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naked children; on another, lepers, boys with monkeys, others with fowls, half-dressed women, asses not bigger than sheep, and hogs of a mammoth breed; to say nothing of those with cutaneous disorders, &c. &c., that were undergoing ablution. All conspired to form a scene peculiar, I should think, to this semi-African population. Here sailors watering and washing, chatting, talking, and laughing; there a group of "far niente" natives of all sizes, shapes, and colours, half clothed, with turbaned heads and handkerchiefs of many and gay colours, tied on after a different fashion from what we had been accustomed to, the shawls being reversed, their ends hanging down behind instead of before, completely covering the breast, and one fourth of the face. What portion of this group had honoured the place in consequence of our visit, it would be difficult to conjecture, all were eager, however, to derive some benefit from the meeting, particularly the beggars, who are equally pertinacious with those found elsewhere, and are certainly great objects of commiseration. This well barely supplies the wants of the inhabitants and shipping, and they are now about building a reservoir. The whole of the stone for it was prepared in Portugal, and made ready for putting up. It is to be of marble. The water for its supply is brought two miles in iron pipes. It is said that it will cost $130,000, and is the only improvement that has been undertaken by government for many a year.
A market is held daily in the morning when any vessels are in port. The square in which it is held is quite a large one, with a cross in its centre. The market is not of much extent, but a great variety of tropical fruits, of the kinds before enumerated, are exposed for sale in small quantities, as well as vegetables. These consist of cabbageleaves, beans, pumpkins, squashes, corn, potatoes, yams, mandioca. &c. All these were spread out on the large leaves of the cocoa-nut tree. No kind of meat was for sale. The only articles of this description were chickens four or five days old, tied up in bunches, and some eggs. In order to obtain beef, it is necessary to buy the cattle at the cattle-yard, where, on previous notice being given, you may choose those that suit for slaughter. They are in general of small size, and dark-coloured. Those we saw were from the interior of the island, where they are said to thrive well.
The morning drill of the recruits which was witnessed, was amusing. They were cleanly dressed, but the rattan was freely used by the sergeant, and what seemed characteristic or in keeping with appearances around, the sergeant during the drill ordered one of his men from the ranks, to bring him some fire to light his cigar!
No trades were observed, and but one small carpenter's shop. A
few shops were supplied with cotton, hardware, &c.
There were likewise a number of little wine shops, where they also sold fruit, which they usually have in great plenty, but all their crops depend much upon the rains, and the inhabitants have also become indifferent or careless about raising more than for their own supply, from the heavy exactions of government made upon every thing that is cultivated. The demand for shipping has of late years very much decreased. The improvement in the supplies and comforts on board of vessels on long voyages, now make it unnecessary to touch in port, as was formerly deemed unavoidable.
Porto Praya is yet visited by whale-ships for supplies. Although the soil is poor, and the crops very uncertain, yet the tropical fruits and some vegetables can always be obtained here. They are usually, if time is allowed, brought from the interior. The inhabitants have at times suffered almost the extremes of famine, in consequence of the droughts that prevail for successive years, and especially during the one that took place in 1832. It gave me pleasure to hear that the timely aid sent there during its prevalence from the United States was remembered with gratitude.
The exports from these islands are salt, some ordinary wine, hides, goats' skins, and orchilla. The latter is a government monopoly. Ninety thousand milrees were paid by the company for the yearly crop, and it is said at that price to yield a handsome profit.
The climate of these islands is said to be healthy, though exceedingly warm. It is subject to fevers, which generally take place during the rainy months of July and August. There is an indistinctness in the atmosphere that I have not experienced elsewhere, which causes every thing to be ill defined, although the day may be fair. The same appearance was observed after a shower of rain as before. The temperature of the air was found here to be 75.7°, and of the water 81°.
The seine was drawn for fish in one of the coves to the eastward of the anchorage, in what we understood was a place well adapted for the purpose, but it did not prove so. I should prefer the western beach, as offering better luck and being more advantageous.
Bats were the only wild mammiferous animals seen here. For the short time we remained, our naturalists were actively employed, and many specimens were added to our collections in Ornithology, botany, shells, and zoophytes, with some fossils from the bank already spoken of.
Slaves are imported from the coast of Africa, and settlers or heads of families are not allowed to bring with them more than ten slaves.
There was one at the consul's, recently imported from the Foolan district in Africa, who was purchased by him for one hundred and fifty dollars.
The costumes here are so various that it scarcely can be said that any one of them is peculiar to the island. The men generally wear a white shirt and trousers, with a dark vest, principally the cast-off clothing of the whites. Others go quite naked, excepting a straw hat; others again are in loose shirts. The women have a shawl fastened around them, with occasionally another thrown over them, covering the mouth and bust, and crossing behind. The children for the most part go naked.
The Relief not having arrived, I deemed it an unnecessary detention to await her here. There was great necessity of reaching Rio de Janeiro as soon as possible, in order to complete our outfits, and put the vessels in fit condition to meet the Antarctic cruising as soon as possible. I therefore determined to proceed thither forthwith. The store-ship did not reach Porto Praya until the 18th, after a passage from Hampton Roads of sixty days. Nothing more truly illustrates the necessity of navigating in the prevailing winds, than this passage of the Relief compared with that of the squadron. We took the route by Madeira, over one thousand miles greater in distance, remained there a week, and yet we arrived at Porto Praya eleven days sooner. The Relief, pursuing the direct route, had light baffling winds during her whole passage. Although something is undoubtedly due to her dull sailing, yet the difference is too great to be entirely attributed to that cause. The winds were generally found by her from the northward and eastward, and southward and eastwa whilst we, in a higher latitude, had them from the southwest, and the westward.
On the 7th of October, we left Porto Praya, and stood for Patty's Overfalls, as laid down on the chart, in latitude 11° N., and longitude 24° 25' W. In the afternoon we spoke the Danish brig Lion, from Rio de Janeiro. She had crossed the line in longitude 27° W., and had brought the trades to 6° 30' N. We lost the trade winds the day after we left Porto Praya, the 8th of October, in latitude 12° N., and longitude 23° 30' W. The winds then became variable, and squalls of rain ensued. The upper clouds had still a quick motion to the westward. On the same day we spoke the Crusader, seventy-five days from Bombay, which vessel was in want of medical aid. the surgeon on board, and administered to their wants every thing that was in our power. It afforded us no small pleasure to supply
them with some fruit and vegetables, which were very acceptable to the numerous passengers. The Crusader had crossed the line in longitude 22° W., and lost the trades in latitude 7° 30' N.
On the 9th we reached the supposed position of Patty's Overfalls, and were becalmed close in their proximity for forty-eight hours. Nothing was seen of them. We had passed through rips trending east and west, but no current was found on the trials which were made, nor did the reckoning show any. If any had existed, we must have been made aware of it during the time we were becalmed, for we remained nearly in the same position forty-eight hours. Thence we stood for Warley's Shoal. The weather had the same indistinctness that we had first observed at Porto Praya. It might be termed a dry haze.
In this part of the ocean we passed through spaces of water, from ten to thirty miles in width, in which the temperature of the water frequently rose three or four degrees. This increase seemed to me to indicate the existence of currents. I was, therefore, very particular in watching for them, and the only indication we had was of a very slight one to the southward and eastward. Our winds continued light and variable, and sailing in squadron, we had many opportunities of observing their different courses. On the 12th of October a remarkable one happened, in which all the squadron, while sailing with a brisk breeze from the southeast, were taken aback, and at one time all apparently had the wind from different quarters, although but a few cables' length distant from one another. The Peacock and Porpoise were very near running into each other. The whirl was in the direction of the hands of a watch. On the night of the 16th we parted company with the Peacock, and on the 17th spoke an English whaler, seventy days from New Zealand, by the way of Cape Horn, who reported he had lost the southeast trades in latitude 6° 55' N., longitude 21° 10' W.
On the morning of the 18th, thirty falling stars were seen in as many minutes, shooting in all directions from the constellations Gemini and Taurus. On board the Peacock, some sixty miles to the westward of us, they were much more brilliant, and in greater numbers.
On the 22d, several common European swallows were seen about the vessels.
The 24th, we reached the position assigned to Warley's Shoal, in latitude 5° 4' N., longitude 21° 25' W. The vessels were spread as before described, in open order, covering as much space as possible. We passed over the supposed locality, but saw no appearance of
shoal water, or danger of any kind. Here we experienced westerly winds, and took advantage of them to make easting. After we had lost the trades, in latitude 12° N., I observed, when the upper stratum of clouds could be seen, that they were passing from east-northeast, with rapidity to the westward.
We now ran for the French Shoal, in latitude 4° 5' N., longitude 20° 35' W. Here the wind inclined to the southward, and we proceeded as far east as longitude 13° W., passing over the two positions laid down by the French and English hydrographers, but saw nothing of it.
We now tacked to the southward, to cross the equator in longitude 17° W. The weather had changed, the rains which we had experienced at night ceased, and the extremely indistinct atmosphere which at times had prevailed for the last fortnight, disappeared. It is difficult to describe the peculiar effect this haziness produced. It seemed to me an effect the opposite of that of looming, apparently diminishing all objects. Although the horizon was seen, yet the sea and sky were so blended together, that it was difficult for the eye to fix upon or define it at any moment. It was impossible to use the dip sector. At the same time it was perfectly clear over head, with a bright sun, and the upper cirrus clouds, when seen, were in rapid motion to the westward.
The quantity of rain that fell between 9° 30' and 5° north latitude, was 6.15 inches during ten days. The greatest fall in twenty-four hours was 1.95 inches. The temperature of the rain on several trials varied from 69° to 72°, that of the air being at the time 77o.
The nights were now beautiful until near morning, when it generally clouded over, and remained overcast with flying clouds until evening. The zodiacal light was once or twice observed, but the presence of these clouds for the most part prevented it from being seen.
On the 29th, in latitude 3° 40' N., our observations gave a current of ten miles in twenty-four hours, to the north. Until the 3d of November we had light winds; the upper stratum of clouds was now seen moving from the east. On the 4th we had a cry of breakers from the masthead. We immediately changed our course and ran for the appearance, but it proved on nearing it to have been one of the many optical illusions seen at sea, from the effect of light and shadow.
On board the Peacock, on the 30th of October, in latitude 1° 30' N., longitude 18° W., they witnessed a remarkable appearance, resembling the aurora borealis, radiating from the northwest point of the horizon in different directions, and extending from southwest round by the north to the eastward, at an altitude of from 10° to 50°; afterwards