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Lights and shadows of sailor life, as exemplified in fifteen years' experience, including the more thrilling… Clark, Joseph G. 1848

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29   Cornhill. 
1848. Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1847, 
In the Clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts. REV. PHINEAS STOW,
In presenting this work to the public, I deem it unnecessary to enter into any elaborate explanation of
its design, or offer an apology for its appearance. I
have been pursuing an objecf which I conceive to be
of the highest importance, which is the awakening of
the public sympathy to the nature and importance of
the claims of seamen ; this, in my estimation, may be
best accomplished by a truthful and lucid exhibition
of the "lights and shadows of sailor life." To accomplish the object thus truthfully, a thorough education in the school of experience will be the qualification which the public generally, both learned and
unlearned, will regard as most adapted to such a work.
At the present day, much interest is already felt in
behalf of the sailor, and that interest is still increasing.
It is a matter of the first importance that suitable information should be furnished, in order to give a right
direction to the efforts that may be employed to elevate the character of seamen. One great truth has
long been apparent to my mind, which is, that the
condition of the sailor must be improved before his
character can be very materially elevated.    The gos-
1* VI
pel, indeed, can accomplish, either directly or indirectly, all that is expected in moral reform, but it enjoins,
with much clearness, the removal of physical as well
as moral obstacles.
Of what avail is it that the mariner is induced to
attend religious service on the Sabbath, if he mingles
with the corrupting society of the brothel the remaining portion of the time ? Of what avail is it that we
go to the sailor shivering on the beach, escaped from
the wreck, with religious books ? A dry jacket, or food,
would be much more acceptable, while moral efforts
might be appropriate and effectual afterward. This
great truth has been overlooked until quite recently,
when it was embraced by the Seamen's Friend Society. The officers of that benevolent institution have
learned the fact that every step in improving tlje physical condition of the sailor advances him two steps towards reformation,—first by removing him from his
vices and vile companions, and secondly, by inclining
him toward virtue by bringing him under the influence of the gospel.
Religion is a work in which the understanding is
concerned; no one comes under its influence without
a knowledge of it; no man will apply for pardon and
grace, until he understands properly that there is no
other hope for him. That part of our Lord's prayer,
"sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth,"
is sufficient evidence of the fact that any advancement
in the divine life after conversion, will be as much the
work of an enlightened understanding, as is the conversion.
The benevolent operations of the day being but a
part of religion, must be understandingly engaged in, PREFACE*
if they are to be auxiliaries to the conversion of the
The gospel comes to us in our darkness, a glorious
light from heaven ; it reveals the great scheme of salvation, and at once discloses the promises of God to
his people, and the means by which those promises
are to be fulfilled. The means, then, like the end, are
of divine appointment; hence, any efforts that may
be made on the part of Zion to aid in the great gospel victory, will be effectual only as God's means are
employed in the accomplishment of his purposes.
The question very naturally arises, what has the
poor, despised, neglected, degraded sailor to do in the
spread of the gospel? I appeal to the Bible,—" Because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the gentiles shall come unto thee."
Again, the same view is repeated in that vision in
which the prophet was shown the coming glory of
Christ: " Thy sons shall come from far." "Surely
the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish
first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their
gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God,
and to the Holy One of Israel." In these and other
passages, we see that God has designed the sailor to
act a very important part in the great conflict between
sin and grace. In accordance with this view, Jesus,
being about to choose his disciples, went to the sea of
Galilee, and selected a small company of weather-
beaten sailors as the means best adapted to the spread
of the gospel.
While I would avoid every thing like egotism, and
while I would not detract from the intrinsic value of
the ordinary missionary labor, yet it is worthy of re- 

mark, that it was to these sailors that Jesus gave his
great commission, "Go ye into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature," a commission
for which the sailor is most admirably adapted. It
becomes a Christian duty, then, to inquire into the
condition of these individuals, and it is, partly, to give
such information, that these " Lights and Shadows"
have been penned.
The Journal of the Exploring Expedition, published by the government, being a very expensive woii^
places its very important and interesting matter beyond the means of the working classes, and the scenes
and sketches which I have penned from my journal
of that cruise, will be read with interest and profit by
such as shall peruse these pages, as they will delineate the manners and customs of different portions of
the world, of whose inhabitants little has been written. The description of scenery and " life on the ocean
wave," has been truthfully penned, and the author
can, with all confidence, appeal to the experience of
every sailor for its confirmation. In the recital of the
events in which he was personally engaged, any thing
like exaggeration has been carefully avoided; the
facts connected with the death of the generous Underwood and Henry, were too deeply engraven on his
body as well as his mind to be easily forgotten, and in
a way that renders exaggeration wholly unnecessary.
Any remark that he may make upon the officers of the
different vessels, he has given only his own personal
opinions, free from prejudice, or color of any kind,
save truth.
From the nature of their employment, seamen are
to some extent isolated, removed from many of the PREFACE.
influences which are adapted, in their tendencies, to
refine the more ennobling sentiments of our nature,
and to elevate human character. From these circumstances it seems inevitable that they should assume a
kind of distinctness, should become a class, yet not a
caste, to which the tendency of the past age has been
so much inclined. There are peculiarities among all
the varied classes and conditions of society, and this
diversity constitutes the necessity of an adaptation of
reformatory labors to these peculiarities. In this view
of the subject, no one, it is presumed, will question
the propriety of the issue of books which will be particularly interesting to the sailor as such, or those that
will canvass such topics as are interesting and important, not only to seamen- but landsmen. Every one
who has been at all observant, must have been convinced that there has been, and still is, a manifest deficiency in this respect. It is true there have been
many specimens of modern literature—"falsely so
called "—in which the imagery of the ocean has been
employed; and others still, whose plots have been
drawn from the incidents of the ocean, and others <rf
a different character,—all of which are designed for
the " sons of the mountain wave." Of such works
there is an abundance.
It is not true,—as many have supposed,—that seamen can not appreciate laudable efforts, which are
made to elevate the class. As among all classes of
society, there is a variety here. There are those who
are as degraded and brutalized, seemingly, as their
native depravity can make them, reveling in the
haunts of pollution and drunkenness.    As accessary, 
however, to this wreck of character, and blasting of
early-cherished hopes, the filching, soulless landlord,
and the wily dram-seller, have much to account for.
The poor, down-trodden sailor has received unnumbered wrongs from their hands, which are still registered against them in letters of fire.
Yet there is a far greater number who are high-
minded, generous and worthy, who have selected an
ocean-life—not from a blind fatality—but have been
drawn to it by a love of the grand and wildly sublime, which the ocean ever presents to the lover of
nature's wonders. The scholar is often found here,
whose romantic predilections have induced him to
leave the halls of science, and study nature in her
more imposing forms. There is a grandeur in ocean
scenery, a majesty in the strides of a stately ship, as
she moves, like " a thing of life," over the heaving
bosom of restless waters;—an awe in the- tempest,
when the mighty voice of the Omnipotent is heard in
thunder-tones, pealing amid the roar of winds and
the dashings of billows, which can divert the man of
letters from his more quiet labors.
There are, indeed, many " shadows" in the sailor's
life, yet it has its "lights" also; and could the profession be elevated in the popular estimation, to the
position which its importance demands, and the talent which is already enlisted, be developed, its "lights"
would be far more conspicuous. Indeed, when the
efficiency of this branch of industry is appreciated;
"When the peculiar relations which the marine enterprise sustains to the advancement of civilization, and,
above all, to the propagation of the everlasting gospel among the benighted sons of heathen gloom are PREFACE,
felt, the apparent indifference of a por^on of Christendom is wholly unaccountable. The sailor is a self-
constituted missionary, and must be regarded in pagan climes as the representative of a Christian community. He may bear the olive branch of peace to
such as are blindly bowing before dumb idols, or are
prostrating themselves before the ponderous car, to
avert the vengeance of imaginary gods, or he will
scatter the seeds of corruption, intemperance and
death. A neutrality in this matter is scarcely attainable. The records of the past, and the experience of
those on mission grounds, furnish sad proofs of this
proposition. Those labors have often proved apparently ineffectual, from the counteracting influences
of those who have visited missions, and have not been
guided by the pure principles of Christianity. The
pagan, in his simplicity, has shrunk in horror from
the licentiousness of those whom he has regarded as
Christians, simply because their residence is in a
Christian country.
These considerations will justify the remark made
at the onset, that no apology is deemed necessary for
any attempts which may be made to elevate this class
of our citizens,—the results of whose examples so intimately affect the great interests of humanity.
In order to render this work still more acceptable
to the reader, I have secured the services of Mr. J. H.
Hanaford, a gentleman who was employed in interesting the readers of the "Light Ship," of which
paper he was the editor for some time; his sympathy
for, and deep interest and zeal in behalf of the sons of
" Zebulon ;" his well-established character for morals  CHAPTER I.
The Departure—Sermon—Ocean Scenery-r-Flying Fish and
Dolphins—Brilliant Phosphoretre Scene, and its cause—The
Madeira Islands—Rio de Janeiro—Ascent of the Sugar Loaf.
Farewell to the land of my childhood and youth,
The land of the bible, religion and troth j
Thou bright land of blessings in every form,
1 leave thee, and fly to the billows and storm.
Ve scenes of true happiness, friendship and home,
Through which, when a boy, 1 delighted to roam,—
Ye fields of sweet wild-flowers, the woodbine and heath,
I leave ye to grapple with dangers and death.
1838. All things being ready for sea, on the 9th
of August dropped down to Hampton roads, preparatory to sailing for the South Pacific Ocean, where
we remained for a few days, waiting for a favorable
The memorable day at length arrived for the long-
talked-of Expedition to sail. At half past three
o'clock P. M. a signal was made from the Commo- m
i*l    B!
dore's ship for the squadron to get underway. Accordingly, soon after the capstan was manned, and
the anchor " catted," and every one seemed anxious
to bid adieu to his home, since they had been so long
kept in suspense, many in sight of their own
"homes," without ever having the privilege of visiting their friends.
There have been various changes in this Expedition since its first organization under the command of
Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, Esq., and six commanders
have been appointed and discharged since Commodore Jones gave it up. And we were now about to
take leave of our loved, our native country.
We had not proceeded far, when the wind died
away and we were compelled to come to anchor,
only a short distance from where we started.
Soon after, however, a breeze springing up, signals
were again made for the squadron to get underway,
which was immediately done, and all the vessels
stood out in company. The breeze lasting but a
short time, we made but little progress during the
night. In the morning we were in sight of Cape
Henry. At eight o'clock the ships were "hove to"
and the pilots left, and by them we sent our final
"farewells" to our friends on shore. At such a
moment, when the last hold on our country is sundered from us, the kinder feelings of the soul are awakened. Our friends become more than ever endeared
to us", and every thing connected with them wears an
increasing interest. There was a sadness on the
countenance of many, and a quivering of the lips.
HomeI'(Native country! How dear to the heart.
How each cherished  remembrances  of childhood's OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
scenes, and loved associations of those sunny hours,
come rushing up from the past, and steal into the
throbbing bosom, as the ties of affection are riven.
The intrusive tear moistens the eye, as early fancies
flit before us, and wend their silent way down the
cheek of youth,—the overflowing of the troubled
waters of the soul. Affection gladly would throw
her bands around the loved of earth, and draw them
nearer and nearer, as the eye catches the last glimpse
of boyhood's home in its faint, indistinct outline, but
it is vain. The distant hum of business has died
away, and the rippling of the waves, as they murmur
across the prow, is heard instead. The towering
spires, which point upward to the God of the "Sea
and the dry land," have become dim in the distance,
and familiar objects have blended in the fast fading
jriew of the distant shore. But. the fancies of the
past, and endearments of home, must give place to
the realities of ajife on the " mountain wave."
The ship, from the gentleness of her motion, seemed
less willing than ourselves, to exchange the smooth
waters of the Bay and the beautiful landscapes along
the shores of the "Old Dominion," for the troubled
bosom and unbroken horizon of the ocean. In a few
hours afterwards the shores of our happy country receded from our view, and seemed only as a speck
upon the horizon.
At eleven o'clock all hands were called to " muster," where we had an excellent and appropiate sermon by our Chaplain, Mr. Elliott, who earnestly invoked " Him whom the winds and waves obey," to
aid us in our arduous undertaking. He spoke feelingly of the dangers of our enterprize, and the inabili- 16
ly of human exertions, without the aid of Him, who,
when called upon by his affrighted companions,
" Lord save us or we perish," bade the angry billows
cease, and in a moment they were still.
At half past one o'clock, P. M. we were* piped
down, and at five o'clock again called to muster,
when each mess was furnished with a Bible and
every man with a Prayer Book.
The sea is a fit place for contemplating the majesty
and power of the " Almighty," where the air is calm;
where sleepeth the deep waters. What a contrast
when comparing the smoothness of the sea yesterday,
with the troubled bosom of the mighty deep to-day !
Now the sea is running "mountains high;"—yesterday it was hushed, and as smooth as a mirror.
Through the night, nothing seemed to disturb its
peaceful bosom; but now and then the gleaming of a
shark, or some monster of> the deep.
Some of our "green-horns" looked truly pitiful.
This is nothing like what they fancied in their dreams
of a sea-life in their juvenile days, after listening to
the yarn of some " old tar." This is only a prelude to
what may be expected before we accomplish the object of the Expedition. During the day we shipped
some very heavy seas, which flooded our decks-from
stem to stern. During the next day the weather was
clear and pleasant, with a strong breeze, sufficient for
atty ordinary vessel to sail at the rate of ten knots.
This breeze we lost however, on account of having to
lay to, for the Relief, which vessel is a very dull
sailer, and besides, she is loaded as deep as she can
swim. The Captain finding that he should be detained if he continued to wait for the Relief, sent ot- OF  SAILOR   LIFE
ders for her- to make the best of her way to Rio de
Janeiro, where the squadron is to rendezvous, previous to doubling Cape Horn.
For some time during the latter part of August,
that "Queen of months " for an ocean life, the ocean
around us was enlivened by immense numbers of
flying fish. This is a beautiful animal about six
or eight inches in length, and of slender and delicate
form. Until now, I had an impression that it received its name from springing into the air for a moment
only, and then sinking into its native element; but for
several days, flocks of forty and fifty, and even of a
greater number, have risen about our ship, and flown
yards before descending again.
When in this situation, a person ignorant of their
nature could not distinguish them from birds of the
same size. The large transparent fins which they
use in flying, have every appearance of wings, and
when in a direction opposite to the sun, their whole
bodies are of a most dazzling silver white.
But in this case, as well as in that of the dying
dolphin, we have been led to commiserate as well as
to admire. At most times, when these little creatures
take flight, it is only to escape from some devouring
enemy in close pursuit.
We have often caught a glimpse of the dolphin
darting through the water under them, as they have
skimmed along its surface; and once, after watching
with^delight the lengthened course of an uncommonly beautiful fish, as time after time it dipped for a
moment but scarcely touched the waves before it rose
again, and seemed to exert every power to pursue its
rapid way, we saw it fall directly into the jaws of
some ferocious monster, which, as if doubly ravenous
from the chase, leaped partly out of the water to receive it They seem peculiarly ill-fated; not unfre*
quently a flight from their enemies exposes them to
the rapacity of others equally destructive, and they
become the prey of gulls, cormorants and other sea
fowl, hovering over the water for food. In their
aerial course, they also often come in contact with
vessels, and fall helpless captives on their decks.
It is pleasing, after a long seclusion from the society of our fellows, jsave the few with whom we
come in daily contact, during the monotony of a rou*
tine of duties peculiar to a squadron like ours, it is
pleasing under such circumstances, to greet a brother
man. He may be an entireNstranger, with whom
we can have no cherished reviews of the past; can
gather no gems from the sunny scenes of childhood,
—perchance he is from a distant clime, has his local
prejudices, his sectional animosities, yet he is a brother
sailor, and is greeted with the tokens of friendship.
During the first of September we were favored
with fine weather and fair breezes, and were making
rapid progress toward the place of our destination.
It is under such circumstances that the sailor feels
buoyant He sees no darkening clouds about him,
no lightning's glare, no yawning abyss beneath, ready
to engulf him in the depths of ocean's bed, but his
bark moves onward in stately grandeur, a " thing of
life."    He feels a pride, known only to the sailor.
At eleven o'clock, September 9th, all hands were
called, when we had a sermon from our Chaplain,
from James 5: 6, 12. His discourse was directed principally against profane swearing.    Such ser- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
vices effectually call  to remembrance scenes of the
past and awaken the better feelings of our natlire.
In the afternoon, we passed in sight of Pico, one of
the Western Islands.
On the following day the lookout from the masthead reported "land ho," which proved to be the
Island of Saint Michaels, another of the Western
Islands, and on the twelfth we were off Saint Michaels. Saint Michaels is a high and mountainous
Island, and at the distance we were from it, has a
dreary appearance. But I am told that it is extremely fertile, and produces excellent fruit and wine
September 4th. Thin morning we had the first
sight of a dolphin, one of the most beautiful of the
inhabitants of the sea. The usual length of this fish
appears to be about two feet In its shape it bears but
little resemblance to the representation of it seen on
vases, &c., and in marine emblems, and armorial bearings, but is very similar to the white salmon trout,
found in fresh water lakes. When swimming in the
water, its colors appear exceedingly delicate and
beautiful. The head, back, and upper part of the
sides, vary from the hue of burnished steel to that of
deep azure and nazarine blue, shading off toward the
under part in pea green and light yellow. The dolphin is often taken with a hook and line, but this
morning one was struck with a harpoon and brought
upon deck. I hastened to witness its colors while
dying. I found them to be as truly beautiful as
they have been described, consigng of rapid transitions, from the deepest purple approaching to black,
through blue, green, gold of different hues, and several
shades of silver, to almost a snow white, and then to gSjjgggli
purple again. The sight, however, was painful from
a kind of sympathy with the beautiful sufferer. I
could but feel that the gratification of my curiosity
was at the expense of its life.
The colors soon became less and less brilliant, and
in five minutes entirely disappeared. A large school
of bone to was sporting about the ship in company
with the dolphin?* They are a very active fish and
frequently throw themselves several feet out of water.
In a water spout we have had one of those phenomena, characteristic of the region in which we
then were. It was at too great a distance to be seen
very minutely; the end nearest the ocean was scarcely
perceptible, though the agitation of the water under
it was quite evident, the upper extremity terminated
by a tubular expansion, similar in form to the large
end of a trumpet, in a heavy black cloud. The part
clearly visible was about three hundred feet in length
and the cloud not less than fifteen hundred feet in
There was a shower of raa^ almost immediately
afterwards, of the largest drops I ever saw. It was
perfectly calm, and the ocean glassy as a mirror,
which made the appearance of the rain, as-it struck
the surface of the water, singularly beautiful, as far
as the eye could reach. The whole sea seemed a
plain of glass studded with diamonds of the first magnitude.
At ten o'clock at night, the exhibitions of the day
were followed by a phosphoretic scene of unrivaled
beauty and sublimity. I have often before observed
luminous points, like sparks of fire floating here and
there in the wake of our vessel; but now the whole OF SAILOR  LIFE.
ocean was literally bespangled with them, notwithstanding the smoothness of the surface. There was a
considerable swell of the sea; and sparkling as it did
on every part as with fire, the mighty heavings of its
bosom were indescribably magnificent. It seemed
as if the sky had fallen to a level with the ship,
and all its stars in ten fold number and brilliancy
were rolling about with the undulation of the billows.
The horizon in every direction presented a line of uninterrupted light, while the wide space intervening
was one extent of apparent fire. The sides of our
vessel appeared kindling to a flame, and the flash of
the concussion gleamed half way up the riggings and
illumined every object along the whole course of the
ship. By throwing any thing over board a display of
light and colors took place, surpassing in beauty and
brilliancy the finest exhibition of fireworks. The
rudder too, by its motion, created splendid corrusca-
tions at the stern, and a flood of light, by which our
track was marked far behind us. The smaller fishes
were distinctly traceable by running lines, showing
their rapid course; while now and then broad gleam-
ings, extending many yards in every direction,
made known the movement of some monster of the
deep. But minuteness will only weary, without conveying any adequate impression of the scene.
It would have been wise perhaps only to have said
that it was among the most sublime scenes which nature herself ever presents. The cause of this phenomenon was long a subject of speculation among
men of science, but is now satisfactorily ascertained
to be sea animalcules of the luminous tribe, particularly the species Medusa. 22
Captain A. K. Long, of the ship Relief, took great
pains in examining this subject with great minuteness.
The weather is still favorable, and the breeze propitious. At daylight the island of Madeira, just appeared in sight, was looming above the watery horizon. About three o'clock, P. M. we came up with'
these justly celebrated islands, and I need not attempt a description of the subline and picturesque
scenery, or the rich and highly cultivated hills. At
sunset we arrived off the town of Funchal, and came
to anchor in Funchal Roads near the town.
Soon after coming to anchor, we received a visit
from the American Consul, who frequently visited
our ship during our stay.
The Madeira Islands consist of Madeira Parto
Santo and the Desert Isles. Madeira, the principal
island, is distinguished for its wines, whieh are exported to various parts of the world; its capital is
These islands belong to Portugal, and have a pop*
ulation of ninety thousands, including blacks.
After'Our arrival here, theiiofricers and scientific
gentlemen were busily engaged in examining the islands, and making observations, and measuring the
height of some of the loftiest mountains. The weather was fine and beautiful, and the country in every
direction was clothed in green verdure. Our ship
was furnished with a plenty of excellent beef and
vegetables, and also fruit in abundance. I suppose
there is no place in the known world which produces finer beef, vegetables and fruit, than this island. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
The island is under the government of Portugal,
and the natives seem to be quite loyal to the present
Queen Donna Maria. Its capital, Funchal, is a
handsome little town, containing some six or eight
thousand inhabitants, who seem to be a gay and lively people, and remarkably hospitable. Like other
Spanish and Portuguese towns, it has its number of
churches and convents, which were mostly illuminated the first part of the night.
At two o'clock, P. M., on the-following day, we
weighed anchor, and bid adieu to this truly beautiful-
island—squadron in company.
After leaving Madeira, we had delightful weather
with fine cool breezes. At four o'clock, P. M, we
passed the Island Mayo, one of the Cape de Verd Islands, and at midnight lay to off the Island of San
Jago, the principal Island of the Cape de Yerds.
October 6th, we were off the island. At nine
o'clock, A. M., came to anchor off the town of Porto
Praya, and soon after received a visit from Mr. Gardener, American Consul.
Cape De Verd Islands, discovered in 1460 by the
Portuguese and still subject to the crown of Portugal,
form a group of about twenty in number, including
those of a smaller size, which are unimportant. They
formerly contained a population of about twenty
thousands, but at present are very sparsely inhabited.
They are all more or less mountainous, with scarcely
enough vegetation to support themselves and cattle.
The people, isolated as they were from the world, with
most of the channels of communication cut off between them and the other countries, are dependent
chiefly for whatever sustenance their own islands do LIGHTS  AN©  SHADOWS
not afford, upon vessels casually stopping at them.
The trade is generally carried on by barter. From
the tinie of their first discovery they have been subject at intervals to severe drought and famine. The
rain of heaven is often withheld for several years in
succession, at which time all the sources of fertility
are dried up, and the people and their cattle perish
for the want of food and water. It is not surprising
to learn that so many have perished from famine.
The most deadly famine took place in 1832, when one
half of the inhabitants lost their lives, and all their
cattle died. Large donations were made in New
York and other parts of the United States for their
relief, with which provisions were purchased and
sent them.
Coffee and sugar are raised in some parts of the island, but not in any abundance. We saw herds of
cattle and some thousands of goats grazing on the declivities of the mountain. The inhabitants, from intermixture, have become almost of the negro complexion and features.
Porto Praya is the capital of San Jago.
On the 27th of October, we got underway and
stood out to sea with a pleasant breeze. On the 29th
a sail was reported in sight, and, as we were near the
coast of Africa, we were suspicious that she was a
slaver. Spy-glasses were eagerly raised, and her
manoeuvres closely watched; however, she soon ran
away from us.
On the 12th and 13th, large schools of dolphin
played about our vessel, and a number of them were
caught, and notwithstanding our medical officers said
they were sometimes  poisonous,  they  were eaten
without feeling any inconvenience from them.
Nothing of importance occurred until near the close
of November, when land was reported, which proved
to be Cape Frio, a high and irregular point of land
forty miles distant. On the same evening, we came
to anchor in the harbor of Rio de Janeiro, after a
passage of ninety-five days from Hampton Roads.
Found the United States ship Independence and a
number of English and French ships of war, also
merchant ships of all nations.
Two days after my arrival I embraced the opportunity of visiting the shore, and commenced my observations upon the Brazilians.
On entering the capacious harbor of Rio, you pass
the frowning batteries of Fort Santa Cruz at the foot
of Signal Hill on the right hand, and on the left Fort
Saint Lucia, built on a small island near the main
land, and another small one a little to the eastward of
Sugar Loaf Hill, so called from its shape, which is
one immense isolated rock, and lifts its almost perpendicular sides to the clouds, a lower tier of which
perpetually crowns its barren head. It is about one
thousand feet high, said to have been inaccessible to
all save an Englishman, who by some mysterious
means ascended it, and raised thereon the flag of his
country as a proud signal of his exploit. Whether
he fell from the rock into the deep beneath, or was
slain by some hired assassin, is not and probably
never will be known. Some of the officers of the
Expedition have succeeded in reaching its highest summit,  and there unfurled the "star-spangled
3 tfci&ia
bamier;" they remained upon it all night, and in the
morning descended again and returned in safety to
the ship.
Description of Rio de Janeiro—Emperor's Palace—Celebration
of the Emperor's Birth—Imperial Church Chapel—Church, and
the Vow of the Empress—Sectional differences—Funeral occasion.
" I love the blue waters ! their deep maddening roar,
Is food for a spirit unbounded by shore;
Thy whirlwinds may shriek—thy lightnings may flash,
Yet safe o'er thy bosom, old. ocean, I'll dash."
Rio de Janeiro is built at the entrance of a bay one
hundred miles in circumference, intersected here and
there with small islands covered with evergreen.
The city contains about one hundred thousand inhabitants, including the suburbs Gloria Hill and Bo-
The buildings are of stone, three or four stories
high, the streets very narrow and long, wearing an
unpleasant and sombre appearance, produced by the
wide-spreading and clumsy verandahs that disfigure
almost every street. Like the generality of Spanish*
and Portuguese towns, it is extremely filthy, and for
the want of the indispensable conduits in cities, to
wit, sewers, the streets become the common receptacle OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
of excrementitious abomination and filth. The slave
population, and it is very considerable, is altogether
more miserable and wretched than any thing my imagination could have previously depicted. The
slaves are driven about the streets, yoked together by
dozens, with a necklace of iron almost as delicate
and slender as our chain cable, each carrying on his
head a ten gallon bucket of water, and some with
bags of coffee and other heavy loads on their heads.
All slaves are in a perfect state of. nudity, except the
covering afforded by a small piece of dirty rag which
is tied about the loins. The noise which they make
when departing in droves from the public fountains,
gives the most perfect idea of a pandemonium that
can well be imagined.
The Emperor's Palace is in full view from our ship,
and is opposite the only landing for boats on the
beach. I had paid it a visit, and taken a full view,
both interior and exterior. The fact that it is a palace, is the only thing that recommends it to a passing notice.
It formerly was the residence of the Vice Roy, and
for such a dignitary good enough. The present Emperor does not reside here, but has his palace in the
suburbs of the city. He is a young man of about
^nineteen years of age; his father, Don Pedro the first,
abdicated the crown, and he became the natural successor when quite an infant ;-^-since that time the
'kingdom of Brazil has been governed by a Regency.
Yesterday was his birth-day, on which occasion he
paid a visit to the city in commemoration of that
event. Ine streets, through which he passed, were
handsomely decorated with flags, artificial flowers 28
and tapestry of different hues and shades. Arches
in several places were built across the streets through
which he passed on his way to the -old palace, and
were decorated with every thing which the imagination could demise. The square in front of the palace was literally filled with spectators of all shades
and cojorsj anxiously waiting to get a glimpse of his
Royal Highness, as he entered the palace. This
novel scene did not attract my attention, and I saw
but little in it that was at all interesting, therefore I
did not remain long to gaze on it. The ships in the
harbor, as well as the city, were richly dressed in flags,
and at twelve o'clock a royal salute was fired from all
the batteries, and answered by the vessels of war in
the harbor.
But tOjTeturn to the description of Rio. The palace is a parallelogram of about two hundred feet in
length and one hunched and fifty feet in front. It is
enclosed, but contains a court yard in the centre, on
one side of which is the Senate house,—the house of
Deputies being a mile distant in the Campo de Ac-
langao—and on the other a splendid church belonging to the Carmonite monks, adjoining the beautiful
little imperial chapel. It is said that this church was
%nilt by the late Empress Don Pedro, in consequence
of a vow made to the goddess of fecundity. The story
runs thus;—she had been married some time without
becoming a mother, and in a fit of united piety and
philoprogenitiveness, she vowed that should she be
served as Sarah of old was, she would build a church
on the glorious occasion. Her prayers were heard,
and she became a mother, and as truly did she build
this pretty little church  as commemorative of this OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
miraculous event. This story is figuratively told by
six or seven statues of the Empress, placed in the
church in appropriate niches, on the right hand side
as you enter, beautifully modeled andtichly decorated with diamonds; all are arranged in the delineating
style, singularly indicative of the event which they
are designed to describe hieroglyphically. The hi#J
toric delineation is ingenious and skilfully develops
the different eras; and the last one as you approach
the altar closes the representations, by presenting the
heavenly babe full of infantile beauty and plumpness,
in the joyous arms of the certainly handsome and
modest young Empress*
No person may deny but that this is a perfectly
natural scene, and also a truly modest one, to those
who are accustomed to look upon it as a miracle
rather than a mere picture of "the fancy;" but in a
country like the United States, where a rigid code of
delicacy is so strictly observed, certain tilings would
be viewed with horror, that in another are looked
upon coldly, as capable of exciting neither animal
passion or latent curiosity.
In fact, loeal custom is the only true standard of
delicacy, and as every country has its customs, so
has it also a different scale of modesty, and peculiar
motives of social intercourse. Take for-example two
ladies, one a North, and the other a South American,
equal in their country's refinement and cultivation of
mind, yet I dare affirm both would be simultaneously
shocked at each other's want of delicacy upon many
occasions. This, of course, must be peculiarly observable in the inhabitants of isolated countries, where
intercourse to any considerable extent is impractica-
3* 30
hie Generosity, truth, gratitude and honesty, are
intrinsically the same in every section of the world,
but that which we understand by the name of modesty, or female purity of action, varies with latitude
and climate, and in fact is almost provincial in its definition. The South American lady, who jumps into
her saddle, rides off on horseback like a man, with a
poncho thrown gracefully over the shoulders, may
have as lofty notions of true delicacy as she who flirts
along Broadway or Washington street, attended by
one who apparently has as good a claim to a forest
origin as the noble animal upon which he rides, and
over which he seems to wish for a superiority, from
the fact that he is the director, not the directed.
Whilst one day standing in the church and looking
with a delightful eye upon some truly splendid and
masterly pieces of scriptural paintings, a corpse was
brought into the aisle and laid near the altar. The
friends of the deceased arranged themselves on each
side of the way from the door to the altar. No female was present, as I have elsewhere observed on
many like occasions. Wax candles were brought
and handed around weighing upwards of ten pounds,
which were six feet long, they having.been previously lighted. The priests made a grand entry from the
sacriste, dressed in full splendor of sacerdotal attire,
some with service books in their hands and others
bearing gold and silver censers, which sent forth in
downy clouds, the combined odors of myrrh and
frankincense. The pall was removed, the coffin was
opened, and holy water sprinkled upon the satin-
robes of the dead. I looked around me for tombs or
for the grave, but saw nothing of either. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
The priest carried the body three times ifcund the
enclosure, and at last deposited it in a niche in the
wall, merely large enough for the coffin, and here
with- a hammer and a trowel the masons completed
the interment.
It is no doubt known to some of our readers, and to
some it may not be, that Bonaparte sent from the court
of Portugal, King John and his wife to the court of
Brazil. King John was the first European monarch
who sat foot upon the American Continent. He
made Rio de Janeiro the seat of government, and dur*
ing his reign the court of Brazil was proverbially one
of the most licentious upon earth. King John himself was one of the greatest libertines that the world
ever produced, and stopped short of nothing to satisfy
his sensual pleasures.
I visited the shore on the 10th and again witnessed
the brutal manner in which slaves are treated.
Could the abolitionists of the United States witness
the evil of slavery, as it is seen in all cits deformity
here, they might more strongly enforce their favorite
doctrine. Indeed, one who has been accustomed to
slavery from his childhood, as it exists in the United
States, might be shocked in walking the streets of Rio,
at the abject condition of the slaves, and the brutal
manner in which they are treated. When the slave
becomes diseased he is cast on the world, to get his
living in the best manner he can; and many would
actually die from want, were it not for the charities
of the monastic establishments, and the small sums
occasionally contributed by strangers. I have frequently been accosted by these pitiable objects, and
as I have thrown them a few vintonS, a smile of joy 32
would illumine their countenances, as if some dread
apprehensions had been removed from their mind.
Notwithstanding their charitable institutions, great
numbers die annually from their deplorable condition.
It is said that thousands of these miserable objects
are transported annually into this kingdom, although
H is a contraband trade.
Since our arrival, two slave vessels have been
brought into port by an English man-of-war brig.
Rio de Janeiro is celebrated for its many and magnificent churches. The people generally are strict
Catholics, and droves of them may be seen every
morning entering the church to pay their early devotions at the holy altar. The English and American
residents have a neat little church near the public
gardens, enclosed by an iron railing, witfc a yard in
front, paved, with granite. It was built in 1820, and
will hold about five hundred people very comfortably.
The clergyman is of the Episcopal order, and is supported by the English and American residents and
by the English government. The city is ornamented
by several fountains made of granite, which are supplied with water from the neighboring mountains, by
means of an aqueduct some miles in extent, similar
to those mentioned in Roman history. It is the best
specimen of architecture of which Rio can boast
Several other public buildings are to be found fcere,
such as a Museum, a Public Library and a number
of convents.
Since our arrival here, Captain Wilkes has been on
shore with all of his scientific insttuments, making
At nine o'clock, A. M., January 7th, a light wind OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
springing up we weighed our anchor and proceeded to
sea—squadron in company. We were now favored
with fine weather and a moderate breeze. At four
o'clock, P. M., we were just losing sight of the coast of
Brazil. The bleak and lofty mountains were fast receding from our view, and in a short time were entirely swallowed up in the distance. The first patt
of this month was peculiarly pleasant ; but we
were destined, however, to experience some little
change. How very illustrative of human Hfei* The
morning of the 15th set in cloudy, and at eight o'clock
A. M., commenced raining with considerable wind,
which soon increased to a gale. At ten o'clock all
hands were called to reef topsails, when we got a severe
pelting of rain. This^ however, from its frequent oc-
LCturrence, the sailor thinks but little of. His life is
emphatically one of toil and hardship. And yet amid
all of his privations, he receives comparatively but
little sympathy from those who are so dependent
upon him for the luxuries, and to some extent, the
necessaries of life. While the sensualist is feasting
upon the delicacies of distant climes, as the highest
gratification of which his nature is susceptible, like
the swine that feeds voraciously upon the bounty
shaken in plenty from above him, knows not and
cares not from whence they came, or with what toil
they were obtained. Appetite, beast-like, must be
gratified, and thoughts of the sailor are as unusual as
emotions of gratitude, in such depraved bosoms. Yet
a brighter day is about to dawn upon the sailor; his
cries are to be heard, and his claims acknowledged.
We had at this time nearly the same kind of
weather that we generally have hi the United States 34
e i
in the latter part of March. At ten o'clock, spoke the
American whaling ship Leander of New York, six
months and a half out, with three hundred and
twenty barrels of sperm oil. Shortly after, spoke a
Dutch brig bound to the Falkland Islands.
Just as we had finished our breakfast on the morning of the 21st, the appalling cry of "a man overboard !" resounded throughout the ship. We immediately hove to, and he being a good swimmer, reached the man-rope at the gangway in safety.
An effort to give a just description of scenes like
this, although, in this instance, we were unusually
fortunate, need not be attempted. It will prove a
failure. The feelings of one struggling against the
mighty power of overwhelming billows, with no
gleam of hope from his "little world " from which he
has been suddenly ejected; tossed and driven upon a
wide expanse of waters—to appreciate the thick-
crowding emotions of one under such circumstances,
there must be something approximating nearer to the
reality than the tame and unmeaning recital of the
narrator. The gloom which pervades the surviving
crew, when even "one of the few" is taken hurried»
ly from them, is not easily described. Even the loss
of one, forms no inconsiderable fraction of such a miniature of the community. In the usual routine of duties, it is often observed that one is far from them
and sleeps beneath the ever-restless bosom of their
chosen element
Our latitude was now forty-one degrees south, temperature ranging from sixty-five to seventy degrees.
A seal was seen playing in the wake of our vessel;
this circumstance induced us to believe that land was OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
not far distant.; whales have been seen sporting about
in every direction, and also several sharks paid us a
visit alongside and waited on the top of the water
some moments for something to satisfy their voracious appetites.
At daylight on the 25th, land was reported from
mast head, and at five o'clock we came to anchor ini
five fathoms water, off Rio Negro, coast of Patagonia.
Immediately after dropping anchor we had a severe
gale of wind and rain, which induced us to make
speedy preparations to brave the dangers of an ocean
life. 1*        <9J?     ft*   • $      £&
After our arrival here, our scientific gentlemen
went ashore in quest of objects in their different departments, and the other officers were busily engaged
in surveying, Sec. There is a considerable Spanish
settlement on this coast, about twenty miles from the
mouth of the river, and also a village of from one to
two thousand inhabitants, the principal part of whom
are soldiers. The squadron, when it appeared off the
harbor, caused considerable excitement among the inhabitants; the most of them fled into the country;
mistaking us for a French squadron, with which na^.
tion they are at war. They soon found out their
mistake and returned. There is a monthly intercourse from this port to Buenos Ay res, to* which government this colony belongs. This region of Patagonia abounds in all kinds of game, excellent horses
and horned cattle. Our men brought off several armadillos and young ostriches, and some ostrich eggs
for curiosities.
January 30th. This morning a stiong gale sprung
up, blowing immediately on the land, which, from our 36
exposed situation, compelled us to get underway and
beat out to sea. The Peacock in company; also the
brig Porpoise—the two latter being compelled to slip
their cables and leave their anchors behind.
On the following day, however, the weather so far
changed, that we thought it advisable to return to
Rio Negro, in order to get a boat's crew that had deserted from the boat and been left behind.
Having* succeeded in regaining the men we again*
got underway and stood out to sea; squadron in company.
The weather now begins to grow cool, the thermometer ranging from forty-five to fifty degrees in
the shade on the spar deck, and between decks at
sixty degrees.
Our ship glides through the water like a thing of
life. At sunset there was a large school of porpoises
alongside, and we succeeded in takiftg one, which
made a fresh " mess " for all hands. The flesh of the
porpoise has no appearance or taste of fish, but more
resembles beef;—only it is much darker. I tasted
some of it and liked it very much. Our latitude
about this time, by observation, was fifty degrees
thirty minutes south, and our longitude sixty three
degrees Ihirty minutes west.
At midnight of the following day, we had a partial
view of the rugged peaks of Terra del Fuego, and at
eight o'clock, A. M., entered the straits of La Maire.
The land here presents rather a dreary appearance;
the high peaks on either hand are covered with perpetual snow,^ although it is mid-summer here. At
sunset we passed the straits, and again entered the
open sea with land on the starboard bow.    We hove OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
to off Cape Horn, the night being dark and bluster-
. »ng-
We made but little progress after weighing our anchor on the following morning, in consequence of the
unfavorableness of the weather. The country here
presents-nothing but snow-clad mountains and barren
rocks: no sign of vegetation, except here and there a
stunted tree
We were.passing Cape Horn, within a few miles of
the shore, with studding sails set on bothl sides. It
is very seldom that such a thing happens, for Cape
Horn is denominated the "stormy Cape," as vessels
seldom, if ever, pass it without experiencing very
boisterous weather. It was cloudy and nearly calm
however, on the 17th, and we were engaged all day in
beating up to our anchorage.
After a weary and sleepless night in working the
ship up here, we dropped anchor about six o'clock in
the morning in sixteen fathoms water. This was a
most delightfiil day, thermometer in the shade, sixty
fotif degrees The bay and country around had quite
a different appearance from what I expected.
At noon a native canoe came alongside, having on
board two men, one woman and a chOd, but we were
so busily engaged mooring the ship, that we could
pay no attention to them.
Here also our officers and scientific gentlemen went
on shore, and killed a number of geese, ducks^ and
shore birds, but with the exception of one variety,
to which we gave the name of steam boat \ geese, are
much smaller than ours, and of a richer plumage.
The Relief was ordered from Rio de Janeiro to rum
a line of soundings along the coast of Patagonia, and i'ii;
also to examine the shoals which are jsaid to exist on
that coast This work was performed much to the
satisfaction of Captain Wilkes. She stood several
times close in to the coast of Patagonia, and twice so
near that the lamas could be seen feeding in herds on
the declivities of the hills. She came to anchor twicej
along the coast; the harbors were unprotected from
the violence of the waves, therefore she could not remain at anchor long enough to examine i^ie shores fa*
any part of the interior.
She visited most of the harbors in the straits of Le
Mair, which we passed without noticing, and had intercourse with the natives. The principal one was
Good Success Bay. On the 2d January, she anchored
in this bay and in the evening Captain Long, accompanied by some of the officers and scientific gentlemen, visited the shore. They landed in a cove near
the southern end of the bay, where they found a
stream of water about forty feet wide, which discharges itself in the bay:—the water was of a dark
color, but of an excellent quality. Some of the party
attempted the ascent of the highest mountain. They
found the ascent, in consequence of the vegetation
and looseness of the toil, extremely) laborious. But
by perseverance they succeeded in gaining the summit, when they found themselves amply repaid for
their trouble, in the romantic and picturesque scenery
which the country afforded. They had also a commanding view of the bay, and an indistinct view of
Staten Island, besides several small islands that kin
terspersed the bay. Some of the party took their guns,
expecting to find plenty of game, but were disappointed, for not a living animal of any kind was seen. Interview with the Natives—Orange Harbor—Interview with
another party of Natives—Return-of a part of the Squadron—
Valparaiso—The Cemetery.
u And over head
And all around, wind warred With wind, storm howled
To storm, and lightning, forked lightning crossed,
And thunder answered thunder, mattering sounds
Of sullen wrath."
Next morning we got underway and stood out of
the harbor with a fine breeze, but it soon died away
and the ship drifted back into the bay and we again
came to anchor. At six o'clock several natives were
seen corning near the ship, and in order to attract our
attention, commenced a piteous yell. This not a little surprised them, for no sign of a native had been
seen on the preceding day.
Captain Long, accompanied by several officers,
left the ship in three armed boats for the purpose of
having^'communication with them. On landing, the
natives came running towards them and showed evident signs of their being welcomed to their shores,
and commenced crying :i Cuchitto! CuchUlo /" and
as cuchillo is the Spanish for knives, and as Waddell
in his book says they have many Spanish words in
their language, it was thought at first that they were
asking if we have any knives to sell; but when 40
knives were shown them, they still continued their
cries. When a looking glass was shown them and a
string of beads, they appeared pleased, but still the
word was kept up during the whole intercourse, and
it was impossible to learn its meaning. Our own
words they would easily repeat and even seemed to
understand some of them. They set great value on
steel and iron, and would readily exchange their
bows and arrows for a piece of iron hoop or a few
rusty nails: some of the arrows were neatly made,
with flint heads.
This party consisted of fourteen men, and with the
exception of the chief, were all young, well made
and good looking. They were full six feet high, well
modeled, and had very pleasing countenances. They
all had their hair cut short on the top of the head,
and their faces smeaTed with a kind of clay, something
like red ocre. Their dress consisted of a single guaco
skin, which, when put properly on, covered their
bodies as far down as the knees * but they were not
particular on this point, and often exposed themselves
to a shameful degree. Most of them were troubled
with a disease of the eye, which may perhaps be attributed to their long winters, when the ground is covered with snow, which dazzles their eyes in the open
,ajr. It seems quite evident that they have had inter-
course with the Europeans before, for the report of
guns did not frighten them in the least. All endeavors to entice them on board proved unavailing; they
shook their heads and pointed to the woods, and then
ran some distance from the boat.
From here the Relief touched at New Island, and
Came to anchor and examined the shore, but found no OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
natives. From the marks that were seen, it is very
evident that natives had been recently there.
Her next place of anchorage was in a small bay
about twenty or thirty miles from Orange Harbor,
called Nassau Bay. They were there visited by natives entirely different from those seen at Good Success. She had scarcely got her anchor down when *
canoe full of natives came alongside,—three men,
one woman, and a child. Upon invitation, two of
them came on board without hesitation or dismay,
and Captain Long was not a little surprised to find
them so different from those seen at Good Success.
They spoke an entirely different language, were of a
low stature, ill shapen and desperately dirty. So
great indeed was the difference, that no room was
left for doubt but that those seen at Good Success
were natives of Patagonia, and had wandered there
in quest of game.
Orange Harbor is a large and spacious harbor, siS*
uated at the deep and extensive bay of Nassau, and
protected from the violence of the waves by a small
island called Burnt Island, on which the Relief had a
light house erected for the use of the squadron, should
they arrive in the night time. It is intersected by
many small bays or harbors, suitable for boats to enter for wood and water. The most convenient one is
Dingy Cove, situated nearly at the head of the bay,
in which boats may enter and fill with wood, cut
from the banks. The neighborhood is plentifully
supplied with wood, but this* is the most convenient
place to get a supply. Game m found here in great
profusion, and water in abundance, of an excellent
quality.    This is the harbor where the celebrated cir-
cumnavigator, Captain James Cook of the British
Navy, anchored and refitted ship previous to his Antarctic cruise, on his second voyage of discivery.
Subsequent explorers have anchored here and refitted.
Captain King of H. B. M. ship , has been on this
coast for several years surveying. He also made this
his rendezvous, and by him it was accounted the best
harbor on the coast.
Fish are found here in great abundance, and of an
excellent quality,—as good, if not better than our pan
fish at home. The first few days after our arrival
we had very boisterous weather, but it soon became
more moderate. Early in the morning a canoe came
alongside with six natives, five men and one woman,
bringing with them spears and a necklace made of
shells, which they readily exchanged for pieces of
cotton and pieces of an old iron hoop. They were
invited on board, but at first, only one would venture.
This was a young man of about nineteen years of age
and rather good looking. They were evidently of
the same race as those seen at Nassau Bay. They
spoke the same language and dressed and walked
like them. The woman was old, ugly and as muscular as any of the men, and with them partook of
an equal share of the labor of the paddle. They all
listened attentively to the flute and guitar, and even
attempted to imitate the songs accompanying the music. Every new object they saw attracted their attention. They were conducted to every part of the
ship, and shown every thing considered at all attract
tive. Their canoe was constructed of strips of bark
sewed together, and so fraU and leaky that one had
constantly to keep bailing toikeep it afloat.   It was OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
about twenty-five feet long and three wide. The
bottom was*covered with a layer of clay about one
foot thick, and on which a fire was kept burning and
around which the radians were constantly hovering.
Our friends, the natives, left us about one o'clock,
P. M., and landed nearly opposite the ship, where they
built a large fire.
On the 25th of February, the United States Ship
Peacock, William L. Hudson, Esq. commanding, Brig
Porpoise, Charles Wilkes, Esq., commander in chief;
Schooner Sea Gufl, Lieutenant Johnson, started on a
cruise to the Polar regions. As the Porpoise passed
out of the harbor, she was successively cheered by all
the squadron. The Vincennes,-dn charge of Lieutenant Thomas T. Craven, was left in this narbor to
await the return of the Squadron. All the sick and
invalids from those vessels bound on a cruise, were
left behind for the purpose of recruiting.
At six o'clock, A. M., January 6th, the store ship
Relief got underway and stood out to sea, bound on a
cruise to the straits of Magellan. She had on board
a number of our scientific gentlemen, and also the fleet
surgeon, Doctor Gilchrist.
Since our anival here we have generally experienced milder weather than was expected in such a
high latitude. It is such weather as we generally
have in the United States in the latter part of February. We caught daily a plenty of fish and killed an
abundance of game.
We were again visited by a party of natives in
several bark canoes who came alongside, and upon
invitation a number came on board. As soon as they
came on deck their vociferation seemed to increase 44
with their astonishment, and it may be added, -their
pleasure; for the reception they met seemed to create
no less joy than surprise. Whenever they received a
present, or were shown any thing which excited fresh
admiration, they expressed their delight in loud and
repeated ejaculations, which they sometimes contiri^
ued till they were quite hoarse, and out of breath
with the exertion. The noisy mode of expressing
their satisfaction was accompanied by jumping,
which continued for a minute or more, according to
the degree of passion which was excited, and the
bodily power of the person who exercised it. The
old man was rather too infirm to express the full
amount of his gratitude, but still did his utmost to go
through the performance.
After some time passed upon deck, during which a
few bows and arrows, and one or two skins were
bought from them, they were taken down into the
cabin. The younger ones received the proposal to
descend rather doubtingly, till they saw that their old
companions were willing to set them the example,
and they then followed without fear. They were, like
our former visitors, almost in a perfect state of nudity. Still the women possessed an uncommon share of
modesty, and seemed perfectly conscious of their exposed situation, for not one could be induced to come
on board, though presents were repeatedly offered
them as an inducement. There were one or two
children in the number, whom they seemed to treat
with great tenderness. A blanket was given to one
of the women, and she had no sooner received it, than
she wrapped it around her child. I was much astonished to witness the modest behavior of these poor OF  SAILOR   LIFE.
savages, as quite the reverse might ^p expected from
beings so literally in a state of nature, and ignorant of
social intercourse.
We had much amusement with the men who came
on board. We dressed them up in sailors' and marines' clothing, and then took them before a looking
glass, that they might view their altered appearance.
The only word of their language that I could distinguish was " Yam Mah Scooud" which words they
repeat when asking for any thing. They are a set of
poor, miserable beings, bait very innocent; they did
not touch an article that was not given them. About
four o'clock they left the ship and encamped on shore
opposite to us. The only dwelling which we could
discover that they inhabited, was made of the
branches of trees.
March 13th. ?$ The natives paid us another visit
this morning, expecting to get another load of presents, but were disappointed. They had pulled off
the clothes that had been given them the day pro
vious, and came as naked as when on their first visit.
This was done no doubt to excite out sympathy and
solicit charity. It is very surprising how these poor,
miserable beings can subsist, with but little covering
to protect them against the inclement weather which
prevails here during the entire year. Their principal
food is shell fish, which they procure during their
short summer, and dry in the sun, for the winter's
supply. Yet another proof of the goodness of Him
who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb. Query,
would this not be a fit place for our philanthropic missionaries to exercise their ameliorating powers?
From the date of my last remarks until the present LIGHTS   AND   SHADOWS
period, the weather has been almost constantly bad;—
rain, hail and snow almost every day, with a constant gale of wind. The indians seemed to have had
a knowledge of its approach, as they all left the coast
some days before it set in, and have not been seen
On the 22d inst...the Schooner Sea Gull, Lieutenant Johnson, arrived from the southern cruise, and
brought some curiosities, among which was the skin
of a sea lion, killed at the South Shetlands.
Two days afterward, the Brig Porpoise, Charles
Wilkes, commander in chief, arrived. He had visited during his cruise, the South Shetlands, Palmer's
Land, and penetrated as far as the sixty-sixth degree
of south latitude, when he was surrounded on all
sides by innumerable icebergs, and field-ice. About
this time we had another visit from one of the natives,
who remained on board for a considerable time. He
afforded much amusement for us, and served to beguile the tedious monotony of our hours, in his attempts to imitate and mimic our words and actions.
He seemed to be much pleased with the treatment he
received, but still seemed anxious to get with his old
At two o'clock, P. M^ April 17th all hands were
called to get underway, and we dropped down to
Seapenham Bay, when the wind being light and unfavorable, we again came to anchor, where we lay
but a short time. During the night all the watch
idlers, and ail hands were startled from their slumbers
by the cry of " all hands! " who rushed on deck, and
found that we were close in shore and threatened
with a heavy squall.   It however passed off without OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
reaching us. At dayligl|$ we had a light* fpjjod and
were just clearing the bay, and in sight of Cape Horn.
At four P. M., Cape Horn bore by compass N. sixty-
two degrees E., and False Cape Horn twelve degrees
W. In a short time we found ourselves in a milder
climate, and expected in a few days to be able to
reach Valparaiso.
At daylight of the 12th of May, the coast of Chili
was in sight, and shortly afterwards the lofty Andes
were dimly seen above the eastern horizon, probably
not less than fifty miles distant. Those lofty mountains have been seen sometimes at a distance of one
hundred and fifty miles, particularly in a clear atmosphere before sunrise. The coast gradually rose
into view as we approached it* and on the following
day we were near enough to view its, irregular^form,
with pleasing anticipations. As we approached the
harbor of Valparaiso, the coast had the high and
checkered appearance of some of the Dold promontories of New England, though with the aspect of great
sterility. When we came up with the Point of Angels, one object after another opened upon us, beginning with a large white house where the Governor occasionally resides for the purpose of inhaling the sea
breeze. Then are seen the habitations of the citizens,
stretching along above a sand beach, and .then higher
up the acclivities, almost-coveting the steep hills, the
town is built. The name of the place, the "Valley
of Paradise," is calculated to give one lofty expectations and prepare him for disappointment. If such a
place is paradise it must be paradise fallen; as where
the holy pair were expelled by sin*)
The soil in the vicinity of Valparaiso, for the most 48
part, is very poor, and the irregular broken country
for miles around, has a peculiar desolate appearance,
from the most total absence of vegetation and foliage.
The long snowy range of the Andes, though so chsr
tant as to form a less impressive feature than my imagination had pictured, was still a very fine object,
and if it could have been contrasted with any thing
like an Italian foreground, would have been far more
enchanting. The everlasting snows of the Andes,
when viewed in particular lights, would gleam with
brilliancy, as if overspread with burnished silver.
And as we approached the harbor on the following
day, the sombre interest of the scene was heightened
by the chiming of bells for vespers, from the gloomy
monasteries of the town.
As soon as we had come to anchor, and every
thing was secured, the letter bag was brought on deck
and its contents emptied on the Quarter. This was
an anxious and interesting time,—every one waiting
in suspense for his name to be called for a lettanh
Many of us had not heard from home since leaving
the United States. Many were doomed to disappointment, and myself among the number.
A few days after our arrival, I obtained permission
to visit the shore in company with a number of my
ship-mates; We landed at a pier which had been recently built. This is the only place where a boat
can land without being m danger of being dashed to
pieces against the rocks, from the violence of the surf
which every where beats along the shore.
We were met on the pier by a motley set, prisei-
pally Choloes, or country people, dressed in their
large ponchos,   which  very  much  resemble  horse OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
blankets, with a hole in the middle through which
the head is thrust, so that the ends hang down behind and before. The women of the lower order
were variously habited in dirty calico frocks, and
shawls of coarse baize, either green or crimson. A
short walk made me pretty well acquainted with the
town. It has one large street and one or two small,
ones, and in common with most Spanish towns, has
its plaza, or public square, with the government
house and a range of houses on the opposite side I
looked in vain, as I passed along the street, for something interesting among the inhabitants.
Mount Alegre is an eminence which rises abruptly
from the centre of the town, and, in fact, nearly over-*
hangs it. This is the residence of many of the
wealthy foreigners, merchants, doing business in the-
towns. From here the view is delightful; the harbor, with all the shipping and the surrounding country,, affords a beautiful prospect, seldom surpassed.
There are several inns or taverns in the town, and
among the number two English and one French.
Those houses kept by Chilians seem to be naturally
dirty, as it is a characteristic peculiar to them. But
this is not the case with the houses of the old Spaniards here, which are very clean and tidy. There is
no taste in the building of the town. The houses are
made chiefly of sun-burnt bricks, plastered outside,
and only one or two stories high, with red tiled roofs.
The bricks are generally two feet long, and one wide,
and very coarse. From what I observed, I should
judge their manner of making them might have been
similar to that practiced in Egypt by the Jews, in the
time of Moses.
5 50
The ladies of Valparaiso—and they form but a
small portion of the whole in my estimation—are dress-
entirely different from those of the lower order; but
none of them wear any hat or head dress, on ordinary
occasions. Their ringlets or curls hang down the
back in two long plaits, in* some instances, nearly
reaching to the ground.
The public buildings in Valparaiso, are very few,
—a custom-house, a town-house, and a court-house
are the principal ones. Their places of amusement
consist of a theatre, poorly fitted up, and another old
building where they hold their "chingonoa dances."
This is one of the most ludicrous amusemerlts that
can be imagined, and I believe only the most abandoned portion resort there. Decency will not permit
me to describe the scenes that may be here witnessed;
Seraglios are numerous, and may be found in almost
any part of the city. According to the number of iff*
habitants, I never saw so many "courtesans" in any
place in my life; still they all pretend to be devoted
Catholics. The people appear generally, hospitable
and kind to strangers. It is quite amusing to see the
country people coming in to market on their asses
and mules, with their feet reaching almost to the
ground, when, ever and anon, they would scourge the
poor animals with a long pole which they invariably
carry. The stirrups are made of wood, and almost
as large as a peck measure,—even these seemed to be
a load for the little animals.
The climate in Chili is very fine in summer, but in
winter is subject to heavy rains, and also very severe
gales of wind; ships are driven from their moorings
and stranded on the beach.    Among the most prevail- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
ing diseases are fevers.     There are no slaves in the
Republic of Chili.
The navy has increased considerably in a very
short time. A squadron is now at Callao consisting
of two frigates, two sloops of war, and several smaller
vessels. This force has been recently employed
against Peru, in which rencounter they were victorious.
During some of my subsequent visks on shore I
strolled out to the burying ground, situated on a high
hill which overlooks the town. On my way I passed
several crosses, erected, as I was informed, for the
purpose of eliciting prayers for souls in purgatory.
The grounds are enclosed by two mud walls; one of
those was appropriated to Catholics, or natives, and
the other to persons of a different faith. Attached to
the burying ground is a charnel house, which is literally a place of skulls. The dead are laid with their
heads to the west, in shallow graves, and for the most
part without either coffin or shroud. They are at
first only covered with a small quantity of earth,
which is beaten upon them with a billet of wood.
When the graves are filled, a wooden cross, in place
of a stone, is placed at the head to mark the spot.
But the bodies are very often left so much exposed as
to be nearly visible. The adjacent " Protestant
Burying Ground " presented quite a different aspect.
Many of the graves were marked, as in our country,
with neat marble slabs, bearing appropiate inscriptions. Yet we were greatly shocked to learn that the
Protestant graves have been repeatedly violated,
either from malice or for plunder. I picked up several coffin plates marked with names and dates, and 52
I was assured on good authority, that one of my
countrymen, who had been buried here, had been
taken up and treated with great indignity.
There is but one road here, which leads to the city
of Santiago, the capital of Chili, situated about sixty
miles in the interior from Valparaiso. Several important roads have been projected, but the face of the
country presents many obstacles, and improvements
of this nature must necessarily be gradual. This
country has enjoyed more peace than any of the new
Republics, and the natives are generally considered
superior to the Peruvians.
The government is a Central Republic. There are
no inferior sovereignties, like our States, or Mexico
and La Plata. The salary of the President is twelve
thousand dollars, and that of the Prime Minister three
thousand dollars. The people are in a prosperous
condition, and far more contented than they were
while under the oppressive colonial system of old
Spain. Education is in its infancy, but some attention has been bestowed upon it, and the first rudiments of knowledge are pretty generally taught to
the young.
On our arrival here, we learned that the storeship
arrived at this harbor on the 13th of April, and lay
off and on for several days before she could come into
port, for want of anchors. She lost all her anchors
and chains in a violent gale of wind off Noir Islands,
where she came near being lost. The Peacock arrived here a little time before us, from her Antarctic
cruise. The Brig Porpoise and Schooner Flying
Fish came in with us; but the Schooner Sea Gull is
still absent from the Squadron, and fears are entertain- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
ed for her safety, as, when she was last seen by her
consort, the Flying Fish, she was supposed to be in a
dangerous situation on a lee-shore, off Cape Horn.
She had on board a crew of thirteen men and two
officers. Passed Midshipman E. J. Reid and -Mr.
Baker, were the two officers attached to her. Lieutenant Thomas T. Craven was to remain here, to
take charge of the Sea Gull in case she should get
here in safety, if not, to go in search of her.
On the 5th of June, we got underway and stood out,
bound to sea. The Peacock and Brig Porpoise sailed
a few days since for the same port. Nothing worthy
of particularizing happened on our passage, which
was performed in fifteen days. On the 20th June we
came to anchor in the harbor of Callao under the Island of San Lorenzo. We found the U. S. S. ship
Relief, Peacock, Porpoise and Schooner Flying Fish
all at anchor here, also the U. S. S. Lexicon, the
Chilian Squadron, and one English and one French
frigate, besides a number of merchant vessels. No
news yet from the Sea Gull.
5* 54
San Lorenzo—Epitaphs—Appearance of Natives and Soldiers—
" Glorious Fourth "—Funeral of one of our number—Discovery of several Islands.
" Saved from the perils of the stormy wave,
And faint with toil, the wanderer of the main,
Bat just escaped from shipwreck's billowy grave,
Trembles to hear its horrors named again.
How warm his vow, that ocean's fairest mien
No more shall lure him from the smiles of home,
Yet soon forgetting each terrific scene,
Once more he tarns, o'er boundless deeps to roam."
The prospect where we now lay was truly interesting. We had a full view of the town and fortress of
Callao, an indistinct view of the spires and churches
of Lima and eight hiiles to the rear of Callao, and to
the rear of all, a lofty chain of the Andes, the lofty
tops of which were lost amid the clouds. The Island
of San Lorenzo, where we then lay, was formed by
the earthquakes of 1740, which destroyed the whole
city of Callao. It is a large mound or heap of sand
and stones, with no sign of vegetation. It is the
burying place of foreign seamen, who are not of the
Catholic faith, who die in this port. In the course of
my rambles on shore I copied some of the most striking epitaphs. OF   SAILOR   LIFE.
" In memory of William Price, seaman;—on board
United States Brig Boxer, who died September 25th,
1830. t| lt      w^benw
A mother's eye will look,—but look in vain,—
For her lov'd son returning from the main;
He left his home to tempt the fickle wave,
And now reposes in a foreign grave.
Peace to his soul, an everlasting peace,
Where troubles come not, and pleasures never cease. "
" To the memory of Bryce Gringle, who departed
this life February 27th, 1837, on board United States
Brig Boxer.
Short was the summons to the dreary tomb
Of him who sleeps beneath this dreary sod,
The friend* he trusted crushed his early bloom
And sent him unprepared to meet his God.
No kindred wept above his youthful bier,
And stranger hands have placed this tribute here."
" To the memory of Thomas Hedrick, of the United
States Ship of the Line North Carolina, who departed
this life at Callao on the 13th, 1838, aet sixteen
years. ;■ jj
In vain had youth its flight impeded,
And hope its passage had delayed;
Death's mandate all has superseded,—
The latest order Tom obeyed."
* He was murdered in his hammock by his best friend, his traveling
companion. He was an Italian, and in a fit.erf* jealousy, perpetrated the
foul deed. His friend had given his " rations " to another, and his exasperation could be quenched only by the murder of his companion. Comment is unnecessary. 56
" Sacred to the memory of James Lawrence, late
seaman On board It. B. M. ship President, who departed this life February 8th, 1838.
A worthy shipmate and a friend sincere,
In the cold, Silent grave now resteth here ;
His warning was but short,—think of his fate,
Prepare for death before it is too late."
"Sacred to the memory of William Edwards, late
of the Royal Marines, on board H. B. M. ship Harrin,
who departed this life at Callao, November 29th, 1839.
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 ordeals."
New Callao, though the sea port of Lima, is, without any exception, the most miserable looking place
I ever sawC The principal street, following the curvature of the beach, is miserably paved, which renders
walking disagreeable. The rest, excepting fhe one
leading into the road to Lima, are narrow, dirty
lanes. The houses are generalLy of one story, constructed of reeds, plastered with mud, and whitewashed both inside and out;—furnished with clumsy
wooden verandas and flag staff. The roofs are flat
and covered with the same kind of materials, which
form the walls; but instead of being preserved for
promenades, they are receptacles of all kinds of rubbish, such as rags, broken bottles, demijohns tumblers, old baskets, rams' horns, remnants of bedding,
and old boots and shoes.    There are very few decent OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
houses in the place. The one occupied by the captain of the port makes the best external appearance.
The interior of the dwellings are generally filthy.
When passing by the door of the port surgeon, I was
struck with astonishment at its appearance;—a hen
and chickens were sitting in one corner of the office,
where he was writing prescriptions for invalids. It
seems to be a natural disposition for all classes of
them to live in filth. The women belonging to the
higher order are at their toilette about five o'clock in
the afternoon, after which they either thumb the
guitar or sally forth for a pasio, or walk. In passing
their houses at any other time of the day, you see
them with their dress hanging negligently about their
persons, opened behind or exposing their bosom in
front, wiih their feet perched upon the rounds of a
chair, and perhaps swinging, or gazing upon the passing stranger. Before the door of many houses, may
be seen, exposed for sale by orange women, setting in
dishabelle on the pavements, the different kinds of
fruit peculiar to the climate; some mending their
clothes, while their naked children are playing with
the fruit.
It is not uncommon to see persons examining each
other's heads in the immediate vicinity, if not over
the articles they have for sale. The multitude of
lazy, idle soldiers, consisting of indians, negroes and
mulattoes, lounging about the streets in every direction, fill the stranger with the most unfavorable impressions. A few are stationed on the quay near the
landing;—the remainder sauntering about wherever
they choose. Their uniform is ridiculous. It usually
consists of a coat, and pantaloons of coarse, unbleach- 58
ed canvas, trimmed with black cord; sometimes the
pantaloons are made of coarse red flannel, with narrow strips of black and yellow, extending down the
outward seam. They have a cartridge box, a bayonet and sometimes a gun, but are often without the
latter. A heavy leather bell-crowned hat, or cap, enclosed in a case of white cotton, with a band of black
ribbon, completes the list of articles. The Peruvian
officers wear a rich uniform. They make a great
display of epaulettes and gold lace.
The contrast between the inhabitants of Peru and
the United States, was truly striking, and led me to
reflect with pleasure upon the superior advantages
enjoyed by the citizens of enlightened countries for
the cultivation of all those social enjoyments that tend
to refine society, and exalt the human mind.
I regretted very much that I did not have an opportunity of visiting Lima, the famed city of the "fcFive
Kings;" however I had my curiosity satisfied with
regard to their " bello sexo," for I have had an opportunity of seeing them frequently in Callao. Those
which struck my particular attention were dressed in
the Saya y Mania, one of the most novel and unique
dress I ever saw worn. The universal walking dresses
of the ladies of Lima, is the Saya y Manta. It is
confined to this and a few other cities in South America. The Manta probably had its origin from the
moors in Spain. The Saya consists of an elastic
petticoat, made generally of satin or velvet, of black
or cinnamon color, plaited up and down in very
small folds, and so shaped as to fit very closely,
allowing the wearer merely room for walking with a
short step.    The Manta is a hood of black sil& OF   SAILOR   LIFE.
drawn round the waist, and carried over the head so
as to cover the whole upper part of the person. The
ladies usually wear it so closely as to expose only
one eye. Hence it becomes impossible to recognize
an intimate acquaintance when enveloped in the
Saya y Manta.
To these two garments are added a fine shawl,
with silk stockings and satin shoes, while a rose is
held in the hand. Some of the ladies on an evening
promenade, are seen in the English dress, with a
shawl thrown over their heads, but never with any
tiling like a bonnet or hat. Within the cfty, the castles, which are two, are the only public buildings of
There are no schools in Callao and but few in Lima, and but little thirst for acquiring knowledge is
manifested by any of the native Peruvians. Revolution after revolution has kept the country in a constant state of excitement, and prevents them from
having any settled government. Anarchy reigns
throughout the whole country of Peru.
On the 24th of June all the crew of the Relief, except
the invalids, were transferred to this ship, and their
places filled by invalids and superannuated seamen
from the different vessels of the Squadron, who are to
be sent home.
July 4th*;   "Peruvian dew" prevails extensively.]
It never rains here, but at this season of the year the
atmosphere is very humid, and sometimes the air is
so damp as to wet through thick cloth in a very short
The ship was dressed on the 4th, commemorative
of the  "declaration of independence."   At twelve, 60
A. M. a salute was fired on board the Falmouth, and
immediately the English ship Samorang answered it.
" The glorious fourth " was not forgotten, though we
were far from the land that gave us birth,—the land
that we love as the home of the firee, and the asylum
of the oppressed. The associations of home are seldom forgotten, especially when those associations are
of a thrilling nature, like those that marked the
struggle of our fathers for freedom.
In the afternoon of the 8th, Benjamin Holden, late
marine on board United States store-ship Relief, attached to the Exploring Expedition, who departed
this life yesterday, on board the Peacock, to which
ship he had been transferred as Purser's Steward, was
conveyed to the Island of San Lorenzo for interment.
The funeral obsequies were performed by Mr. Elliot,
our chaplain. The corpse was accompanied to the
place of sepulture, by a guard of marmes and two or
three officers.
All things being ready, at five o'clock, July 13th,
we got underway and stood out to sea, all the squadron in company. On the following day, the Commander in Chiefs general order was read on the
quarter-deck, in the presence of all the officers and
crew, respecting their conduct towards the natives
of the savage islands which we were about to visifcd
I anticipated this to be the pleasantest part of our
cruise, for we expected to visit many strange islands
and have much intercourse with their inhabitants.
After leaving Callao, we had delightftrl weather,
passing through the most pleasant climate in the
world. For days together not a cloud was visible;
the atmosphere was as clear as a crystal and the OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
stars were shining brilliantly. A combination of
such rare beauty and sublimity was sufficient to inspire the mind with awe and veneration.
At half past 12, Aug. 1st, Alexander Ogle, corporal
of marines, breathed his last He had been sick only
a few days, with an affection of the brain. At three
o'clock, P. M. all hands were called to bury the dead,
having been previously ordered to appear in white
mustering clothes. This was the first time many on
board had witnessed a burial at sea. It was a melancholy and imposing sight. A canvas hammock
both served for a coffin «nd a shroud. The body
was inclosed in it in connection with two thirty-two
pound shots placed at the feet, and a rough plank was
the only bier, while an ensign was the pall. The:
corpse was borne to the lee gangway by the messmates of the deceased. All was still* The chaplain
stationed himself near the corpse, and commenced the
beautiful and impressive burial service of the Episcopal church. At the words, "We therefore commit
his body to the deep," we heard the plunge, and a
momentary silence, and an expression of solemnity.
was apparent among the crew. The rite of sepulchre ended, silence pervaded the ship for a little space
of time, and then all was again bustle and confusion.
On the 13th, we made Mount Tenin Island. During the day we were engaged in surveying iU This
island is low and composed of corals, with a coral
reef surrounding it. The surface of the island is covered with lour shrubbery and high grass. Some of
our scientific gentlemen, by dint of swimming tferough
a strong surf, succeeded in reaching the shore, where
some specimens of shell, coral, &c. were obtained.
6 62
No natives were seen at this time, but a& there had
been evident signs of natives seen the day before, and
our party not knowing their disposition,,desisted from
venturing far into the bushes, fearing a rencounter
with themL1
On the following day Captain Wilkes, accompanied by several officers and scientific gentlemen, with
a strong party of armed men, left the ship with the is&*
tention of visiting the shore, and, if a landing could
be effected, to examine the interior of the island, and
have intercourse with the natives. For the furtherance of this object he had provided himself with!
some presents for the natives in order to gain their
esteem and confidence. As the boats approached the
shore they found that the natives had assembled to
the number of a hundred or more, and posted themselves along the beach, armed with spears, clubs, and
bows and arrow%; and indicated their intention to
attack them should they presume to land. They
were evidently savages in the wildest state, and from
their movements, we were induced to believe that
they never had seen white -men before. Captain
Wilkes endeavored to make them understand the intention of his visit and his friendly disposition toward
them, but all to no purpose. They persisted in their
determination to resist, and oppose our landing.
They were all perfectly naked, men, women and
children indiscriminately. Our party thinking to intimidate them, fired several of their pieces loaded
with small shot among them; this, instead of having
the desired effect, only served to irritate them more.
The effect produced by the small shot was very
slight, probably not entering the skin; it^mly made a OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
smarting sensation for a few moments. They retreated to the bushes for a short time, and then returned, manifesting thekf anger in loud yells and
hideous grimaces. Captain Wilkes finding it impossible to reconcile the natives, and not wishing to shed
innocent blood, gave up the idea of forcing a landing,
and therefore soon after returned to the ffeip.
On the following day we made the Island of Hon-
den, and at dark, hove to for the night. In the morning we commenced the survey of it. This island is
small and unimportant, except as it lays in the track
of vessels bound to more important islands. It was
surveyed by Captain Wilkes, and its position correctly laid down on the chart The bearings of the most
important points were taken, and the soundings
about the reefs ascertained. We caught three large
turtles, a species that grows very large; some arrive
to an enormous size. Those that we caught weighed
about two hundred pounds. Some specimens of
beche-le-mer were obtained and cured for the government
At meridian, on the 22d inst. we discovered another island, and at five o'clock came up with it. A
white flag was flying on shore, an emblem of peace
among the islands. At dark, tacked ship and stood
on and off during the night In the morning boats
were sent to survey it, which was completed by ten
o'clock, and we stood on our course.
On the 24th August, made Disappointment Island*
one of the islands belonging to the Dangerous Archipelago. At three o'clock a canoe came along, filled
with natives, but we could not prevail on any of
them to come on board, although presents were offer- 64
ed them. They were shy, but offered no signs of
hostility. In their external appearance they much
resemble the Clearmont Island natives. They were
stout looking men, well proportioned in all respects,
and the most of them were young, but very dirty*
They wore their hair long, which was coarse and
black, and hung down the back. They were in a
perfectly denuded state, except a piece of dirty tappa
passed round the waist. At twelve a boat was sent
on shore with presents for them in charge of an officer.
When on shore the natives showed no signs of fear,
as they did while alongside of the ship in their canoes.
They accepted the presents and seemed to be very
thankful. In return, they sent on board some specimens of shells and a few of pearl. Next morning we
left Disappointment Island; and at meridian on the
same day, discovered King's Island, so called after
the look-out man, who discovered it. It is a small
island, about four or five miles, in circumference, and
in breadth not more than one. Its rise from the water to the most elevated spot, is not more than twenty
feet. Its shores are every where marked with general sterility. The most remarkable spot is a lagoon
of fresh water, which runs through nearly the whole
extent of the island. A small aperture runs into
the south end, by which the congregated waters of
the laguna are poured into the sea. This laguna
abounds in fish of a great variety; some were caught^
and found to be extremely well flavored. They
made quite an agreeable change, after having lived
upon "salt junk " for two months. This island was
surveyed, and the bearings of some of the most re«
markable points taken* OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
On the following day, 31st Augus% we made Rara-
ka Island, and abolit nine o'clock came up with it.
At ten, Captain WiHres went on shore, and returned
shortly after, bringing with him three natives, one of
whom was a chief. The chief was an old man,—I
shouldjudge, about sixty years of age.
On the 1st of September, we made and passed a
chain of low islands called the Dangerous Archipelago. At four o'clock, we came up with a small island, which, not being found on any chart, Capt.
Wilkes called " Vincennes Island," after the name of
the ship. It is situated in the latitude of 15 deg. 48
min. south, and, like its neighbors, is very low. It is
of coral formation, and surrounded by a coral reef.
None of these islands afford any anchorage for vessels of the smallest size, and no safe landing even for
At 9 o'clock, Sept 3d, came up with Karlshoff Island. Lowered a boat and sent ashore, which soon
returned with three natives, who informed the captain
that hogs, fowls and cocoa-nuts might be obtained at
this island. In the evening a boat was sent on shore
for the purpose of obtaining a supply of water. She
returned with about five hundred gallons of very excellent water. This was found in a lagoon in the
middle of the island. The water was. good for present use, but will not keep long at sea, otfmg to its
being impregnated with animalcules, which putrify
and cause it to be decomposed. On this island we
found a partial supply of cocoa-nuts and breadfruit,
which, together with the fish, constitute the principal
food of the natives.
At 9 o'clock, Sept. 8th, came up with Fry Island.
6* 66
Two canoes came off, bringing with them a present
of shells for the Expedition. This island is small,
and rises gradually from the sea to sixty or seventy
feet, in the centre. It is thickly covered with breadfruit and lofty cocoa-nut trees. The acclivities of the
rising ground were handsomely variegated with shrubbery and green verdure.
Island of Matavai—Visit of the Consul—Expedition—Sermon by
Rev. Mr. Wilson—Conduct of the American Consul—Treaty-
Interview with the Natives—Description of the Islands—Ijraits
of the Inhabitants—Effects of Missionary labor.
" Unmixed with aught of meaner tone,
Here nature's voice is heard alone 3
When the loud storm, in wrathful hour,
Is rushing on its wings of power,
And spirits of the deep awake,
And surges foam, and billows break,
And rocks and ocean-caves around,
Reverberate each awful sound 5
That mighty voice, with ail its dread control,
To loftiest thought shall wake thy thrilling soul."
Mrs. Hemans.
At 9 o'clock, Sept. 9, the high and rugged peaks of
Matavai Island were seen to emerge from ocean, and
as we approached them, became more and more visible, while the surrounding objects were becoming more
and more interesting until the mountain tops were OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
seen above the clouds. This island is exceedingly
fertile, producing lofty cocoa-nut trees, and the sides
of the mountain are covered with dense vegetation,
extending down the acclivity nearly reaching the water's edge. It affords, as one approaches it, one of the
most beautiful, picturesque and romantic landscapes
that we have yet met with any where among the islands.
At 10 o'clock we anchored, and commenced surveying it. We saw two beautiful villages along the
coast, only a mile or two apart. These villages are
embowered in breadfruit trees, which protect them
from the scorching sun of a tropical climate, and supply the natives with food, which they have only to
pluck from the trees overhanging their habitations.
There are several missionaries, natives of Otaheite,
residing here, who, by their influence arid example,
have done much to convert them to the Christian religion. In each village they have a neafclittle chapel.
Deciding to leave at 5 o'clock, we made sail and stood
for Otaheite, distant about fifty miles.
On Tuesday, 10th Sept., after a pleasant voyage,
we came to anchor in Matavai Bay, off Point Venus.
The island of Otaheite is the most important one of
the Georgian Group. We had scarcely come to anchor when the ship was plentifully furnished with
necessary supplies from the canoes which literally
surrounded us.
Shortly after our arrival at this island, we were
joined by the Peacock, with which we had parted
some days previous. We were all busily engaged in
making preparations for our contemplated observations, and also in fitting up temporary accommoda- 68
tions for the sick of the squadron. The queen kindly
offered the use of a fine airy house on Point Venus
for this purpose. This is #ie place where the celebrated English eifcumnavigator, Capfc James Cook,
observed the transit of Venus, and since that time, in
honor of the circumstance, it has been designated by
that name,;
On the 12th, an expedition for an exploration of the
interior of the island, consisting of the following persons, was projected :—Dr. Pickering, Naturalist; Mr.
Peal, Zoologist; Mr. Breckenrjdge, Horticulturist;
Dr. Guillon, Meteorologist; Lieut. Emmons, Hydrog-
rapher; Serg't Stearns, Ass't Naturalist Dep't; Samuel Sutton, seaman, Taxederraist; John Brooks, seaman of the Vincennes, and one seaman from the Brig
Porpoise; Mr. Lewis,resident at Papiete, as interpreter and guide; and eight natives, to carry baggage.
The object of the expedition, as far as I could leam,
was as follows. First, to visit the lake, situated on
the most elevated part of the island, and then, if possible, to reach the highest extremity of the mountain
ascertain the productions of the country,—vegetable,
marine, mineral, and animal. Also, to visit all places
celebrated in history, learn something of their inhabitants^; former mode of worshiping places; obtaiili all
natural and artificial curiosities worthy of notice;
survey the lake, and make specific and general observations on the manners and customs of the islanders.
As we approached the land we were delighted with
the verdure, luxuriance and beauty of the landscape,
opening to us a beautiful, fertile country, and a handsomely built native church; The land about the
beach to the southward and westward, is very low, OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
while that to. the northward and eastward is moderately high. The bay is about two miles wide and
one deep, perfectly safe and easy of access. The
country is beautifully sprinkled with trees of lofty
cocoa-nut growing so near the beach that their roots
are denuded by the surf; and a little back from the
shore are to be seen breadfruit, pananas, and ti, and
handsomely variegated with shrubbery and parasitical
plants of the richest foliage. Cocoa-nuts here are very
abundant, and afford a very grateful beverage to the
weary traveler, and is an excellent drink in a hot
day. The land begins to rise a few miles back from
the village, and continues its rise for fifteen or twenty
miles, extending to a thick wood, encircling Obreno.
The beach is covered with varied vegetation.
The mission-hou >e is pleasantly situated about one
hundred yards from the beach, obscured from our
view by a skirt of wood, growing on a small stream
which runs parallel with the beach, embowered in
the branches of the wide-spreading breadfruit trees,
the fruit of which overhangs their habitations, where
they have only to go out of their houses and pluck it
as they want it for use. The chapel is situated a few
hundred yards from the beach, and about the same
distance from the mission-house. It is a building capable of holding one thousand persons. Mr. Wilson
is the missionary here, and the oldest one on the M*
ands. He was among the number who visited this
island in 1812, and was sent out by the London Mis»
sionary Society.
I had the curiosity to visit the chapel a few days
since, and was much amused at the vocal performance,   The chapel is a large, airy building, but in 7<*
rather a dilapidated state. I was told that the audience was not as numerous as on ordinary occasions,
numbering only about four hundred. . They all behaved in a very becoming manner, and gave unusual
attention to the remarks of the preacher. The na-
tivestwere better clad, generally, than I expected to
find them; and some of the females manifested con-
considerable taste in their dress. Mr. Wilson, so far
as I was able to judge in listening to his sermon in an
unknown tongue, is a good preacher; at least he is a
good orator. At the close of the seryjge, great regularity was observed in leaving the house; the people
waited for each other tift all could leisurely retire.
Captains Wilkes and Hudson, and many of the officers, were present. The hymns which they sung
were all set to English tunes.
There was something peculiarly touching in this,
however trifling the eweumstance may seem to the
reader. Imagine the peculiarMyHHnot to say awkwardness of our position—while listening with apparent interest to a sermon of which we could not un>
derstand a syllable, not even able to determine wheth*
er it was the promulgation of divine truth, or pagan
supers##ons, from any thing that we could detect;
As the service advances, the hymn is announced, read
in the same Babel-like language, and asijjts measured
strains fall upon the ear, we detect the harmony of
" Old Hundred," " Mear," or " St. Martin's," wfcjeh,
perchance, have greeted our dawn of existence, and
quieted us in the restlessness of childhood! Who
will wonder that such music has power to call up
pleasing associations'? Who will wonder that our
attention was riveted upon that native choir, while OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
the cherished events of other days came crowding
thick around us ?
Mr. Murenhaut, now French Consul, but formerly
American Consul, visited us during our stay in this
place. About twelve months ago his wife was murdered, and he came near being killed, by a Peruvian
whom they had in their employ. It appeared that it
was his intention to rob the house, after he had finished his atrocious deed. The blow that killed his
wife was intended for him; when she saw it aimed
at him, she interposed herself between the murderer
and her husband, and received the blow, which caused
her death almost instantaneously. The murderer
was apprehended, tried and convicted for it, and su£-
fered death ten days after the sentence was passed on
him. He was hanged. This is the first execution
that has taken place on this island for some years.
About twelve months since, two French Catholic
priests arrived on this island, and, without the consent of the government, commenced to teach the Catholic religion to the poor natives. But as soon as the
Queen was informed of it she strenuously opposed
their proceedings; of course she was advised by the
Protestant clergy to discountenance the religion,—telling her that they worshiped idols and images, and
would in a few years be masters of the island. She
ordered them to depart from her dominions by the
first opportunity; but they heeded her not, and delayed their departure when an opportunity offered,
until they worried the patience of the Queen. Finding that the mild and persuasive orders were not noticed, she determined to force them away. Accordingly she called a council of chiefs, and her adviser, 72
Mr. Pritchard. It was agreed that a small vessel
should be chartered for that purpose, and in her they
should be sent to South America, where the Catholic
religion was tolerated. The priests when hearing
that they were to be forced away, moved to the house
of Mr. Murenhaut, the American consul; he had previously promised them protection under the American
flag. The authorities of the island sent and had them
forcibly taken away, and conveyed on boa$d the vessel, which was destined to take them away, and they
were conveyed in safety to the coast of South America, at the expense of the Tahitiau government.
For this act of self-preservation and right, the king
of the French sent a Frigate, and extorted from them
two thousand dollars. On account of this affair, the
President of the United States turned Mr. Murenhaut
out of office. He was shortly afterwards appointed:
consul for the French.
While at this place a council was held at the village of Papiete for the purpose of forming a commercial treaty between the United States and the government of the Society Islands. Queen Pomarri could
not attend on account of indisposition, and therefore
sent her representative. Most of the officers of the
squadron were present, dressed in full uniform, cocked
hats, swords and epaulettes. The treaty was formed
and signed by both parties, and I believe proved satisfactory to all.
Having finished the survey of the harbor, and completed the series of observations at the observatory on
Point Venus, we got underway and proceeded to Pa-,
piete,  the principal village on the island,  situated
about five miles from Matavai Bay, where we arrived   OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
on the same evening. The harbor of Papiete is safe,
commodious, and easy of access. There were then
lying here three American whale ships, one missionary
brig and one trading brig. The harbor is protected
from the violence of the waves by a coral reef. As
you enter the harbor, you pass on the right side of an
old mud fort, in a dilapidated state. The land in the
vicinity of Papiete is much higher, and rises more
abruptly than at Matavai Bay. The shores are generally clothed in green verdure, extending within a
few yards of the water's edge. It has a beautiful and
rich appearance; the village is a neat one, situated
about the middle of the curvature of the beach. It is
composed of several wooden buildings, built and
owned by foreigners, one native church, and a neat
seamen's chapel, built near the water. The native
houses are about two hundred in number, built of
bamboo, in the shape of our hay stacks at home, leaving both ends open. All the furniture they possess,
is a few folds of lappa, and one or two mats on which
to lie, with a block of wood for a pillow. The missionaries have a flourishing village here, and have the
principal control of the island.
At 11 o'clock, Mr. Pritchard, English consul, and
formerly principal missionary to this island, preached
on board. He was accompanied by his lady, and two
interesting little girls. Many of the foreign residents,
and two of the chiefs were present. f%Mr. Pritchard is
the Queen's adviser;—is consulted on all occasions of
importance, and what he decides upon, she never refuses to sanction. Mr. Pritchard sometimes preaches
in the seamen's chapel, as there is no seamen's chaplain here.    This is a great resort for our whalemen,
7 74
l-:i!;   I
who come here for the purpose of recruiting, and
sometimes for repairs.
During our stay we were honored by a visit from
the principal chiefs, and two Tahitian princesses,
sisters to Queen Pomarri,—also by the English and
American consuls, the English consul acting as interpreter. The two princesses were neatly attired in
light frocks, made after the European fashion, with
pink waist, ribbons and straw bonnets, and shoes,
with silk stockings. Some of the principal chiefs
were neatly dressed in plain citizen's clothes, made
also after the European fashion, but the inferior chiefs
and attendants wore nothing but tappa wrapped round
the waist, serving for trowsers; while some of them
wore nothing but shirts. The two princesses behaved
very modestly, but appeared quite at their ease.
After partaking of a sumptuous entertainment, which
was prepared for them in the cabin, they visited the
different parts of the ship, attended by the officers.
At almost every step something attracted their attention, on which they would stop and gaze till they
were invited to look at something else. After visiting
the different parts of the ship they retired on shore;
but before leaving, Capt. Wilkes made them some
handsome presents, and also some presents to their
attendants. Among the presents to the two princesses was a musical box to each, with which they were
highly delighted.
The Island of Tahiti, and all the Society Islands
• are under the jurisdiction of Queen Pomarri, and from
her the power and charge of the different governors
and chiefs of districts are derived.    The royal residence was once in this village, but since her troubles OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
with the French priests, she has changed it to the west
side of the island, where she lives a more retired life,
and considers herself more safe from the encroachment
of her enemies.
Common People. This class constitutes all that
portion who are not ranked with the chiefs and landholders, which is about two thirds of the whole ; the
latter are an entirely different people in their manners
and external appearance. Their labor is not exten-
-Mve, for the spontaneous productions of the islands
are enough for their support at all seasons of the year;
hence it fe to be expected that they live a very indolent life. The universal dress for the females of the
common order, is a piece of tappa, calico, or cotton
cloth, fastened loosely around the waist, and covers
.the whole of the lower portion of the body as far down
as the knees; the chest and shoulders are always
left bare, which they take great pride in exhibiting to
the public. Some few of the common class may be
seen dressed in frocks. Shoes are a luxury that but
-few of the fair sex aspire to; however, for comfort,
their climate is so mild that they do not require them.
The men have their hair cut short on the top of the
head, and some, shaved quite closely.
The whole mass of the native population may be
called merely nominal Christians, although the whole
of them profess Christianity. Missionaries have at
length found out their mistake in regard to the religious principles and actions of the natives. The females are generally extremely salacious, much more
so than the men. Polygamy is not allowed to be
practiced openly, but adultery prevails secretly to an
-irnloiown extent.   There is no doubt but prostitution 76
is carried to a greater length now, than when they
Were in a state of pagan darkness. The inquirer
would say, what is the cause of this ? I would answer, they have more wants to supply, since they
have become acquainted with the civilized world;
luxuries they never dreamed of when in their natural
state. And they have no means of obtaining them in
any other way. Consequently you will find men
prostituting their own daughters, and very often the
wife, for a dollar. Precocity exists here among the females in an eminent degree, and is manifest to a greater
extent than in any place I have yet visited. It is not an
uncommon thing to see mothers at the age of twelve,
and old women at the age of twenty-four.
Sept. 25th. At daylight we weighed anchor, and
stood over for the beautiful and romantic little Island
of Eimeo, distant about fifteen miles from Papiete.
At 1 o'clock we came to anchor close in shore, and
near the principal village and missionary station.
The harbor of Eimeo is open and exposed to the westerly winds; however, it seldom blows with such violence as to do any damage to shipping.
The natural productions of this island are nearly
the same as at Otaheite. There are some very high
mountains on this island; some rise abruptly from
the sea to the height of twelve hundred feet. The
coast is composed of lofty, craggy peaks, overhanging
the surf-beaten shore. When approaching this island,
from the first view, it presents a sterile aspect; but
on a nearer approach, one finds the appearance
changed, and the prospect more lively and animating;
and when you enter the mouth of the harbor, you
perceive the acclivities of the mountains clothed in OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
green verdure and dense vegetation. Then the valleys open to your view, presenting lofty cocoa-nut
trees, breadfruit trees, and ornamented with a variety
of fruit trees. Oranges, limes and pine apples were
ripe, and in great abundance.
The missionaries here have a beautiful station, and
fine field for the exercise of their labors. They have
two schools, and a printing press in full operation.
Messrs. Simpson and Scott are the Missionaries who
reside hene. It is said to be the birth-place of the
husband of the present Queen, and when she married
him, he was only a common native. I noticed a disease among these islands, which appears to be more
common here. It is " Elephantiases," which the natives call Fe. This disease has its principal action
on the lower extremities, and extends upwards, sometimes till the whole thigh is affected; but I have never
seen more than one limb affected at a time. I saw
one so swollen that it measured thirty-six inches in
After having completed the survey of the bay, on
the 27th Sept., got underway and proceeded to sea,
steering W. N. W. At sunset passed the Island of
Herniene, another of the Georgian Group. This
island is small and unimportant. On the 28th, we
passed a number of the Georgian Group, all of which
were small, but covered with vegetation.
On the 9th of Oct, we arrived at the Island of
Opoun, and the surveyers and scientific gentlemen
commenced their respective duties immediately.
There was but little of importance on this island.
During the evening a number of canoes came alongside, with natives;   bringing cocoa-nuts and other
7* 78
fruit, for trade. On rounding the point of islands we
discovered Tottfon and Leon, two small islands west
of Opoun. These islands form a group called the
Tomalooah Islands; the natives are the same in all
respects as those of the Navigator Islands. We eih
gaged in surveying, in the meantime carrying on a
brisk trade with the natives for fruit and specimens of
shells, giving them tobacco and fish-hooks in exchange. . P.owder they were very anxious to get, but
this we would not let them have, fearing serious con-
Sequences. We were informed that a destructive war
had been ragitog between these two islands, which
caused the extermination of one half of the natives of
both islands.
There were several white men living on the island
to whipfcMhe natives belonged, who were alongside.
They appeared to be abandoned, runaway sailors, who
had deserted from whale ships that had touched here
for supplies of fresh provisions. They informed us
that the natives treated them well; they had land
given them, but would not allow them to intermarry.
After leaving Opoun, we next directed our course
to TutuMla, one of the Navigator Islands, and anchored in Pan go Pango Bay, on the south side. All
was still and quiet on shore, from the fact—as we afterwards learned—that it was their Sabbath. Religious services were performed on board of the ship,
on the following day, by our Chaplain, in accordance
with our custom during the Expedition. Indeed, we
have not met with any natives, however degraded,
who had not some vague views, at least, of a Power
superior to themselves. And it is questioned whether
such can be found. OF: SAILOR  LIFE.
The natives of the Navigators resemble those of the
Society Islands in their complexion and features^ but
there is a great difference in their language. Their
huts are built in the same shape and constructed of
the same materials. I saw some females engaged in
their domestic occupations, such as making mats,
lappa, fishing nets, foe. They appear more industrious than the females of Tahiti. In some parts of the
island polygamy is still practiced, but at this village
it is openly discountenanced by all the chiefs and the
people. No man, of whatever rank he may be, is allowed to have more than one wife. The missionaries
should have the credit of abolishing this practice. By
their laws the crime of adultery is punished with
death ; thisarigid law causes their chastity to be preserved inviolate. Seldom indeed does a case of adultery occur; but when it does, if the offenders are detected, they never fail to suffer the penalty of the law.
The females are very reserved in their manners, I
was struck with admiration and astonishment at the
conduct of these females, on all occasions. They
never suffer any liberties to be taken with them, and
seem particularly cautious in their intercourse with
foreigners. Salaciousness does not exist here, with
the females, in such a high degree as at many other
islands which we have visited, and particularly Ota-
heite; neither is precocity so common.
The whole mass of the natives on this part of
the island, where the influence of the missionaries
is felt, •seems to be fast advancing to a state of civilization. They manifest a kind disposition, and
have a mind susceptible of cultivation, and a thirst
for .knowledge is universal among them; especially 80
at this village. The missionaries have wrought a
great change in the morals of these people in a very
short time. Mr. Murray is the missionary who has
charge of this station, and a polished gentleman he is
too. He is devoted to the missionary cause, and indefatigable in his labors to cultivate and sow the seeds
of the Christian religion in this once benighted land
of Pagan darkness. He has two flourishing schools
here, in each about three hundred scholars. He is
assisted by native teachers, whom he has instructed
in the common rudiments of knowledge, and implanted the true religion in their hearts. Mrs. Murray, his
wife, is equally interested in the missionary cause,
and is also at the head of a female seminary, where
she teaches the native women the mode of manufacturing their own clothes and making straw bonnets,
in which some of them have become quite proficient;
I saw many of her pupils dressed very neatly in their
own manufacture. They present quite a pleasing
contrast to their neighbors, the " devil tribe," who reside only a short distance from them. This tribe has
refused to be instructed by the missionary, and still
remains in their primitive state; and though only a
few miles off, never visit their Christian neighbors, i
On the following Sunday after our arrival, Mr.
Murray preached on board this ship; he was accompanied by his wife, and one or two missionaries from
other stations on the island.
We again joined our consort-, the Peacock, at Apia,
and also the missionary Brig Campden, which had
been in company with us at Otaheite. This is the
most fertile and by far the handsomest island in the
whole group.    The land rises gradually from the sea- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
shore; it breaks into mountains and ridges that are
covered with rich foliage and green verdure almost to
their summit. The shore abounds in tracts of table
land, beautifully sprinkled and variegated with clumps,
groves and single trees of the breadfruit, pandanas,
and cocoa-nut trees, forming thick and deeply shaded
bowers, overhanging the habitations of the natives.
Several villages are scattered along the coast, with
here and there the residence of a missionary, and a
missionary chapel.
Visit of the Christian party—Appointments of the Consul—The
Samoa Group—Trial of a Native—-Embarking of the Squadron—Wallace Island—Arrival at New Holland—Inhabitants.
" O, when no more'the sea-winds rave,
When peace is brooding on the wave,
No sounds but plaintive melodies;
Soothed by their softly mingling swell,
As daylight bids the world farewell,
The rustling wood, the dying breeze,
The faint, low rippling of the seas,
A tender calm shall steal upon thy breast,
A gleam reflected from the realms of rest."
On the following day we were visited by the principal chief of the Christian party, who was accompanied by Ms wife and two interesting little daughters, together with a number of inferior chiefs and at- LIGHTS  AND  SHADOWS
tendants. The principal chief is a man of about
thirty years of age, and of copper color. $ He was
attired in a round-about jacket, made of blue cloth,
with pantaloons of the same, a white vest, white
shirt, fur hat, and sho#, which constituted the whole
of his wearing apparel. His wife was dressed in a
calico frock, straw bonnet, but wore no shoes. Her
husband looked like a boy by her side, in consequence
of her unusual corpulence. The two daughters were
more gaily attired; they wore gingham frocks with
waist ribbons, straw bonnets and morocco shoes.
The inferior chiefs and attendants wore nothing but
their native tappa, wrapped around the waist so as
to cover all the lower portion of the person. They
behaved themselves with much more propriety than
might have been expected from beings who have so
lately emerged from Pagan darkness. After visiting
the different parts of the ship, they were entertained
in the ward-room, where a sumptuous collation had
been provided for the occasion. They ate heartily,
but drank very sparingly of wine. On the following
day the principal chief, attended by a number of his
inferior chiefs, dined in the cabin. They were attended by Mr. Williams, junior, as interpreter. During his stay on board several large guns were fired,
which somewhat alarmed him at the first fire, when
he came immediately on deck, and seemed to be in
much confusion; but was soon reconciled by Mr,
Williams, who assured him that no harm was intended him.
After dinner Captain Wilkes and Captain Hudson,
with most of the officers, accompanied the King and
chiefs on shore to the mission-house, where from one OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
to two thousand natives had assembled to witness the
exercise of small arms of a party of our marines and
seamen, who had been sent on shore for that purpose.
I was astonished to see such an assemblage of natives, mostly dressed in the native costume, wearing
no clothing but a piece of lappa around the waist.
They were doubtless as much astonished and amused at seeing us perform our military evolutions. At
first they crowded around us very eagerly, but at a
signal from the old chief, they retreated, and took up
their position at a sufficient distance to allow us room
for exercising, marching, firing, &c. Several rounds of
blank cartridge were fired, which much pleased the
On the same evening Mr. Williams, junior, was appointed American consul, or agent for the Samoa
Group, and the American flag hoisted at his house.
This extensive and populous group is situated in
the South Pacific Ocean, and extends four degrees east
and west. It was discovered on the 4th of May, 1678,
by the French circumnavigator, Bougamville, who
gave it the name it now bears, probably on account
of the superior construction of their canoes, and
their surprising dexterity in the water. The group is
called by the natives Samoa, and consist of eight islands,—Manua, Orogangi, Ofu, Tutuilla, Upolu, Mau-
ona, Aborima, and Savaii. In addition to these, there
are several small islands off the coast of Tutuilla and
Upolu. In the year 1788 this group was visited by
the unfortunate La Parouse, whose colleague, M. de 84
Langley and a number of his men, lost their lives by
being barbarously murdered by the natives. This
tragical act conveyed such an impression of their
treachery and ferocity as deterred subsequent voyagers
from venturing among them. And for many years
they appear not to have been visited by any vessel
from the civilized world until a very late period,* when
a missionary station was established here, and the
Rev. Mr. Williams was among the number who first
filled this station. Tutuilla, the first of the Navigator islands where we visited, is about fifteen miles
west from Orogangi, in 171 deg. west longitude, and
14 deg. 20 min. south latitude. This is a fine romantic Island, of from eighty to one hundred miles in circumference. It was here that the unfortunate M. de
Langley lost his life; and on this account the bay in
which he was murdered received the name of Massa-.
ere Bay. In passing down the coast you pass some
fine bays,—the most conspicuous and important is
Pango Pango, in which our squadron rendezvoused
for a few days, whilst engaged in surveying the islands. Into this bay vessels of almost any class may
run, and anchor in perfect safety, except during a
strong south gale.
Opolu, the next island, in circumference is about
seventy miles. The mountains on this island are
very high, and in clear weather may be seen fifty or
sixty miles. These are richly covered with verdure
to their summit, and in the north-east part of the island, they present a variety in their form and character, which in some instances renders their appearance
romantic and sublime; in others, soft, luxuriant and
beautiful.    It has been stated that there were no har-   OF   SAILOR   LIFE.
bors in this, group, but at this island alone, we found
them and surveyed them. The one at Apia, in which
we anchored, is commodious, spacious and safe; and
as it faces to the north, it admits, with the prevailing
trade winds, of easy ingress and egress. The bottom
is sandy, and at twenty-five yards from the beach
there are about five fathoms of water. A river runs
into the bay, so that any quantity of fresh water may
be obtained of an excellent quality.
A council of chiefs was held on board the Peacock
for the trial of a native who had been accused of the
murder of an American citizen, about twelve months
before. On the arrival of the Peacock the accused
was delivered up to Capt. Hudson, and since that
time has been in double irons on board that vesseL
He was found guilty by the council, and sentenced to
be executed, but through the influence of Captains
Wilkes and Hudson, his sentence was commuted to
banishment for life to Wallace Island, and the Peacock was deputed to convey him to his exile home.
At 11 o'clock on the 11th, a signal was made for the
squadron to get underway, and by 2, our sails were
spread to the breeze of heaven, and we shortly after
lost sight of the beautiful coast of Upolu. Favored with
a strong breeze we made rapid progress on our course,
and at 4, P. M., on the 12th, we came up with Wallace Island for the purpose of landing the prisoner
whom we had brought from Apia. A number of canoes came off to us, and in one was a chief, to whom
the prisoner was given in charge, with strict injunctions that he should not be killed, or suffered to escape.
From the view I had of Wallace Island, I should
8 86
say it was very fertile, and capable of much improvement. The Island seemed to abound in breadfruit
and cocoa-nut trees, with a thickly covered surface of
vegetation. The natives are a savage-looking race,
and are said to be very barbarous.
November 15th. We were* in the eastern hemisphere. Since leaving the United States, we had gained a day by our time, which is always the case when
vessels double Cape Horn, but when coming round
the East Cape they always lose a day. On the 18th,
we passed Mathew's Island. It is a small barren island of about one or two hundred yards in circuinferr
ence, of a circular form, and is about 400 feet above
the surface of the water. It is situated in the latitude
of 22 deg. 30 min. south, longitude 172 deg. east.
After a short passage we discovered a light, which
proved to be that of Sydney, New Holland, where we,
came to an anchor on the following day. In the
morning the citizens, were not a little surprised to see
a " Yankee Squadron " anchored close under one of
their principal batteries. And they were still more
astonished that we should escape the sight of
their supposed vigilant pilots. They have hitherto
considered themselves perfectly secure from silent intruders, as no vessel had ever entered there, either by
day or by night, without the assistance of a pilot.
We were visited, on the morning after our arrival,
by Mr. Williams, American Consul. He informed us
that the Relief had sailed from here ten days previous to our arrival, bound to the United States, whither she had been ordered. During the day several
English officers visited the ship, to exchange civilities
with the officers. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
We soon commenced our accustomed survey and
collection, which were among the more prominent
objects of the Expedition. In the mean time ample
repairs were made, with necessary arrangements, preparatory to our voyage to the southern hemisphere,
where we might expect to combat the rigors of the elements in their, rudest aspects.
I visited the shore, and in my rambles met with
some of the aborigines,—the most miserable beings I
ever saw. They more resemble baboons than human
beings. Those natives are so little known in our part
of the world, that I have availed myself of the opportunity of getting information concerning them from
different sources, all of which will be found interesting.
The following account is from Mr. F. Armstrong,
Botanist, who has traveled much among them and
understands their language, and probably knows more
of their character than any other man.
None of the tribes with whom the interpreter has
had communication, seems to have any' just idea of a
God. He has very often attempted to convey to them
the idea of a Supreme Being, the creator of themselves
and every object of their senses, present every where
and at all times,—watching the actions of all men;
adding, that good men, at death, ascend to him in
*he sky, but that bad men (instancing those who
spear and murder others) are, when they die, banished from his presence forever. Their answer has generally been, " But how will God get us up to him in
the sky? Will he let down a long rope for us?
What shall we live upon there? is there plenty of
flour there?   Are there earth and trees there?"    He LIGHTS  AND  SHADOWS
has endeavored to meet this difficulty by describing
the Deity as a being of infinite power, capable of doing any thing that appears quite impossible to man.
They have but little idea of a future state of rewards
and punishments, as the result of their conduct in
a prior existence. They believe that the spirit, or
" goor de mit" of deceased persons passes immediately after death through the bosom of the ocean, to
some unknown and distant land, which becomes
henceforth their eternal residence. But in this respect, the arrival among them of the whites has led
to a total change of creed. For they very soon recognize among theaf new visitors many of their deceased relatives and friends—a delusion which exists
to this day as strong as ever. They confidently recognize several hundreds of the colonists by their countenances, voices and former scars of wounds.
They are quite positive that the reembodied spirits
of Yogan, who was shot along with another, are already returned in the shape of two soldiers of the 21st
regiment. The obstinacy with which they persist in
this conviction, that the whites are all incarnations
of the spirits of some departed relations or friends, is
so great, that, notwithstanding the great confidence
that they usually place in the interpreter, he has
never been able to persuade them to the contrary ; at
least the old persons,—but the young ones begin to
have their faith shaken on this point. The names
generally applied to the whites, when speaking
among themselves, is " diango," or the dead.
They have shown some curiosity to know what
sort of a place the land of the dead is, but not as
much as might be expected.    They have asked the OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
interpreter to sit down and tell them the names of
such of their relatives as he saw there, and have often
asked after particular individuals, whether the interpreter knew him or her, or whether he is soon coming back. He has never been asked whether the
state of the dead was that of happiness or misery.
They have often asked on what the spirits live,
whether they have plenty of flowr, whether the flour
brought by us is dug out of the earth there? They
Itave seen wheat ground into meal in the colony, but
they will not believe that the settlers have the power
of changing that brown mixture into the same white
flour that the ships bring here. What animals, trees,
&c., there are in that country ? Whether the country
was too small for us, or what other cause brought us
here; whether we were not very sorry to leave our
friends there?
They consider the Malays, Lascars, &c., whom
they have seen here, to be, like the whites, returned
spirits of some of their ancestors or friends, but who,
from some unaccountable cause, have returned still
black, and are regarded by them with evident dislike.
They attribute the change of complexion in the
whites to their ghosts having passed through so much
water on their trip through the ocean. They consider each settler to be a resident on the-district of that
tribe to which, in his former state of existence, he belonged. On being asked how they came to spear the
settlers if they considered them as their ancestors or
friends, they have answered, that upon the whole,
-they consider they have treated the settlers well, for
that, if any stranger had attempted to settle among
them in the same way, they would have done all
8* 90
in their power to destroy them. With respect to
the change thus wrought in their views of a future
state, many of them look forward to death as a positive gain, which will enable them to come back with
guns, ammunition and provision. They firmly believe in the existence of efH spirits, called by them
" Metagong," which prowl about at fright and catch
hold of them, if they go away by themselves from
the fire where the rest of the party sleep, as to bring
water from the well, &c., by throwing its arms around
them. The interpreter has met with several, who
say they have experienced it, but he has never heard,
though he has put' many questions on the subject,
that any injury has been the consequence. Yet they
certainly stand in great awe of it. They represent it
to be occasionally visible, of human shape, of *>immense size and of such prodigious strength as to render resistance vain. The nighy^ird wfeieh the settlers call cuckoo, and the natives "pogotnif" is jfr-
garded by the latter as the cause of all boils and eruptions on their bodies, which they believe it to produce
by piercing them with its beak in the night time,
while they are asleep. The li waugaV is an aquatic
monster, whose haunt is in deep waters. They describe it as having very long arms, long teeth and
large eyes, and assert it to have destroyed many lives.
They give a confused account of its shape, but from
what they have said to the interpreter, their conception appears to be of a creature like an immense alligator. It inhabits deep waters, salt or fresh, and
almost every lake or pool is haunted by one or more
of such monsters. It is quite certain that they do not
mean the shark, for which they have a different name, OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
and of which &ey have a superstitious dread; and
besides, it is never the fresh water lakes.
There are certain round stones in different parts of
the.island which they believe to be eggs laid by the
" waugaL" In passing such stones, they are in the
habit of stopping and making a bed for them of leaves,
but with what precise object, has never been ascertained. They believe most sincerely, that certain individuals among them possess the power, by magic or enchantment, of healing any sores, severe wounds, pains
or diseases; and also of effecting at their pleasure,
any malady or distemper, of which rheumatism, ulcers, and sores are the most common. These sorcerers are further supposed to have the power of raising
the wind, and of conducting the thunder to strike
their enemies. But they do not know whether this
is an acquired faculty, or natural endowment. The
ceremonies used by the sorcerers in exerting their
magic powers, are blowing, snorting, making hideous
grimaces, and loud ejaculations. Allied to this magic
power is another, which they attribute to some among
them, whom they think has the power to doom, or
devote others to a sudden death. This is believed to
be inflicted by the> person having the power of doom,
creeping on his victims like a snake, and pressing the
victim's throat between his two thumbs and fingers :
.the death may not be for some time, but the spelfc has
not the less deadly effect. They have several minor
superstitions, viz., that a fire must not be lighted at
night, or stirred with a crooked stick, or otherwise
some young child will surely die; to burn the blood of
a wounded person, makes the sufferer worse and endangers others.    The mungite, or flower of the honey LIGHTS  AND  SHADOWS
suckle, must not be eaten too soon in the season, or
bad weather will surely follow. The relatives of a
deceased person will not sleep on the spot where his
blood was shed for months afterwards, nor until a
victim has been sacrificed to appease his shade; and
the same avenging ceremony takes place in all cases,
whether the deceased died a natural death or not.
They pretend, however, to say that this intimation to
the deceased of having been avenged must be thrown
away, according to another of their superstitions already mentioned, by which he must be on his passage
through or across the ocean. In one case, in which
the body of a deceased European was opened at
Pearth by his medical attendants, and as bad weather
immediately came on, the change was confidently attributed to that operation; and they continued to
speak in terms of great horror at such treatment of
the dead. *ff*
There are certain hills, which they consider unlucky to pass over, and all that pass over them will
surely die. They have some wild and fabulous traditions of their own origin/ They believe their earliest progenitors to have sprung from Emus, or been
brought to this country upbli the back of crows, but
from where, the legend does not add. It is invariably believed that their women conceive in consequence of the infant being conveyed by some unknown agency into the womb of the mother from
somewhere across the sea. When a person is asleep
or in a deep slumber the interpreter has heard them
say of him, "now he is away over the water," meaning as he has collected from them, that the spirit or OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
mind which had come here an infant, had gone back
to its own country.
A tradition is also current among them that the
whole native population of this country in distant
ages, was confined to the mountains; that the different .tribes now occupying the plain between the
mountain and the sea, are the descendants of a very
few families, who migrated into the country's plain
at a comparatively late period; but when asked if
any rumor had been handed to them of their plain
having been covered with the sea before that migration, they have laughed at it.
They assert, too, that the language of the mountain
tribes, which now differs considerably from that of
the tribes of the plain, was at one time their universal language, and that their own dialect is derived
from the former. It is a remarkable fact that the
mountain dialect is still invariably preferred and used
for all purposes of a public nature or general interest,
—such as their formal public worship or discussions,
chanted narratives of battles and hunting matches.
It is a known fact that there is no trace of civil
government among those with whom the settlers
have come in contact. There is no supreme authority in peace or war, vested either in any individual as
a chief or any body of individuals. A family is the
largest association that appears to be actuated by
common motives or interest. They recognize the
right of property among them, both as to land and as
to their movable effects; but they are by no means
scrupulous in appropriating to their own use, any lost
property which they happen to find. In such cases
they make no inquiry about the owners, but take 94
some pains to conceal what they have found. The
only mode of enforcing their proprietary rights in
cases of trespass by hunting or theft, is an appeal to
arms; in such cases however the thief stands on an
equal footing, and is not bound to give the aggrieved
any advantage as in certain other cases.
Murder of Rev. John Williams—Sydney—New South Wales-
Embarkation—Grille—Dangers of Southern Latitudes.
<f Muttering, the winds at eve, with blunted point,
Blow hollow-Mastering from the south.   Subdued.    '■ • ^
The frost resolves into a trickling thaw. I
Those sullen seas,
That wash th' ungenial pole, will rest no more
Beneath the shackles of the mighty south 5 '•■■
III fares the bark with trembling wretches charged,
That tossed amid the floating fragments, moors
Beneath the shelter of an icy isle,
While night o'erwhelms the sea, and horror looks
More horrible.
The roar of winds and waves, the crush of ice,
Now ceasing, now renewed with louder rage,
And in dire echoes bellowing round the main."
December 2d, the Missionary Brig Campden arrived, bringing intelligence 6f a melancholy occurrence which took place last month at Er&manga, one
of the New Hebride Islands; and in winch the Reverend John Williams, who resided here a short time OF  SAILOR   LIFE.
since, and a Mr. Harris, lost their lives. The following account is given by the English vice consul for
the Samoa Islands, Mr. Cunningham, who was passenger on board the Campden, and narrowly escaped,
by running for his life to the boat.
On the 19th of last month, we had communication with the natives of Tanna, one of the New Heb-
ride Islands. Finding the natives willing to receive
instruction from our teachers, we proceeded to the
Island of Eramanga, expecting to find a similar reception, but the result has fatally proved the reverse.
We intended making the S. W. side of the island,
but it was late in the evening before we came up
with Dillon's Bay. We therefore rounded to for the
night, and in the morning we found ourselves a little to the windward of Dillon's Bay. It was the
only apparent place on the island where a landing
could be effected, the whole of which island is with
this one exception, a complete iron-bound coast^ without the least appearance of culture. The natives are
a barbarous race of beings, approaching to the African negro: they are also a different race, but the hair,
although curly, is not of that wooly description which
the African negroes have, being long and straight.
They are a dirty race of savages.
Wednesday morning, November 30th, we sent the
ship's boat ashore, containing Mr. Williams, Missionary; Mr. Cunningham, H. B. M. Yice Consul; Captain Morgan and Mr. Harris, who joined the Campden at Otaheite for the purpose of proceeding to this
port, to take his passage for England, with a view of
arranging his affairs there previous to his return to
the Marquesas, as a missionary. 3 As the boat ap- 96
proached the beach, we could distinctly see that the
natives were averse to holding any communicstion
with us on Hiendly terms. Mr. Williams made them
jlfesents of knives, scissors and some trinkets, for the
purpose of gaining their esteem, but without effect.
Mr. Williams now proposed giving up the idea of
having any intercourse with them, and had made up
his mind to proceed to some other island, where his
services might be required. Mr. Harris then asked
permission to leave the boat, for the purpose of pro-*
ceeding among the natives. Mr. Harris was followed
by Mr. Williams; and when Mr. Cunningham had
reached the summit of the beach, he perceived Mr.
Harris running down towards the boat, followed by
a party of natives armed with clubs, spears, bows
and arrows. Mr. Harris fell the first victim, for as
soon as one knocked him down, the remidnder speared him through. Mr. Cunningham saw him running,
he turned and made for the boatj and called to Mr.
Williams to run, for the natives had killed Mr. Harris; Mr. Williams unfortunately stopped to look a
moment for Mr. Harris; he made afterwards for the
boat and reached the water,—the boat laying off to
keep her afloat; but in the hurry he stumbled and
fell, when the natives immediately took advantage of
this circumstance and struck him four blows on the
head with their club. By this time Captain Morgan
and Mr. Cunningham having gained the boat and
pushed off, after Mr. Williams had fallen; another
party of natives, numbering about sixteen or seventeen, speared him through, although our informant
thinks he was dead when they arrived. The children threw mittstiles and stones at the corpse.    N&ther OF  SAILOR   LIFE.
of the bodies could be procured, though attempted.
They made an attempt and were attacked by the natives, and part of one of their arrows is now to be
seen, stuck fast in the boat of the Campden. Captain Morgan intended beating the vessel up to windward, and under the cover of her guns to attempt the
rescue of the bodies; but on approaching the beach,
found the natives had carried off Mr. Harris, and Mr.
Williams's body they saw nothing of. Captain Morgan finding all attempts to rescue the bodies useless,
immediately bore away for Sydney, direct. Had the
party in the boat been possessed of a single musket,,
the life of the Reverend Mr. Williams would doubtless have been saved, as he was followed to the beach
by one native only.
Sydney, New South Wales, Dec. 4th. Since our
arrival we have had almost daily visits from our consul, who is very attentive to us, in affording every facility in his power towards our outfits for the contemplated arduous antarctic cruise. We have been visited by several Englishmen, both naval and military,
besides the civil authorities. Governor Gipps kindly
tendered to Capt. Wilkes the use of the Fort for his
scientific instruments, and in which he had the observatory established. Almost every evening a party
was given to our officers on shore by the officers here,
or our officers gave a party to them. Capt. Wilkes
gave a dinner party at the Fort, to which his Excellency, Governor Gipps, and the principal officers of
the colony were invited guests; also, all the English
naval and military officers on the station were present.
As soon as I found it convenient after our arrival
there, I visited the shore and had a ramble among
some of the principal streets. The first thing that
struck my attention on landing, was a thick-lipped negro man, black as charcoal, walking arm in arm with
a beautiful young white woman of about sixteen. I
had often before heard of this custom of amalgamation
among the English damsels, but never before saw
such an unusual sight. There was something in it
which to me appeared so unnatural, that I could not
resist the temptation of stopping in the middle of the
street to gaze on the sight. I had not proceeded far
before I found this scene to be no novelty, for many
similar ones presented themselves.
The next thing in which I was particularly interested was the convicts, who were seen in every direction, some with shackles on the legs,—some with a
ball and chain dragging after them,—others, chained .
together, two and two, and again at a little distance
were seen four or five together, escorted by a guard of
soldiers.    All the public work here is done by them,
as among them mechanics of all kinds may be found.
Government is compelled to keep one or two regiments
here, and a strong mounted police, to keep the convicts in subjection.    Many of the convicts on their arrival are allotted to different settlers, for whom they
work during the term of their transportation, or until
the sentence is mitigated, which very often happens
after serving faithfully half of their time.    A ticket of
leave is then granted to them, which allows them to
work for themselves during the balance of their time,
but they have to report themselves once every week
to the Governor, or some person appointed to superintend the convicts.   If any new crime of importance is OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
committed by them, they are sent to Norfolk Island,
where they have to work in chains, without any
chance of commutation.
Others, again, retire to the bushes, and murder, rob
and steal, all that comes within their reach. They
are then denominated i: bushrangers, or highwaymen ;' hence they are accounted outlaws, and may
be shot wherever they are found. Fourteen of these
" desperadoes" have been convicted and hanged.
Some few of the convicts become good citizens,—
very wealthy ; one died a short time since, whose estate was valued at one hundred thousand pounds sterling. I met with several New Hollanders, who are
the ugliest and the most deformed of any human
beings I ever saw.
Sir George Gipps is the present Governor, and Sir
Maurice O'Conner commander of the forces.
Dec. 25th. This was quite a dull Christmas with
us, in respect to amusements; but with regard to
work, there was plenty—for we were busily engaged
in preparing the ship for sea, and hourly expected to
What a contrast was my present situation to what
I fancied was that of my friends at home, sitting
round their cheerful fires, enjoying, as I confidently
and sincerely hoped, the blessings of health and happiness !
Our voyage was commenced under favorable auspices, but we had not been out long when the sudden
fall of the barometer, and the fluctuations of the thermometer, indicated a change—a gale. In this we
were not deceived, as the sequel plainly, but sadly
revealed to us.    It came on squally at 10 o'clock, 100
and continued to blow at intervals with great violence.
All hands were called, and the topsails close-Teeied,
and every thing made ready to meet the fury of the
coming storm. In the evening the gale increased so
much that we hove the ship to, and sent down topgallant and royal-yards. At 10, P. M., a thick fog
set in, and continued through the night. During this
time we parted company with the Peacock, and schr.
Flying Fish. On the 6th of Jan., we had advanced as
far south as 53 deg. S. latitude. A number of whales
were seen, and some "kelp birds" were our constant
companions, and the only new object which served to
beguile the tediousness of our hours. We amused
ourselves sometimes by catching them with a hook and
line; we found the plumage of these birds extremely
rich and delicate. We perceived the weather to grow
cool very rapidly as we advanced south; but this is
somewhat compensated for by our increase of daylight. We have fifteen hours day out of the twenty-
four, and the balance of the time is light enough to
see to read on the spar-deck.
Last night I witnessed to the southward a brilliant
display of the Aurora Australis. It afforded a variety
of light and colors, seldom surpassed in any exhibition
of fireworks. I could but gaze with intense delight,
while my thoughts were absorbed in contemplating
the wonderful works of nature. The " Aurora Borea-
lis," in point of brilliancy and interest, cannot compare with this. The whole southern horizon, the
broad,extent, reaching as far as the zenith, was beaming
with vivid magnificence,—as when the first tints of
morn burst from the east; ever changing, from modest hues to deeper vividness, and from twinklings to OF  SAILOR  LIFE,
the dazzling blaze of far-reaching splendor and sublimity. Arch crowded on arch, wave succeeded
wave, blaze snot across wave like lrghtnrtfg's fitful
glare^—figure blended with figure—and anon the
pointed shaft—arrow like—peered above the horizon,
extending far up the illumined concave, as if some
mighty volcano had belched forth, from her fiery bowels, a blazing herald, sent on a message of death. Now
the wide expanse, from the zenith to horizon, glowed
With an almost unearthly flame, as if about to "melt
with fervent heat,"—and now it slowly subsides, like
the half extinguished taper, and all is as placid as a
summer evening's twilight.
As we proceeded south, from latitude 60 deg. we saw
but little of comparative interest. The first iceberg
that we discovered, was after leaving that parallel.
It was flat on the top, having the appearance of having been hewn off. Whales were quite abundant in
this latitude, and large numbers of seals surrounded
us, apparently on their way farther south. The temperature was rapidly changing, and the weather becoming more and more disagreeable. Storms were
becoming more and more frequent and severe. At 10
o'clock, A. M., Jan. 10th, we were surrounded by icebergs, which rendered it impossible to pursue our regular course, but were obliged to change to avoid these
immense floating islands. A thick gloom had apparently settled upon every thing around. The weather
Was fast becoming cold and severe. Fires were kept
burning in various parts of the ship, to render it as
comfortable as possible. The water had now assumed
a dark pea-green color, and icebergs were seen in
every direction, as far as the eye could reach.    On
9* 102
the 12th, we were obliged to heave to, in consequence
of having run into a bay of ice, which, apparently was
about to prevent our farther progress south. Yet in
all of this desolation, we were attended by animate
creation. Sperm whales were sporting around us,
now presenting their huge bodies at the surface of the
water, heaving and raging, and sending far upward
its icy spray, and now plunging down into ocean's
depths, far from the wandering gaze of man. How
illustrative of the power and goodness of Him, whose
dominion is from " sea to sea, and from the rivers to
the ends of the earth," to adapt the constitution of
every living, sentient being, not only to the element
in which it is to exist, but to all of the varieties of climate, from pole to pole 1
We lost sight, in latitude 64 deg., of the Porpoise,
while surrounded by a thick fog. The weather was
cold and disagreeable in the extreme. Wore ship and
stood to the westward in order to find an opening into
the sea. Here we saw large flocks of penguins upon
the ice, with a number of cape pigeons, and some
large white albatrosses, resembling those seen off Cape
Horn. Hot coffee was made every night during this
cold weather, and served to the men when going on
deck, and also the watch when coming below.
We continued working to the windward, urging
our course with much difficulty. Large pieces of fu-
cus were floating in every direction, in this vicinity.
On the 16th, we saw at a distance the Peacock. She
seemed to be employed in the ice, and to appearance,
had suffered much. The water all this day was of
an unusual dirty green. Hundreds of icebergs were
in every direction, some two, and even three hundred OF   SAILOR   LIFE.
feet in height, with conical forms, and others with
perpendicular sides and flat tops, as smooth as glass.
Many had the most beautiful arches I ever beheld, or
fancy could devise, formed by the washing of the
waves. We were now in 65 deg. 26 min. south longitude, 157 deg. 43 min. east. The sea during this
day was enlivened by animalcules, but owing to a
heavy swell, none could be procured, though attempted by our scientific gentlemen.
January 17th. The loom of land was plain in the
horizon. The water had a dirty green color, but
much clearer than yesterday. Thousands of birds,
seals and whales, were all around us. Among the
feathered tribe, I noticed the "Mother Cary's chicken,"
and many cape pigeons.
18th. Every indication of land. We observed
last night that all the birds, penguins and seals, went
due south, and the first that were seen this morning
were coming from that direction, and standing north.
I saw to-day some very large sperm whales. They
were so large, and covered with so many barnacles,
that they looked like huge rocks, when coming up to
blow. The weather was extremely cold ; good fires
were kept constantly in the stoves, one on the quarter
deck, the other forward of the fore hatch; and also
fire was kept in the galley range, below, and the
berth-deck, where the men dried their clothes. Hot
coffee and toddy were served to each watch when
going on deck, and those " turning in." Extra warm
clothing was served out to the men—tl^te hammocks remained below in their berths for several days for the
men to rest themselves. The water, a light pea green,
and filled with animalcules, and a species of fucus of 104
an. enormous length. At 12 o'clock, our latitude by
observation, was 55 deg. 45 min. 62 sec. S., longitude,
156 deg. 67 min. 28 sec. E.
19th. This morning at 6 o'clock, land was reported from the mast-head, and at 8 it was plainly visible
from the deck, stretching from the south and east as
far as the eye could extend, with a towering top some
two and three thousand feet on a level. Here we
had got fairly into the rookery of penguins, albatrosses and seals. The water a dark green color—it was
also full of small animalcules. The Peacock was
seen to-day to the south of us. We continued to
stand toward the land until the afternoon, when we
came rudely against an impenetrable barrier of ice,
preventing our nearer approach to it. Our latitude at
noon, to-day, was 66 deg. 20 min. south, and long.
154 deg. 27 min. 45 sec. east. Stood to the eastward
in order to find a more eligible place to land.
20th. Strong winds and cold weather. Thermometer between decks, from 28 to 34 degrees. Land in
sight. All attempts to approach nearer to it, proved
fruitless. This day penguins in abundance, and
whales seen in all directions. Land was still in sight
all day, and we were anxiously looking for an entrance into it. At 12 o'clock we were in lat. 66 deg.
07 min. S., long. 151 deg. 26 min. 30 sec. E. The
weather extremely cold. Thermometer between
decks 23 degrees.
22d. During this day we have fallen in with a
number of icebergs of an enormous size. A large
number of penguins were captured upon the ice. I
opened one, and found in his stomach twenty-two pieces quartz and granite, with a quantity of crustacia, OF  SAILOR   LIFE
among which were the Hexacherus. At 12 o'clock
our latitude was 66 deg. 12 min. 26 sec. S., longitude
149 deg. 44 min. E. We tried at several places to
effect a landing or entrance, but all to no purpose; an
impenetrable barrier defied all our efforts.
From 22d Jan. to the 25th, we were seeking an
entrance to the land, but without success. This
morning, 25th, we entered a deep bay formed by ice.
Here we examined every point, in the hope of finding
an entrance to the land, but without success. We
hauled the ship alongside of an iceberg, passed a
hawser round it, so that we could hoist it on board,
and in consequence of the calm weather, succeeded in
filling all of our water tanks with ice. On a level ice-
burg near, the captain took a number of scientific instruments, and the dipping needle. It gave 87 deg.
30 min. for the dip. The compasses became useless
in this bay. They all pointed differently, and none
were correct. The captain placed abaft the compass,
Burlow's Plate, to remedy the evil, but it was all to
no purpose, they would not work. They were then
placed in different parts of the ship, but it was all the
same. I observed a number of Madus to-day, and
one was caught of a deep brown color, in which I
found a live hyperia.
There were innumerable small crustacia moving
around the sides of the ice island, but they swam so
deep that we could catch none of them. At 12 o'clock
to-day, the lat. was 67 deg. 04 min. S., long. 147 deg.
30 min. E. This bay, Capt, Wilkes called " Disappointment Bay," as all attempts hitherto had been
abortive; and this one seemed to put an end to all
future hope of progressing further south.! 106
27th. This day we fell in with the Porpoise. She
had come near being imbedded in ice, and suffered
considerably in working her way out. After finding
all w^Il on board, she made sail and stood on the
other tack. The weather was extremely cold and
disagreeable. Good fires were kept day and night in
both stoves on the gun deck, and in the galley range,
on the berth deck. Since our entrance among the ice,
and in the bad weather, all hands were mustered at
quarters, morning and evening, and the state of their
clothing examined by the divisional officers, and reported to Capt. Wilkes. Every precaution was taken
that could be thought of, or suggested, by Capt.
Wilkes, to render the situation of the men as agreeable as possible, and prevent sickness. An abundance
of good provisions, sour krout, dried apples, cranberries, and other anti-scorbutics were served out; besides, we had eighteen months provisions on board.
At 12 o'clock, latitude by observation 64 deg. 54 min.
21 sec. S., longitude 142 deg. 50 min. 08 sec. E.
28th. At 5 A. M., we discovered high land to the
south, covered with snow. At noon the land was
seen extending from S. E. by E., to W. S. W. At 9,
sounded and found bottom in thirty fathoms water;
coarse black sand came up on the drawing of the lead.
This was a tolerable good bay, but a gale was setting
in, and the ice to windward closing upon us just as
we were getting ready to anchor. To the leeward of
us, and forming a side to this bay, was a long ledge
of rocks, at the distance of 3£ miles from us, with a
strong appearance of volcanic smoke to the south. At
12 M., our latitude was 66 deg. 32 min. 43 sec. S.,
longitude 140 deg. 24 min. 43 sec. E.    We were com- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
pelled to retrace our course by the way we came, in
consequence of the sudden setting in of the gale; and
before we had passed it, it set in so thick that we
could not see five hundred yards ahead, with rain,
hail and snow. This was the thirteenth time that
we attempted to effect a landing, but without success,
and in an hour from the time we left it, the wind had
increased to a violent gale. From our perilous situation we were compelled to keep all hands upon deck
all night, the ship passing through a very narrow passage with a tremendous heavy sea running, which
caused her to roll so deep that she was near being on
her beam ends several times. The decks were covered with ice and sleet, which rendered walking difficult, and even dangerous. Several men were thrown
from the weather side to the leeward. Mr. Williamson, gunner, was seriously injured, having three of
his ribs broken. The men who were on the main-
topsail yard became so benumbed with cold, that they
could not get off the yard, and had to be slung and
sent down from aloft. The barometer stood at 28,70,
and a more furious gale I never experienced in any
part of the world ; the sea washing against the sides
of the icebergs, and the dashing of the waves in arches, made a noise like distant cannon.
29th. All this day a gale and a dreadful sea. At
12 o'clock, latitude 65 deg. 28 min. S., longitude 140
deg. 45 min. E. Land at a distance, nothing but ice!
ice!! ice!!!
30th. This day the gale abated and we made sail
and stood for the land, it being in sight. We tried to
return by the same rout, to regain the bay which we
were in on the 28th, but did not succeed, as we fell 108
several miles westward. We approached near enough
to get soundings in forty fathoms. In winding our
way back, we saw what indescribable dangers we
had passed through during the gale.
31st. All this day coasting along the barrier, looking for an entrance through it to the land.
I have been thus minute, and perhaps tedious, in
giving the reader some idea,—though vague it must
necessarily be, of our peculiar situation, while tossed
and driven among the icebergs of that desolate and
unexplored field of gloom and exposure. None but
those present on that eventful Expedition, can have
any adequate conception of the dreariness of the
scenery. It might be called with comparative propriety, a " waste of waters," a term usually applied
improperly to the ocean, in all its sublimity and
grandeur. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
Attempts to Land continued—Reflections—Return to the North.
" Meanwhile the mountain-billows, to the clouds
In dreadful tumult swelled, surge above surge
Burst into chaos with tremendous roar,
And anchored navies from their station drive,
Wild as the winds across the howling waste
Of mighty waters : now th; inflated wave
Straining the scale, and now impetuous shoot
Into the secret chambers of the deep."
February 1st. We again stood in for the land;
having seen it so often in different situations and approached it so near, Captain Wilkes named it the
" Antarctic Continent." We saw again a number of
Mother Cary's chickens, appearing to be as regardless,
of the climate here as if they were in the tropics*
We observed to-day a school of porpoises singularly
marked, hairing a faint yellow band over the nose,
crossing the jaws and running under the neck; a
second band crossing the dorsal fin, and ending by
running parallel with the tail. They appeared very
rapid in their movements through the water, much
swifter than our common porpoise. Means were
used to capture one, but they were unsuccessful.
We again made the land about sixty miles to the
westward of the point first visited. Here we found
the coast thickly defended with large cliffs of ice,
forming the most singular looking barrier that we
10 110
had seen, which prevented us from reaching the land
in any way. And at this very point there was a
tongue of land running close to the water, so low
that, to all appearances, one might have stepped out
of the boat upon it. Our sick list was daily increasing almost to an alarming extent; the number reported was fifteen. Most of these cases were consequent
upon the extreme hardships and exposure which the
men had undergone dufkig the late gales, when the
ship was surrounded with ice. In the surgeon's report he says—" This number is not large, but he feels
it necessary to state that the general health of the
crew is in his opinion decidedly affected; and that
under ordinary circumstances the list would be very
much increased; while the men under present exigencies, actuated by a laudable desire to do their duty to
the last, refrain from presenting themselves as applicants for the list." And he further says—" Under
these circumstances, he feels it his duty to state, that,
in his opinion, a few days more of such exposure^
tHey have already undergone, would reduce the number of the crew, by sickness, to such an extent as to
hazard the safety of the ship and the lives of all on
February 3d, latitude observed at 12 -o'clock, 65
deg. 1 min. 10 sec. South, longitude 135 €eg. 42 min.
30 sec. Eaisft. We fished up some live crustacit^
among which was a euphansia. This day set in
with a regular gale of wind from the S. E., with
tmtik weather. Snow, rain and hail again forced us
to stand from the land, often placing us in. dangerous
poslti&hs, from the great number of icebergs, and OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
thick weather. The ship in this gale labored dreadfully ; every timber groaned under the pressure of the
This weather continued until the 7th February,
when it was clear enough to see the land. We made
more sail and stood for it, and was soon up with a
perpendicular barrier of ice, similar to that which we
had previously seen attached to land. The ice here
appeared to be much thicker, and to extend to a great
distance* We could not effect an entrance, and were
compelled to stand off. Numerous large whales, seals
and penguins were in sight. The water was much
discolored. We coasted to the westward about
seventy miles, when we were stopped by the barrier,
which trended to the southward. We could not penetrate any farther south in consequence of a thick
barrier of field ice. Here in this critical place, Captain Wilkes remained for twenty-four hours in examining the various places where there was the least
sign of an opening, but with no better success than
before. So he continued to coast to $he westward,,
besel on all:sides with huge icebergs.
Soon after, the weather became more favorable.
The sun shone out quite brilliantly for some considerable time. At night we were favored with a beau-
tiful display of the Aurora Australis. The Doctar
was busily employed in making observations with
the photometer on the density of fight. This was one
of the most sublime sights that I ever witnessed, and
lasted nearly the whole night.
We still coasted to the westward in order to find
an entrance through the barrier, to the land, but did
not succeed.    The  weather was very fine for the IT
southern hemisphere, where we had experienced so
much severity and exposure. We continued coasting
to the westward, close to the barrier, in the hope of
finding a passage through it. In the afternoon of the
11th, we came to a part of the harrier where there
were immense islands of ice, extending farther off,
and running parallel with the land. A number of
whales were in sight from the mast-head, some of
them of an enormous size. The sun rose this morning at a quarter before three o'clock, and set at half
past eight. During the remaining part of the time
it was so light that we could see to read with considerable ease. %£A
We had another sight of the land on the 12th, but
at a distance, with no better prospect of success in
reaching it than the first time we saw it Here the
barrier appeared to be seven or eight miles in breadth.
We again succeeded in reaching an opening, which
led us to believe that we might approach the land
nearer than we had at any other point, as it was dis-
.tinctly visible, and the shore appeared not more than
five or six miles off; but in this we were soon stopped
by coming in contact with a quantity of drift ice.
We put about and tried to effect a nearer approach to
the land, but did not approach within fifteen miles.
Not meeting with success we hauled off for the night,
with no prospect of landing.
At 8 o'clock, A. M., on the 14th, we stood in for
the land, to effect an entrance at another point that
appeared clearer, but without success. The breeze
was light and we did not reach the point so much
desired. A long line of land was in sight, extending
from south-west to north-west. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
We continued to force our way through the drift
ice trending to the west, and a line of icebergs to the
leeward, extending from north-west to south-east.
We made more sail, and at ten o'clock stood in for
the land, through a passage just wide enough to adr
mrt the ship. Captain Wilkes continued to force her
through the ice in the hope of reaching the land. In
a short thne, however, the ice became so thick as to
Tender it impossible to penetrate any farther. The
large pieces of ice began to settle down on fks so fast,
and the passage became so very narrow, that the
captain thought i$t prudent to put the helm up and
make our way through the passage. So narrow was
it at this time as almost to touch the yards of the
ship, which were closely braced up. After we j had
gained an opening, we found a great many ice islands opposite to us, and one in particular, which seemed to be aground, from the rock that we saw under it
when the water had washed it clear at the surface.
Upon this island of ice, large quantities of earth and
some pieces of rock were found.
Four boats left the ship for this iceberg, and in one
I took passage with Lieutenant Alden. We soon
effected a landing upon it. Mr. Waldron, purser,
landed on the other side of the island, and both parties met in the centre. Here all hands were busily
employed in collecting sand and sandstone, quartz
and sand. Some of the pieces weighed upwards of
one hundred pounds. Several curious shells were
found, entirely new, so far as our knowledge was
concerned. The French books were examined, but
nothing in them was figured resembling these specimens.    It was found to be between a cone and an
10* 114
olive. The collection of specimens obtained on this
island is no doubt more than we should have been able
to have got on the land, if we had been so fortunate as
to have landed; for the surface of the earth on the
land must be covered with icey many feet deep.
During the afternoon, from three to five hundred
gallons of fresh water were collected from the pool on
the iceberg. Captain Wilkes took the magnetic instruments on the ice and made observations. He
took the bearing and distance of the land, after which,
fe&isted the flag number one, and at the foot of the
flag-staff left a bottle with sealed instructions for the
Peacock and Porpoise, in case they should reach
this point. From this iceberg there were upwards of
sixty miles of coast in sight; bearing the same as
that we had seen the preceding day. After all the
boats returned, we hoisted up, and commenced selecting our way out for an opening. During the night it
was verv clear and cold.
We still continued to coast to the westward, in the
expectation of an opening to the land; but a long
time was spent in vain endeavors. Land was in
sight at a distance, yet so far as we were concerned,
it might have been beyond the reach of human vision.
Several icebergs were seen drifting by, with specimens
of sand and stones imbedded in them. On one an
enormous sea lion was observed; a boat was immediately despatched with guns to kill him, but he outgeneraled all of them, with a new move in military
tactics, unknown to all of our soldiets. He made
quite a flare up before he left; leaving our gentlemen
to judge :6f his abiMties as a water inhabitant of the
antarctic region.    During the encounter, several otht- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
ers were seen near, which seemed disposed to come
to his rescue. At several times they swam to the
edge and rested their heads upon projecting parts of
the island, but none succeededin getting upon it. In
his exasperation he^would approach us, as if intent
upon our destruction, yet not quite willing to grapple
with us. At last finding himself in danger of being
captured he wisely plunged into his native element,
leaving us to conduct our assault as might best suit
our convenience.
The sea lion is a species of the seal, sometimes
called the mammoth seal. He is of the larger kind,
and has an extensive mane, from which circumstance
he derives his name;
We afterward ventured to pass somewhat nearer
to the barrier, which brought us in contact with huge
quantities of fucus pyftiformes, among which we saw
several seals, feeding on the lepas anatifera, in which
this fucus abounds.
Though far removed from the more favored climes,
these animals are still cared for by their Creator, who
adapts conditions to circumstances, and suffers not
the most insignificant creature which he has made,
t& perish unpitied or unprovided for.
On the 17th, with much regret, we found ourselves
closely embayed, and unable to proceed any farther
to the westward. There was no alternative for us,
but to retrace our way back as soon as possible, for
the weather had a threatening appearance, and the
small space we had to work :ship in would have placed
us in a dangerous situation. We were now in latitude 64 deg. 00 min. 15 sec., longitude 97 deg. 44
min. E. 116
As we could proceed mo further and finding the barrier to the northward and eastward, being surrounded
on all sides with an impenetrable mass of ice, we put
about and commenced beating up its northern shore
to get out
All of the 18th we were beating along the northern
shore of the barrier, in order to effect our escape A
number of whales were seen sporting in their native
element, heeding not the rigors of rthe polar, wintry
blasts, and untrammeled by icy barriers. The night with threatening weather and appearances
of snow. #»All of the following day we were still beating, to effect an escape from the barrier, as wei had
much fear of being embayed in it The reader can
have but vague ideas of the prospect before us. Immense fields of ice were crowding around us, and
when once the aperture should become closed, and
the masses adhered, the hope of a deliverance might
have been exceedingly precarious.■<
There was a great quantity of animalcules and
crustacia in the water; some were caught, among
which was Talitius, and another was procured before
from the stomach of a penguin. At sunset (ten
o'clock at night,) on l&e 20th, the extreme northern
end of the barrier was in sight, to the great joy of all
on board. We had thus far, in our last critical situation, been favored with tolerably good weather,
though it looked very threatening, and if a gale had
come on while we were in this situation, we must
have been embedded, and no doubt would have
caused our destruction. We certainly had great reason to be thankfifl to the All Merciful Almighty, for
this safe deliverance from our perilous situation.    We OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
were particularly blessed on this arduous cruise, from
the fact that no accident of any kind happened to us.
At 7 o'clock, P. M.j 21st, all hands were called
to muster, when Captain Wilkes told them that he
was happy to inform them that the cruise south had
terminated, and that he intended to proceed to the
north. He, in a very handsome and brief manner,
thanked the officers and men for the very able manner in which they had performed their duty, while
engaged in this arduous service. He assured all
hands that he should represent their conduct in the
most favorable light possible, to the government, and
he had no doubt that a generous people would grant
to all a suitable reward for their past services; after
which he ordered the "main-brace spliced," that is,
an extra allowance of grog to all hands, when there
was a general buzz throughout the ship. Hot coffee
and refreshments had been served out every night to
the different watches, up to this.
This commences a new era in the history of our
cruise. Since our departure we have seen almost every variety of climate and scenery. We have been
where the tropical sun pours his torrid rays upon a
weak and effeminate race of men. in all of the inten-
sity of equatorial heat; in a latitude where spicy gales
are wafted from isle to isle, and where blossoms and
delicious fruit ever luxuriate;—and we had been in
cold, gloomy, sterile, and uninviting regions, where
not a leaf or shrub was seen,—not even a trace of a
human being could be detected. It is not probable
that human footstep ever impressed that sterile, frigid
continent. If so, we may be allowed to conjecture
that they are a race totally distinct from ours, obtain- 118
ing a livelihood, not from a culture of the sop,—for
that seemed deep imbedded beneath an enormous
mantle of ice and snow,-—but by means entirely distinct from that of any race w&h which we are acquainted. We had been more than fifty days in a
bleak latitude, and during most of that time, at an
unpleasant proximity to the continent, with a towering, impenetrable icy barrier preventing our nearer
approach, and often threatening to close in upon ua;
thus shutting us outfrom all communication with our
Ifcjlow men. A portion of that time we were almost
enclosed by this far-reaching field of ice, now rising
to an almost incredible height above us, leaving only
a narrow channel through which we could make our
escape, and now disparted, tumbling and rolling and
chafing in fury, as the rude polar blasts came sweeping by, dashing island upon island, and mass upon
mass, with tremendous crash ! It was a scene that
to be appreciated, must be witnessed. It will not surprise the reader to learn that we often ihought of our
homes, thousands of miles distant, where we once
shared the friendship and confidence ctf kindred and
friends, interchanged kindly salutations, and reciprocated each expression of regard or affection. There
were times in which the prospect of a return to our
quiet homes was not the most flattering, but when we
were liable at almost any moment to make our bed in
that great receptacle of ocean's sons, uncoffined and
unshrouded, save by the ever-restless wave and massive icebergs, with no requiem, save the deep voice of
oceans " thunder-gong," pealing in all of its 'wild
sublimity. Like the dove of ancient time, or some
lone wanderer bewildered and exhausted, we ilong
sought for a resting-place, but found none. The haven was within sight, but inaccessible.
After despairing of effecting a landing, we directed
our course northward. Our speed was unparalleled
in a sea of ice like this, and probably no other man
in the world would have made such a cruise in the
ice, and fried to effect an entrance in such dangerous
situations. He is certainly the most persevering man
I ever saw.
As we made our progress toward the north, the
weather became more mild and agreeable. The sick
were improving, and those men who had been frozen
on the yards, on the night of the 29th January, had
all so far recovered as to go about the decks.
We parted company with the squadron, and have
not seen the schooner since the 3d January, the Peacock on the 19th, atid the Porpoise-on the 27th. LIGHTS  AND SHADOWS
Arrival at New Holland—Singular coincidence—Arrival at New
Zealand—" War Dance "—Description of the Islands—Inhabitants—The New Zealanders and New Hollanders contrasted.
U Ocean, unequal pressed, with broken tide
And blind commotion heaves 3 while from the shore,
Eat into caverns by the restless wave,
And forest-rustling mountain comes a voice,
That solemn sounding bids the world prepare !
Then issues forth the storm with sadden burst,
And hurls the whole precipitated air
Down in a torrent.   On the passive main
Descends the etherial force, and with strong gust
Turns from its bottom the discolored deep."
On the 5th of March we made the coast of New
Holland, to the southward of Botany Bay. In passing this spot, memorable for being the first place in
New Holland which was visited and named by Captain Cook, where convicts are sent, and the last place
where the unfortunate La Parouse was heard from,
we could but be interested in these associations. It is
a deep bay, and from appearances without the entrance, is between two high head lands, called Cape
Banks and Solauder. It makes into two bays, but
neither affords good anchorage for vessels of a large
size. It is sufficiently commodious as a place of retreat for small ones, wind-bound, destined to different
parts of the coast. It was ascertained, on the evening
of the 27th December, that we had on board a boy   iiS^^^y^Sl^S]
belonging to the 50th regiment, which is stationed at
Sydney. He was sick nearly the whole cruise south.
He was aware that Capt. Wilkes would give him up.
I felt sorry for him; I knew his feelings must be torturing.
At half past 1 o'clock, the telegraph on Sydney
Heads, made signal of our approach, and in about
half an hour we saw the pilot coming out to us. He
soon boarded us, and we learned from him that the
U. S. Ship Peacock had arrived at that place on the
22d February in a sinking condition, having carried
away her rudder and all her cut-water, and also all
of her bulwarks and timbers, from the starboard gangway to the tafrail, and that she was then in Mormon's cove, repairing. This was rather unwelcome
news to us, as we only expected to remain in Sydney
long enough to get water; but we found, now, that
we should be detained with the Peacock for some
time. At half past 2 o'clock we came to anchor in
" Farmer's Cove," near H. B. M. Transport Ship Buffalo, Capt. Wood. This ship had just arrived with
the Canadian convicts, among whom, we were informed, were several citizens of the United States.
They must have looked at the American flag with
feelings differing widely from those which animated
their bosoms when some of them left their homes
under its protection, to violate the laws of a country
with which we were on terms of friendship. If it had
been for the pure love of liberty, I should have pitied
them from the bottom of my heart, but this was not
the case; it was for self-gratification, and nothing
The people of Sydney appeared to be as glad-to see
us as if it had been our homes. We heard, while
here, of the arrival of the two French discovery ships
at Hobart Town; and what is more remarkable, they
also discovered land on the same day, 19th January,
in the evening, being only 1800 miles in longitude
from each other. It is one of those remarkable circumstances that sometimes happens.
The French commander has published quite an
elaborate report of his discoveries while south.
He had been very unfortunate in the loss of his officers and men, among whom was his artist, N. Ernest
GoupeL The French Commodore lost, from the 3d
Nov. 1839, to the 2d January, 1840, four officers and
twenty-seven men.
Every thing being completed on our part, we left
the Peacock to join us at Tongataboo. We made sail
for the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, on the 29th
March. As we passed along, we found the water remarkably full of phosphorescence. We discovered a
sail; it proved to be the French whale ship Ville de
Bordeux, from New Zealand, bound to Sydney. Her
crew were sickly, and the surgeon of this ship went
on board and prescribed for them. Her provisions
being short we gave her a barrel of beef, and one of
pork, and a number of tin cases with roast beef and
preserved soup for the sick; after which we parted
At 10 o'clock, P. M., March 30th, we came to
anchor in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, in five
fathoms water. We found here at anchor the brig
Porpoise, and schr. Flying Fish, and a number of
English and American whale ships.
We were visited by Bomarri, the principal chief at OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
the place, with all of- his under chiefs, and a number
of his people,—from three to five hundred. Many
presents were distributed to him and his people. He
invited Captain Wilkes and the officers of this ship to
attend, to-morrow, on shore, when he would have a
grand " war dance" performed for them, at the residence of the American consul. On the next day,
hundreds of the natives were seen coming down the
river in theif canoes to the consul's wharf, to engage
in the dance. At the appointed time, Capt. Wilkes
and officers went on shore to witness the savage ceremony. One hundred pounds of sugar, two bags of
rice, fifty pounds of tobacco, and several small trinkets were sent ashore, in charge of Mr. Dyes for Bomarri and his people. At 12, the war dance commenced on two hills near the consul's store—the two
parties representing themselves as enemies to each
other. They all had firearms, clubs and spears;
they commenced stamping, and making hideous faces
and loud ejaculations, showing themselves off in a
general perturbation and maddened frenzy. When
they had arrived at the height of their wrath, they
frothed at the mouth, and stamped the ground with
such forces, as seemingly to make it tremble. During
the dance they kept moving down the sides of the
hills, facitlg each other, and at a certain yell, they ran
together with tremendous force, as if they intended to
tear each other in pieces; and as they were all together in this confusion, with arms extended in the
air, they continued to discharge their pieces, and yell
so as to make the elemeris resound with their noise.
They then in this confusion started off in a full gallop,
making the earth tremble with their noise, as if so 124
many horses were running at full speed, until they
reached the third hill, on which is situated the consul's house. Here they commenced running backward and forward for about 700 yards, coming in
contact with a fence, when they would in very good
order discharge all of their pieces, then arrange themselves into two phalanges and commence another
dance. After finishing this novel amusement, they
commenced another dance, which they called " entertaining strangers;" then a speech was made, in
which the speaker exhibited considerable taste. This
being completed, a number of New Zealand girls were
arranged in an angle to perform a " love dance."
This bore some resemblance to the "wardance,"
though less boisterous. They were arranged in parties—as in the preceding dance—and performed many
unique gestures. These consisted in the raising and
falling of the hands and feet alternately, sometimes
singly and sometimes in pairs. Those of my readers
who have seen the ceremonies of the Shakers, may
form some idea of a part of these antics. I am not
prepared to say which party should claim originality
in this matter, the Shakers or the Islanders. It is not
probable, however, that these simple natives, from the
nature of the case, ever saw such exercises among civilised nations.
The group of islands, known under the general
name of New Zealand, is situated a little to the westward of the 180th deg. of longitude, and between the
34th and 48th parallel of S. latitude—extending from
north to south upwards of 800 geographical miles,
with an average breadth of 100 miles, and containing
an extent of surface equal to that of the British Isl- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
ands. The coast line, following the various indentations of the land, extends upwards of 3000 miles, and
comprises a greater number of eligible islands, harbors, bays and roadsteads, than is to be found along
an equal extent of coast in any other part of the
The Bay of Islands, a name derived from the number of rocks with which it is studded, is a remarkably
fine and capacious harbor, and affords shelter in all
seasons, and all weathers, to a large number of vessels. Its width, from head to head, is about eleven
miles, affording sufficient room for vessels to beat in.
A great number of European and American vessels
touch at this harbor for supplies of fresh provisions
and vegetables; most of them are upwards of 300
tons. This bay has been surveyed with great care
and correctness by two French ships, La Coquilla, in
1824, and La Astrolobe, in 1830, 1, 2 and 3. Its
anchorages are various, namely:—Tepuna, a roadstead on the northern side of the bay, opposite the
missionary station of that name, and the native village of Rangihoua Paroa, a deep bay on the south
side of the iidands, a snug and capacious harbor, affording shelter from all winds, and is the anchorage
which the whaling vessels formerly made use of.
The anchorages now generally used, are the Bay
of Kororareka and the River Kawakawa. The
former is used by vessels wanting a slight refitting, or
for procuring water and refreshments;—the Kawakawa, when repairs to any extent are necessary, or the
replacing of the masts, being more secured, and having the shores nearer them, from which they procure
the greater portion of their supplies, with the excep-
11* 126
tion of provisions. Both these anchorage grounds
possess sufficient water for ships of the greatest tonnage.
There fall into this bay the Rivers Kidi Kidi, in
whieh, at the distance of about two miles from the
mission, are the magnificent falls of Wani Ward, or
" waters of the Rain Bow ;" the Warooa, with its falls;
the Manganeri; the Palconda, the Kawakawa, and
many minor streams; their banks and the interior of
the country presenting one of the richest soils of the
whole island, yielding crops when cultivated, of
every kind known in the country, in the greatest
abundance. It is nearly equally divided by Cook's
Straits. The islands abound in fine timber, and
most of the European vegetables grow in the greatest
abundance. We did not visit any other part but the
Bay of Islands. The village of Kororareka, the
principal village at the Bay of Islands, stands on the
west side, as you pass up, and is the principal anchorage for ships. On the opposite shore is the missionary station of the Rev. Mr. Williams, at Paikia.
Kororareka is filled with convicts from New South
Wales, and, as is natural to suppose, are corrupt in
the extreme, there being no laws to restrain them in
their evil practices. The natives are exceedingly
vicious, and how can we blame them, when they
have had such powerful examples set them by their
teachers'? It appears that these have been here
teaching the natives since the year 1814; and instead of sowing the seeds of virtue and morality, are
disseminating vices of all kinds, drunkenness, licentiousness and other abominable crimes.
And here let it not be supposed that I would cen- OF  SAILOR LIFE.
sure the enterprise of civilizing and Christianizing
these benighted natives; far from it Yet it really
seems that, in this one instance, these labors have not
been productive of as much good as we have a right
to expect from the introduction of the truths of Christianity among heathen nations. It is not my province to assign reasons, but simply to state the facts as
I have been able to collect them. It is possible that
the counteracting influences of vicious seamen and
others visiting these islands,—as is too often true,—
have done much to prevent the natural reformatory
results of the introduction of the Christian religion.
The natives of this island are, on the whole, a fine
looking set of men. They are about the common
stature of Europeans generally, though I saw some
seven feet and some inches. Their general color is a
dark olive, but there is considerable difference among
some of them, from a light yellow to a deep copper
color. Most of them appear black about the face
from the deep punctures, caused by tattooing and the
insinuating of a dark liquid into the punctures. This
is not confined to the face, but extends to the hips,
loins, posteriors, thighs, legs, ankles and feet; and in
some instances, the individual, when naked, looks as if
clothed iff a coat of mail. Their faces are round and
well proportioned; they have fine proportioned noses,
generally full at the point, with well formed mouths.
Their lips are full; they have fine white teeth, well
set; their eyes are large and strong; the white looks of
a greyish cast, as if affected with the jaundiced Their
hair is jet black, straight, coarse and strong;  they 128
wear it cut short, with a bunch upon the top of the
head. The women are smaller than the men;; they
are ugly, and generally perform all the labor out of
doors. They, as well as the men, tattoo, but in different parts of the body,—Hthe mouth and labia puden*
di are the parts which, according to their custom,
must be tattooed before they are considered elegible
to the matrimonial state.
The beauty and symmetry of the New Zealanders,
probably, are Owing mainly to their habits. They
are accustomed to much exercise and have generally
vigorous and athletic constitutions, seldom or never
afflicted with those maladies which seem to be the
necessary attendants upon eivilization, though there
can be no doubt that they are the result of gross
abuses. Deformity is almost entirely unknown.
Some of those of modern days, in this age of inteUi?
gence and refinement, would be regarded in New
Zealand as prodigies, and would surprise those simple and comparatively consistent people, j| They have
but few wants for the body, and these are supplied
without much aid from culinary art. Their food is
taken from the bosom of the earth, spontaneously
supplied in the form of bulbous roots, &c.
In their simplicity, they present to the world forms
which the civilized might envy, and a vigor of body
and mind, which gives them a preeminence over
many of their savage neighbors of different habits.
Though active and energetic, they are not,—like
some others,—warlike and brutal, but blend muscular strength and vivacity with comparative docility.
They are the antipodes of those of New Holland, in
about the same latitude, who, in their degradation, mmmfflmmmemm
feast upon the carcases of dead whales, which by
chance float upon their shores. Both are savages,
but the one is intellectual, active and man-like, the
other corrupt, deformed physically and mentally, degraded and brutal.
I shall not here enter into a description of their
teachers, as the limits of my book will not allow it;
for if all their crimes were recorded, they would fill a
large volume.
We left New Zealand on the 6th of April, accompanied by all of the squadron, except the Peacock.
Our passage was quite pleasant, the wind favoring—
a striking contrast with the scenes through which we
had passed while on the coast of the newly discovered
continent. In a few days after our departure, we
passed Sunday Island, but without stopping. The
water, during this part of our cruise, wore a very
phosphorescent appearance, giving it an enlivened aspect. As we passed along, several islands were in
sight, but our particular commission did not require a
stay at them. This part of our passage was not signalized by any remarkable occurrences. We were,
however, somewhat startled by the violent crash of
our vessel, as she struck a rock while passing through
a narrow channel. She " heeled down" considerably
for a time, but soon passed over it without any very
serious damage. On the 23d we made the west point
of the Tongataboo Island, where we were to make observations.
The Island of Tongataboo is flat and sandy, and
covered with cocoa-nut trees. A destructive war was
raging between the heathen and Christian party of
this island.   It occurred to me that the missionaries 130
were placed in a dangerous situation, but they seemed
to make themselves quite easy and place implicit
confidence in their proselytes, to protect them. Tongataboo, though nearly one hundred miles in circumference, is perfectly flat and rises only a few feet
above the level of the sea.
The only elevated spot is a small hill, which is not,
I think, more than one hundred feet in height; whetb*
er natural or artificial, I did not ascertain, as I had
but few opportunities of visiting the shore; and then
it was only for a few moments at a time. On the
top of this is a fort, where all the people of the district concentrate when driven to extremities, in time
of war. This hifl. is particularly memorable in the
annals of Tonga warfare, from the circumstance of its
having been the first place where the inhabitants felt
the effects and deadly power of the cannon ball. The
Christian part of the Tonga army was then encamped
upon the top of tl% hill, expecting every moment to
be attacked by their enemies. On the top of the hill
is erected a strong reed fence, entrenched around by a
deep ditch. Inside of the fortification, they have
several pieces of cannon of small calibre. The prinr
cipal chief of the Christian party is named by the
missionaries " King George," after the King of England : his native name I have not learned.
The day after our arrival the belligerent parties
met and had a skirmishing engagement, but nothing
on either side was effected.
It having been agreed by both parties that the island on which we had our observatory should be considered as neutral ground, and nothing should be
molested, and also that no native should go there OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
without Captain Wilkes's order or permission, we
had but little concern with this war. On the 23d
April the Porpoise arrived, and came to anchor near
us. In the afternoon, the Vincennes, Brig Porpoise
and Schooner Flying Fish stood over for the village,
the brig and schooner running upon a reef. Boats
were sent from the ship to their assistance; they were
both soon got off, however, and came to anchor off the
village near us. A rather singular incident occurred
on the morning of the 4th. It was discovered that
during the night, two females, natives of the Fiji
Islands, had swum to the schooner, and were admitted on board. Their intention was to get a passage
back to the Fijis; they were sent to the Peacock, and
from her to this ship, and were sent on shore with the
pilot when he left the ship.
The reason why these women left and swam this
distance of ten miles, was to escape from the cruel
treatment which was inflicted on them by the natives
of this village. They had been tied up by the wrist
for forty-eight hours, and in such a position that their
toes nearly touched the ground. This, as may be
supposed, would cause any person to leave such a
class of people. They were, in my opinion, better
than any of their more enlightened neighbors, for I
candidly believe there is not a philanthropist among
Intemperance rages here to a great extent among
some classes of natives. The first thing the native
pilot asked for, on boarding us, was a bottle of rum.
From this island we proceeded to the Fiji Islands,
for the purpose of examining and surveying them.
Nothing of importance happened on the passage, and 132
we arrived off the Island of Ovalau on the 6th May,
and on the following morning, stood into the harbor
and came to anchor near the village of Laboaka, Island of Ovalau.
On coming to anchor we were boarded by some
whita men from a little trading schooner which came
out to meet us; the chief mate of the American trading
ship Leonidas was the commander. His name is
Wynn, and has traded a great deal among these isk
Thousands of natives assembled on the beach to
witness the operation of furhng the sails; and when
the men went aloft and lay out on the yards, the natives on shore raised the loudest shout that I ever
heard. Shortly after our arrival the principal chief
of the village paid us a visit, with a number of white
men who reside on shore. The natives flocked in
great numbers alongside with yams, fish and other
things of this kind to trade, and in a few moments a
brisk business was underway. Our South Sea pilot
and interpreter was overwhelmed in business, and the
jargon he used, and that of the natives, might with propriety vie with that of Babel. In some of the canoes
were women and children as naked as our first parents, when inhabitants of the garden of Eden. Yet
many of the females seemed quite modest and sensible of their destitute situation. The men wore a
mara, that is, a strip of tappa passed over the loins.
The schooner Flying Fish arrived on the 11th,
having been ashore on a coral reef, and carried away
a portion of her false keel. This morning the Launch
and first cutter sailed in charge of Lieutenant Alden
and Sailing Master Knox, to make surveys among the OF  SAILOR LIFE.
various islands and reefs. The next morning the
Peacock's first sea cutter sailed in charge of Passed
Mid. Simon F. Blunt, and also the Peacock's launch,
in charge of Lieutenant Emmons, sailed on a surveying excursion to operate with the other boats which
had sailed the preceding day. ,$$
General Remarks—Fiji Islands—Cannibalism—A Convict Exile—Death of a Shipmate—Encounter with the Natives-—Visit
. at Muthwater—A Fatal Contest with the Natives.
" The natives, while the ship departs the land,
Ashore with admiration, gazing stand.
Majestically slow, before the breeze,
In silent pomp she marches on the seas ;
Her milk-white bottom cast a softer gleam,
While trembling through the green, translucent stream,
Thus the rich vessel moves in trim array,
Like some fair virgin on her bridal day.
Thus like a swan she cleaves the watery plain,
The pride and wonder of the mighty main."
The Fiji Islands are a numerous group between
the parallels of 15 deg. 05 min. and 19 deg. south
latitude, and extends from about 177 deg. to 182 deg.
east longitude. They were discovered by Abel Jansz
Lansman in 1643, after his discovery of Tongataboo,
12 134
although never made known to the public by the
Dutch Government, until after they were generally
known to Europe. Captain James Cook, while at
Tongataboo in 1773, learned that there was a large
island by the name of the Fijis, situated N. W. by
W., about three days sail from Tongataboo. Capt.
James Bligh, of the Bounty, fell in with the eastern
part of the Fiji Group, in long. 178 deg. west, and in
19 deg. 50 min. south lat, in 1791, on his passage in the
Launch of the ship to the Straits of Timore. Captain
Wilson, in the ship Duff, visited these islands, to land
missionaries, as early as 1797, but was prevented,
from the great difficulty he experienced in the navigation among them, and the hostile appearance of the
The Fiji, or Viji Islands, may be tiivided into three
divisions. 1st. The weather, or eastern group, comprising Lakemba and the surrounding islands; 2d.
The Viji Levu, or great Yiji, and its neighboring islands; and 3d. Tarkanava, or North Islands, and
those adjacent.
These divisions contain a group; said by the natives
to amount to 200 in number. Viji Levu possesses the
largest river, and is navigable for many miles, as well
as other islands which have rivers, for canoes, for
twenty or thirty miles in the interior. Two of these
islands, Viji Levu, Venna Leva, possess such a vast
interior, that the inhabitants have never seen the sea,
and speak a different language from those residing on
the seaboard. There has not, as yet, been any information obtained of their number, manners and customs of the natives. The natives told us that many
of the districts in the interior contained more inhabi- OF SAFLOR  LIFE.
tants than the island of Tongataboo. Most of the islands are covered with trees and shrubbery corresponding to the islands in the South Pacific Ocean;
The formation of the Fiji Islands varies mucll*; they
are, no doubt, of volcanic origin. From what I saw,
I should say that it is not many years since some of
them were in full and active eruption. Their geological structure, as far as my observations extended,
is as follows :—Ovalauh as large beds of ferruginous
marl, and is conglomerated, showing plainly that it
has not been a very long time since it experienced a
greater convulsion of the earth; it is very mountainous, and has a beautiful appearance. Viji Levu
abounds in rock of a hexagonal form, apparently
composed of a basaltes bau, and appears to be indurated clay—the clay containing nodules of grlfc
Banga appears to have been a vast volcano, for there
have been found at the height of eighty-six feet, large
excavations caused by heat, and was covered with
scoria; and the harbor, which is said to be a beautiful
one, was formed by a crater, once in active operation.
All the islands, and passages between them, in this
group, are surrounded with coral reefs, and require
the greatest attention in navigating them. The islands are generally destitute of good bays or harbors,
only so far as this is compensated for by reefs, which
sweep around, so as to fbrm good breakwaters, and
afford protection from the violence of the ocean. I
think it would be unsafe for any person to attempt to
navigate these passages without a good pilot, and I
believe these may be procured at Ovalau, as there is
a large number of white men residing at Labouka,
who are always cruising and trading among these isl- 136
ands. They are quite well acquainted with all the
difficult and dangerous reefs, passages, &e. Most of
the coral reefs are thickly covered with the evergreen
mangrove tree, for miles along the shores, which forms
an impenetrable barrier to large boats, and at the same
time, forming an ambuscade for the natives. On
many of the islands, I am told, are large forest trees,
in great variety. Some, I have no doubt, would
answer for ship building, and also for houses. Our
Botanist obtained some new specimens of plants, of
considerable value.
The climate, at the time that we were there, was
remarkably fine, though it was the winter months
among the islands. The wind is said to blow in
gusts from the south, several days in each month;
during these gusts it is cold and chilly—little, or no
dew at night. The thermometer ranged, during our
stay here, from 70 deg. to 87 deg.; blankets were acceptable at night. The soil is rich and productive,
and requires but little labor. The inhabitants are
naturally indolent, and depend mostly upon the spontaneous productions of the islands for a subsistence.
All kinds of tropical productions and fruits, grow
spontaneously in great abundance. These islands
have some fine specimens of birds; some of them
wear the richest plumage I ever saw—particularly
the parrot tribe. The quadrupeds are mostly introduced by foreigners; cattle, hogs, and turkeys thrive
well. The rat is the only wild animal that they
have. Of reptiles, there are but few—the lizard and
snake were all I have seen; one snake, in particular,
" a water snake," was worshiped as a spirit.
In 1835, two Wesleyan missionaries came to the OF   SAILOR   LIFE.
Fiji Islands from Tongataboo, and since that time
there has been a reinforcement of them, but their
prospects are rather discouraging. Whether it is
from the nature of the people they have to deal with,
or from other causes, I am not able to determine. One
thing is certain, however, which is, that comparatively little has yet been accomplished. In reference to
their education, a beginning simply has been made.
An alphabet has been formed, a grammar and dictionary have been printed, together with a few tracts.
Polygamy is common among all the islands; the
chiefs buy as many wives as they wish, or the wives
and daughters of their enemies, when taken, are kept
as wives, or slaves. The females are very robust,
and female children, I observed, are very numerous.
The whole population of this numerous group of islands has been estimated by residents of long standing
among them, at 200,000. Women are in great demand at many of the islands, and most of the wars
are occasioned for, and about women; and yet they
are treated in a very brutal manner, in most cases
worse than the slaves of Brazil, and obliged to perform most of the labor, both in and out of doors, for
the support of the family. The chiefs—and there are
many of different ranks among them—do not always
succeed the father in his rank.
The houses of the natives are buiit throughout all
the islands on the same plan, and generally constructed of the same materials; a foundation of stone or
coral is first laid, and then the timber for sill and corner posts, then the rafters,—all of which are nicely
fastened together with cinct, and done with such regularity as to be very neat and beautiful, when there
12* 138
is a variety of colors displayed. Then comes small
rods lashed to the rafters, on which the grass is
thatched from the top to the bottom. They have one
or two doors, very small. One end of the floor is
raised and covered with mats of several thicknesses;
this is generally fcreened off with mats, and used as
their sleeping apartments; and at the other end is a
place in which they cook, having a pit dug and lined
with stones, which will contain from two to three
cooking jaw; over th|s is a swinging rack, where
they keep most of their cooking utensils.
The Bure, or spirit house, is constructed with great
pains, and besides, there is a temple which answers
the double purpose of a town^house for public meetings, and to entertain strangers, who may be present.
Many of the chiefs pass the greater part of their time
in the Bure. All the property of the god to which
the house has been dedicated, is kept here; this consists of presents from the chiefs, and others, who have
made vows to the gods for recovering from sickness,
success in war, and destruction of their enemies.
These presents are generally made use of by the
priest, or numbatal, who look well to their own interests, as a natural consequence. One of their most revolting traits of character is Cannibalism; these natives, on all occasions, prefer human flesh to that of
other animals. The priest of Overlau told me that it
was not for revenge that they kill their men to eat,
but merely from choice. They kill them either by
strangling, or knock their brains out; they are then
bled, after which the intestines are taken out and
washed. A large pit is dug, and the stones, wood
and banana leaves, are all brought; after the whole OF  SAILOR   LIFE.
has become ignited, and the pit sufficiently heated,
the operation of cutting up tbe body is commenced,
which is generally performed by the one who kills
him. . The limbs are taken off according to certain
rules,—first the right foot and left hand, dismembering
alternately, until the whole is completely cut up.
The bones and limbs are then wrapped carefully in
banana leaves, put into the pit and hot stones put
over them, and then the whole is covered with earth,
there remaining for eight or ten hours, and if it is a
white man, he is not eaten until the next day*j^I was
told by a white man who has resided many years
among tlfem, that he has seen on the island of Bau
six hundred human victims cooked and eaten in one
day, after a battle.
Natives of the Fiji*, or Viji Islands, taken together,
are a wild, ferocious people, and to judge from physiognomy, that, HI Yuttus est index anime," you would
set them down as a villanous set of beings. There is
considerable variety in their color, from the mulatto
to the negr$; their hair is curly, hard and crisp.
They are generally tall and well formed. Their
heads are well moulded, have high foreheads, large
eyes, wide mouths, fine teeth, and most of them have
pleasing countenances, when in the presence of strangers. I have never seen a corpulent Fiji man or an
obese woman; the men are spare, on account of their
roving disposition, and the women, from having to do
all the laboring work, and besides, living principally
upon a vegetable diet. It is uncommon to see many
of them who have lived to a good old age, for they
often destroy their old and infirm, for the purpose of
avoiding an increase of labor and trouble J n
On the 13th of May, the Peacock sailed for an adjacent island, for the purpose of surveying it, and to
endeavor to capture a chief, who had caused the murder of the chief mate, and part of the crew of the brii£
Charles Doggett, in 1832.
We received a visit from a white man, who informed us that he had been among these islands for
nearly forty years. He is a native of Ireland, by the
name of O'Connell. He stated that he was sent to
Port Jackson in 1800, as a convict, and by some mysterious means contrived to make his escape, and at
which time he joined a privateer which touched at
one of these islands; from this he deserted, and has
remained here an exile from home ever since. He
was in a perfect state of nudity, except, like the natives, he wore a piece of tappa about the loins.
He wore his hair long, and also his beard, hanging
down on the breast; upon the whole he was a miserable looking object.
In a short time after hit departure, we received information that Captain Hudson, in the Peacock, had
captured the chief, who was the cause of the before-
mentioned murder. From a respectable source, Capt.
Wilkes learned that an attack on the observatory was
contemplated by the natives of the island, to which
the captured chief belonged. The object of the natives was to secure Capt. Wilkes, and by that means
make an exchange of prisoners. He immediately
moved on board the ship, leaving the observatory in
charge of Lieut. Perry and Passed Midshipman. Eld.
A reinforcement of marines was sent on shore with
twenty seamen, armed and equipped for any emergency.    The ship was hauled in opposite to the ob- fcSl
servatory and. placed with springs on her cables so as
to bring the guns to bear on each side of it. At night
the guns were all loaded, the tompkins left out, the
battle lanterns lighted and placed between the guns,
and no hammocks allowed to hang near the battery.
The night passed without any disturbance, except by
a false alarm, caused by the accidental discharge of
the musket of one of the sentinels.
On the 18th June, David Bateman, formerly a
marine belonging to the Brig Porpoise, breathed his
last, and his spirit winged its way to unknown regions above. He had been suffering some time with
phithisis pulmonalis, and was, when removed to this
ship, very weak and emaciated. The day after our
arrival here he was removed to comfortable quarters
on shore, where he could enjoy more quiet. Every
thing had been done for him that could be thought of
by the surgeon; but alas! all availed nothing. A post
mortem examination proved that his disease would
have baffled the skill of the most experienced surgeon, and that too, under any circumstances, however
favorable. The same evening his remains were deposited in the place of sepulchre, in a small garden
which had been enclosed by Mr. Breckenridge. The
corpse was followed to the place of interment by the
marine guard and a party of seamen, also several of
the officers. The beautiful and impressive burial service of the Meth. Episcopal church was read by Mr
Waldron, purser; and the body was deposited in its
final resting-place. He was buried with the honors
of war. Three volleys of musketry were fired over
the grave by the marines; the earth was then thrown 142
on and the grave filled up, which closed the melancholy scene.
On the morning of the 28th, the observatory* was
broken up, and all the instruments removed on board,
preparatory to leaving the island. At 10 o'clock, all
things being ready, we hove up our anchor and bade
adieu to our friends the natives of Ovalau, schooner
in company.
On the same evening we came to anchor in the harbor of Protection Island, a small, uninhabited island.
This island is situated about twenty-five miles from
Ovalau, is about ten miles in circumference, and rises
7 7
in some places almost perpendicularly from the sea
shore. This harbor, like that of Laboaka, is formed
by a coral reef, which makes out from the island, and
sweeps around in a curved direction, leaving a narrow, but safe passage. The island is thickly covered
with wood, and the acclivities of the hills richly variegated with shrubbery and vegetation.
On the following day, we got underway and proceeded to Saba Saba, at which place we did not arrive
until the 1st of July, though the distance is only sixteen miles: this was owing to a strong head current
and light wind. We anchored outside of the reef,
the wind being too light to venture through the passage, which is very narrow, and has a strong current
During tille evening and night we caught some very
fine fish, among which were found one or two new
The next morning we got underway and stood in
through the narrow passage, and anchored in the
inner harbor, about one mile from the celebrated
"boiling springs."   Captain Wilkes allowed all of the OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
men to visit these springs; accordingly, on the 4th of
July, all the nien that could be spared out of the ship
improved the proffered recreation. These springs are
eleven in number, situated on a level plain near the
beach, with a rivulet running through, which is not
at all affected by the heat from the springs;—the
water in the rivulet being perfectly cool and of an
excellent quality. The formation of these springs is
certainly volcanic, and confirms me in the belief that
all these islands are of that origin. The surface of
the earth every where in the neighborhood of the
springs was'so hot, that we could not walk on it
with bare feet. The temperature of the water was
212 degrees. The natives come from all parts of the
island to visit these springs, particularly when any
great feast is to be held; they there cook their food in
them. One of them is considered sacred, and is used
only for cooking human flesh. The surface of the
ground in the neighborhood is strewed with the
bleached bones of these victims.
July 12th. Our Launch returned from a surveying cruise among the islands, in charge of Lieut. Perry. He brought with him Mr. Knox and Mid 1
Thompson and the crew of 1st cutter; also two chiefs
whom they had taken as prisoners. The 1st Cutter
got ashore on a reef off the island of Sour Laib, and
was captured by the natives of that island; and
the officers and crew were obliged to flee to the
Launch for safety, which was only a short distance
from them. In consequence of a strong gale which
was blowing at that time, and the dampness of the
ammunition, they were unable to prevent the capture of the cutter.    Luckily for the crew, however, 144
the natives busied themselves so much in removing
the plunder, that they did not interfere with their escape, and by this means they passed unmolested to
the Launch.
Captain Wilkes immediately made preparations for
punishing the savages. He had the schooner Flying
Fish fitted out and manned, together wfith the launch
and six or eight small boats, with the 1st cutter <lM\
the Peacock, all armed and manned. At 4 o'clock the
same evening, all those who were to take part in the
expedition were mustered in boats, and Captain
Wilkes joined the schooner; shortly after, all made
sail for Sour Laib, a distance of about sixteen miles.
The wind being contrary, they did not arrive at their
place of destination until 10 o'clock of the next day.
On the arrival of the party, Captain Wilkes went on
shore with a party of armed men, met the chief, and
by means of an interpreter held a parley with him, in
which he demanded the boat and all of the property
that had been stolen from it. The chief replied, "that
it was a tradition among them that when a boat or
canoe was cast away on their island, that they had a
right to take possession of it in the name of their gods,
to whom it belonged." Captain Wilkes endeavored
to explain to him die impropriety of such conduct;
and tried to make hkn understand how he should act
in such cases; but to this he seemed to pay but little
attention, and gave$he Captain but little satisfaction.
He told the chief that if the property was not immediately delivered up, he should commence hostilities*
against them and endeavor to desolate the island.
To this the chief replied very carelessly, "that it was
not in his power to restore tbe property, as it was OF  SAILOR LIFE.
scattered over the whole island," and seemed to intimate that he should not tty, but said that he was
willing to give up the boat. This did not satisfy
Captain Wilkes; therefore he ordered the men to repair to the sehooner, get some refreshments and rest
a short time, for they were much fatigued, not having
rested, eaten or slept during the night. Thill news
was received with enthusiastic applause, as they
wished to show their superiority to the savages.
Accordingly, after partaking of the necessary refreshment, and taking a few moments' repose, they all
left the schooner, to the number of eighty men. Capt.
Wilkes lay off in his gig, so that he might see the destruction as it progressed. The party on shore was
commanded by Capt. Hudson, of the Peacock. On
the approach of the men, the natives retreated, and
continued to recede as the men advanced toward the
village, until they took up their position about three
hundred yards from the village, and did not offer the
slightest resistance to the destruction of their property.
At the village the work.of destruction commenced
by setting fire to their houses, destroying their tarro
beds, killing their hogs, burning up their yams and
yam houses, breaking up their war canoes, and in fact
destroying every thing that fell in their way. The
natives during this time fired a few random shots
from the bushes and7 jungles, but no injury was the
consequence. Several ventured to peep from their
hiding places, but no sooner did they show their faces
than they felt the deadly power of our rifles. Skyrockets were thrown in among them, but their position was so secure that it did no other harm than to
frighten them.    This it did effectually, which was in-
13 146
dicated by thek loud yell% and their cry of u curlew !
curlew !! curlew /// " spirits ! spirits !! spirits Hfc;
After seeing the town burnt down and the work of
destruction completed, they all returned to their boats,
and on the way burned another small towBili When
the men had all embarked, the natives ventured from
their hiding places, came within a short distance of
the boats, and fired a few random shots. But they
were not sufficiently near to be able to do any dam-rage.
The Launch did not arrive in time to partake in
the affray, she having got aground on a coral reeiy
and did not get off until late in the evening. The
party ventured to the ship about midnight. The
next morning the chief of Sandal Wood Bay came on
board, and asked for the two prisoners whom the
Launch had taken at Sour Laib, saying that they
wanted to eat them, as they were their prisoners. Hi*
request, however, was not granted.
Sandal Wood Bay, or Miambore Bay, is a well protected place of anchorage. The natives are rather
more diminutive than those of Ovalau, and of a more
ferocious nature. They have a custom of circumcision, similar to that of the ancient Jews, and none
are eligible to marry until they have passed this ordeal. This operation is performed at the death of
some favorite chief, to manifest their grief at his loss.
Another of their horrible customs is that of putting to
death a number of the favorite wives of the deceased,
and a number of the male relatives. Some of the
chiefs have twenty wives, and those who are his fa-r
vorites in this world, are the ones chosen to accompany him on his passage to the other world.   I am OF  SAILOR   LIFE.
told that so great is their desire to accompany him,
that disputes often arise between them to know who
has the best right to this preferment.
On the 22d, a melancholy event occurred in the
tieath of the ffffrd mate of the trading ship Leonidaa,
who came to an untimely end in the most shocking
manner. While the Peacock was engaged in surveying the harbor of Muthwater, the Leonidas was there
at anchor; she being an armed vessel, Captain Hudson requested her commander to assist with her guns
in firing to measure distances. It was accordingly
assented to, and it was during one of these discharges
that the accident happened. The second mate, acting in the capacity of a gunner, and being unacquainted with gunnery, neglected to sponge the gun—
consequently, when the cylinder was put in and
rammed home, when in the act of priming, the powder which he was pouring in, communicated with a
spark that had been inadvertently left in the chamber,
and immediately exploded, at the same time catching
fire to a cylinder in his bosom, which ignited at the
same instant. The explosion was so great that he
was literally burned from head to foot,—even the hair
was completely burned from his head. In this situation he was removed to the Peacock, where all that
surgical skiM couM do was done for him.. He lingered
in this state for twenty days, most of the time deprived of reason, and suffering the most excruciating pain.
He was interred during the evening, on a point near
the harbor. A stone was placed at his head to mark
the spot, upon which a suitable epitaph was engraved.
After finishing our survey at this place, we em- 148
barked, intending next to visit the Island of Muth-
In consequence of adverse winds, we were induced
to make a short stay at Tevia, a small island about
midway between Muthwater and the island from
whjeh we had just embarked. Here we recruited,
and became acquainted, to some extent, with the natives.
The natives of this island are very numerous and
warjike, and possess more canoes than any island we
had visited among the Fiji group. Hogs, yams and
poultry are plenty here. We saw here the remains
of the beche-le-mer house which Captain Eckelsoiy
of the ship Leonidas, had erected, while engaged
here in curing that article. This is also remarkable as
the place where the chevalier Dillon had an engagement with the natives, and defeated them with only
a few men. When the Peacock was here in June
last, a canoe came alongside, having in it the whole
body of a roasted man, of which they were eating
with great avidity. Some of the flesh was procured
by the officers and saved in spirits as a specimen,
also the skull and th^gh bones were procured.
On the following day we left this island, and proceeded to Muthwater, where we arrived in the evening.    The Peacock had reached ^lis harbor before us.
The town of Muthwater is very large, and is better protected than any island among this vast group.
The town is built on a level plain at the foot of a
very high hill, and is quite near the sea shore. These
natives possess, in an eminent degree, the art of pilfering, and are by no means scrupulous in converting
to their own use any property they may happen to OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
find; and in such cases, they make no inquiry about
the owner, but are careful to conceal what they have
found. Several flags belonging to the Peacock had
been stolen from the reefs in the harbor, where they
were placed for the purpose of surveying. Captain
Hudson demanded of Tuembooa, the king of Muthwater, the immediate restoration of the stolen property ; and in case they were not returned or satisfaction given, he would burn his town. This very
much frightened Tuembooa, for he had already heard
of our doings at Sour Laib, and had learned the
deadly power of our guns. He promised to do all in
his power to obtain them, and if he could not, he
would pay double the value of them in any produce
which the island afforded. He also stated that it
was not the natives of his town who had committed
the theft, but the mountainers, over whom, he assured Capt. Hudson, he had no control.
July 31st. Our boats, and those of the Peacock,
returned from a surveying cruise among the leeward
islands, and while the incidents of the cruise are fresh
in my memory, I hasten to give an account of them.
On the eventful morning of the 24th inst., at daylight, we sent a party on shore to cook a few yams
for breakfast, being all the provisions we had left.
The brig and schooner, not being in sight, we wished
to procure a hostage of note among the cannibals, to
hold in our possession, While we went up to the
town to trade; we knew that the savages here were
of the most warl&e character, and were the dread of
all the neighboring islands. While some of the men
were cooking the yams, Mr. Underwood and myself
went along the beach in search of shells.    Mr. U. had
13* 150
a rifle, and I had a trade hatchet. We walked about
half a mile from the place where the men were cooking the yams, when we were surprised by about
forty warriors, led by the eldest son of the king of
Malolo. Mr. U. commenced a conversation with the
chief, and meantjfrie I listened to the remarks of the
natives* as I could then understand some of their Ian-
guage, though they were not aware of the fact. One
said that he would have my shirt, another, my pants,
a third, my hands, and all expected some part of my
body for supper.
After some conversation with Mr. U., relative to
his becoming a hostage, the chief left him for a few
moments, to consult with hi£ men, and, selecting two
large warriors, told them what Mr. U. wanted of him.
He remarked to them that he should consent to go, at
the same time saying that I, probably, should be ordered to conduct him to the boat. He instructed
them to kill me, and take Mr* U. prisoner—whom
they supposed to be a chief among$#is—and by that
means they should be able to secure our numerous
articles of trade, m exchange for him. Knowing the
fact that they never fight aft$r. their chief is slain, I
had but little doubt in reference to his safe arrival at
the boat, should he be delivered into my J&ands.
He then Mr. U., saying that he wasready
to go, and I was ordered to conduct him. Taking
his right hand in my left, we started for the boat. On
our way I showed him my hatchet, and assured him
that if he should go peaceably to the boat, I would
present it to him after our aiarival, and if he did not, I
would give. U to him before !    I asked him if he un- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
derstood me, and learned that he did. He added that
we white men were bad fellows.
We had not traveled more than half the distance,
when I heard a low voice from behind, informing the
chief that all was ready. I was not at a loss to divine their intentions. A moment had scarcely elapsed
ere I had prostrated the chief, and, placing my foot
upon his neck, threatened his life, should he refuse to
drive them back. After some hesitation, and finding
that I was resolute, he yielded, and was permitted to
rise and continue the walk to the boat. He soon,
however, manifested a disposition to release his hand
from my grasp—which, as I was aware of his intentions, might have been too cordial to be particularly
When remonstrated with for his apparent treachery, he said that he was a good man, and intended to
go to the boat. I replied that / was a good man^ too,
and that I intended that he should go, at the same
time increasing the " sailor grasp," until he was satis-?
fied that he could not release himself.
We then hurried to the boat. I gave him up to Mr.
Alden, and was then sent for Mr. U., and we returned
together to the boat. The men soon after came off
with our breakfast, and at the same time the Peacock's
first cutter, under Lieut. Emmons^j joined us. At 9
o'clock, A. M., we got underway in the Leopard, taking the hostage into our boat, and rowed up for the
town; the natives came round us as we struck on
the reef connecting Malolo Lib and Malolo L$i, and
every mark of treachery was apparent in their countenances.
As soon as the boat struck, we jumped out, leaving LIGHTS   AND  SHADOWS
two men and the officer to guard the hostage; the
natives came rushing round us with a shout of triumph, and filled the boatto its utmost capacity. We
attempted to draw the boat over the reef, but our efforts were unavailing. Knowing that they were fond
of music, we commenced one of the songs that are frequently sung in the merchant service, while hoiJting
heavy freight, to produce uniformity of movement by
the aid of the music. This was a beautiful exemplification of the fact, that " music hath charms to soothe
the savage breast;" for no sooner had we entered
into the spirit of the music, than they, one by onej
joined us, and ere they were aware, we were again
on our loved element. How great must have been
their chagrin, when they saw that they had been disappointed in their repast upon human flesh!
In accordance with their tradition in reference to
such as are so unfortunate as to get upon their reefs,
they had marked us as their victims. So great was
the effect of the music, that they not only permitted
us to escape, but literally aided us by grasping the
rope, and attempting to sing with us, although their
tune differed as widely from ours as did their words.
As soon as the boat was afloat, some of us reentered,
and induced such as were willing to do so, to jump
overboard; and such as were not, we "hove" over,
arid taking in our own men, we went around to the
town to buy our provisions.1 We anchored more than
a quarter of a mite Irom &e beach.
A wide flat makes out from the beach, and the tide
being low, we could get no nearer in the boat. Mrv
Underwood had a brace of pistols, and three men
had^rifles; one man went without arms, to carry the OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
box of trade. .The natives were sitting under the
shade of a tree, and to its branches they had hung all
thek arms; they had also tied two pigs to it.
The king was fishing when we reached there, and
we were obliged to wait for him before we could commence a trade, as he allowed no one else to trade with
white men. When he came we found him a surly
old man, apparently about fifty-five years of age.
His eyes were sore, and he wore a white cap on his
head, which he drew partly over his eyes to protect
them from the sun. His whole appearance was morose and vicious, and he wanted four times as much
for the pigs as we had been in the habit of giving iany
where else, and said he did not care whether we took
them or not. Provisions we must get somewhere,
and Mr U. agreed to give him his price. Knowing
that the natives were fond of music, I sang some lively airs for the king, with which he seemed much
pleased, and it was the only time I saw him smile.
One of the pieces sung, was a song called " All in
the Tonga Islands," which contains the following
" They said they'd cut me up like pork,
And eat me without knife or fork." ,***
The king having obtained some knowledge of the language, by trading with whalemen, turned to some of
his men, and said, " He knows that we are going to
eat him. But I determined to spoil his appetite if
possible, before he sat down to the "mes%" should he
attack us.
Mr. Alden took the hostage out of our boat into his 154
own, as soon as he anchored, and Mr. Henry, a brave
and excellent young midshipman, came on shore from
the Launch, armed with a bowie knife and pistol;
when he came up to us, the king sent several men
into the town for some yams and fowls, as he said.
Shortly after, the hostage treacherously jumped out
of the Launch and dashed through the shallow water ]
for the shore. With a well-meant, but unappreciated
forbearance, a shot was fired over him, to induce him
to come back. This seemed the signal for the work
of death to commence; two Indians seifced my rifle,
and attempted to take it from me. I drew my knife, |
and asked Mr. Underwood if I should give it up or
fight; he answered, " fight." I instantly stabbed
one, and he knocked the other senseless with a blow
on the head wjth his pistol. John Dunnock shot
another. As this was going on, I saw as many as
forty more joining the throng on the beach from the
town; among them was a man with a large scar
under the left eye, and I knew him to be one of the
men whom the king had sent to the town for yams
and fowls. Some of the men fled to the boat on the
first attack; others fired their rifles, and finding it
impossible to load again, followed them. Mr. Underwood, Mr. Henry and myself, were all that remained
to fight at least ninety men. The air around our
heads was literally filled with elubs and spears.
Hearing an Indian shouting Tutanga, T^ranga, I
knew that he was hailing Mr. Underwood, and turned
to see what he wanted. He was within fifteen feet of
us, and his spear was quivering in his hand; the next
moment Mr. Underwood would have been transfixed
bf &   As I raised my rifle to fire at him, an Indian OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
sprang out with a musket from behind a tree, and I
let the chief throw his spear, thinking I could parry
it off with my rifle, and then shoot the man who had
the musket. The chief again poised his spear and
darted it; my ignorance of the force of these missiles
very nearly cost me my life. It came like a flash of
hghtning, struck me full in the face, tearing my upper
Up into three pieces, loosening my upper fore teeth,,
and glancing out of my mouth, passed through the
left arm of Mr. U. I shot him through the head, and
attempted to reload my rifle, when a man ran up behind me and knocked me senseless, for the moment,
into the water. This wet all my powder, and rendered my rifle useless for further service; falling on
my face the water instantly brought me to my senses
again. A few moments after Mr. Henry was knocked
down by a blow from a club on the back of the head.
I saw him struggling under water, and tried to get to
him, but had not fought half way, when I was
knocked down again, and as I rose, I received another
heavy blow between the shoulders. Looking round,
I saw Mr. Underwood lying on his left side, resting
on his left hand in the water, and holding up his right
to parry off the blows of a club, whj$h a gigantic savage was flourishing over his head; the blood was
streaming from his mouth, nose and ears. I sprang
up behind the Indian and caught him by the throat,
and plunged my knife three times into his bosom. I
then stooped down and tried to lift Mr. Underwood out
of the water. He spoke once distinctly:—" Tell her,"
said he, "that I loved her until the last moment."
This was said, probably, in reference to his wife, to
whom he had been married but two weeks before sail- 156
ing. Soon after this, his eyes flashed, and he seemed
for a moment to recover himself,—his countenance
gleaming in all the fierceness of the war spirit; he
tried to speak, but his mouth was so filled with blood
that I could not understand what he wished to say.
He probably saw*the stealthy approach of a savage,
who was about to aim a blow at my head, and Having
hint'-ikia.t keen, piercing look of defiance, in the last
agonies of death, he wished to warn me of my danger—for the next ^moment I experienced a sensation
similar to that produced by the report of a cannon
near one's head. I recollect this distinctly, and remember no more, as I fell senseless into the water.
How long I remained in that situation I do not
know ; but when my senses did return, the noise and
bustle of the fight was over. I do not know when or
how I reached the boat, nor did I know any thing for
several days afterward. On recovering my senses, I
learned the following particulars. I Soon after, the
first cutter opened a fire upon them, and several being
killed, they all retreated to the bushes. The boats
then pulled in, and took possession of the bodies of
LieUt. Underwood, and Wilkes Henry, midshipman;
they had been stripped entirely naked, and dragged
some distance on the beach, with the expectation, no
doubt, of making a hearty meal from them.
They clubbed and speared us until they supposed
that there could be no life in us. I afterward arose
upon my feet—being perfectly delirious—and walked
among them, talking, laughing and singing, which
convinced them that I was a spirit. In consequence
of their superstitious dread of spirits, they offered me OF SAILOR  LIFE.
no further violence. In this condition I was taken
into the boat by Lieut. Alden.
Since the above was written, I have been favored
with an interview with a gentleman who visited the
island about nine months afterward. He states that
during his stay there he heard the natives singing a
song which was composed in consequence of this melancholy encounter. In th|s they refer to some one as
a " spirit man " who conducted quite singularly after
having been slain. They affirm that they cut off my
head, which of itself resumed its former place, and
that I went around and gathered up my hands and
feet which had been severed from my body, and adjusted them properly, where they soon became as
fixed and permanent as they were previous to their
dismemberment, and afterward laughed at them.
During this time I had been placed in the " stern
sheets" of the boat, and covered with the American
Flag, to protect me from the scorching heat of the
vertical sun. My wounds were so numerous and severe that no one expected me to survive but a short
time. But why I was thus almost miraculously preserved, is known only to the great Disposer of events.
They had not proceeded far when the schooner was
seen at anchor. When coming so near to the schooner that the boat's ensigns could be seen, they were
set at half mast in token of some accident having
befallen them. The signal was no sooner perceived
from the schooner than she was got underway and
stood down to meet them. Capt. Wilkes and Passed
Midshipman Eld were on shore at the time, making
observations; and perceiving the schooner underway,
and shortly afterwards the boats coming with their
14 158
ensigns at half mast, they immediately struck their
tent and pulled for the schooner, where they arrived a
little before the boats. When the boats came alongside, Captain Wilkes anxiously inquired what the
matter was, and when informed that Lieut. Underwood and Mid. Wilkes Henry had been murdered,
he sprang toward the bodies and fainted. He was
taken in this state to the cabin of the schooner, and remained in this senseless condition for fifteen minutes,
before he was resuscitated. In the mean time, the bodies were removed from the boat, and placed on the
quarter, under the Ncover of tarpaulins, while I was
taken to the berth deck. By this time Capt. Wilkes
recovered a little and returned upon deck, but no
sooner saw the bodies, than he fell in the same state
from which he had just before recovered. On coming
to again, he cried and moaned In the most pitiable
and melancholy manner.
Mr. Henry was his nephew and the only son of a
widowed sister, and from whom he had taken him
away. The bodies were kept until the following day,
during which tune Mr. Agate, artist, succeeded in getting a very correct likeness of them both for their
friends at home. After which they were sewed up
in separate hammocks, and taken on shore to a small
uninhabited island, where both of them were interred
in the same grave. " They were lovely and pleasant in
their lives, and in death they were not divided," 2d
Samuel 1: 23. OF  SAILOR   LIFE.
The Punishment for the Murders—Funeral Services of the Murdered—Departure—Gardener's Island—Recollections of Home
—Arrival art; the Sandwich Islands—Honolulu—Common People.
" E7en the Favored isles,
"So lately found, although the constant sun
Cheers all their seasons with a grateful smile,
Can boast but little virt«e; arxi, inert
Through plenty, lose in morals what they gain
In manners—victims tb luxurious ease.7* *
Captain Wilkes named this island " Henry's Isl-
land" and " Underwood's Group." Three volleys of
musketry were then fired over the grave, which closed
the scene; after which they all returned to the schooner to premeditate on the means to be adopted for the
revenge of their deaths. The plan was arranged in
the following manner. The boats were sent to row a
guard around the island to prevent the escape of any
of the natives, and to stop any from joining them
from other islands.
They cruised all that night, until light the next
morning, when three large canoes were seen making
for the island. Lieutenant Emmons in the Peacock's
1st cutter, made sail and went in chase of them:
when coming within gun shot, he gave them a broadside, each canoe in succession, w(s$ch soon stopped
theijE headway. All the canoes were destroyed and the
natives killed, except two, one man and one woman;
the man was taken prisoner, but the woman was al- 160
lowed to swim ashore. The same morning the men
were landed from the brig Porpoise (she having joined
them the day before) the men of the boats and
schooner amounting to nearly one hundred. On
landing, they were divided in three divisions; Capt.
Ringgold commanded the whole party and led the 1st
in person. The 2d division was under Lieut. Johnson, and the 3d under Lieut. Maury. After destroying the plantations of bananas, tarro and yam
beds, breaking up their war canoes and literally destroying every thing that fell in their way, and having arrived within sight of their principal towns, the
2d and 3d divisions halted, while the division under
Captain Ringgold marched forward to reconnoiter the
town. On their arrival they found the town much
larger than they expected and better fortified, and appeared to be strongly defended. The principal chief
came out armed with a spear, and drew himself up
in all the pride of self consequence, tmd gave himself
a thousand savage ostentatious airs. He challenged
our little party to proceed, he was ready for them,
and he intended to have a white man for his supper.
This consequential savage little dreamed that a reinforcement of the enemy was so near at hand, and
knew but little of the effects and deadly power of the
enemy's weapons, that were so shortly to be brought
against them.
The town was fortified by upright posts sunk in
the ground, and the bottom part walled in with
stones; and between the posts in the top part, spaces
were left open, through which to shoot their arrows
and throw their clubs. The whole was entrenched
around with a ditch eight feet wide and five or six OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
deep, in the bottom of which were an abundance of
spears. Behind this fortification they had defied all
the combined Fiji armies, and had been many times
attacked by their enemies, but had always come off
victorious, which circumstance inspired them with
much confidence in their own strength and prowess.
After the chief had come out and delivered his challenge, he returned behind the fortification and commenced making vigorous efforts to defend the town
by filling up the interstices that would admit ingress.
Capt. Ringgold, seeing the strength and determination of the enemy whieh he had to eontend against,
made signals for the two remaining divisions to join
After the force had concentrated, they formed a
One, and marched up to the entrenchment in good
order, under a heavy shower of arrows. The natives
continued to throw out the spears and arrows in great
profusion, but with little judgment. Two of our
men were slightly wounded, one in the thigh and the
other in the leg. The natives labored under a disadvantage which rendered their breast-work almost
useless; they could not throw their spears without
exposing the whole upper portion of their bodies, and
in such cases almost instantly met their fate from our
rifles. Several rockets were thrown in at the onset
with the hope of setting fire to their town, but they
did not take effect. A volley of musketry was fired
at them by each division in succession; thi&had good
effect, upwards of fifteen falling at each volley. The
natives having become more bold, showed themselves
in greater numbers above the breastwork, but after
this deadly fire they became more intimidated, and
14* 162
retreated behind their houses. Rockets were again
thrown in, but with no better success than at the
former attempt. The contest had been kept up for
more than an hour, when the " Turanga Laib,"
principal chief, was killed by a rifle ball, which cir*
cumstance struck a panic through them immediately,
and what few there were remaining, fled to the back
part of the town; some few made their escape, while
many were shot in their retreat. They left their
dead and wounded behind, to be consumed in the
flames. At this time another rocket was thrown in
and lodged upon the top of one of their thatched
houses, which soon ignited, and in a short time the
whole village was wrapped in flames; and only a few
moments elapsed before the village was burned to the
After the flames had sufficiently subsided, a party
of our men entered, but found nothing save the dead
and wounded. The number killed could not be correctly ascertained—as many had been buried in the
flames and were consumed—but the number must
have been considerably large. The men refreshed
themselves with cocoa-nuts and cocoa-nut milk, and
rested a few moments, after which they marched over
the hills to the back of the island, where there was
another small town;—but on their arrival they found
that Captain WilkeS, with his boat's crew, had burnt
it early in the morning. The whole party then embarked and proceeded to the brig and schooner, where
a comfortable night's repose was very acceptable, following as it did, a day of fatigue, slaughter and bloodshed. The next morning a woman came to the
beach and hailed the vessel, holding up a pistol and OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
Mr. Underwood's cap and a rifle. Capt. Wilkes went
on shore, taking with him the interpreter, and had
some conversation with her. She stated that the few
warriors who were left alive on the island had sent
her to treat for peace on any terms he might think
proper to propose, and in their name she solicited his
forgiveness. Captain Wilkes told her to tell them to
assemble on the hill at 10 o'clock, and that he would
meet them and hear what they had to say.
Accordingly, at the appointed tiine Captain Wilkes,
taking with him all the men who had been on shore
the previous day, embarked in the boats and proceeded to the shore. On landing, the men were formed into a hollow square, for the purpose of receiving the vanquished warriors. They did not come at the appointed time, however, and Captain Wilkes sent the prisoner who had been taken by Mr. Emmons, in the
boat, to tell them to come immediately or he would
renew hostilities and destroy the rem&ining portion.
In a few moments they were seen moving slowly up
the acclivity of the hill, crawling on their hands and
knees; when, coming up where our men were stationed, they prostrated themselves at their feet in
open submission. Thus were these treacherous savages brought low, and made to know their own
weakness. They brought as an offering to Captain
Wilkes three girls, from the ages of 12 to 16, as they
said,—the handsomest that could be found on the island; these were intended as an offering of peace.
This offer, of course, was refused, but the Captain
told them he wished to let them know the impropriety of their conduct, and that the terms on whicti he
should make peace were, that they should promise LIGHTS AND  SHADOWS
never to be guilty of another like act To this the
chief of the party replied^ that they knew they were
placed in the same position with guilty ones, but
they assured the captain that none of the party then
present was engaged in the murder of the two officers,
and all that were, were killed in the fight, or perished
in the flames of the town. When they were informed
that not one of our men was killed, or seriously injured in the fight, they were much surprised, and exclaimed in a loud voice, "Curlew, curlew, curlew !"
meaning, as I afterwards learnt, that we were all
After the treaty was concluded the men were all
discharged, and returned to the brig and schooner,
where they all remained until the following day,
when they returned by the boats to their respective,
Captain Wilkes remained in the schooner with the
intention of visiting Somo Somo and Cartab, and
from thence to join the ship Vincennes at Muthwater.
The same boats brought information of the demise
of WiJMam Smith, seaman, who came to an untimely
end in a mysterious manner.
The officers had been on shore, leaving the vessel
in the charge of two seamen, one of whom was
Smith. Soon after their departure Smith proposed to
go into the cabin and pilfer some of the spirits which
the officers had in charge. To t&is, however, his
companion did not consent. When Smith was assured that the theft would not be divulged by his
shipmate, he went alone and drank a large quantity,
by which he was much intoxicated* During the
watch on the following night, Smith was unable to OF SAILOR LIFE.
attend to the duties assigned him, and was found
asleep by one of the officers. He was reproved for
this conduct, and while under the influence of the
dram, he attacked the officer, when a scuffle ensued,
and both fell overboard. The officer recovered himself and regained the deck, but Smith could not be
The foregoing facts were not made known at the
time of his decease, and there was an air of mystery
connected with his sudden death. I have since obtained them from one who was on board at the time
of the fatal encounter. I am not aware that any
blame can be attached to the officer.
On the morning of Aug. 2d, the king of Muthwater,
Tuembooa, sent us some hogs and yams as a compensation for the whole number of flags stolen from
the reefs by the natives. At the same time he informed Captain Hudson that he had endeavored to
recover the flags, but found it utterly impossible; he
expected that they had been destroyed.
A signal was made, on the morning of the 10th, for
all the officers and men that could be spared from
each ship, to repair to the Vincennes, to attend the
funeral service of Lieiifc Underwood and Mid. Wilkes
Henry, who were so treacherously murdered by the
natives of Malolo. At half past 10 o'clock, the service
commenced. All was hushed and still; a death-like
silence pervaded the ship throughout, and a deep melancholy seemed apparently visible on the countenances of all, particularly among the officers; and all,
both men and officers, listened with an unusual attention to the solemn and impressive service. The
chaplain took for his text:—" Boast not thyself of to- 166
morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring
forth," Prov. 27 : 1. " It is even as a vapor that ap-
peareth for a little time and then vanishes away,"
James 4: 14. After he had finished the sermon, he
delivered a very flattering eulogium on the lives and
character of the two officer*;
In the afternoon a signal was made to get underway, and proceed to Mali, a distance of about twelve
miles. We came to anchor about three miles from
the village, which we found deserted and the canoes
all hauled up and hid among the bushes. The natives were getting very shy of us since the news of
the destruction of Soui Laib and Malolo had spread
among the islands.
The land here rises to a moderate height, and the
ground presents every where a rich soil. The shore
is handsomely variegated with different kinds of
shrubbery and plants. At a little distance from the
shore may be seen groves of cocoa-nut trees and breadfruit, among which the habitations of the natives are
tastefully erected, under the wide-spreading branches
of the trees. The houses are constructed in the same
manner as those of the neighboring islands. In the
middle of the village stands conspicuous, a building
of a spiral shape, much larger than any of the rest,
and handsomely decorated with shells of different
kinds and colors. This is their Buri, or spirit house,
in which they hold all their public meetings and Cannibal feasts; and also entertain strangers, besides perform their religious ceremonies. We had no communication with the natives of this viflage, owing to
their shyness.
The formation of the island is a complete mass of OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
coral, with Utile or no vegetation. Great numbers of
birds of the aquatic species were found upon it; and
so tame were they, as to be captured with clubs.
After having completed the survey on this island, we
hoisted up the boats and made sail,—steering to the
southward, for the purpose of trying the dipping
At meridian, on the 20th of August, we discovered
another island, or sand bank. This is claimed as a
discovery by Capt. Wilkes, as it is not found on any
chart,—and named by him McKean's Island, after the
man who discovered it.
Our stay at Gardener's Island was very short, as it
was also at several less important islands which we
made on our passage to the Sandwich Islands. This
fact was interesting to many of us, in consequence of
the approach of the expiration of our term of service.
Many cherished the fond anticipation that on our arrival at Oahee, they should be sent to their loved
homes. Home ! there is a magic charm in that word,
appreciated only by those who have been long removed, far, far from its hallowed associations. And
if I mistake not, the young man,—his bosom throbbing in all the glow of youthful buoyancy and vivacity, cradled on the heaving bosom of the mighty
ocean—can respond to ennobling sentiments as its remembrances pass in review. His bosom beats with a
quicker pulsation, as fancy recalls the prayers of a
fond, unchanging mother, or the warm affection of a
sister. Indeed, I have but little hope of the sailor who
loves not the very place that gave him birth, with the
sunny recollections of childhood's home. There is
but little hope of reform, when the friends of one's 168
youth are spurned, his home avoided, and the remembrance of the hallowed scenes of the family altar,
where morning and evening a sacred-incense arose to
high heaven, from a humble group bowed in reverence ; when such scenes, I say, are ridiculed, the probability of a return from the paths of vice is extremely
At 6 o'clock, A. M., Sept. 20th, we made the Island
of Onehow, one of the Sandwich Islands, about tern
leagues distant.    By the 24th, we had succeeded in
beating up to the bar off Honolulu, and came to
anchor about 6 o'clock in the morning.    We were
visited by Mr. Reynolds, P. A. Brinsmaide, Esq.,]
American consul, and several other American resirj
dents here.   We lay here until the following morning,
when a number of boats from the shore, and several]
from whale ships in "the harbor, came ou£ to assist in
towing us over the bar, and up to the town, according
to a general custom here.    By 8 o'clock, we had the
ship hauled clo/se into the Consul's wharf, and safely|
In the afternoon, all hands were called aft under
the half deck, when Captain Wilkes informed them
that he wished to reenter them for eighteen months
longer, and at the same time saying, that it was im-r
possible to get through with the work sooner. Those
who chose to remain were to have three months' pay
and two weeks' liberty; those who did not, should
have only three days' liberty. Those who reentered
were to have one quarter more pay. Very few seemed
willing to make any change in their plans on this occasion, but on the following day they commenced putting their names down, and taking the liberty*- • OF  SAILOR LIFE.
The Bay of Honolulu is not more than half a mile
long, and a quarter broad, but deep, and perfectly
safe. Its western side is lined by marshes and fish
ponds of artificial workmanship, stretching northward, till they reach a small river at the head of the
harbor, by which the congregated waters from the
mountains are poured into the sea. The town of
Honolulu lies on a point formed by the eastern side of
this river, and the curvature of the beach, as it sweeps
again towards the sea, and presents to the view some
tolerably well built houses near the beach. The first
is the consul's, a building of coral and mud, and several wooden buildings in the same enclosures, used as
warehouses; the first is used as a store, and the place
of his office. The consul's residence is in the middle
of the village. It is a wooden building of a moderate
size, with covered verandas and Venetian blinds. To
it is attached a beautiful yard, covered with green
grass, and richly variegated with shrubbery,—the
whole enclosed with a mud wall. In the same yard
is another respectable building, used as an apothecary
shop below, and a billiard room above. Immediately
behind and around these buildings, are to be seen the
thickly crowded and irregularly built huts of mud
and straw—the habitations of a population of about
five thousand natives; and beyond, are the beautiful,
cultivated valleys of the interior, enclosed by mountains of great height and wildness.
Diamond Hill, as you enter the bay, has a beautiful, majestic and romantic appearance ; it is the prm~
cipal point on the south side of the island. It is the
crater of an extinguished volcano, the mere shell of a
decapitated mountain, whose bowels have been ex-
15 170
bHfu#ted by fire. It is of a circular form, and rises almost perpendiculaly several hundred feet. Its sides
every where look like seared wall§, and are fluted
and furrowed from top to bottom by the washing of
water courses, as if by artificial workmanships \i They
also are surrounded in many places by a kind of
moulding of equally singular formation, and again,*'
by blocks and piles of jagged lava, having in their elevation, the appearance of the parapets and battlements of a dilapidated castle. A more unique object
can scarcely be imagined.
Honolulu is the Kanaka name of the seaport town
of the Island of Oahu, and is an excellent and convenient harbor for ships bound to and from the East
Indies round Cape Horn. It affords, also, a convenient recruiting station for whalemen while prosecuting
the arduous duties of their useful and lucrative bu^y
ness among the monsters of the great deep, in the
boundless expanse of the Pacific. This island is, like
all the rest of the group, evidently of volcanic origin.
Several craters, now dormant, are in the immediate
vicinity of Honolulu. An extensive tract of table land
stretches along this side of the island, for several miles
in length, and about a mile in width. This tract is
cultivated, and produces an abundance of tarro and
sweet potatoes. All kinds of melons are growing
spontaneously on the high land, back of the plain.
Here and there are small groves of cocoa-nut trees.
A few hamlets of the thatched houses of the natives
are also rising among the herbage, resembling haystacks in their appearance, and occasionally the residences of the missionaries are seen situated in the
midst of beautiful gardens, and shaded with such trees OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
as are best adapted to shade. ^ Some of the missionaries cultivate a large tract of land by native labor,
which no doubt is of the first importance to them, as
they can there learn the art of agriculture, in the
knowledge of which there is a very great deficiency
among the islanders.
The Rev. Mr. Cook, whose residence is located on
the banks of Pearl River, a few miles from its mouth,
is one of these farming missionaries, and from what I
saw, I should judge he was very much beloved by the
The banks of Pearl River, about one mile from the
sea, is a mass of fossils. Among the collection of
shells, are to be found large quantities of oyster shells,
like those of our own country, but none of the species
are to be found in any part of the group. At what
period these oysters grew here, is not known.
To the mind of the candid traveler, the town of
Honolulu exhibits in its appearance much that is interesting. One may see a plain delineation of the effects of the missionary labor there. The people in
their dwellings, their manners and their dress, are living epistles of the good effects of missionary labor.
Those ^ho have had the longest residence in the
town, live on Main Street, in fine, large, framed
houses, painted white, many of them, with green
blinds, enclosed in neat picket fences. The occupants
of these buildings dress like Americans or Europeans,
and some of them exhibit much polish in their manners, and have a very tolerable classical education.
This street occupies a place near the harbor. The
next street farther back is occupied by those whose
residence in town is of more recent date.    The build- 172
ings are thatched, roof and sides, the most of them,—
a few have the wails boarded, with roofs thatched.
They have glass windows and framed doors; and are
enclosed with walls of bricks dried in the sun, and
white washed. The women of this class are clad in
part with foreign manufacture, and a part in the bark
cloth, which they call " Tappa." Their garments
are made in good form, and they exhibit all the marks
of rapid advancement in the scale of civilization and
The next street has a perfect representation of the
semi-barbarous state, in its buildings and inhabitants.;
The houses are rudely fashioned, and thatched, enclosed in a palisade of sticks and vines, or of half
formed, sun-dried bricks. The males are clad, some
of them in trowsers and hat, and no shirt or shoes $
others with shirts and minus the trowsers; and one I
saw with hat and shoes, and without either shirt or
pants. The ladies of this class wore a garment of the
bark cloth, made like a long bag, with a hole in the
bottom, without sleeves. This is drawn over the
body until the head is thrust out of the end, and the
arms appear from places in the side, left open for that
purpose. This garment reaches as low down as the
ankles, and they look all the same size from the
shoulders to the feet.
Back of this street, you see a collection of the mud
huts that once formed the only habitations of the
Sandwich Islanders. The natives of this class come
dressed in the garb of the heathen, which is no more
than a narrow strip of tappa tied around the loins,
and a dirty blanket of the same material, thrown cor- OF   SAILOR   LIFE.
ner-wise over the left shoulder, coming up under the
right arm, and tied in a large knot on the chest.
These individuals have just caught the sound of
the gospel, and have come to settle near the place
where they can enjoy the privilege of hearing and
learning the doctrines of the Bible. One of this class
exhibited the most ludicrous view of the vanity of
pride that I ever witnessed, and I could not well help
drawing a lesson from it He had felt evidently a
desire for the finery that those enjoyed who had lived
longer in the town, and in his zeal he had made an
effort to jump at once from barbarism to refinement,
and no doubt, in his own estimation, had made a masterly stride towards the accomplishment of his object
But his position was convincing every one that saw
him, that he would be more happy and comfortable
in the condition of the heathen. This individual had
upon his left foot the remains of what once had been
a shoe. All the outer sole was worn away to the instep, and the inner sole was dragged along the street,
as he stepped, like the tongue of a dog. On his right
leg, he had the top of a boot, altogether minus the
soles, and the crown of a hat, without top or brim,
was drawn on his head, which he could only keep off
his neck by crowding into one side a large roll of
grass. In this finery he was perambulating the
streets. He had left his tappa blanket at home, and
every one that saw him was laughing at his ridiculous
appearance. So it is often with boys. The same
spirit that led this man leads many boys. They see
others wise, rich and great, and make an effort to
jump into just such a condition, over all the labor and
study by which die truly wise and great became sos
15* *
and instead of labor and study, they institute lying
and theft, and thus dispossess themselves of good
character as the native did his blanket, and appear
ten times worse in the estimation of the world than
^the man who has rested satisfied with his poverty and
On Sabbath day, I saw the natives going in great
numbers to the place " where prayer was wont to be
made." They were neatly dressed, and the most
profound seriousness rested on every face; no noisy
mirth was heard among them. The loud laugh that
speaks the thoughtless mind was hushed, and silently
and solemnly the heathen journeyed to the sanctuary,
to hear of the mercy and merits of that Saviour, of
whom but a few years since, many of them were entirely ignorant. The little girls looked like butterflies
in their tappa dresses, which are fancifully stained
with bright red, yellow and jet. About thirty from
our ship, all man-of-wars*men, followed along to the
church, and stood around the doors to see and hear.
The missionary who was to officiate that day, was
the Rev. Mr. Bingham. He read a hymn in the native language, but when the native choir began to
sing, the effect upon our party was electrical. They
began to sing the hymn to the tune of old H Greenville." Before the first verse was finished, our party
were all seated under the shade of the house, and took
off their hats, and many a tar that was insensible to
iear in dangers and death, wet the corners of his neck
handkerchief with tears, that were called from their
fountains by the recollections of childhood, friends and
home, which were brought upon their minds in connection with that old tune; and when at length the OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
sermon commenced in the native tongue, we started
to go away, I saw some with their shoes in their hands,
and others on tiptoe, lest they should make a noise
and disturb the worshipers.
In external manners and habits oklife, the common
people or Kanakas, present a strong contrast to the
chiefs; and indeed are wretched people, subject, not
only to blindness of heart and mind, but also the most
abject poverty. Their condition is as bad, if not
worse, than many slaves in the U. S. If the former
are an object of interest, the latter should be of a compassion that should almost border on agony.
The greatest wealth of which some of the less enlightened can boast, consists of a mat on which to he,
a few folds of tappa to cover them, one calabash for
water and another for poi, a rude implement or two
for the cultivation of their ground, and the instruments used in their simple manufactures. Tarro, potatoes and suet, with occasionally a fish, constitute
their general food; while all else they raise, or take,
and every result of their labor, goes to meet the exorbitant taxes levied by the king and his governors,
and their own respective chiefs and landlords. The
spontaneous production is very scarce, and labor at
all seasons of the year is necessary to the support of
life. In this respect this group differs widely from
the Society and other Islands in the South Pacific
Ocean, which we have visited, where eight months
in the year, the natives have only to pluck their food,
principally breadfruit, from the trees overhanging their
habitations. The growth of the breadfruit here is
confined to a few districts on one or two islands, and 176
where found, yields a very partial supply at any season.
Tarro, an article which I have frequently mention-*
ed, is the principal food of the Sandwich Islanders;
and to the whole nation, answers the double purpose of bread and vegetables. The plant to which
it belongs, is the Arum, a root growing in many
parts of America, and particularly in the West India
Islands; and sometimes known by the name of the
wild indifcn turnip. Tarro is the Arum Esculentum of
the botanist, and is used in many other warm'climates
as a vegetable. It here occupies the most of the cultivated ground, especially such as is capable of being overflown by water; and the planting, irrigation
and necessary care of it, form the most laborious part
of native farming. The islanders have arrived at
great skill in the cultivation of this plant, and perhaps
their mode of growing it, considering the general face
of the country, scarcely admits of improvement, unless
it be in the implements with which they work. The
beds in which the tarro stands, are generally square
or oblong, of various sizes, from that of a few yards
to half of an acre. The natives prepare it for use, by
baking it in the only manner practiced among them.
This is by digging a hole in the ground, one or two
feet deep and five or six in circumference, and placing
a layer of stones upon the bottom, upon which wood
is placed and a fire kindled ; other stones are laid on
the fire, and by the burning of the wood the whole
becomes ignited; those on the top are drawn off, and
the tarro, dog, pig, or fish.—closely* wrapped in the
leaves of the ti,—is laid on the hearth of stones still remaining on the bottom, and hastily covered with the OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
rest; a little water is poured on to create a steam, and
the whole is then covered with earth,—by which the
heat and steam are kept from escaping—and the article
in the umaii, or
ovenj becomes cooked.    The tarro
thus baked, is in the next place made into their favorite poi. The process is very simple, though so laborious as to be performed by <he men;—it is simply
by beating the tarro upon a short plank of hard wood,
slightly hollowed in the middle, like a tray, with a
stone something in the shape of a clumsy pestle, wetting it occasionally with water, like dough. It is
then put into a calabash, diluted with water and set
aside for fermentation. This soon takes place and
the pot is fit for use in a day or two, though preferred
when four or five days old.
It is eaten by thrusting the fore finger into the mess
and securing as much as will adhere to it in passing
it to the mouth. Next to tarro, the sweet potato is
the principal article of cultivation. The yam also is
grown, but chiefly at the leeward islands. I saw
none here. Indian corn has been introduced, but is
very little used as an article of diet. Esculent plants,
such as cabbages, squashes, water-melons, musk-melons, pumpkins, cucumbers and beans,—the seeds of
which have been introduced by the missionaries and
foreigners,—are becoming abundant; they are cultivated principally for ships, and the table of foreign
These islands were discovered in the year 1778,
by Captain James Cook, of the British navy, and
from him, in honor of the Earl of Sandwich, then the
first Lord of the Admiralty, received the name by
which they are at present designated.    The tragical
■ 178
event, and lamented death of this celebrated navigator at Hawaii, in the succeeding year, caused their
existence to be made known to the civilized world
with an excitement of feeling that deeply stamped the
event on the public mind.
Visit of a Natrre Chief—Sentence of death passed upon two Natives for the murder of a Female Chief—Departure—Arrival
at Hawaii—Expedition—Visit to the Volcano—Mouna Roa.
4< Deep midnight now involves the lurid skies,
While infant breezes from the shore arise,
The waning moon, behind a watery shroud,
Pale glimmered o'er the long-protracted cloud.
A mighty ring around her silver throne,
With parting meteors crossed, portentous shone;
This in the troubled sky full oft prevails,—
Oft deemed a signal for tempestuous gales."
On the 27th of Sept., Governor Tekooanoa visited
the ship, and was received with military honors.
During the day the English, American, and French
consuls also visited us, with a portion of the mission
and foreign residents.
In a short time afterward the news of the death of
Commodore D. T. Patterson was received, and read
to all hands on the quarter deck, and the officers ordered to wear crape on the left arm for thirty days, in OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
testimony of respect for the deceased. All the American vessels in the harbor, as well as the foreign vessels and the fort on shore, had their colors at half
mast. On the 28th inst. the king of the Sandwich Islands arrived in his yacht from Maui, on which occasion the fort fired a salute of 21 guns. On the 29th
the Peacock arrived off the bar and came to anchor,
she having separated from us several days before our
arrival here.
The sentence of death was published on the 5th,
for the murder of a female on the 28th of Sept. The
following is the sentence.
Eia ka pai palu a ua' bi i palupalu i ia Kaman-
awa laua o Lonopuakau, ike mai na Kanaka a pan.
E Kamanawa a me Lonopuakau.    E like me ka
olelo hoo hewa in olua, e maki, i hoo holoin' ii kula
30 o Sepatemabu, ke hai aku rei molama, i ka hora \\
Pomaikai olua, ke mini i oleed i keia marr la, e kal-
uin mai ai i ko olua hewn nui e Jesu.
Kamehameha iii
Honolulu, Okalobu Ath, 1840.
Sentence of the Chiefs, sent in writing to Kamanawa
and Lonopuaka, published for the information of
all persons.
To Kamanawa and Lonopuaka.—In accordance with
the sentence of death, passed upon you on the 30th
Sept., we hereby notify you that the day of your execution will be the 20th day of the present month, at
11 o'clock, A. M. Happy indeed will you be, should
you improve the present few days by repentance, that 180
lights and shadows
your heinous crimes may be forgiven through Jesus
Kamehameha iii
Honolulu. Oct. 5th, 1840.
'While here, the Commander in Chief of the Expedition and officers paid their respects to his Hawaiian
majesty. They were received with due respect, and
treated very courteously during their stay. There
was some of the iC pomp and circumstance " of princely grandeur and consequence, which are usually seen
in more enlightened portions of the world.    Truly,
" Feeble man
Clothed with a little brief authority,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep.
On the 20 th, the day previously appointed for the
execution, at 11 o'clock the chief Kamanawa and the
native Lonopuakau, were both hanged by the neckv
upon the ramparts of the fort, before an immense^
crowd of spectators. The Rev. Messrs. Armstrong
and Smith addressed the throne of grace in their behalf. About eight hundred natives, under arms, were
assembled, and passed behind them, two and two,'
with arms reversed, until the whole was concluded.
As they dropped, the colors were half-masted, the bell
tolled, and there was a general yell and weeping
throughout the village. The chief died a very hard
At 10 o'clock, Dec. 3d, Mr. Alex. Adams, pilot,
came on board for the purpose of conducting us out
of the harbor, but in consequence of some difficulty OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
with the captain, was ordered ashore. After dispensing with the services of the pilot, boats were sent
out with signals, to point out the passage, which compensated for the sudden ejection of the pilot. We
received P. A. Brinsmaide, Esq., American consul,
and Dr. J. P. Judd. physician to the mission, who
came on board to take passage to Hawaii.
Our passage out of this dangerous harbor was not
only safe but pleasant, nothing of particular importance occurring to mar the harmony of our company,
which had become considerably changed, from the
fact that many who had been with us from the commencement of the expedition, had already embarked
for their native shores, and their places had been supplied by a corresponding number of natives. A few
days brought us in sight of the beautiful Island of
Hawaii. We came to an anchor on the 9th, in Hilo
Bay. ..^jg
Hawaii or Owhyhee is the most southerly island of
this group, and on account of its great elevation is
generally the first land seen from the ship on approaching the Sandwich Islands. No other spot in
the boundless expanse of North and South Pacific
exhibits so much of beauty and sublimity, as is displayed to the traveler in approaching this island.
Along the sea-shore in the vicinity of the bay, the
hills and valleys, covered with a rich soil, are heavily
laden with crops of tarro, sugar, and various tropical
fruits; sweet potatoes grow well, and the arrow root
is also an article of export from this island, and ginger is the spontaneous production of the soil. Its origin is volcanic. Several craters, now dormant, are
found in various parts of the island, some of which
16 182
LIGHTS and shadows
are filled up with earth and covered over with a luxuriant growth of grass and herbage. Cattle, horses
and sheep eat and sleep where once the volcano roared and vomited forth its stores of liquid fire, and
where, doubtless, now at no great depth beneath them,
broad streams of perpetual fire are furiously coursing,
flashing, sparkling, madly driven by the power of the
gas as it careers along by the guidance of Omnipotence, to the safety valves that the God of nature has
provided for its escape.
This bay is large and commodious, sufficiently so
for ships of any size to come in and anchor. On approaching the land, we were delighted with the ver#;
dure, luxuriance and beauty of the landscape, opening
to us the village of Hilo and its neighborhood. The
land rises gradually from the beach, to a distance of
fifteen or twenty miles, bordering upon a heavy wood,
encircling Mouna Roa. Though the country is but
partially cultivated, this large district has all the
appearance of cultivation, and of having been laid
out by artificial workmanship,—being an open country, covered with grass, and beautifully studded and
sprinkled with clumps and groves and single trees,
with here and there a patch of sugar-cane, after the
manner of park scenery, with a cottage here and there
peeping from the rich foliage. The summits of the
two great mountains of Mouna Roa and Mouaked are,
most of the time, covered with snow, with a belt of
clouds hanging below, which gives to the scene, in
that direction, quite a gloomy aspect, but it is by no
means a sterile country. The channel is formed by a
cliff on the right hand side, and on the left a sunken
coTal reef, the point of which comes within a short OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
distance of the shore, making it necessary for ships to
pass so near the breakers as to appear in a dangerous
situation; seamen, however, tiiink it perfectly safe.
The. reefs run in a curved direction, to a point in the
channel about half a mile to westward, where it joins
a romantic little islet, covered with cocoa-nut trees.
Near this place our observatory was situated, together
with two or fthree small thatched houses, which were
built by the king's order for our accommodation, some
time previous to our arrival. A small channel runs
between this and the main land, which is low, and
sweeps round to the western cliffs in a beautifully
curved sandy beach of about three miles, making the
form of the bay that of a flattened horse-shoe. The
beach is covered with varied vegetation, and ornamented by clumps, groves and single trees of lofty
cocoa-nut, among which the habitations of the natives
are to be seen;—not in a village, but scattered every
where among the plantations, like farm-houses in a
thickly settled country. The mission houses are
pleasantly situated about three hundred yards from
the water's edge, and in fuU view from our ship in
the middle of the curvature of the beach, forming the
head of the bay. They look like so many palaces,
when compared with the wigwams of the natives.
At a very short distance from the beach, the breadfruit trees are to be seen in every direction, intersected with the pandanas, tutui, or candle tree, the hybis-
cus and acacia, &c. The tops of these rise gradually
one above another, as the country ascends gently towards the mountains in the interior, for twenty or
thirty miles in the S. E., presenting a delightful forest 184
scene, totally different from any thing that I have seen
among the islands.
Soon after our arrival, Capte, Wilkes was busily
employed in preparing the instruments, &c., for an
expedition to Mouna Roa, the most elevated volcano
of this group, and said to be second in height to none
in the world, the summit of which, although within
the tropics, is glistening with the ice and snow of perpetual winter. One hundred and fifty natives were
engaged to carry the instruments and baggage, portable houses, tents, etc., and six seamen were selected
from the crew to accompany the officers appointed to
the management of the affair, the commodore in person commanding the whole party. Having separated
the natives into parties in numbers proportionate to
the burden assigned to each, we got them loaded, and
we started from the observatory about three o'clock
in the afternoon, and it was really interesting to see
the whole cavalcade winding along the hills and valleys on their way to the volcano.
After following the banks of a river about a mile,
we traveled in a south-westerly direction. The soil
of this highly interesting island, where we could see it,
was fertile, and in many places well cultivated^ producing sugar, tarro, breadfruit, yams, potatoes, and
an abundance of bananas, and other tropical fruits.
But by far the larger portion of land over which we
traveled, was perfectly encrusted with lava, probably
the work of other volcanoes now extinct; several craters were to be seen in different parts of the island, one
of which was in plain sight from the ship. In many
places the lava is covered with a rich soil, which furnishes roots to a variety of handsomely flowered OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
shrubbery. We encamped about 6 o'clock, P. M., having traveled eight miles to a small town called Tuoro,
until the moon should rise to give us sufficient light,
which was not until midnight, at whiqjfe time we
again resumed our journey, and traveled to another
town called Winla; here we again encamped about
10 o'clock, A. M. We took breakfast, and again resumed our journey. The path began to grow more
and more rugged and our progress, of course, slower.
At 4 o'clock, P. M., we encamped at a town called
Kappaohee. The country here presents a more sterile
aspect; the masses of lava were more prominent and
were cleft in many places by convulsions of the earth.
Some of these chasms were three or four feet in width
and of immense depth.
At 8 o'clock on the morning of the 16th, we left
Kappaohee and arrived at the volcano at 2 o'clock,
P. M. As we approached the crater, the soil continued to grow more barren, and the only productions
are a few trees, called in the native tongue, Ohea and
Koa, a gigantic growth of fern and brake. The road,
owing to the crumbled state of the lava, was much
more even and smooth than I expected to find it.
The natives who carried the instruments had become
lame, fatigued, and their shoulders much swolen and
sore, although the commodore had treated lb em kind?
ly—had never hurried them in the least, and they
were well supplied with provisions.
At 7 P. M., a party of seamen went from the tents
to witness the great exhibition of the powers of nature's God. The encampment was about 200 yards
from the crater.
Our object was to get round to that side of the cra-r
*16 mm
ter that commanded a view of the largest fire; and
we had to climb over several precipices of almost perpendicular masses of scoria. It was. a moonless nigh™
and the attempt was made still more dangerous by
wide and deep chasms that frequently crossed the
path. Some of these were three or four miles in
length, and as many feet wide, and of immeasurable depth, and we were enabled to find our way
over them only by the light of the fires below. We
approached the crater from the south-east, and when
seated on the brink of the frightful chasm, nothing
can exceed the grandeur and soul-thrilling sublimity!
of the scene. Here we had a full view of all the fires.
I do not expect my pen can give any thing like an adequate description of this place, nor do I believe it in
the power of any thing finite to do so; on the contrary,
the awfully grand and sublime display of the wisdom
and goodness, as well as the power of God, is infinitely beyond description.
In order to give my readers a faint description of
the scene, they must imagine a chasm eleven miles in
circumference, by three in diameter, and over one
thousand feet deep. The walls are of solid scoria,
and perpendicular with several boiling lakes of liquid
fire, the bottom of which is at least a mile in circumference,; the stupendous walls of the crater were illuminated by the strong light of the fire; the gas
which rushed up to escape from its confinement in the
fiery depths, was throwing up a thousand streams
at once into the air seventy-five or one hundred feet,
with a monotonous sound as of heavy surf breaking
on a rock-bound shore, combined with the hissing,
rushing roar of a vast conflagration, while a huge OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
column of smoke, which seemed to be converted into
flame by the light of the fire, rising a thousand feet
above the crater, and which is seen in a clear night
at least fifty milei^ added to the imposing effect of the
scene, and I have never had my nerves put to such a
test, as they were while seated on the brink of this
frightful abyss, with my feet hanging over the edge,
surveying this magnificent display of Almighty Power. Compared with this, what are the proudest works
of art. Man may look on his cities, his catacombs,
his machinery, but let the man most famed for wisdom and power, be seated for ten minutes on the
brink of this fiery abyss, and a sense of his nothingness will thrill through every part of his little soul.
And yet, while almost breathless by the intensity of
the feelings awakened by this scene, it dwindled into
nothing as I thought of that day fixed by the eternal
fiat of Omnipotence, when this whole world, its continents and islands, its oceans and seas, should be exhibited to a congregated world in the same state as
the fiery gulf below.
The commodore immediately ordered us away
from our fearful proximity to the crater, where in our
recklessness we had perched ourselves, and we all sat
together for some hours in inexpressible admiration
and wonder. The night was dark, and the aspect of
the whole scene was more imposing on that account;
and while we were sitting there, a new place opened
on the side of the crater, opposite to us, and a stream
of liquid fire ran down into the bottom of the abyss,
winding its way along among the cones and spires of
scoria with serpentine course, beautifully marked by its
own light, now turning some comer in a narrow 188
stream, now widening out into a lake as it filled up
some hollow in its bed, until at length it emptied itself
into the great sea of fire. It was not until after midnight that we reached the encampment.
On the 17th, the natives complained of their fatigue
and lameness so much, that Capt. Wilkes concluded
to remain at the volcano until the day following. We
spent the day in walking about, and going down into
the crater. Mr. Budd, Mr. Eld and myself missed
our path, and walked $o far out of the way, that we
did not get back in season to goto the bottom; we
were descending into the crater, when we met the
commodore and hisMattendants coming out. One of
the natives who attended the commodore could speak
a little English tolerably well, and he told Mr. Eld,
with his usual quaintness of expression, " that ^f he
went to the bottom it would be dark before he would
get out, and th%t he would falfcinto some of the holes
and kiMhis neck"
This evening I was again at the place that commanded a full view of the largest fire, and it evidently seemed much larger than it was the night before,i
and we saw that it was rapidly increasing; several
new places had opened about the bottom, and the
noise was much louder. The lava was spouting
very high at the northern end of the molten sea, and
a rapid current was flowing to the southward and
westward. The commodore, Mr. Brinsmaide, Dr.
Judd, Mr. Budd, and Mr. Eld joined the party of seamen about 8 o'clock, and it was the opinion of us all,
that in a few days the whole bottom of this vast crater would be one sea of liquid fire.
Next morning early we struck our tents, and, as OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
soon as possible, resumed our journey towards the
summit of Mouna Roa. The base of this mountain
is about twelve miles from the volcano in a direct line,
but to follow the path the distance is much greater.
The road during this day was much more rugged and
uncomfortable, leading over an extensive bed of rough
lava. A few dwarfish trees and shrubs, for miles,
were the only productions to be met with. After passing this we passed over some uneven prairie land, and
encamped about 3 P. M. on the summit of a lofty hill.
The natives came up to us one after another, and as
they arrived, immediately set to work building their
huts for the night, and in two hours we had an encampment of seven tents and forty-five huts. The
natives displayed more ingenuity and celerity in the
art of hut building than I have seen among them in
any other way. Each hut had a large fire before it,
and when the night set in, the scene was highly interesting; the huts were built in a circle around the
tents, and the whole encampment made quite an imposing village. Our elevation was 4500 feet above
the level of the sea.
The next morning, Dec. 19th, we resumed our journey and traveled about eight miles, and again encamped on the side of the mountain. The lava here
had a much more ancient appearance, the shrubbery
and herbage more sickly and sallow. Elevation 6000
feet.    Therometer 48 degrees, Fahrenheit.
This part of the country is dry, and persons traveling here are often obliged to go several days without
water. The whole of this vast mountain is perforated with caves, so numerous, indeed, that we visited
five in one day, some of them of unknown extent. /
One of them was carved and finished in a style that
bore a close resemblance to the works of art. A projection ran along on both sides, - elegantly moulded, about three feet high, and perfectly smooth,—
making a splendid seat nearly 300 feet in length.
The floor was smooth, and the whole cave bore evident marks of having been, at some period, a subterraneous passage, leading from some crater, through
which had flowed a stream of boiling lava, and probably it is through such passages as this that the lava
has flowed, which has so completely inundated the
whole island.
Having followed the passage nearly half a mile, we
came to an opening in the floor, and getting down on
the fragments of lava which lay underneath, we found
a second passage as spacious as the first, running parallel with it; having followed this second passage
about half a mile, we came to another opening, and
looking down, we saw another passage leading under
this. How far it extended we did not ascertain.
Being disappointed in our search for water, we concluded to go no further; the water was dripping
from the roof in a thousand places, but the floor was
too porous to retain it. The roof was beautifully
coated with stalactite, resembling stucco work. This
is formed, probably, from particles of lime and salt,
which are dissolved by the water that passes through
this cave, and is admitted through the overhanging
arch;—these are pendant like icicles, and some of
them acquire the length of three or four feet.
In two of the caves we visited, we found water;
being thoroughly filtered by its passage through the
lava, it was as clear as a crystal, extremely cold, and OF  SAILOR LIFE.
very sweet. In a distant part of one of the caves we
found the bones of some birds, and the remains of a
human skeleton. The bones were much decayed,
but enough of them remained to show that they belonged to the human species.
On Monday morning, Dec. 21st, we again struck
our tents and resumed our journey up the mountain*
The road was precipitous, and our ascent tiresome;
the whole mountain seemed to be a mass of lava.
There are some craters on the summit, and it is probable that the whole of this vast mountain has been
ejected from them and their outlets.
From the appearance of this island, so far as I am
able to judge, it might with great propriety be termed
"Terra del Fuego," which signifies, in English^ the
land of fire. Judging from the quantities of lava now
on the surface, and the quantities that must have run
into the sea, there must be an immense vacuum under
this island. Nothing here relieves the dreary grey of
the lava, excepting here and there a small tuft of
stunted shrubbery, which takes root in the crevices of
the rock. I saw no birds or animals at this place, or
any thing living, except what belonged to the party*
The air is sensibly colder; the clouds were then
rolling below us, and their appearance was often
grand and majestic. We were now about fifty miles
inland, but from this height we can see the surf of the
ocean breaking on the beach. Our elevation on the
evening of the 21st, was 9000 feefc. Thermometer 40
deg. At sunrise on the morning of the 22d, the
weather was much colder. Thermometer 37 deg.
The natives were mostly naked, and the cold seemed
to frighten them.    Dr. Judd, Serg. Stearns, and one 192
of the seamen went on, when the party encamped, to
the summit, and returned at sunset, bringing some ice
and snow with them. When the natives saw it, they
all shouted uoury miti,"—meaning, not good.
About 9 A. M., the commodore and some of the
seamen, together with as many of the natives as were
able to go up, started for the summit, with some of
the instruments, the portable house, and some of the
tents. Lieut. Budd, Dr. Pickering, Mr. Eld and three
seamen, remained at the encampment, to send on the
natives as they arrived with such instruments as were
wanted. At 4 P. M., some of the officers returned
from the summit, and brought information that one
of the seamen had been taken sick, and was lying on
the rocks, unable to get up. No compensation could
induce the natives to venture in search of him. I
started alone, just at dark, but could not find him.
The night shut in dark and rainy, and our tent was
but a poor protection from the inclemency of the
weather. A number of natives were comfortably
lodged in the tents, but no inducement could get them
out, to assist in getting some articles which we,wanted
to make our shelter better.
Dr. Judd, Mr. Eld and Dr. Pickering, went up the
mountain on the 23d, accompanied by as many natives as could be hired to ascend. Mr. Eld went in
search of William Longley, the man who was»sick,
and returned with information at sunset, that he was
better, and had gone up the mountain. At 10 o'clock^
fifty seamen arrived from the ship, under Lieut. Al-
den, and remained with us until the next morning.
During the 24th, the weather was in unison with
the face of the country.    The clouds, which had been OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
collecting round the foot of the mountain, rose towards
noon, and enveloped us in a misty veil, with occasionally drizzling showers of rain. The tents were insufficient to hold us aR, and a party of the seamen repaired to an adjacent cave, and slept very comfortably. About 7 o'clock, a few natives came down from
the summit to the cave, and informed us that Longley*
had not been found, and that general fears were entertained that he was deacl; the night being excessively dark and foggy, further search was deferred
until the next morning. At 7 A. M., the seamen were
sent to the summit with the large pendulum, and journeyman clocks, and other instruments. At 11 o'clock,
thirty-four natives arrived from the ship with provisions for the men and officers. At 3 o'clock, I was
suddenly seized with a violent pain in the head; several others of the seamen, and some of the officers,
were affected in the same way. It was attributed to
the rarity of the air at so great an elevation.
At sunset the scouts returned, but brought no intelligence of Longley. All the seamen were employed
in carrying up the instruments,—most of the natives
having become discouraged at an elevation of 9000
feet, and returned home. Their clothing consisted of
a harrow strip of tappa tied round the loins, and a
scanty blanket of the same material over the shoulders—leaving the body, arms and legs, entirely naked
and exposed. Such apparel could not be comfortable
where the thermometer falls to 37 deg., particularly
to those, who, from chsfcihood, had been accustomed
to a temperature of from 70 to 80 degrees.
At sunset, one of the residents returned from the
summit, and informed us that Longley had been found,
17 194
crawling on his hands and knees over the rocks. He
said he had been lying near the track, and that he
had frequently seen people passing and repassing close
to him, but that he was unable to travel, and conse^-
quently had been exposed to the cold and rain for
three days and nights.
Ascent of the Mountain   continued-i-The Lava—Fatigue and
-Exposure of the Journey—Descent into the Crater—The Basin—Severity of the Weather—Return to the Ship—Visit of
the Chief.
<( Pleasing were many scenes, but most to me,
The solitude of vast extent, untouched
By the hand of art, where nature sowed herself,
And reaped her crops;—whose garments were the clouds,
Whose organ-choir'/ihe voice of many waters;
Whose banquets, morning dews; whose lovers, flowers ;
Whose orators, the thunderbolts of God;
Whose palaces, the everlasting hills;
Whose ceiling, heaven's unfathomable bine ;
And from whose rocky turrets, battled high,
Prospects immense spread out on all sides around,
Lost now between the welkin and the main,
Now walled with the hills that slept above the storm."
The road above our encampment grew more precipitous and uneven, and as we passed up the mountain, the weather grew rapidly colder. We stopped at
Longley's tent, and found him slowly improving; af- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
terward we proceeded to the middle station, under
Lieut. Alden. Prom here we went to the last encampment of the seamen, visiting on our way a spacious cave, containing a large pond of water. This
pond was frozen over, the ice of which was two or
three feet thick, while large icicles were hanging from
the roof. It was here that we first discovered snow;
it had drifted into the crevices of the lava, giving it a
peculiar aspect of fleecy whiteness.
The more prominent parts of the lava were bare.
When we reached the last encampment of the seamen,
the weather and mountains were alike wintry and
dreary; the black masses of lava were contrasted
with the drifts of snow, and a strong, piercing wind
from the westward, sweeping along the sides of the
mountain, howled among the spires and cones of lava,
like Boreas among the shorn branches of a forest in a
North American winter. In many places the lava
was piled in detached masses, bearing an exact resemblance to the cinders from a blacksmith's forge.
Sometimes these fields of climpers, as they are called,
are bare to the extent of several miles. When we
left the encampment of the seamen, we were obliged
to travel over a field of them, at least a mile and a quarter in extent. We arrived at head quarters about 3
o'clock, P. M., when the wind was so strong that we
ail commenced building a strong wall as high as we
could reach, with these climpers, to protect the tents
from the force of the wind. The commodore and
Mr. Eld worked with us, and as hard as the best of
us. The markee of the commodore was pitched within thirty yards of the largest crater, on the summit.
This crater was then dormant: no fire was visible 196
about it, but through several fissures in and about i^
there were constantly emitted streams of sulphurous
smoke and hot ashes, a positive proof of the fiery state
of the regions below, sooner or later to burst forth in
eruptions fron#fhis crater. It is nine miles in circumference, by three in diameter, and about 1000 feet
deep. The bottom is rough and black; the sloping
sides, nearly to the bottom, are covered with snow.
At night, one of the tents made of new cotton canvas,
was rent several feet by the force of the tempest above,
notwithstanding the protection of the wall. It was
not a steady breeze, but would one minute blew a living gale, and ifoe next a perfect calm ensued.
At sunrise, on the morning of the 29th, I left headquarters and returned to the lower station, under
Lieut. Budd, at which time Longley was ordered to
be brought down to our encampment. In consequence
of the peculiar state of the weather, the sudden transf*
tion from a mild climate to that of great severity, together with our extraordinary fatigue and exposure,
there was considerable .sickness among our number.
One after another had fallen victims, and the sick list
was presenting a fearful aspect. We had found.the
natives of little apvice to us, after reaching that part
of the mountain where the cold was sensibly increased. Our labors had necessarily become very arduous.
The ascent, owing to the rough surface of the lava,
was certain destruction to shoe leather. We often
wore out one pair of shoes per week; in consequence
of this, several of the seamen, being entirely destitute
of shoes, were ordered by the commodore to remain
until shoes should arrive from the ship.    Ninety-five OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
natives arrived on the 30th, from the ship, with provisions. On the same day, orders came down from
the commodore, to break up the middle station.
Lieut. Alden, who had command there, was ordered
to the lower station, ami Lieut. Budd of the latter,
was ordered to the summit. We immediately began
to move the provisions from the lower station up to
the summit, with&he stores which were M the possession of Mr. Budd, who remained at the middle station
until the next morning. Our elevation was 11,500
feet at this time*
We struck the tents at the middle station, and removed them to the summit on the following day.
The instruments were then taken up, and the day
was passed in setting them up, and pitching our tents.
We had then reached an elevation of 13,000 feet.
Here the weather was excessively cold, yet there was
a clear and invigorating atmosphere. We were forcibly reminded of the propriety of making immediate
improvements around our tents, preparatory to an exposure to the rigors of the wintry weather, and chilling blasts of our elevated position.
At 9 o'clock, A. M., two seamen went down into the
crater, and at half past 11, two more of us followed
them. The path down leads over beds of climpers,
and the innumerable wide and deep gaps told most
plainly the violent convulsions of the earth, while in
the act of emitting from its bosom its stores of liquid
fire. After descending the first precipice, of a height
little less than two hundred feet, we traveled over an
extensive bed of lava, composed of beautiful colors,
and in every shape that the imagination can conjecture;—sometimes like the ruflled bosom of the ocean,
17* 198
sometimes rising in cones, and at other times piled up
in rugged and uneven masses, but every where rent
by wide and deep gaps. We traveled about two
miles, when we approached the brink of the crater at
the south-west corner. The, descent was extremely
dangerous on this side; the bank was sloping, bu$|
very steep, and composed of loose masses of broken
lava, in color resembling the granite of Massachusetts]
The height of this part above the bottom of the crater,
was at least eight hundred feet, and gave some idea
of the danger of the ascent. I suppose that in descending this eight hundred feet, the base would not
exceed two hundred feet from a perpendicular. To
start one of these loose stones would have been in*j
evitable destruction to the adventurer, but we had
started to go to the bottom, anjd we did not intend to
relinquish our plan. We began the descent, and in
half an hour were safely landed at the bottom of the
crater. As we descended, the experiment was made
still more dangerous by patches of snow that covered
many chasms, and by shelving ovei?<the larger masses
of lava, would have deceived the traveler to his inevitable destruction, but for our constant and extreme
Having accomplished about two thjfds of the descent, we came upon a fissure in the bank, from which
a column of hot steam was constantly emitted; the
snow around this was discolored as it fell by the heat
of the steam, and under its protection a beautiful crop
of green herbs and lovely flowers was growing, sin-*
gularly contrasted with snow and the grey appearance of the rocks around it. About 150 feet below
this little plat of Ordure, we came upon a small OF SAILOR LIFE.
round hole about three inches in diameter, from
which issued a strong current of hot air without
steam, but bringing with it a large quantity of hot
ashes. The fire had burst from the sides of the crater, within two hundred yards of the top, during the
last eruption, and poured its floods of liquid fire into
the crater, overleaping in its descent, a precipice of at
least 200 feet perpendicular, into a basin of about one
acre in extent. When the basin filled, it flowed down
into the bottom of the crater. The lava in this basin
was a beautiful shining olive color, but it was brittle,
and in walking over a heap of charcoal when we
reached the bottom, the scene was awfully grand and
majestic. From the surface, the bottom looked even
and smooth, but when we stood on the bottom noth?
ing could exceed the wildness and sublimity of the
scene, and we saw a good illustration of the awful
power of the subterraneous fires. Rocks weighing
5000 or 6000 tons were tossed one on the other fifty
or sixty feet, with apparently the same ease that a
pettish>child would toss its toys about. The bottom,
like the surface, was full of fissures and chasms, from
which the steam was rushing with a hissing sound,
like a huge engine letting off its steam, and which, to
men in our situation, was not altogether pleasing.
We spent about an hour in collecting specimens of
different colored lava. When we were coming out
I trod on a piece of lava, which at first sounded hollow, then crushed beneath my weight; on removing
some of the pieces, I found there was a large space
filled with glauber salts and sulphur. These drugs
abound in great quantities in these craters. At half
past 4 o'clock we reached the encampment. 200
On the 4th of Jan. the weather was colder than it
had been previously; the thermometer had fallen to
18 degrees. We hastened our observations as much
as circumstances would permit, so that our stay might
not be unnecessarily protracted. The elevation of
this mountain has long been the subject of dispute;
the English admeasurements run from 13 to 17000
feet,—by ours the height is established at something
over 13,000 above the level of the sea.
There were indications of a change in the weather;
it became rather thick and hazy, while the severity
of the cold had somewhat diminished. Another crater was found which was in a south-westerly direction from the principal one. Preparations were immediately made for its measurement, but from the
unfavorableness of the weather our operations were
considerably retarded. We had an occasional fall of
sleet, and a slight snow storm.
A party of seamen came up from the lower station
with provisions, wood and fruit. The weather being
too cold for the pendulum, the commodore ordered
the pendulum house thatched with long grass from
the prairie. This house had a heavy "fearnaught"
cover over it, and a tent of best cotton canvas over
that; the thatching was to go between the "fear-
naught" and the house.
It is impossible to place a sailor in a situation that
will deprive him of his mirth and jolity; exposed as
he is to the most sudden extremes of climate, yet no
heat can scorch, or cold congeal the ardor of his temperament; he meets with every kind of danger with
the utmost coolness. I have seen the orders of Commodore Wilkes while in the greatest emergency, amid OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
ice and snow of the Antarctic, obeyed with the same
cheerful alacrity as if the ship, at that time, had been
lying becalmed within the tropics. Nor is it on the
ocean alone that the sailor can be useful; here at
Owhyhee, where the men who had been all their lives
on shore, at an elevation of 9000 feet, the seamen
came up the mountain, "fisted" the instruments—as
"jack" has it—and "walked" them up to the summit, laughing, singing and joking each other with as
much contempt of the toil as if the whole band had
been sent on a party of pleasure; and I think that
very few of oitr American farmers would take these
rugged climpers and lay more uniform or more permanent walls than those which the seamen built
round the encampment on the summit of Mouna Roa.
The whole encampment was covered with snow on
the morning of the 8th. After sunrise, however, being quite clear and pleasant, this soon disappeared,
and we were able to continue our observations. At
night the weather became more unfavorable; it was
wintry, dark and tempestuous, while a strong wind
blew from the south-west. During this time, our
house had blown down and the snow was falling
rapidly. The morning of the 9th the sun arose clear
and bright; the wind had died away and the clouds
looked like a vast field of wool, for below us every
th|ng was tranquil and pleasant. Some of the tents
were injured during the night, and a barometer and
several thermometers were destroyed by the force of
the tempest.
During our stay upon this lofty and desolate
mountain, we were exposed to many hardships, and
were subject to frequent and sudden changes of tern- 202
perature. The winds were cold and boisterous, often
tempestuous. The pelting storms of mingled snow
and sleet rendered our situation exceedingly unpleasant. The snow was carried high in the air by the
furious blasts which howled among those bleak,
craggy peaks and frightful chasms, giving to the
scenery a gloom and dreariness which cannot be easily appreciated. Our tents were fluttering in the strong
winds, and our instrument houses were scarcely repaired ere they were rudely scattered among the rocks
and fissures of the summit.
Aside from the toils and dangers of our situation,
some of its features were somewhat ludicrous. The
breeze was "cutting fantastic capers" with us, and
.fragments of our houses were hurled furiously into
the air, falling far down the rough and romantic sides
of the mountain. Several acres were literally besprinkled with them, while the " star spangled banner " was proudly waving far above this scene of desolation, on the brink of the crater.
As soon as the necessary survey was completed, we
made preparations to break up the encampment, and
return to a more congenial climate. Accordingly, the
instruments were packed, and the remnant of our
tents, houses and furniture, was collected and carried
down by the natives and seamen.
When the last of the seamen got outside of the
wall, Mr. Budd gave orders to " stand by" the colors;
we then gave three cheers, which were echoed back
by the crater, and from the walls of the encampment.
With the last cheer, one of our number raised the
flag staff, and returned our salute; we gave him the
answering cheer, which he received with a grateful OF  SAILOR   LIFE.
flourish of the colors, and then bore the starry standard of Columbia from Pendulum Peak, and probably
from the greatest elevation over which it had ever
waved. At half past 3 o'clock, we had reached the
lower station under Lieut. Alden, which had formerly
been the station of Mr. Budd,—ten miles from the
summit. At 8 o'clock on the morning of the 17th of
January, we left Mr. Alden's tent, and at sunset
reached the volcano of Keluare, having traveled over
a serpentine and rugged road of at least thirty miles.
This distance, to a landsman on a good road, woukl
not be hard, but let a party of landsmen be accustomed to the narrow limits of a ship's decks for two
or three years, and then let them take forty or forty-
five pounds on their shoulders and attempt to walk
over these clampers for thirty miles in eight hours, and
I am sure, unless they possessed the enterprise and
perseverance of the sailor, they would not accomplish
half the distance.
The weather continued cool, and our accommodations were still insufficient to protect us from the severity of the season. The natives were unable to
descend at an equal rate with the seamen, in consequence of which our tents did not all arrive in season
for the night. Some of our number took shelter with
the natives, in huts previously constructed.
On the morning of the 18th, the wind was strong
from the northward, and while cooking breakfast one
of the huts caught fire, and for a few moments threatened the destruction of the whole encampment. It
was really interesting to see the manoeuvres of the
seamen at that moment; some were darting through
the flames, rescuing the property of their shipmates;— 204
some stationed themselves between the huts and the
commodore's tent, ready to tear down the huts in
case the fire could not be extinguished before it reached that point, and others tore down the burning
building, and stopped the progress of the flames. The
fire was soon extinguished and but little damage was
The commodore, Mr. Budd and Mr. Eld, with a
party of seamen, went down into the crater to examine the largest fire. Mr. Budd, with six seamen, went
down to the bottom of the fltater, where we ventured
within ten feet of one of the boiling lakes; here the'
surface of the dry lava was so hot that any wood
would ignite in a very short time. Dr. Judd, on the
preceding day, ventured still nearer, and dipped a fry*!
ing pan full of the boiling lava, but the crust on which
he stood bent like thin ice, and he was only saved by
the prompt assistance of an attending native.
From this station several parties were sent in advance to the ship. At Kappaohee we overtook a party
that had been previously despatched. We made a
short tarry at Paoli, situated on the route from Kappaohee to the ship.
This town is beautifully situated in a wood; the
clearing may be about 150 or 200 acres in extent^!
highly fertile, producing sugar cane, tarro, breadfruit
and potatoes; all kinds of fruit and ginger are spontaneous productions of the soil. At night we arrived
at Wyakea. This town Is the largest on this side of
the island; it is built at the head of Byron's Bay.
Next morning we reached the ship.
In a short time afterward, the remaining part of
our company arrived, having followed the track of the OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
lava, as it coursed its way from the boiling crater down
the sides of the mountain and emptied itself at last
into the ocean. Several boats were constantly employed in surveying the harbor, and gleaning necessary information. A partial survey had been made by
Lord Byron during the year 1825, while in the Frigate Blonde.
Having completed the survey of the harbor, and
made such observations and researches in the island
as were thought necessary, we got underway and
stood to sea, bound to Lahaina, island of Maui, the
residence of the king and royal family. The wind
during the day was very light, therefore our progress;
was slow; but as the evening shades appeared, enveloping the surrounding mountains in obscurity, a gentle breeze sprung up, and on the following morning by*
sunrise, the wild mountains which overhang the district of Lahaina were hi distinct view, and by the aid
of a propitious breeze and a favorable current, we advanced rapidly to the anchorage, where we arrived
about 2 o'clock. The place is far more beautiful
than any we had visited among the islands, and is
rendered doubly interesting from the fact that it is
the royal residence, and also the headquarters of the
mission. The entire district, stretching nearly three
miles along the sea-side, is covered with luxuriant
groves, not only of the cocoa-nut, but also of the
breadfruit and of the koa, an ornamental tree, resembling, at a distance, a large and flourishing full-topped
apple tree;—while banana, plantain and sugar-cane
are abundant, and extend almost to the beach, on
which a fine surf constantly rolls. The view here
presented was pure indian in all its features, from the
18 206
bare and lofty trunks of the cocoa-nut, with their tufted summits, nodding like plumes in the breeze, to the
thatchfrig of a rude liut, here and there peeping from
the broad leaves of the plantain, and the richness of
more lowly growth.
Lahaina, Maui, Mareh 8th, 1841. |§ This day commenced with great preparations to receive his Haw^
aiian Majesty on his official visit to our ship. Life
lines were put on the yards on the preceding day,
and the men stationed for manning the yards.
There was a great display of epaulettes and gold lace,
swords, and cocked hats. His Royal Highness made
his appearance at 1 o'clock, and when he entered on
board, all were anxious to catch a glimpse of the royal
personage. The king's retinue was not as numerous
as it was in former times, but presented a great con-
trast in the manners and external appearance of its
members. The king was splendidly dressed in full
uniform, with cocked hat epaulettes, sword and a
gold star on his breast, while the distinguished chieftains wore rich military uniforms/
Our marine corps was paraded on the quarter deck,
and went through several evolutions of the manual
exercise for the amusement of His Royal Highness,
and our band, such as it was, played several fine
airs. The king'fcretinue was composed of fine looking men, who conducted themselves with much propriety, like well-bred gentlemen. The king was
then? about twenty-five or six years of age, had a
commanding figure, appeared graceful and much at
his ease. He was entertained in the cabin by Capt.
Wilkes, where a sumptuous dinner had been prepared
for the occasion. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
When he made his appearance over the gangway
the yards were manned, and again when he left, and
at the same time the men on the yards gave him three
cheers, whi<#i he acknowledged by waving his cocked
hat. Before sitting down to dinner, he and his suit
were conducted to the different parts of the ship, accompanied by Captain Wilkes and most of the officers. When taken on the berth deck, it was lighted
fore and aft, and the tin ware of the messes was
burnished bright, and set out in front of the dispensary ; the yeoman's store-room was fitted up with unusual splendor and all the officers' rooms on the berth
deck lighted up brilliantly;—the whole, no doubt
made quite an interesting scene to him.
He returned on shore at 5 o'clock, P. M., in the
captain's gig. A few days after, he was invited to
dine in the ward room, on whidh occasion he was
not dressed in uniform. He was attended by the
same noble personages who were with him on his official visit. It is said that he makes free use of wine
and ardent spirits, but on these occasions he drank
very sparingly.
Lahaina, the principal town on the island, and residence of the king and royal family, is considered the
most healthy island in the group. Lahaina is quite a
respectable looking town for the Sandwich Islands,
considering the rude state of barbarism from which
they have so lately emerged. It is on a semi-circle,
covering a handsome plain, which recedes to some
distance, where the land rises abruptly and breaks
into gulleys and broken, romantic peaks.    The Roads, 208
in which is the only anchorage, I should consider unsafe for vessels to lie at anchor, particularly in the
winter season, when the gusts of wind are very violent and frequent; there is also a strong current between Mauri and Ranai. The bottom is sandy and
very deep, and vessels are often liable to drag by the
change of the current. Lahaua-Luna may be termed
the seat of knowledge among the islands. The high
school is a very worthy institution and is well conducted. The scholars who have been regularly
taught in all the branches here, are smart men, when
contrasted with the other natives, and worthy of
the nation to which they belong. There were adr
mitted from the first of June to the 1st Jan. 1841, fifty-
five—two of whom had completed their studies. The
different branches taught, are reading, writing, arithmetic, natural theology, scriptural history, geography
and mathematics,
The building is large and capacious. The spacious hall in the second story is used for the chapel;
the third story is the library or lecture room, containing an apparatus to explain natural history, chemistry, &c. There are fine collections of minerals and
curiosities, obtained from different parts of the world,
with a tolerably good skeleton, and one of their ancient
gods, placed behind the door as you enter the room.
In one of my subsequent visits on shore, I had the
satisfaction of visiting the palace of Kamhameha. I
felt much anxiety to see it, simply because it had the
name of a palace. I saw four tolerably well finished
oil paintings, representing Alexander the Great, field
marshal Blucher, Tamehameha ii. and his wife, who
died in England. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
We shipped several men out of the fort, who had
been confined here for several months to hard labor.
This is one of the wise(?) laws enacted by Mr. Richards, the king's secretary and adviser, and approved
by the king. If one half of the stories respecting Mr.
Richards be true, and if there is any law to punish
mefi for crimes, it is highly probable that if he had not
come to the Sandwich Islands, he might have had an
opportunity to serve a portion of his time in the State
Prison, or to labor in chains.
Visit of the Missionaries—Survey of the Harbor—Embarkation—
Arrival at the Columbia River—Description—Arrival at Protection Island—Survey—Natives—Admiralty Inlet—Meteor—
Observance of the u 4th ''—Accident.
" As yet, amid this elemental war
That scatters desolation from afar,
Nor toil, nor hazard, nor distress appear
To sink the seamen with unmanly fear.
Though their firm hearts no pageant honor boasts,
They scorn the wretch that trembles at his post;
Who from the face of danger strives to turn,
Indignant from the social hour they spurn.
No future ills unknown, their souls appal,
They know no danger, or they scorn it all!
A short repose alone their thoughts implore,
Their harassed powers by slumber to restore."
On the 12th of March, we were favored with a
visit, which differed essentially from many former
18* 210
ones, in which the pomp and display of "crowned
heads " formed some of the more prominent features.
Our visitors on this occasion, were the missionaries
and their families. We could but observe the contrast. In one case, there was a gaudy display of glittering toys,—indexes of the degree of refinement and
taste of the wearers—and in the other, a "crowrT of
righteousness" was possessed, whose beauty shall
never fade away. One governed by force of arms,
physical superiority, the other moulded the soul,
bringing all into subservience to the " law of love."
During our stay here, the surveys were commenced
as usual. On one of these excursions the Leopard
was lost; the crew were rescued, though they very
narrowly escaped a watery grave. These were soon
completed, and preparations were made to embark.
At 8 o'clock, A. M., on the 16th, we got underway,
and directed our course to the Columbia River. The
services of Mr. Edwin Butler, an American, had been
secured as a pilot, previously to leaving the island.
The first few days of our voyage passed off very
pleasantly; the weather was decidedly fine. In a
short time, however, it gradually grew cooler, rendering extra clothing necessary. The only objects to
beguile the tedious monotony of the hours, were the
blue sky above, and the ocean beneath, through which
we were ploughing, and now and then a lonely bird
of the aquatic species, flying over our vessel, to let us
know we were not alone. Some days after our embarkation, all hands were called to muster, and the
rules and regulations of the Exploring Expedition
were read, for the information of those men who OF  SAILOR LIFE.
shipped at Oahee, and such as probably never heard
them before.
At daylight on the morning of the 28th, we heard
the cheerful cry of " land ho ! " from the mast head.
We had a fine breeze, and every prospect of reaching
our intended haven, but
H Disappointments lurk in many a prize,
As bees in honey ; that sting with surprise."
At 10 o'clock, we entered a strong tide rip, and soon
after came within sight of the Columbia River. The
wind was then moderate, but had been blowing very
fresh the day previous; when standing close in we
found the bar breaking furiously entirely across it.
Capt. Wilkes consulted Mr. Butler, the pilot, who advised him to stand off, for he considered it unsafe at
that time to attempt an entrance.
The river enters the Pacific between two points of
land, one on the north called Cape Disappointment,
or Cape Hancock, in lat. 46 deg. 18 min.; the other
is called Point Adams, which is seven miles southeast from the former. From each of these points, a
sand bar runs into the water, above which the waves
of the Pacific, on the one side, and the torrents of the
Columbia on the other, meet with terrific violence,
producing a most formidable line of breakers. These
circumstances render the entrance and departure of
vessels hazardous at all seasons, and almost impossible when the winds are high. The depth of water
between the bars, is thirty feet at the lowest; no vessel drawing more than fourteen ■ feet, can, however,
proceed far up the river, on account of the irregulari- 212
ties of the channel. The river, like others in North
America, is said to abound in fish, particularly in salmon, which ascend all its branches, even up to the
Blue Mountains, affording the principal means of sub*
sistence to all the natives along the coast; many from
the interior also repair to this river in the fishing season, for the purpose of procuring their winter's supply, m
The land about the sea-coast is moderately high,
but at a short distance in the interior it is very mountainous ; from the appearance of the gigantic trees,
however, I am of the opinion that the soil must be
On the following day, April 29th, we squared away
for Puget Sound, distant 120 miles north-east from
Columbia River. We proceeded on our c6urse with
a fine breeze, but had thick weather until 11 o'clock,
when we were suddenly arrested by the cry of
" breakers on the lee bow!" It was reported to
Capt. Wilkes, who lost no lime in getting upon deck,
at which time all the studding sails were taken in,
and the ship hauled "close on a wind;" shortly after,
we sounded, and found that we were in five fathoms
of water. At this time we passed the points of rocks
not more than a stone's throw distant. Had we continued our course for five minutes longer, we must
have been dashed in pieces against the rocks, and as
the result of such a circumstance, inevitable death
must have been the consequence.
On the morning of the 30th, the weather was still
foggy, so much so indeed, that we could not venture
to run in for the land. We saw an abundance of
geese and ducks flying in every direction.    At 10 OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
o'clock, the weather clearing up a little, we made sail
and stood in for Puget Sound. At 4 o'clock we
passed Cape Flattery and entered the Straits of Juan
de Fuca. The shores are composed of low sandy
cliffs, overhanging beaches of sand or stones; from
them the land ascends gradually to the foot of the
mountain, which rises abruptly to a great height within a few miles. The country here is thickly wooded,
but affords but little variety in its growtfe^ being principally cedar and spruce, some of which are very
During the evening several canoes passed near us
with indians in them, who seemed very anxious that
we should heave to for them; several attempted to
catch hold of the ship, but were unsuccessful. Their
dress consisted of a skin, thrown over the shoulders
and fastened round the neck, leaving the lower extremities bare.
We continued to beat in this sound with a head
wind until the 2d of May, when we were favored
with a fine wind; we made sail and at 8 o'clock
passed Protection Island, and in about an hour afterward, came to anchor in thirty fathoms of water in
the harbor of Port Discovery. This is the only harbor immediately on the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and
is situated near the south-east angle. It is safe for
ships of any size; it runs southward from the straits
into the land and is defended from the violence of the
waves by Protection Island, which stretches partly
across its entrance on the north. Vancouver says in
his book, u when he was engaged in surveying these
straits,  that he never had occasion to anchor, but 214
always hauled close in to the banks and made fast to
a tree."
Soon after coming to anchor we were visited by a
canoe having in it two indians; one of them came up
the gangway and asked, in broken English, if we
were from Boston. This led us to believe that the
first American vessel trading here, was from that
place, as the indians seemed to know of no other place
in the United States. They called all of us Bosto-
nians, while they called the English King George***
On the morning of May 3d, at daylight, several
boats were sent on surveying duty. The land every
where in the neighborhood is moderately high, very
broken and thickly covered with wood. The mountains in the interior are very high, and present quite
a variety in their shape and appearance; the tops of
some are seen above the clouds, which are covered
with everlasting snow, and afford a striking contrast
to the valleys near the sea, which are covered with
verdure, and trees in full bloom.
We were at this time on our native continent,
although more than three thousand miles from the
place of our birth, yet I could not resist the sensations
kindled by the remembrance of "dear home;" all the
emotions incident to natural attachment and early
prejudices played around my heart.
We had been literally surrounded with canoes all
the morning; most of them were loaded with a variety
of fish, venison and bears' meat, all of which they
bartered at very moderate prices, in exchange for
knives, fishhooks, old clothes and files, the principal
articles for which they seemed anxious.    They par- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
ticularly valued our files; for one we could purchase
a salmon weighing upwards of forty pounds.
These natives are a meagre, dirty race of savages;
they have no fixed habitations, but, like a snail, carry
their houses with them, and seldom stop more than
two days in a place. They all have their heads
flattened by compression in infancy, which disfigures
them to such a degree that they look more like monsters than human beings. They have small eyes,
flat noses and wear their hair long, both men and
Out stay at this place was not of long continuance.
At dawn, May 6th, we made necessary preparations,
and sailed, beating out of the harbor. After clearing
the point which forms the harbor, we changed our
course and ran down the coast to the eastward, a
distance of about twelve miles from Protection Island,
from which point we entered Admiralty Inlet, which
penetrates the continent southward from the straits
more than ninety miles, terminating near the forty-
seventh degree of latitude, in a bay named by Vancouver, Puget Sound. Hood's canal is a branch of
this inlet, nearly opposite which we came to anchor,
the wind and tide being against us.
The country surrounding Admiralty Inlet is beautiful, fertile, and in every respect agreeable; and the
bay, with its numerous arms stretching into the interior, must offer great advantages for commercial intercourse hereafter. The country here is extensively
covered with trees of a gigantic growth, and from
their appearance, I think some are well adapted to
ship and house building. We anchored opposite a
piece of table land about two miles in circumference, 216
the most beautiful spot I ever beheld. It was perfectly level, as if made so by artificial workmanship,
covered with green grass about two feet high, and
Variegated wiih different kinds of shrubbery, and
fringed with a variety of vegetation. It affords a
delightful prospect, especially in this high latitude,
and would make a neat location for a village or city,
and probably, at some future period, will become a
flourishing settlement.
We got underway the next day, and commenced
beating up the bay^for Nasqually, and on the 11th of
May, came to anchor off? Nasqually, at the head of
Puget Sound. Soon after coming to anchor, we were
visited by Mr. Anderson, agent for the " Hudson's
Bay Company," at this station. Capt. McNeal,
commander of the company's steam boat Beaver; Mr.
Wilson of the American Mission to the Oregon Territory, and Dock Richmond, physician to the mission,
comprised the whole number of residents here, except
some of the half-breed race, and a few Canadians,
servants of the " Hudson's Bay Company."
On the 17th, the expedition of boats under Lieut.
Case, left the ship on a surveying cruise. Also an
expedition to the interior of Oregon Ter^tory was
projected,—composed of the following gentlemen, viz.
Lieut. Johnson, Doct. Pickering, Naturalist, Mr.
Breekenridge, Horticulturist, Mr. Waldron, and T. A.
Stearns, Q,. M. G. The most satisfactory results
were anticipated from these competent gentlemen, in
every department of science. On the following day,
Capt. Wilkes, accompanied by Mr. Drayton and
purser Waldron, left the ship for the Columbia River. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
At ten minutes past 8 o'clock, on the 31st, a meteor of immense magnitude and brilliancy shot across
the heavens in a north-west direction, illuminating
the heavens to such an extent that there was a resemblance to a sheet of fire, till it nearly reached the horizon, when it exploded, sending off myriads of corrus-
cations in every direction. When it first commenced
its flight, it was exceedingly slow in its descent, but
as it increased its distance towards the horizon, it increased its velocity considerably, until ii burst. Many
old seamen on board never witnessed a meteor half so
large, nor one whose light remained so long visible.
From the, time it was first seen until it entirely disappeared, was one hour and twenty-five minutes.
On our arrival at this place we were expecting
to join the Peacock and Schooner, but in this we
were disappointed; they parted from us some time
before, and were to be at the Columbia River two
months previous to that time. Fears were entertained
in reference to their safety. From the importance of
this position it was decided to make critical surveys
of the harbor and its vicinity. Accordingly, temporary houses were erected for that purpose, and other
necessary arrangements made. The carpenter deposited a sealed bottle under the corner of one of the
houses, containing a piece of paper with the following inscription:—
" Though far from our homes, yet still in our land
True yankee enterprise will ever expand,
And publish to all each side of the main,
We triumphed once and can do it again.
A problem, a problem, oh ! hear great and small,
The true owners of the country are still on the soil,
While Jonathan and John Bull are growling together
For land which by right belongs not to either.
Let philosophers listen, and solve the question
Which has troubled the statesmen of each, nation,
By what right the " Big Bull" claims sustenance here,
While he has plenty of pasturage elsewhere."
Lines written by R. P. R.
Observatory of the U. S. Ship Vincennes, Charles Wilkes, Esqj^
Commander in Chief of the U. 8. S. S. and Exploring Expedition, by Amos Chick, of Portland, Maine, Carpenter of the U.
S. S. Vincennes, June, 1841.
Mr. Dyes, assistant to the scientific corps, deposited
in the same bottle two pieces of American coin,—one
a cent coined in 1817, and the other a dime coined
in 1838. The paper was enclosed in parchment
and well secured in the bottle.
On the 12th of June, Thomas Harden, officers'
cook, and John McKean, ship's cook, having been
three days lost in the woods, were found by a white
and some indians who were sent in search of them.
When found they were so exhausted as not to be able
to walk to the ship;—horses were procured for them.
They had eaten nothing since leaving the ship.
July 4th coming on Sunday, we celebrated the 5th,
commencing in the morning with a national salute of
twenty-six guns, which were fired at the observatory
on shore. Capt. Wilkes gave a dinner and invited the
officers to it. An ox was roasted whole for the crew,
on a plain about one mile from the ship. At 9 o'clock,
every man and officer was ordered on shore, except
Mr. Vanderford, who was left in charge of the ship.
On landing, the men proceeded up the hill to the ob- OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
servatory, where Capt. Wilkes was residing, there to
await his orders. At 10 o'clock the procession was
formed and marched in order, the starboard watch in
advanee, the marines in the centre, and the larboard
watch bringing up the rear. We proceeded through
a narrow strip of wood about half a mile, when we
came to the company's fort; there we halted and
formed in front of it, and gave three cheers, which
were returned by the people in the fort, and answered by us. The procession was again formed and
marched as before, about one mile further, when we
came to a deep valley,—crossing which we came to a * JT
plain several miles in circumference, in which Doct (y
Richmond's house is siljuated. ^   v
Here was the place intended for the exhibitions of ^*
the day; various kinds of amusements were proposed,
in which Capt. Wilkes took an active part. Every
thing wenjt on well for a time, and bade fair for a day
of recreation and pleasure, but soon an accident occurred, which could not but disturb the feelings of all.
At 12 o'clock, when firing a salute, Daniel Wfc^tehorn
Jr., gunner, while loading one of the guns, it acci-
dently discharged,, and lacerated his forearm very
seriously. All the integuments, from midway of the
forearm to the wrist, were blown off—the carpal extremity of the ulna exposed for about two inches
upon the outer face. All the tendons for about three
inches from the carpus were much torn. The surgeon having thoroughly examined the wound, decided
that it was hifrduty to recommend the removal of the
limb. At the time the accident happened, the weather was quite warm, and tetanus was to be apprehended.   All the large blood vessels were either carried
/ 220
away entirely, or much injured, and the consequences
of an attempt to save the arm were much to be dreaded. Dr. Richmond, physician to the mission family)
was called upon, who agreed in opinion with our surgeon, that amputation was the only means to insure
life. The doctors then stated to the patient their
views of the case, and recommended an operation.
He declined for the present, and chose to risk an attempt to save the limb.
The amusements proceeded, but not with that spirit
with which they were commenced; a deep melancholy
seemed to mark the countenance of many. White-
Jiorn was much esteemed by all his shipmates.
Such events, the sailor is often called upon to witness. Perils and death often surround him. Disease
may make a stealthy approach, when far away from
the comforts and endearments of home, and the last
throes of expiring nature are witnessed by tearful
shipmates, and the departed is consigned to his deep,
coral bed, unhonored by the respects of sympathizing
survivors in the land of his nativity, and the last
tokens of affection, by kindred hearts. A boom may
strike, a yard break, and a struggling victim is hurled
into the foaming waves, to sink beneath its restless
waters, with no solacing word of comfort or hope, in
the hour of conflict. By the frequent occurrence of
such painful incidents, his sympathies are ever awakened, and his better nature constantly developed. He
almost instinctively is taught to " Rejoice with those
that rejoice, and weep with those that weep." •mm
General Remarks on Nasqually,. &c.—Retarn to Columbia River — Point Dungeness — Indian Settlement — Natives — San
** Ungrateful task! for no asylum traced,
A passage opened from the watery waste.
Fate seemed to guard with adamantine mound,
The path to every friendly port around.
On deck the watchful helmsman cries aloud,
* Secure your lives—grasp every man a shroud!'
Roused from his trance he mounts with eyes aghast,
When o'er the ship in undulation vast,
A giant surge, down rushes from on high,
And fore and aft, dissevered ruins lie."
Situated about half a mile from the sound is a fort
or trading post, belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, composed of upright posts eight or ten feet high,
secured with trunnels at top and bottom. At the corner, is a sentry-box or house, large enough to hold
fifteen or twenty persons, perforated with holes large
enough to admit the muzzle of a musket.
Within this stockade is a number of wooden houses,
serving • as dwellings, store-houses, magazines and
workshops, and also one or two small buildings occupied by the laborers and servants. The nature of the
country in this region of the Oregon Territory, will
not admit of extensive cultivation, and seems to be
best adapted to a pastoral life, especially in the imme-
*19 222
diate vicinity of the streams and mountains; irrigation
must be resorted to, if a large population is to be supported in it. This country, which affords little prospect for the tiller of the soil, is, perhaps, one of the
best in the world for grazing.
Every where, fn this part of the country, the prai*
ries open wide, covered with a low grass of a most
nutritious kind, which remains good throughout the
year. In September there are slight rains, at which
time the grass commences a luxuriant growth, and in
October and November, there is an abundance of green
grass, which remains until the ensuing summer; about
June, it is ripe in the lower plains, and, drying without being wet, is like our hay in New England; in
this state, it remains until the Autumn rains begin to
revive it.
The Hudson's Bay Company has here about one
thousand sheep, six or eight hundreds of cattle—all of
which are in a thriving condition. Wolves are very
numerous in this region of the Oregon Territory, and
are very destructive to the sheep when they get among
them, but the shepherd uses great caution in protecting the sheep from the ravages of these ferocious animals. Upwards of one hundred have been killed by
them within the last three years* These animals
when pressed with hunger, often attack horses, and I
was told that seven were eaten by them in a single
night, in this immediate neighborhood. Foxes, deer,
and bears are common, but not so numerous as they
are in Upper California.
On the evening of the 17th of July, having completed the survey of Puget Sound, and its multifarious
arms and bays, and completed the series of observa- OF SAILOR  LIFE.
tions, we got underway and left our anchorage off
Nasqually, and commenced beatinghdown the bay for
Columbia River. A surveying party was sent over
land to meet us at the mouth of the river, composed
of the following persons. Passed Midshipman Eld,
in charge of the party, passed Midshipman Colvoco-
ressis, Mr. Breckenridge, Horticulturist, Simeon A.
Stearns, Q,. M. S., to assist in the surveys, with two
marines and two seamen. At 9 o'clock on the same
evening we came to anchor, the wind and tide being
against us. On the following morning we got under*
way and proceeded on our voyage.
At 2 o'clock, P. M. of the 22d, we came to anchor
off Point Dungeness, in 12 fathoms of water. Immediately on coming to anchor, three boats were got
ready, and were sent on surveying duty for three
days, Here we met with the Brig Porpoise. She
had been engaged in surveying this part of the sound,
and Hood's Canal, for twb months.
Another accident happened at this time with powder. Samuel Williams, gunner's mate, was firing a
four pounder, for the purpose of measuring a base line
by sound; a spark had remained in the gun after its
discharge, which communicated with the horn containing about four pounds of powder, while in the act
of priming. A terrific explosion followed, but, as if
by some miraculous interposition, no very serious injury was done. His hands and arms were burned,
though not badly, as the cuticle only was destroyed.
At this anchorage our anchor was scarcely gone,
before we were literally surrounded with canoes,
bringing salmon, codfish, and venison to sell, which
are taken here in great abundance.
tm 224
On Point Dungeness, is one of the most remarkable
settlements of indians seen any where on the sound.
They have a stockade of considerable size, in which
they retreat when driven to extremities in; time of
war. Such a retreat is rendered necessary from the
frequency of their wars; and since the most of them
have obtained guns and ammunition, they are very
destructive to each belligerent party. Their prisoners
taken in war, they do not murder as many savages
do, but keep them as slaves, and make them perform
all the more laborious work.
At each corner of this stockade is erected a bust of
some of their most distinguished chiefs, roughly
carved and constructed of wood; these are venerated
and worshiped by the indians. In this place they
also deposited their dead, the chiefs always having a
separate place allotted to them. Their Bouri, or
spirit house, is also here.
We remained at this anchorage for six days, during
which time we were plentifully supplied with salmon,
venison, &c., by the indians.
On the 28th of July, we got underway and proceed- i
ed down the Straits of Juan de Fuca, bound to Columbia River.    On the 2d of August we were off Cape |
Flattery.    After beating with light and head winds \
for four days, we succeeded in reitching the outer extremity of the straits, opening into the North Pacific,
and were then nearly opposite Clausette Harbor, soj
named after a tribe of indians inhabiting this part of
the coast.    At 9 o'clock, a canoe came off to us, bring-j
ing fish, &c., for trade.    In this party was a chief of
some distinction, who stood erect in the canoe, noj
doubt to render himself, more conspicuous.    When he OF  SAILOR LIFE.
came alongside, Capt. Wilkes asked him if he wished
to come on board, to which he replied in broken English in the affirmative; and accordingly he was permitted to come on board. Afterwards several others
were permitted to come on board. One or two of
them spoke a little English; the chief in particular,
spoke many words quite distinctly. The chief informed Capt. Wilkes that opposite to us there was a
good harbor, and invited him to go in and anchor.
The stature of these people, like most on this coast,
is much below the general standard. The height of
an old man who came on board, and who was rather
bent with age, was about four feet ten inches, and
that of the others was about five feet. Their faces
are flat and broad, but quite plump in the young individuals; their skin is smooth,—complexion not very
dark, except in some who were smeared with charcoal ; their teeth were very white, nose flat and broad,
hair black, straight and glossy, and their hands and
feet extremely diminutive. The adult females are
quite as tall as the men, being from four feet eleven
inches to five feet The features of the children were
regular, their complexion clear and by no means
dark, their eyes small, and although the form of their
faces is flat, their countenances might perhaps be
considered pleasing, according to the ideas of beauty
which habit has taught us to entertain.
Their hair, which is jet black and very long, hangs
loosely about their shoulders, a part of it on each side,
being carelessly plaited and sometimes rolled up into
an awkward bunch, instead of being neatly tied up
on the top of the head. Some of the younger females
seem to have much bashfulness and timidity, and 226
differ verjr materially from the women in the South
Sea Islands, in not being tattooed. The chief was
very decently dressed for an indian, and was the only
one in the party who was. He was attired in a thin
coat which had been originally white, but was then
rather worse for wear, and also a little dingy,—blue
cloth pantaloons, with a red sash around the waist,
and over that a sash belt, composed of different colored
beads; also in each ear a string of beads was suspended. He was quite loquacious, and spoke to the captain on many interesting subjects relative to the different tribes of indians with which he was acquainted.
At 3 o'clock we came to anchor in Clausette Harbor;—the first ship, no doubt, that ever anchored
here. It has never been properly surveyed, and but
.little has been known even to the fur, traders, probably on account of the savage disposition of the natives,
with, whom they trade very cautiously; they never
trust more than half a dozen on their decks at a time.
Capt. Wilkes deemed it important that it should be
accurately! surveyed, and a chart of it made; there*
fore two days were occupied in its completion. The
harbor is small, but safe for vessels to enter, and will
doubtless prove a very useful retreat for vessels trading on the coast when it becomes generally known.
On the following day, after completing the survey, we
got underway and stood out to sea.
At 8 o'clock on the morning of the 6th, we made
the land near the mouth of Columbia River. We
fired a signal and shortly afterwards perceived the
schooner Flying Fish coming out from the river to
meet us. Another ship was also standing in for the
harbor at the same time.   When the schooner was OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
coming out, Mr. Knox, commander, saw that the ship
was approaching the wrong passage, and immediately
fired a shot across his bows, which made him heave
to; he then ran along side and informed the captain of
his imminent danger. In a few moments more she
would have shared the fate of the Peacock, as she
was in the same track. She proved to be the American whale ship Orozembo, bound into port for the
purpose of recruiting her men. She was supplied
from our ship with preserved meats and antiscorbutics.
At 10 o'clock we were boarded by Capt. Hudson, who
came out in the schooner. We then had the news
of the wreck of the Peacock confirmed, which happened on Sunday, the 17th of July, while attempting
to cross the bar at Columbia River.
Captain Wilkes, learning the fate of the Peacock,
declined venturing over the bar with his vessel, and
in the evening joined the brig Porpoise, in which vessel he proceeded over the bar, intending to survey
Columbia River,—leaving orders for us to stand off
and on until the Schooner should return on the following day.
After an unusual delay, in consequence of bad
weather, the Schooner arrived, bringing twenty of
the Peacock's crew, and also Captain Ringgold, of
the Brig Porpoise, who was to take charge of our ship
in the absence of Capt. Wilkes. At twelve o'clock
all hands were called to muster, when Capt. Ringgold informed them that he was about to take command of them for a short time, and hoped that their
conduct would merit a favorable report to Capt.
Wilkes on his joining us at San  Francisco.    The ~1
broad pendant was hauled down and the coach-whip
hoisted in its place.
Shortly after we made sail and squared with a fair
wind for Port San Francisco, upper California, where
Captain Wilkes, intended to join us in about two
On the 12th August we stood in for the land and
took a view of the land about Cape Blanco, situated
in lat. 38 deg. north. The coast every where presents
a dreary prospect; and is composed of rocky cliffs
and overhanging beaches of stones and sand; from
them the land ascends abruptly until it breaks into
mountains and ridges, clothed in absolute sterility.
The rams of heaven are often withheld from here
for eight and ten montte at a time, at which time the
sources of vegetation are dried up in most places, except in some valleys which are watered by streams;
owing to this circumstance no prospect is here offered
to the adventurous husbandman.
On the 14th of August, we were near Port San
Francisco, and at 2 o'clock crossed the bar at the entrance of the harbor, in five fathoms of water. We
had a fine breeze and glided rapidly and beautifully
along. We proceeded up the bay a distance of ten
miles, and came to anchor opposite the Spanish settlement of Yerba Bueno, a settlement so called by
the Romish missionaries who settled it. There were
at anchor also two American ships, and two Ifrrigs,
one American, and the other Mexican.
Shortly after coming to anchor, we; were visited by
Capt. Phelps, of the ship Alert of Boston, who in- j
formed us of the death of William H. Harrison, Pres- OF SAILOR  LIFE.
ident of the United States, which occurred one month
after taking the Presidential chair.
We remained at this anchorage until the 16th, when
we got underway and beat over to Sansantito or
Whaler's harbor, a distance of about five miles, where
a supply of fresh water could be obtained, and also
fresh provisions. We had been plentifully supplied
with fresh beef, but vegetables were scarce and very
dear; the Spaniards here, like the indians, are too lazy
to cultivate*the soil.
A short description of this region of America, probably, may be somewhat interesting.
San Francisco, Upper California, is a deep bay
making into the land on the west coast, and is one of
the discoveries of Sir Francis t)rake in 1579, while
running along the coast of America. He, however,
did not examine it, but merely mentions that there is
such a place. There is no doubt but that the Spaniards knew of its existence long before Drake ever sailed in ihe Pacific, for while colonizing this country,
this place was taken up as one of their early missionary stations, to civilize and christianize the natives;
and even to this day there are many remains of the
different missionary stations existing. To what extent these missionaries succeeded is not known to any
part of the civilized world, except Spain, whose interest it was to keep every thing of this nature a profound secret; this was also their policy in reference to
their discoveries- and interior researches, fearing that
some other country might supersede them, and reap
the benefits.
Whether this part of the coast was ever thickly inhabited by the aborigines or not, I am unprepared to
m 230
say, but such is the fact, that for many miles in the iite
terior, there is scarcely a native to be seen now, except
an inmate of some Spanish dwelling. The appearance of the land in the vicinity of this bay is mountainous and much broken, possessing an exceedingly
sterile appearance. This, however, is owing, in part,
to the severe drought which had prevailed for the last
two years. The interior is more fertile and produo
tive; wheat, rye, barley j indian corn and beans, grow
in great abundance when cultivated; all kinds of
garden vegetables thrive, and particularly onions,
which grow very large. Those vegetables, in most
cases, for the last two years have to be watered by
means of irrigation.
The entrance into the bay is somewhat narrow;
the land being high on both sides and much broken,
renders the scenery rather of a romantic appearance,
when contrasting the white sand beach with the sterile hills. On the right hand, and at a commanding
distance, is a battery, situated on an elevated rock,
which, if properly fortified and commanded, would
be able to bid defiance to any number of vessels that
might attempt an entrance. A little beyond, on the
same side in a valley, is the barracks for the men and
officers, belonging to the same. Within the bay and
before you arrive at the port, as it is termed, are several small islands, together with the mouth of the Rio
Sacremento, which empties its waters among these
variegated islands, and gives the whole an appearance somewhat romantic. As you advance, you
suddenly round a projecting point, which terminates
in a peak, and forms a small indenture where vessels
anchor.   This little bay is of a semicircular form, OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
the land receding in many places abruptly, at the
bottom of which there are a few houses, built in the
European style, with here and there a "rawcAo," or
country seat.
Just back of this place, at a distance of about
nine miles, is one of those missions, which generally
supplies the port with vegetables. During the time
in which this country was subject to Spain its ports
were closed against all foreign intercourse, but since
it has changed its masters, its ports, with certain restrictions, have been open to the commercial world.
From the immense number of wild cattle which roam
in the vast plains of California, and which have been
killed for their hides and tallow only, of late many
vessels from the United States have visited the different parts annually to procure hides. Their tallow and jerked beef are exported by land, along the
coast, and even to many parts of Europe. Consequently, this country, from this scource alone, receives
an immense revenue; and at that time there were two
American vessels at anchor there, engaged in that
trade, with those of Columbia and Mexico, collecting
hides and tallow. From some mysterious cause no
meat of any kind can be cured here with salt, or in
any other way except by drying it in the sun; however, this can be effectually accomplished, from the
fact that the climate is so fine and the air so salubrous.
I am of the opinion that this region of California is
very healthy for invalids in pulmonary diseases. I
have been informed by a long resident in this country that there is no one disease peculiar to it or in any
way common.
The inhabitants are Spaniards or their descendants,.
I 232
generally mixed with the natives of the country by
intermarriage, until there is scarcely a Spanish feature
to be seen among them. The aborigines of the country are a diminutive race, much below the common
stature of Europeans, and are smaller than those inhabiting the region of Oregon, about Juan de Fuca.
Another striking peculiarity in the feature of the
country, is the extreme diminutiveness of all kinds
of vegetables, compared with those that we saw in
Nasqually. The trees here are mere dwarfs and sink
into insignificance in the comparison.
The country abounds in all kinds of game. Dee*
are so plentiful that we saw fifteen and twenty in a
drove, playing on the declivities of the hills, in sight
of our anchorage. Birds of various kinds were seen
in great abundance, and in the interior were so tame
as to allow themselves to be captured with clubs.
The seine was hauled once and the fish caught were
of an excellent quality, but not in any great abundance, though embracing several species. There,
were many venomous reptiles to be found every
where in the country; the rattlesnake is common,
also an animal about the size of a rat, whose bite is
said to cause instant death.
The preceding remarks are applicable more particularly to that part of California which borders on the
coast. As you recede, the soil becomes more fertile*
and the country more interesting. The greater part
of the entire territory is exceedingly fertile, though its
excellencies are not appreciated by its badly governed
inhabitants. Though republicanism—-self-styled-^-
had been long talked of, yet but little of the pure genius of freedom has ever dawned upon this beautiful OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
country. The officer of government has been here,
but nothing like a system has ever existed. The unalienable rights of free suffrage are neither generally
understood, nor practised. Popular elections are entirely unknown.
Yankee enterprise, and the " spirit and principles of
the pilgrims," might make this the " garden of Ameri*
ca." Its physical resources are almost unbounded.
The soil is rich and deep, varying from three to four
or five feet in depth. Nor is this confined—as is often
the case—to valleys and meadows, but extends to the
"table land" and mountains, whose variegated acclivities aje clad in a thick garment of verdure and
luxuriance, for the greater part of the year. The va-
rious kinds of grain may be raised here in profusion,
not only from the fertility of the soil, but from the
fact that more than one crop may be harvested in the
year. There is a freshness and luxuriance in the
vegetable kingdom that give this place a decided preeminence.
This country has superior facilities for the culture
of the grape, &c. Could fruit of this nature be properly cultivated, the time would not be far distant
when mis country, and indeed this continent, would
not be dependent upon the eastern world for fruit.
There are, however, several be found
among the more wealthy Spaniards, which produce
fruit of an excellent quality, but all are but poorly
cultivated. We can only infer from these what would
be the result if the vine should be cultivated here, as
The numerous herds of cattle upon the many hillsides and verdant plains, give ample evidence of its
20* 234
qualities as a grazing country. Thousands of them
may be seen quietly grazing, unscared by the ordinary labors of the husbandman, for the native is too in*;
dolent to cultivate the soil to any considerable extent
When the calls of nature demand food, he has simply
to select a bullock from some of these extensive herds
and capture his prize as may best suit his convenience.
The lasso is often used for this purpose. -While beef
can be obtained so easily, they make but little effort to
obtain the fruits of the earth by culture. Though
grain may be raised with comparative ease, flour can
not ordinarily be obtained without about four times
its expense in New England. They are emphatically
a bee£oating people.
The New England farmer, who prides himself in
his beautiful horses, his fine oxen, &c., his improvements in his stock in general, would be surprised to see
the beauty and symmetry of these large herds, which
are simply permitted to grow, without any effort to
improve their quality. They would gladly dispense
with their "imported specimens of perfection," and
fernish themselves from those fertile plains, where
nature is seen m her simplicity.
In fine, few places, probably, can vie with this in
almost every thang that pertains to agriculture. Superadded to a rich soil, animate nature seems to conspire to lend her influence to give a charm to this important avocation. The plains and " table lands" are
checkered with unnumbered cattle, the forests resound
with the music of numerous birds of rare beauty of
plumage, and every lake, river and smaller body of
water teems with the finny tribe, some of the most delicious flavor. OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
In a commercial point of view, it has many facilities of no ordinary description. Nearly surrounded
on the one hand by the broad Pacific, and on the other
by its deep and beautiful gulf,—to say nothing of its
rivers,—it has a line of sea-coast that may, at some
future day, be whitened by the sails of the world.
Indeed this cannot long remain unnoticed and unoccupied by an enterprising people. It is not too much
to predict that many years will not elapse, ere the
shrill whistle will echo through these verdant glens
and deep ravines, as the car thunders along the plains
of California to its metropolis on its western borders.
The steam-ship may ascend its gulf and be moored at
the mouth of the Colorado freighted with the production of the East Indies, China, or the British Isles.
Works of art may soon gild these hill-sides, where
now the grazing herds bear undisputed sway;—fortifications may rise along these almost uninhabited
shores, and Lore to and San Diego become to western
California, what Boston and New York are to the
Eastern States.
On the 8th, a large party of Spanish ladies, by invitation, paid a visit to the ship; the quarter deck
was decorated with a profusion of the flags of almost
every country in the civilized world, and a regular
" fandango " commenced at half past twelve o'clock,
which was continued until ten at night. It appeared
to be the desire of all the officers to render the ladies'
time as agreeable as possible, although there were only
one or two who could speak the language. The ladies
performed many dances peculiar to the country, such
as the old gentleman teased to death by a young girl
whom he had promised to marry, but afterwards 36
found her inconstant, and finally makea up with
her and they get married. Another dance was performed solely-by the ladies, which.vias* gracefully executed, personating a "bull dance," or rather a bull
bait. This was something new to me, and it will
not be surprising that I was somewhat interested,
however ludicrous it may have been. Both men and
women retired to the shore with a good stock of wine
on board. M|
A boat with Passed Midshipman Davis and three
marines was sent to capture some of the runaway crewj
of the whale ship Orozembo, supposed to be secreted)
somewhere about the Rio Sacremento.
They succeeded in securing the deserters who had
foolishly left us. In reference to tho.reasonableness,
of the dissatisfaction on the part of such as left the
whaler, I am not prepared to decide. Those of ouTi
number, however, had not, in my estimation, sufficient
reason for the course pursued by them. Gapt. Wilkes;
and our officers were uniformly kind, and did much
to subserve the welfare and comfort of the crew.
It is true, however, that seamen are often, very
often, improperly treated, yet it is also true that they*
are sometimes inclined to a spirit of insubordination,
and entail upon themselves many etfils.
In extenuation of the conduct of the above deserters, it should be stated that they had been long from
home, and probably a recollection of their birthplace
and the many associations of childhood's home, had
much influence in producing these sad results. The
love of home probably is among the strongest sentiments of the human mind; nor can it be lamented that
such the case.    Yet when such misfortunes result in OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
a non-fulfilment of previous engagements, it is to be
Captain Salter, from the Rio Sacremento, formerly
a captain in Bonaparte's army, made a visit to the
ship in company with the Russian Governor; several
other distinguished visitors called about the same
time. " We learned that Captain Salter had purchased
the Russian settlement at Port Diego for thirty thousand dollars, and that the Governor and all the Russians were to leave for their settlement in North
America by the first opportunity^
During the afternoon another regular "Spanishset-
to " took place on board?; all the Spanish ladies around
in the vicinity came on board and dined, after which
they commenced waltzing, and a fandango closed the
evening's entertainment. They were "quite blue,"
and-returned under the shades of the evening. This
was the second bacchanalian feast held on board during our stay there.
On the 20th, the United States Brig Oregon, Capt.
Hudson, arrived from Columbia River. This vessel
was the late Thomas Perkins, and was purchased by
Captain Wilkes for the purpose*of taking the officers
and crew of the Peacock home. The Peacock, it will
be recollected, was wrecked in passing a bar off Columbia River. The crew were to be transferred to
the brig.
On the evening of the 24th, the Launch arrived with
a portion of the officers, scientific gentlemen and men,
who had been on a land expedition from Columbia
River to California. A number of these suffered very
much on the route from intermittent fever, and some
were quite exhausted.     The distance traveled by n
them was about six hundrjid miles; during most of
the time, they were compelled to be constantly on
their guard against the indians, some of whom were
of the most savage character. However,4he party
mustered too strong for them to risk an attack, and
they suffered them to pass unmolested.
The launch and first cutter were hoisted in, and the
tents on shore, with some of the instruments, removed
on board. Things now began to look Mke going to
sea. In a short time all things were ready and we
were about to take our leave of this place. This was
acceptable news to most of us, as we were getting
somewhat fatigued with the monotony of our duties,
more especially for a few weeks immediately preceding that time. We felt that leaving this place was
nearly allied to an embarkation for home.
At 3 o'clock, P. M., all hands were called to get
underway, andbby half past 2 o'clock the anchor was
up, and we were passing slowly from our anchorage,
with a very light wind, bound to sets,—Brigs Porpoise
and Oregon in company. At 7 o'clock the wind died |
away perfectly calm, at which) time we were immediately on the bar, and meeting a flood tide were compelled to anchor, to avoid being drifted back and
probably on shore, as the ship was at that time en-.
$irely unmanageable. In this situation we were compelled to lie all night, and a more disagreeable time I
never experienced. When the tide set ia strong, the
breakers on the bar were tremendous; the waters of
the Rio Sacremento meeting those of the Pacific,
created a formidable line of breakers which at times
rolled in with fearful violence over the bar.
The Rio Sacremento is a river of considerable size, OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
and rising as it does in lakes at some distance from
the coast, it pours a mighty mass of waters into the
ocean at this place. Its turbicLcurrent enlarges in its
course toward its ocean home, becoming more and
more precipitous as it urges its way along the mountainous region, until its chafing tide reaches the i»^
rushing waters of the Pacific. Here then is a mighty
contest. The mingling masses rise high in air as
they meet, and foam," and lash each other with tremendous power. They roll, and dash, and heave in
the wildness of ocean scenery^ crest meeting crest,
current opposing current^billow overleaping billow,
while a far-reaching spray is sent up, which distinctly marks the place of the " warring element" Its
roar is heard at a distance, especially when the Sacremento is swollen, and a strong breeze from the
south and west drives the approaching tide toward
mis projecting bar with doubly accelerated force.
It is at such times that the sailor, who is so unfortunate as to be on this bar, is reminded of the frantic
storm, "wild in its madness," in mid ocean, when
the Creator of the "sea and the dry land" stretches
forth his mighty hand, and the "winds and waves
obey him;" when it is lashed into fury by the tornado's fearful power, raging, rolling, and uplifting in
stupendous grandeur.
During the night, we were in constant danger of
being overwhelmed by tire billows that were breaking
around us. In the gloom of darkness a formidable
roller came in and struck the ship, which inundated
the deck, and floated several of the officers out of
their state-rooms.
But little sleep could be obtained by any one during LIGHTS  AND   SHADOWS
this tedious night, in consequence of the motion of the
ship, and the noise made by different articles that
were rolling about the deck. The morning came, but
with it, but little hope of being relieved from a disagreeable and dangerous situation. The calm still
continued, and the rollers still came in at intervals,-
roaring like distant thunder for a mile or more before
they made their appearance, while we were expecting
every moment to hear our chain part, from the sudden jerks of the ship while rising over the rollers. At
4 o'clock a tremendous roller came in and struck us)
violently on the larboard bow, carrying away the
nettings as far as the after part of the fore rigging,
flooding all the decks, and breaking the boats and
spare spars on the main deck.
At this time, Joseph Aushouse, marine, was going
upon deck to the head previous to going on post, and
was killed by the rupture of the uvena cava abdomin-
alis." This accident happened by a blow against the
abdomen, with a spare spar which was thrown
against the unfortunate man. He died almost immediately, and his body was opened by the surgeon,
with the above results; The extent of the injury
was such as to have rendered all medical assistance
useless under any circumstances, even by the most
skillful physicians. At 8 o'clock we were favored
with a fair wind, but it was light, however; we took the
first opportunity to extricate ourselves from this disagreeable situation, and got underway,' and as Providence favored us, we succeeded in clearing the bar;
afterward, the wind dying away, we were compelled
to come to anchor in the stream in twelve fathoms of
water.   At half past 1 o'clock all hands were called OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
to " bury the dead." The seamen had been previously dressed in their uniform, white frocks and blue
pantaloons, and the marines in clean fatigues. The
body was brought on deck by the mess-mates of the
deceased, and conveyed to the lee gangway; an ensign was the pall and a rough plank the bier. The
funeral obsequies were performed by Capt. Hudson,
who took his station near the corpse, and read the
burial service of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
For a time all was hushed and still,—a death-like
silence pervaded the ship throughout. At the words
we " therefore commit the body to the deep," a plunge
was heard, and a momentary melancholy seemed to
impress the minds of all; but it was soon over, and
the usual pleasantry and mirth were soon commenced.
Three volleys of musketry were fired by the marine
guard over the ocean grave of the dead, and the sound
of the boatswain and his mate's whistle, announcing
that all was over, closed the awful scene.
At three o'clock the wind again favored us, when
we hove up the stream anchor and made sail.
On the morning of Nov. 2d, land was discovered,
which proved to be Monterey. The appearance of
this land is very mountainous and much broken and
diversified; the prospect was sterile, with no sign of
vegetation any where visible on the seaboard. We
stood within four or five miles of the anchorage, and
sent the Porpoise in with the letter bag intended for
We were at this time favored with fine breezes,
and were making rapid progress toward the place of
our destination.   Our hearts were beating high with
21 242
hope and buoyancy, and the "lights" of the sailor
life were quite discernible.
The true sailor remembers his hardships but a
short time. Storms may gather wildly above him,
thtmders roar, and lightnings play around his devoted head; a single plank of a noble wreck may buoy
him above a deep, dark, ocean grave, yet when the
placid sun again shines upon him, as the mutterings
of the thunder are heard only in -the distance, a smile
lights up his countenance, and he is the same joyous',]
fun-loving creature as in more favorable circumstances. His solemn vows are forgotten, thoughts of
land are dismissed and danger is thought of, only as
connected with the past. The probability of a recurrence of scenes of toil and peril, apparently is seldom
suggested to him, save by moaning winds or overcast sky, ominous of the approaching tempest.
Arrival at the Sandwich Islands—Incident at Oahu—Departure
—A meditated attack of the Natives—-Arrival at Singapore.
The dim horizon lowering' vapors shroud,
And blot the son, yet straggling in the cloud;
Through the wide atmosphere, condensed with haze,
His glaring orb emits a sanguine blaze.
The pilots now their rules of art supply,
The mystic needle's devious aim to try.
It would be no easy matter to delineate to my readers dtir feelings, as we " filled away " the main topsail, OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
when we were about to leave the continent. We
could look abroad over the wide expanse of waters
which surrounded us, while the vast foaming fields of
the Pacific, China Sea, Indian and Atlantic Oceans
were stretching, as an almost unlimited barrier, between us and our loved homes, that mysterious place,
of all others the most sacred. Notwithstanding the
immense extent of this great H highway o*f nations,"
every heart seemed elated with a secret joy, as the
waters went gurgling by, sparkling and foaming under
our bow. while the Vincennes was plowing her way
toward the setting sun. We were not, however, to
pass immediately to that cherished spot, but were now
bound for the Sandwich Islands. This fact compensated, in a measure, for a longer detention from the
place which calls up, as from the grave, the scenes
and associations of childhood.
Our previous visit at the islands had been of a very
interesting character, and we had formed many pleasing acquaintances, more especially with those connected wkh the missions. Their uniform kindness to
us on our previous acquaintance, had left a deep impression upon us, and it was a source of gratification
that we were again to witness the almost miraculous
effects of the introduction of Christianity among these
islands, so lately in the darkness of barbarism.
Nothing of particolar interest occurred during our
departure from the continent, until we arrived at the
Island of Oahu, and once more dropped our anchor
in the harbor of Honolulu. Our friends and acquaintances received us with every mark of respect and esteem, and every thing seemed to wear an additional
charm, as we were reminded, by these tokens of kind- 244
ness, of those endeared to us by the ties of affection,
toward whom we were urging our way as fast as circumstances would permit. Our greetings were scarcely over, and few necessary preparations made, ere we
were ordered to be in readiness to embark, preparatory to a cruise to the East Indies.
An incident occurred on the eve of our departure,
to relate which. I must beg leave to deviate somewhat
from the general tenor of the narrative. While we
were at Oahu at the previous time, we were furnished with an ''advance" of three months, together
with about two weeks for innocent recreation. And
as if to render the circumstances still more ruinous, a
plentiful supply of " grog money " was added, amounting, probably, to some hundreds and even thousands
of dollars. There were but few, if any, of the crew,
who had not at least fifty dollars, when they left the
ship. One week had not elapsed, however, before the
landlords—who much resemble those of other parts
of the world—had stripped them of nearly the entire
amount. It is not necessary to say whether, indeed,
they received any thing in exchange; those acquainted with that part of creation denominated "land
sharks," will be able to make their own inferences.
The Commodore had foreseen this result, and
knowing quite well that they would not be content
with tins amount, but would induce many to enlarge
their bills, looking to him for the liquidation, caused
notices to be issued, forbidding such a course. In dill
rect violation of this order, however, they pursued the
course anticipated, swelling a bill of some $1500 or
more. When the Commodore remonstrated witlt
them for their treachery, they acknowledged that they OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
saw his notices.^ They were asked if they wished
him to falsify his word, and readily replied that they
did not. He then reminded them of the fact that
they knew, while granting the credit, that they must
lose it or he must be guilty of a falsehood, and as
they did not wish him to be thus guilty, they of
course must lose it. They were earnest and boisterous in their complaints against the measure, while
the Commodore listened with much apparent attention to their arguments, from which they inferred
that they had very much softened him in regard to
his resolution.    In this they were mistaken.
After they closed their arguments, he said that he
I was very sorry indeed, and that his sorrow was still
greater that the bill was not $10,000 instead of $2,000,
not that he believed they had had half the amount of
their bill, but if it was the $10,000, he would not suffer one cent to be paid, and that they could go ashore
as soon as they chose." At this they were exceedingly exasperated, and were very profuse of their threats,
at the same time intimating their design of sending
their bills to the United States for collection. Commodore Wilkes had encountered many dangers during
his eventful life, and was not much alarmed at this
"tempest in a tea-pot." The threats of rum-loving
extortioners could not move him at this advanced period of life, and the bills were " squared by the fore-
top-sails," as jack has it; there are thousands beside
these soulless landlords, who will long have occasion
to remember the United States Exploring Expedition.
No ship had ever visited these islands, connected with
which there were so many marked incidents, or so
great an amount of money left.    After completing all
21* 246
necessary preparations, we took a final leave of our
friends on . these islands, and embarked. It was, indeed, a scene of thrilling interest, to see our ship swiftly gliding through her watery way, as the dim outline of this interesting spot faded from our view; she
was a rapid sailer, and we felt that every mile was
an additional evidence of the speedy termination of
our long and eventful cruise.
We touched at no islands of much importance until
we reached Manilla, which port we made after a
pleasant, passage of several days. My opportunities
for observation at this time were somewhat limited,
from the fact that our stay was short; consequently I
shall be able to give but a vague description of the
manners, customs, &c., of the inhabitants. Manilla is
the capital of the Philippine Islands, and is a place of
considerable importance. It is by far the most commercial city of the Archipelago, and contains, probably, about 14,000 inhabitants. Its exports are somewhat extensive, and are seen throughout the civilized
world. It is a Spanish port, and has the usual characteristics of Spanish towns,—narrow streets, low
buildings and misshapen verandas.
The Philippine Islands, embracing four in number,
are remarkably fertile; the climate is hot and in some
parts unhealthy, though the extensive ranges of
mountains, which rise far above the blue, foaming
waters of their shores, tend to mitigate the fervid heat
of the tropics. The luxuriant soil produces an excellent quality of rice, sugar, some of the spices and
gums, though but few of the usual aromatics of the
tropics; the various grains are abundant, while minerals are found to some extent.   OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
When we left Manilla, our course was through the
Sooloo Sea. § This part of the ocean world had been
but little known to navigators, although some of the
more adventurous and enterprising had passed through
this sea; the navigation is exceedingly dangerous on
account of the innumerable coral reefs and sunken
rocks which often present themselves, while there is no
accurate chart to warn of their existence. Disasters
had attended the imperfect surveys that had been projected, and few that had been so unfortunate as to be
wrecked on the reefs, had ever survived to relate the
horrors of their fate. On the one hand were the dangers of the ocean, and on the other, the ferocity of the
natives who inhabited the islands which intersperse
this part of the Pacific; they were treacherous and
warlike, and delighted in blood and plunder. They
were Malays, and truly their "habitations were filled
with cruelty." They were far more barbarous than
most of the inhabitants of the islands which we had
visited during our cruise in the Pacific.
An incident occurred while we were surveying
on their coast, which very aptly illustrated the character of the inhabitants. While our boats were engaged in "measuring base," by firing muskets, &c.,
the Malays mistook us for a ship's company in distress,
and supposed that our guns were designed as a signal for assistance; they filled several of their largest
prows with men, armed with shields, spears, crises,
&c., and came down with full speed to attack us.
One of the boats, under the command of Lieut. Perry,.
was at the head of the bay, while the others were stationed around the reefs; the pirates ran into the bay,
landed, and began to brandish their spears, and com- 248
menced surrounding the men, who were immediately
ordered to the boat. By the coolness and address of
the officers and men, the natives hesitated a moment,
during which time the men had succeeded in reaching the boat, carrying with them the eprovet; they
had an abundance of small arms in the boat, and the
natives somewhat suspicious of our movements, probably distrusted their own strength. Mr. Budd, who
commanded the cutter, the boat to which I belonged,
seeing the apparent intentions of the natives, immedi*
ately weighed anchor and ran down to render assisljS
ance, if it was required. When the Malays saw us
coming, they hurried back into their prows, and hoisted a white flag in token of peace. We sailed up to
them, and after some conversation with them, through
an interpreter that we had taken from Manilla for
that purpose, they were induced to relinquish their designs of plunder. After they were shown our arms,
and became acquainted with our strength, they made
sail and returned, while we continued our survey unmolested. Had we been the crews of stranded merchantmen, there can be but little doubt but that we
should have been plundered, and murdered or enslaved.
From the best information that I have been able to
obtain from those who have jeoparded their lives in
navigating the Sooloo Sea, all vessels that make this
voyage should be well provided with the means of
defence, should they be so unfortunate as to be wrecked on these shores. Even now, it would be fortunate
if vessels should be able to pass without coming in
contact with the reefs that so thickly lie along the
passage.   In addition to these dangers, the Sooloo Isl- OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
ands have a regular system of organized piracy in
their employ, as it is supposed, four hundred vessels,
with an ample quota of desperadoes, which are engaged in committing depredations upon defenceless
vessels that may chance to fall into their power.
The Malays, who are found at many of the islands
visited by us, are a treacherous, passionate and reckless class of barbarians, and seem to attach but little
value to human life. It is not unfrequently the case
that in a fit of rash and feverish excitement, they discard all restraint and sacrifice their own lives to their
baser passions. One of the most "usual methods, is
called " running Amok." When self-destruction is
premeditated, the victim prepares himself by some
means of intoxication, more generally by chewing
opium, assumes a more frightful aspect, while his
long, black, disheveled hair is dangling carelessly,
giving a fearful appearance to the self-constituted maniac. In this attitude he unsheaths his murderous
jCfise, and rushes forth with deadly intent; he attacks
such as may chance to fall into his power, vociferating " kill! kill!" with terriffic madness. This
slaughter is continued until he is overcome, and falls
a victim to his unhallowed passions.
We next made a harbor at Singapore, in lat. 3 deg.
N. and long. 105 deg. E., off the southern coast of Asia.
Singapore is an English island, but the majority of the
inhabitants are Chinese and Malays, by whom the
greatest part of the business is performed. We were
about discontinuing our surveys, and were to sail directly for our native land. Store ships, armaments,
&c., were to be of but trifling importance to us during
the remaining part of the cruise.    At this port, the Fly- LIGHTS  AND  SHADOWS
ing Fish, which had been out companion through the
cruise thus far, was disposed of, as unnecessary for us
after completing our surveys. She-had been our associate in toils and dangers, and when she passed us
with a strange commander and crew, with a foreign
pennon streaming in the fragrant gales of this balmy
spot, an involuntary sadness filled every bosom on
board. There seemed to be something in the nature
of our enterprise which strengthened the bonds of
sympathy, extending even to inanimate nature. Her
companion, the Sea Gull, had probably been lost off
the coast of Terra Del Fuego, and her crew found a
deep watery grave. The Peacock had been strand-
the mouth of the Columbia River, the Relief
had been sent home from New Holland, and the Vincennes and Porpoise were all that remained of the
original fleet, which were to return to the United
Singapore produces the finest pine apples that I
ever saw, and in the greatest abundance.    We had a
fine illustration of this fact at the Consul's, whose i
plantation I visited;   he had several acres of his
grounds covered with a most luxuriant growth.    He |
kindly offered us as many as we might choose to ac- j
cept; we accordingly filled our boat about half full,
and took them to the ship.    When perfectly ripe, and
plucked   fresh from the  stalk,  they are decidedly
healthy, and they constituted a feast for us, for which!
we felt grateful to the kind-hearted consul.
The Chinese, at this place, have a beautiful temple,
ornamented with some of the finest specimens of their
famed ingenuity; the whole fabric is indescribable,!
from the innumerable figures that adorn its unique! OF  SAILOR LIFE.
structure. It produces^ while gazing at it, just such
feelings in tjbe beholder, as one has while listening
to the recital of their mysterious views of God and a
future state of existence. One might feel at a loss to
classify this singular edifice, as it is totally unlike
any thing recognized in the "likeness of things in
heaven above, the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth," that has ever come under my observation* In examining this temple, I could but regard it
as a tangible index of the solitary characteristics of
that highly cultivated, yet semi-barbarous people.
Claiming a great antiquity, they can boast of but little
Preparatory to our final departure for home, our
ship was put in proper condition for the cruise. We
left Singapore after a stay of a few days, passing
down through the Straits of Banca, and entered the
Java Sea, and through the Straits of Sunda into the
Indian Ocean. All was now life and hilarity, while
bright visions were flitting before us. The wind was
favorable, the weather fine, and our noble ship was
making rapid progress toward our destined haven;
for six days in succession, we were averaging thirteen
and a half miles per hour. We passed directly for
the Cape of Good Hope, but were detained two days
in consequence of head winds. This is-always unpleasant, but doubly so under the present circumstances. The sailor dreads the calm; he choses rather
to see the ocean foaming, heaving and tossed, lashed
by the fearful tornado's power. There is too much
tameness and quiet about it to harmonize with the
energy and vivacity of his temperament.
After doubling the Cape, we sailed for the Island of 252
St Helena.    It is impossible for me to gaze on this1
desolate, barren isle, without sad reflections upon the
singular fate and probable feelings of that great man,
who signalized this gloomy rock, and clustered around-
it associations which will run parallel with the flight
of time, and be vividly impressed upon the great mind?*
of a world, until this barren waste shall mingle hv
chaotic confusion with a melting universe, when thelJ
angel shall " stand with one foot upon the sea and the*
other upon the dry land," and shall put a period to all
earthly things!
Great men not unfrequently give character to the I
age in which they live, and mark the spot in which
they were bom or closed life's career, with an imperishable fame.    Such is St. Helena, the tomb of one
of the greatest warriors of his own or any other age;
and his confinement on this isolated " rock of the sea,'*
has called forth expressions of different feelings from
different minds, and while I would not approve his'
faults, I would not depreciate his virtues, and the
close of his eventful life awakens in his behalf much
I visited the Longwood residence of this illustrious
Emperor^and found that it had been converted into
a stable for horses; the " dew-drooping willow" is*
still "leaning over" what had once been his grave.
I found but little satisfaction in my visit to tins pri^|
on rock, and was happy to arrive on board where
the "stars and stripes" of my own happy country
waved over my head in triumph.
After a stay ofi^two days, the word "all hands up
anchor for the United States!" was given, ringing
through the various parts of  the ship,  producing
quicker and. more joyous pulsations in every bosom;
the capstan was manned, the anchor " walked up to
the bows," sail was made, and but a few moments
elapsed before the ship was underway, to tarry no
more until she should arrive at New York. And now
followed a time for thought, retrospect, and future-
arrangements ; all were filled with plans for future action ; a thousand different schemes were originated by
which the schemer seemed confident that he might
obtain a compensation on shore.
All on board had been schooled in all the mysteries
of the sailor boarding-house system, and were particular to caution each other again!! the treachery and
fraud of landlords; each seemed fully determined to
take special care of himself and his money, but, poor
fellows, they knew but little of the tempter's power;
they knew but little of those artful stratagems which
were so soon to be" thrown around them, whieTi they
had neither the moral courage nor firmness to resist.
Day after day, our ship continued to urge her way
onward with rapid strides, while nothing of moment
occurred to mar our happiness, or elate us with joy,
save the prospect before us. Of the feelings which
agitate the bosom of the sailor on an occasion like
this, the landsman can know but little. Hope, perchance, speaks of kindly greetings, a reunion of those
long sundered by time and space, the consummation
of the fancies of childhood's sunny hours, or Fear
may marshal a dread train of forbodings, veiling the
countenance in a pall of sorrow. Four long years!
how great and heart-Tending the changes which that
time may have effected. How many loved ones had
terminated all earthly scenes, riven ail the ties of af-
22 254
fection, and left naught behind save their virtues, and
a dying blessing, to console the wanderer, as he nears
the cherished spot of early life. Perchance a mother,
whose prayers, fervent, heart-breathed and effectual,
which arose to Ifeaven for a departing son, may have
joined that vast congregation which has gone before
us; a father's voice, so often heard in friendly counsels, may be hushed in death; loved associates, a
brother, or a sister, whose memories may be cherished
as a sacred treasure, to be relinquished only at death,
may greet us no more. As scene after scene comes
up as a memento of the past; as spot after spot is revisited, how frequent may be the evidence that some
kindred spirit chants above.
Some who had left home with the same joyous
hopes as ourselves, mingled not with us as we were
about to step again upon our native soil. One after
another had been committed to a deep, dark, coral
bed, surrounded by ocean's treasures, to slumber until
the trump of God shall summon the "sea to give up
her dead." The Sea Gull's crew, bound together by
endearing ties of friendship, had not been separated in
the hour of dissolution, but had sunk together, to remain until this "mortal shall put on immortality."
Some who left the paternal roof, hand in hand with
ourselves, could not accompany us in our return.
Our approach was to cause many a bosom to swell
with joy or heave with anguish, as the sad tidings of
.the death of loved ones should fall upon the ear, as
the mournful knell of departed hopes.
On the 10th of June, 1842, the faint outlines of
the highlands of Nevisink peered in view, pointing
us to our place of destination.    As we approached the OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
land, the wind died gradually away, and it was
thought advisable to come to an anchor and wait for
a steamer to tow us1 in. In a short time the boat arrived, and took us to the quarantine ground, when
the health officer boarded us; after a very short detention we passed rapidly up the bay to the city. As we
came abreast of the North Carolina, we fired a salute
of twenty-six guns, at the last of which the broad
pendant which the Commodore had honored for more
than four years, was hauled down and the command
of the ship was committed to Captain Hudson of the
Peacock, who then proceeded toward the navy yard,
and came to a final anchor. A steam boat was soon
along side, and the joy with which we passed our
bags and hammocks, on board, can be better imagined by the reader, than expressed by myself. In the
short space of two hours we were all ashore in the
land of our nativity,—the toils and dangers of a long
and eventful cruise ended, and we were again free
men, in "the home of the free."
As it is probable that this volume will be read by
many a brother sailor, it may not be inappropriate to
recur to incidents connected with landlords, and some,
I am sorry to say, are not only lordly, but perfidious.
To those who have had fewer facilities of judging of
the character of the " land sharks" than myself; who
have observed less of their intrigues and stratagems,
it may be serviceable as a means of avoiding the
tyrants' power. All may be aware of the fact that as
the hardy sailor returns from a long voyage, with his
hard-earned wages, this class of men—if the term is
appropriate—is ever ready to defraud such as may
come within their iron grasp, but by what means this 256
is effected, some may yet be ignorant They are, apv
parently, unmoved by the tears and moans of kindred,
as they see loved ones drawn into the vortex of dissipation and licentiousness, indifferent to the common
claims of humanity. Money they wish and money
they will have, though they wade through seas of
blood to accomplish their ends; though the widowed
mother toils in sorrow and wastes her ebbing energies.
as the direct consequence, or orphan children supplicate a meager pittance from a frigid, heartless world.
Is this severe language 2 I would that it were untruf^
that it were the fitful imaginations of a disordered
brain, but many, ah I too many can sadly vouch for
its truthfulness.
Those employed in our naval service, are far more
in danger from this source than other seamen; they
are longer from the hallowejj influences of home,
and the refining, reclaiming tendencies of fireside associations. They are also more exposed to the hardships, dangers and unfavorable influences of a marine
life, and consequently have an almost irresistible desire to "enjoy themselves" (what enjoyments/) by
throwing off all restraint and plunging into a senseless hilarijty and inebriation. Again, they ordinarily
have larger amounts of money when they come on
shore, and, as a natural consequence, soon come within the contaminating grasp of these modern harpies^
and they seldom escape from their talons until their
funds are gone, and they are plunged low in the
depths of degradation and ruin, by this arch enemy,—
for such he must be, however artful his pretended
friendship may be. This apparent friendship seems
very carefully graduated by the amount of remaining OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
funds, and its last impulse dies away, as the last cent
falls into his misery-filled coffers.
The " vilest of the vile," of both sexes, are brought
into requisition, when a man-of-war is reported, and
a great many new boarding houses are opened for the
occasion. The whole fraternity of conspirators now
form their plans, and the whole wharf in the vicinity
of the ship is crowded with landlords and runners,
and as often as a sailor raises his head above the netting, he is hailed with "mess-mate," "ship-mate," with
other familar appellations which are most coaxingly
applied to him, while their countenances and hearts
are living exemplifications of the sentiment expressed
by Shakspeare, " A man may smile and smile, and
be a villain:' but as the sailor is a
to this
clan of neic boarding masters, and as he is too frank
and honest himself to suspect their insincerity, they
often succeed in decoying large numbers of them into
their dens of infamy. The result is, that the fruit of
years of toil is dissipated in about as many days, and
their pleasant homes (?) are soon transformed into very
forbidding ones, and the victims, for whom they expressed so much regard, are required to find neto
quarters. The purse being empty, the bags and
chests are next rifled, and not a vestige of decent
clothing remains which can become available. Exorbitant and imaginary bills, with downright robbery
for the climax, soon terminate the sailor's tarry on
shore. Diseased, degraded and dispirited, he is soon
obliged to ship—or perhaps this is done for him by
his ever-watchful gaurdian, and his advance secured,
and when he is reinstated on the deck of the receiving
3OT 258
ship, he is cared as little for by the landlords as the
brutes that are slaughtered for his convenience.
These things were once transacted openly, but now
more cunning and management are requisite; they
have recourse to every plot which they can devise, to
facilitate the accomplishment of their unworthy designs. Draymen are bribed to obtain their clothes,
hammocks, &c, under pretence of conveying them to
houses of good reputation, but instead of this, they are
carried where the premeditated plunder is effected.
New York abounds in just such places, and sailors,
on coming into port, must be exceedingly careful how
they select a boarding place, especially if they design
to visit their friends, and devote their earnings to
more consistent objects. They must be continually
on the alert, lest they are robbed while sober, but if
they can be induced to quaff the fatal cup, they may
bid adieu to pleasing associations with friends, and
the sweets of domestic life.
These secret plans are skillfully digested, and faithfully executed. Runners and accomplices are employed and bountifully compensated, making it a regular business to underrate all respectable " homes," and
temperance boarding houses; intoxicating drink is an
important agent in the work of destruction. These
emissaries will distinguish themselves by their coarse
imprecations, profane curses and vulgar epithets;
nothing appears too harsh that can be said respecting
such homes for the sailor, as, they are well aware, tend
directly to abridge their nefarious business. Their
mental powers, it would seem, are taxed to concoct
falsehoods which shall be sufficiently libelous to prejudice seamen against such places, where they know OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
that they will be beyond their reach. Should these
fabrications fail, their next resort, perchance, is to get
their baggage into the hands of some bribed coachman, under the pretext of conveying it to a temperance house, and a liberal fee will ensure the safe arrival at some degraded and degrading den of infamy,
and before the sailor is aware of the character of the
place, his things are under the control of an intriguing
landlord, and it is with the utmost difficulty that he
can recover his property, without a legal interference,
during which delay, should not his pockets or his
chest be rifled, he may regard himself as fortunate.
An individual who will be guilty of such cowardly
and contemptible intrigue, will not be very scrupulous
when he has his victim within his grasp; what he
fails to get by permission, he will take by force.
Another stratagem is to employ some shrewd individual to commence the work of destruction while at
sea, who under the garb of a shipmate can practice
his deception and be credited, however much he might
traduce respectable establishments, and discolor the
merits of other resorts, of which he is a base hireling
and utters falsehoods for the same reason that he engages in his ordinary employments.
It is ordinarily true, that the payment on board of
a man-of-war does not occur until some days after
their arrival at port; of this circumstance, the landlord is fully aware, and soon avails himself of this
advantage. His agent is furnished with funds, and
very generously—as it might seem—supplies their
present wants by loaning money or.other wise, but is
particularly careful to be present at the time of pay- 260
ment, and receives the check from the purser, of
course losing nothing by his investment.
The last, though not the least of these arts which
are devised to defraud the mariner, of which I shall
make mention, is performed by woman,—woman did
I say 1   I will not thus dishonor that name, ever dear
to the virtuous.    Degraded and unprincipled females,
by feigned smiles and hypocritical and specious graces,
insinuate themselves into favor with the unsuspecting
sailor, extorting from him valuable presents, or otherwise making large draughts upon his funds,—often
relinquishing their victim only when the last dollar is
transferred to their hands, with not even an apology
for an equivalent.    These individuals know well the
frankness,  kind-heartedness and   generosity of  the
sailor, and effect his ruin when other efforts less fac-
inating, might fail.    Numerous instances of this kind
have come under my own observation, but a few will
suffice to illustrate the effects of such devices to extort
presents by abusing the sailor's generosity, and the
consequent treatment.    Two seamen with whom I
was acquainted, had returned from a cruise up the
Mediterranean, one receiving $280, and the other
$ 310.    The landlord had a wife and daughters who
were adepts in this kind of robbery.    I was shown a
valuable silk dress, beside a considerable amount of
jewelry which had been presented by these seamen.
These were given on Monday; on Thursday they
were driven from the house, and on Friday, while I
was standing with them,  these females passed us,
arm in arm with seamen who had more recently returned, who might have shared a similar fate at the
next arrival.    As they passed us on the side,walk, the OF  SAILOR LIFE.
same beautiful and rich dress was drawn aside, that
it might not come in contact with that of the donor,
while the remark was distinctly heard, u I wish these
filthy scamps would keep clear of the sidewalks, and
not spoil people's nice clothes." This occurred in
eight days after their arrival, and what became of the
$ 590, I will leave the reader to infer.
This is but one of many similar incidents, and
-those who have long been familiar with this subject,
will, I think, sustain me in the assertion that " not
one half has been told." They know well that the
daughters and wife of the landlord, richly attired,
promenade the public resorts, displaying the fruits of
toil on the " mountain wave," the lavish gifts of the
afterwards despised sailor.
Lastly, I will mention one other means of ensnaring the sailor. Many landlords, for the purpose of
the more effectually deceiving, remove the bar, while
liquors are kept secretly, and every effort is employed to induce men to purchase it. In this way
a far greater number is drawn into such places only
to be robbed, than less hypocritical persons, who make
no pretension to temperance can obtain. Others
again do not keep spirits of any kind, yet quite as effectually filch the sailor, while they preserve the appearances of respectability, and unfurl the banner of
temperance as a" false beacon." Two facts of this
nature were divulged by a sailor landlord, by way of
boasting, which I will insert. I well recollect of
hearing the same landlord censuring Mr. Morris, a
Bethel preacher, because he did not refer to his house
in his prayers, as well as the " Sailor's Home," a house
of the first respectability. 262
A sailor who had been paid off from a man-of-war,
knowing that he would be in danger of being robbed
of his earnings^ and wishing to remain on shore as
long as possible, paid this landlord for one year's
board in advance. In a short time afterward the sailor had been deprived of the remainder, and being unable to find employment on shore, went to the landlord for a portion of his funds, as he was compelled to
go to sea again, and was in want of clothes. He was
refused, and was obliged to gO to sea with the few articles that could be purchased with a month's advance, and leave his money behind him. The landlord soon afterward removed to the state of Maine.
Another man boarded with him at the same time,
who deposited fifty dollars with the landlady for
safe keeping, offering her enough of it to purchase a
dress, for her trouble. On the next day, when he
asked her for a few dollars, he was informed that she
had used it all for her dress, and the poor fellow was
left penniless, nor did he ever recover one cent of his
investment. This is one of the temperance boarding
houses, of which every sailor should beware. It is
not a specimen of temperance houses, nor should suclji
assume the name. There are many homes for the
sailor, where temperance principles are strictly adhered to, and where the welfare of boarders is conscientiously regarded. A list of these houses will be
found in each number of the Sailor's Magazine, published by the American Seamen's Friend Society.
This is but a system of miniature piracy, and it is
presumed that in no fraudulent enterprise is there
more concert of action, more deeply laid: plans, or
more success in pilfering, when the amount of funds
and the extent of the field of action are taken into
the account. True or false colors are raised, as may
best suit convenience, or best promote the objects. As
the wages are nearly exhausted the attentions become
less and less; the Mr. is forgotten, and "jack" is substituted ; pointed remarks in reference to " long stays
on shore" become more frequent; after, neglect ensues,
and should this fail, he is thrust into the streets to lie
scorned and maltreated until he becomes awake to
the sadness of his situation, leaving behind him, perhaps, the last cent of his wages and advance. He has
no other alternative but to rush from the scenes of his
degradation, a disconsolate, misery-stricken mortal.
Happy would it be if one misfortune of this kind
were sufficient to serve as a beacon for the remainder
of life; but not so. The snare is laid in new and ever-varying forms, victim after victim is entangled, involving them deeper and deeper in misery and ruin.
It is a painful fact that our fears in reference to our
own crew, were sadly realized. -As toilsome as had
been our cruise; though dangers had crowded thickly
around us, yet they were literally increased as we
greeted familiar faces in this great emporium of commerce. But a few days had elapsed before some who
had been long associated with us, and who were endeared to us by lasting bonds, were groveling in pollution and drunkenness. Before the expiration of one
week, many had been placed on board the receiving
ship, the earnings of the entire cruise exhausted, some
never having seen the checks which had been transferred to the grasping landlords. Many who had had
bright hopes of pleasing intercourse with their kindred,
were denied that sacred privilege, and instead of a 264
few weeks of recreation and exemption from the dangers of an ocean life, were soon to commence another
cruise of years, probably to react.the same scenes of
Vice and dissipation.
Others, again, had departed in different directions,
and were soon revisiting the homes of their childhood,
where four years before they had pressed the parting
The events of the Expedition can not but awaken
peculiarly lively emotions in all who participated in
its deeply interesting incidents. Five hundred men
had left Norfolk to visit bleak and untraversed parts
of the world, in which cruise a deep, dark uncertainty necessarily enshrouded our undertakings. The
sequel proved it to be such; of the hundred, but
two hundred and thirty-six reached the shore at that
time. A portion of the remainder arrived at different
times, and some slept in coral beds, to obey the summons of Omnipotence, when the unnumbered millions
of ocean's children shall rise above its troubled bosom
an august assemblage, and join the vast universe of
created intelligences.
The remote results of this Expedition cannot easily
be predicted. Though the continent discovered may
not be, and perhaps may never be capable of being
peopled, its discovery was an acquisition to science
which may not be easily appreciated. We had visited unknown nooks of the globe, navigated unexplored
seas, and surveyed many islands of which there was
no previous knowledge. Hidden rocks and dangerous reefs had been laid down upon charts, that future
adventurers may not hazard life and property, while
extending the conquests of commerce and enterprise.   REMINISCENCES.
The sailor's life is emphatically one of toil and dan-
ger. He braves the tempest's rage, the tornado's
power, the lightning's glare, the attack of pirates,—
not only on shipboard, but on the shore. He is liable
at any and every moment to be roused from his slumbers, to defend himself and that committed to hisi
charge, against the attacks of the ruthless bravado, or
to struggle with the warring elements. This fact is
very aptly illustrated in an eventful cruise of the United States Ship Peacock from the Island of Zanzibar
to the coast of Arabia. This was commenced in the
month of September; the weather was delightful, and
the smiles of heaven and earth combined, seemed to
augur a safe and speedy voyage to the abode of Ish-
mael's descendants. The thermometer ranged from 80
deg. to 85 deg., except on the 12th, when it arose to
90 deg., at which time we crossed the equator. On
the following day we had the most magnificent display of light and colors which the eye of man has
ever witnessed. At 4 o'clock the wind died away,—
not a breath gave the least ripple to the glassy surface
23 266
of the ocean; not even a fluttering of the royals was
discernible.:. As the sun neared the western horizon,
a curtain of fleecy white clouds that lay outspread
like a spacious mantle, extending from the north-easf
to the far south, began to be tinged with a faint yellow, which continued to deepen through gold, orange
and scarlet, to the richest, deepest crimson; the sun
seemed to go down swelling with pride, as it waded
through this flood of glory to his western retreat.
The colors were presented with a brilliancy so dazzling, so indescribably magnificent, that any attempt
to give an adequate idea of their grandeur would be
ineffectual. The ocean too, as if to lend its aid, presented a broad expanse of a mirror-like surface, reflecting the glittering glories of the heavens, and adding
a tenfold splendor and sublimity to the scene. All on
board came upon deck, and so intensely were all absorbed in the gorgeousness of the display, that not a
sound was heard for a considerable time, save some
involuntary ejaculations of astonishment and admiration. w$$
About ten minutes after sunset, a faint breeze began
to wave the lighter sails, and the commanding voice
of the officer, giving the order,—" Lay aft to the braces," was the first sound that broke the stillness of
that beautiful evening. The order was followed by
the rattling of blocks and cordage, and the hasty tread
of seamen about the decks. The sails were trimmed,
and the breeze continued to freshen until daylight,
when we were dashing through the brine at the rate
of nine "knots." We were rapidly leaving that
beautiful spot, yet I dare predict that not a man will
ever forget that sunset scene in the Indian Ocean. OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
We passed on gaily and quietly, nothing of note oc-
curing until the 20th, when a train of circumstances,
following closely in the " wake " of each other, gave
us an additional illustration of the "lights and shadows " of a sailor's life. Every thing had borne an encouraging aspect, and all were cheered with the bright
prospect of soon reaching Arabia, and partaking the
delicacies which that fertile soil so abundantly produces, and where we might become acquainted with
the manners, customs, costumes and matters of general
^interest among this singular class of people, but how
illustrative of the fact that we " know not what a day
may bring forth." Between " five and six bells,"* on
the night of the 20th, while the watch below were securely sleeping in their hammocks, the ship struck
with great violence upon a reef of coral rocks. In an
instant every thing was bustle and confusion;—all
hands rushed on deck. The ship continued to urge
her way among the rocks, until her collision with
'3&em produced a continuous sound, resembling the
rumbling of thunder, and before the studding sails
#ould be taken in, and lighter sails furled, the ship
had forced her way about one mile and a half among
the rocks of the reef. It was nearly a half hour before the ship was fairly stopped, and from that time
until daylight, she continued to strike violently, so
that no one could stand upon deck without attaching
himself to the * rigging. As soon as it became sufficiently light to distinguish objects at a distance, we
discovered a low sand beach, nearly encircling us at a
considerable distance.    There was also some higher
* From half past 5 to 6 o'clock. II
land near, which proved to be an island. To add to
our distress, we found that we had run on the reef at
high water, at the height of the spring tide. Orderfc
were immediately given to "break out" the spare
spaw, booms, &c., lower all the boats as soon as possible. The yards and topmasts were sent down, and
every effort made to ease the ship, but still she continued to strike heavily. Soon afterward the tide began to ebb, and the ship began to careen so much
that it was necessary to set a spar on the reef, to partially prevent it. The spare spars were then thrown
overboard and formed into a raft, upon which fifty or
sixty barrels of beef and pork were placed; ten thousand gallons of fresh water were discharged, large
quantities of grape and canister, &c, were thrown
overboard for the purpose of lightening the ship.
During the day we saw several proads or prows,
filled with men, sailing around us occasionally, and
intently watching our movements. The captain, pilot,
and passed midshipman, and several seamen left the
ship for the purpose of speaking them, but they
avoided them, brandishing their swords and sailing
toward a point of land near, where they anchored.
We had but little doubt of their character, and had
reason to expect an intended attack at night. Accordingly we made all necessary preparations to receive them in a soldier-like manner, with the " honors
of war." Every officer and man slept with cutlases,
pistols, muskets, pike or battle axes at hand, but we
were not disturbed at this time.
On the next morning a boat was sent out for tne
purpose of sounding; it was found that there was not
as much water astern of the ship as on the day of the OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
collision, though it was high water. After taking refreshments—raw pork and bread—we continued to
lighten the ship by throwing over two chain cables,
several hundred fathoms of hawser, after having buoyed them. At noon we succeeded in taking an observation, and ascertained that the high land was the
small Island of Muceiva, in latitude 20 deg., and
longitude 58 deg. east, and almost fifteen miles from
Arabia Felix, or Happy Arabia. About this time the
pirates had considerably increased, having some eight
or nine prows, containing from twenty to sixty men
each; they ran down near us and anchored, forming
themselves into a line of battle,—a position very unfavorable to us, as the situation of our ship gave such an
elevation to our guns that we could not dislodge them.
All hands were called to quarters and furnished with
small arms, preparatory to the expected encounter.
The warlike appearance of our ship, and the sight of
some of our men, who inadvertently arose above the
netting, probably deprived us of an opportunity of
teaching them an important lesson in military tactics,
and the futility of attacking a - yankee man-of-war,
though in distress. The chiefs of the different prows
assembled in one of the savage vessels and held a consultation, and afterward two of them jumped into the
sea and approached the ship. A rope -was thrown to
them to assist them in coming on board, but they looked terribly frightened when they saw themselves in
the presence of two hundred men, armed with all the
implements of naval warfare.
We had, while at Zanzibar, become acquainted
with a Polish officer, who had taken passage with us.
This man was the only one on board who could
23* 270
speak the Arabian language, and was employed as
our interpreter. They had not been on board but a
few moments, before they had the hardihood to ask
how much money, and how many men we had on
board; they were answered that we had an abundance of both. The interpreter was then directed to
ascertain their terms upon which they would carry a
message to the Sultan at Muscat, returning the reply.
Although the distance was not more than might have
been traveled in one day, they refused to go for less
than $1000! In a short time they left us, made sail
and did not trouble us farther for the day.
On the next morning six men volunteered to go in
an open boat to Muscat, for the purpose of carrying
Mr. Roberts, Minister to the East Indian and Asiatic
Courts, and Mr. Rogers Taylor, a passed midshipman,
a most excellent and brave gentleman, a native of
Newport, R. I. The next morning at daylight, they
left the ship to perform their arduous journey. It
was soon observed that the pirates had concerted an
attack upon them, and were in hot pursuit.
Preparations were continued on board the ship, to
effect an escape from the reef if possible. The stream
anchor was dropped astern, with one hundred fathoms
of cable, and the capstan manned, but without moving the ship. At last, finding that she would not
float at high tide, we were driven to the painful necessity of throwing a portion of our guns overboard;
she then "righted," and by means of the anchor, we
succeeded in starting from our unpleasant position.
The fifer commenced that soul-thrilling air of the sailor, " The giU I left behind me," the men marching in
time with the music, with hearts as buoyant as if OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
nothing had befallen us, while the ship was rapidly
moving from her dangerous moorings. It was amusing to witness the ardor with which the men performed
their circuit; when the fifer was unable, from fatigue,
to give us music, the sailors were not at a loss to supply that deficiency, by substituting songs of their
own, making some music, but more jargon. A colored man rendered very important services on this joyous occasion, by a sudden peal of a favorite air, commencing with, "I wish I was in yankee town," in
which he was joined by about two hundred stentorian
voices, and when the chorus—" 'Tis time for us to
go," was struck, it might remind one of an earthquake
in miniature. The scene, though animating, was
really ludicrous.
Whether attributable to the power of music or
otherwise, one thing is certain, which is, that the capstan was rapidly revolving and the ship was grating
harshly over the coral bed, and was soon beyond the
reach of danger. We again felt free, had less to fear
from attacks of the pirates, though their number
should be much increased. Though disabled and deprived of many of our guns and other necessary implements, we were afloat on our loved element, and
felt that we could cope with a similar force, should
circumstances require it.
During this time we had been obliged to leave our
raft, provisions, &c., at the place where we commenced
lightening. This had been observed by the eagle-eyed
^atesf and they determined to avail themselves of an
opportunity to plunder us before the ship could be in
readiness to pursue them. At 12 o'clock, while we
were refreshing ourselves, an alarm was given; the 272
marines were immediatrfy mustered, and a volley of
musketry was discharged from the quarter deck, but
the distance was so great that it did no execution.
Lieut. Gordon sprang into the boat, followed by
Messrs. Darlington and Caldwell, and twenty seamen;
we made all possible speed to the windward of the
prow which had stolen our provisions. The pirates
kept close in under the land, following the curvature
of the beach, in order to avoid an attack from the
ship. As soon as they arrived at a position in which
the guns could be brought to bear upon them, they
opened a broad-side upon the prows, but did not reach
them, as they were some three or four miles distant.
It was an exciting time for us in the boat; we were
laboring at the oars with our full strength, while the
roaring of the thirty-two pounders, and the rushing of
the shot, hissing and yelling over our heads, as they
were sent on an errand of vengeance to the freebooters,
together with the expectation of grappling with them,
though at least three times as numerous as ourselves,
gave a zest to our enterprise which should be experienced to be appreciated. Fortunately for them, we
broke two of our oars, which materially diminished
our strength.
By this time the chief seemed confident of his ability to outsail us, and, jumping into the bow of his
boat, brandished his creece in defiance, while it glittered and sparkled in the sunbeams. . This was too
much for us. I raised my musket, and suddenly leveled it at him, when he dropped his creece and fell
into the bottom of the boat. This was followed by a
general discharge from all in the launch. How many
were destroyed we were unable to ascertain; it was OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
certain, however, that a large number was wounded.
They succeeded in passing in about a half musket
shot in the advance of us, carrying off some of our spars
and one or two barrels of provisions. We gave up
the chase and returned to the ship, highly incensed at
the conduct of these base marauders, who could thus
plunder us while in distress.
The next tide we worked the ship still farther
from the reef, and at night, slept with our arms by
our sides. On the following morning, at daylight, we
learned that the enemy had very much increased their
number, and were again standing down for us, probably elated with their success on the preceding day.
We were well aware of their intentions, and made
preparations to welcome them. We had now " righted," and had eleven thirty-two pounders on deck,
with which we could have met a very much greater
dumber. It was the universal desire that they should
attack us during the day. In the mean time our labors were continued as usual. We parted one of our
hawsers, and lost our stream cable and anchor. The
Commodore's gig was laying off, and several boats,
with grapplings, were busily engaged in attempting
to secure them. While our boats were thus engaged,
the pirates attempted to run between them and the
ship, so that an attack upon them would endanger
the lives of our men. They were carefully watched
and their manoeuvres perfectly understood. When
tfiey had approached sufficiently near, we poured a
broad-side of grape and canister upon them. The
shot went whistling among them, carrying away
their masts, tearing their sails and dashing large
quantities of water among the affrighted desperadoes. 274
No sooner did they learn their mistake than they
"tacked ship," and attempted to escape from our
destructive fire, but it was no easy matter; we continued a constant fire as long as they were within
reach of us, much to their chagrin, no doubt. It is
impossible to determine with any accuracy what
their loss was, but judging from the hideous yells
that arose from all their boats, it was evident that the
work of destruction had been extensive. The principal regret on our part, seemed to have been that we
were not able to give them "a little more grape."
They were a wandering tribe of Arabs, inhabiting
the desert and known by the name of Bedouins; they
have no established government, and live by plundering such as may be so unfortunate as to be wrecked
on their coast, while they carry the captured crews
into the desert, and subject them to the most abject
slavery. They are regarded by the Sultan, as pirates
are with us, and are executed, when captured, without trial by jury. They probably learned a lesson
in this instance, that will make them somewhat reluctant to attack a yankee man-of-war, though stranded on their coast.
That afternoon we worked the ship into about five
fathoms, after which all hands were called to "splice
the main brace," as an expression of commendation
(a ruinous practice, by the way.) It was found necessary to keep a quarter watch at the pumps, as the
ship was making fifteen inches of water per hour;
half of her false keel had been torn off, the copper displaced to some extent, and what other damage, we
could not determine. The ship was put in as good
condition as circumstances would allow, preparatory OF   SAILOR  LIFE.
to making sail for Muscat, which occurred on the
On the morning of the 28th, while on our passage,
we saw a ship approaching us; she continued to bear
down for us until within about three miles, when she
"rounded to," fired a gun and raised Arabian colors.
Finding that we did not notice her, she approached
nearer and fired again; this was answered by us, at
the same time hoisting our colors. When she was
within one mile of us we saw a few men on the forecastle, dressed in the style of American seamen. She
hoisted out her boat which was soon along side, bringing, beside her own crew, Mr. Taylor and the crew of
our 2d cutter. A smile of satisfaction animated the
faces of all on board, while the cordial grasp indicated the warmth of attachment which existed among
the crew. Dangers, distress and trials bind hearts
together more firmly than prosperity and pleasures
can, and the recent events that we had encountered,
strengthened more and more the bonds of attachment
that had previously bound us together.
We soon learned the results of the expedition of our
2d cutter, which had been previously despatched to
Muscat. Finding that the pirates would overtake
them, they steered broad off to sea. They followed
them nearly out of sight of the land, but, having no
compass, did not dare follow them farther. That night
they encountered a severe gale, in which the boat
came near being swamped, off the Island of Maceiva;
they nailed tarpaulins over the boat, leaving apertures
through which the head of the oarsman could be
thrust, and by dint of toil at the oars and baiting,
they succeeded in keeping afloat, until the gale was 276
over, when they sailed for Muscat, where they
arrived in safety after four days' sail. As they rounded the point, and entered the harbor, they hoisted the
boat's ensign and made for the city. The Sultan's
palace stands at the head of the~bay, close to the water.
He discovered the boat, and as soon as he observed the
American colors, he sent an officer to meet them, and
came himself to welcome them. He had had an acquaintance with Mr. Roberts; ihe meeting was one of
thrilling interest to all who saw it. When he learned
that our ship was in distress on his coast, the finer
feelings of his nature were aroused, and he deeply
sympathized with us in our misfortunes. He immediately ordered a sloop of war, then lying at the harbor, to be fitted up and to be placed in our service,
together with the crew. He also ordered his general.
to detach 400 of tlis best men, to march immediately
over land to the place of disaster, to assist and protect
us, were we obliged to abandon the shipiu The detachment left the same night, marching under American colors, and hastened on their errand of mercy.
The sloop was soon in readiness, and was freighted
with sheep, goats, buffaloes, fruit and water, to supply
us, should they meet us on the passage. This was
the vessel that we had met, under the charge of Mr.
Taylor, whose appointment was ratified by the Commodore, when he came on board. Our ship was soon
filled with Arabian fruit, which was a most welcome
gift to us at that time, after so long a season of incest
sant toil. The fruit consisted principally of grapes,
fresh and preserved dates, pomegranates, and melons
of various kinds. The pomegranates were a rare
fruit, having never seen them before.    They are of OF   SAILOR  LfFEc
about the size of a quince, of a light green color; they
are enclosed in a hard and brittle shell or rind. On
opening, the whole inside is filled with detached parts
or berries, like our currants, very much resembling
them in taste. Fresh figs just plucked from the trees
were also very abundant.
Our passage was very slow at this time, owing, in
part, to head winds, calms, &c., and to the shattered
condition of our vessel. On the morning of the 29th,
however, an incident occurred which relieved us of
some of our difficulties. We ran into a large shoal of
sun-fish, bearing some resemblance to the sea animalcules, only larger, and of a transparent jelly. This
shoal extended for several miles, and while the ship
was passing them, they were pressed with great force
into the bottom, nearly stopping the leak, very much
to our satisfaction.
On the 28th, we were passing Cape Rosalgat, about
eighty miles from Muscat. Every day after the sloop
met us, the Sultan's barge came down to us, loaded
deeply with cattle, fruits and vegetables. We were
now making rapid progress toward the haven.
As soon as we rounded the point, coming in sight
of the forts, they commenced an incessant firing, at
the same time hoisting the American flag. So dense
was the smoke and so continuous the firing, that little
could be seen save a thick cloud of smoke, curling far
above and around the fort; few sounds were heard
but those of the deep-toned cannon, belching forth its
emblenks of destruction. In about thirty minutes the
fort ceased, and we raised the Arabian ensign, returning a salute of twenty-seven guns. Immediately after
our arrival, we were visited by several gentlemen
24 278
from the shore, who gave us a very cordial reception.
Our decks were well stored with fruits, provisions, &c.,
and there was a nearer resemblance to Fulton Market
than to a yankee man-of-war. The Sultan had sent
off hundreds of fowls, droves of cattle and sheep, &c.,
all of which blending their croaking, bellowing, bleating and cackling, produced a jargon that might remind one of the "confusion of languages."
During the entire day we were surrounded with
boats, loaded with cakes, milk, butter, melons and
fruits, offered for sale. And here it is but just that I
should say something of the honesty of the Arabs, in
their dealings among themselves, and also with
strangers. When their articles were presented for
sale, the absence of money seemed no hindrance toy
the purchase. When told that we wished for their
articles but had no money, they were quite willing to
adopt the "credit system." Dialogues like the following, frequently occurred. "Y6u ^wantl" Yes.
"You got no money!" None. "You pay by and
by, John 3" Yes. "Take." At their visit on the
following day, they would usually ask, "You got no
money to-day, John7" No. "You want bread,
butter, fruit, milk, cheese? Take what you like."
The inhabitants of civilized society might learn some
important lessons of humanity and honesty from this
class of Arabians.
Capt. California, commander of the Arabian navy,
is one of the handsomest men that I ever saw; he
speaks excellent English. At his visit on the 4th, he
brought some ten or fifteen divers with him. Thes
divers, after having prepared a split stick, and fastened it upon the nose, to prevent the admission of water, OF   SAILOR   LIFE.
would sink and remain about two minutes under the
vessel. They reported that the copper was nearly
off, and brought up some of the loose sheets, and
quantities of the sheathing, assuring us that there
were large holes, filled with weeds and sun-fish.
Capt. California's son was with him, a lad of about
10 years of age; he exhibited dearly a praiseworthy
sense of honor, so characteristic of the Arabians. He
had brought his gun on board for the purpose of having it repaired; he wore a cartridge-box, containing
twenty silver cases for powder, each case having a
high-wrought silver cover. In addition to this, he
wore an Arabian dirk, silver-mounted, very highly
burnished, and worth, at least, fifty dollars. Lieuti
Gordon proposed to fill his cases with powder in exchange for his dirk, for the purpose of testing his honesty. To this he immediately assented, drawing his
dirk and presenting it. It was placed where he could
take it, should he choose to do so, but he seemed satisfied with the exchange, notwithstanding the contrast of the respective values. It was then taken
from his presence, and placed in the ward-room; of
this he seemed to take no notice. At last, finding
that he did not intend to regain his favorite weapon,
it was produced, as he was about to leave the ship,
and offered to him, but he refused to receive it. It
was urged upon him, but he firmly refused to accept
it, asserting that it had been bought and paid for, and
that it would not be right to accept it. ^Finally, finding that all our efforts would prove ineffectual, his father took it and replaced it in his belt; at this his
eyes filled with tears, and raising his hand and looking mournfully into his father's face, he said, " Allah LIGHTS  AND  SHADOWS
knows that I don't want it." I could but think that
there are many boys even in the United States, who
should come within the reclaiming influence of our
civil, literary and religious institutions, who might
with much propriety emulate the example of this lad,
though surrounded with the gloom of barbarism, and
moral darkness of Mohammedanism.
During our stay, the young prince, son of the Sultan, was married, on which occasion the officers were
invited to be present; a salute of seventeen guns was
fired, which was responded to by the vessel in the
harbor, and by the fort.
Muscat is a small city, containing about 10,000 inhabitants, situated at the head of Muscat Cove, and
is surrounded on all sides but that bordering on the
bay, by massive, craggy rocks, which rise from 800 to
1000 feet above the town. The streets are narrow,
and the buildings do not exhibit much taste in their
arrangement or ornament. The people are very cleanly in their persons and dress; the merchants are gentlemen of highly cultivated manners, and many of
them were excellent scholars. The art of penmanship seemed to have received an unusual degree of attention ; some of them wrote the most beautiful hand
that I ever saw.
On the day following the wedding, the Sultan and
his son, together with Capt. California and some of
the principal men of the realm, came on board and
honored us with a visit. He is a tall, spare man, apparently about 60 years of age. His dress was in
accordance with Arabian customs. He appeared in a \
loose flowing gown, of black silk, with pantaloons of!
white linen, cut after the Turkish style, a vest of yel- OF  SAILOR   LIFE.
low satin-; he wore also tasty sandals of superior
workmanship, wrought with gold wire, and a neat
turban upon his head, in imitation of the Turks. He
addressed the officers with much politeness, though
not the kind ordinarily taught in the northern seminary, where this branch is learned like arithmetic,
geography or the languages, but it was the graceful
politeness of simple nature, every movement and expression carrying with it the conviction that he felt
all the friendship, kindness and benevolence that he
expressed verbally. As he came on board we gave
him a salute, while the Arabian colors were waving
above him. He visited the various parts of the ship,
examined all matters of interest, and afterward partook of refreshment in the cabin, prepared for the occasion. When he took leave of us, we gave an honorary salute, which was seconded by the frigates and
On the next day we made preparations to sail.
Notwithstanding the shattered state of the ship, the
commander ventured an attempt to cross the sea of
Arabia; accordingly on the 9th, we unmoored, and
made ready for sea, after having concluded a commercial treaty with the Arabian government. The
treaty secures a free trade between the two governments, for the term of one hundred years; this act
promises much to the Arabian government, and may
be the means of restoring them to the high and important position which they once sustained in relation
to the neighboring nations of Asia and Africa. By a
consistent course of political economy, they may yet
regain their former strength and military prowess, as
24* 282
well as their previous attainments in science and the
Our next place of destination was Bombay, in Hin-
dostan. One morning during our passage, about midway between the two ports, probably 500 miles from
the nearest point of land, a large flock of land birds
visited the ship, such as owls, sparrows, black-birds
<fcc.; they had been blown to sea, probably, by some
severe gale of wind, and in their fatigue, were induced
to alight wherever they could find a resting place.
They perched themselves upon the rigging and various parts of the ship, and were exceedingly tame;
they descended among the "messes," and it was with
some difficulty that they were kept out of the dishes.
They suffered themselves to be handled, would share
our "mess" with us, and expressed their gratitude
by singing happy strains, while seated on our hands,
head, or shoulders. Some of them prolonged their
stay with us for two or three days and then left, probably to perish at sea.
This occurrence developed some of the nobler characteristics of the sailor. Though he has a rough exterior, he has a heart keenly alive to the sufferings of
his fellows, and even of the brute creation. Not a
bird was injured, but were treated with great tenderness, and might have remained any length of time, a
welcome guest, and shared his simple fare.
The commodore's cat, however, was not quite as
kind, but caught one of the number. She was not
permitted, by the more humane seamen, to retain her
ill-gotten prey, but was robbed of it as soon as she
could be secured. In the genuine spirit of tenderness;
and sincerity, a weight was attached to the victim OF  SAILOR  LIFE.
and he was sunk deep in the sailer's grave, where so
many lie entombed, whose bosoms were once warmed
by the same overflowing sympathy*that dictated this
simple act of respect to a mere bird.
Not so with the cat. Severe but suppressed mur-
murings were heard at the time, but no violence was
offered. On the next morning diligent search was
made for poor " tabitha," but it was in vain. It was
conjectured that she had followed the murdered songster, though not with the same ceremony and respect
that attended the former burial. The circumstance
may seem trivial to the reader, but it is introduced to
illustrate this important principle.
We arrived at Bombay after a delightful passage
of twenty-one days, where we found our consort, the
Enterprise. Our ship was immediately taken into
the dry-dock, there to undergo thorough repairs*;
Bombay is the western capital of British India, and
contains about 220,000 inhabitants. The city is
strongly fortified, and is surrounded by three deep
ditches and the same number of strong, high walls,
which are mounted with heavy artillery. There are
many things in and about the city that would be exceedingly interesting to the attentive observer, though
he might not select it as a permanent residence. An
extensive plain li