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1769. January


from himfelf; for they appeared rather to be a travelling hord, than to have any fixed habitation. Their houses are built to stand but for a short time; they have no utensit or furniture but the basket and satchel, which have been mentioned before, and which have handles adapted to the carrying them about, in the hand and upon the back; the only cloathing they had here was scarcely sufficient to prevent their perishing with cold in the fummer of this country, much less in the extreme severity of winter ; the shell-fish which seems to be their only food muft soon be exhausted at any one place; and we had seen houses upon what appeared to be a deserted station in St. Vincent's bay.

It is also probable that the place where we found them was only a temporary residence, from their having here nothing like a boat or canoe, of which it can fcarcely be supposed that they were wholly destitute, efpecially as they were not fea-fick, or particularly affected, either in our boat or on board the ship. We conjectured that there might be a streight or inlet, running from the sea through great part of tliis iland, from the Streight of Magellan, whence these people might come, leaving their canoes where such inlet terminated.

They did not appear to have among them any government or subordination: none was more respected than another; yet they seemed to live together in the utmoft harmony and good fellowship. Neither did we discover any appearance of religion among them, except the noises which have been mentioned, and which we fuppofed to be a fuperftitious ceremony, merely because we could refer them to nothing else: they were used only by one of those who came on board the ship, and the two who conducted Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander to the town, whom we therefore conjectured to be


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1769. January

priests. Upon the whole, these people appeared to be the most deftitute and forlorn, as well as the most stupid of all human beings; the outcasts of Nature, who spent their lives in wandering about the dreary wastes, where two of our people perished with cold in the midst of summer; with no dwelling but a wretched hovel of sticks and grass, which would not only admit the wind, but the snow and the rain; almost naked; and deftitute of every convenience that is furnished by the rudest art, having no implement even to dress their food: yet they were content. They seemed to have no wish for any thing more than they possessed, nor did any thing that we offered them appear acceptable but beads, as an ornamental superfluity of life. What bodily pain they might suffer from the severities of their winter we could not know; but it is certain, that they suffered nothing from the

' want of the innumerable articles which we consider, not as the luxuries and conveniencies only, but the necessaries of life: as their desires are few, they probably enjoy them all; and how much they may be gainers by an exemption from the care, labour and folicitude, which arise from a perpetual and unsuccessful effort to gratify that infinite variety of defires which the refinements of artificial life have produced among us, is not very easy to determine: possibly this may counterbalance all the real disadvantages of their situation in comparison with ours, and make the scales by which good and evil are distributed to man, hang even between us.

In this place we saw no quadruped except seals, sea-lions, and dogs; of the dogs it is remarkable that they bark, which those that are originally bred in America do not. And this is a further proof, that the people we saw here had, either immediately or remotely, communicated with the inhabitants of Europe. There are, however, other quadrupeds in

, this part of the country; for when Mr. Banks was at the top VOL. II.



1769. January

of the highest hill that he ascended in his expedition through
the woods, he saw the footsteps of a large beast imprinted
upon the surface of a bog, though he could not with any
probability guess of what kind it might be.

Of land-birds there are but few; Mr. Banks saw none
larger than an English blackbird, except some hawks and a
vulture; but of water-fowl there is great plenty, particularly
ducks. Of fish we saw scarce any, and with our hooks could
catch none that was fit to eat; but shell-fith, limpets, clams,
and muscles were to be found in abundance.

Among the insects, which were not numerous, there was neither gnat nor musquito, nor any other species that was cither hurtful or troublesome, which perhaps is more than can be said of any other uncleared country. During the fnow-blasts, which happened every day while we were here, they hide themselves; and the moment it is fair they appear again, as nimble and vigorous as the warmest weather could make them.

Of plants, Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found a vast variety; the far greater part wholly different from any that have been hitherto described. Besides the birch, and winter's bark, which have been mentioned already, there is the beach, Fagus antarcticus, which, as well as the birch, may be used for timber. The plants cannot be enumerated here; but as the scurvy-grass, Cardamine antiscorbutica, and the wild celery, Apium antaréticum, probably contain antiscorbutic

qualities, which may be of great benefit to the crews of such Ships as fall hereafter touch at this place, the following short description is inserted :

The scurvy-grass will be found in plenty in damp places, near springs of water, and in general in all places that lie near the beach, especially at the watering place in the Bay


1 1

of Good Success: when it is young, the state of its greatest 1769.

January perfection, it lies flat upon the ground, having many leaves of a bright green, standing in pairs opposite to each other, with a single one at the end, which generally makes the fifth upon a foot stalk: the plant, passing from this state, shoots up in stalks that are sometimes two feet high, at the top

of which are small white blossoms, and these are succeeded by long pods: the whole plant greatly resembles that which in England is called Lady's smock, or Cuckow-flower. The wild celery is very like the celery in our gardens, the flowers are white, and stand in the same manner, in small tufts at the top

of the branches, but the leaves are of a deeper green. It grows in great abundance near the beach, and generally upon the soil that lies next above the spring tides. It may indeed easily be known by the taste, which is between that of celery and parley. We used the celery in large quantities, particularly in our soup, which, thus medicated, produced the same good effects which seamen generally derive from a vegetable diet, after having been long confined to salt provisions.

On Sunday the 22d of January, about two o'clock in the Sunday 22. morning, having got our wood and water on board, we failed out of the Bay, and continued our course through the Streight.


C H A P. VI.

A general Description of the S. E. Part of Terra del Fuego,

and the Streight of Le Maire; with some Remarks on Lord Anson's Account of them, and Directions for the Palage Westward, round this Part of America, into the South Seas.

1769. January.


LMOST all writers who have mentioned the island of

Terra del Fuego, describe it as deftitute of wood, and covered with snow. In the winter it may possibly be covered with fnow, and those who saw it at that seafon might perhaps be easily deceived, by its appearance, into an opinion that it was deftitute of wood. Lord Anson was there in the beginning of March, which answers to our September; and we were there the beginning of January, which answers to our July, which may account for the difference of his description of it from ours. We fell in with it about twentyone leagues to the westward of the Streight of Le Maire, and from the time that we first saw it, trees were plainly to be distinguished with our glasses; and as we came nearer, though here and there we discovered patches of snow, the sides of the hills and the fea-coast appeared to be covered with a beautiful verdure. The hills are lofty, but not mountainous, though the fummits of them are quite naked. The soil in the valleys is rich, and of a considerable depth; and at the foot of almost every hill there is a brook, the water of which has a reddish hue, like that which runs through our turf bogs in England, but it is by no means ill tasted, and upon

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