[VOYAGE FOUR] CHAPTER II
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Island of Tristan d'Acunha--King Lambert--Governor Glass--Gough's Island--Kerguelen's Land--Cape Desolation--Lord Auckland's Group--New-year's Festivities--Learning to walk--Natural Productions of the Island--The Schooner Henry, Captain Johnson, their probable Fate--The Snares--Stewart's Isle, or South Cape of New-Zealand--Molyneux's Harbour--Intercourse with the Natives of New-Zealand.
TRISTAN D'ACUNHA is the largest of three islands in the South Atlantic ocean; in latitude 37 ° 8' south, long. 12 ° 8' west; about fifteen hundred miles eastward from the mouth of Rio de la Plata, in South America, and about the same distance west-by-south from the Cape of Good Hope. It is fifteen miles in circumference, and is so much elevated, that it can be seen, in clear weather, at the distance of twenty-five leagues. The three islands together form a triangle, of which Tristan is the north-east point. The other two islands were named by the French, in 1767; the most westerly being called Inaccessible, and the other, which is the smallest and most southerly, Nightingale Island.
In approaching this group from the north, we make the largest island, Tristan, at a vast distance, varying, of course, according to the state of the atmosphere. A part of the island, towards the north, rises perpendicularly from the sea, to the height of a thousand feet or more. A level then commences, extending towards the centre, forming what seamen term table-land; above which rises a conical mountain, not unlike in appearance the Peak of Teneriffe, as seen from the bay of Santa Cruz. Trees grow half-way up this sugar-loaf eminence, but above that it consists of bare and rugged rocks, frequently hidden by the clouds; with a summit which is covered with snow during the greatest part of the year, notwithstanding that no snow falls on the coast. In coming close in with the north side of this island, the Antarctic was completely overshadowed by that perpendicular elevation of a thousand feet, which rises "like a moss-grown wall immediately from the ocean." There are no shoals or other dangers about the island, which is of circular shape, with bold shores and deep water.
On the north-west side of the island is a bay, with a fine beach of black sand, where boats may land with southerly winds; this bay, however, is open and exposed to winds from the opposite quarter. Here are two cascades of excellent water, in sufficient quantity to supply a large fleet; and the casks could be filled by means of a long hose, without moving them from the boats. A plenty of fish may be caught with hook and line, among which are an excellent kind of large perch, some weighing six pounds, crawfish, and a fine species of the cod. Good anchorage may be found close in to the land, in eighteen fathoms of water; also at a quarter of a league from shore, in thirty fathoms, gray sand mixed with small pebbles.
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Inaccessible Island, which forms the western point of the triangle, lies in latitude 37 ° 17' south, long. 12 ° 24' west. It presents a high bluff, of forbidding appearance, which may be seen at the distance of twelve or fourteen leagues. It is about six miles in circumference, with a high flat top, barren, steep, and apparently inaccessible; some scattered shrubs only are to be seen on it. There are no dangers about it, with the exception of a rock, which appears like a boat under sail, at the south-east point. The ship Blenden Hall, Captain Greig, from London to Bombay, was totally lost on this island, on the 23d of July, 1821; eight of the crew perished, in attempting to reach Tristan in an open boat, of their own construction.
Nightingale Island, the smallest of the group, forms the southern point of the triangle, and lies in latitude 37 ° 26' south, long. 12 ° 12' west. It is descried at the distance of seven or eight leagues, appears irregular, with a hollow in the middle, and a small rocky islet at its southern extremity. Captain Patten, of the ship Industry, of Philadelphia, mentions "a high reef of rocks, or rocky islets, off the south end of the smallest island;" and M. d'Etchevery, a French navigator, says, "It has on the north-east point two islets, separated from it about fifty paces, and which have the appearance of an old ruined fort."
This group was first discovered by the Portuguese in their earlier navigations in these seas, and was further explored and described by the Dutch in 1643, and by the French in 1767. The islands are all of a circular shape, and consist of very high land, with clear open passages between them. They are about three and five leagues apart. Their shores are frequented by hair and fur-seal, sea-lions, sea-elephants, penguins, and albatross. Whales abound in the offing, and I saw several sword-fish near the coast.
Captain Patten, mentioned above, resided for seven months 1 on Tristan, the largest of these islands, with a part of his crew, for the purpose of collecting seal-skins; during which time he obtained five thousand six hundred, for the Chinese market; and could, he says, have loaded a large ship with oil in three weeks. September he reckoned to be the best month for making oil at these islands. He says that during his stay here, "the prevailing winds were from the northward and westward; the easterly and southerly winds blowing but seldom, and scarcely ever longer than twenty-four hours at a time. It generally blows fresh, and frequently very hard, from the north-west; and when a gale came on, it was generally preceded by a very heavy sea, rolling in sometimes twelve, and sometimes twenty-four hours, before the wind rose. The weather is very subject to be thick and hazy, attended with much rain. The summer months are warm, and the cold in winter is not severe."
Captain Patten's people pitched their tents near the bay before mentioned and the waterfalls, in the vicinity of which there is a plenty of wood. He tells us "the trees do not grow high, but their branches bend down and spread on the ground. The foliage of the trees that principally abound resembles that of the yew-tree, but the wood is
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like that of the maple, and burns remarkably well; the trunks are full ten feet in height, and about nine inches in diameter. There are no large or tall trees to be met with. A great deal of drift-wood is found on the east side of the island, but none to the westward. Abundance of wild celery, sour dock (sorrel), and wild parsley is met with."
With respect to animals, the number and variety have been considerably augmented since Captain Patten was here in 1791, when there were no quadrupeds to be met with on the island, "except some goats, left there by former navigators, which were very wild." There are now bullocks, sheep, goats, hogs, dogs, and rabbits. "Neither vermin nor venomous creatures of any description," says he, "were observed. Of birds, the principal were a kind of gannets, like wild geese, which the sailors considered as excellent food; penguins, albatross, Cape cocks and hens, and a bird like a partridge, but of a black colour, which cannot fly, is easily run down, and is very well flavoured; and a variety of small birds that frequent the bushes and underwood. Abundance of birds' eggs are to be obtained in the proper season."
The most conspicuous feature of this island is the sugar-loaf or conical mountain, near its centre. Between the foot of this mountain and the shore there is a considerable extent of level land, "the soil of which is a fine rich loam, of a red colour, and considerable depth, apparently adapted to the production of every kind of vegetables; and excepting the danger of devastation from high winds, adequate to any cultivation." The productions of the other islands are nearly the same as those of the large one. Captain Colquhoun, of the American brig Betsy, touched at Tristan, and planted potatoes, onions, and a variety of other seeds, which grew and multiplied.
Captain Heywood was at this island in 1811, where he found three Americans, who proposed remaining a few years, in order to prepare seal-skins and oil, and sell the same to vessels that might touch there. One of these enterprising Yankees was named Jonathan Lambert, who by a curious and singular edict declared himself sovereign proprietor of these islands. "In a short time he cleared about fifty acres of land, and planted various kinds of seed, some of which, as well as the coffee-tree and sugar-cane, were furnished by the American minister at Rio Janeiro. The seeds sprang up, appeared very promising, and the general aspect was that of a valuable and important settlement. The whole was, however, abandoned, and final possession afterward taken in the name of the British government, by a detachment from the Cape of Good Hope." This was in the year 1817.
After all this, however, the island was again evacuated, and given up as a British establishment, when several families voluntarily went to it, and took up their abode on it, entirely independent of control from that government. "The island of Tristan d'Acunha," says a London paper of April, 1824, "has now upon it, living in great happiness, twenty-two men and three women. The Berwick, Captain Jeffery, from London to Van Dieman's Land, sent her boat ashore on the 25th of March. The sailors were surprised at finding an Englishman of the name of Glass, formerly a corporal in the artillery, and the rest
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of the above-named population. Glass gave a very favourable account of the island, and declared that if they had but a few more women, the place would be an earthly paradise. He is a sort of governor at Tristan d'Acunha, by appointment of the rest, on account of his military character; and he trades in a small schooner to the Cape of Good Hope, with the oil of the sea-elephant and the skins of the seal, which they catch in great abundance."
At the time that we touched at this island, on the 15th of November, 1829, we found seven families, living very comfortably under the administration of Governor Glass, having for sale a plenty of bullocks, cows, sheep, hogs, goats, rabbits, and poultry; also potatoes, cabbages, beets, parsnips, carrots, onions, and pumpkins; together with butter, cheese, eggs, and milk: all of which can be had at short notice, on moderate terms, and in any quantities. Some of the invalids of the Antarctic pronounced this island to be "a land flowing with milk and honey." The inhabitants were very friendly, accommodating, and hospitable; and expressed their sympathy for the situation of my crew, not so much in words as in actions. They pressed upon me many little palatable dainties, with a disinterestedness and delicacy which did them honour. I hope to call and see them again.
November 17th.--On Monday, the 16th, at 7, P. M., we left the island of Tristan d'Acunha, and steered to the south and east, with a moderate breeze from west-south-west, and fair weather; and on Tuesday, the 17th (nautical time), at 5, A. M., we were close in with Gough's Island, or Diego Alvarez, as it was originally named by the Portuguese who discovered it. In 1718 it was seen by Captain Charles Gough, in the Richmond, bound to China; since which it has been called by his name. In 1811, on the 8th of January, it was visited by Captain Heywood, in the Nereus, who situated the centre of the island in latitude 49 deg. 19' 30" S., and in longitude 9 deg. 49' W. I agree with him in the latitude; but we differ in the longitude, as I make the east point of the island in long. 9 deg. 41' W.
The summit of this island, according to Captain Heywood's calculation, is four thousand three hundred and eighty feet above the level of the sea; the surface being mostly covered with a light coat of mossy grass. In some places were a few small bushy trees, like those of Tristan d'Acunha. "The cliffs rise precipitously from the sea, and from their fissures issue several beautiful cascades of water." On the north side of the island, a little to the eastward of one of the rocky islets which adjoin that side of the main island, is a small cove, in which boats may land with perfect safety, when the wind blows from any point south of north-west or east. Here water may be obtained with ease, by running the vessel close in to the front of the cove, where she can anchor in twelve or fourteen fathoms, with the huts at the head of the cove bearing south-south-west, and the north and easternmost islet bearing about north-west. There is a safe passage between these islets and the main island, with fifteen fathoms of water, over a rocky bottom.
There is a rock near the north-east point of the island, which exactly resembles a church, having an elevated spire on its western end;
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and it is called Church Rock. "To the southward of this rock, on the east side of the island, near the shore, there is an inlet within which the landing is safe and easy; it being protected from the swell and northerly winds by the north-east point. Here several Americans formerly resided; but they had been unsuccessful during a long stay, most of the seal having deserted the island; but plenty of fish were procured, and birds of good flavour were caught, by lighting a fire upon one of the hills in the night."
This island used to abound with fur-seal and sea-elephants; but they were so much annoyed by their relentless persecutors, that they have sought more safe and distant retreats--perhaps some lonely isles in the southern ocean, as yet unknown to the fell destroyer, man! These places might be easily found, however, if merchants were willing to risk the expense of the attempt. But our capitalists, generally, are timid adventurers, and cautious of venturing out of old-beaten tracks.
November 18th.--On Wednesday, the 18th, we continued on our course to the south and east, wafted along by fine western breezes. The sick now began to recover, so as to sit up for a few minutes at a time; but they appeared more like living skeletons than any thing else I can now compare them to. Their countenances were peaked, sunken, hollow, cadaverous, and, in short, horribly frightful--full as much so as those of cholera patients in a state of collapse. But they were evidently improving slowly, as they could take chicken soup quite freely, together with a little custard, made of the milk which I procured at Tristan d'Acunha, and which was boiled and bottled up for the use of the sick.
My wife now began to gain a little strength, so that she could sit up in her bed fifteen or twenty minutes at a time. But the fever had left her a perfect cripple, being quite drawn out of shape; as her limbs could not be straightened, and her ankles were drawn nearly up to her body. But still she suffered no pain. The application of various kinds of liniments produced no good effect, and poultices were equally unsuccessful. I next tried a very strong decoction of tobacco, with which I bathed the affected parts several times a day, concluding the operation by binding on the leaves, and keeping them moist with the liquid in which they had been boiled. A steady perseverance in this course of treatment was crowned with success; her limbs were restored to their natural position, and the symmetry of her person remained unimpaired.
Some of the seamen were now taken down with a violent flux, which I vainly endeavoured to check with all the assistance I could derive from the medicine-chest. They grew worse, and became excessively weak. I then peeled white oak-bark from the firewood which we had on board, and boiled it to a strong tea, which I repeatedly administered to them, in very small doses, for the space of forty-eight hours. This had the desired effect; their bowels became regular, their appetites returned, and they recovered strength very rapidly.
November 21st.--On Saturday, the 21st, being in lat. 44 deg. 30' S.,
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long. 5 deg. 45' E., we took strong gales from the west and west-by-north, accompanied with a heavy sea. Although our little bark was an excellent sea-boat, and made good weather of it, yet it was a very fatiguing time for me, as it was necessary for me to stand the deck nearly all the time, the officers being still confined to the cabin, and too weak to help themselves. The convalescent invalids in the forecastle, also, claimed much of my attention and assistance.
We continued running before the wind, under the head of the fore-sail and close-reefed fore-topsail, making a direct course for the north cape of Kerguelen's Land, or the island of Desolation, 2 going a great part of the time at the rate of thirteen miles an hour, in snow and hail-squalls, for about a fortnight.
December 5th.--On Saturday, the 5th day of December, at four, A. M., we made the north cape of Desolation, bearing south-east, distant three leagues; and at six, A. M., we were close in with the entrance of Christmas Harbour. But finding the wind coming out of the bay in such violent gusts as took the water up in sheets, we were obliged to relinquish the idea of working into the anchorage. We therefore stood alongshore, on the east side of the island, towards the south, under easy sail, examining the islets and coast as we went along for fur-seal, but found none. On the different beaches, however, we saw about a thousand sea-elephants.
December 6th.--As I had not averaged more than one hour and a half of sleep in each twenty-four hours since we crossed the equator, and being nearly overcome with fatigue and anxiety of mind, I was desirous to bring the Antarctic to a safe anchorage for a few hours, in order that I might enjoy sufficient repose to restore my exhausted energies. But this desirable object could not be conveniently effected; for on the night of the 6th the wind increased to a perfect gale from west-north-west, attended with a thick snow-storm. Being satisfied, from the range of coast which we had already examined, and from the thorough survey that I had given this island on a former voyage, that there were no fur-seal to be procured here, we bore up at four, A. M., and steered east-south-east, before the wind, under a three-reefed fore-sail, the two bonnets off the jib, and a close-reefed fore-topsail. Under this little canvass we made three hundred and twenty-seven miles' distance in twenty-four hours ; averaging more than thirteen and a half miles an hour for the whole distance. We continued running at this rate for three days, when we found that we had made nine hundred and fifty-seven miles' distance by log, and nine hundred and eighty-two by astronomical observations.
December 18th.--The wind now moderated, and hauled to the south-south-east, with light breezes and fair weather; but on Friday, the 18th, being in lat. 50 deg. 30' S., long. 127 deg. 15' E., we again took a strong breeze from west-by-south, attended with squalls of hail and snow. We continued our course, steering for Lord Auckland's Group, without seeing any indications of land, or any ice; but great numbers of oceanic
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birds of different kinds. The sick were now recovering very fast, but as yet neither of the officers was able to stand the deck.
December 28th.--We had variable winds and occasional thick weather from the 18th until Monday, the 28th, when we arrived at Lord Auckland's Group, and at eleven, A. M., anchored in Carnley's Harbour, in four fathoms of water, clay bottom, sheltered from all winds.
After giving the Antarctic the whole length of her two bower cables, I had our invalids all brought upon deck, to enjoy the salubrity of the air, the beauty of the scene, and the delicious fragrance wafted to us from the neighbouring groves, which abound with flowers of the most beautiful tints and the sweetest odours. Nature reigns here in all her virgin charms, unrifled, unpolluted--for man, the self-styled lord of her treasures, has not yet intruded on this Eden of the south, to mar the beauty of her works.
December 29th.--On the morning of Tuesday, the 29th, I arose from my couch refreshed and invigorated by the first night's rest I had enjoyed for a long time. The weather was delightful; and the singing of thousands of birds, of various species, was very exhilarating to our spirits. We again brought the sick upon deck, to inhale the healthful air, and enjoy the surrounding prospect. We then proceeded to the task of cleansing, purifying, and disinfecting every part of the Antarctic which was capable of containing the least impure air. Every article of bedding, clothing, &c., from the largest size down to that of a pocket-handkerchief, was washed, fumigated, and suspended separately on the rigging. The hold and cabin were smoked with sulphur, and washed with vinegar in every part that could be got at.
December 30th.--On the following day, which was Wednesday, the 30th, the convalescent officers and seamen were so much recruited in health and spirits that they were able to take a short walk on shore, which much accelerated the progress of their recovery. On their return they gave the most animating descriptions of the fertility and beauty of the little range of country they had walked over.
December 31st.--We now began to make preparations for examining the island for fur-seal; and on Thursday, the 31st, Messrs. Hunt and Johnson started on a cruise with the two boats, in search of the animals whose garments we coveted. Those who were still on the sick-list made themselves useful in repairing the sails and getting the vessel in order, after her thorough purification.
January 1st, 1830.--On the following morning, it being New-year's day, the compliments of the season were most cordially given, and as heartily reciprocated by every soul on board. The day was celebrated by shooting a number of fine wild-ducks, on which the invalids made a hearty dinner. In the afternoon we hauled the seine, but with no great success. Before we returned on board, however, we collected a large quantity of purslain and celery, together with a great number of beautiful wild-flowers, which filled the cabin and forecastle with such a grateful perfume, that it was like sleeping among roses. We also found some beautiful berries, of which I brought a small quantity on board to my wife, who appeared much enlivened by the sight of the
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flowers and the fruit, and especially by a little bird, of exquisite plumage, which we caught in the forest.
For the first time since the 26th of October, my wife now attempted to walk alone, by the assistance of her brother and myself, who stationed ourselves at a short distance apart in the cabin, with our arms extended, while she would totter from one to the other, in the same manner as an infant is first taught to venture itself alone on its tiny feet. The success of this experiment filled her with such joy that it quite overcame her; and while resting her head on my shoulder, she poured out from the fulness of her heart a prayer of gratitude and praise to Heaven, for this and other blessings she had experienced. On becoming a little more composed, she exclaimed, "Oh, if my dear mother could but just see me beginning to learn to walk, after being deprived so long of the use of my limbs, how thankful to Heaven she would be, for this act of mercy to her daughter."
In the course of a subsequent conversation, of a very affecting and interesting character, respecting the afflictions which had attended our voyage since we left New-York, she evinced so much philosophical calmness, pious resignation, and humble reliance on the wisdom and mercy of her Creator, that I ventured to communicate to her, for the first time, the fact of Geery and Spinney's having been removed to another state of existence.
The shock of this disastrous intelligence overcame her assumed fortitude at once; she burst into tears, and for some time refused to be consoled. Young Geery had been the favoured and accepted suiter of her sister, to whom he was solemnly betrothed when we sailed on this ill-omened voyage. "Do let me weep, Benjamin," said my wife, "for I cannot help it--these tears will relieve my almost bursting heart. He was the lover of my sister; and a more noble or more manly soul never animated the human frame. He was worthy of her affections, and he possessed them. I weep for her, and his poor mother, whose heart will break when she hears the dreadful news. You know, Benjamin, that she doted on Samuel; and his filial affection was most exemplary. Poor disconsolate mother! you was indeed making the shroud of your son!"
Why should I prolong or extend this scene any farther? I can portray but a very faint and imperfect picture of the reality; and though of the most thrilling interest to the parties concerned, the reader may think it a dull, heavy impediment to the progress of the voyage. I will therefore return to our nautical duties.
Our long, affecting, and, I trust, not unprofitable conversation was at length interrupted by the arrival on board of some of our invalid seamen, who had been recreating themselves in the majestic groves and delightful valleys of this charming island. On meeting them at the gangway, I found that they had brought a few berries, and a splendid collection of the most beautiful flowers, intended, they said, expressly for Mrs. Morrell. They felt their health and strength improving very fast, they said, and hoped, by the blessing of God, to be able to go to their duty on the following day. This was agreeable in-
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telligence to me, as we had considerable work to do, our sails and rigging being very much out of repair.
January 2d.--On the following morning, which was Saturday, the 2d of January, after committing my wife to the care of her brother, and setting all hands at work that were on board, I took the small boat and went on shore, with the intention of taking a stroll about the island. I travelled about five miles, over wood-crowned hills, fertile plains, and luxuriant valleys; and on my return to the vessel, at 7, P. M., I carried with me, as trophies and specimens, several beautiful birds which I had shot, and a large collection of flowers.
January 4th.--On Monday, the 4th, at 8, P. M., the boats returned, after pulling round the island, without seeing a single fur-seal, and not more than twenty of the hair kind. The boats were immediately taken up, and preparations made for leaving this group of islands on the following morning. In the mean time, I presume that a brief description of the principal one, in a harbour of which we now lay at anchor, will not be uninteresting to the reader.
Auckland's Group, 3 as it is called on the charts, is a cluster of islands, only one of which is large enough to deserve the name, and that is twenty-five miles in length, from north to south, and fifteen in width, from east to west. It is situated about two hundred and fifty miles south of New-Zealand, and as many leagues south-east of Van Dieman's Land, being in the South Pacific Ocean, in lat. 51 deg. 0' south, long. 166 deg. 20' east. It was discovered, with its surrounding islets, by Captain A. Bristow, in 1808. It is moderately elevated, the highest points being about fifteen hundred feet above the level of the sea. It is indented with a number of fine harbours, where ships can lie in safety, sheltered from all winds. A few islets lie on its eastern side; two or three others are on its western side, one of which is called Disappointment Island; Adams's Island lies off its south end, sheltering the fine harbour in which we lay at anchor, the eastern point of which is called Cape Bennett. On the north-east is Enderby's Island, and on the north Bristow's Rock.
Carnley's Harbour makes in about four miles to the eastward of the south cape; and the entrance is formed by two bluff points, from which, to the head of the lagoon, the distance is fifteen miles. The passage is about two miles wide, and entirely clear of dangers, within twenty-five fathoms of each shore. It runs in first north-north-west, then north and north-north-east; forming, at the head of the lagoon, a beautiful basin, with sufficient room for half a dozen ships to moor. The least water from the entrance until we came near the anchorage was twenty fathoms, mid-channel. We anchored in four fathoms, clay ground.
The western side of this island is a perpendicular, bluff, iron-bound coast, with deep water within a hundred fathoms of the shore; while the eastern coast is principally lined with a pebbly or sandy beach, behind which are extensive level plains, covered with beautiful groves,
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SOIL AND PRODUCTIONS.
and refreshing verdure, extending back about five miles, and then rising into elevated hills. The view from the vessel, in approaching this side of the island, is therefore very pleasing and picturesque.
All the hills, excepting a few of the highest, are thickly covered with forests of lofty trees, flourishing with such extraordinary vigour as to afford a magnificent prospect to the spectator. The large trees are principally of two sorts: one of them is of the size of our large firs, and grows nearly in the same manner; its foliage is an excellent substitute for spruce in making that pleasant and wholesome beverage, spruce-beer. The other resembles our maple, and often grows to a great size; but is only fit for ship-building or fuel, being too heavy for masts or spars of any dimensions. A great variety of trees grow in the valleys and on the plains, one of which bears a kind of plum, about the size of a prune; it ripens yellow, but has an unpleasant taste, though eaten by most of the crew. Another tree bears flowers very much like the myrtle. There also grows here a species of polyadelphus, the leaves of which we used for tea, and found them to be an excellent substitute.
The quality of the soil on this island is sufficiently indicated by the uniform luxuriant growth of all its productions. Were the forests cleared away, very few spots would be found that could not be converted to excellent pasturage, or tillage land. The valleys and plains, and hill-sides, and every spot where the rays of the sun can penetrate, are now clothed with a strong, heavy, luxuriant grass, interspersed with many natural specimens of the boundless treasures of nature's vegetable kingdom. This extraordinary strength of vegetation is no doubt greatly assisted by the agreeable temperature of the climate, which is very fine.
Antiscorbutical plants may be procured here in great abundance. Along the margins of the coves, and by the sides of all the fresh water streams, the wild celery flourishes in great profusion. Scurvy-grass is also seen in almost every direction. All ship-masters on long voyages know the worth of these plants in cases of the scurvy. They are very palatable and refreshing, whether prepared as salads or boiled as greens. Besides the vegetables already mentioned, there are euphorbia, crane's-bill, cud-weed, rushes, bind-weed, nightshade, nettles, thistles, virgin's-bower, vanelloe, French willow, flax, all-heal, knotgrass, brambles, eye-bright, groundsel, and a variety of others, for which I know no appellation; and many of those already mentioned differ in many respects from plants of the same family in the United States.
From my own observations, combined with the reports of others, I must infer that this section of the animal kingdom is rather indifferently stocked, with the single exception of its ornithological department. No quadruped has ever been seen on this island, nor even a trace of any, larger than the rat. Of reptiles there are only three sorts of harmless, inoffensive lizards; and insects are quite limited in number and variety. The principal sorts are butterflies, dragon-flies, sandflies, grasshoppers, and scorpion-flies, which make the woods echo with their chirping. There are also several sorts of spiders, and a few black ants.
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BIRDS AND FISH.
The birds are numerous, and beautiful beyond description; and I was at a loss which most to admire, the lovely tints of their plumage or the sweetness of their liquid melody, with which the forests were rendered vocal. Two, in particular, attracted the most of my attention; one of them a small green bird, and the other a bird about the size of a quail, with a crest very much like that of the maccaroni-penguin, only much richer, and the back of a changeable blue. These two birds are the most delightful singers that I ever heard. They may both very justly be called mocking-birds, for their melody is so sweet, and their notes so varied, that one would imagine himself surrounded by a hundred different kinds of birds, all singing at once. There are three or four other kinds of birds that sing very sweetly, and several kinds that I never heard sing. I also saw a species of the cuckoo; and the gross-beak, about the size of a thrush, is common. Parrots and paroquets are very numerous, and generally of the most beautiful plumage. There are likewise a variety of large wood-pigeons.
But the most curious bird which I saw on this island is called by some the golden-winged pigeon. It is remarkable for having most of the wing-feathers marked with golden yellow, changing its colours, according to the different lights in which it is viewed, to green and bronze; forming, when the wings are closed, two bars across the back. The bill and legs are red; the lower part of the neck and the forepart of the head are of a dove-colour, and a dark-brownish red passes each eye. The two middle feathers of the tail are lighter than the other parts of the plumage, which inclines to a bright lead-colour, with a bar of black near the ends.
I also saw two kinds of falcons, and three or four species of owls. Among the rocks we found black sea-pies, with red bills, and crested shags of a leaden colour. About the shores are a few sea-gulls, black herons, wild ducks, plovers, sand-larks, snipes, rooks, nellies, and several kinds of penguins.
Fish are plenty, and of many varieties. The principal kinds which fell under our observation while we lay at this island were, rock-cod, mackerel, black-fish, skate, blue dolphins, conger-eels, elephant-fish, mullets, soles, flounders, blue porgies, gurnards, nurses, hake, paracutas, parrot-fish, leather-jackets, and a kind of small salmon. Of all these, the salmon, rock-cod, and black-fish are the best, being of superior quality. These are the only scale-fish that came under my notice; though I have no doubt but there are many more species of which we know nothing.
Of the different kinds of shellfish the most abundant and most delicious are muscles, some of which are from twelve to fifteen inches in length, and equal, in every respect, to a Blue Point oyster. There are many others of a smaller size, which are equally fat and palatable. Clams are plenty on the beaches at low tide, and excellent-flavoured oysters are found in many places, but their size is very diminutive. Besides these there are periwinkles, limpets, wilks, sea-eggs, star-fish, sea-ears, crabs, crawfish, and many other kinds unknown in this country.
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FATE OF CAPTAIN JOHNSON.
On the whole, I think that Auckland's Island is one of the finest places for a small settlement that can be found on any island in the southern hemisphere above the latitude of thirty-five. Every valuable animal would thrive here, such as bullocks, horses, sheep, goats, hogs, foxes, rabbits, geese, ducks, and poultry of all kinds; all of which would increase and multiply as fast as in any other part of the world. Grain, fruits, and vegetables of all kinds (excepting the tropical fruits) could be made to flourish here with very little labour. No island on the globe, of equal dimensions, can boast so many excellent harbours, safe, and easy of access; and at the head of each is a beautiful valley, extending inland, admirably calculated for the site of a village. The whole island is well watered, and would form a delightful retreat to a few amiable families, who wish for "a dear little isle of their own."
The climate is mild, temperate, and salubrious. I have been told by men of the first respectability and talents, who had visited this island in the month of July, the dead of winter in this latitude, corresponding to our January, that the weather was mild as respects cold, as the mercury was never lower than 38 deg. in the valleys, and the trees at the same time retained their verdure as if it was midsummer. I have no doubt but the foliage of many of the trees remains until they are pushed off in the following spring by a new crop of buds and leaves. At the time we were here the mercury in the thermometer seldom rose higher than 78 deg., although it answered to our July. The weather is generally good at all seasons of the year; although there are occasional high winds, attended with heavy rains. These storms, however, seldom last more than twenty-four hours.
In the year 1823, Captain Robert Johnson, in the schooner Henry, of New-York, took from this island, and the surrounding islets, about thirteen thousand of as good fur-seal skins as ever were brought to the New-York market. He was then in the employment of Messrs. Byers, Rogers, M'Intyre, and Nixon; who fitted him out on his second voyage, in the Henry, in the most complete and liberal manner, in the year 1824. From this voyage he never returned. He was last seen at the south cape of New-Zealand, in the following year, having lost three men, who were drowned at Chatham Islands. Captain Johnson and the remainder of his crew were then all in good health, and had seventeen hundred prime fur-seal skins on board the Henry. My informants further stated, that the Henry left New-Zealand on a cruise to the south and east, in search of new lands, between the sixtieth and sixty-fifth degrees of south latitude; and as he has never been heard of since leaving New-Zealand, it is very probable that he made discovery of some new island near the parallel of 60, on which the Henry was shipwrecked. I have no doubt, that if a vessel should cruise in that direction, she would fall in with islands abounding with fur-seal; and possibly find Captain Johnson, or part of his crew, yet alive. For the sake of humanity, I hope that the experiment will yet be tried.
Although the Auckland Isles once abounded with numerous herds of fur and hair-seal, the American and English seamen engaged in this business have made such clean work of it as scarcely to leave a breed; at all events, there was not one fur-seal to be found on the 4th of Jan-
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STEWART'S ISLAND NEW ZEALAND.
nary, 1830. We therefore got under way on the morning of Tuesday, the 5th, at 6 o'clock, and steered for another cluster of islands, or rather rocks, called "The Snares," one hundred and eighty miles north of Auckland's group, and about sixty south of New-Zealand.
This cluster of craggy rocks is in lat. 48 deg. 4' south, long. 166 deg. 18' east; extending five miles in the direction of east-north-east and west-south-west. They were first discovered by Vancouver, who gave them a name expressive of their character, as being very likely to draw the unwary mariner into alarming difficulties. We searched them in vain for fur-seal, with which they formerly abounded. The population was extinct, cut off, root and branch, by the sealers of Van Dieman's Land, Sidney, &c. We therefore squared away for the south cape of New-Zealand, with a line breeze from south-west, and fair weather.
Jan. 7th.--On the morning of Thursday, the 7th, at 5 A. M., we were close in with the south cape of New-Zealand; or, more properly, Stewart's Island, which is separated from the main island by a passage about twenty miles wide, called Foyeaux's Strait. This passage is clear of dangers on the south shore, but the north shore presents numerous islands and reefs, with deep and spacious harbours within them, running some distance into the mainland.
Stewart's Island, which forms the southern extremity of New-Zealand, is of considerable magnitude, and its most southerly point, called Cape South, is in latitude 47 deg. 18' south, long. 167 deg. 14' east. Its southern and western parts have an elevation of more than two thousand feet above the level of the sea; but on its northern and eastern sides, the land descends into deep valleys and fertile plains. The whole surface of the island, except the summits of the most lofty hills, is covered with a rich mellow soil, clothed with heavy forests of excellent ship-timber.
On the south-east side of the island is a beautiful and spacious harbour, the entrance to which is narrow, and easy of access. After passing within this entrance, it branches off, north and south, in two arms, in each of which is safe anchorage. This is called South Port; and at the time of our visit, a gang of men from Sidney were here, employed in building a vessel.
The west part of this island is dangerous for a ship to approach in the night, as there are many reefs running out to the westward, from three to four miles, on which the sea breaks with great violence. The coast to the south and east is bold close to the shore, and entirely free from hidden dangers, half a mile from the land; but on the north-east point of this island there is a reef running off to the eastward about three miles, upon which the sea seldom breaks with a westerly wind, although there is not more than ten feet of water on its extreme point. From Cape South "The Snares" bear about south 38 deg. west, distant nineteen leagues.
Jan. 8th.--On Friday, the 8th of January, we left Stewart's Isle, with a fine breeze from south-south-west, and fair weather, and at 10, A. M., were close in with what is called Molyneux's Harbour, on the south-east side of New-Zealand proper; but instead of a "deep and spacious harbour," as reported by its discoverer, we found nothing but
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a small bend in the land, between two low points about three miles across, and one mile deep.
We soon had a friendly visit from about fifty natives, who came on board without the least hesitation, and opened an intercourse with us without reserve. We made them some trifling presents, which appeared to give them much pleasure. In return, they gave me a pressing invitation to visit their little village, at the foot of a valley near the head of the bay. But before I invite the reader to accompany me on shore, it will be proper to say something about this interesting country of New-Zealand: the next chapter will therefore commence with a few facts collected from the most authentic sources, and confirmed by my own personal observation.