In connection with the preceding general instructions to Captain Stanley, it will be necessary to give a portion of those more explicit directions furnished by the Hydrographer, Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort.
On your arrival at Sydney you should take the earliest opportunity of communicating with Lieutenant Yule, in order to learn how much has been executed, by the Bramble and her tender, of the orders which he received from Captain Blackwood, and you will no doubt avail yourself of his long experience in those seas in digesting your plan of future operations.
A letter from the Colonial Office having recently apprised their Lordships that it is the intention of her Majesty's Government to form a new settlement at Hervey Bay, and having requested that it may be duly examined with that view, your first undertaking, after leaving Sydney, should be to repair to that place, and to make an efficient survey of the whole bay, extending it down through the channel into Wide Bay, and marking the best anchorages, the most convenient landing-places, and the several parts where water may be found.
And as it appears that Colonel Barney, R. In your way to this district, and indeed on every part of the shores of Australia, you should lose no fair opportunity of verifying the positions--of multiplying the soundings--and of improving the smaller details of the coast as laid down by Captain P. King in his excellent Survey, but which he had not time or means to effect with the same accuracy that will be in your power. By carrying on this system of correction and improvement in our present charts from Hervey Bay along the narrow navigation which is generally known by the name of the Inshore Passage, between the coast and the Barrier Reefs, a very great benefit will be conferred on those masters of vessels who would be the more readily inclined to adopt that channel, if certain parts of it were so clearly delineated, and the soundings so spread on either side of the tracks, that they could sometimes continue under sail during the night.
However necessary it was, and is, to contribute as much as possible to the safety of those vessels who choose the outer voyage by the Barrier Reefs, it is not the less our duty to facilitate the navigation of the Inshore Passage to all vessels who prefer its tranquillity and security to the risk of the former; and your labours for the accomplishment of this object will prove to be of peculiar importance when steam communication between Singapore and Sydney shall be established.
In the general and searching examination of those parts of the Coral Sea which are likely to be traversed by ships steering for Torres Strait, you will be obliged to regulate your movements by the periodic changes of the weather and monsoons--probably beginning to windward, and dropping gently to leeward by close and well-arranged traverses, and by spreading out your three vessels to a convenient distance apart. This great expanse of sea, which may be said to stretch from Lord Howe's Island to New Caledonia and to the Louisiade, would no doubt require many years work in order to accomplish that object; but, by dividing it into definite zones or squares, and by fully sifting those which you may undertake, a certain quantity of distinct knowledge will be gained.
Navigators in crossing those zones will then be sure of their safety, and future surveyors will know exactly on what parts to expend their labours. In carefully exploring the northernmost, and apparently the safest entrance from the Pacific, which may be called Bligh's Channel, you will connect the islands with a survey of the coast of New Guinea, as well as with the edge of the Warrior Reef, and as there are throughout moderate soundings, you will probably be able to draw up such clear directions as will enable the mariner to use it in moderate weather by night, and to beat through it at all times.
Characteristic views of the coast and hills of New Guinea, as well as of each island, both from the eastward and westward, will greatly assist him by the immediate certainty of his landfall, and will also materially add to your means of giving proper marks and bearings for avoiding the dangers. In Torres Strait you will find much to do--not only has a new rock been discovered in the middle of the Endeavour Channel, but the water in its western opening is only four and a half fathoms, and there seems no reason for not believing that Prince of Wales Channel is safer, easier, and more direct.
But before we can decide upon that point, an accurate survey must be made of it, throughout its length and breadth, including the adjacent islands, and showing their anchorages and watering-places, as well as the nature of the soil, and the kind of timber they produce, along with a full investigation of the tides. The connection of that Strait with Bligh's Farewell should also be examined, for many circumstances may render it highly necessary that the Admiralty should be made aware of what means there are to pass from one ocean to the other, without being observed from Cape York.
On this latter Cape Government have for some time contemplated a station, and it will therefore be very desirable to fix upon a convenient but secure anchorage in its neighbourhood. Our latest surveys do not show much promise of finding such a port; but, perhaps, inside the reefs beyond Peak Point, or more likely between Albany Island and the main, a snug place may be discovered for that purpose.
In tracing out the approach to Bligh's Farewell, you will be led to examine the southern face of New Guinea as far as Cape Valsche; but after verifying the position of this point, it will be prudent to quit the shores of that island, and not to meddle with any part of it over which the Dutch claim jurisdiction. When you have arrived at this distant point, the south-east monsoon will probably render it necessary to repair to Port Essington for such supplies as may by previous arrangement have been sent there for you from Sydney; or perhaps unforeseen events might render it more expedient to proceed for refreshments to some of the islands in the Arafura Sea, or it is possible to one of the Dutch settlements in Java.
And in either of these two latter cases you should make a complete survey of the island to which you have proceeded, or you should select any one of the eastern passages from Bally to Floris most convenient to the object you have in view, and then lay it down with precision.
Of the many well-known passages between the innumerable islands of that great Archipelago, there is not one which has ever been charted with plausible accuracy; and it cannot be too strongly impressed on your mind that hydrography is better served by one accurate chart than by ten approximate sketches.
The several objects of this highly interesting expedition having thus been briefly enumerated, I have only to remind you that their Lordships do not prescribe to you the order in which they are to be executed, leaving it to your own prudence, and to your experience in those climates, so to arrange them that each part of your survey shall be complete in itself, and that each step in your progress shall be conducive to its successor.
The Rattlesnake left Spithead on December 3rd, and on the 11th took her final departure from Plymouth, which place we had called at to complete her fittings, swing the ship a second time to ascertain the amount of local attraction, and receive some specie for the Cape of Good Hope and the Mauritius.
Being favoured by strong northerly winds, we reached Madeira on December 18th, after a quick, but most uncomfortable passage; during the greater part of which the main and lower decks were partially flooded, owing to the inefficiency of the scuppers, and the leaky state of nearly every port and scuttle in the ship.
The scenery of Madeira has been so often described by voyagers, who, from Cook downwards, have made it the first stage in their circumnavigation of the globe, as to render superfluous more than a few passing allusions. When near enough to distinguish the minor features of the island, the terraced slopes of the mountainsides converted into vineyards and gardens studded with the huts of the peasantry, presented a pleasing aspect to visitors, whom a week's sailing had brought from the snow-clad shores of England.
Here and there a whitewashed chapel or picturesque villa lent a charm to the scenery by contrasting strongly with the patches of green upon the slopes, the deep blue of the ocean, and the delicate white of the ever-changing clouds of mist which rolled incessantly along, while the rugged summit of the island, and the deep ravines radiating towards the coast-range of precipitous cliffs, gave an air of wildness to the scene.
The town of Funchal, said to contain about 25, inhabitants, is situated upon the slope of an amphitheatre of hills, behind the only anchorage of the island. The finest view is obtained from the balcony of a church dedicated to Nossa Senhora de Monte, situated at a considerable elevation above the town. Here one looks down upon the numerous quintas and cottages of the suburbs embosomed in gardens and vineyards, the orange groves and clumps of chestnut trees, the snow-white houses of Funchal with its churches and public buildings, the citadel frowning over the town, the calm waters of the bay with the vessels at anchor gently heaving to and fro on the long westerly swell, the Ilheo rock and batteries, the bold headlands, and the dim outline of the distant Desertas.
Some of the streets are pleasantly shaded by rows of plane-trees Platanus occidentalis. Several deep ravines passing through the town are carefully walled in, to prevent damage being done by the torrents which occasionally sweep down the mountain, carrying everything before them.
From the steepness of the narrow roads and streets, wheeled vehicles can scarcely be used, and sledges drawn by small bullocks supply their place, while the wine, the chief article of export, is conveyed into the town in goat-skins carried on the shoulder. Few strangers remain long in Madeira without paying a visit to the Curral, and a large party of us left the ship for that purpose this morning.
At first the road led through a series of narrow lanes frequently separated from the fields and vineyards on either side by hedges of roses, honeysuckle, jasmine and fuchsias; now and then passing under successions of trellis-work covered by the vines when in full vigour, and then forming long shady vistas.
For several miles we wound our way along the hillsides, down deep ravines, and up steep rocky slopes. In spite of the ruggedness of the path, our horses progressed with wonderful alacrity, although occasionally impeded by the additional weight of the attendant burroqueros holding on by the tail, and laughing at our efforts to dislodge them. On reaching the shoulder of one of the hills, we found the ravines and valleys below us filled with dense mist.
Here, at an elevation of feet, a species of spruce-like pine appeared to thrive well. The path, which at times is not more than three feet wide, now winds along the sides of the mountain with many sharp turnings; heading numerous ravines, the frightful nature of which was partially concealed by the obscurity of the mist. Shortly afterwards the mist gradually dissolved, unveiling the magnificent scenery below and around.
A winding path leads to the bottom--a small fertile valley watered by a streamlet which leaves it by a deep gorge on the left, and forms a picturesque waterfall on its way to the sea. The scattered rustic huts and snow-white chapel of the Curral complete the picture of this peaceful and secluded spot, buried in the very heart of the mountains.
The height of the Pico dos Bodes, determined in the usual way by the mountain barometer, was found by Lieutenant Dayman to be feet; his observations on the magnetic dip and intensity for which see the Appendix are interesting, as showing a great amount of local attraction at the summit. There is reason to suppose the Curral to have been the principal, although not the only centre of that submarine volcanic action, during the continuance of which Madeira first emerged from the sea, an event, which the evidence afforded by the limestone fossils of St.
Vincente on the north side of the island associates with the tertiary epoch. See Paper by Dr. Although it is now the middle of winter, today's excursion afforded many subjects of interest to a naturalist. Some beautiful ferns, of which even the commonest one Adiantum capillus-veneris would have been much prized by an English botanist as a very rare British species, occurred on the dripping rocks by the roadside, and many wild plants were in flower on the lower grounds.
Even butterflies of three kinds, two of which Colias edusa and Cynthia cardui are also found in Britain, occurred, although in small numbers, and at the Pass of the Curral coleoptera of the genera Pimelea and Scarites, were met with under stones along with minute landshells, Bulimus lubricus, Clausilia deltostoma, and a Pupa.
After a stay of eight days, we left Madeira for Rio de Janeiro, and on January 2nd picked up the south-east trade wind, and passed through the Cape de Verde Islands to the southward between Mayo and St.
Two days afterwards, in latitude 9 degrees 30 minutes North, and longitude 22 degrees 40 minutes West, a slight momentary shock, supposed to be the effect of an earthquake, was felt throughout the ship. On the 11th an attempt was made to strike deep-sea soundings, but failed from the drawing of a splice used to connect two portions of the spun-yarn employed.
On the following day the attempt was repeated by Captain Stanley, unsuccessfully, however, no bottom having been obtained at a depth of fathoms. Still a record of the experiment may be considered interesting. The jolly-boat was in attendance to tow the cutter as fast to whirlwind as she drifted, so as to keep the line during the time it was running out as nearly up and down as possible. The following table shows when each fathoms passed over the stern, the whole fathoms of line having taken 38 minutes and 40 seconds to run out: The forenoon of January 13th was employed in the performance of the usual ceremonies on crossing the line, a custom now happily falling into desuetude--I allude to it merely for the purpose of mentioning its unfortunate consequences in the present instance; for, although the whole proceeding was conducted with the greatest good humour, we had soon afterwards to lament the occurrence of a fatal case of pleurisy, besides another scarcely less severe, believed by the medical officers to have been induced by forcible and continued submersion in what is technically called the pond, one part of the performance which novices are obliged to submit to during these marine Saturnalia.
The most interesting occurrence in natural history during the passage, in addition to the usual accompaniments of flying fish, dolphins, physaliae and velellae, was our finding, in the neighbourhood of the equator, considerable numbers of a rare British bird, Thalassidroma leachii, a species of storm-petrel, not before known to extend its range to the tropics; it was distributed between the tropic of Cancer and latitude 5 degrees South.
As we approached the South American coast, the rates of several of our seventeen chronometers fifteen Government and two private ones were found to have strangely altered, thus reducing the value of our meridian distance between Madeira and Rio; this effect was ascribed to the firing of shotted guns when exercising at general quarters, a practice which in consequence was not afterwards repeated. I shall not soon forget my first view of the shores of the new world. The morning was beautifully fine, and with a light breeze scarcely sufficient to cause a ripple on the water, we were slipping past the high and remarkable promontory of Cape Frio, which at first appeared like an island.
A long beach of glittering sand stretched away to the westward, and was lost in the distance; behind this a strip of undulating country, clad here and there in the richest green, was backed by a range of distant wooded hills, on which many clumps of palms could be distinguished.
Few harbours in the world present a more imposing entrance than that of Rio de Janeiro. Several islands lie off the opening, and on either side the coast range terminates in broken hills and ridges of granite, one of which, Pao d'Acucar, the Sugarloaf of the English, rises at once from near the water's edge to the height of feet, as an apparently inaccessible peak, and forms the well-known landmark for the entrance.
Passing the narrows where the width is a mile and a quarter strongly guarded by fortifications, of which Fort Santa Cruz, an extensive work, with several tiers of guns occupying a rocky point, is the principal, the harbour widens out with beautiful sandy bays on either side, and rocky headlands covered with luxuriant vegetation.
Here the view of the city of Rio de Janeiro is magnificent. The glare of the red-tiled buildings, whitewashed or painted yellow, is relieved by the varied beauty of the suburbs and gardens, and the numerous wooded eminences crowned by churches and other conspicuous public edifices. Beyond the city the harbour again widens out to form an immense basin, studded with green islands, extending backwards some seventeen or eighteen miles further towards the foot of the Organ Mountains, remarkable for their pinnacled summits, the highest of which attains an elevation of feet above the sea.
The harbour presented a busy scene from our anchorage. The water was alive with small craft of every description, from the large felucca-rigged boat down to the fishing canoe simply constructed of a hollowed-out log, and steamers crowded with passengers plied between the city and the opposite shore.
The seabreeze died away, and was succeeded by a sultry calm; after a short interval, the grateful land wind, laden with sweet odours, advanced as a dark line slowly stealing along the surface of the water, and the deep boom of the evening gun echoing from hill to hill may be said appropriately to have closed the scene.
Landing at the Largo do Paco, or palace square, my first favourable impressions of the city of Rio de Janeiro were somewhat lessened by the stench arising from offal on the beach, and the vicinity of the market, under the conjoined influence of a perfect calm and a temperature of 90 degrees in the shade. The palace, now used by the emperor only on court days, has two sides of the large irregular square in which it is situated, occupied by shops and other private buildings.
Close by is the market, which the stranger, especially if a naturalist, will do well to visit. The variety of fruits and vegetables is great, that of fish scarcely less so. On the muddy shore in the background, the fishing canoes are drawn up on their arrival to discharge their cargoes, chiefly at this time consisting of a kind of sprat and an anchovy with a broad lateral silvery band.
Baskets of land crabs covered with black slimy mud, of handsome Lupeae, and the large well-flavoured prawns, called Cameroons, are scattered about, and even small sharks Zygaenae, etc. The streets, which, with few exceptions, are very narrow, are paved with large rough stones--they have usually a gutter in the centre, and occasionally a narrow pavement on each side.
For building purposes, unhewn granite is chiefly used, the walls being afterwards smoothed over with a layer of plaster, whitewashed, and margined with yellow or blue. The two principal streets are the Rua Direita, the widest in the city, and the principal scene of commercial transactions, and the narrow Rua do Ouvidor, filled with shops, many of which equal in the richness and variety of their goods the most splendid establishments of European capitals.
Of these the most tempting, and the most dangerous to enter with a well-filled purse, is the famous feather-flower manufactory of Mme.
Finot, where the gorgeous plumage of humming birds and others of the feathered tribe is fabricated into wreaths and bouquets of all kinds. Although the absence of sewerage is everywhere apparent, the town is well supplied with water from numerous large fountains, filled by pipes from an aqueduct five or six miles in length, communicating with the Corcovado mountain.
One is struck with the comparative absence of wheeled vehicles in the streets of Rio. Now and then a clumsy caleche is driven past by a negro postillion, in blue livery and jackboots, riding a second horse yoked outside the shafts, and omnibuses drawn by four or six mules, are not infrequently met with, and seem to be much patronised.
Many of the walks in the neighbourhood of the city are exceedingly beautiful; one of the pleasantest leads along the line of the aqueduct. Here the botanist fresh from Europe, will find subjects of interest at every step, and the entomologist may revel to his heart's content among gaudily coloured Heliconiae, Hesperiae, and Erycinae, or watch the larger butterflies of the restricted genus Papilio, slowly winging their lazy flight among the trees just beyond the reach of his insect net.
A common butterfly here Peridromia amphinome has the singular habit of frequenting the trunks and limbs of the trees where it rests with expanded wings, and generally manages adroitly to shift its position, and escape when swept at with the net.
Some large dark Cicadae are common among the branches, and the air often resounds with their harsh grating cries, especially towards evening. On the trunks of various trees along the path, especially a thorny-stemmed Bombax, the pretty Bulimus papyraceus is common, with an occasional B. Some of the lanes, in which, on one occasion I lost my way, about dusk, would have reminded me of those of the south of England on a fine autumnal eve, were it not for the scattered palms and papaw trees in the hedgerows, and the hedges themselves occasionally consisting of the coffee plant, concealing clumps of banana and sugar-cane.
The Cicadae were singing their evening hymn from the branches overhead, and in due time the fireflies came out in all their glory. I had looked forward with eager anticipation to the result of the first dredging of the Voyage. None of the ship's boats could be spared, so I hired one pulled by four negro slaves, who, although strong active fellows, had great objections to straining their backs at the oar, when the dredge was down. No sieve having been supplied, we were obliged to sift the contents of the dredge through our hands--a tedious and superficial mode of examination.
Still some fine specimens of a curious flat sea-urchin Encope marginata and a few shells, encouraged us to persevere.
Two days after, Mr.