Abbildungen der Seite

fuse and elaborate upon particular occasions, for the two gentlemen who introduced Mr Banks and the doctor into the town, were almost covered with streaks of black'in all directions, so as to make a very striking appearance. Both men and women wore bracelets of such beads as they could make themselves of small shells or bones; the women both upon their wrists and ancles, the men upon their wrists only; but to compensate for the want of bracelets on their legs, they wore a kind of fillet of brown worsted round their heads, They seemed to set a particular value upon any thing that was red, and preferred beads even to a kuife or a hatchet.

Their language in general is guttural, and they express some of their words by a sound exactly like that which we make to clear the throat when any thing happens to obstruct it; yet they have words that would be deemed soft in the better languages of Europe. Mr Banks learned what he supposes

to be their name for beads and water. When they wanted beads, instead of ribbons or other trifles, they said halleca ; and when they were taken on shore from the ship, and by signs asked where water might be found, they made the sign of drinking, and pointing as well to the casks as the watering-place, cried Ooda..

We saw no appearance of their having any food but shellfish; for though seals were frequently seen near the shore, they seemed to have no implements for taking them. The shell-fish are collected by the women, whose business it seems to be to attend at low water, with a basket in one hand, and a stick, pointed and barbed, in the other, and a satchel at their backs: They loosen the limpets, and other fish that adhere to the rocks, with the stick, and put them into the basket; which, when full, they empty into the satchel.

The only things that we found among them in which there was the least appearance of neatness or ingenuity, were their weapons, which consisted of a bow and arrows. The bow was not inelegantly made, and the arrows were the nealest that we had ever seen : They were of wood, polished to the highest degree; and the point, which was of glass or flint, and barbed, was formed and fitted with wonderful dexterity. We saw also some pieces of glass and flint among them unwrought, besides rings, buttons, cloth, and canvas, with other European commodities; they must, therefore, sometimes travel to the northward, for it was many years since


the ship:

any ship had been so far south as this part of Terra del Fuego. We observed also, that they shewed no surprise at our fre-arms, with the use of which they appeared to be well acquainted; for they made signs to Mr Banks to shoot a seal which followed the boat, as they were going on shore from

M. de Bougainville, who, in January 1768, just one year before

had been on


this coast in latitude 53 40'41", had, among other things, given glass to the people whom he found here ; for he says, that a boy about twelve years

old took it into his head to eat some of it, by which unhappy accident he died in great misery. These people might probably have some of the very glass which Bougainville left behind him, either from other natives, or perhaps from himself; for they appeared rather to be a travelling horde, than to have any fixed habitation. Their houses were built to stand but for a short time; they had no utensil or furniture but the basket and satchel, which have beep mentioned before, and which had handles adapted to the carrying them about, in the hand and upon the back; the only clothing they had here was scarcely sufficient to prevent their perishing with cold in the summer of this country, much less in the extreme severity of winter, the shell-fish, which seemed to be their only food, would 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, froin their having here nothing like a boat or canoe, of which it can scarcely be supposed that they were wholly destitule, especially as they were not sea-sick, 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 this island, 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 utmost harmony and good fellowship. Neither did we discover any appearance of religion among them, except the noises which have been mentioned, and which we supposed to be a superstitious ceremony, merely because we could refer them


[ocr errors]

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 priests. Upon the whole, these people appeared to be the most destitute and forlorn, as well as the most stupid of all haman 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 destitute 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.

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 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 pone 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-fish, limpets, clams, and mussels 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 either hurtful or troublesome, which perhaps is more than can be said of aúy other uncleared country. During the snow-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, thereis the beech, 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 antarcticum, probably contain antiscorbutic qualities, which may be of great benefit to the crews of such ships as shall 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 of Good Success: When it is young, the state of its greatest 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 parsley. 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 morning, having got our wood and water on board, we sail ed out of the bay, and continued our course through the streight.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


't 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 Passage Westward, round this Part of America, into the South Seas.

ALMOST all writers who have mentioned the island of Terra del Fuego, describe it as destitute of wood, and covered with snow. In the winter it may possibly be covered with snow, and those who saw it at that season might perhaps be easily deceived, by its appearance, into an opinion that it was destitute 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 froin ours. We fell in with it about twenty-one 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 glasscs; and as we came nearer, though here and there we discovered patches of snow, the sides of the hills and the sea-coast appeared to be covered with a beautiful verdure. The hills are lofty, but not mountainous, though the summits 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 the whole proved to be the best that we took in during our voyage. We ranged the coast to the streight, and had soundings all the way from 40 to 20 fathom, upon a gravelly and sandy bottom. The most remarkable land on Terra del Fuego is a hill, in the form of a sugar-loaf, which stands on the west side not far from the sea; and the three hills, called the Three Brothers, about nine mile's to the westward of Cape St Diego, the low point that forms the north entrance of the streight of Le Maire.

It is said in the account of Lord Anson's voyage, that it is difficult to determine exactly where the streight lies, though the appearance of Terra del Fuego be well known, without knowing also the appearance of Staten Land; and


« ZurückWeiter »