging to these natives differ from those 
seen in the neighboring groups, and are quite ingeniously 
built. They have frames, about which strips of board, usu- 
ally of cocoa-nut wood, are arranged in nearly the same 
manner as the planking of large vessels. The boards are 
sewed together with sennit, and have strips of pa nd anus 
leaves inserted in the seams to prevent leakage. The canoes 
are from twelve to fifteen feet long, two or three fet deep, 
and fiom fifteen inches to two feet wide. They have small 
outriggers and narrow platforms. The masts rake consider- 
ably, and carry sails of moderate size and a triangular form. 
The natives manage their craft with great dexterity when 
under sail ; but their paddles are miserable things, consisting 
merely of a piece of cocoa-nut board or tortoise shell, per- 
haps six inches square, attached to a round stick, and they 
are not over expert in the use of them. Near most of the 
towns there are wharfs built of coral blocks, for the conve- 
nience of landing from the canoes. 

Hatchets and adzes, roughly made of bone or stone, and 
knives and saws of shark's teeth, are the principal tools of the 
natives, but they are used with much skill and ingenuity, as 
is evinced by the buildings, canoes, and other articles man- 
ufactured with them. 

(6.) While lying off the town of Utiroa, on Drummond's 
Island, a seaman belonging to one of the American vessels 
was inveigled away by some means from the party with 
whom he had landed, and was supposed to have been mur- 
dered. Repeated demands for the restoration of the missing 
man were made, but without success, the natives assuming 
a blustering appearance, and displaying themselves clad in 
their armor and with their weapons. Captain Hudson there- 

414 LOSS OF THE PEACOCK. [1841. 

upon sent a party ashore under Lieutenant Walker, who 
drove tlfe savages from the beach, killing twelve of their num- 
ber, and set fire to and destroyed the town. 

The survey of the Kingsmill Group was not completed till 
the close of the month of April, and the American vessels 
then steered to the north. On arriving among the Radack, 
or Mulgrave Islands, Captain Hudson found that the time 
specified for his absence from the rest of the Squadron was 
fast drawing to a close. He therefore bore away for the 
Sandwich Islands, and on the 14th of June arrived off the 
port of Honolulu. On the 21st instant, he sailed for the Co- 
lumbia river. Cape Disappointment was made by the Pea- 
cock on the afternoon of the 17th of July, and on the follow- 
ing day Captain Hudson attempted to enter the mouth of the 
river, being governed by the directions obtained from the 
commander of a merchant vessel by Captain Wilkes, which 
were supposed to be reliable but unfortunately proved decep- 
tive. The Flying entered in safety, but the Peacock, 
which preceded it, struck on the bar, amid the raging breakers, 
shortly after she commenced standing in, and in a few hours 
was made a complete wreck, the officers and crew, with the 
ship's papers and other light articles, being with great diffi- 
culty saved in the small boats, and landed at Astoria. Hav- 
ing completed his examinations in northern Oregon, Captain 
Wilkes joined Captain Hudson early in August. The Vin- 
cennes was now dispatched to San Francisco to survey the 
Sacramento river, and the officers and crew of the Peacock 
were transferred to an American merchant brig, purchased 
for the occasion, to which the name of " Oregon" was given. 
After surveying and examining the Columbia river and valley 
as critically as time would permit, Captain Wilkes proceeded 
down the coast with the other vessels of the Squadron, and 
on the 19th of October anchored beside the Vincennes in the 
Bay of San Francisco. 


(1.) Oregon. Physical Geography. (3.) Population. Towns. (3.) Rivers and 
Harbors. (4.) Climate. Productions. Zoology. (5.) California. (6.) Gold 
Discovery. Mineral Resources. (7.) Character of the Population. Rapid 
Settlement of the Country. (8.) Geographical Description. Rivers. Har- 
bors. Towns. (9.) Animal and Vegetable Kingdom. (10.) Departure of 
the American Squadron. Arrival at Manilla. 

(1.) WHILE the diplomatists of Downing Street and Penn- 
sylvania Avenue, and the legislators of St. Stephen's and 
the American Capitol, were unsuccessfully engaged, through 
a long series of years, but with greater or less intervals, in 
the attempt to terminate the qualified joint occupancy of 
the Oregon territory by Great Britain and the United States, 
and to establish a definite boundary line between their respec- 
tive jurisdictions, the ultimate destiny of the country was 
being pretty surely fixed, by the immigration, subsequent to 
1S40, of -great numbers of American settlers, some of whom 
were sent out under the auspices of the Foreign Missionary 
Society and the board of missions of the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church, and others were attracted by the glowing reports 
which had crossed the Rocky Mountains in regard to the 
rich tracts of farming land lying in the great basin of the 
Columbia river. 

But all the numerous vexed questions in difference, grow- 
ing out of the conflicting claims based upon the discoveries 
of Drake, Cook, Gray, and Vancouver, the Louisiana pur- 
chase, and the explorations of Lewis and Clarke all which 
bad been rendered but the more intricate by protracted nego- 
tiation were finally settled in amity, by the treaty of 1846, 
tinder which the northern boundary line of the United States 


was extended from the Rocky Mountains west, along the 
49th parallel of north latitude, to Queen Charlottes Sound, 
and then through the Straits of Juan de Fuca to the Pacific 
ocean, with the farther stipulation, that the navigation of 
the Columbia river below 49 should be free to the Hudson's 
Bay Company during the continuance of their charter. 

It is computed that there are from three hundred to three 
hundred and fifty thousand square miles contained in the- 
area, or tract of country known as Oregon territory, lying 
between the boundary before mentioned and California, the> 
Rocky Mountains- and the Pacific. This extensive territory 
is divided into three belts or sections, rising like terraces 
one above the other, by different ranges of mountains run- 
ning nearly parallel with the shore of the Pacific. The coast 
section is from one hundred to one hundred anil fifty miles- 
wide, and is bounded on the east by the Cascade Range, 
which is continuous, except where it is divided by the chan- 
nels of streams, and frequently rises into tall conical peaks,. 
from nine to ten thousand feet high, whose summits are 
bathed in perpetual snow.* The middle section lies between. 
the Cascade Range and the Blue Mountains, and is of ir- 
regular width, varying from one to three hundred miles: the 
Blue Mountains are often interrupted, and deviate from their 
usual course, the spurs sometimes running off, nearly at 
right angles to the general direction, for a considerable dis- 
tance, beyond which are occasional detached outliers. Ba- 
yond the Blue Mountains, and between them and the lofr.y 
barriers of the Great Cordillera, which tower upward to the 
height of sixteen thousand feet, is the third or eastern sc.c- 
tion, whose average width is not far from Eve hundred miles. 
Notwithstanding the Rocky Mountains are here a continuous- 
chain, in general, the long reach, trending away on the one 
side to the frozen regions of the north, and on the other to 
the sunny plateaus of Anahuao, is occasionally interrupted 
by passes through which roads are practicable. The North 

* The line of perpetual snow in this latitude, is about 6500 feet above th* 
level of the sea. 

1841.] GEOLOGY. 417 

Pass, discovered by Lewis and (Clarke, is in latitude 46 30' 
N. ; the Middle Pass is in about 44 30' N. ; and the South 
Pass, which was made known by Colonel. Fremont and is 
decidedly the best of the three, is in latitude 42 30' N., 
where the headwaters of the north fork of the Platte are 
separated by a narrow watershed from those of the Snake 
river. On the southern border of the territory is the Kla- 
met range, running from east to west, near the parallel of 
42 N. latitude, which separates it from California. 

At the foot of the Cascade Range on the west, the soil is 
well adapted to raising the cereal grains, peas, apples, pears, 
and other hardy fruits ; but much the greater portion of the 
western division south of the Columbia is occupied by low prai- 
ries and interval lands liable to inundations, yet possessing a 
fine soil and producing heavy burdens of the richest grass. 
The valley of the Willamette, or Multnomah river, in this sec- 
tion, contains some of the finest land in Oregon, and for 
beauty and fertility is not often surpassed in the older states 
and territories of the American Union. North of the Colum- 
bia, and beyond the immediate valley of the river, which is 
also well calculated for grazing though very liable to inunda- 
tions, the country is rough and much broken, but thickly 
covered with gigantic forest trees. 

The soil of the middle section is a sandy loam, very light 
on the hills and only fitted for grazing, but in the valleys 
there is a large mixture of alluvial deposit. The eastern 
section, between the Blue and Rocky Mountains, is high, 
broken, and barren ; there are but few level tracts, which 
are sparsely timbered, and, where not rocky, the soil is light 
and sandy. But the desert character of this interior basin 
should not be allowed to cast any doubt upon, or detract 
from, the capacity of the western portions ; for though they 
contain, here and there, a few barren patches, th produc- 
tiveness of their extensive tracts ol prairie and interval lauJ, 
and the value of their noble forests, rnn>t he sources of con- 
tinued wealth Mild prosperity to th pioneers who have 
located themselvvs i;i t!ie><' ivmote reions. 

418 POPULATION* [1841, 

In fossils, but little variety is presented. Basalt is the 
principal rock. Granite, limestone, and sandstone, are found 
in small quantities, and specimens of white marble have 
been obtained in the upper country, while at the extreme 
north freestone is abundant. Appearances would indicate 
the possession of vast stores of mineral wealth, but these 
are deceptive. Coal, however, exists in great abundance in 
the Cascade Range, and iron and platina have been dis- 
covered, though they cannot be said to abound. 

(2.) In 1845, the Indian population of Oregon was estimated 
to be about twenty-seven thousand, and that of the whites 
at from three to five thousand. The numbers of the former, 
since that time, as in previous years, have been rapidly 
diminishing, mainly from disease, though the aggregate has 
probably been nearly kept up by the white immigration. 
The principal Indian tribes, commencing at the north, are 
the Spokans, Flatheads, Nisqually Indians, Cayuses, Nez 
Perces, Callapooah Indians, and Shoshones. Most of these 
tribes have generally been on good terms with the white 
settlers, and some of them have been partially civilized, have 
abandoned their roving habits, and commenced the cultiva- 
tion of the soil ; but the lawless bands of Cayuses roam- 
ing through the upper valley of the Columbia, were for a 
long time a source of great annoyance to the parties of im- 
migrants arriving in the country, and the latter were re- 
peatedly attacked by them. In November, 1847, the Pres- 
byterian Mission at Walla- Walla was attacked by these sav- 
ages, fourteen persons were killed and sixty-one wounded, and 
all the houses at the station burnt down or destroyed. Im- 
mediately upon the occurrence of this event, troops were 
raised in the lower towns, and in the following January, the 
Indians were defeated in a series of bloody engagements, and 
their villages burnt to the ground. Since that time peace 
and harmony have for the most part prevailed. 

The white population is of a mixed character. There are 
immigrants from almost every state in the Union, employes 
of the Hnu.surrs Hay Company, hunters, trappers, and half- 

1841.] TOWNS, 419 

breeds of every hue and stamp. For several years after the 
tide of immigration was turned in this direction, the inhabi- 
tants had no regularly constituted government, but for a por- 
tion of the time the affairs of the territory were managed by 
: a legislative committee, consisting of nine members, and an 
executive council composed of three members. In August, 
1848, however, a territorial organization was provided for 
them by a law of Congress, under which the government is 
now administered. 

Astoria, on the southern bank of the Columbia, eight miles 
from its mouth, was first established as a trading port, by John 
Jacob Astor, the great New York millionaire, recently 
deceased, and is now the principal commercial town. Oregon 
City is the seat of government;, and is situated on the Willa- 
mette, about one hundred miles from its mouth. The water 
.power at this place is unusually great. The river is a fine, 
-ample stream, and pours down at this place through three 
natural channels worn in the solid rock, with a descent 
of from thirty to forty feet. Just in rear of these channels 
Ihere are a number of islands, upon which buildings for ma- 
-chinery, to almost any extent, can be erected. Portland, at 
the head of ship navigation on the same stream, also possesses 
a fine water power, and is a thriving town. Fort Vancouver, 
on the north part of the Columbia, opposite the embouchure 
of the Willamette, has been the chief station of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, and is surrounded by a wide extent of richly 
cultivated country, exceedingly well adapted for grazing. 
Fort Walla- Walla, at the junction of -he Walla-Walla with 
the Columbia, and Fort Nisqually on Puget's Sound-, are the 
only other important posts in the territory : the former is sur- 
rounded by some excellent farming land, and the latter is we! 
situated for trading with the Indians, and for shipping the 
valuable timber of northern Oregon. 

(3.) The noble Columbia is the great river of the territory, 
and is over one thousand miles in length. It has two principal 
^affluents the northern branch, and Saptin or Lewis river. 
The Urst rises among the Rocky Mountains, not far from the 

420 RIVERS. [1841. 

52d parallel of north latitude, at an elevation of near fonr 
thousand feet above the level of the sea. Pursuing a south- 
erly course, amid the lofty mountains, in the basins formed 
between which it sometimes expands into lakes, and con- 
stantly increasing its volume by the admission of numerous 
tributaries, it descends to Fort Col vi lie, in about 48 30' N. 
latitude, where its bed is still over two thousand feet above 
the ocean. From hence it pursues a circuitous westerly and 
southerly course till it unites with Lewis river just above the 
46th parallel ; the latter having already traversed a distance 
of five hundred and twenty miles from its distant source near 
the South Pass. Just below the junction of the two main 
branches, the Columbia turns to the westward and descends 
over twelve hundred feet in its passage to the ocean. In 
passing through the Cascade Range it forms a series of pic- 
turesque falls and cascades from which the neighboring 
mountains derive their name thaj; are entirely impassable 
even in the highest stages of water. Below the cascades 
the channel is unobstructed for forty miles, where there are 
other rapids that interrupt the navigation ; but from thence 
to the ocean, there is a long reach of one hundred and twenty 
miles, in the course of which the waters of the Willamette 
come in from the south, navigable for vessels drawing twelve 
feet of water. 

Small vessels can ascend the Willamette, which runs nearly 
parallel with the coast, from south to north, to within three 
miles of the falls, though that stream, as well as the Columbia, 
are obstructed by the sand bars constantly forming, which are 
difficult to pass except at high-tide. Near the southern boun- 
dary of Oregon is the Klamet, or Too-too-tut-na river, which 
rises in the Klamet range, and pursues a westerly course to 
the ocean. A short distance north of the 43J parallel is the 
Umpqna river, running in the same direction with the Kla- 
met, which has its rise at the foot of the Cascade Range near 
the headwaters of the Willamette. There are numerous 
other minor streams south - of the Columbia, all which, like 

1841.] HARBORS. 421 

the Willamette, are bordered by the finest tracts of timbered 
land, and the most fertile prairies and intervales. 

The coast outline of Oregon is bold and rocky-, and there 
are but few indentations forming harbors sufficiently large for 
vessels of any considerable burden, and as most of them are 
openings at the mouths of rivers, they are usually obstructed 
by sand bars. The straits of Juan de Fuca, however, form 
the noble entrance to a chain of magnificent harbors on its 
southern coast, prominent among which is Puget's Sound, 
consisting of an inlet that stretches into the interior for about 
one hundred miles parallel to the ocean. The entrance to 
the straits is easy, the shores are bold, and the anchorage 
deep in the main channel. For the greater part of the year 
the winds are favorable, and the- navigation is not often ob- 
structed by the ice descending from the upper rivers. There 
are no shoals in the straits, and the harbors are accessible to 
vessels of any burden, spacious, and perfectly secure. 

Gray's Harbor is the only one of importance south of Cape 
Flattery, at the entrance of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and 
above the mouth of the Columbia. This has a narrow open- 
ing, however, with dangerous breakers on either side, and 
though it immediately opens out, it is filled with mudflats, 
which confine the anchorage within narrow limits. Various 
opinions are entertained in regard to the entrance to the Co- 
lumbia river, which affords deep and secure anchorage in 
abundance inside its bar. For twenty miles above the ocean 
this river widens out like a bay, and at its mouth is seven 
miles across, from Cape Disappointment on the north to Point 
Adams on the south. Here, where its mighty tide meets the 
rolling surge of the ocean, sand bars have been formed stretch- 
ing out for a great distance on both sides, and leaving but a 
narrow channel through which a vessel can enter. And even 
this cannot always be reached, as the cross tides changing every 
half hour often render it impossible for a ship to maintain her 
position. At some seasons, and, as it is said, for the greater part 
of the year, it is highly dangerous to attempt entering or leav- 
ing the river. Prom one shore to the other a foaming line of 

422 CLIMATE. [1841 

breakers is formed, which, in a few moments, will rend the 
stoutest craft in pieces, when it has once grounded upon the 

From fifty to sixty miles south of the Columbia is Kila- 
muke Bay, which is spacious in extent, but presents the same 
difficulties as Gray's Harbor, and can be entered with safety 
only by vessels of light draft. South of the Kilamuke are 
Celeste and Yacquina bays, both of which are small, but the 
latter has no dangerous bar at its entrance, which is three 
quarters of a mile wide, and is perfectly sheltered from the 
ocean winds. At the mouth of the Umpqua river, also, there 
is a wide bay, but it is difficult for vessels of very heavy bur- 
den to cross the bar. 

(4.) Oregon boasts of a fine climate, not more favorable to 
the health of the inhabitants than to the growth of agricul- 
tural products. In the elevated sections of the interior, east 
of the Blue Mountains, snow lies nearly through the year ; 
there is very little rain, and no dew. Here the thermometer 
has a wide range during the day ; the temperature at noon 
often being forty degrees higher than at sunrise. But this 
portion of Oregon is regarded by the inhabitants as an ' out- 
sider' ; and when they refer, as they can do with justice, to 
the evenness and salubrity of their climate, they have in view 
the western and middle sections of the country, where the 
brown-colored hills, the dark evergreen forests, the rolling 
prairies, and the richly-carpeted valleys, are bathed in the clear 
blue haze, mingled with bright tints of purple, of an almost 
perpetual spring. 

The range of the thermometer in the valley of the Wil- 
lamette, is from 30 to 96, up to the 45th parallel, and above 
this it is not often much colder. The winter is short, com- 
mencing the last of December, and continuing only until 
February. During this time snow falls but rarely, never to 
the depth of more than three or four inches, and soon disap- 
pears. The nights are cold, and frosts occur early, sometimes 

* In the opinion of Captain Wilkes (Narrative, vol. iv. p. 4!)1.) the safest tim 
Id cross the bar is ' ; when both the tide and wind are adverse." 

1841.] TIMBER. 423 

towards the last of August ; but the latter are owing to the 
proximity of the mountains, which cause a fall in the tem- 
perature, yet they are never severe. Rains are quite fre- 
quent, especially from November till March, though not often 
heavy. It is well known that isothermal lines, or lines of 
equal temperature, traverse the earth with varied eccentricity ; 
and it is much warmer on the Pacific coast, than in the same 
latitude on the Atlantic ; hence, fruit trees blossom early in 
April at Nisqually, and green peas and strawberries are 
abundant in May, while south of the Columbia grass grows 
all the winter long, and the cattle are not housed, and only 
confined in pens at night to protect them from the wolves and 
other wild animals. 

Fever and ague, occasioned by the decomposition of the 
vegetable matter turned up by the plow on the prairies, and 
some pulmonary complaints, are the principal diseases to 
which the inhabitants are subject. The first is quite fatal 
to the Indians, solely on account of bad treatment, however ; 
and small-pox has made dreadful ravages among them. 

Most conspicuous among the productions of Oregon are the 
timber trees. These are truly giants. Near Astoria, in the 
primeval forest, there are fir trees over forty feet in circum- 
ference, three hundred feet long, and rising to the height of 
one hundred and fifty feet without giving off a single branch 
A pine in the same vicinity, measured by the officers of the 
Exploring Squadron, was thirty-nine feet six inches in cir- 
cumference eight feet above the ground, two hundred and 
fifty feet high, perfectly straight and sound, and had a bark 
eleven inches thick. On the banks of the Umpqua, a fir tree 
is said to have been measured that proved to be fifty-seven 
feet in circumference, and two hundred and sixteen feet in 
length below its first branches. Among the evergreens are 
the pine, fir, spruce, arbutus, arbor vitse, cedar and yew. 
The principal deciduous trees are red and white oaks, hard 
and soft maples, the alder, poplar, elm, and cherry. The ash, 
here and there, scatters its winged seeds upon the wind ; and 
in the forests of southern Oregon, the long strings of balls of 


the sycamore, and the feathery scones of the cotton-wood, 
wave above a dense undergrowth of willows, hazels, and wild 
roses, amid which occasionally glisten the silvery trunks of the 
birches, "the ladies of the wood." 

South of the Columbia river, however, there is, compara- 
tively speaking, but little forest-land. But in northern Oregon 
there is an abundance of timber for home consumption, as well 
as for exportation ; and since the discovery of the gold mines 
of California and the rapid population of that territory, the 
value of the timber has enhanced in a wonderful degree. 
California is almost entirely destitute of timber for building, and 
for years to come, the chief supply must be obtained from the 
exhaustless forests of Oregon, where the immense water power 
renders every desirable facility for getting it out in any 

All kinds of grass timothy, clover, and blue grass grow 
with the greatest luxuriance in the valleys of the Columbia, 
Willamette, Umpqua, and other streams in the eastern sec- 
tion. Indeed, the country seems to be peculiarly well adapted 
to their growth, and it can scarcely be excelled in the Union 
for good pasturage. There are two crops of rich, juicy grass, 
produced on the river prairies ; one in the spring, and the 
other after the overflow subsides, in July or August. Yet 
there is very little hay made ; the scythe and the rake, and 
the toil and sweat of the mower, are rendered almost unne- 
cessary by the kindness of nature. The growth of the grass is 
so rapid in the early summer, that the subsequent heats con- 
vert it readily into hay where it stands, without the loss of 
any of its juices. Upon the second crop the stock feed during 
the winter. <: 

The soil of the prairies and interval lands contains an 
abundance of silex, and where it is sufficiently dry produces 

* In September, 1849, timber was worth from forty to fifty dollars per thousand 
feet, in Oregon, for exportation to California, and will probably never rule below 
twenty dollars, even when prices fall back to their proper level. Beef, pork, 
grain, butter and cheese, indeed all kinds of agricultural products raised in 
Oregon, will doubtless find a ready market in California for many years to 

1841.] FRUITS AND GAME. 425 

fine crops of wheat, the yield varying from twenty to fifty 
bushels per acre, often of more than sixty pounds weight. 
There is no such thing as a complete failure of the wheat 
crop ; but as the waters of the rivers are quite cold, and pos- 
sess little or no fertilizing properties, it is liable to be injured 
by the inundations, in all low exposures. Indian corn and 
oats do not succeed very well ; the former suffering much 
during the cold nights, and the latter producing small heads 
in comparison with the stalk. For peas, beans, potatoes, and 
most garden vegetables, the soil is superior. 

As the labors of the farmer are lightened in the summer 
season by the absence of a necessity for securing a supply of 
hay for his stock, so he is relieved during the winter from 
providing Ihem with a shelter, except a few pens or inclosures 
into which they may be driven at night, and from bestowing 
upon them any extraordinary care. The horses and cattle 
thrive well, and look unusually fat and sleek. Merino sheep 
are not suited to the climate, but the California breed, crossed 
with the Leicester, Bakewell, and other stout and hardy 
breeds, prosper finely, yeaning time occurring twice a year, 
and at the shearing exhibit fleeces weighing from eight to 
twelve pounrls. Hogs require but little care: they arc gene- 
rally fattened nn wheat, which is said to make the finest pork. 

Oregon is not deficient in fruits. Apples, pears, and cur- 
rants, have a thrifty growth, and yield plentifully; and the 
indigenous fruits, including gooseberries, strawberries, black- 
berries, serviceberries, cranberries, crab apples, wild cherries, 
wild peas, and thorn apples, are very prolific. 

In former times, the abundance of game found in this region 
made it a favorite resort for the hunter and trapper ; but the 
animals valuable for their furs are fast disappearing, and the buf- 
falo is now rarely sean. The principal animals found are the 
black-tailed and common red deer, the grizzly and black bear, 
tlirae differ* at speciesof the wolf, the wild cat, panther, antelope, 
mountain sheep, beaver, anl otter. Squirrels, foxes, rabbits, 
racoons, hedgehogs, and weasels, are abundant. Thestreamsof 
Oregon produce excellent fish, and great quantities of salmon 

426 CALIFORNIA. [1841. 

arc annually taken in the rivers discharging their waters into 
Puget's Sound. All the birds commonly found on the At- 
lantic coasts in about the same latitude are seen here, and on 
the ocean shores there are an abundance of gulls, frigate-birds, 
villula, and other aquatic fowl. 

(5.) California, formerly designated as Upper California, 
was first discovered by Cobrillo, a Spanish navigator, who 
visited the lower portion of the country in 1542. Sir Francis 
Drake discovered the upper part in 1578, and called it New 
Albion. It was colonized, however, by the Spaniards, in 
1767, and formed a part of the territory of New Spain sub- 
sequently the Mexican Republic till the year 1848. By the 
treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, concluded on the 2d day of 
February of that year, it was ceded by Mexico to the United 
States. But little importance was then attached to it, ex- 
cept for the tine harbors it contained ;- but within a few months 
after the cession, the whole American Union, and a great part 
of the world, were electrified by the unexpected discovery of 
vast stores of mineral wealth in this new acquisition. AF the 
circumstances attending this discovery have beon described 
by me in detail, in another work ;* and as I do not know that 
I should desire to change anything there written, in ai:y 
particular, I transcribe it here : 

Vague rumors in regard to the mineral treasures locked up 
in the volcanic mountain ranges of California at certain 
times attracting greater attention than at others, but never 
receiving much credit have been circulating throughout the 
world for centuries. Among the first trophies brought to Cortes, 
after the conquest of Mexico, in 1521, were samples of Cali- 
fornian pearls ; and it was then reported, that gold and gems 
were to be found in the regions at the north, which had not 
yet been visited by the Europeans. Two expeditions were 
fitted out by Cortes, in 1532 and 1533, and sent on voyages 
of discovery to the north-west. The latter crossed the Gulf 
of California, called by the Spaniards, in honor of the illus- 

* History of the War with Mexico (sup. nota.), p, 507, et seq. 


trious discoverer, Mer de Cortes the Sea of Cortes and 
effected a landing at the modern port of La Paz. Shortly 
after this, the Conqueror himself embarked with a squadron, 
and planted a colony at the same place. His attempts to settle 
the country, however, were unsuccessful, and the colonists 
eventually returned to Mexico. In 1539, he dispatched an- 
other expedition, under an officer by the name of Ulloa, who 
sailed to the head of the Gulf, doubled the peninsula, and 
ascended along the western coast, to the twenty-eighth or 
twenty-ninth degree of north latitude, but was never after- 
wards heard of. 

Nothing daunted by his ill success, Cortes projected still 
another expedition ; but his enterprise was now checked by 
the viceroy Mendoza, whose mind had been inflamed by the 
golden reports of an itinerant monk sent to convert the Indians 
of Sonora, and who had penetrated far into the interior of 
California. The viceroy claimed the right of discovery, and 
Cortes appealed to the Emperor. The premature death of 
Cortes, pending the appeal, put an end to all his ambitious 
hopes, and, in a considerable degree, to the discoveries which 
he and others had anticipated.^ 

Various expeditions were subsequently undertaken, but 
with little or no success. The energetic spirit of the great ad- 
venturer and discoverer had died with him; the glittering 
realms, where gold and precious stones were said to abound in 
exhaustless profusion, were never reached; and the descend- 
ants of the Conquistador -es were obliged to content them- 
selves with the far less valuable silver mines of Mexico. 

The pearl fisheries in the Gulf of California, however, were 
soon made available, and formal possession of the peninsula 
was taken by the Spanish authorities, in 1569. Not quite 
fifty years later, the Jesuits, established themselves in the 
country, and gradually extended their missions to the north. 
They were, no doubt, aware of the existence of gold and sil- 
ver in California ; yet they dissuaded the Indians from digging 

* Prescott's Conquest of Mexico, Vol. Ill, p. 333, et seq. Greenlio\v's History 
of Oregon and California, p. 22, et seq. > 


after the minerals probably for the reason that they did not 
suppose there could be sufficient quantities found to render 
the search profitable and encouraged them to devote their 
time to herding cattle and other agricultural pursuits. In 
1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the possessions of Spain, 
and were succeeded, in California, by Franciscan and Domini- 
can friars. Deprived of the fostering care, the energy and 
industry, of the followers of Ignatius Loyola, the mission 
establishments began rapidly to decline, and the discoveries 
which might ultimately have been made, under their auspices, 
were reserved for a more enterprising people than the white in- 
habitants who now made their way to the Californias. 

Adventurers from Mexico, from Spain, and the United 
States, American and European seamen, emigrated thither, 
and founded settlements on the inner shore of the Gulf, and 
along the iron-bound coast of the Pacific, from Cape San 
Lucas to the Bay of San Francisco.* Some few among them 
appear to have been active and industrious, but the great, ma- 
jority speedily relapsed into habits of indolence and slothful- 
ness. No extraordinary efforts were made to develop the 
resources of the country; considerable silver was discovered, 
but as there was no mercury to purify it, that obtained was 
of an inferior quality, and afforded a trifling profit. A rich 
mine, called San Antonio, near La Paz, was wrought for 
several years, and is said to have yielded handsome returns. 
But the political dissensions that agitated the southern 
departments of Mexico were felt in the Californias, perhaps 
more than all, in the baneful influence which they exerted in 
repressing the energies of the inhabitants, and curbing the 
little spirit of enterprise that had previously animated them. 

For many years, there was scarcely the least improvement 
in Upper or Lower California; and if any progress was made, 
it was at a snail's pace. Hides and tallow formed the prin- 
cipal articles of exportation from the upper province; but the 
trade was small, and liable to frequent interruptions, by reason 

* The mongrel white population of Upper California \vas computed, in 1842 
to be about 5,000, and the Indians 33,000. 

1841.] BOUNDARIES. 429 

of the struggles between the different factions for the ascen- 
dency. Matters remained pretty much in this condition, till 
after the termination of the war with the United States, and 
the cession to them of Upper California. 

This territory, now belonging to the American Union, em- 
braces an area of 448,961 .square miles. It extends along the 
Pacific coast, from about the thirty-second parallel of north 
latitude, a distance of near seven hundred miles, to the 
forty-second parallel, the southern boundary of Oregon. On 
the east, it is bounded by New Mexico. During the long 
period which transpired between its discovery and its cession 
to the United States, this vast tract of country was frequent- 
ly visited by men of science, from all parts of the world. Re- 
peated examinations were made by learned and enterprising 
officers and civilians; but none of them discovered the impor- 
tant fact, that the mountain torrents of the Sierra Nevada 
were constantly pouring down their golden sands into the 
valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin. The glittering 
particles twinkled beneath their feet, in the ravines which they 
explored, or glistened in the water-courses which they forded, 
yet they passed them by unheeded. Not a legend or tradition 
was heard among the white settlers, or the aborigines, that 
attracted their curiosity. A nation's ransom lay within their 
grasp, but, strange to say, it escaped their notice it flashed 
and sparkled all in vain.^ 

The Russian American Company had a large establishment 
at Ross and Bodega, ninety miles north of San Francisco, 
founded in the year 1812 ; and factories were also established 
in the territory by the Hudson Bay Company. Their agents 
and employes ransacked the whole country west of the Sierra 
Nevada, or Snowy Mountain, in search of game. In 1838, 
Captain Sutter, formerly an officer in the Swiss Guards of 
Charles X, King of France, emigrated from the state of 
Missouri to Upper California, and obtained from the Mexican 
government a conditional grant of thirty leagues square of 

* A gold placcra v/as discovered some years ago, near the mission of San Fer- 
nando, but it was very little worked, on account of the want of water. 


land, bounded on the west by the Sacramento river. Having 
purchased the stock, arms, and ammunition of the Russian 
establishment, he erected a dwelling and fortification on the 
left bank of the Sacramento, about fifty miles from its mouth, 
and near what was termed, in allusion to the new settlers, the 
American Fork. This formed the nucleus of a thriving settle- 
ment, to which Captain Sutter gave the name of New Hel- 
vetia. It is situated at the head of navigation for vessels on 
the Sacramento, in latitude 38 33' 45" North, and longitude 
121 20' 05" West. Daring a residence of ten years in the 
immediate vicinity of the recently discovered placeras. or gold 
regions, Captain Sutter was neither the wiser nor the richer for 
the brilliant treasures that lay scattered around him.* 

In the year 1841, careful examinations of the Bay of San 
Francisco, and of the Sacramento river and its tributaries, 
were made by Lieutenant Wilkes, the commander of the 
Exploring Expedition; and a party under Lieutenant Em- 
mons, of the navy, proceeded up the valley of the Willa- 
mette, crossed the intervening highlands, and descended the 
Sacramento. In 1843-4, similar examinations were made by 
Captain, afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel, Fremont, of the To- 
pographical Engineers, and in 1846, by Major Emory, of the 
same corps. None of these officers made any discoveries of 
minerals, although they were led to conjecture, as private in- 
dividuals who had visited the country had done, from its vol- 
canic formation and peculiar geological features, that they 
might be found to exist in considerable quantities.! 

* Farnham's Adventures in California. Wilkes' Narrative of the Exploring 
Expedition. Fremont's Narrative. 

f See Farnham's Adventures, Wilkes' and Fremont's Narrative?, and Emory's 
Report. In 18-10, Eugenio Macnamara, a Catholic priest and missionary, ob- 
tained a grant of a large tract of land between the San Joaquin and the Sierra 
Nevada, the. Cosmnncs and the Tulares in the vicinity of San Gabriel, from Tio 
Pico, governor of the California:?, for the purpose of establishing upon it a large 
colony of Irish Catholics ; but the grant was not ratified by the Central Govern- 
ment, and the project was not carried into effect. There is no evidence that 
Father Macnamara was aware of the existence of gold in the valley ol'the Sao 


As is often the case, chance at length accomplished what 
science had failed to do. In the winter of 1847-8, a Mr- 
Marshall commenced the construction of a saw-mill for Cap- 
tain Slitter, on the north branch of the American Fork, and 
about fifty miles above New Helvetia, in a region abounding 
with pine timber. The dam and race were completed, but on 
attempting to put the mill in motion, it was ascertained that 
the tail-race was too narrow to permit the water to escape 
with perfect freedom. A strong current was then passed in, 
to Wcish it wider and deeper, by which a large bed of mud and 
gravel was thrown up at the foot of the race. Some days 
after this occurrence, Mr. Marshall observed a number of 
brilliant particles on this deposit of mud, which attracted his 
attention. On examining them, he became satisfied that they 
were gold, and communicated the fact to Captain Suiter. It 
was agreed between them, that the circumstance should not 
be made public for the present ; but, liice the secret of Midas, 
it could not be concealed. The Mormon emigrants, of whom 
Mr. Marshall was one, were soon made acquainted with the 
discovery, and in a few weeks all California was agitated 
with the startling information. 

Business of every kind was neglected, and the ripened grain 
was left in the fields unharvested. Nearly the whole popu- 
lation of Upper California became infected with the mania, 
and (locked to the mines. Whalers and merchant vessels enter- 
ing the ports "were abandoned by their crews, and the Ameri- 
can soldiers and sailors deserted in scores. Upon the disband- 
ment of Colonel Stevenson's regiment, most of the men made 
their way to the mineral regions. Within three months after 
the discovery, it was computed that there were near four 
thousand persons, including Indians, who were mostly employ- 
ed by the whites, engaged in washing for gold. Various 
modes were adopted to separate the metal from the sand and 
gravel some making use of tin pans, others of close-woven 
Indian baskets, and others still, of a rude machine called the 
cradle, six or eight feet long, and mounted on rockers, with a 
coarse grate, or sieve, at one end, but open at the other. The 

432 PURITY OF THE METAL. [1841. 

washings were mainly confined to the low wet grounds, and 
the margins of the streams the earth being rarely disturbed 
more than eighteen inches below the surface. The value of 
the gold-dust obtained by each man, per day, is said to have 
ranged from ten to fifty dollars, and sometimes even to have 
far exceeded that. The natural consequence of this state of 
things was, that the price of labor, and, indeed, of everything, 
rose immediately from ten to twenty fold.* 

As may readily be conjectured, every stream and ravine in 
the valley of the Sacramento was soon explored. Gold was 
found on every one of its tributaries ; but the richest earth 
was discovered near the Rio de los Piiimas, or Feather 
river,t and its branches, the Yubah and Bear rivers, and on 
Weber's creek, a tributary of the American Fork. Explora- 
tions were also made in the valley of the San Joaqnin, which 
resulted in the discovery of gold on the Cosumnes and other 
streams, and in the ravines of the Coast Range, west of the 
valley, as far down as Ciudad de los Angelos. 

Sometimes the gold has been found encasing a bright, 
sparkling crystal of quartz, but no accounts have been receiv- 
ed up to this date (January, 1849) indicating that it has been 
encountered in its matrix, or the place of its original produc- 
tion. In the " dry diggings," or ravines, it is obtained in grains, 
averaging from one to two pennyweights ; but in the swamps, 
and -on the margins of streams, it is procured in small flat 
spangles, six or seven of which are required to make one 
grain. Specimens of the metal have been assayed at the mint 
in Philadelphia, under the direction of Professor Patterson, 
and the average fineness ascertained to be 894 thousandths, 
being a little below the standard, which is 900, but fully equal 

* Official Dispatch of Colonel Mason, Commander of the 10th Military Depart 
inent, August 17, 1848. Letters of Thomas C. Larkin, IT. S. Consul at Monterey, 
to the Secretary of State, June 1, and June 28, 18iS. 

f Feather river is the first considerable branch of the Sacramento below the 
Prairie Buttcs. It has a course of about forty miles, and empties into the 
main river about fifteen mile;? above New Helvetia. Though the Sacramento 
is navigable for vessels only to that place, boats can pa-.;; up one hundred miles 



to that obtained in the southern states, and nearly as good as 
the best gold procured in Africa. 

In regard to the productiveness of the gold placeras of 
California, it is difficult to make any estimates, or form any 
conjectures. In a Memorial of the citizens of San Francisco,, 
dated in September, 1848, praying Congress to establish 
a branch mint in the territory, it was estimated that the sum 
of five and a half millions of dollars would be removed from 
the mines during the year ending on the 1st of July, 1849. 
But this calculation was evidently predicated on the number 
of persons then engaged at the washings. Since that time, 
there has been a vast influx of gold-hunters from Oregon, 
Mexico, South America, and the Sandwich Islands. Large- 
numbers of citizens of the United States have also set out for 
California, by way of Cape Horn, the Panama route, or over- 
land from Independence. It is, therefore, not improbable, that 
before the close of the year, the population may be trebled, 01 
even quadrupled. 

It has been predicted by some, that the washings in Call 
fornia would soon be exhausted, as were those of Brazil, from 
which ten millions sterling were once annually sent to Eu- 
rope. The volcanic character of the country, and its geologi- 
cal peculiarities hardly confirm -this opinion, although it is by 
no means improbable. Gold has been found, or there are in- 
dications of its existence, at different points along the western 
base of the Sierra Nevada, for nearly seven hundred miles, 
and it has been discovered east of the mountains, on the Great 
Salt Lake, and at various other places in the great interior 
basin of California. If we may place any reliance upon the 
inferences fairly deducible from theso facts, it may be safely 
presumed, that the rngged buttresses of the Sierra Nevada 
contain a vaster deposit of mineral wealth than has yet been 
found in any other locality in the known world in extent 
and productiveness far excelling the Andes of Peru, the 
Carpathian range of Hungary, or the Ural mountains of 

* The peaks of the Sierra Nevadq are from ten to fifteen thousand feet above 

1841.] OTHER MINERALS. 435 

In addition to the gold mines, other important discoveries 
have been made in Upper California. A rich vein of quick- 
silver has been opened at New Almadin, near Santa Clara, 
which, with imperfect machinery, the heat by which the 
metal is made to exude from the rock being applied by a very 
rude process, yields over thirty per cent. This mine one 
of the principal advantages to be derived from which will be, 
that the working of the silver mines scattered through the 
territory must now become profitable is superior to those of 
Almadin, in Old Spain, and second only to those of Idria, near 
Trieste, the richest in the world.* It is more than probable, 
also, that other veins will be opened, as the soil, for miles 
around, is highly impregnated with mercury. 

Lead mines have likewise been discovered in the neighbor- 
hood of Sonoma, and vast beds of iron ore near the American 
fork, yielding from eighty-five to ninety per cent. Copper, 
platina, tin, sulphur, zinc, and cobalt, everywhere abound ; 
coal exists in large quantities in the Cascade Range of Oregon, 
of which the Sierra Nevada is a continuation ; and in the 
vicinity of all this mineral wealth, there are immense quarries 
of marble and granite, for building purposes. 

Colonel Mason expresses the opinion, in his official dispatch, 
that "there is more gold in the country drained by the 
Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, than will pay the cost 
of the [late] war with Mexico a hundred times over."t Should 
this even prove to be an exaggeration, there can be little 
reason to doubt, when we take into consideration all the 
mineral resources of the country, that the territory of Cali- 
fornia is by far the richest acquisition made by this govern- 
ment since its organization. All that is needed, to render 
these resources of incalculable benefit to our people, is to dis- 

the level of the ocean ; the Carpathian mountains, seven thousand five hundred 
feet; and the Ural mountains, between four and five thousand feet. 

* The mines of Almadin yield only ten per cent; and those at Idria range 
as high as eighty per cent, although ores containing only one per cent are worked. 
Specimens of cinnabar from California have been examined at the Philadelphia 
mint : the red ore yielded over thirty-three per cent, and the yellow ore over fifteen, 

f Letter to the Secretary of War, dated August 17, 1848. 


countenance from the outset the system of monopoly which 
proved so ruinous to the interests of Spain in Mexico and 
Peru ; to foster individual enterprise ; and to open a more 
direct communication with California, by a railroad across 
the isthmus of Panama, as is now contemplated, or some 
similar work. 

Since the foregoing account was written, the valleys of the 
Sacramento and San Joaquin have been inundated with gold- 
seekers ; some of whom were doomed to disappointment at 
the outset, while others have been exceedingly fortunate, 
though but a very few, perhaps none, have quite equalled 
their expectations. Those who first arrived in the country, 
with those on the spot at the time of the discovery, have been 
the most successful. One placer a after another, literally 
teeming with wealth, have been discovered; rich deposits of 
the precious metal have been disclosed in every gulclie and 
canon; and the glowing statements of Sir Francis Drake, 
hitherto so commonly discredited, seem to have been actually 
verified.* Quite recently gold has been found in its matrix, 
on the banks of the Mariposa, one of the tributaries of the 
San Joaquin : here there has been a fine vein opened, which 
has been traced for two leagues, and appears to have an aver- 
age breadth of one hundred and fifty feet, and to dip only 
about 20 ; the metal occurs in strata of reddish quartz, and 
eight ounces of pure gold are obtained from one hundred 
pounds of rock. 

The extent of the mineral resources, and more particularly 
of the gold deposits of California, is still a matter of conjec- 
ture ; but there is every reason to suppose that the time for 
accumulating fortunes in a day has nearly gone by; and un- 
less still greater discoveries should be made, at the close of 
another mining season, with the vast addition which will un- 

* "The counlry, too, if we can depend upon what Sir Francis Drake or his 
chaplain say. is worth the seeking and the keeping since they assert that the 
land is so rich in gold and silver, that upon the slightest turning it up with a 
spade or pick-axe, those rich metals plainly appear mixed with the 
Pinkerton's Voyages, vol. ii. p. 173. 

1841.] AVERAGE YIELD. 437 

doubtedly be made to the number of persons operating in the 
mining districts during the past year, the placeras will be so 
mueh exhausted, that they cannot be profitably worked with- 
out cheap labor and expensive machinery. Should other 
deposits of the metal be found, however, equalling or nearly 
approaching in richness, those which have been already dis- 
closed, it would be idle to predict when these discoveries 
will end. Jt is far better, nevertheless, that too sanguine 
expectations should not be formed, for disappointment, come 
when or how it may, needs nothing to heighten its poignancy. 
It is computed that the value of the gold taken from the 
mines during the first twelve months subsequent to the dis- 
covery, was not far from thirty millions of dollars. Of this 
amount only about six millions of dollars have reached the 
Atlantic sea board ; some ten or twelve millions have been 
carried to foreign countries ; and the balance still remains in 
the territory. At first, many of the miners obtained an ounce 
of gold per day, but the general average has not been five 
dollars per day to each person while actually at work. Tak- 
ing into consideration the enormous prices to be paid for every 
article of necessity or luxury, this return is by no means 
flattering; for there is a great portion of the year during 
which the mining operations are for the most part suspended, 
by the recurrence of the rainy season. While such prices 
are maintained, the yield of gold should amount upon an 
average to at least five dollars per day to every individual in 
the territory, including as well those engaged in trade and 
furnishing supplies, as those at work in the mines. Accord- 
ing to the latest accounts from this auriferous region, the rich 
washings on Feather 'river and some other streams have been 
measurably exhausted, though with good machinery and In- 
dian labor still yielding a fair remuneration.* In some in- 
stances, the courses of the streams have been turned, or their 

* Individual miners have so far succeeded much better with a common tin 
pan, or basin, for washing their gold, and it is full as popular at the placeras of 
California as is the gamella at the washings of Brazil. Small parties still prefer 
to adhere to the rocker or cradle. 


waters dammed up, in order to examine their beds, and valu- 
able deposits of gold have been found ; but similar attempts 
have, in other cases, often proved unsuccessful. 

But even amid the golden sands of California, man cannot 
escape from his destiny. Toil is his allotment there as 
everywhere. Working in the placer as is no boyish pastime. 
Nono but those inured from early life to the severest labor and 
hardship can pass through the ordeal unscathed. Whether 
moiling in the earth in the dry diggings, beneath the blistering 
rocks, and amid the scorching sands, or standing up to the 
knees in the ice-cold waters of "the mountain torrents, with 
the blazing orb of day pouring down hour after hour his burn- 
ing rays against which there is no shelter or protection, the 
powers of endurance are taxed to the utmost. The climate 
is not unhealthy, it is true, but the heat is oppressive, and 
when this relaxes the system, exposure to the cold night-air 
pretty surely brings on disease. Added to this, the miner 
rarely enjoys any of the comforts, and is frequently deprived 
of the necessaries of life. Still, those who find their physical 
powers equal to the task, and continue their labor in spite of 
every hardship and trial, do not go unrewarded. 

Fortune, however, smiles less kindly on those who undergo 
the greatest fatigue, and perform the severest labor, than 
upon those who profit by their necessities. The toil and 
sweat of the former often go to enrich the' cunning trader 
and the shrewd speculator. The prices of food and clothing, 
of luxuries and necessaries, of everything that can please the 
fancy, or gratify the appetite, are from one to ten hundred 
per cent higher than in the Atlantic states ; and those en- 
gaged in providing supplies Tor the miner are in a majority 
of cases accumulating large fortunes. Yet it is to be regret- 
ted that the rage for speculation has already extended so 
widely in the territory, for, though of little importance at the 
outset, it soon becomes as incapable of control as the raging 
whirlwind, and, like that, always leaves desolation and ruin 
in its track. Within a twelvemonth after the first discovery 
of gold, the credit operations of the citizens of the territory 


amounted to one hundred millions of dollars, resting for sup- 
port upon a metallic or specie basis of only ten millions. 
City and town lots, bouses and farming lands, food and rai- 
ment, everything that man needs' or desires, are the objects 
of speculation. What will be the result of all this, the future 
only can determine. Those who keep aloof from the whirl- 
pool, or pause in time, may reap a rich harvest ; but if 
California herself, or the older states in the Union that be- 
come too intimately connected with her, are ultimately bene- 
fited, it will be an anomaly in the history of the world. 

Yet the mineral resources of California are unquestionably 
great ; and even the smallest rivulets that course down the 
corrugated sides of the Sierra Nevada are richly impregnated 
with gold, silver, and platina. But although these deposits 
of wealth may be nearly, or quite inexhaustible, when the 
treasures which have been accumulating for so many years 
near the surface have been gathered, as they soon must be, 
labor, be it ever so industrious and enterprising, will reap no 
more abundanftiarvests at the placer as of California, than, if 
properly applied, it can obtain from the rich farming lands in 
the Atlantic states and the valley of the Mississippi. 

(7.) Previous to the cession of Upper California to the 
United States, there were, as has been remarked, something 
less than forty thousand persons in the territory. The popu- 
lation is now estimated at over one hundred thousand. Up 


to the first day of November, 1849, about five hundred ves- 
sels, containing more or less passengers, besides their crews, 
had arrived at San Francisco within the preceding year; and 
there were at that time upwards of two hundred vessels, each 
having its cargo of living freight, on their way from the At- 
lantic states. Numerous caravans of immigrants have 


crossed over land, and adventurers by scores have gone by 
way of Panama. Around Cape Horn, across the isthmus, 
and over the desert prairies and bleak mountains of the far 
west, the tide has swept like the waters of the sea. Danger 
in every form has been defied. Animated by the all-pervad- 
ing, if not unhallowed thirst for gold auri sacra fames 


peril and hardship have been cheerfully encountered. * The 
ocean tempest has lost its terrors ; the vu-niilo of Ne\v Gre- 
nada is supposed no longer to possess the power to harm ; and 
the horrors of Indian warfare or starvation, both equally 
dreaded in former times, no more a {fright the .timid, or dis- 
courage the weak-hearted, as they wend their way, faint in 
body but stout of soul, across the trackless waste:* of New 
Mexico and Deseret. And if, perchance, nature at length 
becomes exhausted and gives way ere the glittering prize has 
been clutched, the last thoughts of the wayfarer may dwell 
upon the home he has left, smiling with every thing I hat could 
cheer or comfort him, and the sad fac^s and sadder hearts 
that witnessed his departure, yet with them are mingled feel- 
ings of regret that he was unable to reach the land of promise 
before him. 

It might naturally be expected, that the population of Cali- 
fornia would exhibit a mongrel character. Almost every 
clime and creed under the sun has its representatives there. 
Yet it is a remarkable fact, and one highly creditable to the 
immigrants, that the state of society in the main has been, 
and now is, a great deal better than could be looked for among 
such an incongruous mass. Outrages and excesses have been 
committed, but they are daily becoming less frequent. For 
several months the citizens governed themselves, in a degree, 
by laws arbitrarily adopted, yet which were both appropriate 
and needful, and usually administered with impartiality and 
justice. On the 1st day of September, 1849, a convention elected in the different districts, in pursuance of 
a proclamation of General Riley, then acting as civil and 
military governor of the territory, assembled at Monterey, and 
on the 12th day of October following, adopted a state consti- 
tution, modelled, in all its general features, after the new 
constitution of the state of New York ; and immediately after 
the adjournment of that body, all the necessary steps were 
taken to bring the question of their admission into the con- 
federacy before the national Congress, at its ensuing session. 

(8.) The eastern boundary of California established by 


the convention, is the 120th meridian, east longitude ; but the 
other boundaries were left unchanged. 'Phe surface of the 
country near the ocean is much diversified, in some places 
rising in lofty ranges of hills, covered with patches of wild 
flowers, and grass, and low shrubs, and at others spreading 
out into broad plains, intersected with valleys, which are 
usually rich and fertile, though requiring in the dry season 
considerable irrigation to render them highly productive. 
North of the bay of San Francisco, the coast country is 
still more broken than at the south, but it is well adapted for 
the culture of grain and the rearing of cattle. From forty 
to fifty" miles inland is the Coast Range, which is the first 
ridge of mountains, and the continuation of the central 
chain of Lower California. This ridge divides into several 
ranges as it trends to the north, and is finally lost in the 
Klamet range on the southern borders of Oregon. 

Between the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada, which 
runs nearly along the 120th meridian, the country consists 
of extensive plains and swelling hills, either well- wooded, or 
thickly carpeted with wild oats, whose yellow waves sweep 
far up the sides of the Snowy Mountains. In the midst of 
this section, near the lower end of California, are the TultJ 
lakes, which connect with the San Joaquin in the Tainy 
season. That river has a northerly course of from one hun- 
dred and fifty to two hundred miles, and unites with the 
Sacramento in Suisun Bay. The Sacramento comes from 
the north, and has a course of not far from two hun- 
dred miles in extent. Both these streams have a number 
of affluents which bring down the melted snows of the 
Sierra Nevada, and the heavy rains that fall during the 
winter months. The banks of the two larger rivers are 
low, and for miles above and below the head of Suisun Bay, 
there are extensive marshes or tula-res, covered with a species 
of bulrush, called tule, which ar overflowed in high water, 
and are finely situated for raising rice. 

Besides the Sacramento ami thtt San Joaqnin, and tho 
Rio Colorado of the west, which forms n nnrf of iu r/istcrn 


442 HARBORS AND TOWNS. [1841. 

boundary, California has no other considerable streams ex- 
cept it be the Rio de San Buenaventura. This last stream 
has a north-westerly course of upwards of one hundred 
miles, and discharges its waters into the bay of Monterey. 

The bay of San Francisco is not only the best harbor in 
California, but it is one of the finest in the world. It lie? 
parallel to the. ocean, at a distance of from five to six miles, and 
is connected with it by a narrow strait from two to four 
miles in width. The bay is about forty-five miles long, and 
varies in width from four to ten miles. It affords abundant 
anchorage for vessels of the largest class, and is capable of 
sheltering the navies of the world from the waves and tem- 
pests of the neighboring ocean. At its northern extremity 
it is connected by a small strait with the bay of San Pablo, 
which is circular, and about ten miles in diameter. The 
latter is, in turn, connected with Suisun Bay, into which the 
San Joaquin and the Sacramento debouch, by the Straits 
of Karquinez. Vessels of light draught can ascend the 
Sacramento as high as Sacramento city. The San Joaquin 
is also navigable, in like manner, for some distance, varying 
with the different stages of the water. 

Monterey has a bay, or roadstead, which is sufficiently 
capacious, and affords pretty secure anchorage in the south- 
east corner of the bight, inside of a line drawn from Point 
Ano Nuevo through Point Pinos, but elsewhere it is not 
protected against the north-westerly winds. The harbor of 
San Diego is a semi-circular indentation of the coast ; it is 
protected on the north and east by high bluffs, and is con- 
sidered perfectly safe. 

Since the discovery of gold in California, towns and cities 
have sprung up like mushrooms, and it would be useless 
and unwise to attempt to describe them, as the changes con- 
stantly taking place are so great, and of such a character, 
that a description, however faithful at the moment, could 
scarcely be written ere it would prove to be erroneous. At 
the time of the cession to the United States, the only places 
of any importance in the territory, were Yerba Buena, or 

1841.] CLIMATE, 443 

San Francisco, which stands on the west bank of the bay of 
the same name, just below the opening of the strait leading 
to the ocean, and Monterey and San Diego on the coast. 
Ciudad de los Angelos, in the interior, and about midway 
between Monterey and San Diego, was also a town of some 
consideration ; it being the capital of the two Californias 
while under the Mexican sway. All these places have come 
forward during the past year with astonishing rapidity. 
But little more than twelve months ago, either of them 
counted its population by hundreds, but now they are num- 
bered in thousands. San Francisco has outstripped them 
all. She has over twenty-five thousand inhabitants ; a 
dense forest of masts and spars may be witnessed in front 
of her wharfs; and from sunrise till sunset, the busy hum 
of a commercial town resounds upon a spot whose wild 
solitudes at a very recent period were scarcely disturbed by 
the footsteps of civilized man. The most important towns 
which have sprung up since the commencement of the gold 
excitement, are Sacramento city, at the junction of the 
American Fork and the Sacramento ; Stockton, on the San 
Joaquin. ; New York-of-the-Pacific, on Suisun Bay, in the 
peninsula formed between the two rivers at their junction, 
and at the head of ship navigation ; and Benicia, which lies 
on the northern bank of the straits of Karquinez, near the 
entrance into Suisun Bay, a distance of forty-five miles 
from San Francisco. 

The climate of California is variable, but not unhealthy, and 
most of the diseases that prevail are not produced by its in- 
fluence. It is much warmer, of course, than in the same 
latitude on the Pacific; and at the south, the heat is some- 
times intense. Near the Colorado, the thermometer often 
rises to 140; and in the valley of the Sacramento, to 110, in 
the shade. Along the coast, it is not so warm. During the 
dry season, from the 1st of March to the 1st of November, the 
mornings are clear, and the heat generally intolerable; but at 
noon, the sky becomes overcast ; the strong and unpleasant, 
but bracing north-westerly gales set in, and condense the 


vapors which have risen during the morning, and the ther- 
mometer falls very rapidly. The nights are almost always 
cool. During the rainy months, the plains and low grounds 
are usually enveloped in fogs and mists, and every little 
arroyo is swollen far beyond its ordinary limits, while the 
large streams roll down a vast flood of waters to the ocean. 

(9.) Among the principal wild animals in California, are 
the fierce grizzly bear, theantlered elk, the black-tailed deer, 
the savage panther and puma, the Californian lion, the shy 
antelope, and the noisy coyote, or prairie wolf. The buffalo 
is an entire stranger in this quarter. Hares, squirrels, rab- 
bits, and marmots, are abundant. The streams abound in 
fine-flavored fish ; and the delicate and luscious salmon are 
quite plenty. Among the feathered tribes are the eagle, 
hawk, vulture, crow, pheasant, partridge, goose, duck, peli- 
can, curlew, crane, turkey, pigeon, and plover. 

M. de Mofras, one of the most learned and scientific travel- 
lers who have visited this country, insists, that all that part of 
California lying between the coast and the Sierra Nevada is- 
"of admirable fertility, and perfectly proper for colonization."^ 
Captain Wilkes also informs us, that the fertility of the soil is 
so great, that eighty bushels of wheat is the average yield, and 
that sometimes one hundred and twenty bushels though this 
is not very common are obtained.f But these statements must 
be taken with some degree of reservation. The hills and up- 
lands afford the finest pasturage ; but they are not calculated 
to produce anything else except gramineous plants. The 
elevated plains are covered with immense fields of wild oats 
and wild mustard, of a most thrifty growth, which often 
climb up the sides of the mountains to a considerable height. 
The soil of the low grounds is a rich, dark loam, that be- 
comes dry like powder in the summer season ; but the winter 
and spring rains soon convert them into blooming gardens 
Irrigation will be needed all over the territory, in order to 

* Exploration du Territoire de 1'Oregon, des Caliibrnies, et de la Mer Ver- 
meille, Tom. II, p. 40. 

t Narrative of the Exploring Expedition, Vol. V, pp. 158, 159. 


render agricultural enterprises eminently successful; but 
where this is practicable, abundant crops will be obtained. 
The tule marshes could readily be converted into rice fields, 
and the interval lands will produce most of the cereal grains 
with but a tolerable culture. Blue flax and hemp are well 
suited to the country. In southern California, the vine (vitis 
vinifera) thrives wonderfully, and great quantities of brandy 
and wine are made : the volcanic soil is well adapted for vine- 
yards ; and the attention of the inhabitants will probably be 
still more directed to the cultivation of the grape, whenever 
the excitement in regard to the gold deposits has subsided. 

California cannot be termed well-wooded, although the high- 
lying sections, between the Pacific and the Sierra Nevada, 
are dotted quite frequently with forests of excellent timber, 
and the flanks of the mountains, and the deep canons open- 
ing into the valleys beneath, are fringed here and there with 
strips of woodland. The courses of the streams, also, are 
usually lined with belts of stately trees, or thickets of shrubby 
undergrowth. The most valuable timber trees are the live- 
oak, ash, pine, cedar, cypress, sycamore, willow, and cotton- 
wood. Of the fruit-trees, pears, apples, plums, peaches, 
oranges, limes, figs, and olives, thrive with great luxuriance, 
where they receive proper care and attention. The pitahaya 
(cactus pitqjaya] is very abundant, and bears a most delicious 
fruit. All the vegetables found m the same latitudes in other 
parts of the world, flourish here equally well. 

The country is rich in flowering plants and creepers. 
Beautiful mosses exhibit their long trails from the tops of the 
highest trees, and the mistletoe shelters itself beneath the 
shade of the noble oak, climbs up its rugged trunk, and 
nestles amid its tufted canopy. Among the grasses on the 
damp flats, and the wild oats of the hilly slopes and moun- 
tain-sides, are mingled tho most valuable bulbous roots, and 
the brightest and sweetest flowers. There are tulips and 
hyacinths; the lily and the narcissus; golden poppies a.nd 
delicately tinted daisies; crimson and scarlet pinks; the fra- 
grant graphalium ; and the medicinal canchalagua. And 


their beauty, too, is enhanced in a great degree, by the fine 
contrast presented by the snow-orowned peaks of the Sierra 
Nevada, that glisten like burnished silver on the very border 
of the dark line of vegetation, and, more than all, by the 
beautiful ultra-marine tints, which, in a clear day, dye the 
whole landscape from the ocean surf to the loftiest mountain 

(10.) All the vessels of the Exploring Squadron having 
assembled at San Francisco, and the surveys having been 
completed, orders were given to make ready for sea on the 
28th of October. On the first day of November, they sailed 
out of the bay, and proceeded to the Sandwich Islands, where 
it was necessary to stop in order to complete the supplies 
required for the return voyage to the United States. The 
whole Squadron w r ere safely anchored in the inner harbor of 
Honolulu, early in the morning of the 18th of November, and 
on the 27th instant, the Vincennes and tender took their 
final departure for Manilla, where they arrived on the 13th 
day of January, 1842. The Porpoise and Oregon were di- 
rected to examine the shoals and reefs west of the Sandwich 
Islands, and then to proceed, through the China seas, to 


(1.) Manilla. Its Inhabitants. Commerce. (2.) The Philippines. (3.) The 
Sooloo Islands. Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants. Productions. 
(4.) Singapore. Character of its Population. Trade. (5.) Voyage Home. 
Cape Town. Arrival in the United States. 

(1.) MANILLA, or Manila, is situated on the island of Luzon, 
upon the east side of the bay of Manilla, and about half a 
mile from the mouth of the Pasig, a small river that winds 
down through a narrow plain, terminating on the east in swell- 
ing hills, which gradually rise into lofty mountains, clothed 
to the summit with the rich vegetation of the Orient. It- 
is built in a circular form, on the south side of the river, and 
is connected with its suburbs on the right bank, by a hand- 
some stone bridge, one hundred and forty-nine varasin length, 
by eight in breadth. It is surrounded by strong walls, with 
six gates, and a broad ditch ; and at the mouth of the river 
there is a small battery, and near the north-western extremity 
of the town, the more imposing citadel of San Jago. 

Most of the houses in the city proper, which is only about 
two miles in circumference, are firmly built of the volcanic 
tufa, the prevalent formation in the vicinity. They are con- 
structed after the Spanish fashion, with azoteas, or flat roofs, 
and balustrades, and are garnished with jutting balconies and 
shady verandas. Few of them exceed two stories in height, 
on account of the frequent occurrence of earthquakes. The 
windows are protected by blinds or shutters, in which are in- 
serted, instead of glass, thin pieces of semi-transparent shell, 
a species of placuna, which, though not admitting the light so 
freely, are valuable in repelling the fierce tropical heat, and, 
unless the dark-eyed senoritas of this second Lima are not 


belied, in permitting them to watch the passers-by without 
being themselves visible. In some of the suburbs, the houses 
are light, airy structures, built wholly of bamboo, in the 
Eastern mode, and resting on thick poles eight or ten feet 
above the ground. 

Churches and monastic establishments are by far the most 
numerous structures of a public character in the city.* The 
cathedral and archbishop's palace are conspicuous buildings 
There is also a missionary college, and several hospitals and 
orphan asylums. On one side of the plaza mayor, is the 
government-house, or palace, in which are the residences of the 
captain general, and the public officers. The square is about 
one hundred yards in breadth and length, and in its centre 
there is a bronze statue of Charles IV, mounted on a marble 
pedestal. The custom-house, or aduana, is a large building, 
constructed at great expense, but entirely out of proportion to 
the business transacted in it, and is tenanted for the greater 
part of the time, only by the numerous officials, whose high- 
sounding names and formal politeness always attract the 
notice of the stranger, and are quite sure to cause many an 
involuntary smile. On the great square is one of the royal 
cigar manufactories, in which three hundred and fifty males 
and two thousand females are employed ; and in the suburb 
of Bidondo, on the opposite side of the river, there is a simi- 
lar establishment, in which there are said to be eight thousand 
females constantly kept at work. Each female makes about 
two hundred cigars in a day. The manufacture is a gov- 
ernment monopoly, and the annual revenue derived from the 
two establishments is over half a million of dollars. 

The streets are well laid out, and have carriage-ways, har- 
dened by a mixture of quartz with the loamy soil. There 
are paths, also, for persons travelling on foot an unusual 
mode of conveyance, by the way, with the aristocracy of " the 
celebrated and forever royal .city of Manilla," by which son- 
orous distinction the capital of the Philippines is honored in 

* This is not to be wondered at, when we consider that Manilla contains up- 
wards of seven thousand clergymen, either natives or Europeans. 


the charter of 1571. From the river, there are a number of 
side cuts diverging in every direction, that extend up into 
the town and suburbs, like the canals of Venice, which serve 
instead of streets, and are constantly filled with bancas, or 
small boats, plying to and fro, from one quarter of the city to 
the other. 

Outside the walls, and beyond the suburbs, are fine car- 
riage drives, bordered with rice-grounds and cotton planta- 
tions, with wide-spreading fields covered with the fragrant 
coffee-bush, with clumps of graceful cocoas, whose long 
branches bend with the weight of the ripening fruit, with 
gardens blooming with flowers and redolent of perfume, and 
with beautiful groves, where the areca,* the mango, and the 
orange, mingle their branches lovingly together, and 

" The tamarind from the dew 
Sheathes its young fruit, yet green." 

Within the limits of the city-proper, there are only twelve 
or fourteen thousand inhabitants ; but the total population, 
inclusive of all the suburbs, is estimated at about one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand, much the larger proportion of whom 
are Ta galas, or natives, who belong to the Malay race. With 
these are intermingled perhaps five thousand Spaniards and 
other Europeans, great numbers of Chinese, Malays, Papuan 
negroes, and the motley descendants of all the different races. 
The Spanish residents have given the tone and character to the 
society, and the higher classes spend their time nearly in the 
same manner as those occupying a similar position in the 
towns of old Spain. The men transact a little business, it 
may be, in the morning, while their wives are engaged at their 
toilets, or sleeping or lolling at home. After dinner, both sexes 
resort to the prado, for a drive or a promenade, amid the groups 
of smokers and gamblers -who may always be seen lounging 
there ; and the evening is spent at the gay tertulia, with its 
guitars, its dances and dulces, its wines and lemonade. 

"* The fruit of the areca is the betel nut, which is quite generally chewed by 
the natives in the East Indies, with the leaf of the pepper-betel, and lime. 

450 THE PHILIPPINES. [1842. 

The Europeans and their descendants dress principally 
after the Spanish fashion, but the ladies are so fond of dis- 
playing their finely- moulded arms and ankles, that sleeves 
and stockings are usually at a discount. The costume of the 
other classes is a sort of mixture of Chinese and Malay, 
blended together in different shades and forms. 

Manilla possesses considerable commerce ; it is the capital 
of the Spanish settlements in the East, and the only port in 
the Philippines with which foreign vessels are allowed to 
traded Its exports amount anually to over two millions of 
dollars, and the imports are about one million seven hundred 
thousand dollars. The former consist mainly of sugar, 
hempen stuffs, rice, indigo, sapan and other woods, tobacco, 
cigars, hides, ebony, coffee, cotton, and tortoise-shell. The prin- 
cipal articles imported are iron, and all kinds of manufactured 
goods. The harbor of Manilla, which is formed by the river 
Pasig, is accessible to merchant vessels of six hundred tons 
burden, and those of three hundred tons can ascend as high 
up as the bridge. Beyond the bridge the stream is navigable 
for small boats to the lake in which it rises, a distance of 
about nine miles. Large vessels anchor in the roads, at from 
one to two miles off the shore, and discharge their cargoes 
into lighters, except during the prevalence of the south-west- 
ern monsoons, in the months of July, August, and Septem- 
ber, when they are obliged to anchor at Cavite, six or seven 
miles from the mouth of the river, where they are sheltered 
by a long neck of land from, the fury of the winds. 

(2.) The Philippine Islands were discovered by Magellan, in 
1521, and were first claimed by the Spanish in 1565. They 
are the most valuable colonial possession belonging to Spain, 
with the exception of the island of Cuba. They lie between 
the parallels of 5 and 20 north latitude, and the 117th and 
124th meridians of eastern longitude ; being separated on the 
north, from the Batanes and Basher islands, by the Balintang 

* Previous to the Spanish invasion, Manilla was a native town of some im- 
portance. It was taken in 1571, when the Spaniards made it the capital of 
their Eastern possessions. 

1842.] PRODUCTIONS. 451 

channel, and on the south, from the Sooloo archipelago, by 
the strait of Basillan. The total area of all the islands is one 
hundred and thirty-five thousand square miles, and the num- 
ber of inhabitants is supposed to exceed three millions com- 
posed, in great part, of Tagalas, Chinese, Malays, and Papuan 
Negroes, with comparatively few Europeans. Luzon, the 
largest of the group, is of irregular shape, and is about four hun- 
dred and fifty miles in length, and varies in width, from ten, to 
one hundred and forty miles. The other principal islands are 
Mindoro, Samar, Panay, Magindanao, and Palawan, all lying 
to the south of Luzon. 

These islands are all of volcanic formation, and on Luzon 
there are several active volcanoes. The coasts are bold and 
rocky, but indented with numerous bays and gulfs. In the 
interior there are lofty mountainous ridges, the peaks of which 
sometimes attain an elevation of six thousand feet. But the 
proportion of arable land is large, and is usually of great fer- 
tility. The hilly districts are well wooded ; and the savannas 
in the vicinity of the numerous lakes, of which most of the 
islands have several, and the plains and valleys along the 
rivers and small streams, are covered with a deluge of vegeta- 
tion with succulent grasses and perfumed flowers, with aro- 
matic shrubs and luscious fruits, and with all the rich products 
of a tropical clirne. Most conspicuous among the last are the 
sugar-cane, rice, indigo, tobacco, coffee, hemp, millet, maize, 
and the shrub-cotton. The sugar of the Philippines is excel- 
lent, and is the most important article of exportation. Of rice 
there are several varieties, both for the uplands and the low 
grounds ; this is the chief reliance of the inhabitants for food, and 
large quantities of it are shipped to China. Tobacco is well 
adapted to the soil and climate, but its production is entirely 
controlled by the government, as it is allowed to be manufac- 
tured only into cigars. Of the hemp, which is obtained from 
a species of plantain called abaca, excellent cordage and a 
kind of strong, coarse cloth, are made by the Malays. 

Bananas, cocoas, shaddocks, pine-apples, the bread-fruit, the 
areca, the clove-tree, and the mango, are in great plenty, and 

452 CLIMATE. [1842 

are either indigenous or have been introduced and cultivated 
with success. Sago, of a very fine quality, is produced in 
abundance on Luzon, but is not exported to any great extent. 
Sapan-wood and bamboo are the principal timber trees. The 
former is a species of Caesalpinia ; it is highly valued as 
a dye-wood, and in its color and properties resembles Brazil- 
wood. The bamboo grows to an extraordinary size, the bolls 
of the trees often being as thick as a man's thigh. 

There are no beasts of prey on the islands, but caymans 
are plentiful in the rivers and lakes. Wild fowl, and the do- 
mestic kinds, are quite numerous. There are also great 
quantities of swallows, whose nests are esteemed edible by the 
Chinese and Malays, and form an important article of traffic. 
The buffalo is a native of the islands, and was once used as a 
beast of burden, and in the cultivation of the soil ; but latterly 
oxen have been introduced, as the former was found to be too 
sluggish in his movements, by the industrious Malays', who are 
the principal tillers of the ground. Horses, of a small but hardy 
breed, goats, sheep, and pigs, are raised in considerable num- 
bers. All kinds of edible fish, the pearl oyster, and the biche 
de mer, abound in the vicinity of the islands, and the land 
tortoise is also very abundant. 

On account of the great extent of these islands, the climate 
is quite variable, notwithstanding they lie so near the Equator. 
At Manilla, the mean temperature of the hot season, from 
August to October, is about 82, though the heat is some- 
times exceedingly oppressive to those unaccustomed to a tropi- 
cal climate ; and for the remaining part of the year, the ther- 
mometer ranges but little above or below 70. The south- 
western monsoon always brings an abundance of rain, and the 
savannas and valleys along the rivers are then inundated with 
water ; to which circumstance the great prevalence of agues 
and dysentery, especially in the marshy districts, is attributed. 
While the north-eastern monsoon continues, it is usually quite 
dry. From May till December, Luzon is subject to be vis- 
ited by the destructive typhoons of the Chinese Seas. Ma- 
nilla has several times suffered from earthquakes, though 

1842.] PRODUCTIONS. 453 

they have rarely damaged any other buildings except the 

Nearly all the trade of the Philippines is carried on through 
Manilla, the extent of whose commerce has been already 
mentioned. Besides the manufacture of cigars, under the 
auspices of the government, which gives employment to so 
many of the native females, great numbers of them occupy 
themselves, principally at home, in weaving cotton and hempen 
cloths and silks, and in plaiting rice straw, and splints of 
wood, into hats, cigar-cases, and matting, of various patterns. 
From a species of pine-apple, produced in abundance on the 
island of Panay, a thin, gossamer fabric, called pina, of a yel- 
lowish color, is manufactured also by the women. The web 
of the pina is so fine, that it is necessary to weave it in a 
room from which all currents of air are excluded, by means 
of gauze screens placed in the windows. It is richly embroi- 
dered, and made into dresses, scarfs, caps, collars, cuffs, and 
pocket-handkerchiefs, which are very beautiful, and highly ex- 
pensive, and much sought after by foreigners and residents 
who possess the means to purchase them. 

The Philippines are nominally under the dominion of Spain, 
and her authority is exerted throughout the greater part of 
the group. Two of the largest islands, however, Palawan and 
Magindanao, are chiefly inhabited by Malays and Papuans, 
who have never been subjected by the Spanish, and claim to 
be entirely independent of them, acknowledging no allegiance 
except to their own chiefs. The group is divided into thirty 
provinces, sixteen of which are on the island of Luzon. At 
the head of the government, as the representative of the Span- 
ish sovereign, is the captain-general, or governor, who resides 
at Manilla, and deputes his authority to lieutenant-governors 
on the other important islands. Every province has its 
alcalde, and is sub-divided into pueblos, each of which has its 
separate intendant. 

(3.) But little time was spent by the American vessels at 
Manilla. They left the bay on the evening of the 21st of 
January, and proceeded to the southward. Passing through 


the straits of Mindoro, the tender directed her course to- 
wards Singapore, and the Vincennes bore away for the 
Sooloo archipelago, the survey of which, as far as was prac- 
ticable, was one of the objects of the expedition ; and on the 
3d day of February she came to anchor in Soung Harbor, 
at the island of Sooloo, in latitude 6 01' N. and longitude 
120 55' 51" E. 

The Sooloo Islands extend in a north-easterly direction, 
between the 4th and 7th parallels of north latitude, and 
120 and 123 eastern longitude. There are about sixty 
different islands, in the centre of which is Sooloo, the largest 
and most important, like a hen in the midst of her brood. 
The population of the group is about one hundred and thirty 
thousand. The inhabitants are of the Malay race. Their 
complexion is of a light tawny color, and their hair black, 
soft, and thick. They are tall, and well-formed, and have 
tolerably fine features. In character they are not courageous, 
yet they are confirmed thieves and pirates. They are pas- 
sionate and treacherous, and much addicted to sensual pleas- 
ures, and to smoking opium and chewing the betel nut. 
Most of them are Mohammedans, and their sovereign is called 
a sultan ; his authority is limited, however, by the power and 
influence possessed by the subordinate chiefs, who are called 

In their manners and customs the Sooloos differ but little 
from the other nations in the East Indies. They build their 
houses of bamboo, elevated on poles if near the water side, 
or imbosomed amid thickets of cocoas. Their dress resem- 
bles that of the Chinese, consisting in the main of loose 
calico gowns, silk sashes, wide breeches and slippers ; the 
attire of a man not being considered complete unless he has 
a huge kreese, or knife, stuck in his belt, in a wooden scab- 
bard. Polygamy is not generally, practiced, though the sul- 
tan has a number of wives of whom he is quite proud. The 
women a re not generally celebrated for their chastity, yet it 
is said that they possess, great influence over their hu*l ends. 
Sago is one of the principal products of Ihe islands, and 


is the chief article of food upon which the inhabitants sub- 
sist. All the tropical fruits and plants nourish here in great 
luxuriance and beauty. Rice, sweet potatoes, and yams, of 
the finest quality, are very abundant. The commerce of the 
islands is principally carried on with the neighboring islands 
of Celebes, Mindanao, and Borneo, and occasionally with the 
Chinese traders who visit the archipelago. The most im- 
portant products which they have for trade are pearls, 
mother-of-pearl, and cowries. The cowry is the shell of a 
small muscle, (cyprecb moneta), of an oval shape, and 
usually about one and a half inches long. It is extensively 
used throughout the East Indies, instead of small coin, 
though the value affixed to the shells is but small, being only 
about three cents per pound.* 

Captain Wilkes found himself so limited in time, that he 
was unable to remain but for two or three days at Soung. 
As this was the residence of the sultan, he had an inter- 
view with him, and succeeded in concluding a treaty pro- 
viding for the protection of American merchant vessels trading 
in this quarter against the attacks of the Sooloo pirates, and 
from molestation and ill-treatment when they touched at the 
islands. Little faith can be placed on the ability or disposi- 
tion of the sultan to control the crews of the piratical proas, 
bat if the first infraction of the treaty be visited with severe 
and speedy punishment, a most salutary effect will, without 
doubt, be produced. The Vincennes left Soung Harbor on the 
6th of February, and crossing the beautiful Sooloo sea, whose 
waters are rarely disturbed by the swell of the ocean, passed 
through the straits of Balabac, and in the afternoon of the 
19th instant joined the other vessels of the Squadron then 
lying at anchor in Singapore Roads. 

(4.) Singapore is one of the most important commercial 
emporiums, or entrepots in the East. It belongs to Great 
Britain, and was purchased of the Sultan of Johore by the 
East India company, in 1819. It is situated on the south side 
of a small island at the southern extremity of the Malay pen - 

* Cowries are found in great plenty everywhere in the Indian seas. 

456 SINGAPORE. [1842. 

insula, from which it is separated by a narrow strait, one 
quarter of a mile in width, in latitude 1 17' N., and longi- 
tude 103 51' E. In the centre of the town are the dwell- 
ings of the merchants and the military cantonments ; the 
Malay quarter is on the east, and the Chinese quarter, which 
is the business part of the city, on the west. The streets are 
well laid out, and all the better class of houses are built of 
brick. The only public buildings of any importance are the 
government house, jail, custom-house, the Armenian church, 
the Missionary chapel, and the Singapore Institution, founded 
for the purpose of affording instruction in the Eastern lan- 

The island on which the town is situated is composed prin- 
cipally of laterite, sandstone, and granite. Iron ore is abun- 
dant, and tin is also said to exist. The island is twenty-seven 
miles long from east to west, and eleven miles wide. The 
surface is for the most part low and undulating, here and 
there rising into* dome-shaped hills, whose summits are ster- 
ile, but whose slopes are thickly covered with jungle patches, 
wln'le the intermediate plains and valleys are carpeted with a 
most profuse vegetation, whose freshness and beauty are pre- 
served throughout the year by the frequent showers. The 
climate is hot, but the range of the thermometer is unusually 
limited, being only from 71 to 89. Nutmegs, coffee, pep- 
per, and gambier catechu, thrive very well on the island, but 
the clove does not seem adapted to the soil or climate. Most 
of the principal tropical fruits and vegetables are raised in 
considerable quantities. There are no quadrupeds on the 
island, except a few small deer, the otter, the porcupine, 
one or two others of no great importance, and the domestic 
animals that have been introduced. Birds and reptiles are 
quite plentiful, but the swarms of insects that usually con- 
stitute so great an annoyance in Eastern countries are un- 
known. White ants, however, are abundant, and exceedingly 
destructive to the crops in the interior. 

There are about thirty thousand inhabitants on 1ho island, 
three fourths of whom are Chinese and Malnvs, an-.i the re- 

1842.] VOYAGE HOME. 457 

mainder are natives of the East Indies with a few Europe- 
ans. Every variety of costume is witnessed in the streets, 
and the manners and customs of the inhabitants differ as 
widely as their dress. Chinese and Malay artisans pursue 
their occupations in the streets of Singapore, and the salt 
river or inlet on which the town is situated, is crowded with 
junks and sampans, all freighted with their living cargoes. 
The principal language spoken among business men is the 
Malay, though a majority of the shopkeepers, and the most 
valuable part of the laboring population, are Chinese. 

It is chiefly, perhaps only, as the entrepot for the com- 
merce of the adjacent countries, that Singapore possesses so 
much importance. It is diminutive in area ; produces but 
few articles of any moment ; manufactures nothing except 
pearl sago, agricultural implements and arms, in small quan- 
tities, and consumes but little, yet it is situated directly on 
the track of communication between the commercial towns 
of eastern and western Asia, and its annual imports and ex- 
ports each amount to not far from seven millions of dollars. 

(5.) While at Singapore, an examination was made into 
the condition of the Flying Fish, when it was found that she 
was totally unfit to make the voyage home, whereupon orders 
were reluctantly given by the commander of the Squadron 
to advertise her for sale at public auction. This was accord- 
ingly done, though much to the regret of those who had ac- 
companied her through so many scenes, and shared with her 
so many perils. 

The crew of the tender having been transferred to the other 
vessels, and the necessary stores obtained for the passage 
home, the little fleet, now consisting of only the Vincennes 
and Porpoise originally belonging to the Squadron, and the 
brig Oregon, sailed from Singapore on the 26th day of Feb- 
ruary. Passing through the Straits of Rhio, Banca, and 
Sunda, they entered the Indian Ocean on the 6th day of 
March. Gladly the heads of the vessels were now turned to 
the west, and all on board, from the highest to the lowest, 
hailed with joy the freshening breezes that bore them rapidly 



onward to the homes and hearts beyond the Atlantic which 
they well knew would almost leap to welcome them. Find- 
ing that the Vineennes made more rapid progress than her 
consorts, Captain Wilkes parted from them on the 7th in- 
stant, having given orders to their commanders to touch at 
Rio Janeiro on their homeward route, while he proceeded di- 
rect to the Cape of Good Hope. 

On the 14th of April, the Vineennes came to anchor in Table 
Bay, amidst the fleet of boats always moving busily hither 
and thither in this harbor, and within view of the dark, red- 
dish battlements, and noble outlines of Table Mountain, upon 
which the Titans might easily have taken their repast, of the 
pretty straw colored cottages at its base surrounded by a rich 
garniture of foliage and flowers, the short and dwarfish houses 
or " lockers" strung along the beach, the frowning castle 
with its mud walls and white tower, the long ox- teams hitched 
to the rude wagons with their gipsy tents, and the groups of 
Malay boys and corlies with their red kerchiefs and funnel- 
shaped straw hats, that form the materiel and personnel of 
Cape Town. But few days were spent here ; and on the 17th 
instant, the Vineennes again got under way. On the 1st of 
May, she arrived off St. Helena, at which the Porpoise and 
Oregon had previously touched. Delaying but for a short 
time at this island, she soon shaped her course for the United 
States, and on the afternoon of the 10th day of June, 1842, 
was cozily moored at the Brooklyn navy yard, where the 
Porpoise and Oregon also arrived within a few days of each 
other, thus terminating in safety, though it had been check- 
ered with divers vicissitudes, their adventurous cruise of four 
years' duration. 





(1.) Destruction of the Cities of the Plain. Traditions. Peculiar Position and 
Character of the Dead Sea. Unsuccessful Attempts to Explore it. (2.) Pro- 
jected Expedition of Lieutenant Lynch. Departure from New York. 
Smyrna. (3.) Firman of the Sultan. Beirut. St. Jean d' Acre. (4.) Prep- 
arations for the Overland March. The Escort. Bedawin. (5.) Incidents 
by the Way. Arabian Villages. (6.) Arrival at the Sea of Galilee. 

(1.) CENTURIES have been multiplied upon centuries, cycle 
after cycle has been numbered on the dial-plate of time, since 
the setting sun smiled for the last time on the fertile valley 
of Siddim, and threw its bright effulgence of mingled purple 
and gold far and wide over the groves, and gardens, and vine- 
yards, blooming with freshness and beauty, that surrounded 
the lovely cities of the plain. Ere the morning's dawn, a little 
group, but four in number- the father, well stricken in years, 
and the wife of his bosom, with two young daughters, the pledges 
of their love might have been seen hastening for their lives tow- 
ards the gates of Zoar. None dared to look behind them, for the 
anger of the Most High was kindled none save the mother, 
who, moved either by the curiosity perhaps unjustly attributed 
to her sex, or the yearning- of her heart for the daughters and 
sons-in-law she had left behind her, turned to cast one more 
look on the fair scene which had been marred, by the vices of 
man, and was now doomed of God. In an instant, the foun- 
tains of life were sealed up, and her frame hardened into 


a statue ; she no longer followed in the footsteps of her fleeing 
companions, but, transfixed to the spot a pillar of salt she 
stood there, where her feet had been planted, a lasting monu- 
ment of the indignation of her Maker, and a continual warn- 
ing against disobedience. 

And now the fire and brimstone descended out of heaven, 
and " the garden of the Lord," the cities and their inhabitants, 
and the plain and everything it contained, sank beneath the 
burning and hissing waves, that surged up to the valley of 
El-Ghor; Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim the 
people in the midst of their crimes the substance which they had 
hoarded their flocks and their herds the fields and gardens 
teeming with the products of the earth, the fruits and the 
flowers, the noble groves of palms and sycamores, and the vine 
and the olive with their load of blushing honors, all disap- 
peared forever -"and, lo ! the smoke of the country went up 
as the smoke of a furnace !" 

For thousands of years, sacred and profane history have 
preserved the traditions connected with this event. The 
chosen people of God were driven from the homes of their 
fathers by the legions of Rome ; the latter was deprived of 
her conquests by the Saracen ; and he, in his turn, was suc- 
ceeded by the Turk. But ever since Titus planted his eagles 
in triumph on the crumbling ramparts of Jerusalem, and from 
the hour in which the edict of Adrian made the Jew an out- 
cast and a wanderer,* whithersoever he has gone, wherever 
he has sought an abiding-place whether amid the snows and 
frosts of northern Europe, or the soft and voluptuous climes 
along the classic shores of the Mediterranean whether in the 
crowded capitals of the Old World, or the expanding cities of 
the New he has clung, in every trial and vicissitude, through 
every peril and persecution, to the memories that time has 
hallowed, and which his religion has sanctified. 

During all this period, too, Palestine herself has not been 
without witnesses. Though the Infidel is in possession of 

* Jerusalem was taken by Titus in the 70th year of the Christian Era ; but 
the Jews were not banished from Judea until A. D 136, 


the desert plains, and the still fertile valleys, fanned but rarely 
by the soft winds that blow 

" Sabean odors from the spicy shore 
Of Araby the Blest," 

though new customs and new institutions have taken the 
place of the old, the foot of the Gentile has not trampled out 
the evidences that testify to this occurrence ; and the scenes 
and associations endeared to the Christian, though here and 
there partially veiled in mystery, yet bask beneath the same 
sunshine that lighted the nephew of Abraham in his flight 
from that valley of wickedness and sin. The follower of Is- 
lam continues, to this day, to hand down to his children the 
legends of the stranger race that once inhabited the soil which 
he now treads as its master ; and the fierce Bedawi, as he 
looks down from the o'ershadowing heights upon the dank pool 
lying inclosed between the barren hills of Judea and the stony 
mountains of Arabia Petrea, utters the name of Bahr-Lut* 
From the earliest period, the peculiar position and char- 
acter of the Salt, or Dead Sea, have attracted the notice of 
men of learning and intelligence. In ancient times, Stephen 
of Byzantium, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Pliny and Josephus, 
regarded it as an anomaly in the physical composition of the 
world, while Justin and Tertullian pointed to it as affording 
the most conclusive evidence in favor of the great truths of 
Christianity. In later days, the scholars and savans of 
Europe and America have made repeated efforts to obtain 
the most careful and accurate information in regard to this 
singular body of water, by personal examination and observa- 
tion ; and, in connection therewith, to ascertain by what mys- 
terious agency, or in what mysterious manner, the judgment of 
God was carried into effect in the destruction of the cities of the 
plain. Some of them have been partially successful, and others 
have become disheartened almost at the commencement of their 
task. Pocooke, Maundrell, Shaw, and Burckhardt, Abbe 

*Sea of Lot. 


Martine, Chateaubriand, Lamartine, and the Count de Bertou, 
among Europeans, and Stephens and Robinson of our own 
countrymen, have thrown a flood of light upon the subject. But 
all these travellers were, in one respect or another, deficient in 
the facilities that might have enabled them to perfect their 
investigations, and a great deal was still left undetermined as 
the fruitful subject of conjecture. An accurate survey of the 
lake, and a critical examination into the configuration of its 
shores, were essential. This was attempted by private in- 
dividuals, but the results were neither complete, nor reliable. 
Two successive efforts were also made by British officers, but 
they too failed ; and it was reserved for Lieutenant William 
F. Lynch, of the navy of the United States, with the means 
placed at his disposal by his government, to achieve a far 
greater measure of success, in many particulars, than those 
who had preceded him. 

(2.) In the spring of 1847, the idea of conducting an Ex- 
pedition to the Holy Land, to circumnavigate the Lake As- 
phaltites. or Dead Sea, and explore the river ordan, suggested 
itself to Lieutenant Lynch. The project which he had con- 
ceived was immediately laid before the Secretary of the Navy 
and the President of the United States, and received a favor- 
able consideration. Instructions were accordingly issued to 
him on the last day of July to commence his preparations ; 
and on the 2d of October following, the store-ship Supply was 
placed under his orders, to convey the men whom he had 
selected to accompany him, with the necessary stores, to the 
Syrian coast. 

Besides furnishing himself and the members of his party, 
with a liberal supply of weapons, including a large blunder- 
buss, as a protection against the attacks of the savage Beda- 
win of the desert, the commander of the projected Expedition 
received permission to have two metallic boats constructed, 
one of copper and the other of galvanized iron, together with 
a couple of trucks and sets of harness, it being the intention 
to transport them overland from the Mediterranean to the sea 


of Galilee.* To these were added suitable tents lor camping, 
cooking utensils, gum-elastic water bags, books and instru- 

Every requisite preparation having been made, on the 20th 
of November, the Supply dropped down from the Brooklyn 
Navy Yard, where she had been fitted for the Expedition, to 
the anchorage off the Battery. The unfavorable weather 
detained her here for several days, but on the 26th instant it 
changed for the better, and she stood down the Narrows and 
thence out to sea, with her sails distended by the prosperous 
breezes that wafted her rapidly along toward the storied 
land whither she was bound. Making brief stoppings at Gib- 
raltar, Port Mahon, and Malta, on the 16th of February, 
1848, she anchored in the harbor of Smyrna, the Ismir of 
the Infidel, lying in the midst of an amphitheatre of lofty 
hills, towering above which is the ancient Mom Pagus, on 
whose slopes are spread out the blooming environs, and the 
perfumed groves of citrons, oranges, and lemons, that sur- 
round it; on the north, the Mysian Olympus rearing its 
hoary summit to the clouds, on the south the peaks of Tmo- 
lus clothed with their dark canopies of sombre oaks and fune- 
real pines and melancholy cypresses, and between them a 
varied scene of floral loveliness, green hills fringed with the 
richest vegetation, intermingled with delightful valleys, where 
the nectarine and almond, the fig and plantain, the acacia, 
the palm, the olive, the mulberry and the mimosa, flourish 
and blossom in an atmosphere which the keen frosts of winter 
can never penetrate, and by the water's side the long lines' 
of flat roofed houses, some well built of brick, and others 
shabbily constructed of planks, and offering a strange contrast 
to the many colored domes and lofty minarets that surmount 
the temples of the Moslem, while far as the eye can reach in 
the interior the landscape is dotted with pillared kiosks and 
handsome villas sweetly embowered amid the most luxuriant 
foliage, and the most beautiful flowers. 

* The boats were so made, also, that they could be taken to pieces, if neces- 
sary, and carried on the backs of camels. 


466 SMYRNA. [1848 

But however beautiful and impressive may be the view of 
Smyrna from the bay, on entering the city and examining 
it closely, the pleasing illusion is soon dissipated. " The 
Frank quarter is dirty, ill-paved, and narrow ; in addition to 
which, it is almost rendered impassable by long strings of 
camels and porters carrying huge bales erf cotton. The houses 
(excepting those of the consuls and principal merchants, which 
are large and commodious,) are miserably built ; the sides 
consist often of planks, and when of bricks, the walls are too 
thin to keep out cold and damp. Neither windows nor doors- 
are made to shut close ; and if locks appear on the latter, it 
is too much to expect that they should be serviceable. There 
is a great lack of accommodation for travellers. The only inn 
in the town contains but a single decent room ; and the noise 
of revelry is incessant. Beside this, there are three boarding 
houses, but furnished lodgings are not to be procured, nor 
can furniture be hired for a few weeks or months. The appa- 
ratus commonly used for supplying warmth to- the body in 
cold weather is a brazier placed under the table, which is 
covered by a large cloth held by each member of the family 
circle up to the chin, to prevent the heat from escaping. 
Grates and stoves have of late years been introduced, but they 
are still rare, and to be seen only in Frank dwellings. The 
shops are little dark rooms, but tolerably supplied with 
European articles. The ba-zars, with their long covered rows 
of stalls, built with sundry precautions against fire, whose 
ravages are awfully common, are secured by iron gates closed 
at night."* 

Smyrna was one of the cities that contested for the honor 
of being the birthplace of Homer, and, also, the seat of ono 
of the seven apocalyptic churches. It contains not far from 
one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, most of whom 
are Turks, and the remainder Greeks, Jews, Armenians, 
Syrians, and Franks. The society is said to be quite agreeable, 
and strangers are welcomed with a cordiality and hospitality 
not usual in Turkish towns. The Greeks have assimilated 

* Elliott's Travels, Vol. II, p. 39, et seq. 


to the manners of the Franks in many respects, and adopted 
in great part the costumes of western Europe ; but among 
the other classes, with the exception of the Franks and Jews, 
the Turkish dress prevails. A clear white or party-colored 
turban, or the crimson tarbushj with its long silken tassel of 
blue or black hanging down nearly to the shoulder of the 
wearer, is worn by the males, while the females conceal their 
dark locks and sallow faces all but the bright flashing eyes 
beneath the folds of the thin muslin yashmak. When the 
condition of the weather requires it, the former envelop them- 
selves in the grego* a long coat, made of a thick brown or 
maroon-colored woolen stuff, with a hood, and trimmed with 
scarlet cord and facings while the latter hide their embon- 
point figures, and their loose, flowing sacks, and embroidered 
shakshen, beneath their worsted ferajes of yellow or purple, 
with their wide capes drooping down to the ground. The 
Frank adheres to the costume of his fathers, and the Jew still 
hides his sharp, cunning features, and the well-filled gipsire 
in his girdle, beneath the folds of his dark serge or cotton 

For the greater part of the year the climate of Smyrna is 
very pleasant, and tolerably healthy, but in the midsummer 
months, from June till September, the hot rays of the sun are 
concentrated by the surrounding hills, and pour down their 
burning flood upon the city without mitigation. The intense 
heat is ordinarily modified or tempered by the inbat, or sea- 
breeze, but when this fails, the atmosphere is almost suffoca- 
ting. At such times business is entirely suspended, and the 
Franks always confine themselves to the pleasant shades of 
their country houses. 

(3.) Leaving his vessel at Smyrna, Lieutenant Lynch pro- 
ceeded to Constantinople the Stambul of 1he Turk in 
accordance with his instructions, to obtain the permission of 
the Sultan to pass through his dominions in Syria, to the 
Dead Sea. This was cheerfully granted, and the requisite 
firman, addressed to the governors of Saida and Jerusalernj 

468 BEIRUT. [1848. 

was placed in the hands of Lieutenant Lynch, who immedi- 
ately returned to his party. 

On the 10th of March, the Supply again got under way, 
in order to proceed to St. Jean d'Acre, where it was designed 
finally to disembark. Shortly after leaving the Gulf of 
Smyrna, the vessel was driven by a fierce levanter to take 
shelter in the bay of Scio. From thence she attempted to 
pass through the Icarean Sea, but another gale obliged her to 
bear away for Scala Nova, the ancient Neapolis, near which 
are the ruins of Ephesus, and of the famed temple of Diana, 
fired by the ambitious Erostratus. Sail was once more made on 
the 18th instant, and after a pleasant run of near seven hun- 
dred miles, the morning sun of the 25th was discovered fling- 
ing his rosy beams over the noble range of Jebel-Liban, once 
adorned with those gigantic cedars that added beauty and 
strength to the temple of Solomon; bat now "the glory of 
Lebanon has departed," and the clustering firs alone conceal 
beneath their umbrella-like canopies the deep ravines and 
beetling precipices beneath, and the caves and sepulchres in 
which the Jews and Christians sheltered themselves in former 
days from the fury of the persecutor, while far above them, 
in the clear sunlight, glistens the eternal snow. 

Early in the morning of the 25th, the Supply anchored off 
the town of Beirut, in order to enable Lieutenant Lynch to 
have an interview with the Pasha, and obtain the requisite 
instructions to the subordinates of the latter to afford him 
assistance and protection on his route through the coun- 
try, if necessary, and to dispatch a messenger to the Pasha of 
Damascus for a similar purpose. Beirut is a small town, 
with a population of only twelve or fifteen thousand, consist- 
ing principally of Turks, Druses, Armenians, and Franks 
In the days of antiquity it was known as Berytus (Bygvios), 
and was celebrated for its law school, established by Alexan- 
der Severus. In the legends of the Crusaders it is famous 
as the scene of St. George's victory over the dragon. It 
was for a long time under the dominion of the Roman Em- 
perors, but subsequently fell into the hands of the Saracens. 

1848.] DESCRIPTION. 469 

During the crusades it was frequently captured by the 
champions of the Cross, and as often retaken by the Infidel 
In the 17th century it became the capital of the renowned 
Druse Emir, Fakir-el-Din, and was afterwards attached by 
the Pasha of Acre to his jurisdiction, though it now consti- 
tutes, with the adjacent country, a separate pashalic. 

Beirut contains no public buildings of importance, and its 
fiouses and bazars are much like those of Smyrna Turkish 
towns always presenting a singular uniformity in this respect 
It is the seaport for the exportation of the cotton and silks 
of the Druses, which are manufactured here in considerable 
quantities. The silk goods of Beirut, and especially the 
sashes, are highly esteemed. The surrounding country is 
fertile, and is well watered by the river of Beirut (Nahr- 
Beirut). There are extensive plantations of mulberry trees 
in the vicinity,* upon the leaves of which the silk- worms are 
fed, and interspersed among them are gardens and groves, 
richly garnished with flowers, and well stocked with the 
orange and the olive, the almond and the tamarind. The 
fieat of the atmosphere is often intense, yet it is considerably 
modified by the numerous wells in the town and suburbs; 
and as the streets are kept much cleaner than is common in 
Eastern towns, it is usually a great deal more healthy. 

The costume of the inhabitants of Beirut differs but little 
from that noticed in Smyrna. The learned Druse (akout) 
does not lay aside his white turban, nor does his wife ever 
part with her ungainly tantur, but the Turkish dress, in 
some or all of its features, prevails among every class except 
the Franks. The tanlur is a singular, not to say hideous 
appendage, peculiar to the Druses women, though occasionally 
seen among their neighbors, the Maronites ; it is worn only 

* The mulberry plants are here set in rows six or eight feet apart, and tney 
.are always cut off at a corresponding height, none but the fresh twigs being 
allowed to remain. The owners of the plantations allow the peasants one fourth 
of the silk for reeling it, gathering the leaves, and taking care of the worms. 
The cocoons are kept in reed inclosures, called sheds, though they have no 

470 ST. :SAN D'ACRE. [18481 

by those who are married, or by the unmarried of the highest 
rank, and when once assumed is never laid aside. It is a 
tube, made of tin, or plated silver, or gilt, according to the 
means of the wearer, about eighteen inches long, and resem- 
bling a horn. At the base it is from three to four inches ia 
diameter, and tapers gradually to the point where it is about 
an inch across. It is fastened to the head by means of a 
spring, balanced by three heavy tassels hanging down on the 
Opposite side, and projects either from the centre of the foro^ 
head or from one side, at an angle of forty-five degrees, like 
the horn of a unicorn. From the tip, depends a white 
transparent veil, that floats down to the breast, and serves 
to conceal the features when desired. 

In the afternoon of the 28th of March, the Supply once 
more got under sail, and, continuing her southerly course, 
past the memorable cities of Sidon and Tyre, anchored before 
the walled village of Haifa, under Mount Carrnel. This- 
steep promontory forms the south-western extremity of the 
bay of Acre, and is from fifteen to eighteen hundred feet 
above the level of the sea. Far to the east stretches the 
plain of Jezrael, the ancient Megiddo, so often dyed with the 
blood of the warring hosts who have here contended for 
the victory, while to the south lies the lovely valley of 
Sharon, inclosed between the hills of Samaria and Galilee^ 
and adorned with the beautiful flowers of the cistus which 
have so often elicited the admiration of the traveller and the 
encomiums of the poet. On the opposite side of the bay, at 
a distance of sixteen miles, is St. Jean d'Acre, the Ptolemais 
of the Greek, and the Akka of the Saracen ;* before whose 
walls the Lion-Hearted Richard and his gallant knights per- 
formed so many deeds of high emprise, and in later years the 

* Upon the site of St. Jean d'Acre stood the ancient Hebrew, or Phoenician? 
city, called Accho. From this the name of Akka was derived by the Saracens, 
and not from the church of St. Jean d'Acre, as Lieutenant Lynch erroneously 
supposes (Narrative, p. 122.) St. Jean d'Acre, the modern name of the town., 
was, of course, derived from the magnificent cathedral erected by the knights hos- 
pitallers of St. John. 


" Child of Destiny," the future Emperor of France, was so 
completely foiled. It is famous, too, as the scene of the last 
desperate but useless struggle of the Knights of St. John. 

St. Jean d'Acre once boasted of its handsome structures, 
uniting the grandeur and massiveness of ancient Gothic 
architecture, with the light arabesque work of the Saracen. 
All its fine public and private buildings were battered down 
and nearly destroyed, during the siege by Ibrahim Pasha, in 
1832, with the single exception of the white marble mosque 
of Djezzar Pasha, which is of a quadrangular form, and 
surmounted with a beautiful cupola supported on pillars 
brought from the ruins of CsBsarea. The cube-shaped houses 
are mostly built of stone, with flat rnud roofs which form 
agreeable promenades. 

(4.) The members of the exploring party, consisting of 
Lieutenant Lynch, Lieutenant Dale, Passed Midshipman 
Aulick, and eleven others, petty officers and seamen, landed 
at Haifa with their baggage and equipment not forgetting 
the two boats on the morning of the 31st of March, and 
encamped by the sea-shore.^ The Supply then sailed for 
Jaffa, the ancient Joppa, and the seaport to Jerusalem, from 
whence the " military chest" of the Expedition was for- 
warded to the British Consul at the ancient capital of 

Horses having been procured from Acre, the party com- 
menced moving from their encampment on the morning of 
the 1st of April. But the Arabian steeds seemed to be con- 
scious that the day was a privileged one, and so determined to 
fool their new friends " to the top of their bent." The boats 
were secured upon the trucks, and the horses duly har- 
nessed ; but when the word was given to start, the latter 
showed off all their fine points with perfect delight, except 
that of go-ahead-ativeness. They kicked and pranced, and 
foamed and reared, but not an inch forward would they 

* In addition to the above, Henry Bedlow, Esq., and Dr. Henry J. Anderson, 
joined the party as volunteers, and rendered efficient service in conducting the 
scientific examinations made by the Expedition. 

472 THE ESCORT. [1848 

budge. Coaxing and beating were alike found of no avail, 
and the boats were then taken off and sent across the bay by 
water. The difficulty was not yet removed, however, and 
the brutes still protested against the unaccustomed load. 
Backed by a Bedawi on the desert they could outstrip the 
wind, but they were wholly unused to draught, and had no 
mind to change positions with the patient ox, and the stub- 
born, yet generally good natured mule. Still, after a long 
and tiresome struggle, by dint of supplication and entreaty, 
intermingled with kicks and cuffs without number, they 
were finally forced along within a couple of miles of St. 
Jean d'Acre. 

While the necessary preparations for the overland march were 
being completed, the party encamped on the river Namaane, 
or Belus. After a protacted and fruitless parley with Sa'id 
Bey, the governor of Acre, a private treaty was concluded 
with the Sherif Hazza of Mecca, a lineal descendant of the 
Prophet, and 'Akil Aga el Hassee, a powerful border sheikh, 
who agreed to accompany the expedition, and to bring with 
them ten spears, for a reasonable compensation. The Sherif 
was a fine old Arab nobleman, small in stature, but lithe and 
active in his movements, possessing intelligent features and a 
dark Egyptian complexion. 'Akil was a sort of Murat of the 
desert, a model of personal beauty, and a noble specimen of 
the Arabian Bedawin. His complexion was a soft olive, 
whose feminine appearance was relieved by the dark flashing 
eye and swelling nostril indicative of the warrior's soul that 
beat within his bosom. In form he was another Antinous, 
presenting a muscular development in which elegance and 
strength were beautifully and harmoniously combined. Attired 
in a scarlet cloth pelisse, with its rich embroidery of gold the 
dark masses of his glossy black hair half concealed beneath 
his crimson tarbush and the long ataghan in his girdle 
ready to be clutched at a moment's warning he seemed 
equally well fitted to enter the lists of Venus or of Mars. 

In describing the Bedawin whom he saw during his 
tour through the Holy Land, the Rev. Mr. Fisk remarks, 

1848.] BEDAWI ARAB. 473 

that " they are for the most part, straight, upright, and grace- 
fully formed. I have never met," says he, " with a lame or 
deformed Bedawi. They are generally of a spare habit, mus- 
cular and sinewy. Their skins are of a fine, rich brown, very 
like the color of the carefully roasted coffee-berry. Frequently 
their skin has almost a transparent appearance, and is capable 
of exhibiting emotion, in the rushing of the blood to the cheeks. 
Their eyes are well set in their heads, and are sparkling, burn- 
ing, quick, and intelligent. They have mostly thin spare 
beards which they wear untrimrned. They possess immense 
energy and activity, and are capable of enduring fatigue ; all 
of which their most abstemious habits tend to cherish. Their 
step, when in the desert, is firm, agile, and graceful. They 
walk as nature intended. They have never been drilled into 
awkwardness by dancing and posture masters. ' Every muscle, 
tendon and sinew, performs its proper office. If asked to 
mention, the best specimen of untutored, manly gracefulness 
of bearing, I have ever met with, I would try and depict a 
young, healthy Bedawi Arab. And their simple attire is as 
graceful as their persons, though consisting of but slender 
and uncostly materials. Next to the skin they wear a tunic 
or shirt of unbleached, coarse linen, open at the throat and 
chest, and extending a little below the knees, the legs being 
left bare. The sleeves are wide and flowing, and admit of 
being thrown up to the shoulder, so as to leave the arm unin- 
cumbered, when needed for the use of the sabre. This gar- 
ment is gathered round the loins by a broad, stiff leather 
girdle, in which is fixed the long, crooked knife, with a blade 
of about eighteen inches long a fearful weapon in a dextrous 
hand. From the girdle is suspended, also, the flint and steel 
for firing their matchlock guns ; and also a pouch for tobaccco, 
commonly made of lizard skin. Slung from the neck, they 
wear a belt containing several rounds of ammunition ; while 
by the side is usually suspended a strong iron-hilted sabre, 
and behind the shoulders a long matchlock gun, sometimes 
ornamented with bits of mother-of-pearl. On the head they 
wear the tarbush, or skull cap, made of crimson felt, with a 


blue tassel at the crown, round which is bound a shawl or 
turban. Some, instead of the latter, wear the keffieh, which 
is a handkerchief, often of rich colors, placed diagonally open 
over the head. The foremost corner is thrown back, and the 
whole is left to fall in graceful folds over the shoulder, and 
bound round the temples by a fillet of camel's hair twisted 
into a rope. This latter head-dress is far more common 
among the Arabs on both sides of the river Jordan, than 
among those of the more southern parts of the Desert. The 
attire of all Bedawin, except the very poorest, is completed 
by an outside flowing mantle, of a very graceful shape some- 
times blue, now and then crimson but more commonly of a 
fawn color, marked with broad stripes of dark brown. The 
former are generally of woolen cloth ; the latter of camel's 
hair. They commonly go barefoot ; but those who can afford 
such a luxury, have sandals of fish skin, which are made at 
Tor, in the peninsula of Sinai. They, however, use them 
only occasionally, when the sands are intensely hot, or the 
mountain passes sharp and rugged. With such a costume 
so picturesque and graceful, it is no wonder that they should 
produce, at first, a startling effect upon a European mind, 
when seen in connection with their wild-bird-o > -th <> -wilderness 
bearing. Their garments appear as if they had never been 
new they are so frayed and worn ; and often are little better 
than rags yet not the less graceful for that ; and theii 
weapons, doubtless, have passed from father to son, for several 

The remarks of Mr. Fisk are more particularly applicable 
to those tribes inhabiting the peninsula of Sinai ; the male 
members of which usually compose the escorts of caravans, 
or of parties of travellers, proceeding to Jerusalem, by way 
of Mount Sinai, Akabah, Wady Mousa, and Hebron. But 
all these different families of the descendants of Ishmael re 
semble one another in their more important and most striking 
characteristics ; and each individual is a type of his class. 
Bold, fierce, and courageous ; proud and intractable ; possess- 

* Fisk's Memorial of the Holy Land. 

1848.] OVERLAND MARCH. 475 

ing powers of physical endurance rarely equalled ; prompt in 
danger ; terrible in battle, yet kind and affectionate in his 
intercourse with his family ; ever ready to face any peril in 
defence of his creed, to accomplish revenge, or gratify his 
propensity for plunder ; never-tiring and relentless in the 
pursuit of an enemy, but adhering to a friend with the devo- 
tion of a brother : murdering and robbing with impunity those 
not under his protection, but, where his word and faith have 
been plighted, faithful and reliable to the last such, in brief, 
is the character of the Bedawi warrior, who roams at will 
through the desert wilderness of Judea, and along the sandy 
terraces overlooking the valley of El-Ghor. 

(5.) It having been satisfactorily proved that the horses 
of Araby, however useful in their appropriate sphere, were 
wholly unfitted for hauling the boats over the mountain 
ridges between Acre and the Lake of Tiberias, though the 
distance barely exceeded thirty miles, Lieutenant Lynch had 
recourse to the never-failing " ship of the desert"* thejemel 
of the Arab. A pair of camels were harnessed to each truck, 
and one attached in front as a leader ; a number of the same 
animals were also provided to relieve the former, and to carry 
the baggage of the party, while each one of the officers and 
men was mounted on a fine Arabian destrier. 

On the morning of the 4th of April, they commenced the 
overland march. Crossing the beautiful plain of Acre, em- 
purpled with the glorious dyes of the anemone, and sprinkled 
all over with the beautiful blossoms of the daisy, the white 
and crimson and golden flowers of the aster, the pale asphodel, 
the scarlet pink, the variegated convolvulus, and the bright- 
tinted cyclamen, they soon commenced the ascent of the hills 

* According to Sir William Jones, the ancient Arabian poets were fond of 
comparing their favorite animal to a ship ; and among the extracts which he 
gives, illustrative