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1768. man W1jI fcarcely eat of their slesh: the herbage of these
December. - - J . . lt r rr 1 r 1
pastures consists principally ot creiles, and consequently is so short, that though it may afford a bite for horses and sheep, it can scarcely be grazed by horned cattle in a sufficient quantity to keep them alive.
This country may possibly produce many valuable drugs; but we could not find any in the apothecaries shops, except pareira brava, and balsam capivi; both of which are excellent in their kind, and sold at a very low price. The drug trade is probably carried on to the northward, as well as that of the dying woods, for we could get no intelligence of either of them here.
As to manusactures, we neither saw nor heard os any, except that of cotton hammocks, in which people are carried about here, as they are with us in sedan chairs; and these are principally, if not wholly, fabricated by the Indians.
The riches of the place consist chiesly in the mines, which we supposed to lie far up the country, though we could never learn where, or at what distance; for the situation is concealed as much as possible, and troops are continually employed in guarding the roads that lead to them: it is almost impossible for any man to get a sight of them, except those who are employed there; and indeed the strongest curiosity would scarcely induce any man to attempt it; for whoever is found upon the road to them, if he cannot give undeniable evidence of his having business there, is immediately hanged up upon the next tree.
Much gold is certainly brought from these mines, but at an expence of life, that must strike every man, to whom custom has not made it familiar, with horror. No less than forty thousand Negroes are annually imported, on the King's account, to dig the mines; and we were credibly informed, that the last year but one before we arrived here, this number fell so short, probably from some epidemic disease, that twenty thousand more were draughted from the town of Rio.
Precious stones are also found here in such plenty, that a certain quantity only is allowed to be collected in a year; to collect this quantity, a number of people are sent into the country where they are found, and when it is got together, which sometimes happens in
a month, a month, sometimes in less, and sometimes in more, '768they return; and after that, whoever is found in these ecembel'precious districts, on any pretence, before the next year, is immediately put to death.
1 he jewels found here, are diamonds, topazes of several kinds, and amethysts. We did not see any of the diamonds, but were informed that the Viceroy had a large quantity by him, which he would sell on the King of Portugal's account, but not for a less price than they are fold for in Europe. Mr. Banks bought a sew topazes and amethysts as specimens: of the topazes there are three forts, of very different value, which are distinguished here by the names of Pinga d'agua qualidade primeiro, Pinga d'agua qualidade secundo, and Chrystallos armerillos: they are fold, large and small, good and bad together, by octavos, or the eighth part of an ounce; the best at 4s. ad. All dealing,. however, in these stones is prohibited to the subject, under the severest penalties: there were jewellers here formerly, who purchased and worked them on their own account; but about fourteen months before our arrival, orders came from the court of Portugal, that . no more stones should be wrought here, except on the King's account: the jewellers were ordered to bring all their tools to the Viceroy, and left without any means of subsistence. The persons employed here to work stones for the King are staves.
The coin that is current here, is either that of Portugal, consisting chiefly of thirty-six shilling pieces, or pieces, both of gold and silver, which are struck at this place: the pieces of silver, which are very much debased, are called Petacks, and are of different value, and easily distinguished by the number of rees that is marked on the outside. Here is also a copper coin, like that in Portugal, of five and ten ree pieces. A ree is a nominal coin of Portugal, ten of which are equal in value to about three farthings sterling.
The harbour of Rio de Janeiro is situated W. by N. 18 leagues from Cape Trio, and may be known by a remarkable hill, in the form of a sugar-loaf, at the west point of the bay; but as all the coast is very high, and rises in many peaks, the entrance of this harbour may be more certainly distinguished by the islands that lie
176?. before it; one of which, called Rodona, is high and """"' round like a hay-stack, and lies at the distance of two leagues and an half from the entrance of the bay, in the direction of S. by W. but the first islands which are met with, coming from the east, or Cape Trio, are two that have a rocky appearance, lying near to each other, and at the distance of about four miles from the shore: there are also, at the distance of three leagues to the westward of these, two other islands which lie near , to each other, a little without the bay on the east fide,
and very near the shore. This harbour is certainly a good one; the entrance indeed is not wide, but the lea breeze, which blows every day from ten or twelve o'clock till sunset, makes it easy for any ship to go in before the wind; and it grows wider |as the town is approached, so that a-breast of it there is room for the largest sleet, in five or fix fathoms water, with an oozy bottom. At the narrow part, the entrance is defended by two forts. The principal is Santa Cruz, which stands on the east point of the bay, and has been mentioned before: that on the west side is called FortLozia, and is built upon a rock that lies close to the main; the distance between them is about | of a mile, but the channel is not quite so broad, because there are sunken rocks which lie off each fort, and in this part alone there is danger: the narrowness'of the channel causes the tides, both slood and ebb, to run with considerable strength, so that they cannot be stemmed without a _ fresh breeze. The rockyness of the bottom makes it also unsase to anchor here ; but all danger may be avoided by keeping in the middle of the channel. Within the entrance, the course up the way is first N. by W. | W. and N. N. W. something more than a league; this will bring the vessel the length of the great road; and N. W. and W. N. W. one league more will carry 'her to the Isle dos Cobras, which lies before the city: the should then keep the north side of this island close on board, and anchor above it, before a monastery of jBeneciictines which stands upon a hill at the N. W. end of the city.
The river, and indeed the whole coast, abounds with a greater variety of fish than we had ever seen; a day seldom passed in which one or more of a new species
were not brought to Mr. Banks: the bay also is as well »76*: adapted for catching these fish as can be conceived ; for it is full of small islands, between which there is shallow water, and proper beaches for drawing the seine. The sea, without the bay, abounds with dolphins, and large mackerel of different kinds, which readily bite at a hook, and the inhabitants always tow one aster their boats for that purpose.
Though the climate is hot, the situation of this place is certainly wholesome: while we staid here, the thermometer never rose higher than 83, though we had frequent rains, and once a very hard gale of wind
Ships water here at the fountain in the great square, though, as I have observed, the water is not good; they land their casks upon a smooth sandy beach, which is not more than an hundred yards distant from the fountain, and upon application to the Viceroy, a centincl will be appointed to look aster them, and clear the way to, the fountain where they are to be filled.
Upon the whole, Riode Janeiro is a very good place for ships to put in at that want refreshment: the harbour is sase and commodious; and provisions, except wheatbread and Hour, may be easily procured: as a siiccedaneum for bread, there are yams and cassada in plenty; beef, both fresh and jerked, may be bought at about two-pence farthing a pound; though, as I have before remarked, it is very lean. The people herejerk their bsef by taking out the bones, cutting it into large but thin slices, then curing it with salt, and drying it in the shade: it eats very well, and, if kept dry, will remain good a long time at sea. Mutton is scarcely to be procured, and hogs and poultry are dear; of garden stuff and fruit there is abundance, of which, however, none can be preserved at sea but the pumpkin; rum, sugar, and molasses, all excellent in their kind, may be had at a reasonable price; tobacco also is cheap, but it is not good. Here is a yard for building shipping, and a small hulk to heave dov/n by; for, as the tide never rises above six or seven feet, there is no other way of coming at a ship's bottom.
When the boat which had been sent on shore returne I, we hoisted her onboard, and stood out to sea.
Tl?e Passage from Rio de Janeiro to the Entrance of the Streight of Le Maire, with a Description of some of the Inhabitants of Terra del Fuego.
1768. /^\N the 9th of December we observed the sea to -' W be covered with broad streaks of a yellowish coFriday 9. lour, several of them a mile long, and three or four hundred yards wide: some of the water thus coloured was taken up, and found to be full of innumerable atoms pointed at the end, of a yellowish colour, and none more than a quarter of aline, or the fortieth part of an inch long: in the microscope they appeared to be Fasciculi of small fibres interwoven with each other, not unlike the nidus of some of the Phyganeas, called Caddices; but whether they were animal or vegetable substances, whence they came, or for what they were designed, neither Mr. Banks nor Dr. Solander could guess. The fame appearance had been observed before, when we first discovered the continent of South, America. Sunday 1 l. Qn the l1^ we hooked a shark, and while we were playing it under the cabin window, it threw out and drew in again several times what appeared to be its stomach: it proved to be a female, and upon being opened, six young ones were taken out of it; five of them were alive and swam briskly in a tub of water, but the sixth appeared to have been dead some time. Friday 30. Nothing remarkable happened till the 30th, except that we prepared for the bad weather, which we were shortly to expect, by bending a new suit of sails; but on this day we ran a course of one hundred and sixty miles by the log, through innumerable land infects of various kinds, some upon the wing, and more upon the water, many of which were alive; they appeared to be exactly the fame with the Carabi, the Grylli, the Pkalanee, Aranea, and other slies that are seen in England, though at this time we could not be less than thirty leagues from land; and some of these insects, particularly the Grylli and Aranea, never voluntarily leave it at a greater distance than twenty yards.