Francis A. Olmsted

The Plough Boy Journals

The Journals and Associated Documents

The Plough Boy Anthology

19th Century American Whaling

Image Gallery from the Plough Boy Anthology of 19th Century American Whaling.

Bonin Islands

Pitcairn's Island

The Collected Works of William Hussey Macy

The Seizure of the Whaleship George Howland of New Bedford, by Convicts at Charles Island, Galapagos, March 1852

Dictionaries & Glossaries

Ashley's Glossary of
Whaling Terms

Dana's Dictionary of
Sea Terms









Sandwich and Society Islands



New York
D. Appleton and Co.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1841, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.


      During the latter part of my collegiate course, my health became very much impaired by a chronic debility of the nervous system, and soon after graduating, the cold air of Autumn admonished me to seek a milder climate for spending the winter. While deliberating upon what would be most desirable in accomplishing the purpose I had in view, a favorable opportunity was offered me to go out as passenger in the whale-ship "North America," which was fitting out at New-London for a voyage to the Pacific. From an erroneous prejudice against whalers, it was with great reluctance that I determined upon embarking on this voyage, and many of my friends made sage predictions of the wretched life to which I was consigning myself. A strong inclination for the sea, however, which had made

iv PREFACE.   

ships and the ocean my admiration from boyhood, and a love of the adventurous, inclined me to a voyage in preference to any other plan for the recovery of my health; and its successful results have left me no reason to repent of my choice.

      With the exception of the interesting work by Beale, entitled "The Sperm Whale Fishery," I am not aware that any representations of whaling life have been exhibited proportionate to its adventurous character and importance. Entertaining sketches of the capture of the whale, have been written at different times; but they are generally the productions of those who were not spectators of the scenes they attempt to delineate, and must, of course, be wanting in accuracy. I have endeavored to represent sea-life as it is; and should the reader, impatient to enter in medias res, think me tedious in getting under way, I have only to plead that the facts were so; and similar delays and vexations are believed to constitute a very ordinary part of sea-life. It has also been my constant endeavor throughout the narrative, to make a candid representation of occurrences, although I do not aspire to infallibility.

      Some parts of my narrative may appear to be wanting in exciting incident. My object has indeed been, to represent life in a somewhat novel aspect, but not by a sacrifice of truth or by an exaggerated picture. The common incidents of life, in their or-


dinary course, rarely exhibit much of the marvellous, and it is from the reality of their occurrence, in a great measure, that they excite permanent pleasure. A Marryatt, by weaving together the events of several voyages, and coloring the tissue with all the vividness of a lively imagination, gives to his sea sketches a brilliancy which a strict adherence to the common course of events would have denied him.

      The pictorial illustrations are selections from fifty or sixty sketches representing objects of natural history, and scenes that interested me, taken originally in the sketch book I always carried with me, and finished off afterwards, as soon as possible. The great expense of these illustrations, forbids the introduction of a larger number into the work; for the size of a work gives it a determinate price, from which even the most expensive illustrations will not admit of very great deviation, although embellishments of this kind are often as essential in forming a correct idea of a scene, as the printed page itself. Frequently indeed, they are of greater importance; for a single glance at a correct picture gives a far more vivid idea of a scene, than the most elaborate description.

      Some of the statistics of the Whale Fishery, were gathered after my return, and have reference to a date subsequent to that of the journal where they are introduced. This arrangement, although censu-

vi PREFACE.   

rable as an anachronism, is not deemed inconsistent with the nature of the work, and is thought preferable to multiplied notes.

      In conclusion, I have endeavored to represent the sailor in a favorable light, and to excite the kindness and sympathy of the benevolent in his behalf. If my efforts have been successful, and shall contribute to secure to the whaling business, that share of respectability which has been withheld from it through ignorance and prejudice, I shall esteem myself happy.

      New-Haven, August, 1841.

      One so young, and so little known to the public as the author, may, it is hoped, be permitted to annex the following certificate from Messrs. Havens & Smith, Hon. Thomas W. Williams, M.C., and Francis Allyn, Esq., Mayor of the city of New-London, to whom he had submitted his manuscript. Captain Smith is an experienced whaler, and has often visited the regions described in this work.

                                                      New-London, May 5th, 1841.

      Mr. F. A. Olmsted having submitted to our examination parts of his manuscript journal of a voyage in our ship "North America," in 1839 and '40, we take pleasure in testifying to the correctness of his descriptions of the Sperm Whale Fishery and the accompanying plates, and we think he has the materials for an interesting work.

                                                              HAVENS & SMITH.

      We concur in the above opinion.

                                                              TH. W. WILLIAMS.
                                                              FRANCIS ALLYN.



Voyage to the Azores. – Embarkation – Man overboard – Superstition of Seamen in respect to sailing on Friday – Discouragement at the commencement of the voyage – Description of a whale-boat and its appurtenances – Larboard and starboard watches – First aspect of the ocean – Gulf stream – A gale – Sufferings of an invalid on shipboard – Rainbows. 11
Fayal. – Arrival at Fayal – Appearance of the island – Situation of the town – Fortifications – Burdens carried by porters – Streets and buildings – Costumes of the different classes – Ladies of Fayal – Consul's gardens – Manufacture and exportation of wine – Casualties incident to life of a whaler – Dinner at the Consul's – Supplies laid in at Fayal – Departure – Lunar bow. 27
Ship and Shipmates. – Ship North America – Government aboard ship – Method of ascertaining the Latitude and Longitude – Eccentricities of the cook – Amusements of the fore-castle – Etiquette on board ship – Employments of the crew – Description of the several parts of the ship, and peculiarities in the construction of a whaler – Order and contentment of the crew – Library – Flying fish. 41
Whaling Scenes. – Attack and capture of whale – General appearance of the sperm whale – Great size of the respiratory organs and vascular system – Sympathy of cetaceous animals for each other – Inaccurate representations of the whale – Nature of blubber – "Cutting in" – Perils attending the process – Spermaceti – "Trying out." 56
Crossing the Line. – Disagreeable and cruel tricks formerly practiced on the "Green Horn" – Ceremonies of initiation into the mysteries of Neptune – Novel and interesting aspect of the starry heavens in another hemisphere – Delightful weather – Phosphorescence of the sea. 69

Cruise in the South Atlantic. – Fall in with the "Messenger" of New-Bedford – Sickness on board this ship – Medical practice of sea-captains – Fall in with the "William and Eliza" – Social habits of whalers – Whaling Scenes – Versatility of talent required for an accomplished seaman – Dress and manners of the crew – Mr. Freeman's soirees – Annoyances on ship-board – Christmas – Mechanical employments of the men. 74
Approach to Cape Horn. – Gale of wind – Game of these seas – the porpoise – Turtle – Pilot fish – Squally weather – Preparations for doubling Cape Horn – Novel aspect of the diurnal revolutions, and of the celestial bodies in these high latitudes – Capture of Albatrosses – Preparations for the Cape. 90
Cape Horn. – Terra del Fuego – Patagonians – Straits of Magellan – Geographical position of Cape Horn – Dangers and difficulties of doubling the Cape – Capricious state of the elements – Huge Sperm Whale – the carrier albatross – Perils of Whaling – Sailor's songs. 106
Hunting and fishing scenes. – Ambrose Island – Immense flocks of birds – Great fishing – Capture of a fur seal – Sea birds – Capture of a black fish – Boat carried down by a whale. 117
The whale fishery. – Early history of the whale fishery – Original method of attacking whales – Modern improvements in whaling – Implements – Enterprise of our ancestors in this line – Intrepidity of whalers – Discoveries in distant regions – Benefits conferred by them on the Polynesian colonies and missionary establishments – Character of whalers, officers and crew. 121
Varieties of the whale. – The Sperm Whale – Spermaceti – Ambergris – Right Whale – Size – Food – Fin-back Whale – Difficulty of capture – Hump-back Whale – Conflicts of Whales with one another – Loss of the Whaler "Essex." 134
Amusements and mode of life on shipboard. – Fishing – Mechanical employments –Bill of fare. 146
Cruise in the Pacific. – Perilous incidents of a whaler's life – Black-fish, capture, description, and habits – Squid or cuttle fish – Large schools of sperm whales – Terrific approach to the ship – Laws of whaling among the craft – Turtles – Brilliant phosphorescence. 154

Visit to Tacames. – Situation of Tacames – Interesting appearance of the vegetable kingdom – Tropical fruits – Landing in the surf – Density of the forests – An incident – Phosphorescence of fish after death – Carousals on shore. 161
Voyage to the Sandwich Islands. – The Gallapagos Islands – Narrow escape from shipwreck – Steer for the Society Islands – Capture of a large whale – Mother Carey's chickens – Beaked-nose shark – Leaky condition of the ship – Steer for the Sandwich Islands – Trade winds – Arrival at Oahu. 175
Sandwich Islands. – Seamen's chapel – Honolulu harbor – Fruits and vegetables – Appearance of the natives – Native dwellings – Police regulations – Fort – Governor Kekuanoa – Capt. Brown – Foreign residents – Horses and vehicles. 189
Sandwich Islands. – Valley of Nuanu – Taro Poi – Natives at work – Acquatic feats – An affecting incident – Native canoes – Commerce of the Hawaiian Islands – Moving a house – Treatment of a lunatic – Native salutation – Chinese – Annoyances – Scorpions – Centipedes. 202
Excursion to Hawaii. – Brig "Clementine" – Romish priests – Accommodations on board – Kailua – Governor Adams – Style of his house – Cavern – Natives playing in the surf – Native church – Manufactory – Lodgings – Escape from shipwreck – Shark catchers – Towaihae – Walk to Waimea – Spanish bullock hunters – Mr. Lyons, missionary – Bullock hunting – Fate of Mr. Douglas – Spanish saddle – Return to Honolulu. 216
Sandwich Islands. – Farewell to the North America – Whaleship Catharine – Objects of a consulate – Kauikeaouli, the king – Mission families at Honolulu. 237
Sandwich Islands. – Geography – Fertility – Climate – Ancient Tabu system – Idolatry – Oppression of the chiefs – Arrival of missionaries – Discuragements – Success – Churches at Honolulu – Schools – Hawaiian Institute – Supremacy of law – Depopulation. 245
Voyage to Tahiti. – Embarkation – Passengers – An incident – Calm latitudes – Poisonous fish. 264

Tahiti. – Arrival at Tahiti – Papeete Bay – British Consulate – American whale ships – Natives – Capt. Upham – United States Consul – Disaster at Tongatabu. 271
Tahiti. – Difference of time – Natives – Tongatabu – Queen Pomare – Pomare-tane – Tahitian soldiers – Display – Church – Palace – Seamen's chapel. 280
Tahiti. – Police – Coral – Fishing by Torchlight – Diseases –Annoyances – Moonlight at Papeete – Shaving the head – Native costume – Novel engineering – Climbing the cocoa-nut tree. 291
Tahiti. – Fruits – Cocoa-nut oil – Sugar – Guava – Bread-fruit – Tide. 303
The South Pacific. – Retrospect of Tahiti – Additional passengers – Accident – Snow – Iceberg – Religion of sailors – Bird-catching. 312
The South Atlantic. – A merchant ship – Long-boat– Crew – Gale – Porpoise – Pampero – Dolphin – Waterspout – Protracted head-winds – Ominous character of the Flora – Employment of time. 324
The South Atlantic. – Stores of the Flora – Pernambuco – Harbor. 338
Pernambuco. – Katamarans – Churches – Splendor – Appearance of the population – Architecture – Fireworks – Supplies purchased – Cross the equator. 344
Home. – Bathing – Sailor's fare – Cape Hatteras – "Land ho!" – Anchor at Sandy Hook. 356


Perils of Whaling Frontispiece
Spade, Harpoon, & Lance p. 20
Barque North America, New London Following p. 42
The Attack Following p. 56
The Dying Whale Following p. 58
Sperm Whale Diagram p. 65
Albatross Following p. 100
Music-1: Ho! Ho! and up she rises v p. 116
Music-2: Ho! H! and up she rises p. 116
Spanish House Tacames, S. America Following p. 168
Pulling Teeth Following p. 182
Sandwich Islanders Playing in the Surf Following p. 222
Old Native Church, Honolulu Following p. 254
Native Church, Honolulu Following p. 256
New Native Church, Honolulu Following p. 258
Bread Fruit Following p. 308




Embarkation – Man overboard – Superstition of seamen in respect to sailing on Friday – Discouragement at the commencement of the voyage – Description of a whale-boat and its appurtenances – Larboard and starboard watches – First aspect of the ocean – Gulf stream – A Gale – Sufferings of an invalid on shipboard – Rainbows.

      Friday, Oct. 11, 1839. – Early this morning, the rattling of blocks and rigging, and the animating cries of the seamen, announced that the North America was getting under way; and soon the barque with her swelling sails distended by a gentle breeze, swung from her moorings. The wind was fair, and as we glided out of the beautiful harbor of New-London, the clear air of the morning, the favoring breeze, and the bright sun mirrored in a thousand tiny waves, soon dispelled the gloom of parting from those I loved, and even inspired me with renovated spirits. The band of the Revenue Cutter was going through its morning exercises, and I listened to the national airs it was performing, until growing fainter and fainter, they were lost in the distance. A new feeling of patriotism was awakened within me; and these simple strains, that on ordinary occasions, would scarecly have been heeded, were now associated with many endearing recollections, and invested with a melody and sentiment I had never before discerned in


them. Month after month will perhaps have rolled over me, ere I shall again hear the inspiring strains of "Hail Columbia, happy land," in my own favored country to which I am now bidding adieu – it may be forever. But from these painful suggestions that now and then struggled to obtain possession of my mind, I turned with interest to the scenes as they opened before me in my new habitation, the first aspect of which was not the most favorable.

      The North America is a Temperance ship; that is, no ardent spirits are served out to the men on any occassion. This, however, does not preclude them from becoming intoxicated whenever an opportunity presents itself, which two or three of them, judging from appearances, would not be very reluctant to embrace. The prospect of a voyage of three or four years in length is an incentive to greater excess, while intoxicating liquors can be purchased to drown the unpleasant anticipations incident to so long a separation from country and kindred.

      Inebriety is by no means as prevalent among sea-faring people as was formerly the case, since the abandoment of the idea that intoxicating drinks were indispensable to the sailor. It has been within a few years only that the plan of sailing ships upon temperance principles, has come into extensive use; before this, if a master of a ship, in visiting another, declined a glass of spirits, his refusal was regarded as an insult. Soon after the commencement of the temperence reform, Major Williams, of New-London, determined to lend the weight of his extensive influence in promoting temperance aboard the whale-ships sailing out of this port, in which he was interested. His exertions, although meeting with great opposition at first, were successful – other influential men


followed his example – and now, out of the thirty or forty whaling vessels belonging to the port of New-London, almost all are navigated upon temperance principles. To the credit of the American Whale Fishery, it ought to be added, that the proportion of vessels of this character, is much greater in this service than in any other department of our marine.

      This afternoon, as I was standing at the starboard gangway, watching the progress of the ship through the water, a sailor passed by me, and letting himself down the side of the ship by the chains, very deliberately threw himself overboard, and commenced swimming towards land, then distant three or four miles.

      "Man overboard! – man overboard!" resounded from every part of the ship – a boat was lowered, manned, and put off to rescue him from a certain death. He swam very well, however, although encumbered with heavy woolen clothes, but was soon overtaken, hauled into the boat, and held down as he endeavored to plunge into the sea again. After a change of clothes, he was put into his berth, with some one to watch him, lest he should make another attempt to leave the ship. This man is a boat-steerer, (a grade of petty officers aboard a whaler, about whom I shall speak more particularly by-and-by) and a first-rate seaman, who had been to sea all his life-time, and had seen all kinds of service. For a week or two before the sailing of the North America, he was constantly intoxicated, and this insane attempt to leave the ship, was owing to the maddening and stupefying effects of constant inebriety.*

      * He afterwards became a very good friend of mine, and gave me a variety of information about ships, and "spun me many a yarn" of his adventures at sea.


      The wind, which during the day, hardly moved the ship through the water, as evening came on, veered ahead. A head tide also, opposed our progress, and as the sky towards the south-east looked lowering, with some indications of a gale, it was thought advisable to return. The ship's head was soon pointing towards New-London, distant about twelve miles from the shore, where we lay during the night. Early on Saturday morning, as the wind continued to increase from the south-east, we hauled in opposite the light-house.

      Sunday, Oct. 13. Soon after the ship was moored, yesterday, I went ashore with Captain Richards and the pilot, where we remained until this morning, when at an early hour we were summoned on board ship, as the weather seemed favorable for going to sea. But our expectations are disappointed, and here we lie without breeze enough to carry us out, while a damp atmosphere and cloudy sky, render our situation extremely dismal. It is the Sabbath too, and while the solemn tones of the distant church-bell should awaken emotions befitting the day, our own unpleasant situation engrosses all our attention; and instead of occupying our minds with the solemn duties of the Sabbath, we are watching the clouds for indications of fair weather.

      Monday, Oct. 14. "Boat-ahoy," hailed the officer of the deck, as a boat was seen coming down to us, rowed by two boys, carrying a large bag in the bow of their tiny craft, intended for the ship. We were endeavoring to divine the contents of it, which were supposed to be of a highly valuable character, from the important air exhibited by the boys. The bag was hoisted upon deck and opened, when out jumped an old cat and her numerous progeny, that ran squalling around the deck to our sur-


prise and diversion. Cats are consequential personages on board, as they protect us from the depredations of huge cock-roaches that swarm in every direction. I found one of these erratic black-legs the other day, up in the main-top, wandering about very much at his leisure. Captain R., a few days ago, in speaking of the good qualities of the North America, said that "she was built entirely of live oak," which subsequent observations have fully verified!

      Last evening, the clouds for a short time dispersed, and the stars and the moon beaming forth, seemed to promise a favorable change in the weather. Not long after, however, the sky was again overcast, and before morning, an easterly storm came pattering down upon deck, with the gloomy prospect of another dismal day. If I had not started with a good resolution to be disconcerted by nothing that might happen, I should by this time have been tempted to give up an entereprise so inauspiciously begun. "So much for sailing on Friday," an old salt would say. There has been a singular superstition prevalent among seamen about sailing on Friday; and in former times, to sail on this day, would have been regarded as a violation of the mysterious character of the day, which would be visited with disaster upon the offender. Even now it is not entirely abandoned; and if a voyage, commenced on Friday, happens to be unfortunate, all the ill-luck of the voyage is ascribed to having sailed on this day. An intelligent ship-master told me, that although he had no faith in this superstition, yet so firmly were sailors formerly impressed with superstitious notions, respecting this day, that until within a few years, he should never have ventured to sail on Friday, for the men would be appalled by dangers which they would think lightly of on common occasions, and their efforts


would be paralyzed by their imaginary fears of being under a mysterious and malignant influence. I have been told, that several years ago, a ship was built and sent to sea, to test this superstition, and convince the craft of its folly. The keel of the ship was laid on Friday; on Friday her masts were set; she was completed on Friday, and launched on this day. Her name was "Friday," and she was sent to sea on Friday; but unfortunately for the success of the experiment, was never heard of more.

      As knowledge advances, all opinions not consonant with reason must be abandoned, and this superstition is fast losing its hold on the minds of sea-faring men, especially since the establishment of the packet lines, and the frequent necessity of sailing on Friday. It had its origin, I am told, in the ancient custom of executing criminals upon this day, which imparted to it an unlucky character. I have also heard it ascribed to a connection with some of the observances of the Roman Catholic Church, which entertains some peculiar notions with regard to this day.

      Tuesday, Oct. 15. Rain – rain – rain – with a raw wind from the north-east– cold and cheerless on deck – damp and dismal in the cabin. For our encouragement, the barometer, which for the last three days has been continually falling, is now rising, indicative of fair weather.

      This morning, hearing an unusual noise upon deck, I ran up the companion-way, and, at the distance of thirty or forty yards from the ship, saw one of the men making desperate efforts to reach the shore by swimming. One of the boats had just been lowered – pursuit was instantly made, and the man with but little resistance, was secured and brought on board, crest-fallen


enough in his dripping clothes, with his shoes tied around his neck. "Come here," said the commanding officer, (the second mate) in an authoritative tone. "Well, you were going to leave us in the lurch, were you?" "Why sir, Mr. L–– (the first mate, who was on shore) told me I might go ashore with him, and he went off without me." "And so you thought you'd work to windward of us in this way, eh?" "Why sir, I thought he didn't do what was right." "You thought? Well, I'll tell you what I think, and I'll inform you in the most delicate manner, that if you show any more of such fandangos here, you'll be clapped down into the lower hold, sir, with some irons around your wrists, that don't look quite so pretty as ladies' bracelets neither – bear that in mind, and be off, sir."

      The crew, though very quiet in general, are beginning to show signs of impatience, and if there are no indications of fair weather at sunset, an attempt will undoubtedly be made to desert during the night. With the few exceptions I mentioned before, they are very temperate, and I have heard but little bad language or profanity on board, both of which are prohibited by the Captain.

      Captain R. left us last Sunday evening, and has not yet returned. I should have accompanied him up to town, were it not that I had already bidden my friends "good-bye" three times, and did not like to impair the virtue of the "Farewell" by repetition.

      Wednesday, Oct. 16. Yesterday afternoon the clouds began to break away, and the sun shone forth to gladden us after a long absence of his cheering beams. The moon too, favored us last evening with her kindly radiance, and long I paced the deck, musing on the reality of the enterprise in which I had embarked. When


we are preparing for a long voyage, we talk of separation from home, kindred, and country with a kind of vagueness as if it would never be realized; but when we have actually embarked, and there is no return, then the reality comes vividly to mind, and impresses us with the magnitude of the enterprise; while the uncertainties of the future forbid our anticipating its termination. The future to me is more than ordinarily uncertain. To picture to myself my various wanderings over the mighty ocean, in accommodating myself to the erratic life I have now chosen, and after leaving my present shipmates to trace out my circuitous course back to my native land, is beyond the reach of mortal ken and were a vain attempt. And there are solemn musings too. Ere I return, the irrevocable hand of death may invade the home of my youth and the circle of kindred friends, and consign one or more to the grave! Ah! these are the saddest thoughts, that press like an incubus opon the spirits of the voyager as he leaves his native shores.

      Early this morning, the Captain came on board, and soon we "hove short" – the sails were loosed – the top-sails sheeted home – the anchor weighed and catted, and we were standing out of our anchorage. It was a lovely morning. The sun just emerging behind the long line of hills that bound the eastern side of New London harbor, was fringed with the light fog that floated down the river, tinged with his golden rays. With the light wind that fanned our sails, we glided slowly along over the smooth waters of the sound, and by noon, having passed through "the Race,"* were directing our course towards Montauk Point.

      * That part of Long Island Sound between Fisher's Island and Gull Island, is called "the race," on account of the velocity of the tides between these islands.


      Thursday, Oct. 17. The wind has been light and baffling since yesterday. This noon there was a perfect calm, and upon the eighth day from the date of our first setting sail from New London, we find ourselves at anchor off Montauk point, to prevent being drifted ashore, instead of tossing about upon the Atlantic one third of the way across.

      All hands have been engaged in various duties about the ship, such as overhauling the spare canvass, and stowing away articles more compactly. The boats too, have been put in complete order, to be in readiness for the first opportunity that presents itself for using them, and although it may be a deviation from the plan I have adopted, I cannot do better, perhaps, than to describe the whaleboat and its various appurtenances.

      The whaleboat is a narrow, light built boat of about twenty-five feet in length, sharp at both ends, with its sides gracefully curved and running up to a point fore and aft, and from its construction, is expressly adapted to great velocity of motion and safety among the swelling billows of the ocean. Unlike most ship's boats, it is clinker built, as this peculiar mode of construction is called, i.e. the thin boards that cover the ribs overlap one another, thus giving strength to the boat and enabling it to be made much lighter. Each boat is fitted with six oars of various lengths. The steering oar, usually from twenty to twenty two feet long, is confined to the boat by a strap passing around it and attached to the sternpost. This gives the helmsman great power over the movement of the boat far superior to the steering with a rudder.

      The thole pins, between which the oars are plied, are covered with matting, so as to prevent any noise in the


motion of the oars. Of the offensive weapons, the harpoon is the most important.

Spade, Harpoon, & Lance

      The harpoon is an iron instrument, about four feet in length, terminated at one end, in a sharp barbed head, and at the other, in a socket for receiving the "iron pole," a heavy wooden handle of about equal length, which gives to the instrument great momentum. A strap with a turn around the socket of the iron secures it upon the pole. To the strap is attached the line, a strong rope about two hundred fathoms long, which is carefully coiled up in a tub placed in the afterpart of the boat; and going around the "loggerhead," a strong post projecting above the stern, passes through a "chock" or grove in the bow of the boat, and is "bent on" to the harpoon. Each boat usually carries four or five harpoons, two of which are always ready for immediate use when the boat is in pursuit of whales. Their barbed heads lie across the bow of the boat, with their shafts resting upon two "crotches," or spurs, standing out from a stick rising from the side of the boat. This position gives steadiness to the weapon, and it is close at hand whenever opportunity offers for using it.


      The lance is two or three feet longer than the harpoon. Its head is of an oval shape, pointed with steel, and its shaft is long and slender, with the "warp," a small line about eight fathoms long, attached to the extremity of it.

      The spade is a short instrument, with a thin, wide blade set upon a light shaft of five or six feet in length.

      These instruments are ground to a very keen edge, and kept constantly bright. Their sharp heads are enclosed in sheaths, to defend them from injury, as also to prevent their doing any mischief. A hatchet, a couple of knives, a water-keg, a lantern, and a boat compass, together with one or more buckets, complete the equipment of a boat.

      Six men constitute a boat's complement. Of these, the captain or one of his mates is one, who directs the attack upon the whale. There is also a subordinate officer called boat-steerer, who performs the duties of a cockswain, taking care of the boat with its appurtenances. To each man is assigned an oar and a station in the boat, to avoid any confusion when starting in pursuit of a whale.

      In attacking the whale, the captain or one of his officers takes the steering oar, and directs the boat in the onset. The boatsteerer pulls the short oar in the bow of the boat, and at a signal or command from the officer, draws in his oar, and taking his stand firmly in the bow, when the word is given, darts the harpoon with all his strength into the whale. Sometimes he is so successful as to fix both irons, which generally ensures the capture of the struggling monster. He now exchanges places with the officer, and takes the steering oar, while the latter comes forward to thrust the lance into the vitals of the whale whenever he comes up to blow, a feat re-


quiring no ordinary dexterity. The moment the whale begins to slacken the line to which he is "fast," it is hauled in, and coiled up carefully in the tub, while the boat is drawn towards the whale, as he comes on top of water, when he receives several thrusts of the lance in succession, which often enters to the depth of several feet. When the animal is very violent in his movements, a few strokes of the spade across the sinews of his flukes, disable these his most powerful weapon of defence and motion. The line is confined to the grove in the bow of the boat by a wooden peg, which breaks in case the line becomes entangled, thus averting the extreme danger of being instantly carried down.

      Thus much for the description of the whale-boat at present, which in grace and velocity of motion, is not excelled by any ship's boat.

      On board of all vessels, the men are separated into two divisions, called the larboard and starboard watches. The first and third mates command the larboard watch. This morning, the crew were all summoned upon the quarter deck, and the first and second mate selected alternately, the members of their respective watches. The Captain and each of the officers, in a similar manner, in the order of rank, then made choice of the required number for the boat he commanded.

      Friday, Oct. 18. Last evening the ship was again under way, and at sunrise this morning, land was no where visible. There was scarcely breeze enough to steady the ship, while as far as the eye could reach, not an object presented itself to break the monotony of the ocean, with its ceaseless undulations, or to impair the emotions of sublimity with which vastness of extent impressed me, as I scanned with eager eye, the uninter-


rupted curve of the horizon. The open ocean is rarely calm, such as we see in the waters of our lakes and rivers. Even in its stillest moments, when not a breath of air agitates it, its surface is perpetually heaving as if with some internal commotion. For the fathomless waters of the ocean acquire such a momentum when the storm comes over their depths, that even when the winds are hushed, they do not soon subside.

      Tuesday, Nov. 5. In resuming the thread of my narrative, which has been interrupted for more than two weeks, I cannot do better perhaps than to commence from my last date, and endeavor to give a slight sketch of what has befallen me in the meantime.

      On Saturday, Oct. 19, towards evening, the rain began to fall in frequent showers from the South. About 11 o'clock that night, I was roused from my slumbers by the rolling of boxes in the cabin, and the crash of the steward's crockery in the pantry, the howling of the wind and the loud tone of command from the officer on deck. "Tumble aft – tumble aft here every one of you. Let go your top-gallant halliards fore and aft – clew up – mind your helm – keep her off before it – main-tack and sheet let go – clew him up, clew him up – jump, for your lives, men – top-sail halliards let go – one of you give 'em a call there in the forecastle and steerage." "All hands a-hoy," just heard above the roar of the winds, summoned the larboard watch on deck, as we sprang up the companion-way to ascertain the cause of the sudden alarm. We had been moving along under easy sail, when upon nearing the gulf stream, a heavy squall struck us from the west. The top-gallant sails and top-sails had been settled down, while the main course was flapping about with a noise like thunder.

      In a short time, however, all the sails were snugly


furled, with the exception of a close-reefed main-top-sail and fore-sail, under which we drove before the gale that pursued us across the gulf stream. The next day (Sunday) a sea struck our larboard quarter boat, and dashed her to pieces, – a bad omen for the commencement of the voyage. We have since had another boat stove by the violence of the sea, which dashes in very frequently across the waist of the ship.

      I had brought a thermometer with me for the particular purpose of ascertaining the temperature of the water in the gulf stream; but the violence of the sea put an end to all philosoophical speculations. I was informed, however, by those that were drenched by the spray, that the water was very warm.–

      The air, too, was mild, unlike the storms we have at home in the month of October, in this respect. Indeed, the temperature of the ocean air off soundings, is always much higher than that of the land in the same latitudes, out of the tropics in the cool season of the year. For the three weeks, during which we have been at sea, we have had no weather cold enough for an overcoat, except at night, although at home, I presume, anthracite fires are glowing to repel the first approaches of winter.

      In a day or two we had crossed the gulf stream, and were promising ourselves a delightful run to the Azores, when the wind came around ahead from the eastward, where it continued for eleven days without alteration. At one time we ran down as far as the Bermudas, and were admonished to alter our course by frequent squalls that assailed us.

      During the stormy weather in the gulf stream, I confined myself to my berth, as the most comfortable place

      * Its known temperature in this latitude is about 72 deg.


I could find, and with bundles on each side of me, endeavored to keep myself from rolling about. The motion of the vessel, and the intolerable smell of bilge watere which came steaming up from the hold through the crevices in my state room, brought on a disease, that for more than two weeks, completely disabled me. It was not sea-sickness under which I labored, but an extreme debility accompanied with fever. There can be no mistaking the former, and I considered myself well versed in it from an intimate acquaintance during several coasting voyages. A determination to rise superior to my physical weakness, was the only thing that enabled me to counteract the extreme depression that assailed me; and I have never been more convinced of the truth of a saying which has almost become a proverb – "that a resolute spirit has greater efficacy in combatting our bodily ills, than medical prescriptions." No disrespect to the profession, however.

      When we are sick on shore, we obtain good medical advice, kind attention, quiet rest, and a sell ventilated room. The invalid at sea, can command but very few of these alleviations to his sufferings. The attentions he receives, have none of that soothing influence, which woman's tender sympathy alone can impart. Undisturbed repose is out of the question, where every thing is in motion and the bulkheads are dismally creaking. The air of the cabin of a ship is always close and uncomfortable in bad weather. Let a man be sick any where else but on shipboard.

      For the last three or four days, the wind has hauled around to the west and north-west, with frequent squalls. Hardly a day passes, but the wind comes whistling down upon us, and lashing us awhile in its fury, leaves us to be soon succeeded by another, when the same scenes of


"letting go the halliards – clewing up and clewing down – " are enacted over and over again. During the intervals, the ship rolls heavily in the sea, and the deck is washed by the sea breaking in across her waist. Buckets, pieces of wood, and other loose articles run around the deck in wild disorder, to the serious annoyance and hazard of one's nether limbs. Shower baths provided gratis for those who are not on the look-out for themselves. We have seen no whales as yet, and even if we had, the sea has been too high for a boat to venture out in pursuit.

      During the frequent squalls of the few days past, I have been delighted with the beautiful rainbows that formed at all hours of the day – now spanning the heavens in a regular arch, then rising above the sea like two pillars of resplendent colors, and again but just tinging the clouds with their brilliant hues.

      We are now about eighteen hundred miles from the United States, and expect to reach the Western Islands in six or eight days.



Arrival at Fayal – Appearance of the island – Situation of the town – Fortifications – Burdens carried by porters – Streets and buildings – Costumes of the different classes – Ladies of Fayal – Consul's gardens – Manufacture and exportation of wine – Casualties incident to life of a whaler – Dinner at the Consul's – Supplies laid in at fayal – Departure – Lunar bow.

      Tuesday, Nov. 12. This morning at seven bells (7 1/2 o'clock) "Land-ho!" was sounded from mast-head, and soon the high hills of Fayal, one of the Western Islands, were dimly seen through the mist that shrouded their summits.

      The Azores, or Western Islands, as this group is usually called, lie within the parallels of north latitude 39° 44', and 36° 59', and the meridians 31° 7' and 25° 10' west. They are nine in number, spreading over a considerable extent of ocean, and distant from the United States about two thousand seven hundred miles. Their names are Corvo, Flores, Fayal, Pico, St. Jorge, Graciosa, Terceira, St. Miguel, and Santa Maria.

      To me the sight of land was very acceptable, after the report I had heard of the tropical fruits growing upon these islands; and it was with great pleasure that I saw the beautifully verdant hills of Fayal rising rapidly before us, as we neared them before a fair and fresh breeze from the westward.

      Fayal presents a somewhat picturesque appearance; its surface is very undulating, and high hills crowned


with the richest verdure, complete its outline. We coasted along the south side of the island, where the shore is very bold, rising abruptly from the ocean, while the surf breaks incessantly in foam and spray upon the rocks that line the coast.

      Each hill-side was covered with innumerable patches of the richest green, which, I believe, were fields of grain. On this part of the island, there are but few trees of any magnitude. Around the sparsely scattered houses, that we saw through the spy-glass, we observed, however, small clusters of shrubbery.

      To the eastward of Fayal, separated by a narrow channel about five miles wide, is the island Pico, with its mountainous summit, called the Peak of Pico, towering into the region of the clouds. Its height, I am told, is 7,016 feet or I 1/3 miles above the level of the sea; and for the greater part of the time, it is entirely obscured by the mists that rest upon its summit.

      As we approached Fayal, just abreast of the ship rose up abruptly from the water's edge, a dark rock, which at a distance, looks like a yawning cavern in the side of the island. A little to the right is seen a cluster of buildings and a church, which with their white plastered walls, have a very pretty effect, contrasted with the verdure of the fields. Far to the right is seen the island of Pico, with its lofty conical summit. Between this and Fayal, as I have before said, is a narrow channel, on the left hand side of which, just after rounding the high bluff on the south-eastern side of the latter, the town of Fayal opens before you, built upon the sides of several hills that incline towards the sea. Upon this bluff is a small fortification, garrisoned by Portuguese soldiers; and there is also another fort facing the harbor, which mounts nine or ten guns, of no very formidable charac-


ter, as I should judge. The harbor of Fayal, the only one among these islands that offers any anchorage to ships, is but a mere indentation in the land, and is safe only with a westerly or northerly wind. These islands are subject to frequent and violent gales of wind, and during a storm from the south, the ocean comes rolling into the harbor in all its fury, oftentimes carrying away the stone wall that defends the town on the side of the harbor, constructed expressly to resist the violence of the sea. The harbor is very deep, and the ordinary chains of ships are insufficient to hold them in a gale of wind from the southward.

      There were one or two small, rakish looking vessels lying at anchor near the shore, and a fine large ship, standing off and on, with the American ensign flying at her mizzen peak. She proved to be a whaler, from Wilmington, Delaware, and soon came to anchor to repair her rudder, the head of which had been twisted off in a gale of wind.

      When about a mile from the landing place, we rounded to, and a boat was lowered to put the Captain and myself ashore. The wind was fresh and flawy, and by the time we reached the shore, we were all well sprinkled with salt-water.

      Fayal, like many other places, presents the best appearance at a considerable distance off. As you draw nearer and nearer, the beautiful white walls of the houses become more and more dingy, while the dark muddy looking wall rising up from the water's edge, gives to the town a peculiarly unprepossessing aspect. There are no docks, and but two or three landing places for boats. Articles of merchandize are transported to and from the shipping in lighters, which are small craft of ten or fifteen ton's burden.


      We pulled for the stone quay, which was crowded with a ragged, noisy multitude, all vociferating in a foreign language, which sounded to me like another "confusion of tongues." It has a strange effect upon the mind, when we hear for the first time a language we cannot comprehend, while our own becomes a novelty. Then we feel that we are indeed in the land of strangers.

      We were interrogated by the health officer, before we were permitted to land, as to "Where we were from–" "How many days out–" &c. The answers were satisfactory and we were allowed to pass. Our men in the boat, however, underwent a more strictly personal examination; for immediately after the health officer signified his satisfaction of the health of the ship, one or two men jumped into the boat, and commenced searching the pockets of the crew, to see if they had secreted any contraband articles, such as tobacco and soap. Not much of the latter article was found, as sailors on duty, do not often manifest an intimate acquaintance with this article, and the appearance of the men might readily have testified to the contrary. Of the other interdicted commodity, many a choice bit was reluctantly surrendered, although in each case a consolatory quid was cut off and given to the owner, for immediate use.

      On landing, we were received by the brother of the American consul, Mr. Dabney, who invited us to walk tip to his office, which is but a short distance from the landing place, and overlooks the harbor. After a short conversation with several American gentlemen about the news from the United States, Captain Richards and myself took a walk around the town.

      Near the consul's office is the fortification, facing the harbor, and in the rear of it runs the principal street


of the city. Before the gateway stood several soldiers of the garrison, and we saw several of them in our ramble; they are tall, martial looking men, and their dark whiskers and moustaches have a very dashing appearance. Their uniform is blue, resembling that of many of our military companies at home. They wear upon their heads little blue caps, trimmed with red, and in shape resembling a truncated haystack. The entire number of soldiers upon the island, Mr. Dabney informed me, does not exceed seventy.

      Wherever we went, we were escorted before and behind by a troop of ragged boys of very questionable appearance. The streets of Fayal are extremely narrow. They are paved with large, flat stones, and are kept as clean as could be expected, considering the appearance of the population. The sidewalks are so narrow, that two persons cannot walk side by side, without danger of tripping one another.

      I was astonished at the immense burdens the porters carried upon their shoulders. They occupied the middle of the street, moving along under large casks or boxes, that seemed heavy enough to crush them. It took two men on board our ship to transport readily, a box of oranges, such as I saw individuals of them carrying upon their heads and shoulders.

      The heaviest work is performed by the labor of oxen, yoked to short carts with strong wheels; they are directed with a stout pole pointed with iron, which the driver, who walks just before them, thrusts against their ribs every few minutes, not appearing, however, to exceed in cruelty, the teamsters of our own country, whose wanton application of the lash to the poor patient ox, has often roused my indignation.

      We passed through one of the principal streets. The


houses upon each side would be called three story buildings, although their actual height was about that of our two story houses. Before each of the upper windows are latticed balconies, painted green, in the front of which are small doors; some of these were opened a little, disclosing at one time, a fair female face, at another, the dirty phiz of some curious urchin. All the houses of Fayal are built of stone, and are whitewashed, which gives the city a very pretty appearance at a distance, as I before observed. The population is about five thousand, while that of the entire island is about twenty-eight thousand, as I was informed by Mr. Dabney. Our walk extended to the hospital, a large white building, fancifully ornamented with slate colored figures of every variety of curve. It is a three story edifice flanked by two wings, one on each side, extending as far as any regard to symmetry would permit. This large structure, the finest by far in the city, and well located upon a gentle hill, was formerly a convent; but during a popular insurrection a few years since, the priests were expelled; and the building appropriated as a hospital, and as barracks for soldiers. On that occasion, the numerous bells of the convent were all melted up for coin, with the exception of one which is suspended in one of the windows of the third story of the main building. I could hardly account for this singular taste, especially as the cupola of the convent stands close by, which one would suppose to be the most natural location for a bell. At the foot of the hill is a fountain, the waters of which rise into a cistern about four feet in height, supported by pilasters. The area of the cistern is about ten feet by four, I should judge; it is built of red sandstone, and must have supplied the inhabitants with water for some time, as it bears the date of 1680,


sculptured upon one of the sides. Near the fountain reposing upon the stones of the street in undisturbed quiet, lay a meditative donkey, a sine qua non in all Spanish and Portuguese places.

      Many of the inhabitants were wrapped up in their cloaks, although the thermometer stood at 60°. The women almost universally, were seen dressed in large cloaks, some of them having capacious hoods attached. These cloaks were invariably of blue color, but of various materials, according to the rank of the owners; the "ton" of the city, sported their broadcloth cloaks of very ample folds.

      These garments, which with us usually indicate cold weather, are, I am told, worn also in the middle of summer. But what struck me as particularly ludicrous, was the huge bell-topped hat, that the fashionable ladies had adopted, which had at least the merit of being more easily adjusted to the person than the head-dresses worn by my fair countrywomen. A large white handkerchief is first arranged upon the head, and upon this these heavy hats tower up to a height endangering the neck of the fair owner. She, however, seems sensible of this, and is careful to keep the hat nicely balanced upon her head, while her handkerchief waving to the breeze, completes the costume of a Fayal lady. The motions of the ladies did not appear to me very graceful; they came swinging along half way between a trot and a walk, reminding me of the daughters of Erin, I used to see in New-Haven going to church. There are said to be some very pretty ladies in Fayal; but they did not, I am certain, make their appearance in the streets on the 12th of November.

      The lower class of men wore upon their heads little blue conical caps of cloth, or straw hats of portly, bell-


topped dimensions and shape. Those in a better condition in life, were dressed similarly with people in the United States.

      When we returned to the consul's office, an English gentleman connected with the office, politely invited us to visit the consul's gardens, a proposal we were glad to accept. We were admitted to the premises by a private entrance, which led to the front of the house through a passage way between two parallel walls of twelve or fifteen feet in height, which were covered profusely with grapevines. It was in vain that I looked for the grapes I had been delighting my imagination with during our voyage; since the grape season had passed, and the withered leaves were all that remained upon the vines. We were shown one or two rooms of the house, that indicated the style of affluence in which the consul is accustomed to live. Then passing into the gardens, beautiful flowers met our eyes in every direction, and those that had faded before we left the United States, were here exhibited in full bloom. Roses and Artemesias of various kinds, I recognized as old acquaintances; while many varieties of flowers, that were quite new to me, perfumed the air. Many plants I noticed, were here growing in neglected luxuriance, that with us require the most careful treatment. Geraniums towered upward to the height of tall shrubs, while the hydrangea was scattered over the garden as one of the most common flowers. The hydrangea, as well as several other flowers, which with us are of a pink color, when transplanted to these islands, turns blue, and vice versa.

      The method of rearing the orange tree from the slip, was exhibited to us. An enclosure of tall reeds woven together surrounds the tender orange slip to protect it from the violent winds that frequently sweep over these


islands. In a year or two the young tree is enabled to resist the ordinary blasts that assail it.

      From this garden, itself of very ample dimensions, we were led through a tunnel under a street, into another of equal extent, filled with many varieties of tropical fruits. Orange trees, bending under the weight of their rich yellow burdens, citron and lemon trees, grew up thickly together like the trees of our forests; while the ear was charmed with the warbling of birds. The grape vines are trained upon arbors formed of the tops of parallel rows of young poplars entwined together. As I looked down the long arches, wreathed with prolific grape vines, and seeming to meet in the distance, and rambled on through shady arbors, with the coffee tree and the banana springing up around me, I could hardly believe myself sixteen degrees north of the tropic, in an inclement season of the year, and but about two hundred miles to the southward of New-England.

      The bananas were growing in an excavated hollow, a necessary protection against the violent winds. The stalk which bears the fruit is three or four inches in diameter and rises to the height of ten or twelve feet. Immense leaves of a rich, apple green color put out from the stalk, which, near the top, give place to the fruit, a single bunch numbering from twelve to twenty bananas. The banana when ripe, is of a golden yellow color and in size and shape, it very closely resembles the pod of the plant with us commonly called milkweed (asclepias syriaca). The rind is pulled off very readily, and discloses a luscious and mealy pulp of a slightly acidulous and astringent taste, with a few small seeds set thickly along in a longitudinal core.

      These gardens are situated upon an inclined plane above the level of the town, and command a delightful


view of the ocean, and of the neighboring island of Pico. They are surrounded by a high stone wall neatly whitewashed, upon which vines of various kinds are trained.

      Returning towards the house, we were conducted into the flower garden, where were flowers of every variety, and rare shrubs evincing the taste of the proprietor, under whose personal superintendance all these gardens were laid out. On our way to the consul's office, we passed through a quadrangular yard in the rear of the office, surrounded upon three sides by large storehouses for wine, and ship stores of various kinds. Under the hands of the cooper were several huge casks made of Brazil wood, whose great size is said to be important to the preservation of this wine. Very little if any wine is made in Fayal; that consumed on the island, and exported to foreign countries is imported from Pico, upon the south side of which the grape vine is extremely prolific. It is called "Pico Madeira," and is very similar to that which with us bears the name of Madeira wine.

      At the consul's office, we met the master of the whaler that lay at anchor in the harbor. He was from Wilmington, Delaware, and had been out only about as long as ourselves, but had already met with a sad accident. In an attack upon a whale, the line as it shot out of the boat, became entangled around one of the men, and instantly carried him down, and the poor man could not be rescued until life was extinct. This is one of the dreadful casualties to which the adventurous life of the whaler is exposed. Were I inclined to make a digression, many a hair breath escape from death or mutilation might be related, of which I have heard from the mouth of those who have been active in these hazardous adventures.

      In the afternoon we were invited by Mr. Dabney to


dine with him at his mother's residence in the upper part of the town. The family of Dabney is the most prominent for wealth and respectability of any on the island; and upon each side as we passed, hats and caps were raised in token of respect. As far as my observation extended, the people appeared to be very polite and respectful in their manners. Gentlemen in meeting or passing one another, raise their hats from their heads, and with a graceful wave restore them to their places. I was told by Mr. Dabney, that there is a prodigious wear of hats and caps among all classes, in the way of salutation. Whether this remark is to be taken in jest or in earnest, I thought that my fellow countrymen, with all their notions of economy, might advantageously adopt the custom.

      The elder Mr. D. is a graduate of Harvard University. It was delightful to meet with a man of his intelligence, especially one who had visited many places in America, with which I was familiar. Those that never move beyond the boundaries of their own country, do not know how welcome is the face of a countryman in a foreign land.

      We ascended the hill upon which the Hospital stands, and beyond it at some distance above, entered a gate leading to the house, through an alley overshadowed by the Sycamore tree, a great rarity at these islands. The house faces the eastward, and commands a magnificent prospect. Directly before us, the towering Peak of Pico, then veiled in clouds, limits our view in that direction; while between the two islands, the deep blue ocean is seen heaving its foam-capped billows, and extending to the horizon on the right. The grounds about the house are extensive, and still more beautiful than those of the consul. From the piazza, which reaches entirely across


the front of the house, the garden with its orange and lemon trees, whose fruits were lying neglected upon the ground, and its verdant shrubbery, is spread out before you.

      We were soon ushered in to dinner, where we were introduced to Mrs. Dabney, mother of the consul, and to several other ladies, with whom we spent the hour very pleasantly. The dinner was excellent, and served up in good style, and it was peculiarly acceptable to me after my experience of sea fare during the past month. Immediately after dinner, we bade adieu to our very agreeable hosts, and hurried aboard the North America.

      During our absence, the various articles ordered by the captain and myself, were sent on board in the consul's lighter. Potatoes, oranges, apples, wine, fowls, eggs &c., can be purchased here at a much cheaper rate than at home. Of potatoes, one hundred bushels were added to about an equal quantity we had on board. More than two thousand oranges were purchased at the rate of $3,00 per thousand, for the use of the ship. The Fayal oranges are small, and rather sour, while the apples are sweet and insipid.

      I have been thus particular in enumerating our supplies, to exhibit the liberality with which whalers recruit wherever they stop for this purpose.

      Late in the afternoon we left Fayal, and endeavored to beat out to sea, but failing in this attempt, as there was a strong current setting in between Fayal and Pico from the southward, we fell off before the wind, with the intention of circumnavigating the island. At sunset, we were driving along under a close reefed maintopsail and foresail, before a heavy squall off the land. The wind was fresh all night, but the next day, (Wednesday,) we were out of sight of land, very much to our satisfaction,


lying to in a gale of wind, with the head of the ship pointing to the westward.

      On Thursday, (Nov. 14,) with a fine breeze from the west, we altered our course for the south, and before night, we bade adieu to the hills of Fayal and the Peak of Pico, in sight of which we coasted during the day.

      On Friday and Saturday, with the wind astern, we made rapid progress southward, enjoying the fruits and "fresh grub" we procured at the islands. On Sunday and to-day, (Monday,) the wind has continued to blow steadily from the N. E., and we are feeling the first impulses of the trade winds, regular breezes within the tropics, which blow generally from N. E. to S. W. on the north side of the Equator and from S. E. to N. W. on the south side.

      This is the season of the year for the unusual display of shooting stars, which for several years past, since the grand exhibition of 1833, has excited so much attention among astronomers. Last Wednesday was the anniversary of this interesting event, and I had been looking forward to its recurrence with no ordinary feelings of interest, particularly as it had been enjoined upon me to make a careful record of what facts I might collect with reference to this phenomenon.

      For several days previous, the officers of the watch told me that they had seen an unusual number of very brilliant meteors. It was not until Wednesday, that I felt myself well enough to look out for meteors, and at an early hour I was upon deck, in eager expectation. How great was my disappointment on finding the ship lying to in a gale of wind, and the sky overcast with heavy clouds.

      On Thursday morning, I again made the attempt. It was a beautiful morning with a fine clear air; but the


clouds that rose in quick succession and sailed across the sky, precluded all astronomical observation.*

      Although an exhibition of this wonderful phenomenon has been denied me, I have often pictured to myself the scientific excitement that has undoubtedly occurred at New Haven; and it has been to me a pleasing thought that though far away from home and friends, our minds are united in the same grand contemplations, and interested in the recurrence of the same phenomenon.

      Tuesday, Nov. 19. We are making rapid progress southward, and have arrived on the borders of the tropics. A fine, fresh breeze is impelling us forward tempered with the softness of a milder clime. Last evening, just after sunset, I saw a phenomenon of an entirely novel character to me. A bank of heavy clouds rested on the western horizon, and on its front a beautiful rainbow was set like a diadem. The moon was shining serenely in the eastern sky, which gave origin to this phenomenon. Captain Richards told me that he had very frequently seen these lunar rainbows, though not so often as the solar, but sometimes as brilliant even as the latter.

      * The Meteoric Showers of November, are supposed by my father to have ceased after 1838. ("Letters on Astronomy," p. 350.)



Ship North America – Government aboard ship – Method of ascertaining the Latitude and Longitude – Eccentricities of the cook – Amusements of the fore-castle – Etiquette on board ship – Employments of the crew – Description of the several parts of the ship, and peculiarities in the construction of a whaler – Order and contentment of the crew – Library – Flying fish.

      Before proceeding farther in my narrative, I will introduce the reader more particularly than I have yet done, to my ship and shipmates. It may be well also to explain the common maneuvres of a ship, and to describe its several parts at once, rather than to interrup the chain of my narrative by being obliged to stop frequently to render myself intelligible to the uninitiated.

      The North America, was built by Stephen Giraud, Esq., and was originally intended for a letter of marque during the last war with Great Britain. The war terminating before she was completed, she was applied to the merchant service and sent to the East Indies. About eight years since, she was purchased by her present owners, and converted into a whaler. She is an exceedingly strong vessel, with timbers of great size, and disposed rather more closely together than is customary in most ships of her tonnage. Her frame work is entirely of live oak, the best material for shipbuilding in the world. She is a very fast sailer, particularly "on the wind," and in working to windward has always had the reputation of being surpassed by no square-rigged


vessel. Since leaving the United States, we have beaten every thing, although we have been under easy sail all the time.

      Whalers are navigated by more than the usual number of men for vessels of their tonnage. The North America measures 386 tons, and fifteen or sixteen men "all told," would be considered adequate for working her in the merchant service, whereas we carry thirty-one men for our complement. Each boat has a crew of four men, besides the boatsteerer and the officer who commands her. As we carry four boats in service, the remainder of the crew work the ship, when the boats are in pursuit of whales. Some whale ships carry five boats in service, with a complement of forty men, and some but three, with a proportionate number.

      The management of the ship rests with the captain and his officers. The supreme power is vested in the captain, and it is absolute, extending not only to the sailing of the ship and her internal economy, but also to the conduct of every one on board. He exacts the most scrupulous respect and deference from his officers and men, and quickly reprimands or punishes any infraction of the etiquette, which long usage has established. He has the power of turning an officer before the mast, and substituting one of the men in his place, if he is dissatisfied with his conduct. The comfort of the men depends almost entirely upon the will of the captain. If he treats them with kindness, their lot is comparatively happy; if he is tyrannical and abusive, the ship becomes a miniature purgatory. In case of mutiny, the captain would be justified at law, in shooting down any of the mutineers, or in using any coercive measures to compel them to return to their duty.

      The captain and his officers take observations daily, if

Barque NORTH AMERICA New London

Barque NORTH AMERICA - New London


the weather permits, to ascertain the position of the ship, and it is the duty of the former to mark down her daily progress upon the chart, a large scroll, upon which the shores of continents, islands, rocks, shoals &c., are accurately laid down in latitude and longitude. A ship's position on the globe, is known when her latitude and longitude are known. These are calculated by two methods, – by dead reckoning, which proceeds upon trigonometrical principles, and by observation of the heavenly bodies; the latter is preferable, as it is the most exact in its calculations. Finding a ship's latitude by observation is a very simple problem. The Sun's altitude at noon is taken, and by a few calculations you have the latitude.

      The longitude is obtained by taking an altitude of the Sun before noon or after noon, from which the exact time of day is ascertained, and then by comparing this time with the time at Greenwich, you have the longitude. That time is known from the chronometer, an extremely accurate timepiece adjusted to correspond to it, and carefully wound up so as to preserve the true Greenwich time. The necessity of extreme accuracy in the movement of these instruments will be readily seen, when it is recollected that an inaccuracy of four seconds will make an error of a mile in the supposed position of the ship. Hence it becomes very unsafe to rely upon a chronometer entirely, and the prudent navigator takes other observations every little while to rectify his chronometer; for if he can only ascertain its rate of going or amount of error, he can depend upon it without hazard. In this case, he resorts to the more careful and delicate observation of measuring the distance between the moon and the sun by the sextant, while his officers are taking altitudes of the the Sun and Moon at the same instant, and


some one is noting the time by the chronometer. From these observations, the position of the ship is ascertained by two independent methods, and the correctness of the chronometer tested. The astronomical instruments made use of are the quadrant and sextant, the former used on common occasions for determining the latitude, and the latter when great delicacy of observation is requisite.

      The captain stands no watch, but exercises a supervision over all, to see that they do their duties. Several times during the night, the officers make report to him on the progress of the ship, the appearance of the weather, and any unusual occurrence. The captain also presides at table, and gives orders to the steward about every thing that comes upon the table, as well as about the distribution of provisions among the ship's company. He seldom has any conversation with the men; all his commands are issued to them through his officers.

      The most arduous duties aboard the ship, devolve upon the first mate. It is his duty to attend to the reception of all the stores that are put aboard the ship, and he also keeps the log-book, a kind of Journal in which are registered the progress of the ship every hour, her position in latitude and longitude, remarks on the weather, &c. When all hands are called, he takes his station with his watch upon the forecastle, and manages the head sails, lets go the anchor, and sees that every thing "alow and aloft," is "shipshape." The second mate with the starboard watch, is stationed in the waist of the ship to work the main and after sails, while the third mate belongs on the forecastle. The second mate of a merchantman is not usually respected very highly; but the second and third mates of a whaler, having another grade of rank intervening between themselves


and the foremast hands, are treated with much greater deference.

      The next in rank are the boatsteerers, of whom one is attached to each boat, whose duty it is to keep the boat and all her appurtenances in complete order. They are also frequently sent off in charge of their boats to execute some command for the captain or officers, and are very ambitious to make a good appearance before the other men, or else they will not be respected. All whaleships carry a cooper, a carpenter, and a blacksmith, whose respective duties will be understood without my descending to particulars.

      Our crew is composed of rerpresentatives from a variety of nations. Besides the Americans, there are three Indians, one Englishman, six Portuguese, and several colored gentry, that claim to be Americans. One of the Indians bears the renowned name of John Uncas, and is a lineal descendent of the celebrated Sachem of the Mohegans. He is a very active intelligent boy, and will become a first rate seaman.

      Our cook and steward belong to the ebony race; the former, "Mr. Freeman," as he is often designated, is the most comical character I ever met with, and I cannot refrain from adding a tribute to his memory, as he is the fountain of all the fun and good humor aboard the ship. In this respect, he sustains a relation to the ship similar to that of the jester in a feudal establishment; and although the captain and officers would consider it impairing their dignity to descend to any familiarity with the men, yet "Spot," is regarded as the privileged character on board, and the discipline is not relaxed by any amusement at his expence, which the captain and officers choose to indulge in. He receives a serio-comic punishment from the captain and officers every day, when his


grimaces and exclamations are so ludicrous that I am sometimes almost faint with laughing. We call him down into the cabin now and then, and give him presents, to amuse ourselves with his elegant bows and expressive exclamations of satisfaction. He possesses all the negro accomplishments in full perfection, embellishing his conversation by the use of language in all the variations of which it is susceptible. He can sing a song, play upon the "fiddle," dance various jigs "on the light phantastic toe," and roll up the white of his eye – all in the genuine negro style. I have witnessed the exhibitions of many extravaganza performers, but I think they were surpassed by our cook with his various appellations of "Spot," "Jumbo," "Congo," "Skillet," "Kidney foot," &c. Among his other good qualities, he is extremely polite, and bids me "good morning," with a very graceful bow; and if I consult him about the weather, when the clouds indicate a favorable change, he takes a very wise look around in every direction, and predicts, that "we are going to have some very plausible weather, so far as the aspection of the sky would seem to elucidate." He is frequently summoned into the cabin, and soon makes his appearance on deck, with his capacious mouth distended to its utmost limits, with oranges, apples, and other things, which have been thrust into it.

      The steward takes care of the ship's stores, and distributes the provisons according to a bill of fare given to him by the captain. His appearance also partakes of the comical, especially when he waits upon table in the cabin, when his lank, ebony visage, and long limbs, remind me of the India Rubber men I have seen in shoe-maker's shops at home. He is a very important personage among the men, however, especially with those who are looking anxiously for a stray bit from the cabin table.


The cook with his "fiddle," and the steward with his tambourine, hold musical soirees on the forecastle every evening in pleasant weather. Whatever may be thought of the performances of these sable musicians, they are sufficient to excite the activity of all that are disposed to dance. There is a mysterious connection between the vibration of a fiddle string and the vibrations of the heels. For as soon as the sound of the violin is heard, then commences a general patter upon deck of all the excited. The dancing of sailors does not require a knowledge of the fashionable figures; all that is necessary, is to keep time with the feet, and to beat the deck with a suitable degree of vehemence. Simple as this sport may appear, it serves happily to diversify a sea life, and I frequently go forward to amuse myself with the curious maneuvres exhibited, and the good humor that prevails. At eight bells, (eight o'clock,) all "sky-larking," or amusement instantly ceases, and all hands disperse, some to their berths, and others to their duties upon deck.

      The men as I have before said, are divided into two watches, the larboard and the starboard, who keep watch upon deck alternately for four hours at a time. The watches are regulated by the bell, which is struck four times at every half watch, when the wheel is relieved as well as the look-outs at the mast-heads; and eight times when the watch is out, and the other half of the crew come upon the deck. In most ships I believe it is customary to strike the bell every half hour. There are certain forms of respect that are never deviated from aboard all vessels where discipline is observed. The foremast hands never come aft, unless they have business which calls them there, and then they always take the lee side of the ship, and any "sky-larking" upon the


quarter deck, would be severely punished. If a sailor has occasion to go into the cabin upon any duty, he is careful to leave his hat upon deck.

      It is an important object to keep the men always employed during their watch upon deck, and their duties are performed with regularity from day to day. At daylight, commences the scrubbing of decks and washing down fore and aft. This is done by the watch upon deck, who with their heavy "scrub brooms," and common brooms, wash and scrub the decks until they are perfectly clean. Sometimes soap and sand are used, as often as once every day or two. When this duty is completed, the mastheads are manned, and at half past seven o'clock, breakfast is served up, immediately after which, the carpenter, blacksmith and cooper, are engaged in their respective avocations, while the watch is employed upon an old sail, picking oakum, making spun yarn, &c. No one is allowed to be idle, and every thing proceeds with a regularity, which people in general, from a misconceived antipathy, are not willing to credit in a whaleman.

      As was originally proposed, we will now describe the different parts of the ship, and the peculiar constuction of a whaleship. In the accompanying diagram is a representation of the North America, on the wind, with the larboard tacks aboard,* and the reader is requested to compare the following description with the picture. From the bow of the vessel, projects the bowsprit, from the extremity of which extends the gibboom and flying

      * The reason assigned by Jack, for giving the pronoun relating to a ship, the feminine gender, is rather amusing, and somewhat discourteous to the fairer portion of creation. Says Jack, "the reason why we call a ship a she, is because her rigging costs more than her hull;" an opinion, to the truth of which, I hope I shall not be considered as certifying.


gibboom in one stick. The foremast rises upon the bow, the mainmast in the middle, and the mizzenmast in the aftermost part of the vessel. The supports of the masts upon each side, are denominated swifters and shrouds, and united in the tops, semicircular landing places, about nine feet wide, at right angles to the fore and mainmasts. That which corresponds to them on the mizzenmast is called the mizzen cross trees. The next upper divisions of the mast are called topmasts, as the foretopmast, &c. They are supported like the lower masts by headstays, shrounds and backstays. The next upper divisions are the top gallant masts, and the next the royal masts, terminating in a ball called the royal truck. The landing places above the tops are denominated cross trees, and are named from the divisions of the mast to which they belong, as the foretopmast-crosstrees, the maintop-gallant crosstrees. The men sent aloft to look out for whales, are stationed in the topgallant-crosstrees.

      Upon the extremity of the flying gibboom rises the flying gib; next to this, and nearer the vessel is the gib, and next comes the foretopmast-staysail, a small triangular sail, used principally when the ship is "lying to" in a gale of wind. Upon the foremast are the foresail or forecourse, foretopsail, foretopgallant-sail, and some ships carry a foreroyal. Upon the mainmast, are the mainsail or maincourse, &c. Ships sometimes carry a sail above the royal, called the skysail, and sometimes, though rarely, a sail above this called a moonsail. These "light kites," however, are of but little use, and it would be much better to enlarge the royals and dispense with them altogether. Vessels, in going with the wind free, frequently carry temporary sails upon one or both sides of their topsails, topgallant-sails, and royals, called


studding sails. The largest sail upon the mizzenmast is the spanker, above which is the gaft-topsail; between the mizzenmast and mainmast, are seen two triangular sails, the lower one of which is named the mizzen staysail, and the upper the mizzen topmast-staysail. There are several other sails that ships sometimes spread, though rarely, which I will just enumerate, as, the gib of gibs, gib topsail, fore and main spenser, ringtail and water sail.

      The yards, are the spars upon which the square rigging is distended, and receive their names from the sails "bent" upon them; they are brought to any required angle with the length of the ship by means of the braces attached to the yard arm, and worked upon the deck. The halliards, runners and ties, elevate the yards upon the upper masts. The sheets are those chains or ropes that draw down the ends of the sails to their proper places. The reef points are short ropes about two feet long, arranged in rows upon each side of the larger sails, and are used to diminish their size. There are in the topsails three rows of reef ponts, and a ship is said to be under single, double or close reefed topsails, according as one or two or three reefs are taken in these sails. A sail is clewed up, when the extremities of its foot or lower edge are drawn up to the middle of the yard. There are many ropes used in working the sails, such as clewlines, buntlines, bowlines, and reeftackles, which it would be tedious to explain. A ship is said to be "in stays," when the wind is ahead, in a line with the masts, when after receiving the wind on one side, she is endeavoring to come around on the other. The wind is "abeam," when at right angles with the length of the vessel; "upon the quarter," when it comes aft, but not in a line with the length of the ship.


      We will now come down from aloft upon deck.* Between the mainmast and foremast are the tryworks, large furnaces built of bricks, and containing two immense iron pots, for trying out the oil from the blubber. The flames and smoke escape through several openings in the top of the works. Between the mainmast and mizzenmast is the "galley," a little kennel large enough for the cook and his stove, but a mystery to all ambitious housekeepers with capacious kitchens, how so much, and such a variety can be cooked in so small a compass. There sits Jumbo, in sooty dignity, superintending the steaming coppers, and reflecting upon the responsibility of his station, while the hot liquids are scattered around, and perchance fly upon his unshod extremities, as the ship rolls heavily in a cross sea. In some ships, the galley is set forward of the foremast. Above the galley is a framework of spars, called "bearers," upon which the spare boats are turned bottom upwards.

      In the aftermost part of the ship, are the wheel and the binnacle, containing two compasses, by which the course of the ship is regulated.

      Abaft the mizzenmast is the companion way leading into the cabin, appropriated exclusively for the captain and his officers. The cabin contains six staterooms, a storeroom and a pantry. A state-room aboard a ship, places a man in rather contracted quarters. One very soon becomes used to it, and I feel as contented in my little bandbox, measuring not more than six feet one way and four feet the other, and receiving light through thick ground glass set in the deck, as I should in a palace; and I can sleep as comfortably in my berth with

      Looking towards the head of the ship, the right hand side is called the starboard, and the left hand the larboard.


its coffin-like dimensions, as upon the finest bed; much better too, for I am now prevented from rolling about in the pitching and tossing of the ship. Just forward of the mizzenmast is the steerage, covered over with a box having a slide upon it, called the "booby-hatch," a peculiar designation not applicable to those who live in the steerage, as they strenuously contend; for here are located the boatsteerers, carpenter, cooper and blacksmith.

      In some ships, all the steerage men take their meals in the cabin after the captain and officers have had theirs, but it is not the case with us.

      Forward of the foremast, is the forecastle, a receptacle for sailors, where twenty-one men are stowed away, in a manner mysterious to those who have never visited this part of the ship. The forecastle of the North America is much larger than those of most ships of her tonnage, and is scrubbed out regularly every morning. There is a table and a lamp, so that the men have conveniences for reading and writing if they choose to avail themselves of them; and many of them are practising writing every day or learning how to write. Their stationery they purchase out of the ship's stores, and then come to one of the officers or myself for copies, or to have their pens mended. When not otherwise occupied, they draw books from the library in the cabin, and read; or if they do not know how, get some one to teach them. We have a good library on board, consisting of about two hundred volumes, and a good proportion of sperm whalers are also provided with them. Sailors, as a general thing, are ready to avail themselves of any opportunity for mental improvement; and I have no doubt the efforts of the benevolent in supplying ships with good books and tracts, will be attended with great success. Notwithstanding the immorality that is to be so much


deplored among seamen, they have generally a respect for religion and its observances. It is very gratifying to take a look at the forecastle upon the Sabbath in pleasant weather. Perfect stillness prevails aboard the ship; no loud talking is allowed, while the "people," after washing and dressing themselves neatly, are seated around the forecastle, or upon the windlass, poring over the Bible or some tract.*

      We have a good medicine chest on board, which I believe to be the case with a majority of whale ships. To provide for wear and tear of clothes during the long voyage, a large assortment of garments of every kind is put on board, to be sold to the men as they may need, at a slight advance upon the original cost, after the expiration of one year from the time of sailing. These are denominated "slop chest" clothes. Were perfectly fair dealing observed in all cases towards the men in the management of the "slop chest," one of the most prolific sources of discontent aboard whale ships, would be entirely removed. The men as they ship for the voyage, are told that they need not trouble themselves about any preparations, as every thing they may require, can be purchased out of the "slop chest" after they get to sea. Upon applying for necessary clothing after they are separated hundreds of miles from home, they find that every article they ask for, is indeed in the slop chest – but to have it, they are to be charged a most exorbitant profit on the first cost, so that all their hard earned wages are

      * My situation as passenger, enables me to extend to the crew many acts of kindness which the stern discipline of the ship would hardly permit in an officer, and their gratitude is manifested by their avidity to oblige me whenever any occasion presents itself, and to exhibit other marks of regard. Whenever in my rambles about the ship, I go forward, their looks indicate that I am no unwelcome visiter.


to be swallowed up to enrich those that have practised so pitiful a plan of fraud and oppression. Let me respectfully suggest to all those interested in fitting out whale ships, that upright dealing in the disposal of slop chest-goods, will ensure a far greater profit in the legitimate results of the voyage, than any exorbitant gains which may be realized in taking advantage of the necessities of the sailor.

      The boats are hoisted up by means of davits, ("davies") curved timbers upon which the boat tackles are worked, and are supported by cranes swinging underneath them. The windlass is a powerful apparatus in the forward part of a ship for hoisting the anchors or for any other purpose requiring the exertion of great power; it revolves horizontally, worked by long levers called handspikes, and is movable in one direction, but immovable in the other.

      Thursday, Nov. 28. We are now within five degrees of the equator, a latitude all over the ocean visited with heavy squalls of deluging rain, with baffling winds, and oppreessive heat. This region, known to the sailor, by the name of "the doldrums," extends from five to eight degrees north latitude, the interval between the trade winds, and ships are sometimes detained here for twelve or fourteen days in the most disagreeable position imaginable. For a week past the weather has been most delightful with a fine fresh breeze from the eastward.

      Flying fish are found upon the deck of the ship almost every morning, having flown aboard during the night. The flying fish is a beautiful silvery fish, having delicate, gauze-like wings, that appear like enlarged fins, with which he rises from the sea and skims along with a kind of tremulous vibration, to a distance of thirty or forty yards frequently, when his wings beginning to grow dry,


compel him to fall into the ocean again. Flying fish in their flight near a ship, are often taken in a current of air, and drawn aboard, when they fall upon her deck, particularly during the night, and this is a more frequent occurrence in rough tor fifteen inches in length. The larger kind are furnished with an additional pair of wings, located just above the ventral fin, but smaller than thohan in calm weather. They vary very much in size, from those which are not larger than insects, and hardly discernible, to those that measure twelve se towards the head.

      For a long time flying fish were considered as fabulous animals by those who had not been over the blue waters, and there are some living "remote from cities," that are still incredulous about their existence.



Attack and capture of whales – General appearance of the sperm whale – Great size of the respiratory organs and vascular system – Sympathy of cetaceous animals for each other – Inaccurate representations of the whale – Nature of blubber – "Cutting in" – Perils attending the process – Spermaceti – "Trying out."

      Monday, Dec. 2. Yesterday was a great day aboard the North America, as it was our first initiation into the appropriate business of the voyage. With the exception of a whale we saw a few days before reaching Fayal, which proved to be the fin-back, a species very rarely taken by the whaler, we have not seen the spout of a whale since leaving the United States, a period of a month and a half. For the greater part of this time the look-outs have not been stationed at mast-head, owing to the rough weather we have constantly encountered.

      About eight o'clock yesterday morning, the ship was thrown into confusion by the welcome cry "There she blo-o-o-ws," sounded several times from mast-head. "Where away–" was asked by the captain on deck. "Right ahead – a school of sperm whales." And indeed, about a mile off, a frequent succession of mist-like puffs, rising above the sea, to the height of five or six feet, indicated our proximity to a school of sperm whales. Every one hurried upon deck at the first sound, and every thing was in a state of commotion. "Come down from aloft – haul up the mainsail and spanker – helm down – back the




maintopsail – clear away your boats – lower away starboard and larboard!" shouted the captain in a breath; and in an instant the ship was lying motionless upon the sea. A rattling of boat-tackle-falls, several plunges in quick succession, and the fleet boats glided swiftly over the billows, with their long oars flashing in the morning sun. In a few moments, after surrounding the spot where the whales were last seen, they "hove up," to await their re-appearance, while those of us on board were watching with breathless interest for the whales to "come up." In fifteen or twenty minutes, "there she blows," "there she blows!" was quickly repeated by half a dozen eager spectators. Their re-appearance was soon pereceived by the boats, and pursuit was instantly given by one or two of them in the most cautious manner, lest the whales become "gallied" or alarmed, should take to flight.

      "Captain's boat's after them – there he stands ready to give it to him – don't miss, Tom, (the name of a boat-steerer,) don't for gracioous sake – oh dear, he's hove up – there goes flukes – white waters – Mr. Babcock's boat goes on to them – there he gives it to him, hurrah!" – Such were some of the exclamations from the forecastle. "One boat's fast! shouted the ship-keeper who had gone aloft. As I watched the boats through the spyglass, I saw one of them running swiftly through the water with its oars "peaked," i.e., with their blades elevated high upon each side – now darting in one direction, then in another – then stationary; until in a few minutes the poor animal exhausted with pain and the violence of his efforts, comes up to breathe, when he receives another harpoon, and several strokes of the lance, and goes down again, lashing the sea furiously in his agony. "Another boat's fast! shouted the lookout from mast head, and


the welcome news was received with a shout of enthusiasm by all on deck. "There he carts him!" as the boat was hurried over the waves with a long line of foam after her – "spade his flukes – touch him in the tender spot!"

      Meanwhile, the whale that had been first struck, exhausted with pain and the loss of blood, which tinged the sea of a crimson hue in his wake, begins to exhibit signs of giving up the contest. He runs wildly around, lashing the sea with his flukes, and throwing himself out of the water, while a crimson spray is blown into the air, telling that he is "in his flurry," or in the agonies of death. The boat to which he was fast, drew off to a respectful distance to await the fearful struggle, which terminated in a few minutes, and the huge animal "turned up" or rolled over on his side, now harmless, the spoil of his daring captors.

      When there are other whales in sight, the captured whale is "waifed," i.e., a rod of four or five feet in length, bearing a little flag, is inserted into his carcass, which is now abandoned, and pursuit is given in another direction. As the whale is a dark object, and rises but little above the surface of the sea, he is not readily discerned without this precautionary measure.

      In the course of half an hour, the second whale "turned up," and the boats abandoning the chase after the others, returned to the ship, towing the captured whales.

      The general appearance of the whale, is that of a huge flabby mass, rising but little above the surface of the sea, and bending in conformity with the undulations of the waves. The head and back of the sperm whale are nearly in a line as far as the hump, a thick prominence, rising above the ridge of the back. The head, in bulk, is nearly one third of the entire animal,




and is very angular in its outline with a small receding under jaw, set with firm short teeth, forty two in number, slightly curved inwards, at an interval of two or three inches apart, while there are no teeth in the upper jaw. At the upper angle of his head, is a cleft, closed at will, from which the confined air of the lungs is blown out whenever the animal comes upon top of water, condensed in a white mist, that vanishes in an instant. From the hump, the ridge of the back descends in irregular curves frequently, until it reaches the flukes, or tail. The flukes are the most formidable weapon of the whale. Unlike those of fish, which are set vertically, the flukes of all whales are horizontal; at their union with the main body of the animal, the juncture is very small, and whenever a whale is violent in his movements, a few strokes of the spade across the tendons of the flukes, passing along here, will very soon reduce him to submission. The outline of the lower part of the animal is slightly undulatory, terminating in the jaw, which runs to a point. There are two side fins or "swimming paws," short and thick, at a distance from the extremity of the head, of about one third the length of the animal. They are supposed by some to assist the animal in balancing himself, as they are too small to be of very material service in moving forwards; in many other species of the whale, the side fins are much longer than in the cachalot or sperm. The eye is exceedingly small, not larger than that of an ox, and is located in a prominence in the back part of the head. The ear/* is a funnel shaped cavity situated between the eye and the lower jaw, of so minute a size, as hardly to admit one's little finger.

      * Dr. Good in his "Book of Nature," gravely asserts that the whale has no external ear, but that sounds are conveyed to him through his mouth.


      Between the eye and the hump, the body swells out to its largest dimensions, and is often deeply wrinkled.

      The color of the sperm whale is usually of ash grey, with occasional dashes of whitish streaks, laid on irregularly over his exterior.

      The Cetacea are warmblooded animals, and are provided with an internal organization, like that of land animals, which oblige them to come up to the surface of the water to breathe. The length of time elapsing before they require a fresh supply of air, differs with the size of the animal. A large sperm whale will sometimes stay down over an hour and a half; when he returns to the surface again, however, he sometimes remains up for more than half an hour, moving sluggisly about and blowing off every few moments.

      When we contemplate the immense proportions exhibited by some varieties of Cetacea in their organization – the lungs expanding with the fast volume of air inhaled – and the heart impelling at each pulsation from ten to fifteen gallons of blood through an aorta, a foot in diameter, into the vascular system – the idea of their magnitude must fill the mind with astonishment. "The diameter of the aorta, of a sperm whale that was thrown upon the coast of Yorkshire was 12 1/2 inches; thickness of the coat of the artery 7/10 inch. Length of the heart from the apex to the valves of the aorta, 3 feet 10 inches. On the left ventricle being laid open, its capacity was guessed to contain from eight to ten gallons. – " (Camb. Phil. Trans.)

      Since the order Cetacea does not derive oxygen by a separation of the atmosphere from the element in which they live, as is the case with all kinds of fish, which are provided with a peculiar apparatus for this purpose, the length of time during which respiration is suspended in


many varieties of this order is most wonderful. "Respiration is in a great degree subservient to the circulation of the blood; the stimulus to inspiration is the accumulation of this fluid in the lungs, which when purified, proceeds to the heart whence it is propelled through the frame for the purpose of secretion &c.; after which it is again received into the veins, when it assumes its venous aspect, and is deprived of its arterial character. The circle thus described in man and the mammalia generally is, so to speak, continuous and simple. In the cetacea, however, it is not so; for in them, the arterial portion instead of being a simple and direct course to the venous, is complicated by the addition of a structure, which we believe is peculiar to this order, and which is nothing less than a grand reservoir for the reception of a great quantity of arterial blood, which as occasion requires, is emptied into the general circulation, and thus for a time supersedes the necessity of respiration." (Naturalist's Library, vol. vi. p.50.)

      Whales are also viviparous, and of course, the cow whale is provided with udders for suckling her young, in common with all mammalia.

      In an attack upon a school of whales, it is very common with whalers to strike a calf whale, for its dam will not readily desert her offspring, and in her extreme solicitude for her young, is a frequent victim. The taking of one of a school, almost always ensures the capture of another, for his comrades do not immediately abandon the victim, but swim around him, and appear to sympathise with him in his sufferings.

      The appearance of the whale as represented in most works of natural history, is extremely inaccurate, and no one would suspect for what it was designed, unless it were labelled.


      All cetaceous animals are enveloped in a thick covering of fat called blubber, varying in thickness from four to fourteen inches, and very different in animals of the same size. It is a firm, hard substance of a fibrous texture, infiltrated with oil, and surrounded upon the exterior with a strong skin, generally having a thick scurf adhering to it. There is also a thin semi-transparent skin adhering loosely to the surface of the animal, and not unfrequently hanging in tatters over his carcase.

      After the whale has been secured alongside by a rope or chain passing around his flukes, and carried to the bowsprit bitts in the forward part of the ship, then comes the most laborious part of the whaling business. The cutting gear is rove, consisting of two very large and strong ropes passing through powerful blocks, hanging a few feet below the main-top, and through others upon deck, strapped with large thimbles, into which a bar of wood may be introduced, three or four inches in diameter, and about two feet in length. Two immense iron hooks, about two feet and half in height, and provided with a shackle and toggle so as to "ship and unship," complete the cutting gear.

      The implements used in "cutting in" the whale, are cutting spades with long "poles" or handles; boarding knives, two edged knives about two feet and a half long, sharp pointed, and fixed upon a handle about three feet long – pikes, bars of iron pointed with steel and fixed upon the ends of short poles – and gaff hooks, iron hooks pointed with steel, also fixed upon poles in a similar manner.

      Having thus described the implements of "cutting in" the whale, I will now attempt to describe the process.

      Upon each side of the gangway, a staging is let down, upon which those that wield the cutting spades, take


their stand. A deep incision is made into the neck of the whale, through which the blood flows in a deluge, discoloring the sea, and almost hiding the animal from view. The ship with her foretopsail "hove a-back," moves slowly out of the "bloody water," and soon a large hole is cut in the blubber into which the blubber hook is inserted, connected with the windlass by the powerful purchase which I have before described. To point the hook into the orifice made for it, one of the boatsteerers, having upon his feet a pair of woollen stockings to prevent his slipping, jumps overboard, guarded by a rope passing under his arms, and tended by one of the men upon deck. It is no very easy matter to introduce the hook into the proper place, while the sea is dashing the whale against the ship and the waves are breaking over him; so that a man runs the risk of being strangled, or of being bruised by the concussion of the animal with the vessel. The danger of being horribly mutilated by the sharks that assemble in great numbers during the "cutting in," attracted by the scent of blood, is by no means inconsiderable. They are so voractious, that notwithstanding the deep gashes they receive from the cutting spades, they rush upon the whale, and tear off large masses of blubber with their formidable jaws. Several times I trembled for the safety of the man who was endeavoring to fix the blubber hook into the proper place, as a large shark came up within a few inches of his leg, and once I thrilled with horror as one of those ravenous monsters turned over in the attitude of seizing one of his limbs in his terrible teeth; but at this moment a pull upon the rope extricated the man from his perilous situation. Sharks of this species (the blue, peaked nose variety) rarely bite any one; yet in the bloody water around the whale, they snap at whatever they can lay


hold of, and the adventurous seaman is sometimes mangaled in the most horrible manner by their jaws, which are powerful enough to sever a limb instantly. – At one time the man had thrust the hook into the hole when his leg had struck, when he jumped upon the whale, and his limb would have been crushed, had not the hook slipped from the blubber at that instant.

      After the hook has been properly adjusted in the orifice cut for its reception, a gash is cut obliquely upon each side; a turn or two is given at the windlass, and the blubber, yielding to the tremendous strain, becomes detached, and is unwound, while the whale rolls over and over, until the entire exterior coat, about a yard in breadth is torn off down to the flukes. When the strip of blubber has been elevated to some distance above the deck, the second set of cutting gear is brought into service; and the strap and thimble are thrust through an opening cut into the blubber, and secured by the wooden bar fixed into it, while the blubber above it is severed and dropped into the blubber room, a space appropriated for the reception of it under the main hatch. Both the blubber hooks are dispensed with for the present, and the thimbles succeed one another alternately, until the body of the whale has been disposed of. While this process has been going forward, the head has been cut off just behind the eyes, and secured to the main channels or by a rope passing on board and fastened to the maintopsail sheet bitts. The under jaw is then severed and hoisted in upon deck, and the remainder of the head after being divided into two triangular portions, is also taken aboard. The head of the sperm whale is the most valuable part of the animal, containing by far the richest proportion of spermaceti, although the oil made from any part of the animal yields a certain proportion. Hence, it is always


desirable to raise the head upon deck, if practicable; if otherwise the "case," a cavity in the upper part of the head, is opened and bailed out, while the latter is firmly secured alongside the ship. The case is surrounded by a thick wall of a white, gristly substance, termed by the whalers "white horse;" the cavity is lined with a yellowish fat, and is filled with oil of a very superior quality, which, when warm, is perfectly limpid, but concretes in beautiful white masses, if allowed to become cold, or as it drips upon water.

Sperm Whale Diagram

      Above is a representation of the outline of the sperm whale, with the sections into which his exterior coat is divided. The position of the cavity of the case is indicated by the letter a; b, the junk; c, bunch of the neck; d, hump; e, flukes; f, f, blanket pieces, – spiral bands in which the blubber is unwound from the carcase; g, orifice in the blubber for the reception f the blubber hook, attached to the cutting falls, h.

      It is to be remarked, that fresh oil has but very little or none of that nauseous, disagreeable odor that belongs to it when it is put into our lamps at home after two or three years have elapsed since it was obtained, and it is a common thing aboard whale ships to treat their crews with a quantity of dough nuts fried in the oil dipped from the case. I have no doubt they have a fine relish, and I should be very glad to try


some of them myself, although some time will probably elapse first, as the rule aboard the North America is not to have any dough nuts fried in head oil until there are a thousand barrels of oil on board.

      The larger of the two whales we took this morning, must have measured about forty feet, and the smaller about twenty-five feet. The length of the head was not far from twelve feet in the larger, and contained a cavity large enough to hold two or three men after the oil (seventy or eighty gallons) had been dipped out.

      Sperm whales have been captured of a length exceeding eighty feet, and a good estimate may be formed of the magnitude of the case, when it is known that over ten barrels of oil are frequently dipped from this cavity.

      The head oil and fat are immediately committed to the try-pots, while the blubber in the blubber room is cut up into angular pieces of two feet in length perhaps, by one foot in breadth. Meanwhile a fire has been kindled in the furnace, which is kept up night and day, until the oil is tried out and put up in casks. The tubs for holding the blubber, of various sizes, are also brought up from "between decks," as well as the mincing horses, and mincing knives, sharp knives with a handle at each end, and used for cutting up the junks of blubber into small pieces. Some of the men are down among the blubber, others are engaged in sliding the tubs to the main hatch for the reception of blubber, and in pushing them back to the mincing horse upon the larboard side near the tryworks – others still, are employed about the mincing horse, while the officer of the watch with one or two boatsteerers, or the best men in his watch, superintend the tryworks. The fire is commenced with pieces of dry wood, and is afterwards supported with great intensity by the "scraps" or refuse pieces of blubber from which


the oil has been tried out. The oil must be boiled in order to expel every thing of a watery nature that might have been mingled with it in its natural state, otherwise it cannot be preserved from corruption. As the boiling point of oil is far above that of water, the heat required is of a very high temperature, as is strikingly illustrated by the melting of solder off from any tin vessel introduced into the fluid.

      Great care is required in trying out, to prevent the oil from being burnt, and also to guard against the danger of water getting into the boiling cauldrons, which would immediately dash up in steam, and throw their contents around in every direction. Hence this process is very hazardous in boisterous weather, and appears to be dangerous enough at any time. When the oil has been boiled sufficiently, it will crepitate sharply if a little water is sprinkled upon it. The scraps are now taken out, and thrown into a tub with a perforated bottom to allow the oil to drain from them. They then look like pieces of fried pork, and taste very much like it, as I can testify from experience. Fresh pieces of blubber are now introduced into the pots, and the oil is bailed out into the cooler, a large rectangular, copper vessel, capable of holding from six to ten barrels, provided with a stopcock fixed into the side with a perforated plate before it to prevent the escape of fine scraps that may happen to be floating about. The oil is drawn off from the cooler into the deck pot, a large, spare iron pot, from which, while warm, it is poured into the casks, which shrink as the oil grows cold, thus allowing the hoops to be forced on farther than they could otherwise be driven.

      In trying out a whale, the respective watches re upon duty six hours instead of four, and of course, have a watch below of six hours. The fatigues of this part of


whaling are so great, that the ordinary rest of four hours duration, is insufficient to revive the men.

      Tuesday, December 3. The process of trying out continued without cessation, until yesterday afternoon, when after this laborious business was completed, the tubs, knives &c., were removed below, and the ship received a thorough scouring fore and aft, with strong alkali and sand applied with the scrub brooms. And indeed she required it, for the muddy scurf from the exterior of the whale uniting with the oil, does not improve the appearance of anything with which it comes in contact. The "trying out," was not however, so disgusting an operation as I had anticipated, as the cutting up of blubber and handling it, is confined to the waist and forward parts of the ship.

      The day after trying out is usually given to the crew of whalers, for the purpose of washing their clothes and cleaning themselves, and also as a period of rest after the fatigues they have just passed through. With the exception of manning the wheel and the mastheads therefore, no duty is required of the men.



Disagreeable and cruel tricks formerly practiced on the "Green Horn" – Ceremonies of initiation into the mysteries of Neptune – Novel and interesting aspect of the starry heavens in another hemisphere – Delightful weather – Phosphorescence of the sea.

      Wednesday, December 4. We crossed the Equator sometime this forenoon, in about thirty degrees West Longitude. We were expecting to do this, last Sunday, but the delay occasioned by the taking of whales &c., carried us so far from our courese, that we have ever since been occupied in making the sixty or eighty miles that intervened before reaching the line.

      The crossing of the line, is considered an imortant event in a "greenhorn's" life. It was formerly customary to compel him to pass through many disagreeable ceremonies in order to initiate him into the mysteries of Neptune, and to propitiate the favor of his godship upon his future career over the ocean. In some ships it is still allowable to play all manner of tricks upon the novice, whatever may be his station aboard the vessel. If he happens to be of a very susceptible character, his imagination is stimulated by vivid descriptions of Neptune, and his awful appearance to the uninitiated, while crossing the line. Marvellous tales are also told him of the wrath of the deity which has always been displayed towards those, who upon this occasion refused to do


homage to his resistless sovereignty over the ocean. If the aspirant is particularly ignorant and credulous, he is induced to go aloft and remain there all day to look out for the line, which he expects to find accurately drawn upon the face of the waters, by the hand of old father Neptune. The night before crossing, in particular, he is told to be on the watch for Neptune's light, which is always displayed near the Equator; and sure enough, during the evening, he discerns a bright light dancing upon the billows, not far from the ship, looking to his excited imagination like the lamp of some weird spirit.

      This is but the commencement of the ceremonies. After undergoing a plentiful ablution in the briny element, administered by bucketsfull, he is blindfolded to await the awful presence of the king and queen of the ocean. Seated upon a board placed across the top of a large tub filled with salt water, he is presented with a huge tin trumpet, which he raises to his mouth and thunders forth, "Neptune a-hoy!" when a bucket of salt water is dashed into the mouth of the trumpet, accompanied by a push over backwards, which plunges him into the water underneath, headfirst, and he scrambles out of the tib, almost strangled to death, with a most natural horror of the arcana of Neptune. As he recovers, his majesty makes his appearance over the side of the ship, arrayed in a fanciful costume, with long streamers of seaweed entwined in his hair, and bearing on high his mystic trident. He is accompanied by Mrs. Neptune in the attire of the Queen of the Mermaids, and her presence is hailed with enthusiastic devotion by all the genuine salts who have passed through the ordeal of initiation.

      After their majesties have mounted upon their thrones, (the tryworks for instance,) the novice is brought before


them and compelled to answer a great variety of quetions, (for his majesty is extremely inquisitive,) and should he persist in keeping his mouth shut, his taciturnity is broken by a thump under the chin. If he opens his mouth and becomes communicative to too great a degree, a stopper is introduced by one of his majesty's attendants, consisting of the most disgusting materials that can be collected together. The candidate is also often subjected to the process of being shorn by the mischievous attendants of the irresistible sea god. A piece of an iron hoop is produced, together with a bucket of "slush" and tar, which is plentifully daubed over the face of the novice, and scraped off with the iron hoop! He is now instructed in a few wholesome rules, such as not to smoke his pipe upon the quarter deck – when he goes aft to take the lee side of the deck, &c., each article of the code being pounded into his comprehension and remembrance by a tremendous thump on the back. – As the grand finale which gives him an indisputable claim to the title of seaman, he is "keel-hauled," i.e. a rope is "bent" around his body, and he is thrown overboard to be drawn under the ship and hauled up on the other side! He is now considered as regularly inducted into the mysteries of Neptune, after having sworn "by the pumps, the chains, the channels, and all abaft the mizzen rigging" to observe all the requisitions of the sea god.

      These disagreeable and cruel ceremonies, which were formerly observed very generally, have for the most part become disused. On board the North America, nothing of the kind was tolerated. With the exception of Neptune's light, which was discovered upon the waters last Saturday night, as the handiwork of Mr. Freeman, no attempt was made to play tricks upon the green horns.


      Thus we have crossed the line, and at this moment are fifteen or twenty leagues southward of it. I have just been upon deck to take a look at the stars. The north star, that has been slowly descending in the sky, evening after evening, has sunk below the horizon, and with it the remembrance of home brought so vividly to mind in the evening sky, and the fond associations the silent stars are calculated to inspire, have seemed to set.

      Saturday, Dec. 7. We are now about seven degrees to the southward of the equator, and the mild air of the trade wind is impelling us forward over a smooth sea. The days are lengthening rapidly, and the temperature of the atmosphere is most delightful, the thermometer ranging at seventy-six or eighty degrees in the shade. It is most refreshing to sit in the shadow of the sails, and inhale the exhilarating breeze, and to view the ocean breaking into bright waves with snowy crests, and to trace the serene sky shading off into mellow light until it meets the deep blue waters, where it is reflected in their heaving undulations.

      I have often at night, leaned over the ship's side and for a long time watched the phosphorescent spangles that seemed to dance upon the sea, as it has been agitated by our progress over the depths. Even in our latitude at home, sea water phosphoresces beautifully when agitated; but this exhibition is faint in comparison with what we have in these tropical regions. Around the bow, along the side, and in the wake of the ship, the sea seems to be on fire. Countless spangles emerge from the troubled waters, while brilliant phosphorescent flashes and globes of light of great size, illuminate the ship's path. Occasionlly a wave breaks at a distance from the vessel, and from its crest issues a ball of light


that seems to play upon the dark waters like the flickering rays of the ignis fatuus. The porpoises and other animals that sport around the ship, leave a luminous train after them, winding frequently in serpentine curves. There is also in these latitudes a gelatinous substance, a species of the medusae, called by the seamen the "sea cucumber," from a resemblance to the garden cucumber in size and shape. It exists in vast quantities within the tropics, and when disturbed by the ship, emits a brilliant phosphorescence. In rough weather it is often thrown upon deck, and rolls down to leeward like a fire-ball.



Fall in with the "Messenger" OF New-Bedford – Sickness on board this ship – Medical practice of sea-captains – Fall in with the "William and Eliza" – Social habits of whalers – Whaling Scenes – Versatility of talent required for an accomplished seaman – Dress and manners of the crew – Mr. Freeman's soirees – Annoyances on ship-board – Christmas – Mechanical employments of the men.

      Tuesday, Dec. 10. Upon going on deck this morning after breakfast, we saw a ship upon our weather quarter standing towards us, and from her taking in sail, concluded she was desirous of speaking us; accordingly, we hauled our maintopsail aback, awaiting the approach of the stranger. She came down beautifully before the wind, and passing close astern, clewed up her main course, and backed her maintopsail within a short distance to leeward. She proved to be the Messenger of New-Bedford," and as she passed us, we were hailed by her captain, who requested Captain R. to come on board his ship and prescribe for the mate who was lying dangerously sick.

      A boat was soon in readiness, and by Capt. Richards's invitation, I accompanied him on board the "Messenger." The neat exterior of this little ship (her tonnage is less than three hundred) corresponded with what we saw on board of her. The deck was white and clean, and everything was in good order and nicely painted. We descended into a handsome, light, and airy cabin, with ranges of state rooms upon each side. The pantry


door stood open, displaying the culinary furniture tastefully arranged upon the shelves.

      In one of the state rooms lay the sick man. He had been laboring under a violent fever for a long time, which had affected his mind, so that it was with some difficulty we were able to ascertain his exact state of feeling. The fever appeared to have abated, owing to his having taken an emetic which reduced the febrile symptoms.

      Capt. Kendrick, of the Messenger, said that he knew nothing of the treatment necessary, and requested Capt. R. to prescribe whatever he thought proper. It is a wonder indeed, that sailors escape the effects of disease as often as they do, since they are out of the reach of medical advice for so long a time. Every master of a vessel is the physician and surgeon aboard his ship; his medicines are all numbered corresponding to certain numbers in a little pamphlet of directions accompanying them, and whenever necessary, he makes a selection according to the best of his judgment.

      After prescribing what we thought his case required, and directing the invalid to be kept cool, we went down the ship's side into our boat, after agreeing with the master of the Messenger to sail in company with him for a few days. Soon after we regained the North America, the Messenger stood off until her hull sank below the horizon; then hauling her wind, she continued on the same course parallel with us all day.

      Towards evening, she gradually drew up within a couple of miles of us, and hung out her signal lantern which was answered from the North America.

      It is a very pleasant thing to sail in company in this way. A long voyage is relieved of its tedious monotony, and you feel that you are not alone upon the wide


waters, but that there are those near you who welcome you with an interest that nothing but a long seclusion from society can inspire. By the way, I have said nothing about my medical pursuits, since leaving the United States. Having always had a penchant for medical studies, I brought among my books for the voyage, several works upon medicine, which have been studied with great interest. In several cases of sickness that we have had, Capt. R., has had confidence enough in me to consult me, and very fortunately, in every instance my suggestions have proved successful; so that I have become a sort of doctor on board; and having a medicine chest of my own, containing some medicines not found in the ship's chest, I have had no small run of practice for a tyro.

      Wednesday, Dec. 11. Our consort preserved her distance from us until about one o'clock this afternoon, when she luffed up towards us, for the purpose of speaking us. Upon nearing us, she hove to, and we went astern of her, communicating with Capt. Kendrick, who requested us to come on board his ship again, and take a look at his mate. Capt. richards requested me to go off to the Messenger with the second mate. Just as we were leaving the North America, another ship, which had been in sight all the morning, astern of us, now came up and rounded to under our lee. The sea was very "rugged," and we mounted upon the ridges of the rolling billows, and descended again, while the huge waves threatened to engulf us, until we reached the Messenger. Mounting in a boat upon the surges of the open ocean, is a very different matter from gliding along on the smooth waters of our bays or sounds.

      We found the invalid somewhat better, although having never been sick before, he was inclined to be


despairing of recovery and faithless in the efficacy of medicines; a moderate supply of faith would render his case altogether more encouraging, as a confident reliance upon the efficacy of medicine is often, I have no doubt, of more avail than the medicine itself.

      Returning to the North America, Capt. Richards invited me to accompany him on board the other ship, the "William and Eliza," of New Bedford; her captain had some time previously broken his leg, and requested Capt. R., to give his advice respecting it. We boarded the stranger, and found the master sitting upon deck, looking much better than we had expected to see him. Both bones of the lower part of the leg near the ankle, had been fractured, but the fracture was healing in a very favorable manner. We were conducted into a very handsome cabin, where we had some conversation about the news from home. The captain of this ship had been out from thirty to thirty five days, but had taken no oil. The news he gave us, that all the banks were upon the eve of suspending specie payments, was of no very agreeable character, as may be easily imagined.

      We were obliged to decline the very pressing invitation of the captain to take supper with him, as Capt. R., was unwilling to remain away from his ship in rough weather. We did so much against our will, as the promise of "fresh grub," was exceedingly tempting, after the liberal exercise we have had upon "salt junk" for some time before. A large pig was hanging up ready for cooking, while an abundance of goats, ducks &c., rendered it the more trying to resist the Captain's earnest solicitations to take supper with him.

      Every thing looked neat and in excellent order aboard the "William and Eliza," and I left her with very favorable impressions of the New Bedford whalers.


      It is customary for the masters and officers of whalers, while cruising upon the same "grounds" to make frequent interchange of visits. Towards evening the ships draw near to one another, to allow their officers an opportunity of having a "gam," which continues sometimes to a late hour, when all their various whaling adventures are narrated over a good supper, got up in the best style the ship can exhibit.

      With regard to my newly acquired title of "doctor," which was given me aboard these ships, I must say that I have been enabled to bear the honor with all becoming humility. It was, however, with some difficulty that I kept my countenance, when they invited the "doctor" down into the cabin to see the invalids. On board the "William and Eliza," the mate came up to me and said, "Well, doctor, whatdo you think of the mate of the Messenger– Do you think there is any probabiility of his recovery–" Upon which, assuming a professional air, that would have been creditable to an old practitioner, I answered without hesitation – "Yes, certainly, he will be well enough before long, if nothing happens unfavorably;" an opinion not far from the truth, and generally applicable in all cases of sickness.

      Aboard the "William and Eliza," I was asked several questions about the Captain's leg, which would have puzzled me, were it not that I had picked up a little anatomy from the college lectures, and was master of a few facts and terms which passed, at such a distance from the faculty, for a profound knowledge of the healing art.

      Thus much in vindication of my title of "doctor." In the enjoyment of this dignity, I am not alone, however, on board. Mr. Freeman, among his cognomens of "Spot," "Jumbo," "Congo," and "Skillit," receives the title of "Doctor," by virtue of his office, not from his


medical abilities, but from his talent for uniting together marvellous ingredients in the compounds he prepares.

      Friday, Dec. 13. Yesterday, about noon, a large school of Sperm Whales was seen directly ahead about four miles off, moving very rapidly to windward, having been "gallied" or alarmed by the "Messenger," which ran in among them before they were perceived. We set our maincourse, flying gib and spanker, and braced up sharp upon the wind, with the hope of having an opportunity of "going on to them." It was a very animating scene on board; the men sprang to their stations with great alacrity, and "there she blows," "there she breeches," "there goes flukes," was echoed from thirty deeply interested spectators.

      Early in the afternoon, a large whale was seen immediately under our lee beam, about half a mile off. The boats were soon in chase, but after an unsuccessful pursuit of an hour and a half, they returned, having rested upon their oars for nearly half an hour, while the whale was "down." He was a large animal, and would have made probably, sixty or seventy barrels of oil.

      This morning, our consort was observed to have backed her maintop-sail, an indication that something was seen, and accordingly we bore down for her. As we neared her, we saw that her boats had not been lowered, and seeing no whales, we luffed up into the wind and stood off in another direction. Just then, "There she blows," was sounded and repeated from the masthead; and within a couple of miles off our lee bow, a large school of sperm whales was seen blowing in frequent jets d'eau, and moving rapidly away from the ship. The boats were soon lowered, and came up with them just as they went down,


when they "hove up" to await their reappearance. In a short time a large whale is seen heading to windward of the school. The boats are shooting after him with bending oars – one of them takes the lead and by a desperate effort, ranges up alongside the whale – the boatsteerer darts his harpoon, but the weapon glances harmlessly across the back of the monster, which disappears in a long line of white foam.

      After this failure, the whales were too shy to allow the boats to come near them, and they were recalled. The general disappointment in the prospect of capturing a whale that would make seventy barrels of oil, may be easily imagined. This is the second opportunity this boatsteerer has misimproved in a similar manner; and if another failure like this should happen, he will incur the risk of being turned before the mast, and one of the foremast hands substituted in his place. A failure like this is a serious loss, since a sperm whale large enough to make seventy barrels of oil, is worth not far from two thousand three hundred dollars.

      It is every man's interest to exert himself to the utmost; for in the whaling business it is almost universally the custom to ship men upon shares. Each man, from Captain to green hand, ships for a cerain "lay" or share in the profits of the voyage, which is calculated when the ship returns home. The Captain for instance, receives an eighteenth perhaps; the mate a forty fifth, down to the greenhand, who gets only a hundred and sixty fifth of all the oil obtained during the voyage. This stimulates all to do their best, and enables them to sustain the great fatigues they are called upon to encounter, without murmuring.

      Monday, Dec. 16. – This morning, judging by the maneuvres of the "Messenger," that whales were in


sight, we bore down for her, and when about half a mile off, we saw several spouts, not a great distance from the ship. Immediately the ship was rounded to, and three of the boats were lowered. Upon reaching the place where the whales had made their appearance, the boats "hove up" to await their coming up to blow. In the mean time, the "Messenger's" boats passed by us and followed our boats in the chase. They had nearly reached the latter, when Capt. R., and myself, (who had stationed ourselves upon the foretopsail yard) discovered whales blowing about a mile off on our lee beam. A signal was instantly made to the boats, by the man at the main-top-gallant mast head, and they were springing at the oar, while Capt. R., put off in his boat. A man is stationed at the main-top-gallant mast head, with a "waif," a balloon about eighteen inches in diameter, fastened upon the end of a rod, with which he points in the direction of the whales.

      The whales were not seen after this, and all the boats returned to their respective ships, to console themselves for their disappointments by hopes of future success.

      As we came up from dinner, we found all the crew gathered upon the forecastle, and merrily singing out, "There she blows, There she blows," in a very musical chorus.

      Again the boats were lowered, and in pursuit, with every prospect of success, as the whale or whales, were but a short distance off. But after a fruitless chase of two or three hours, they returned, the men almost exhausted from the severe labors of the day.

      The Captain has determined to cruise for some time in this region. Upon three days out of five, we have seen schools of sperm whales, although we have taken nothing, a fair specimen of the alternate hopes and


disappointments attendant on a whaler's life. Whales are rarely seen oftener than once a week, even in the best "cruising grounds" of the Pacific, and sometimes month after month intervenes, without discovering a single whale.

      I have been thus minute in transcribing daily occurerences, to exhibit the excitement and animation that pervade a whaleship, whenever whales are seen, and also to represent the toilsome duties connected with the whaling business. There is no mode of life, it appears to me, requiriing so great a variety of talent, as the seafaring business. Every sailor must be a "jack of all trades;" he must have mechanical talent sufficient for making all repairs upon the sails, rigging, iron and woodwork of the ship; and as he is absent from port for months together, he must have a talent for shoemaking and tailoring. With regard to the mending of old clothes, the crew are indefatigable. Coats and pantaloons which a tailor in any christian country would pronounce to be "unseaworthy," they work upon, and cover over with patches of various colors, until not a vestige of the original is left. Flannels are variegated in a wonderfully fancicul manner by the many gay colors with which they are darned. The performances of the men with their needles, are however by no means contemptible.

      A genuine son of the ocean, can almost always be recognized by his costume and balancing gait. He disdains the confinement of a pair of suspenders which would impede the action of his arms in pulling and working about the rigging; but his pantaloons of very ample dimensions, fit tight to the waist, and are secured by a leathern belt, buckled around him, attached to which is his inseparable companion, a "sheath-knife," with a blade about six inches long. This he constantly


uses in his employment about the ship, and when his dinner is ready, it carves his meat.

      The dialect on board would be very amusing to a landsman. For "ladling out soup from the turreen," they would say, "bailing out soup from the keeler." The sounding lead is called the "blue pigeon," and the signal flag for a pilot, displayed at the foremast head, goes by the name of "Blue Peter." A quadrant receives the very undignified and unphilosophical name of a "hog-yoke." There are also numerous phrases taken from the maneuvres of a ship, and nautical similes are introduced into conversation, some of which are extremely forcible, if well understood. Living upon an element, every aspect of which is an object of solicitude to him, the sailor becomes a close observer of what takes place around him; and accustomed to face danger in some of its most terrific forms, he acquires a hardihood of character, and an independence of mind, which the circumstances in which he is placed are so well fitted to produce.

      Sailors almost universally make use of tobacco in the forms of smoking or chewing. Their delicious junk is carried in their pockets along with a clasp knife, sundry bits of rope yarn, and a variety of other things. From the moment they "turn out," a large quid is introduced, to be renewed as often as occasion requires, until they "turn in" again. Some of the men have laid in from fifty to seventy pounds of tobacco as their solace for the voyage, and will probably have to obtain a fresh supply from the captain before they return home. It is emphatically the sailor's solace in the watches of the stormy night. In the evening the sailor takes his pipe, and seated upon the windlass forgets the hardships he


constantly experiences in the exhilarating fumes of the narcotic.

      There are over two thousand pounds of tobacco on board belonging to the ship's stores, all of which will be applied to the use of the crew, or bartered away with the natives of the places we happen to visit, in the Pacific, who are said to be exceedingly found of it.

      Thursday, Dec. 19. I have just been upon deck amusing myself with the performances of Mr. Freeman upon the violin, accompanied by his sable fellow-minstrel, the steward. It is a beautiful evening, although the "struggling moonbeams' misty light" is but dimly reflected from the waters.

      The men were for the most part assembled between the tryworks and the mainmast, where some sand was sprinkled upon the deck for the convenience of the dancers. Mr. Freeman was perched upon an inverted bucket placed in the frame work of the blacksmith's forge – an apparatus looking very much like those portly old fashioned arm chairs, that have long since gone out of date. When every thing was ready, Mr. Freeman rose up, and with many bows, requested "the gentlemen to digest themselves into readiness and to make a few molestions on the floor." Accompanying this inviation with sundry flourishes of his fiddle bow, he commenced sawing away in the most enthusiastic manner, but perceiving that his exertions did not meet with corresponding effort, he suddenly stopped in the middle of one of his most brilliant strains, and indignantly enquired "What ails you there Tom and Dave; why don't you dance? "A'nt you going to exasperate (exhibit) a little of the light fantastic?" This eloquent appeal was irresistible, and the dance proceeded to our great amusement until eight bells (eight o'clock) when the fiddle became silent,


and all hands dispersed with the exception of those on duty.

      Monday, Dec. 23. For some time past the weather has been squally and unpleasant. The wind usually moderates towards night, but in the morning increases again, and blows fresh about the middle of the day. It comes from the eastward, and its regular increase and decrease is owing to the action of the sun's rays, which in the morning pouring down upon the continent of South America, rarifies the air to such a degree that the sea air flows in with considerable force, extending two or three hundred miles beyond the coast; and towards night the wind goes down as the sun recedes.

      The air is cool and pleasant during the day, but at night to sleep in my hot and confined state-room, is almost impossible. Add to this the annoying presence of the black-legged gentry about an inch and a quarter long, that we have taken some slight cognizance of before. These rascals with their long antennae extending out upon each side of their eyes, and their wings folded up, have a truly formidable appearance. They are not pecuiliar to ships, however, but are well known, though unwelcome visiters, in any a kitchen, racing about in every direction, to the great annoyance of frugal housewives. In warm weather they swarm about in prodigious numbers, and at their "gatherings" make a noise like a flock of quails among the dry leaves of the forest. They are extremely voracious, and destroy almost every thing they can find; their teeth are so sharp, the sailors say, that they will eat off the edge of a razor.

      Thursday, Dec. 26. Yesterday was Christmas, the commencement of the holidays, celebrated with such hearty good will by all our dear friends in America.

      Early in the morning, Mr. Freeman made his appear-


ance in the cabin, wishing us all round "Merry Christmas, and that all subsequious occasions might be felicitating."

      Our dinner was very palatable, although limited to salt pork and mush, a truly temperate feast for Christmas. Nor were we wreathed with gay festoons of evergreens, but around us the deep blue sea breaking in many a foaming crest, and sparkling at night with myriads of golden spangles, was our only drapery.

      Owing to the squally weather we had a few days since, we left our cruising ground in latitude 17° south, and drove on in a south-westerly course before the wind. Although we are impelled by a powerful breeze, yet the heat, particularly at night, is very oppressive in the cabin. I have been so much incommoded by it for several nights past, that I determined to try sleeping upon deck. Accordingly, with a boat sail, I made a kind of tent near the stern of the ship, and with my cloak wrapped around me, stretched myself out upon deck to sleep. I have often before heard of the virtues of a hard bed, but have never tested them so fully before.

      The deck of our ship usually presents a very busy scene. The blacksmith is plying his bellows and the cooper and the carpenter have each enough to do in their respective mechanical employments. No one is allowed to be idle, with one exception, and he often "lends a hand" whenever he may be of use; and in studies or mechanical contrivances, leads a diligent life and makes the time pass away very pleasantly.

      There is nothing I would urge upon the invalid going to sea for his health, of so much importance as a variety of regular occupations which shall employ all his time, and avert the first approaches of ennui. It is the


only way to relieve the otherwise insupportable monotony of a long voyage.

      There is always a plenty of work to be done aboard a ship, to employ the men in the watch upon deck. When there is nothing else to do, they pick to pieces old ropes, and splice together the separate yarns, which are then twisted together and form spun yarn. The apparatus made use of consists of a heavy wheel of about eighteen inches in diameter, giving momentum to an axle about three feet in length upon the end of which furthest from the wheel, is the spindle, to which motion is communicated by means of a rope wound around the axle two or three times, drawn tight, and relaxed alternately, until the required velocity is produced. The machine is set upon one of the windlass-bitts, and the yarns lead along the deck as far back as the mizzen mast. As the spindle revolves, the man who makes the spun yarn, commencing close to the spindle, moves backwards from it, rubbing the yarns vigorously with a piece of cloth dipped in oil, so as to render the spun yarn fine and smooth. In this way, thousands of yards of spun yarn are made every voyage, an indispensable article aboard ship. Three yarns are also often spun together by means of three spindles to which motion is communicated by large tooth wheels acting upon three smallere ones.

      All the shrouds and stays of a ship are carefully protected from the friction of the running rigging, by being "served" or wound around with spun yarn. Some of them are covered with mats of spun yarn woven neatly together. These are usually homemade, and the process of manufacture is as follows.

      A number of spun yarns corresponding to the required breadth of the mat, are stretched parallel to one another


across the deck, passing through a frame work of parallel bars, which retains every other one and allows the remainder to move freely between them. The person who works the frame, carries it down, and consequently, the spun yarns retained by the bars, are thrown down below the level of the other; the weaver stands ready with two balls of twine, which he passes across the yarns between the separate ranks, and the work is rendered compact by means of the sword, a long, thin piece of hard wood, playing between the ranks of spun yarn. The frame is now raised, and the same steps are repeated, until the mat is finished. To prevent the chafing of the rigging and spars, there are other kinds of mats made use of, as well as "scotchmen," of various descriptions. Upon different occasions during the voyage, the entire rigging is "set up" or tightened, and every few days some new rope is to be substituted for one which has become stranded. In the repairing of the sails, the sewing of rigging, knotting and splicing ropes in every variety of form, and the care of the boats, the officers find employment enough for the men while upon duty. Every Saturday afternoon, the masts are "slushed down" by the men in their turn, commencing with the royal masts and descending to the caps of the lower masts.

      During the hours of work, no trifling of any kind is allowed, and any one seen indulging in "skylarking," subjects himself to the danger of being sent aloft, or stationed at the wheel for many tedious hours, besides going without his usual allowance.

      After supper, however, from six to eight o'clock, is the season for amusements of every variety. The officers are conversing together in the after part of the ship, while the men assembled around the windlass, are


smoking their pipes, "spinning yarns," or listening to a song from Mr. Freeman, or dancing to the sound of his violin. It is sometimes supposed that but very little discipline is observed at sea, except aboard a man of war; a wrong impression however, for although our ship makes no higher pretensions than that of a whaler, yet obedience is as well understood here, as on the decks of a line of battle ship. It is necessary that such should be the case; for in all stations of command over others, the forms of respect must be rigidly adhered to, or all authority ceases.



Gale of wind – Game of these seas – The porpoise – Turtle – Pilot fish – Squally weather – Preparations for doubling Cape Horn – Novel aspect of the diurnal revolutions, and of the celestial bodies in these high latitudes – Capture of an Albatross – Preparations for the cape.

      Monday, Dec. 30. – Yesterday morning after a rainy, uncomfortable night the wind began to veer around to the southward, increasing until it blew up into a gale. The ship was "laid to" under a close reefed maintopsail, mizzen staysail, and foretopmast staysail with every prospect of a stormy night. A ship is said to "lay to" in a gale of wind, when all the sails are carefully furled with the exception of those that are necessary to enable her to present her head to the sea, in which case she surmounts the surges instead of being swept by them. It is always advisable to carry as much sail as prudence allows to prevent the ship from rolling to windward, a situation of particular exposure to the fury of the sea.

      About midnight, the wind began to abate, and this morning we are enjoying a clear and cool atmosphere, reminding me of a lovely morning in September, at home, with the white clouds sailing along the pure depths of the sky.

      Soon after breakfast, a school of porpoises was announced as playing around the bows of the ship. I watched them for some time indulging in their playful


gambols, now springing several feet out of water, then darting across the ship's path, and returning again with great velocity. Their sport was not long undisturbed. One of the boatsteerers stationed himself with a harpoon, upon the martingale guy under the bowsprit. The deadly weapon is poised and suddenly darted at two or three of them in quick succession, as they shoot across the bow of the ship. At the third plunge of the harpoon, the poor animal is pierced through the neck, and the barbed iron is bent completely around and caught upon the shaft, so that there is no chance for escape. In his agony he springs out of water, and throws himself wildly in every direction, while the blood is streaming out from the deep gashes in his neck. The moment he is struck, a dozen hands are hold of the line, and the poor animal is drawn upon deck respiring heavily from the open wound.

      The porpoise belongs to the class cetacea, and of course is enveloped in blubber, usually about half an inch in thickness. He is also obliged to rise to the surface of the sea to breathe, a distinguishing characteristic of the cetaceous family.

      The porpoise is a well known visitant of our harbors and bays, but this species is somewhat different from those we meet at sea, of which there are also several varieties. The specimen we took to-day was of the most common species. He was about five feet in length, with strong pectoral fins, thick dorsal fin, and with broad flukes, moving horizontally like those of the whale.

      The Porpoise rarely descends to any great depth, and is said to manifest a strong aversion to the contentions of the angry waters in a gale of wind, which he avoids by an instinctive prescience of its approach. I have heard that when great numbers of them are seen moving


swiftly on a given course, a gale may be expected to blow up from the quarter from which they came.

"These fleetest coursers of the finny race
When threatening clouds th' etherial vault deface,
Their route to leeward still sagacious form,
To shun the fury of th' approaching storm.
                        FALCONER'S SHIPWRECK

      The blubber was very soon stripped off, and the carcass suspended near the cook's galley, to the great delight of those that have not tasted any fresh meat since we left America. Porpoise meat is of a dark color, resembling the liver of land animals, and is as tender as the tenderest beef steak. The lower jaw of the porpoise contains a quantity of very fine oil lodged in the cavities where it unites with the skull bone. It is used by watchmakers and others for lubricating delicate machinery. The oil extracted from the blubber is also of very superior quality, but a single porpoise rarerly yields over a gallon and a half.

      The flesh of the whale immediately investing the carcase, is of a dark purple color, with coarse fibres having numerous white tendons traversing the mass, and is hardly considered edible, although his tongue is esteemed a delicacy by those that have seen nothing but "salt kunk" for a long time.

      Specimens of the porpoise have been served up at table, a dish by no means contemptible. This evening we partook of rather a novel dish – "flippers" flavored with porpoise's brains! I made a very hearty supper, but was ignorant of the nature of my repast, until it was afterwards explained to me. Some persons doubtless, would be disgusted at the idea of making porpoise meat an article of food; but there are many things we conceive a disrelish for from mere prejudice. One part of


the world abhors swine's flesh, while the rest esteem it a particular delicacy. The natives of some of the Pacific Islands consider baked dog a great luxury, and a trick served upon the officers of a certain man-of-war at one of those islands, shows how far prejudice operates in producing a preference for certain articles of food, and an antipathy to others. At dinner some of the officers were exclaiming against the fondness for baked dog exhibit by the natives at one of their grand feasts, while the pork they were feasting upon, they pronounced to be the best flavored they had ever tasted. Unconsciously to them, however, a baked dog had been brought upon the table with a pig's head sewed on in place of his own; a deception they did not discover until they had participated largely in the reprobated dish. Their disgust may be easily imagined.

      Tuesday, Dec. 31. The wind this morning died away, and a calm succeeded with a smooth sea, the first we have had since we left America. The blue sky was serene, giving to the wide spreading waters its own beautiful tint. The air too was delightfully mild, instead of the chilly temperature of yesterday; and we were silent and alone upon the mighty waters save a distant sail upon our starboard quarter.

      To diversify the occasion a turtle made his appearance on our starboard beam. A boat was lowered and was darting in pursuit, while I ran up into the mizzen rigging to get a sight of the animal – a glimpse of which I could just catch as the sunbeams glistened from his head. He was swimming indolently upon the surface of the water about half a mile off, and did not appear to be alarmed at the approach of the boat, until receiving a thrust of the lance through both shells, he was hauled on board the boat after some ineffectual struggles to escape.


      This variety is called the "Logger Head" turtle by those on board, and I adopt the name from ignorance of his proper one. He was from eighteen to twenty inches in length, having a shell much arched, and soft, unfit therefore, for any use, although it resembled in color that used by the combmakers at home. He was very fat, and made a delicious soup for supper. The meat was white and very delicate like that of the breast of a fowl. We are living upon the fat of the ocean! porpoise steaks, cutlets and fricassee, with turtle soup introduced very appropos by way of variety.

      January 1, 1840. The weather has been calm like that of yesterday, and several other turtles have been seen basking upon the surface of the sea. A boat was lowered for one this afternoon, but he went down just as he was about to receive his death wound. Another came very near being run over by the ship this evening, as he lay motionless and apparently asleep upon the water.

      This morning hearing from some one that a pilot fish had stationed himself under the bow of the ship, I made ready a fish line, and placed myself under the bowsprit to try my luck upon him. After many unsuccessful efforts, and when my patience was nearly exhausted, I had the pleasure of seeing him fairly hooked.

      The pilot fish varies in length from eight to fifteen inches which was the length of the specimen I captured. His dorsal and ventral fins are extended backwards to his tail, near which projects a narrow fin, set horizontally upon each side of his body. His lateral and pectoral fins are large, and the former, together with the extremities of his tail, are beautifully tipped with white. The color upon his back is of a deep indigo blue, shaded off into a lighter tint in the lower part of his body,


having three or four broad bands of a deeper shade, extending three-fourths of the way around. The pilot fish is almost always seen in company with the shark swimming along, side by side with his ferocious mate. He frequently accompanies ships also, for many hours, and sometimes, days together, hovering about the bow or stern, and every little while darting off upon his prey.

      Thursday, Jan. 2. The wind has been increasing since morning, and now blows rather fresh. Towards the latter part of the afternoon, the welcome cry "There she bre-e-ches," brought every one upon deck – the ship was braced up sharp on the wind, and we were dashing forward to make out what kind of animal it was that was seen. We stood on for half an hour, and then gave up the chase, as the alarm was occasioned by a school of "killers," that were throwing themselves out of water. They are a species of cetacea considerably larger than the porpoise, and are so called by the whalers from their attacking the young of the sperm whale and eating them up by piece-meal. All marine animals that are not known to whalers by a particular name, receive the general appellaton of "spirits."

      Monday, Jan. 6. On Saturday last, rain fell at intervals all day. When I arose in the morning, I perceived an unusual color in the ocean; it was of a greenish tint, unlike the deep blue over which we have been traversing, and I attributed it at first to the clouds which tint the sea with many a varied hue. Capt. R., however, informed me that the change in the color of the sea was owing to the comparative shallowness of the water, although we were still off soundings. Nearer in shore are extensive banks like the Newfoundland baks, which are frequented by right whales at certain seasons of the year of feed upon shrimp, blood-red animalculae that


sometimes spread for acres upon the surface of the sea.

      Towards night, the wind hauled around to the south south west, and came in strong puffs, increasing into a gale before morning. The pitching and rolling of the ship, made my sleep very irregular, and as I held myself in my berth, the progress of the gale could be easily traced not only by the roar of the wind growing louder and louder, but also by the orders for taking in sail after sail. I was not fully aware of the violence of the gale however, until the command from the officer of the watch, "Take in the foresail," indicated that the wind was rising into a heavy blow, that begins to savor of Cape Horn.

      Between sleeping and waking howeveer, the night passed away, and at an early hour I went upon deck. The sea was lashed into foam, and breaking in broad white crests, from which the spray was blown like sleet in winter on shore. There was a heavy swell also which occasionally threw the ship over on her side so far, that the sea came pouring in over the lee rail and dashing across the deck, when she righted again. The boats had all been raised up so as touch the davits from which they are suspended, and then "turned down," with the keel outwards, which protects them from the sea in a storm. The watch upon deck were all collected together aft, as all the forward part of the ship was repeatedly flooded with the seas that broke over her. We were "lying to" under the mizzen staysail, close reefed maintopsail and foretopmast staysail. About ten o'clock, wore ship around on the other tack with her head pointing towards the continent. The gale was at its height about noon, when it blew much harder that it has done since we left the United States. Towards


evening, it moderated down, and to-day (Monday,) there has been a perfect calm, with not wind enough to steady the ship, and she has floated like a log upon the water, tossed about by the swell that still continues high.

      The temperature of the atmosphere yesterday, was cold, and judging from my feelings, I presume the thermometer would have stood in the neighborhood of thirty two degrees, or the freezing point. The wind was very piercing, the more so from our sudden transition from a warm atmosphere. To day, however, the air has been mild, and this evening as the sun was setting behind the heaving ocean, in golden spendor, a light breeze sprang up from the north-east and wafted us on our course.

      For several days past, many birds of varous kinds, have followed in the wake of the ship, and during the gale of yesterday, a lark flock hovered around us. They are about the size of wild ducks, and skim beautfully over the bursting wave, or rise swiftly upon the rushing storm. Often they alight and ride over the billows as if the ocean were their native realm. To-day, a couple of Albatrosses, a large bird, peculiar to the south seas, took a circuit around us, then sailed slowly away, until we lost sight of them in the distance.

      A large school of porpoises passed us this afternoon, numbering forty or fifty, I should think. They ran under the ship, then darted off, frequently springing out of the water to the distance of fifteen or twenty feet, and exhibiting a dozen or more in the air at a time.

      Tuesday, Jan. 7. Latitude at noon 40° 08'. It has been blowing hard from the north all day, with some indications of another gale, and we are now making active preparations for the weather we expect to contend with off Cape Horn. This morning the royal masts were sent down, the anchors brought in upon deck and


secured, and the spars and rigging were fully examined, and if defective, repaired. The waist and bow boats were also taken aboard and turned keel upwards upon the tryworks.

      There are many ships, particularly merchantmen, that do not send down their lofty spars to insure them against the risk of being carried away off Cape Horn. But to the sperm whaler, who is to be absent for several years from home, and whose wanderings often lead him out of the reach of assistance, these precautionary measures are the part of wisdom.

      Wednesday, Jan. 8. Latitude at noon, 43° 39', exhibiting a difference of latitude of 3° 31 during the last twenty-four hours; as our course has been oblique to a meridian, the distance sailed over since yesterday noon is somewhat greater than this.

      Large flocks of birds are following in our wake, and several schools of porpoises have been sporting in merry gambols around our bow; one of the latter was struck this morning, but he made his escape, as the iron "drew" or tore out of the wound in his violent struggles. In such cases, it is said the wounded animal is immediately pursued and devoured by his voracious comrades. In allusion to this unnatural propensity of the porpoise, one of the officers in conversation with me, made use of a very striking simile; "if a man's reputation is impaired," he observed, "the whole world turn upon him, like porpoises that instantly attack and devour a wounded mate."

      Monday, Jan. 30. Cold and stormy weather. On Saturday morning last we were struck by a heavy squall from the south west which came upon us rather unexpectedly. All hands were called. "Let go the halliards – clew up the topgallant sails – run down the fly-


ing gib – brail up the spanker – maintack and sheet let go and clew up, haul out the reeftackles, – jump up there, jump up, put two reefs in the topsails, and furl every thing snug." Such were the hurried orders that were issued; in a few moments, however, the squall passed over and a calm succeeded for a few hours, when the wind hauled more to the southward, and continued to increase, until a heavy gale brought us to under short sail. I have never seen such a sea as there was yesterday. In every direction, "Like mountains the billows tremendously swell," and as they came rolling on in accumulated masses careering with their surging crests, it was an exhibition of sublimity that could not fail of impressing the beholder with awe of the mighty power of the contending elements. The good ship trembled in every timber at the shock of the surges that broke in foam from her weather side, and in one instance, dashed the spray high upon the main-topsail, a distance of fifty feet. Towards night, (last night,) wore ship, and headed in for the continent. In executing this maneuvre, the foretopmast staysail sheet became unhooked, and in an instant the sail split in two with a loud report.

      The damp air of the sea is exceedingly penetrating, and one feels much colder with the thermometer indicating a given temperature, than he would on shore with the mercury ranging much lower upon the scale, the humidity impairing the non-conducting powers of his clothing. Our latitude is about 49° south not far from one hundred miles to the northward of the Falkland Islands. The days are very long, and lengthening rapidly; the sun now sets after eight o'clock, P.M., and twilight lingers until long after ten o'clock, when after an interval of a couple of hours, the first indications of dawn are


perceptible in the east. It seems very strange to see the sun rising in the south-east, and, reaching but a low altitude in the north at noon, descend into the sea to the south-west of us. The moon, too, has the appearance of having lost her place in the sky, to wander in the northern regions. The long shadows she casts, and her dismal light, give to every thing a peculiarly gloomy aspect. The Magellan clouds which we saw soon after crossing the equator, have rapidly risen towards the zenith in our progress southward, and they are now nearly over head. They are two luminous nebulae, situated not very far from the southern pole, about 15° apart. The larger of the two is apparently about five feet, and the smaller about three feet square.

      The nearer we approach Cape Horn, the more numerous are the sea birds that accompany the ship. Yesterday a speckled haglet or "Cape pigeon," as he is sometimes called, continued near us for a long time, occasionally coming close up to the ship as she "lay to," and alighting upon the waves, or skimming along over the boisterous sea with his little web feet.

      This morning, I had the good fortune to capture two albatrosses during the calm that succeeded yesterday's gale. A long cod line with a corresponding fish hook is procured, and a float attached to it about two feet from the end to prevent its sinking. To the hook is secured a piece of salt pork about the size of one's fist, which is well "slushed" or greased, to make it the more attractive, and then dropped astern. If the ship is moving too fast, the albatross feels a little suspicious of the appearance of things, and will not alight; but if the bait just trails along upon the surface of the sea, after flying around it two or three times and looking at it carefully, with his large web feet spread out before him, he dashes down




into the water and commences a furious attack upon the pork. A jerk is given upon the line, and the hook becomes fixed in the extremity of his bill; and then with a steady and careful pull he is hauled aboard ship. Considerable skill is requisite in order to succeed, for even after the hook fixes itself into the bill, it is easily detached, unless a constant strain is kept upon the line.

      The albatross, or "gony," as he is called by whalemen, is an immense bird, and if I mistake not, is found no where else except in the southern regions.* He is apparently about twice as large as a common goose, but this is owing to the dense coat of feathers and down with which he is invested, which, if taken off, disclose a body by no means as large as one would suppose from his external appearance. His head and neck are very strong, and he is armed with a sharp, formidable bill, which he uses with great power; sufficient, I have no doubt, to cut off a man's finger at a single bite. His wings are very large, and owing to their great extent cannot be folded up at the side of the bird with much compactness. His tail is very short and concealed by his immense wings when they are closed.

      The largest specimen captured, measured ten and a half feet from tip to tip of his expanded wings. His legs are short, terminating in broad web feet, with which he moves gracefully about upon the waves. Like all the anser tribe, his walk is very awkward, and when aboard ship he is unable to rise from the deck. In taking flight from the surface of the sea, he runs clumsily along, spattering the water with his broad feet, exhibiting the most awkward efforts to rise. But when, with

      * Some accounts I have read of the albatross (Diomedia Exulans) assert that vast flocks of these birds are to be seen upon the coast of Kamschatka. (See Encyclopedia Perthensis.)


his wide pinions extended to the breeze he seems to sail along without any apparent exertion, or skims over the heaving billows, the motions of the albatross are peculiarly graceful. If kept on board ship for a short time, the albatross becomes sea-sick, and displays his state of feeling upon deck, a rather singular circumstance, as he rides the waves so beautifully in a gale of wind.

      Tuesday, Jan. 14. This morning we were all thrown into excitement by the welcome cry "There she blo-o-ws!" several times repeated from the masthead. The alarm was occasioned by two right whales, being in sight, three miles or more distant. Though at this distance, yet the species to which they belong was readily made out by several characteristics known to the experienced whaler, which will be noticed upon some future occasion

      Two of the boats were soon lowered, and the other two soon afterwards were launched from the try-works and sprang forward in the pursuit, while the ship was slowly drawing up towards the scene of action. At one time the whales came up within a short distance of one of the boats, which was "hove up" awaiting their reappearance upon top of water. The boat immediately wheeled around, and running up between them, ranged along side the larger. The harpoon was raised, but with the quickness of thought, the whale whirled around and instantly disappeared.

      After continuing the chase for an hor or more to no purpose, the boat returned. At one time the whales approached within a stone's throw of the ship; they floated sluggishly upon the water, blowing the spray several feet into the air, whith a heavy respiration, while the waves of the sea dashed over them in foam.


      The failure in capturing these whales is a serious disappointment. For although right whale oil is only one third as valuable as sperm, yet the capture of a right whale that would make one hundred barrels of oil, would furnish us with the means of supplying the ship abundantly with fruits and vegetables in exchange for it, at those places we expect to visit. What aggravates the disappointment is the calm and delightful weather we have had all day, which, though rather cool, is unusually serene for this latitude, and would be very favorable for disposing of a "fare" of oil.

      The ship has been receiving her Cape Horn sails; new sails have been substituted for those that are old and weak. A main staysail has also been made ready for the stormy weather we must soon expect. It is a triangular sail extending from the main top down to the lower part of the foremast, and is very useful to steady the ship in a gale of wind with a heavy sea running, and in some degree supplies the place of the maintopsail in case it should give way.

      Wednesday, Jan. 15. At an early hour this morning, I was roused from my slumbers by the bustle upon deck, and by the cries from aloft "There she blo-o-ws – there she blo-o-ws!" My toilet was soon completed, and I hurried upon deck, when to my chagrin and disappointment I learned that the alarm was occasioned by a large number of fin back whales making their appearance three or four miles off, which as I have before mentioned are very rarely attacked by the whaler, partly from the great difficulty of the capture, and partly from the inferior quality and quantity of the oil obtained from them. This evening, a whale of this species was seen within a quarter of a mile of the ship, but was passed by without farther notice.


      Our Cape Horn preparations are completed; every thing has been brought from the hold, that we shall require during our passage around the Cape, and the hatches barred down and caulked. We are all clad in our warmest dresses, for without any fire on board except what the cook keeps up in the galley, one requires a plentiful supply of warm clothing. The overcoats worn by sailors are known by rather whimsical names. There are two kinds, the baboon jacket, a short coat without any skirts, and the monkey jacket, differing from the other in having a kind of ruffle around the lower edge answering to skirts.

      Friday, Jan. 17. In conversing with one of the men to-day, he informed me that he had been upon the Florida Coast, in a brig chartered by the United States Government, for the purpose of carrying military stores to the army. Among other things, he told me that the brig was sent with a strong force to search for the bodies of a detachment of men supposed to have been cut off by the Indians. The detachment consisted of seventeen men; they were bivouacked it seems, upon the bank of a small river, and were attacked during the night by a large body of Indians who killed them all to a man. Instead of scalping their victims, as is cutomary with North American Indians, they dug out their eyes, and abandoned them thus horridly mutilated!

      Saturday, Jan. 18. Latitude at noon 51° 52'. Our progress for a day or two past has been very slow, owing to the prevalence of light baffling winds from the south-west, and south south-west. The air is very keen, and we have no fire on board to mitigate its severity. The only serious inconvenience I experience, is that my feet are constantly cold, a sensation I have seldom experienced, even in the coldest weather of a New England winter.


My fingers too are swollen with that annoying complaint the "chilblains," so common an occurrence at home, although usually confined to another part of the system. We should have had a stove set up in the cabin before this, were we not deterred by the fear of being overrun by the black legged gentry that have retreated to the lower hold during the cold weather.



Terra del Fuego – Patagonians – Straits of Magellan – Geographical position of Cape Horn – Dangers and difficulties of doubling the Cape – Capricious state of the elements – Huge Sperm Whale – The carrier albatross – Perils of Whaling – Sailor's songs.

      Monday, Jan. 20. Land ho! This morning, as the mists began to clear away, the bleak cliffs and highlands of Terra del Fuego and Staten Land, lay before us, not more than ten or twelve miles distant. Staten Land is separated from the "land of fire," by the straits De La Maire, about fifteen miles in width, which are often passed through by ships outward bound around Cape Horn. Although it is here the season corresponding to midsummer, yet the heights are crowned with tracts of snow, contrasted beautifully with the gloomy aspect of the cliffs as seen through the waving mists. Upon our right extended the outline of Terra del Fuego, until it vanished in the dense fog that rested upon the water, while beyond the coast rose a tall, conical mountain, whose steep sides converged in a narrow, iosolated peak.

      Upon each side of the Straits of Magellan, live the far famed race of Patagonians, whose gigantic proportions, (if we are to believe the accounts of early navigators,) might rival the Goliahs of antiquity. The visits of recent voyagers, have stripped them of the marvelous, and they are now found to be no larger than other people. One


of our boatsteerers was in a ship which passed through the straits several years since. I had a long conversation with him about their appearance and manners, and he confirms the observations I have just made. What should have induced former voyagers to give such exaggerated accounts of the Patagonians, I cannot imagine, unless it be to gratify the preference of human nature for the marvelous rather than for what bears the impress of truth.

      This is the first land we have seen since leaving Fayal, a period of nine weeks. The sight, I need hardly say, was very acceptable to me at least. Those whose horizon the vast ocean has bounded week after week, are apt to feel that these restless waters are their only home.

      There is a strong current setting into these straits, and there is also a tide about these islands; but with a fair wind, (an occurrence however somewhat rare,) the passage may be made without any difficulty. Terra del Fuego is separated from the main land by the Straits of Magellan, through which ships occasionally make their way into the Pacific, although the attempt has been hitherto regarded as rather hazardous from the intricacy of the channel, as well as the inaccuracy of the surveys.*

      We have been endeavoring all day long to pass through the Straits De La Maire, but have been becalmed until sunset, when the attempt at night was thought inadvisable, and we are now doubling Cape St. John, the eastern extremity of Staten Land.

      * The United States Exploring Expedition, have made very careful surveys of the Straits of Magellan and the adjacent islands, which will probably faacilitate the navigation through them, and induce most ships to adopt this route, instead of the circuitous and hazardous passage around Cape Horn.


swell, have kept Terra del Fuego and Staten Land in sight until this morning, when they slowly disappeared behind the mists that enveloped them, and Cape Horn with its isolated Peak and neighboring islands, rose into view. We have been becalmed all day, a very different reception from what we might expect from the boisterous character of the Cape. The clouds have a lowering aspect, however, and we may yet experience the fury of old Eolus in this his favorite region. We are unusually near the Cape, and have a fine view of it, which even those who have doubled it many times, cannot always boast of. Capt. R., told me that he had never before seen Cape Horn, although he had passed around it six or eight times.

      Cape Horn is located upon Hermit Island, a small island two or three miles in length, rising up into a cone at the southernmost end, with a line of rocks extending behind it towards the north. Between this island and Terra del Fuego, several long and narrow islands are situated, upon which we observed large fields of snow, although at the distance of twenty miles.

      The passage around Cape Horn, into the Pacific, is generally very trying and hazardous, owing to the violent westerly gales and sudden squalls that prevail in those regions. Ships are sometimes detained here for two or three weeks and even longer, contending against the fury of the elements. To the howling storm and the raging sea, the iceberg, a common exhibition, adds new terrors, which the most careful vigilance cannot always elude. Many a ship has been crushed between these moving mountains, or been dashed to pieces upon fields of floating ice, and every soul perished in these forlorn regions.

      Hermit island is not the southernmost land upon the


South American coast; but the Diego Ramirez Islands, a cluster of islets, lie a little farther south, as will be seen by consulting the chart. Latitude of Cape Horn 55° 58' south, longitude 67° 21'. Latitude of the Diego Ramirez Islands 56° 32' south, longitude 68° 36'.

      Friday, Jan. 24. To-day with a light breeze, we drew up within six miles of the cape, so near that the breakers dashing against its rocky sides were distinctly visible. Within a few miles of the cape, in a bay setting into one of the adjacent islands, stands a very singular rock, which appeared so similar to a steamboat at anchor, that the resemblance struck every one on board, and through the glass the likeness was rendered still more apparent. Upon each side of the rock, a projection represented the paddle boxes, while a tall, narrow rock standing out in bold relief, would pass very well for the smoke-pipe and upright machinery, thus completing the fantastic appearance of this little island. Hermit island, and also the neighboring islands, appear to belong t the same variety of rock. Through the glass, they seem like huge masses of trap rock, traversed by numereous reddish veins.

      This evening we had a sharp squall, which we anticipated by taking in sail before it struck us. You see a light mist rising rapidly to windward of you, a signal to draw in your light sails, or in a few moments the blast will be down upon you, screaming wildly through the rigging, while your light spars will be seen flying to leeward, or a topsail be blown with the sound of thunder from its bold-rope.

      Saturday, Jan. 25. Becalmed all day, and drifting to the eastward in the current setting around the Cape from the Pacific. The rain has been falling all day


with scarcely any intermission, and the cold damp air which prevails above and below, renders our situation extremely cheerless. Such a constant succession of calms in high latitudes, is usually the precursor of a storm, and we may be many weeks in gaining the few miles of westing that must be made, before we begin to point the ship's head to the north.

      Sunday, Jan. 6. Saw a large school of sperm whales early this morning, within a mile or two of the ship; there was too much wind and sea, however, to admit of sending the boats to attack them. Soon afterwards a sail was seen on our weather bow, coming down before the wind with fore-topmast and main-top-gallant studding sails set on both sides, a most enviable sight to us who were opposed by the wind that was bearing her gallantly on her course.

      Latitude at noon 57° 25' south, longitude 67° 35 west. The sky was clear this morning, but this afternoon the weather became thick and rainy, with some prospects of a gale.

      Monday, Jan. 27. Calm weather with scarcely any wind, accompanied with a heavy swell and frequent showers of rain. Since yesterday, we have made sixty seven miles westing from noon till noon.

      Tuesday, Jan. 28. Calm weather with showers of rain occasionally. Longitude 70° 37' west, indicating twelve miles westing from yesterday noon till to-day noon.

      Wednesday, Jan. 29. Calm and beautiful day, with occasional "catpaws" or puffs of wind sweeping over the ocean in every direction. Average of the thermometer 60°. Observed the water teeming with innumerable sparkling flakes, from a size so minute as to be almost imperceptible to a size as large as a twenty five cent


piece. This is a very common phenomenon in a long succession of calm weather, but is more particularly observed in tropical regions.

      A young albatross was captured this morning which made an excellent "sea pie," or fricassee for supper, resembling veal in taste, although one or two of the officers refused to partake of the dish, inasmuch as this bird as no gizzard. The less fastidious fared much better, and made a good supper.

      Thursday, Jan. 30. Mild and beautiful day, with a fine, fresh breeze from the north-east, which has impelled us from sixty to eighty miles on our course in a north-westerly direction.

      Saturday, Feb. 1. For the last forty-eight hours, stong and favorable breezes, with occasional calms. The rain has been falling almost all day, and we have been pursued by a gale of wind from the eastward under double reefed topsails. We are now twenty or thirty miles to the northward of Cape Horn, with a favorable prospect of soon emerging into warmer latitudes. Our progress westward has been most remarkable, and there is not a man on board, who has ever seen so favorable a time in passing around Cape Horn into the Pacific.

      Monday, Feb. 3. for the last forth-eight hours, have had strong breezes from the south-east and south and south-west, which yesterday afternoon blew up into a gale, before which we ran under all the sail we dared to carry, with a heavy sea rolling after us.

      The weather has been more moderate to-day, although squally. Latitude at noon to-day 51° 50', making about two hundred miles northing for the preceding twenty-four hours. Our course was in a northwesterly direction, and the entire distance traversed during that time, exceeded two hundred and fifty miles.


      We may now consider ourselves fairly around this much dreaded cape, and launched into the vast Pacific ocean, with its mighty expanse of waters extending thousands and thousands of miles to the westward of us, and set with numerous islands that rise like gems from its profound depths.

      It was regarded as an enterprise of great magnitude to double Cape Horn, in the times of Captain Cook and the adventurers that succeeded him. But the great number of ships, both whalemen and merchantmen, that annually pass around in safety, have divested it of many of its terrors, and made it appear much less formidable than in days of yore. It is still, however, a fearful place.

      During our passage around Cape Horn, I have been constantly on the look-out for any unusual astronomical phenomenon, particularly with references to the doubtful occurrence of an aurora australis. Nothing remarkable, however, has been seen, and no aurora has illumined the sky to the southward of us. The captain and officers concur in saying that they have never noticed any thing of the kind while in these regions.

      Wednesday, Feb. 5. Latitude at noon 47° 51'. We were dashing along this afternoon with a fine breeze, when a large sperm whale was suddenly seen "close aboard of us," less than a quarter of a mile off. A dozen men were instantly hold of the main-clew-garnets – the main course clewed up and the after sails laid aback, in a less time than I have been writing about it. Three boats were then lowered, but soon after seven o'clock, returned to the ship, as the gathering gloom of the evening precluded all hope of success.

      This whale was of extraordinary size, and displayed


the large hump upon is back repeatedly, and several times threw hs broad flukes high out of water.

      Friday, Feb. 7. Latitude at noon 45°. This morning, I amused myself for a long time in catching albatrosses, and was so successful as to capture three, making seven in all, that we have taken. The whalers that double Cape Horn, frequently amuse themselves by catching a number of these birds, and then letting them go, with an inscription upon a piece of leather tied around their necks. The inscription is an exaggerated account of their success in whaling. For instance, if we were desirous of imitating this veracious practice, we might send off one or two of the albatrosses we took to-day with the label "North America, New London, at sea. Feb. 7, 1840, four months out – 350 bbls. Sp. Oil," whereas if the ship were to be searched, no more than fifty bbls. of oil could be found, of any kind.

      Great numbers of these birds flock around a whale ship, when "cutting in" the whale, alighting upon the sea, and swimming around to pick up scraps of blubber that are floating loosely about. A favorite amusement of the crew at these times, is to tie a piece of blubber upon each end of a string, and then to throw it overboard. Each piece finds a voracious devourer, and then a ludicrous struggle ensues between them, which terminates in the weaker party being compelled to disgorge what he had swallowed.

      Saturday, Feb. 8. Those whose home is upon "the trackless main," must of necessity, experience the many dangers of the capricious element upon which they are floating. But besides the ordinary dangers of the sea, the whaler is exposed to peculiar risks of life and limb in the various duties of his hazardous profession. The utmost caution is requisite in the attack upon a whale, to


guard against danger, and every man must be on the alert, or success is not only hopeless, but disastrous consequences are very likely to ensue. The line sometimes becomes entangled as it darts from the boat, and must be instantly severed, or the boat will be carried down, if the "chock pin" is too stong to break. When the boats are among a school of whales, they are often stove by these huge animals; as the boats cannot be seen when in a line with them, they are frequently shattered by the powerful head of the whale, before he is aware of their proximity. The whale in coming up to blow after being down for some time, shoots up head-first with great velocity, and instant destruction awaits that unlucky boat that happens to be immediately over him. (see frontispiece.) In coming alongside in the boats, there is no inconsiderable danger, if there is a heavy swell running at the time; when these frail structures are liable to be dashed to pieces against the ship's side, and their crews are often seriously injured by being caught between the boat and ship. In "cutting in" the whale too, lamentable casualties often occur. Large masses of blubber slide from side to side as the ship rolls heavily in the sea in rough weather. the heads of the sperm whales, which are always hoisted upon deck when practicable, sometimes get loos and cause great destruction before they are secured again. The numerous sharp instruments used in every deparment of whaling, are a source of considerable danger, and many persons annually, receive terrible wounds, either through their own carelessness or that of others. One of the officers told me that upon a certain occasion, while "cutting in" a whale, he was thrown from the staging, and fell upon the whale, while but a narrow strip of blubber prevented his sliding off upon the keen,


barbed head of a harpoon sticking into the side of the whale and pointing directly towards him. These are some of the dangers which the whaler encounters, and if there are any men worthy of commendation for their enterprise and intrepidity, he certainly deserves a prominent place among them.

      Monday, Feb. 10. Saw this noon, a large school of black fish, a cetaceous animal resembling the Sperm Whale somewhat in shape, and varying in length from five or six feet to twenty two or three feet. Three boats were sent in among them, but were unsuccessful in capturing any. Latitude at noon, 41° 39'. Temperature of the air by the thermometer 60°.

      Tuesday, Feb. 11. I have often been very much amused by the cries and songs of the men, when engaged in hauling away upon the rigging of the ship. The usual cry is "Ho! Ho! Hoi!" or "Ho! Ho! Heavo! which is sung by some one of them, while the rest keep time. It has a rather dolorous cadence, and a wildness that sounds like a note of distress when rising above the roar of the gale at dead of night.

      But there are many songs in common use among seamen, of a very lively character, which though bereft of all sentiment and sense in many instances, are performed with very good effect when there is a long line of men hauling together. Mr. Freeman usually officiattes as chorister, and with numerous demisemiquavers, strikes up the song, while all the rest join in the chorus. Sometimes they all sing together as I have endeavored to represent, although it must appear very tame without the attendant circustances. One of the songs is as follows: –

Music-1: Ho! Ho! and up she rises

      And another song accompanied with the chorus, which vies with the song of the troubadours in poetic sentiment.

Music-2: Ho! H! and up she rises

      There are many other songs that might be very easily mentioned, which, however, like a good proportion of our parlor songs are rather insipid without the music. The songs of sailors, when sung with spirit and to the full extent of their fine sonorous voices, add new vigor to their exertions, as the heavy yards and sails are mounting upwards.



Ambrose Island – Immense flocks of birds – Great fishing – Capture of a fur seal – Sea birds – Capture of a black fish – Boat carried down by a whale.

      Wednesday, Feb. 19. Last evening the dim outline Ambrose Island, was just discernible at sunset. During the night under easy sail, with a light wind, we drew up slowly towards the island, and were becalmed almost all the forenoon.

      After dinner, Capt. R., invited me to accompany him on a fishing and hunting excursion. Accordingly, with our guns and fishing tackle, we jumped into his boat and pulled for the island, then about six miles distant.

      Ambrose Island belongs to the St. Felix group, situated in latitude 26° 20' S., and is about 600 miles from the coast of Chili. It is a desolate rock with scarcely a sign of vegetation, rising abruptly with precipitous and craggy sides, to a height of five hundred feet or more, while the heaving billows of the ocean are continually roaring at its base. From the main body are detached several large rocks, forming fanciful arches, among which the surf was boiling and dashing the spray high up into the air. The incessant action of the sea, had worn deep cavities into the solid rocks and labarynthine passages, from which the mists spray puffed out in many beautiful jets d'eau. These solitary islands of the ocean


are favorite places of resort to innumerable sea birds that rear their young upon the recesses of the projecting cliffs, and derive their food from the sea.

      Great numbers of birds about the size of our pigeons came off to meet us, and hovered over us so near to the boat, that I knocked several of them down with a short stick I had in my hand. The most numerous variety was the "Booby," as he is called by the sailors, a bird about the size of a goose. We shot several of them; there are two varieties, the white and the grey Booby, differing in color only. The grey Booby has an elongated body, grey back, white breast, strong and sharp bill of a greenish yellow color. He measures from tip to tip of his expanded wings about five and a half feet, and from the extremity of his bill to the end of his tail about two feet and a half. The Booby is a very sleepy bird, and frequently alights upon the yards and booms of a ship, when he becomes an easy captive. He is a very active fisher, however, darting from a great height with astonishing velocity into the water, and even diving for some distance beneath the surface to seize the fish upon which he preys.

      We coasted along the shore of the island, stopping frequently to catch fish, which were very abundant, and some kinds were tinged with beautiful hues. The birds also, were very active, diving down into the water a few yards from us, and coming up with a fish in their mouths about the size and hue of the gold fish we have in our glass globes at home. As we were moving along the shore, we came to a deep grotto overhung with frowning rocks. Upon entering it, our attention was arrested by a large animal lying asleep upon the rockes close by us, which Capt. R. instantly recognized as a fur seal. The head of the boat was run up to the rock, while the old

   BLACK FISH. 119

seal and her cub began to exhibit signs of life by displaying their teeth and setting up a furious growl. With a blow upon the nose from the boat-hook, the dam was laid senseless upon the rock, while the cub took to the water and made off with himself, swimming farther into the grotto, but after considerable difficulty, we suceeded in capturing him also. The old seal measured over five feet in length, and the cub about two feet and a half. The fur of seals taken in these latitudes is shorter than that of colder climates. These skins, however, would be valued at eight or nine dolars at home.

      We returned to the ship, shooting several birds on our passage, highly gratified with the varied amusements of the afternoon, and at supper feasted ourselves upon the fine fish we had taken, and the flesh of the young seal, which was tender and delicate like that of a pig.

      Friday, Feb. 21. This afternoon the boats ran into a school of large black fish, and succeeded in "fastening" to two of them. One of these made his escape, as the harpoon "drew" from the wound in his violent efforts to get loose, although he must have died subsequently. The other after "sounding" for some time rose upon the surface of the water, apparently dead, at a short distance from the boat, which immediately ranged along side to use the lance. At that moment he commenced his "flurry," and knocking the oars from the starboard side, he thrust his unwieldy head across the gunner [sic] of the boat, filling her half full of water, to the terror of the men, some of whom jumped overboard. In his agony and furious convulsions, the boat bucket was stove, and the boat somewhat injured; but before she had become full of water, he darted off in another direction, while the men and oars were picked up by one of the other boats. The black fish soon "turned up," and


was secured by a rope fastened around his flukes. Unfortunately, however, the bowline slipped, and to the mortification of the boatsteerer, the animal was lost, as his specific gravity is greater than that of the water. Several days since we lost a large black fish by the "drawing of the iron," the line passing too closely arouind the loggerhead of the boat, while the animal was in his "flurry." Many whales are lost in this way, after being struck, and there are some kinds of whales that almost always sink after they are killed; for instance, the hump back whale, and not unfrequently, the right whale. These whales are almost always found in comparatively shoal water, particularly the former variety. They generally remain beneath the surface for three days after they are killed, when they become buoyant enough to rise and are claimed by the ship that remains in the neighborhood, anxiously awaiting their re-appearance. The sperm whale, when captured, very rarely sinks, but when he does, he is never recovered.

      Several very melancholy instances have been told me of the loss of boats with all their crews, by being taken down suddenly with the whale, along side of which it was lying during the night. The men perished miserably by drowning, or being devoured by the voracious sharks that gather in great numbers around the carcase of a dead whale.




Early history of the whale fishery – Original method of attacking whales – Modern improvements in whaling – Implements – Enterprise of our ancestors in this line – Intrepidity of whalers – Discoveries in distant regions – Benefits conferred by them on the Polynesian colonies and missionary establishments – Character of whalers, officers and crew.

      In the rise and progress of the whale fishery, a branch of commerical pursuit now swollen to such a magnitude, we can remember with pride the activity and enterprise of our ancestors, who at a very early period of our history were the first to traverse the mighty waters of the North and South Atlantic, and grapple with and subdue "the monster of the main" in his own realm. There may have been many daring enterprises of this kind attempted antecedently to this period; but it was not until the American colonies, during the early part of the last century, in a spirit of adventure and of commercial enterprise, began to fit out their little vessels and sally forth to gather spoils from the ocean, that we find any authentic accounts of the prosecution of the whale fishery as a regular department of commercial industry. "But even before these adventurers commenced their career of spermaceti hunting, we have it proved to us that the Indians who inhabited the shores of America, used to voyage out to sea and attack this animal from their canoes and pierce him with lances of wood or other instru-


ments of the same material, which were barbed, and which before they were plunged into his flesh, were fastened by a short warp, or piece of rope to a large block of light wood. This was thrown overboard the moment the barbed instrument was thrust into his body, which being repeated at every rising of the whale, or when they were so fortunate as to get near enough to do so – in a few instances by a sort of worrying to death system, rewarded the enterprising savage with the lifeless body of his victim, but which in most cases was that of a very young one; and even this, when towed to the shore, it was impossible for them to turn over, so that they were obliged to content themselves with flinching the fat from one side of the body only. Few indeed must these instances have been, when we consider the means that were employed in the capture of so immense an animal possessing such enormous strength by which their barbed spears or lances of wood, must have been frequently shivered to atoms or drawn from the flesh of the whale by the resistance the blocks of wood to which they were attaached must have occasioned, when the animal became frightened into its utmost speed, and when we know at the present time that by their powerful actions and convulsive movements, the best tempered iron of which our harpoons and lances are made, frequently become twisted to pieces, while the boats which are used in the chase are often thrown high into the air, with the head, or broken into fragments, by one blow of the tail of this enormous creature." (Beale, p.138.)

      The mode of attacking the Sperm whale, now universally practised, by a harpoon attached to a long line, was a great improvement upon the cautious movements of former whalers. Previous to this period, the attack was made with harpoons attached to large blocks of


wood in imitation of the aborigines; but the hardy whaler with a contempt of danger which has always characterized him, adopted the more hazardous but surer method of capturing the leviathan of the deep, and with the smokeing line darting out, flies like a phantom over the billows, followed in his impetuous course by a long line of foam.

      The invention of the gun harpoon, was thought to be a very great improvement upon the simple harpoons in use, as the weapon is propelled somewhat farther and consequently with more force, when thrown from a gun, than in the ordinary way. But the great difficulties and dangers attending it while the boat is plunging and tossing about, together with the few advantages it possesses over the other, have effectually prevented its coming into general use. It is almost entirely confined to French whalemen, whose national penchant for the application of science to the arts, would naturally give them a preference for any mechanical contrivance.

      The following is an extract from an admirable article in the North American Review of Jan., 1834, entitled "The Whale Fishery."

      "Second only in maritime importance among nations, our country has already outstripped all others in the whale fishery. Our efforts first commenced in open boats on the shores of Cape Cod and Nantucket, at an early period of our history. As soon as a whale appeared to the keen eyes of our fishermen, a boat was pushed off in pursuit. This precarious business is not even now forgotten, and the huge carcass of the leviathan is not an unfrequent reward of the watchful inhabitants of the Cape Cod towns. The boat was soon enlarged to the sloop, whose cruise stretched gradually as far as the Straits of Belle Isle and Labrador, and along our south-


ern coasts to the West India Seas. In time, the sloop was metamorphosed into a brig or a ship, and the shores of Africa were next frequented. The adventurers crossed the equator to attack the monster on the rugged coasts of Brazil and Patagonia. Soon, the arduous doubling of Cape Horn opened to our researches the vast expanse of the Pacific. Our ships may now be seen lingering for supplies in all the western ports of South America, and one hundred of them annually recruit at the Sandwich Islands. They have scoured every part of the Pacific; and the coasts of Japan are now the scene of their most successful labors. Thence they often return home, around the Cape of Good Hope, thus circumnavigating the globe in a three years voyage.

      It appears from the early history of the colonies, that our bays were once plenteously stocked with whales. For near a century, they the Cape Cod people. The whales were brought in by boats, and the oil was extracted on the shore. In 1730, they employed as many as twenty five sloops, and about this period they began to erect works on deck, and put up the oil on shipboard. The fleet constantly increased. In 1756, eighty sloops sailed business was carried on from the Cape Cod towns, particularly Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet, in open boats. They subsequently pursued the business in larger craft, and in some instances their vessels were despatched to Labrador, for the double purpose of cod and whale fishing. Nantucket was settled in 1759. The inhabitants were instructed in the whale fishery from the Island, and on the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, one hundred and forty sloops, schooners, and brigs, were engaged upon the coasts of Guinea, Brazil, and the West Indies, annually. Thirty thousand barrels of oil were the rich result of


their vigorous exertions. About the year 1765, the inhabitants of Dartmouth, now New Bedford, began the business on the shore of Acushnet river, gradually launched their vessels in the pursuit, and at the commencement of the war employed forty or fifty sail. From this place was fitted out the first whaling expedition to the Falkland Islands in 1774, consisting of two vessels. Thus the New England whale fishery, previously to the Revolution, already employed nearly two hundred vessels. The extent of this business, and the indefatigable manner of its prosecution, is best illustrated by the felicitous language of Burke.

      'Look at the manner in which the people of New England have of late carried on the Whale Fishery. Whilst we follow them among the tumbling mountains of ice, and behold them penetrating into the deepest frozen recesses of Hudson's Bay, and Davis's Straits, whilst we are looking for them beneath the arctic circle, we hear that they have pierced into the opposite region of polar cold, that they are at the antipodes, and engaged under the frozen serpent of the south. Falkland Islands, which seemed too remote and romantic an object for the grasp of national ambition, is but a stage and resting place in the progress of their victorious industry. Nor is the equinoctial heat more discouraging to them, than the accumulated winter of both the poles. We know, that while some of them draw the line, and strike the harpoon on the coast of Africa, others run the longitude, and pursue their gigantic game along the coast of Brazil. No sea but what is vexed by their fisheries. No cliniate that is not witness to their toils. Neither the perseverance of Holland, nor the activity of France, nor the dexterous and firm sagacity of English enterprise, ever carried this perilous mode of hardy industry to the


extent to which it has been pushed by this recent people, – a people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.'"

      But if such encomiums could be pronounced upon the enterprise and hardihood of our forefathers nearly two thirds of a century ago, what panegyrics should bestowed upon their descendants, who inheriting all the fearless intrepidity of their sires, and emulous of their daring, have traversed the mmost remote and dangerous seas with that eager love of adventure which as left no region of the mighty ocean unvisited. The doubling of Cape Horn, whose reputed terrors were once deemed insurmountable, is now looked upon as a small affair by the hundreds of whalers that annually make the passage. It is but commencing the voyage which lays open the vast Pacific, extending more than nine thousand miles from east to west, and in latitude from pole to pole. Here for month after month, the whaler pursues his "gigantic game," scrutinizing every sea where a propect of success invites, undaunted by the furious storms that often assail him with the accumulated surges of this ocean, where they roll unopposed, and gather strength over so great an extent – or by the numerous low islands, reefs and rocks, not laid down on the charts, occuring so frequently in one region as to give it the name of "the dangerous Archipelago!" – or by the treacherous savages with whom he is often compelled to negotiate for supplies, at whose hand he not unfrequently meets a cruel fate, when wrecked, or when artfully decoyed within their power.

      While our discovery ships, once or twice during a century, are sent out to explore these unknown regions, the numerous whale ships that are scouring every ocean and clime, fall in with many islands, reefs and shoals,


unknown to the navigator, and carefully ascertaining their position by observation, give intelligence of them, thus furthering the safety of the voyager in those remote and dangerous seas. Many of the beautiful islands that gem the Pacific, lovely in every variety of natural scenery, climate and production, were first discovered by whale ships, "and on the latetst maps and charts, we find more than thirty of these islands and reefs bearing the names of Nantucket captains and merchants." The visits of our whalers to the western ports of South America for supplies, have greatly facilitated our commerce by removing the jealousy of the Spanish republics of South America, and filling them with respect for a country which can send year after year such an array of shipping into their ports.

      Many of the fertile islands of the Pacific would now be untenanted, except by the indolent savage, and the enterprising colonies established upon them must long since have become extinct, were it not for the frequent visits of whalemen in their erratic movements, that have often rescued them from the last extremes of distress, when utter extermination was staring them in the face. And not only have facilities for communicating with their native land been thus extended to the colonists, but their persons and property have often been protected from the ruthless and capricious dispositions of the natives by the timely arrival of a whaler with his brave crew inured to danger in its most formidable aspects.

      The knowledge of the Polynesian islands disseminated by the whaler, has led to the establishment of the missionaries of the cross among those rude islanders. It is true that many masters of vessels with their crews have conducted most shamefully in their intercourse with the natives, and have placed every obstacle in their


power in the way of the missionaries; yet there are many instances of these devoted men having received great assistance and encouragement in their labors, seconded by the good wishes and efforts of pious masters of whale ships. And the facility of communication thus afforded with their dear friends at home, which I have before adverted to, softens their fate, separated forever, perhaps from home and their native land, a privilege which no one can fully appreciate, unless he has long resided in a region remote from all he holds dear.

      With the name of fisherman we are apt to associate ideas of rudeness and ignorance; but as a general face, the crews of our whalemen are fully as intelligent as the averge of seamen. To leave home and country – to be absent for several years with the expectation of facing danger in every aspect, some of which are peculiarly formidable, evince some resolution. Besides, most of the crew of whalemen are young men, with whom the stirring scenes and dangers of the whaling business have a romantic charm, which comports well with their adventurous spirits. Their officers are many of them scientific navigators, and the trust of property to an amount sometimes exceeding one hundred thousand dollars, placed at their discretion, proves them to be men of responsibility and character. To keep in subjection such numerous crews often composed too of representatives from all nations, requires no moderate ability and firmness. Mutinies very rarely occur, although, I presume the discipline is not so high as in the average of merchantmen; a fact, which, considering the long voyages into remote seas, where law has sunk behind the wave, indicates that a respect for constituted authority does not spring so much from fear, as that it originates in a firm conviction of its indispensable necessity.


      As a situation for acquiring a knowledge of sea-faring life, the whaling business bears an important relation to the maritime affairs of our country. It would seem strange indeed, if a good knowledge of duty aboard ship were not gained during a three years' voyage. Coolness and intrepidity in danger, those indispensable qualifications in the character of a seaman, are taught by exposure to every variety of peril. "If the longest voyages that are made over the ocean – if the navigation of every sea on the globe, serene or boisterous – if the strictest discipline and subordination of large crews consitute a nursery for seamen, we have one which it should be our pride and duty to protect." (North American Review.)

      We will now endeavor to give a slight sketch of the distinguishing characteristics of the sperm whale, which shew clearly that he belongs to a variety of cetacea entirely homogeneous.

      Those who are desirous of arriving at a more definite knowledge of the whale fishery in its various departments, can do so by consulting the following statistics. For the table of the imports of sperm and right whale oil into the United States for the past year, I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Henry Havens, of New-London, who has been indefatigable in gathering accurate information of the cargo of every whale ship upon her arrival at the port of destination. It exhibits better than mere assertion can do, the immense importance of the whale fishery as a department of commercial industry.

Statement of the American Whale Fishery, exhibiting the number of vessels employed, and the port from which they are fitted out.

Nantucket 83      Holmes' Hole4
New-Bedford 184      Providence 3


Fair Haven 47      Wareham 5
Sag Harbor 31      Dartmouth 3
New London 36      Bridgeport 3
Warren 19      Lynn 2
Salem 11      Newburyport 2
Newport 10      Plymouth 6
Stonington 9      Boston 6
Westport 10      Dorchester 2
Edgartown 11      Provincetown4
Hudson 6      Cold Spring 2
Falmouth 7      New-Suffolk 1
Mattapoisett 8      Jamesport 1
Fall River 6      Newark 3
Mystic 7      Wiscasset 1
Sippican 7      Portsmouth 1
Wilmington, Del. 4      Portland 1
Poughkeepsie 6      Somerset 1
Bristol 8      Gloucester 1
Greenport 5       

Total      567

      This large fleet embraces vessels of all classes; the greater proportion, however, are ships or barques varying from two hundred to five hundred tons' burden. For the equipment of so large a number of ships, which is done with a liberality not common in the merchant service, an immense amount of capital is requisite. "The outfits required for a whaling ship, constitute no inconsiderable item of the expense, amounting in a vessel which is fitted for a three years' voyage, to no less a sum than $18,000. The hull not unfrequently costs $20,000 more, while many are sailed whose total cost does not vary far from $60,000. The principal kind of provisions required for the crew upon their voyage, consists of beef and pork, bread, molasses, peas, beans, corn, potatoes, dried apples, coffee, tea, chocolate, butter, besides from three to four thousands [?] of casks, made


from white oak, and a quantity of spare duck, cordage, and other articles which may be required in the course of the voyage."

      The quantity of oil imported into the United States from March 1840 to March 1841, is indicated by the following table giving the montly amount in barrels.

  Right Whale,Sperm.
March 21,11910,810
April 21,78518,534
May 47,16622,358
June 20,27414,833
July 29,62014,575
August 11,595 9,535
October 12,92315,200
November 2,000 4,100
December 2,600 7,250
January 2,712 1,895
February 12,04311,948


      In estimating the value of these imports we will consider right whale oil worth about thirty five cents per gallon, and sperm oil about ninety cents at the lowest; 197,997 bbls., are equal to 6,236,905 gallons the aggregate of right whale oil, the value of which is not far from $2,182,817. The aggrregate importation of sperm oil, amounts to 143,269 bbls. or 4,512,973 gallons, which at 90 cents per gallon, is worth about $4,061,675.

      Thus in the space of one year, there has been drawn from the depths of the sea, and imported into the United States, property to the amount of six millions, two


hundred and forty-four thousand four hundred and ninety-two dollars.

      In this calculation, I have not introduced the imports of elephant and blackfish oil, not unimportant items. The sea elephant is found in immense numbers upon some of the lonely islands of the ocean, particularly in the Indian Ocean. One of our boatsteerers returned just before shipping aboard the North America, from a voyage to the island of Desolation in latitude 50° south, longitude 70° east, and has given me many accounts of the dangers and toils he encountered at the lonely island, the name of which very appropriately indicates its character. In these expeditions, the ship is provided with a tender, a schooner of from seventy to ninety tons, which runs around into every bay and close in along the shore of the island, while her consort lies safely at anchor in some harbor. Whenever a large number of these elephants are seen drawn up in a dense array upon the beach, a body of men are sent ashore armed with clubs, who commence laying about them on each side until all are killed that have not been so fortunate as to make their escape into the sea. The skins of the slaughtered animals are then taken off, and the carcass is abandoned after removing the blubber which immediately envelopes it. This is hoisted aboard the schooner, and the men after suffering from the cold and severe fatigues, and drenched with salt water, return to their consort, aboard which the blubber is received and tried out. This oil is rather more valuable than right whale oil, and the shortness of the voyage which rarely exceeds a year, renders the expedition a highly profitable adventure.

      The whalebone imported into the United States, familiar to every one from the varied purposes to which it is applied, is an important item in the calculation


which I have not yet considered. The quantity imported in proportion to the amount of right whale oil, indicated by the preceding table, cannot be far from 1,500,000 barrels, which at twenty cents per pound gives us as the result, $300,000. Adding this sum to the previous calculations, the value of imports of the whale fishery for one year is swollen to the amount of six millions five hundred and forty four thousand four hundred and ninety-two dollars.



The Sperm Whale – Spermaceti – Ambergris – Right Whale – Size – Food – Fin-back Whale – Difficulty of capture – Hump-back Whale – Conflicts of Whales with one another – Loss of the Whaler "Essex."

      We will now endeavor to give a slight sketch of the distinguishing characteristics of the sperm whale, which show clearly that he belongs to a variety of cetacea entirely homogeneous. There are five different varieties of whales, commonly known to whalers, pre-eminent among which, is the cachalot or sperm whale, whose values upon a fair comparison, is about treble that of any other variety.

      The sperm whale (physeter macercephalus) is a deep sea whale, that is, he is rarely found in green water, and in his migrations, he never wanders off into the Frigid Zones, where innumerable herds of cetacea congregate. His favorite haunts lie within the tropics, or not far from their borders, where the "squid" (sepia octopus) upon which he feeds, seem to be most abundant, and grow to the largest size. The sperm whale, as I have before remarked upon a former page, is armed with teeth in the lower jaw, slightly curved inwards for the holding of his prey. His spiracle, or "spout-hole", is in the upper angle of his head, and the air when ejected from the lungs, is blown forwards, condensing in a large


white jet, resembling a puff of steam, instead of the thin perpendicular jet thrown up by the other varieties of whales. The regularity and number of his spouts are distinguishing characteristics, and it is remarkable how exact in point of time, are the intervals elapsing between each spout. When he descends again to the depths of the ocean, the time that passes before his re-appearance, is carefully noted by the whaler, which enables him to calculate with accuracy his return to the surface, whenever he disappears. The other varieties of whales, seldom or never remain beneath the surface of water as long as the sperm whale. The habit of "breeching," or throwing himself out of water, and of "turning flukes," or vibrating his tail in the air as he descends, are other peculiarities found more frequently in this variety than in any other. From these characteristics, as well as from others, that might be mentioned, the experienced whaler can readily distinguish the sperm whale, even when at the distance of many miles, which was astonishing to me when I could scarcely see anything at all.

      The sperm whale is a much more valuable prize to his captors, than any other variety. All the oil tried out from his blubber, contains a certain proportion of spermaceti, while the "head matter" is almost pure spermaceti. At the completion of the voyage, the oil is drawn from the casks, and after a process of boiling and cooling, it is put into vats, which detain the spermaceti mixed with oil, a yellowish viscous substance. This is put into strong canvass bags, and subjected to a screw press, and afterwards to the tremendous pressure of the hydraulic engine, when the oily matter is expelled and leaves the spermaceti in hard concrete masses, which after boiling with potash and purifying, is moulded into


those beautiful candles, which vie with our gas lights in brilliancy.

      The origin of ambergris, once pronounced to be the "occultum naturae," which for many years puzzled the speculations of philosophers, was a length satisfactorily determined by some Nantucket whalers, "who in cutting up a spermaceti bull whale, found accidentally in him about twenty pounds weight, more or less, of that drug, after which, they and other such fishermen became very curious in searching all such whales they killed." Ambergris is nothing more than the indurated foeces of the sperm whale, caused by disease in the organs of digestion in which the substance takes its origin, enlarging and hardening gradually, causing great distress to the poor animal, whose sickly appearance indicates that this valuable drug or perfume, is lodged in his intestines. "The use of ambergris in Europe," says Brande, "is now nearly confined to perfumery, though it was formerly used in medicine by many eminent physicians. In Asia, and parts of Africa, ambergris is not only used as a medicine and perfume, but considerable use is also made of it in cooking, by adding it to several dishes as a spice. A great quantity of it also is constantly bought by the pilgrims who travel to Mecca, probably to offer it there and make use of it in fumigations in the same manner as frankincense is used in Catholic countries.

      Masses of ambergris are often thrown up by the diseased sperm whale in his convulsive agonies, when struck with the harpoon, and are found floating upon the surface of the ocean. One of the sailors told me that he once picked up a floating piece, which he sold for twenty dollars, after reaching home. It is of a yellowish brown color, with numberous dark spots in it, which are the bills or beaks of the squid upon which the animal feeds;


when heated, a fragrant odor is exhaled, which, like the perfume of musk, is highly grateful to some persons, but exceedingly disagreeable to others.

      The right whale, (balaena mysticetus,) is found most abundantly in the Arctic seas, upon the banks of Brazil down as far as Cape Horn, and in that latitude all over the world, particularly in the neighborhood of islands. Though of such an enormous size as to yield in some instances of individuals found in the Northern seas, over two hundred barrels of oil, he feeds upon the most minute animalculae, some varieties of shich are almost microscopic. Adapted to this mode of procuring subsistence, he has a peculiar construction of the mouth, which is an immense cavity, containing a tongue yielding in many instances, over six barrels of oil. The whalebone, such as we see in the construction of umbrellas, and which the ladies make use of for various purposes better known to themselves than to me, is set in thick slabs upon the upper jaw, having long and slender fibrous fringes upon the edges, by means of which, when the jaws are closed, the water engulfed by the animal while feeding, is strained through, leaving the animalculae behind. All whalers are agreed that if Jonah was swallowed by any of the cetaceous family, the right whale, par excellence, was selected for the honor of "receiving a Prophet." To satisify the wants of this immense animal, what myriads upon myriads of animalculae must swarm in those artic regions! Captain Scoresby made some attempt to estimate their numbers in a given space, but finding the calculations burdensome from the size of the arithmetical numbers, he indicates their inconceivable extent by observing that "eighty thousand men would be employed during the period elapsed since the creation of the world in counting two square miles of them." The


right whales frequenting the coasts of Brazil, and the Southern oceans, feed upon "shrimp" animalculae of a blood red color, which sometimes make their appearance in such vast numbers as to give to the waters a crimson hue. The shape of the right whale, differs much from that of the cachalot. He is larger round in proportion, having no hump upon his back, but is provided with longer and wider side fins. His spiracle is situated some distance from the extremity of the snout upon the top of his head, and his spout issues in a thin forked stream to a greater height, and at less regular intervals, than is the case with the cachalot.

      Ships fitted out for a voyage after right whale oil, are regarded as inferior to sperm whalers; they return home much sooner, however, full of oil, which is applied to various purposes of the arts, but is a poor substitute for sperm oil in our lamps.

      The Fin back whale is found all over the ocean. As his name implies, he has a large thin fin upon his back; he has also a long projecting snout, from the back part of which his spout issues in a broad white jet, like that of the sperm whale, a source often of considerable perplexity to the sperm whaler. As a distinguishing characteristic, however, he never "breaches" or throws himself out of water, and by the attentive listener, when this whale blows, a sound is heard, like a heavy sigh succeeding it, called by whalers the "draw back." This variety yields but little oil, and this circumstance, together with the extreme hazard of attacking him, give him carte blanche to rove wherever he chooses. An instance of an attack upon a fin back whale has been narrated to me by an eye witness. The moment the iron was hurled into the whale, he darted off with the velocity of lightning, taking the line


instantly out of the boat, which the men were afraid to turn round the loggerhead to oppose his impetuous course, and with the foaming waves parted on each side of his furious track, he disappeared beyond the horizon before two minutes had elapsed!

      The Hump back whale resembles the Fin Back variety, but in place of the fin upon his back, he has a hump like that of the cachalot. His spout issues in two perpendicular shafts like that of the right whale, and with considerable regularity, which circumstances together with his habit of "breaching" frequently, a la cachalot, are sometimes perplexing to the sperm whaler. The hump back is not so often hunted as other varities, by the whaler. He has two long side fins which he throws around with great fury as he rolls over and over in his dying agonies. His favourite haunt appears to be in the green water upon the western coast of South America, where he feeds upon the animalculae that crowd those seas, for which in common with the fin back, he is provided with an apparatus like that of the right whale; the slabs of baleen, (whale-bone) in the two varieties mentioned are said however to be shorter than in the balaena mysticetus. "One evening while we were on the coast of Peru, (said a friend of mine as he was giving me the particulars of a voyage he had once taken,) "we lay becalmed in a fog near sunset, when our little schooner was suddenly surrounded by a large school of hump back whales, that commenced "breaching" close along side of us, rising as it seemed directly under our little craft, and throwing their immense bodies out of the water, not reflecting that what was sport to them might be death to us. In half an hour we lost sight of our unwelcome visitors, during which time we were in a state of terror


and alarm, lest they should dash us to pieces in their boisterous gambols."

      There are many other varieties of cetacea which are hunted for their oil, but a consideration of them would be tedious, if what I have already advanced has not proved to be so, and I pass by them in silence.

      To form any definite idea of objects we have not seen, whose dimensions are given, we must do so by comparison with the size of objects familiar to us. It appears, as far as I have been able to gather from varioius sources, that the sperm whale is unrivalled in magnitude in animated nature, and that the dimensions of the antediluvian monsters, ascertained with sufficient definiteness from their organic remains, are transcended by the vastness of their successors. The fin back sometimes attains to an enormous size, but is usually inferior to the other varieties in magnitude. The right whale holds the second place; "of three hundred and twenty-two individuals of this species," (says Scoresby,) "the largest we ever measured, was fifty-eight feet in length." Right whales are sometimes found of dimensions so vast as to yield over two hundred barrels of oil. Accounts have lately been received of their having made their appearance in the north Pacific, north of latitude 40°, in great numbers and of enormous dimensions, so that some sperm whalers have given up the pursuit of their peculiar game upon the "Japan cruising grounds," and have commenced hunting the right whale. A few captures of whales, each making two hundred barrels of oil, would soon fill up a ship carrying twenty six hundred barrels, the average capacity of whalers, and the successful voyager would be making his way home before the year has expired, instead of being doomed to cruise about all


over the ocean for three or four years after a more valuable, but less certain cargo.

      But the sperm whale is the mightiest of the monsters of the deep. Beale, in his highly interesting account of the Sperm Whale Fishery, mentions an instance of the capture of a male cachalot that measured about eighty-four feet in length. The dimensions of the largest elephants seldom exceed sixteen feet in length, fourteen feet in height, and eight feet in diameter; what an enormous bulk must this whale have, to be more than five times as large as the Elephant, the "ingens bellua," with whose unexpected presence and vastness, Pyrrhus endeavoured to terrify the intrepid Fabricius!*

      Though ordinarily of a peaceful and sluggish disposition, yet the sperm whale may be roused to fury, and the conflicts of two large bulls is described as terrific in the extreme. They rush together with a tremendous shock, lashing the sea into foam in the fury of the onset, and grasp each his adversary in his formidable jaws, while with their bodies thrown high out of the water and writhing with convulsive efforts, and their broad flukes vibrating with rage, they present a sublime spectacle to the beholder. The marks of their teeth upon the head of their opponent are indelible, and have the appearance of ulcerous sores.

      The loss of the whaler Essex, of Nantucket, is one of the most remarkable in the history of the Sperm Whale Fishery. A narrative of that event by Owen Chase, mate of the ship gives a vivid description of that terrific catastrophe. "I observed," (says he,) "a very large spermaceti whale, as well

      * It is a singular fact, that the male Cachalot greatly exceeds the female in magnitude, while in the right whale variety the case is reversed.


as I could judge, about eighty-five feet in length. He broke water about twenty rods off our our weather bow, and was lying quietly with his head in a direction for the ship. He spouted two or three times and then disappeared. In less than three seconds, he came up again, about the length of the ship off, and made directly for us, at the rate of about three knots. The ship was then going with about the same velocity. His appearance and attitude gave us at first no alarm; but while I stood watching his movements, and observing him but a ship's length off, coming down for us with great celerity, I involuntarily ordered the boy at the helm to put it hard up, intending to sheer off and avoid him. The words were scarecly out of my mouth before he came down upon us at full speed, and struck the ship with his head just forward of the forechains. He gave us such an appalling and tremendous jar, as nearly threw us all on our faces. The ship brought up as suddenly and violently as if she had struck a rock, and trembled for a few minutes like a leaf. We looked at each other in perfect amazement, deprived almost of the power of speech. Many minutes elapsed before we were able to realize the dreadful accident, during which time he passed under the ship, grazing her keel as he went along, came up alongside her to leeward, and lay on the top of the waer, apparently stunned with the violence of the blow, for the space of a minute. He then suddenly started off in a direction to leeward. After a few moments' reflection, and recovering in some measure from the consternation that had seized us, I of course concluded that he had stove a hole in the ship, and that it would be necessary to set the pumps a-going. Accordingly, they were rigged, but had not been in ope-


ration more than one minute, before I perceived the head of the ship to be gradually settling down in the water. I then ordered the signal to be set for the other boats – at that time in pursuit of whales – which I had scarcely despatched, before I again discovered the whale apparently in convulsions, on the top of the water, about one hundred rods to leeward. He was enveloped in the foam, that his continued and violent threshing about in the water had created around him, and I could distinctly see him smite his jaws together as if distracted with rage and fury. He remained a short time in this situation, and then started off with great velocity across the bows of the ship to windward. By this time the ship had settled down a considerable distance in the water, and I gave her up as lost. I, however, ordered the pumps to be kept constantly going, and endeavored to collect my thoughts for the occasion. I turned to the boats, two of which we then had with the ship, with an intention of clearing them away and getting all things ready to embark in them, if there should be no other resource left. While my attention was thus engaged for a moment, I was roused by the cry of the man at the hatchway, 'Here he is. – he is making for us again!' I turned round and saw the whale about one hundred rods directly ahead of us, coming down with apparently twice his ordinary speed, and to me it appeared with ten-fold fury and vengeance in his aspect. The surf flew in all directions, and his course towards us was marked by a white foam of a rod in width, which he made with a continual violent threshing of his tail. His head was about half out of water, and in that way he came upon, and again struck the ship. I was in hopes, when I descried him making for us, that by putting the ship away immediately, I should be able to


cross the line of his approach before he could get up to us, and thus avoid, what I knew, if he should strike us again, would be our inevitable destruction. I called out to the helmsman 'hard up,' but she had not fallen off more than a point before we took the second shock. I should judge the speed of the ship at this time, to have been about three knots, and that of the whale about six. He struck her to windward, directly under the cat-head, and completely stove in her bows. He passed under the ship again, went off to leeward, and we saw no more of him."

      This dreadful disaster occurred near the equator, at the distance of a thousand miles from land. With the scanty provisions and equipments they could save from the foundering wreck, twenty men embarked in three slender whaleboats upon the mighty ocean to buffet its surging billows, with the desperate chance of being picked up by some cruiser before reaching land, which lay at such a distance, as almost to forbid a rational hope of success. One boat was never heard of afterwards, and was probably lost; with a fate scarcely more enviable, the crews of the others, experiencing the extremest misery that human nature can endure, were picked up at sea by different ships nearly two thousand miles from the scene of the disaster. So horrible was their situation, that they were forced to draw lots to decide which of their number should be killed to appease the corroding pangs of hunger.

      "There have been other instances of shipwreck, caused by the shock of these leviathans. In 1807, the ship 'Union,' of Nantucket, Captain Gardner, was totally lost between Nantucket and the Azores, by a similar concussion. But no other instance is known, in which the mischief is supposed to have been malignantly designed


by the assailant, and the most experienced whalers believe that even in this case, the attack was not intentional. Mr. Chase, however, could not be persuaded to think so. He says that all he saw, produced on his mind the impression of decided and calculating mischief on the part of this maddened leviathan." (North American Review.)


Amusements and mode of life on shipboard – Fishing – Mechanical employments – Bill of fare.

      Among the various amusements which make the time pass away pleasantly aboard ship, catching fish is one of the most agreeable. Vast schools of fish frequently accompany ships for several days in succession, and whalers are often surrounded for month after month by countless hosts of the finny tribe, as they float slowly along over the ocean within the tropics. A meal of fresh fish can be had at any time by trailing a fish hook overboard for a few minutes, and it is not uncommon for whalers to salt down several barrels of these fish for their own use, and to barter them away with the natives of the Pacific Islands. When a ship is seen to be surrounded by large schools of fish, it is a trick sometimes practised by a brother whaler to run down close to her, under pretence of speaking her, when a part, if not the whole of the school abandon their old friend and move off with the stranger, a piece of coquetry very similar to what obtains sometimes in a higther order of animated nature.

      There are several varieties of fish that accompany ships, the most common of which, are the albacore and bonetta, or "skip jack," as he is called by the sailors. Their favorite position is a few yards in advance of the

   FISHING. 147

ship, and as she moves steadily forward, parting the foam upon each side of the cutwater, they glide along gracefully from side to side of her track, now leaping in merry gambols high out of the sea, then darting forward they cut the water after the flying fish, with their eye fixed upon their trembling victim, that quivers in the air, doubling upon his pursuer, until he falls helpless into his greedy jaws, or is seized while on the wing. In catching these fish, advantage is taken of their voracious and merciless disposition towards the poor flying fish. A strong line is provided, having a white rag attached to a large hook upon one end of it, which is kept playing upon the surface of the water, under the bowsprit, to imitate the movements of their prey. If the fish are disposed to bite, they spring at the bait with the utmost eagerness and are instantly hooked. Albacore vary in size, from one foot to those that are nearly four feet long, weighing about one hundred pounds. They are a very powerful and active fish, and the largest size give ample employment to two or three men in securing them after their capture. The Albacore is a remakably beautiful fish; his pectoral, ventral, and lateral fins, are tipped with a bright yellow, while all along from his hindmost fins towards his tail, is set, at regular intervals, a delicate fin like ruffle also tinged with the same brilliant hue.

      The Bonetta, or "skip jack," is by no means as beautiful a fish as the albacore. He is usually about eighteen inches long, very similar to the albacore in the shape of his fins, but wanting those brilliant hues that characterize the latter. His size renders him better adapted for capturing with a hook and line than the albacore; but owing to the tenderness of his jaw, and his violent convulsions when caught, the hook almost always tears out


before he can be sucured. If these fish are grasped with the hand while dying, their tremulous motion is so violent as to benumb the arm, as if it had been exposed to a succession of galvanic shocks. One of the officers to express this peculiar property of the bonetta, observed that "they sometimes shake so hard as to shake their own heads off."

      To the invalid proposing to take a voyage, for the recovery of his health, a whale ship, under some circumstances, offers many inducements over any other mode of conveyance. The excitement of whaling operations; the preparation of the boats and their armaments; the eager enthusiasm displayed whenever any thing is seen by the lookouts, the dropping of books, writing, tailoring, and the hurrying upon deck; the breathless anxiety stimulated by hope; the rattling of blocks, running rigging and spars as the ship is "hove to" – the lowering of of the boats – the dash of the oars and the fearless attack, all combine in a variety of highly interesting scenes, such as cannot but be favorable to the health of the invalid. I still recollect with pleasure the first time we took whales, and the very favorable effect it had upon my health; my bodily ills were forgotten in the engrossing interest of the novel scenes then presented. There are some persons, I know, who cannot accommodate themseves to anything, unless it happens to coincide with their accustomed mode of life, and habits of thinking. It is something of a struggle, I own, to bid farewell to home and country, it may be forever, to voyage over the mighty deep for month after month, and to submit to the privations and inconveniences of a long voyage; but the resolution that determines unshrinkingly upon the enterprise, has nerved its possessor to a fortitude that will enable him to surmount the petty obsta-


cles he encounters, and fit him to enjoy the pure atmosphere of the ocean, with the novel scenes it presents. Let me especially recommend to all who embark upon the ocean for the recovery of their health, to take a warm and active interest in every thing they see; and particularly, to exclude ennui, that incubus upon the spirits of invalids, which are already wanting in their wonted elasticity.

      Aboard whale ships, there are a great variety of mechanical employments, constantly going on in good weather, which cannot fail of interesting one, particularly if he has any taste for mechanics. In this case, the carpenter's bench and chest of tools, and the turning lathe, give him a fine opportunity for exercise. There are found aboard a whaler, a great variety of small tools expressly intended for "schrimshawing" or nice mechanical contrivances for fabricating various articles out of the teeth and jaw bone of the sperm whale. It is customary aboard whalers, whenever they happen to be in the neighborhood of islands or rocks, to send off a boat or two upon a hunting and fishing expedition, which is not often the case with merchantmen whose object is to press forward as rapidly as possible.

      There are several very fine large ships engaged in the whaling business, and as a general thing they are very fast sailers, an important qualification often in securing success. The Sperm Whale Fishery claims the finest vessels, and many of them are commanded by very gentlemanly men. In the fitting out of whale ship, a liberality on the part of the owners is observed, which is almost profuse in providing every thing that can be thought of for so long a voyage. A whale ship must be a little world within itself, as she is to be an isolated


wanderer upon the face of the deep for several years; and she must have on board every convenience that can be thought of, from a paper of needles up to the sheet anchor. When a whale ship goes into port to recruit, supplies are purchased with no parsimonious hand, as we shall probably have occasion to witness.

      As far as safety is concerned, the preference most unquestionably belongs to whale ships. In the American merchant service a much less number of men are shpped to navigate a given tonnage than is the case in the whaling service. In a ship of four hundred tons for instance, sixteen or seventeen men "all told" would be considered her complement, giving to each watch seven men perhaps, whose duty is alternately to take care of the ship. A whaler of this tonnage,would carry over thirty men, giving to each watch double the force of the merchantmen. There are many occasions when it is extremely necessary to shorten sail with rapidity, or execute some maneuvre with great expedition – as for instance, when the ship is "taken aback" in a gale of wind or heavy squall, one of the most dangerous positions she can be placed in. In such critical emergencies that demand instant action, there would be a sufficient amount of force in the watch aboard a whaler to brace around the yards, whereas the merchant ship is sometimes torn to pieces or carried down stern first, while waiting for the watch below to come upon deck, from an inabiity of those upon deck to work the ship.

      The variety of climate which the whaler passes through in his wanderings, is extremely favorable to the recovery of one's health. From the cold and bracing air of the high latitudes, he makes his way to the lovely regions within the tropics, possessing a climate unrivalled

   BILL OF FARE. 151

for mildness and serenity, and so equable, that a resident in our capricious atmosphere, can have no adequate idea of its loveliness.

      The regularity of life aboard ship, is indicated by the bill of fare; and perhaps it may not be uninterresting to know what one must subsist upon during a long voyage like the one I am pursuing; a consideration which may not have entered into the reader's mind, who has the market and grocery store close at hand, where every article of luxury, for the table is displayed to the purchaser. But here we are thousands of miles from our native land, provisioned for a three years' cruise or more, with the exception of occasional recruits of vegetables and fruits. Of course therefore, salt meats and hard bread, furnish by far the greater proportion of our food, and to be kept upon this diet for month after month is not the least privation of a seafaring life.

      Hence in whale ships, bound on long cruises, that dreadful disease, the scurvy makes its appearance more frequently than in any other class of ships, owing to an exclusion from vegetables which form so large a proportion of the fare of landsmen, and not from any peculiarity in the mode of life pursued by the whaler, as has been insinuated by some travellers. To feel the full force of these privations, one must deny himself potatoes and every product of the kitchen garden, and confine himself to salt beef and pork with hard bread or some preparation of flour or meal. He must go without milk in his tea and coffee, for it will be recollected that "the cow never comes home" at sea. He must slake his thirst with water of so high a temperature as to answer very well as an emetic, and of so powerful an odor frequently when just pumped into the skuttle butt, as to make him hold his breath for a long interval after drinking it. Let


no invalid therefore, come to sea unless he possesses the happy faculty of accommodating himself to circumstances; and let no other inducement but that which sent me to sea draw him forth from home with its nameless comforts to encounter so many inevitable privations.

      Without further preamble, I will endeavor to give a slight sketch of our bill of fare. When we first came out, we had a quantity of potatoes – a sine qua non upon all occasions. At Fayal, we added a hundred bushels to our stock of these delightful esculents, which were served out to all hands, and lasted for more than two months. Our fare has varied, of course, with our supplies; but in the cabin, the established order for dinner is as follows. On Monday, corn and beans and pork, sans potatoes; on Tuesday, codfish and potatoes; on Wednesday mush and beef; on thursday, corn and beans and pork again; on Friday, rice and beef; on Saturday, codfish and potatoes again; and Sunday, beef and duff, a sort of pudding known universally to sailors. A ship without her duff on Sunday, would be considered by all sailors, as certainly heterodox, as would the celebration of Christmas appear to an Englishman without his plumb pudding, or of thanksgiving in New England without pumpkin pies. The receipt for duff, used by Mr. Freeman our primum mobile in such things, is as follows: "To a quantity of flour, more or less, (more would be preferable in Mr. F's opinion,) wet up with equal parts of salt and fresh water and well stirred, add a quantity of "slush" or lard, and yeast; the mixture to be boiled in a bag, until it can be dropped from the top-gallant cross-trees upon deck, without breaking, when it is cooked."

      This has been the bill of fare for all on board, and

   BILL OF FARE. 153

such has been its regularity, that our calender is determined by it, and the days of the week are fancifully named "mush day," "duff day," corresponding to Wednesday and Sunday old style. With the failure of potatoes, our bill of fare has met with sundry important changes, and we have had to adopt another mode of reckoning time. Our breakfasts and suppers are somewhat similar to ouir dinners, with the addition in the cabin and steerage of "flippers," or "slapjacks," for breakfast, and occasionally for supper. All things considered, our fare is good enough; it is wholesome, which ought to satisfy a reasonable man while at sea; and besides, our viands are discussed with a hearty good will, which renders them much more palatable. Though our simple meal is spread out upon a pine table, and our dining service is not the most elegant, yet I came to sea to recover my health and not in pursuit of luxuries; and while participating in our frugal meal with the captain and his officers, whose open hearted kindness has made me almost forget my wide separation from home, I do not envy the luxurious epicure whose companions may indeed be more polished, but possibly less noble and disinterested.



Perilous incidents of a Whaler's life – Blackfish, capture, description, and habits – Squid or cuttle fish – Large schools of sperm whales – Terrific approach to the ship – Laws of whaling among the craft – Turtles – Brilliant phosphorescence.

      The hazardous profession of the experienced whaler, is a chapter of personal adventures. Narrow escapes from death, mark his career, and the ordinary dangers to which he is exposed, the prospect of which often blanches the cheek of the novice, have become familiar and are forgotten in the ardor of his exciting pursuit. The tedious hours of the dog watch in the evening have often been beguiled by the officers with their tales of adventures during former voyages while we have been walking the deck or lounging in the boats. Capt. Richards has led rather the most exciting life of any of us. Upon two occasions, he has been knocked out of the boat by a stroke from the flukes of a whale while he was leaning over in the opposite direction and looking out for the whale as he rose to the surface of the water. Upon another occasion, he was thrown several feet into the air by a whale coming up suddenly under the boat, and as he fell struck upon the head of the whale, but fortunately received no injury. At another time when among a school of right whales, one of the boats close by him was placed in a very critical position. A large whale that had been struck, upon coming up to blow, shot up,


flukes first, which glancing along the side of the boat, hung over the terrified crew, as if ready to annihilate them in an instant. The men sprang out of the boat to avert the impending fate, except the officer commanding her, who retained his post undaunted, awaiting the fury of the agonized monster, who in an instant, however, withdrew his enormous flukes, and gliding them under the boat, knocked the two men that were hanging to the gunnel, into the boat! I would not venture to state a thing apparently so incredible, had I not been assured of the fact upon such unquestionable authority.

      Monday, March 9. For some time past, great numbers of black fish (a smaller kind of whale,) have made their appearance, sometimes coming close up to the ship, and amusing us with their gambols. On Saturday last, towards evening, a large school of them was announced coming in the direction of the ship. Three boats were lowered, and after a long chase, one of them was struck. The "fast boat" was whirled round and round, but exhausted by repeated strokes of the lance the black fish "turned up" and was towed to the ship, accompanied by all his companions spouting and foaming around the boats like attendant tritons. So affectionate are these poor fish, that when one of their number is struck by the whaler, the school continues around the sufferer, appearing to sympathize with him in his agonies. Even when dead, they do not desert him, and it was not until a long time after the victim had been hoisted upon deck, far from their sight, that they abandoned him.

      The captive was of unusual size, measuring twenty one feet, one inch in length. the head of the blackfish is large and clumsy like that of the sperm whale. His dorsal fin is very large, and his side fins are long. His spiracle is situated very nearly over the eye, throwing out a large


white perpendicular jet. The black fish in common with the sperm whale, feeds upon "squid," a specimen of which, nearly entire, was found in the maw of the captive. The squid (sepia octopus,) is a singular animal. His body is nearly cylindrical, terminating in a broad tail which can be expanded or folded up around the smaller part of his body. His beak, which is shaped like that of a parrot, is set abruptly upon the body, and from every side of it are sent out numerous arms, which grasp his food and bring it to his mouth. The entire animal consists of a flabby mass of a white color, not unlike very stiff blanc mange, and by the natives of many of the Pacific Islands is regarded as a great delicacy. The length of this specimen was about three feet including the extended brachia.

      Tuesday, March 10. During the last night, we crossed the Equator for the second time since leaving the United States. Soon after breakfast, this morning, a large school of sperm whales was seen from masthead, and all boats darted off in pursuit of them. In calm, still weather, such as was the case at this time, the utmost caution is requisite in approaching a school of whales, as any noise or unusual agitation in the water is perceived by them at a great distance. After the boats have been propelled with oars for a suitable distance, the oars are drawn in, and the paddles are resorted to, by which they are slowly and carefully moved along, or whenever it is possible, by the sail, which wafts them gently among the school without alarming them.

      The adventure was successful, and the captive was hauled alongside amid shouts of applause, and the process of "cutting in" was immediately commenced. The blubber had just been taken aboard, when "there


she blows," resounded throughout the ship, and the boats were again lowered, and put off for the attack of a large school of sperm whales, about four miles off, that were "breeching" and "turning flukes" in the most phantastic manner. After a most cautious approach, and much maneuvreing, one of the number was struck. The whole school was instantly seized with panic, and with such of us as recollected the fate of the Essex, the alarm was by no means inconsiderable, as we saw this immense throng of monsters, over a hundred in number, come rushing in the direction of the ship, like some impetuous torrent, foaming and tearing along, and blowing the spray high into the air. When about a quarter of a mile from the ship, as the ship-keeper was about to tack the ship to avert their onset, they altered their course, and shot across our bow with a loud noise like the distant roar of the surf.

      There are such numbers of whale ships scattered all over the ocean, it is not wonderful that whales have become shy. We keep four men at mast-head on the lookout, during the day time, so that a whale cannot come up to blow within the limits of our horizon without being discovered and pursued, if of a valuable species. Fin back whales display themselves in the most insolent manner every day close by us, and are very lawless in their movements, a well known characteristic of worthless characters.

      Friday, March 13. A large sperm whale was captured this morning before breakfast. The sperm whales in this region are remarkable for "breeching," or showing themselves out of water; their huge bodies falling into the sea again, dash the spray to the height of thirty or forty feet, looking at a distance like some sudden convulsion of the ocean, while "there she bre-e-ches," is sounded from the lookouts aloft – re-echoed from deck –


"square the yards!" shouts the captain, and we are bearing down upon our game, who little think that their merry gambols provoke the attack of their destroyer. Though the organ of hearing in the sperm whale, is so small, yet their sense of hearing is acute. When a large school are feeding, they remain for some time upon the surface of the sea spouting frequently, and "breeching," or "fan-tailing," i.e. displaying their flukes in the air. With all the noise and commotion of the water caused by their boisterous sport, they are not alarmed, but continue near the same place, descending at their leisure, one after another, with their flukes thrown high into the air, and rising again to recover breath. Let one of the school become alarmed at the approach of danger, and with a flourish of his flukes, well understood, the alarm is instantly communicated to the others, though scattered for several miles over the ocean, and they betake themselves to precipitate flight. In rough weather, whales are much more accessible, as the tumult of the waves deadens the sound of the oars as they strike the water.

      It happens, not unfrequently, that whales though mortally wounded, make their escape and are afterwards fallen in with at sea by some other ship. To prevent any broils, the consequences of which would be terrible, as might be supposed from the formidable equipment of the conflicting parties, the laws of whaling are very definite and well understood. In cases like the one I have mentioned, the whale becomes the property of the captor, provided there is no harpoon or lance sticking in the carcase, bearing the mark of the ship by which he was killed. The law of whaling decides that "craft claims the whale," that is, the whale belongs to those who killed him, if they present themselves and lay claim to him in consequence of the harpoon or lance found


sticking in the carcase. If however, the captor succeeds in "cutting in" the whale before the other ship proves her claim, he is entitled to all the blubber aboard his ship. Should the other ship arrive during the progress of this operation, and prove her claim, she would be permitted to take all below the "planksheer," or the level of the deck.

      Tuesday, March 24. We have taken several fine turtles within a few days, weighing from fifty to eighty pounds each, which made a very pleasant interlude in our accustomed fare. These turtles exhibited a most remarkable tenacity of life. Some time after their heads had been separated from their bodies, as the cook proceeded to cut them up, it was a very painful sight to witness their contortions of agony; and their heads, as they lay upon deck, for more than half an hour after being severed from their bodies, laid hold of whatever touched them, with convulsive energy, while their eyes glared wildly every few minutes. I was told by one of the crew, that these heads would live nine days, an observation as veracious probably as the fabled vitality of the cat, with her nine lives.

      We are now cruising in Panama bay, in latitude 3° north, and with a broiling sun over our heads, and scarcely a breath of wind to mitigate the intensity of his rays, our situation is almost intolerable. At night, the phosphorescence of the sea is magnificent; every dash of the sea throws out myriads of brililiant spangles, and the fish darting by, leave a long line of fire after them. This evening, in drawing up a large rope attached to a shark hook, with which I had been amusing myself during the day, my attention was arrested by the phosphorescence of the rope; which looked like a robe of glittering spangles. After repeated experiments, I found


that the intensity of the light was greatly increased by the friction of my hand, and when it gradually waned so as to be almost imperceptible, by the same means, the light was renewed. If these phosphorescent points of light emanate from animalculae – the prevalent opinion among naturalists – the variations of the light in intensity seems to imply that when these animalculae are quiescent, the light they emit is faint, but when they are roused by anything which agitates them, they exhibit those brilliant phosphorescent spangles that gem the dark waves at night.

      Thursday, March 26. This afternoon, a large school of black fish made their appearance within a short distance of the ship. Some of them were not much larger than porpoises, and the school probably numbered over a thousand. Longitude 83° 55'. We are now steering for Tacames, a small town upon the coast of Colombia, not far from the equator.



Situation of Tacames – Interesting appearance of the vegetable kingdom – Tropical fruits – Landing in the surf – Density of the forests – An incident – Phosphorescence of fish after death – Carousals on shore.

      Sunday, March 29. About four bells, (10 o'clock) this morning, "Land ho!" was proclaimed from aloft, and by the latter part of the afternoon, we lay at anchor off Tacames, a small town on the north-western coast of South America, latitude 0° 58' north, longitude 79° 23' west, in an open roadstead, about three miles from shore. This is the first time we have anchored since leaving America, a period of more than five months; and the prospect of setting foot once more upon terra firma, was to all of us very pleasant. We landed this afternoon at the mouth of a small river about two miles from Tacames, where were two or three houses in an opening between the high clayey hills which bound the coast. Captain R., is well acquainted with the Spanish language of the coast, which was acquired during his captivity among the Spaniards, by whom he was taken prisoner several years ago, while at the island of St. Marys, near the coast of Chili, at the time of the revolutionary movements in the western provinces of South America. All


the ship's company were compelled to bear arms in the ranks of one of the parties contending for the sovereignty of the country, but after a long servitude, he made his escape with his comrades in an open boat, and after encountering many dangers and sufferings, arrived at Valparaiso, where he easily obtained passage homeward.

      The houses of the inhabitants are all constructed after the same plan. They are elevated upon posts about eight feet from the ground, which renders them cool and airy, and protects the occupants from the sand flies. A species of large reed, is the universal building material, while the roof thatched with forest leaves, is the most complicated part of the architecture.

      I could not but admire the exuberant growth of every thing belonging to the vegetable kingdom. The most delicious pine apples spread out before us, while the cocoanut tree, the plantain and the banana waved their broad leaves gracefully in the breeze. Here were oranges, limes and other fruits lying scattered around in neglected profusion. The fig tree had also begun to put forth, and the indigo plant grew spontaneously like the most common weed. After obtaining the information we desired, with regard to a suitable place to procure water, we launched our boat through the surf and were soon aboard the ship.

      Friday, April 4. We are again under way, and while the ship is dashing on over the billows, I hasten to give a sketch of what took place while we lay at anchor off Tacames.

      On Monday morning, two boats were despatched with a raft of casks, to be filled with water in the creek, about a mile from shore. Large casks, holding from five to seven barrels, are selected for such purposes, and are


thrown overboard with a rope upon each side passing through a couple of "beckets" or loups confined by the hoops of the casks.

      Having arranged our raft, with two boats ahead, we passed safely through the surf, and made our way up the creek, inhaling the delightful fragrance that arose from the woods. The trees along the margin of the creek sent their long, slender branches into the earth again, forming a thicket so dense, that hardly anything but the scarlet land crab, of which we saw great numbers, could traverse it at all. We proceeded on, until we were obliged to stop where the river was too shallow to float the boats, and then commenced filling our casks, while I went into a house near at hand, to make a call upon some Spanish ladies who came down to the bank of the stream to welcome us. Each of them was decked off with all the finery she could display, and held a cigar in her pretty mouth, from which wreaths of smoke were sent forth, with all the grace of the most fastidious proficient.

      My visit was conducted almost entirely in pantomime, as I was unacquainted with their language, and it was very short, (which is not always the case with those that have but little to say,) and I started in pursuit of game, but found it impossible to proceed in any direction, owing to the dense thickets that opposed my progress. Becoming weary of fishing, to which I had recourse for amusement, I endeavored to make my way along the creek down to the sea shore, where I might exercise my skill at pleasure upon the pelicans that were assembled in great numbers upon the beach, picking up whatever might be thrown up by the sea. After advancing a few yards amid numberless difficulties, I was brought to a stand, finding it impossible to proceed forward and nearly


so to return; besides, I did not much fancy penetrating into these thickets which are infested with serpents of the most venomous character, as well as with scorpions and centipedes of every variety. While waiting upon the bank at a loss what to do, a boy came paddling along in a little nutshell of a canoe, seated very composedly in the stern of his craft. With the assistance of a real (12 1/2 cts.,) he comprehended my desire of going down to the beach, and ranged his canoe alongside the bank, for me to embark. The moment I put my foot into the canoe, she filled with water and turned me into the stream over my head. Weighed down by several pounds of shot, and having a gun in my hand, I found myself paddling about at a very great disadvantage, especially as the current was setting me down towards the beach in a style I had not anticipated. Finding it impossible to do anything while thus encumbered, I was forced to drop my gun, and then without much difficulty I regained the bank, where I stood reflecting upon the awkwardness of the disaster, of which the fair ladies I had been visiting were admiring spectators, a doubly aggravating circumstance, for one would deprecate appearing before the ladies in such a predicament, unless in their behalf.

      Several of the crew perceiving my misfortune, hastened to my assistance and immediately plunged in after the gun, which was brought up after much exertion, notwithstanding the disinterested advice of a Spaniard, who stood looking on, not to attempt its recovery. With the agreeable reflection that the boats could not start for the ship in less than an hour and a half, I adjourned to a neighboring house – not the one I visited before – for my appearance was altogether too heroicomical for that.

      We passed down the river in fine style, with three


boats followed by a long line of casks, making the dark woods echo upon every side with our songs.

      Towards evening, by invitation, I accompanied Capt. R., in a hunting excursion up the creek we had ascended during the morning. On our way we shot several pelicans, great numbers of which frequented this place, assembling in flocks upon inaccessible trees, or stretching along the beach in pursuit of their prey. Upon our return to the ship, during the night, happening to awake from sleep, I was startled by the appearance of two balls of fire, like the eyes of some malignant being glaring horridly upon me in the darkness. With all my philosophic disbelief in supernatural appearances, superstitious feelings were rapidly gaining the supremacy, when it occurred to my mind that this apparition was nothing more than the phosphorescence emitted by a fish I had hung up in the state room during the evening, on the body of which two spots were growing with peculiar brightness.

      It is customary whenever a whale ship goes into port to recruit, to allow the crew to go ashore by watches alternately, and ramble around for the benefit of their health. On Tuesday morning therefore, permission was given to the starboard watch to go ashore, "on liberty," as this privilege is termed. An overhauling of "shore clothes," from the bottoms of chests succeeded, and in a few minutes – for Jack's toilet is soon made – the second mate left the ship, with his entire watch to have a holiday on terra firma. The latter part of the forenoon, Capt. R., and myself landed at Tacames, which is situated upon a river, at the mouth of which, the surf breaks in all its fury over a long sand beach. No one can have an adequate idea of the difficulty of landing in the surf, unless he has derived


it from experience. As the mighty waters of the ocean come bounding along, they acquire a tremendous momentum, and burst upon the shore with a violence that makes the earth tremble with the shock. The whale boat from its shape and the security of its steering oar, is better adapted for ensuring safety in the surf, than the common class of ship's boats. When among the breakers, upon looking behind, you see the swollen waters gathering in dread array, and with increasing velocity sweeping in a mighty mass, presaging destruction to every opposing obstacle. The angry wave curls above the stern, and bursting, is divided upon each side of the boat, which is hurried forward with the speed of the wind at each impulse of its wrathful pursuer.

      Upon arriving at the village, we found that the Alcalde, or head man, had gone off to the ship, and we hastened to return therefore, as soon as possible. Here we met the Alcalde, and an Englishman, who accompanied him, to assist in making a bargain with the Captain for goods of various kinds.* This Englishman had led a life full of adventures. He ran away from an English ship to which he belonged, and lived for a while among the natives of the Navigator Islands, by whom he was regarded as a great warrior, and acquired such an influence over them, that he persuaded them to abandon many of their barbarous customs and adopt some of the arts of civilized life. I saw his wife at Tacames, a very pretty English woman, but with the seal of death impressed upon her feeble form.

      Towards sunset, the Alcalde and the Englishman started for the shore in one of our boats. When we got

      * Masters of whale ships usually carry out a quantity of merchandize, and many of them realize a very handsome profit upon their dry goods and nicknacks.


into the surf, through negligence the stern of the boat was not pointed towards the breakers – a heavy roller came bounding after us – it was too late to avert its attack, and we were whirled around broadside to the combing wave, and were immediately full of water. At that moment the men jumped out, and hurried the boat upon the beach before another roller had time to overtake us. The goods purchased by the Alcalde were now displayed well saturated with salt water, amid his varied exclamations and execrations in Spanish, the peculiar force of which we were utterly unable to appreciate, and received with a becoming nonchalance.

      We now directed our steps towards the village, in search for the starboard watch, whose loud shouts and songs indicated very readily where they were. The condition in which we found most of them, I shall pass over in silence, as a scene I would gladly forget. In a short time we returned to our boat to make the attempt of going off to the ship; but the tide was too low for the boat to float in the river, and the surf combed fearfully upon the beach not far from us. Deeming the attempt too hazardous, we concluded to wait until daylight, and returned to the village to spend the night as well as we could. As we moved forward, we were attracted by a light under one of the houses, and upon coming up to it, I found it to be a house Captain R. and myself had visited during the forenoon at the request of the owner, to prescribe for his mother and sister that were laboring under an attack of the fever and ague. Every where we went, I was introduced as the "Physico," or physician of the ship, a title more agreeable to the comprehensions of the inhabitants than that of "passenger," and I had no objection to bearing it pro tem, although my claims to it were slender.


Upon going up to the house, we found the Spaniard feeding his donkey, attended by his dutiful wife who held the torch made of brown paper fed with spirits of turpentine.

      They requested us to walk up stairs and see the invalids, and we were ushered into the bed room of the ladies, where my comrades seated themselves with as much independence and gravity, as if we constituted a council of physicians. I gave the invalids each some medicine, brought off from the ship which was taken with many wry faces accompanied with "mucho malo," and other exclamations. After leaving some quinine with them to be taken at regular intervals, we adjourned, much to the relief of the ladies, into the adjoining room, where some arrangements had been made for our accommodations during the night. My bed was the soft side of a bench which extended around the room next to the wall of the building, with a canopy of calico over me to keep off the mosquitoes. All their beds are furnished with these appendages, without which, it would be impossible to sleep, on account of the number and virulence of these venomous insects. The third mate slept in the hammock, a universal article of furniture in every house, consisting of a broad net work of reeds gathered together at the two ends by cords with which it is suspended to rafters overhead. In this, the Spanish ladies are to be seen lolling for the greater part of the time, vibrating backwards and forwards. Thus we passed the night, roused from our slumbers every few minutes by the sting off musquitoes, the howling of dogs, and the braying of the donkey underneath us in reply to the salutations of other donkeys. Qualis strepitus! A combination of a squeal, a yell, and a grunt, thrown together in one inharmonious concert.

SPANISH HOUSE Tacames S. America

SPANISH HOUSE Tacames S. America.


      At the first appearance of daylight, we were on the move, and after hunting up the boat's crew, we hurried down to the beach, stopping frequently to listen to the savage cries of the wild beasts in the dense woods upon the opposite side of the river. The equatorial regions of South America are infested with many varieties of beasts of prey, the most terrible of which is a species of panther, called the "South American Lion," found in great abundance in this neighborhood. We launched our boat into the surf after dragging her for thirty or forty yards over the sand beach, and were soon alongside the ship.

      A few hours afterwards, I went ashore with the larboard watch to spend the day. Upon arriving at the village we met the Alcalde, who invited me to visit his "plantation," a mile or more from the landing place. We wound our way through a thick wood, perfumed with flowering shrubs and trees, and thronged with lizards, halting every few minutes for the eloquence of the Alcalde to expend itself in vain attempts to induce me to sell a pair of pantaloons that graced my person, the acquisition of which he had taken very much at heart and had lavished an abundance of oratory upon me with no better effect, on the preceding day. The boasted "plantation" consisted of three or four acres of land, part of which was under cultivation. On one side, a small field of corn was pointed out to us, with great self complacency by his Honor, expecting Yankees who had seen cornfields extending as far as the eye could reach, to burst into ecstacies at this exhibition of his agricultural enterprise. Near the house was a sweet potato patch, where sat a man, a la Turc, among the vines digging with a stick the potatoes engaged for the ship.

      Upon entering the house we were well received by


the sister of the Alcalde and a fair eyed girl related to them. Both of these were invalids; the former was in the last stages of the pulmonary consumption, a disease which I thought confined to our own capricious and inhospitable clime. With an "adios," (adieu,) we returned to Tacames, where in company with one of the boatsteerers, I took a particular survey of the settlement. Every house that had an inviting appearance we entered, and made a short call upon its inmates, when we were always well received. My character of "Physico," brought me a constant practice whenever I went ashore. Every fair one imagined herself sick, and presented her arm for me to examine her pulse. The females all have beautiful arms and hands; the occasion too, was very favorable for exhibiting them. In these cases, looking very profound, if they seemed well enough, I answered confidently, "no infirmo Signora." If however, the patient was really unwell, my answer was given in an encouraging tone "poco infirmo," (slightly sick,) as if there was nothing to fear. My assurances were received with implicit confidence apparently, which doubtless was of no disadvantage to them. It is a singular fact that in proportion to the beauty of the fair applicant, a longer time was required to count the pulsations of her arm; an opinion was pronounced upon the old and ugly almost at sight. The ladies were many of them very pretty, with an inimitable grace of movement; and I could easily imagine, that the soft intonations of that noble language to one acquainted with it, seconded by a glance from their dark flashing eye, must prove irresistable.

      In our rambles we visited the chapel, an oblong building standing in an open space. The thatched roof is composed of two parts, as if, after its construction, it had

   THE CHAPEL. 171

been divided longitudinally, upon each side of the ridge, and the upper part elevated two or three feet above the lower, an arrangement admirably adapted for coolness. A matting of reeds covered the ground, and at the further end was the altar, upon the top of which was a representation of the Saviour on the cross. Down the sides of the altar, the drippings of sperm candles used in the service, had run like the stalactites of some subterranean cavern. Adjoining the altar was the vestry room, in which were stiff looking images intended no doubt, to play pantomime on great occasions. One or two rickety benches were all the seats provided for the accommodation of the audience.

      We took dinner at the house where I had spent the night. A soup was made for us out of an antiquated fowl, which some supposed might have belonged to the original stock introduced by Pizarro. The soup was, however, very well, and with a due mixture of green corn, sweet potatoes, and cassada, besides several unknown accompaniments, there was sufficient for six or eight of us. We were charged about two dollars, partly for our dinner, and partly for the privilege we assumed of laughing at our hosts and rallying them upon the origin of the "pauvre galina."

      Towards sunset, the third mate and I, accompanied by three of the crew, launched the bow boat into the surf, and some way or other we passed safely through the combing breakers, which was more than we expected, as one of the men was drunk and refused to pull, and another one was so far under the influence of "aquardente," as not to know which end of the boat to face. It was a wonder we were not "swamped," and every one lost. We had but just emerged from the breakers when


the man who had refused to pull, suddenly "peaked" his oar, and plunging into the sea, endeavored to reach the shore, while we continued to pull ahead until we were out of the reach of danger, when we lay to, watching his movements. Although a powerful swimmer, he still continued where we left him, struggling in vain among the waves, for the "undertow" or reaction of a heavy surf always throws the swimmer farther and farther from the shore, unless he has been taught by experience how to manage. The fate of the man appeared to be inevitable, as he was almost exhausted by vain efforts to reach the shore, when the question was debated whether we should turn about and endeavor to save the sufferer at the risk of our own lives, or abandon him to his awful fate. One of the men proposed to let him go, but the mate declared that he could never see a man drown before his eyes without an effort to save him; and with a vigorous stroke of the steering oar, the boat was in an instant pointing towards the breakers, and at the imminent hazard of being " swamped," we rescued the man, who was now completely exhausted. We had but just room enough to turn round without coming within the reach of the breakers, and after a hard pull, we reached the ship, where I met a padre, or priest from Tacames, no ways remarkable, except for his plump cheeks, and the huge masses of beef he devoured at supper.

      Thursday was devoted to the reception of the fruits and vegetables purchased for the ship, of which a most abundant supply was obtained. When the bananas, plantains, and other fruits were suspended upon deck and from aloft, the ship looked as if she had been dressed off with evergreens for some festive occasion, while the cabin and state rooms were full of the finest oranges, limes, pine-


apples and cocoanuts, according to the testimony of the officers, of a quality superior to that of any tropical fruits they had ever seen in any part of the world.

      The plantain is very similar in appearance to the banana, which I have described in another place. The fruit when ripe, is a soft, sweetish, golden colored pulp, from ten to twelve inches long, with a slender core set thick with minute purple seeds. The pod containing the fruit is readily stripped off, and the plantain when sliced and fried, is one of the most delicious esculents I ever tasted. The banana in taste, reminds me of the richest orange pears we have at home. We have several enormous bunches on board, containing from two to three hundred bananas each, for which we paid but twenty-five cents.

      The Cocoa-nut tree rears a tall, slim, branchless trunk, rising sometimes to the height of thirty or forty feet. From the top of it, spring forth broad filamentous leaves of a dark green hue, waving gracefully to every passing breeze, among which, the nuts, often numbering twenty or thirty, encased in thick husks, adhere closely to the trunk of the tree. The cocoa-nuts we have on board contain a pint or two of a delicious beverage, whose refreshing richness is unknown to us at home. The Pine Apple grows in a sandy soil, immediately upon the ground, surrounded by a circle of long grassy leaves, tipped at their extremities with a delicate orange red. The specimens of this fruit on board are very large, and extremely delicious, with a fibre so tender as to admit of their being eaten with a spoon.

      We also procured a supply of limes at the rate of twelve and a half cents per hundred. They are about twice the size of ordinary limes and are so juicy that the


juice of but thirty-two of them, expressed without much care, filled a large junk bottle.

      We left our anchorage early on Friday morning, with a strong land breeze; the shores of South America rapidly faded from our sight, and soon we were out to sea, where the sky and the blue waters meet to form the circle of the horizon.



Approach the Gallapagos Islands – Narrow escape from shipwreck – Steer for the Society Islands – Capture of a large whale – Mother Cary's chickens – Peaked-nose shark – Dangerous situation of the ship – Steer for the Sandwich Islands – Trade winds – Arrival at Oahu.

      Saturday, April 11. Yesterday afternoon, Chatham Island, the most easterly of the Gallapagos group, began to be dimly seen above the western horizon, and at evening its outlines were distinctly marked out by the setting sun, though still at a great distance. A beautiful evening succeeded, and the still breeze that fanned us along was highly refreshing after the heat of the day: for we were but a few miles south of the Equator. with the prospect of a fine day on the morrow, our guns and fishing gear were made ready for a hunting and fishing excursion we had in contemplation, and I retired to my berth full of the anticipated sport of the coming day.

      The wind continued light, and we moved slowly up towards the Island, which from the shadowy appearance that distant land always presents, gradually assumed a more real existence. The watches took care of the ship alternately, as usual, and a bright look-out was kept as we approached the dark mass lying directly before us. Before midnight, the ship was heading one or two points


off the land, but as she still neared the Island, the officer of the watch came down a little before three o'clock, to receive instructions from the captain with regard to altering her course. I happened to be awake at the time, forming plans for our excursion, and heard the officer ascend the companion way and walk forward a few steps, when we were all thrown into alarm by the noise upon deck and the loud voice of the officer, "Put your helm hard down! down with it! Capt. Richards! Capt. Rich–– Before the words were out of his mouth, the captain and his officers bounded upon deck, and at that moment, the ship, with a tremendous shock that shook every timber, and reverberated through her frame with a heavy hollow sound, struck upon a reef of rocks. All hands hurried upon deck, some with low exclamations, and a few with spare articles of clothing which were stowed away in the boats.

      "Let go your halliards, fore and aft," shouted the captain. A shrill creaking of sheaves, as the ties, runners and halliards ran over them, was heard from aloft, and the lofty yards settled down upon their lifts – the foresail clewed up, and the gib and staysails run down. "Tumble aft – tumble aft there some of you and lower down the starboard-quarter boat." The boat was lowered, manned, and proceeded to sound in the neighborhood of the ship. Close under the lee bow, the depth of water was but nine feet, and a little ahead twelve feet, an ill-omened position for a ship drawing eighteen feet of water. The fate of the North America was apparently sealed, and while the captain and officers were awaiting with intense anxiety the reports of the sounding line, I had an opportunity of taking a more deliberate survey of our situation. On the larboard side, the high outlines of Chatham Island rose up gloomily from the


sea, not more than a quarter of a mile off, while on the starboard side was a small rock, about a ship's length off, forming part of the ledge upon which the ship thumped heavily every few minutes. Upon this rock several seals were collected together, whose dismal howls rendered the scene the more terrible.

      Meanwhile a small anchor attached to the "cutting falls" had been carried out astern and dropped, and with all hands hold of the line, the attempt was made to haul the ship off the ledge stern-foremost, but in vain, and the line was made fast to prevent the ship running upon the rocks any farther. The loss of the ship seemed inevitable – the alternate rise and fall of the swell lifted her up to hurry her fate as she fell powerless with a hollow groan upon the grating rocks below. Small casks were filled with water, and some bread was brought from the steerage to be put into the boats upon abandoning the wreck, and the boats also were made ready for instant service. To improve the little time that might elapse before the ship should begin to go down, I descended into the cabin, and with a sigh over my books and other valuables, proceeded to select my most durable suit of clothes and put them on as well as I was able, while each shock of the ship almost threw me from off my feet. While thus employed, Capt. R. made his appearance, exclaiming in a sorrowful tone, "This is the last we shall see of the North America – we shall have to take to the boats before long, if she continues to thump in this way." This, indeed, was the universal opinion, as each rude shock seemed to forbode the certain destruction of the ship. Most providentially, the wind was light, and the swell was not formidable in the narrow channel where we were fixed upon the rocks. On our starboard bow there was a passage into deeper


water, and our only hope for the preservation of the ship, appeared to be, in carrying one of our heavy anchors in this direction – dropping it – and then endeavoring to warp her off the rocks.

      The spare topmasts and other large spars were cast loose from their lashings, and a raft commenced to transport the anchor into the proper place, when at the moment it was to be launched, the captain, who stood upon the tafferel directing the movements of the men, suddenly exclaimed, "the ship's afloat – cast off the stern line!" This joyful intelligence thrilled through every heart – the men sprang to execute the comnmand, and the ship glided slowly past the ledge of rocks into deeper water; and as sail after sail was hoisted and sheeted home, in a few minutes we were out of all danger. When the sun rose above the horizon, the scene of our disaster was just visible far astern.

      The Gallapagos Islands are an extensive group lying under the equator in longitude 90° west. They are of a volcanic nature, extremely rugged in their surface and covcered over with dwarf shrubbery and prickly pears. Upon several of these islands are found great numbers of terrapins, weighing frequently five or six hundred pounds, and surpassed by nothing in the catalogue of gastromanie. Springs of water are very rarely met with, and these are indicated by the paths leading to them made by the terrapin. Among the wild tracts which cover these barren islands, individuals wandering from the parties with whom they were hunting terrapin, have miserably perished for want of water, and human skeletons have been found at different times declaring the horrid fate of the lost sufferers. It is no uncommon occurrence for men that have strayed from their parties to be lost for a day or two. Their only resource to alleviate their


thirst is to cut upon a terrapin and drink the fluid in his stomach, which I am told, like that of the camel, contains a reservoir of water, sufficient for the animal for a long time. One of our men told me, that when hunting terrapin at one of these islands, some time ago, he was separated from his party for nearly three days. Full of horrible apprehension at the dreadful fate which awaited him, he ran madly about over the sharp rocks in every direction, in the hope of catching a glimpse of the ship, while his brain seemed ready to burst from the burning heat of the sun and the maddening agony of his awful situation. On the third day, he came in sight of the ship's boat, as she was pulling off for the last time, after his shipmates had searched for him in vain, and depositing a quantity of water and provisions in a conspicuous place for his use, had abandoned him to his dreadful fate.

      In the ship had been wrecked at Chatham Island, the tranquil weather of this region would have enabled us to land from the wreck, provisions and water, of which we had a supply for more than two months, as well as any thing that might be necessary. This is a favorite "cruising ground" of whalers, who would doubtless have afforded us assistance, or one of the boats would have been sent to Charles's Island, distant more than a hundred miles, the only inhabited Island of the group. If these expedients failed, the wreck would have supplied us with ample materials for building a small vessel in which to run into the coast.

      Our utmost desire is now to reach the Society Islands as soon as possible, where the ship will be unladen and "hove down," to repair damages. The distance to the coast is about six hundred miles, but as there are but few conveniences that we require, in any of the Spanish


ports, it is deemed advisable to steer for the Soceity Islands, distant about three thousand six hundred miles, a long distance to pass over – farther than a voyage to England – in a leaky ship, whose opening seams may send her to the bottom before half that distance has been traversed. Upon investigating the causes of our late disaster, it appears to be attributable to an error of judgment rather than to carelessness. The wind was fair during the night, and the order was given to haul the ship on the wind if she neared the land. The ship accordingly was steered one or two points off the land, but as the wind was light and there was a strong current setting towards the Island, she drifted much faster than her progressive motion, and from the haziness resting upon the land, the distance of which is alway very deceptive at night, she was close upon the rocks when she appeared to be several miles from the island.

      Wednesday, April 15. It is a glorious evening. The sun went down with a purple and golden spendor, such as we see at home in our autumnal sunsets, an unusual scene in the tropics, where the night follows too fast upon the steps of day for protracted twilight to intervene. The full orbed moon too is sporting with her silvery beams upon the glassy ocean. Just after sunset, the surface of the sea seemed to be alive with thousands of minute animals that threw out a purple light in their gambols upon the water, looking very much like the light emitted from some varieties of fluor spar when thrown upon a plate of heated iron. These animals were doubtless small fish, as they frequently sprang out of water when attacked by larger fish to which they served as prey. This is a very unusual exhibition; and indeed, it is said to be never seen except in low latitudes after a long succession of calm weather.


      Thursday, April 16. On Monday last, we took a large sperm whale, which yielded over sixty barrels of oil. His head was too large to be hoisted upon deck as on former occasions; the lower and middle sections were hoisted in upon deck, while the case – (the cavity in the upper part filled with almost pure sperm,) was firmly secured in an upright position along side of the ship, and the spermaceti bailed out of it.

      After the process of "trying out" was completed, the oil was "run down," an important operation aboard a whale ship, which has taken place with us once or twice before. The hold of large vessels is usually divided into two parts, by a deck parallel to the upper deck. In the lower hold of a whale ship the casks are carefully arranged in tiers, some of which are filled with salt water for ballast, which is pumped off, and oil substituted. There is a long hose leading from a tub which receives the oil through an opening in the deck, as the oil casks are succesively rolled over the orifice. By this expeditious method, seventy or eighty barrels of oil may be "run down," in a very short time.

      The teeth of the sperm whale vary from four to five inches in length, and are imbedded more than two-thirds in the lower jaw. They are susceptible of a very high polish, and are beginning to be valued as an article of merchandize, which has induced sperm whalers to collect all the teeth of their captured whales, as constituting a part of the profits of the voyage. The extraction of the teeth is the practice of dentistry on a grand scale. The patient, i.e. the lower jaw, is bound down to ring bolts in the deck. The dentist, a boatsteerer, with several assistants, first makes a vigorous use of his gum lancet, to wit, a cutting spade wielded in both hands. A start is given to the teeth, while his assistants apply the


instrument of extraction to one end of the row, consisteing of a powerful purchase of two fold pulleys, and at the tune of "O! hurrah my hearties O! the teeth snap from their sockets in quick succession. (see the cut.)

      Great numbers of Petrels or "Mother Carey's chickens," flocked around the ship while the whale was alongside, and I succeeded in capturing several of them, by hanging a few threads over the stern attached to a float to keep them distended, in which the petrels, in flying around the stern, become entangled and were easily secured. The petrel is a very pretty bird, about as large as the sparrow, having a dark brown, glossy plumage, with a fringe of white feathers upon his back near the tail. His nostrils unite in a single tube upon the upper mandible of the bill, and he is web footed like all sea birds. "Mother Carey's chickens," as the sailors call these birds, are found in every latitude all over the globe. They almost seem to have sprung out of the ocean; for in the storm or the calm alike, they are seen skimming over the waves in quest of food many hundred miles from land.

      The "Mother Carey's chicken," was formerly regarded with superstitous fancies by the mariner. The appearance of these birds in great numbers, was supposed to be indicative of the coming storm, and while their presence was a bad omen and to be deprecated, the warning was received with a becoming reverence. To shoot one of them would doom the rash offender to dire misfortune. The petrel, therefore, was held sacred in the creed of the prudent voyager.

"Up and down! Up and down!
From the base of the wave to the billow's crown,
And amidst the flashing and feathery foam
The Stormy Petrel finds a home, –




A home, if such a place may be
For her who lives on the wide wide sea,
On the craggy ice, in the frozen air,
And only seeketh her rocky lair
To warm her young, and teach them spring
At once o'er the waves on their stormy wing!

O'er the deep! O'er the deep!
Where the whale, and the shark, and the sword fish sleep,
Out flying the blast and the driving rain,
The Petrel telleth her tale in vain;
For the mariner curseth the warning bird
Who bringeth him news of the storms unheard!
Ah! thus does the prophet, of good or ill,
Meet hate from the creatures he serveth still:
Yet he ne'er falters: – So Petrel! spring
Once more o'er the waves on thy stormy wing."
                BARRY CORNWALL

      The whale captured the other day was hauled alongside at so late an hour, that the "cutting in" was deferred until the next day, and we were obliged to "lay by" him all night. Great numbers of sharks were attracted to the carcass, and on the succeeding morning, I caught six or seven of them, with a large hook attached to a chain to prevent its being bitten off by the powerful jaws of this voracious animal. the Peaked-Nose Shark, of which variety these were specimens, is about seven feet long. He has a long fin upon each side of his body, black upon the upper side and white underneath. The flukes are vertical and of unequal length; the upper one, the longer of the two, seems to be the only one used in directing the motions of the animal. The mouth is situated at some distance from the end of his nose, so that he is obliged to turn over upon his side whenevere he bites. His terrible jaws are armed with extremely sharp teeth, inclining inwards; in the lower jaw the teeth are about half an inch long, and set in three rows; in the upper jaw, there is but one row, but the teeth are


larger and serrated. A bite from one of these animals must be terrible indeed. Just forward of the side fins are five orifices, which are the gills through which he derives air from the water, and consequently is not compelled, like the cetacea, to come upon top of water to breathe. The skin of the shark is very hard and rough like a file, which renders it an excellent substitute for sandpaper in smoothing wood work. The Peaked-Nose shark is known by the name of the Blue shark, from the dark azure tint upon his back, which divides his body into two equal shades, a dark and a light. He is always accompanied by several pilot fish that swim by his side, and manifest the greatest consternation whenever their ferocious companion is captured. The shark in all his varieties, is regarded with inveterate hatred by the sailor, and is considered a legitimate subject for the exercise of his skill in darting the lance or spade, to which this savage animal is admirably adapted from his apparent insensibility to pain. At the repeated gashes he receives from these formidable instruments, he manifests the utmost indifference and calm composure, and even with a large hook in his mouth he still continues to exercise his voracious propensities. Aboard whale ships, sometimes, upon the capture of a shark during the process of trying out, he is drawn up out of water by two or three men, and a gallon or more of boiling oil is poured down his open mouth, a most cruel act, but defended on the ground that "nothing is too bad for a shark."

      Monday, April 20. A large school of sperm whales was seen this afternoon, not far from the ship; but the imperative necessity of reaching port as soon as possible, owing to the leaky state of the ship, obliged us to pass by them unmolested, although some of the men exhibited


the impatience of the curbed hunter for the attack. Since our disaster, we have often been tantalized by such displays, but a might ocean rolls between us and our much wished for port, and the loss of some of our boats might be the consequence, our only hope in case the ship should founder. We are now driving on before the south-east trade wind, under a press of sail. No one is sent aloft to look out for whales, and our best wish is to reach our distant port in safety.

      Wednesday, April 29. An amusing incident occurred this evening. One of the boatsteerers was walking near the tryworks, when a large flying fish in endeavoring to fly over the ship, struck him on the head near the ear. The violence of the blow was such, that he at first thought some one had struck him with his fist, an insult which called his irascibles into vigorous action. But seeing no one near him except the flying fish, he secured his floundering captive, and recovered satisfaction by cooking and eating him.

      This fish was of unusual size, and would probably measure from twelve to fifteen inches in length, having two sets of wings, the larger located similarly with those in other kinds, and the additional pair, which are much smaller, situated about midway between the tail and the other wings, giving to the fish two sets of propellors. We see immense numbers of flying fish every day, rising up on each side of the ship, as she dashes on over the sea. There is a great diversity in their size, from those of dimensions equal to the one mentioned above to those that look like insects skipping over the waves.

      Wednesday, May 6. Sometime this morning, we crossed the equator making the eighth time since leaving the United States. We are now bound for Oahu,


one of the Sandwich Islands, although our first intention, after our disaster at the Gallipagos Islands, was to make a direct course for the Society Islands, so that by having land under our lee, we might run the ship ashore to prevent her foundering. One of the pumps has been kept in motion constantly, with the exception of short intervals. Day after day an enumeration has been made of the number of strokes of the pump, and it has been with no ordinary solicitude that the extra strokes of the pump denoting a daily increase, have been carefully noted. To wake up at dead of night and hear the dismal clanking of the pump, and to feel that the increasing leaks may send you to the bottom, are sufficient to banish sleep, until anxiety has worked itelf to rest.

      Friday, May 15. After being becalmed for several days in lat. 7° north, or thereabouts, we took the north-east trade winds, which drive us rapidly on our course under double reefed topsails. For several days, we seemed to be in a region where the winds assembled from every point of the compass, and for many hours we had a fine breeze from the west, an unusual occurence at sea within the tropics.

      The trade winds, as I have before observed, are regular breezes within the tropics setting towards the equatorial regions, from north-east to south-west on the north side, and from south-east to north-west on the south side, although these courses are by no means invariable, but admit of several points deviation. The north-east trades usually cease in lat. 7° north, or thereabouts, and there is here a region of calms, rain, squalls, and water spouts, extending between the limits of the tradewinds, i.e. for one or two degrees, as the south-east trades are commonly met with as soon as four degrees, north latitude, although the limits of this


belt are by no means constant. At that season of the year when the sun is north of the equator, the south-east trades extend much farther to the northward of the line than when the sun has a southern declination, and the calm region is removed to a more northerly position; for the solar rays, that give origin to all atmospheric changes, being carried farther north during the summer season, the rarefaction of the atmosphere in the equatorial regions, the cause of the trades, is removed farther north, and vice versa, when the sun is approaching his winter solstice. The greater extent of the south-east trades, their blowing across the equator and meeting the north-east trades far to the northward of the equator, are curious facts. It would be more natural to suppose that the region lying immediately under the equator would be the neutral ground between the winds.

      The north-east rades are more apt to be fresh and squally than the south-east, which are commonly very regular. For week after week the voyager is wafted along by the south-east trades, without altering a sail, inhaling a pure mild atmosphere, with a lovely sky overhead, and a deep blue tranquil ocean extending upon each side to the farthest bounds of the horizon, whose heaving waters speed him on his course.

      Saturday, May 23. On Wednesday evening last, as the sun went down, the south-easternmost point of Hawaii was dimly seen rising like a shadow above the waves. On Thursday night, we ran down the passage between Molakai and Maui with the intention of stopping a day or two at Lahaina, a settlement on the latter Island, but as the weather was thick and squally, the attempt was deemed too hazardous. Yesterday morning we came to anchor off the harbor of Honolulu, the capital of


the Sandwich Islands, in forty days after our disaster at the Gallapagos Islands, having sailed more than five thousand miles in a leaky ship, with the pumps going night and day. Though we arrived in safety at the port of our destination, yet the passage was not without great solicitude as may be readily imagined.



Seamen's chapel – Honolulu harbor – Fruits and vegetables – Appearance of the natives – Native dwellings – Police regulations – Fort – Governor Kekuanoa – Capt. Brown – Foreign residents – Horses and vehicles.

      Sunday, May, 24. I attended church to-day, for the first time since leaving the United States; and after being excluded from the privileges of the sanctuary for many months, while roving over the vast ocean, it was most welcome to me to unite in the exercises of religion with the people of God in these remote Isles of the sea. The services were held in the Seamen's chapel, a plain, two story edifice, painted white, surmounted by a cupola, from the top of which, the Bethel flag waves its welcome to the shipping in the port. The basement is spacious, and is divided into several rooms, each of which is appropriated to some object of public utility. The discourse, delivered by Mr. Tinker, missionary from Kauai (Towi) was a very creditable performance. Judging from appearances, the congregation was highly respectable, and the music, though simple, impressed me with emotions of pleasure such as the most studied harmony would have failed to do, on ordinary occasions.

      Monday, May 25. After one or two attempts to enter


the harbor, which were unsuccessful, owing to the strong breezes off the land, the ship was taken in this morning. The anchorage outside the harbor is upon a shelving bank which inclines at so great an angle, that a ship is liable to drag her anchor when the wind blows hard off the land. The depth of the water too, is very great, and ships have been blown to sea, from the anchorage, with seventy or eighty fathoms of chain out, with the prospect of two or three days hard labor before they return again. Before sun rise, there is usually a dead calm under the lee of the land, but soon after the sun has risen, the wind springs up, and increases until about noon, when it blows fresh, coming down in strong puffs from the mountains. Honolulu possesses a very fine harbor, and is the only one in these Islands where ships may lie in perfect safety, and undergo the repairs which may be necessary. It is formed by a coral reef extending across a recess in the Island of Oahu. Through an opening in this barrier, upon each side of which, the roaring surf beats incessantly, is the passage into the harbor of about a mile in length.

      We broke anchorage, about four o'clock, A. M., and ran into the mouth of the passage under sail, when all sails were run down, and a long line carried ashore to a party of natives, fifty or more, who were stationed upon the nearest point of land on the right hand side of the passage. Then with loud shouts, they dashed through the shallow water on the margin of the bay, and, with the ship moving steadily along up the passage, soon conducted her to her proper anchorage near the docks. It is due to whalers to say, that they are noted for their courtesy in proffering their boats and service to tow a ship into harbor, and in rendering other acts of civility of this nature. There was, however, but one whale ship in the


harbor, which obliged us to employ natives, as I have described, otherwise, we should have been towed in by boats. At the head of the harbor, are several docks, the timbers of which that extend below the surface of the water, are always coppered, to defend them from the ravages of animalculae, which start into life in countless myriads in the tepid waters of the tropics.

      Negotiations, for the repairs of the North America, have been made with Ladd & Co., an American mercantile house, standing among the first in importance for extent of business on these Islands. They furnish the most ample facilities for heaving the ship down, as well as commodious store-houses for the cargo, built of coral stone, an article obtained from the reefs in great abundance, and which is in frequent use as a building material. There is also another ship-yard close by, belonging to some ship carpenters, and provided with all the apparatus necessary for heaving down and repairing a ship. I state these facts to give some idea of the importance of these Islands to the commerce of nations afloat in the north Pacific, an importance that can only be appreciated by those that are disabled in this remote region of the world.

      Honolulu stands upon a plain at the opening of the valley of Nuanu, running across the Island between high mountains, whose sterile peaks give but little indication of the fertility of the lovely valleys at their base. There are several valleys upon the Island in a high state of culture, and rich in verdure and productions. The valley of Nuanu is the garden of Honolulu, exhibiting every variety of fruits and vegetables. These consist of delicious melons of several kinds, grapes, figs, pine apples, bananas, plantains, taro, yams, sugar-cane, potatoes, and the common culinary vegetables we have at


home. In their proper season, these are all brought into town and are either exposed for sale in the markets, or carried around to the houses of the foreign residents. All articles of merchandise of this kind are transported in calibashes, large flat gourds, eighteen or twenty inches in diameter, fitted with a cover of the same material, and suspended in net work, attached to the extremity of a pole, which the native balances across his shoulder, preserving the equilibrium by a corresponding calabash containing merchandise, or with admirable sagacity, substituting a large stone in preference to dividing his load. This, however, is not peculiar to the Hawaiian Islands; for in the "good old times" of New Amsterdam; many an honest cultivator of the soil was seen riding to mill, with a bag of meal on one side of his horse counterbalanced by a large stone, while the poor animal went groaning under this most unphilosophical load.

      The sweet potato of these Islands is remarkably fine. Its external appearance is like those amorphous yams imported into the United States, from the West Indies, and it admits of every variety of color, from a dark purple, through the intermediate shades, to red, then to green or yellow. There are several groves of cocoanut trees on the beach. Though they shoot up to a great height, they are wanting in that vigor of growth and canopy of waving leaves exhibited by the cocoa-nut trees of Tacames.

      Honolulu contains about ten thousand inhabitants in the town and the immediate vicinity. The foreign residents number not far from six hundred, and wear the European costume. The toilet of the natives, that is, of the masculine portion, is made in rather more of the primitive style than I had expected to see. But a small


proportion are to be seen with a pair of pantaloons, except on Sundays and holydays. With but a maro around the waist, and perhaps with a tapa or mantle of native cloth, passing over the shoulder and knotted under the opposite arm, they walk off with as much dignity and consciousness of superiority as the more favored "lords of creation" display. I have seen a fellow, in a sailor's heavy pea-jacket, which, when buttoned up to his chin, concealed but half his person, strutting through the street, in the broiling sun, at noon, too proud to look at any one; and another, with a strange disregard of the rest of his person, with the exception of the arrangement of the maro, was seen walking the streets with his feet inserted into a pair of enormous boots, and manifesting the utmost indifference to surrounding objects. These incongruities are rather rare however, either from an inability of the natives to possess themelves of these luxuries, or because they prefer the simplicity of nature.

      The native women are dressed in long gowns like the loose morning dresses of the ladies of our country. To increase their charms, of which, judging from appearances, nature has not been very profuse, many of them tie a gay shawl tightly around the waist, which gives them a rather ludicrous gait. With a bright yellow shawl around her waist, a wreath of brilliant feathers or flowers encircling her brow, and a huge comb towering up with masses of dark hair coiled around it, a Hawaiian lady is dressed a la mode. The houses of the common people are dingy looking cabins, the walls of which are constructed of adobies, blocks of moulded clay hardened in the sun, and compacted by an admixture of grass. The roofs are of thatch, which however, is a very common covering for the outhouses of the foreign residents. The residences of the chiefs are in one or two instances very


superior houses. There are now but few high chiefs of the nation, many of them having died within a few years. The authority of those now living is far less despotic than was the case in former times. A man's rank depends entirely upon the rank of his mother. If a woman of high rank marries a man of low rank, all her children will belong to the higher class; but if the case is reversed, the children will be of low rank. Marriage does not affect the rank of either party. Thus the Governor of Oahu owes his station to his marriage with one of the royal family. His rank, however, is that of an inferior chief, and as his wife is dead, he is liable to be deposed at any moment. The police regulations throughout these islands are very good. Until within a year, ardent spirits of all kinds were subject to so heavy a duty, as to be almost prohibited, but the exertions of the "highly enlightened and chivalrous" la belle France, urged on by the clamors of a few brandy loving foreigners, compelled these humble islanders to abrogate the oppressive duties on ardent spirits, and accommodate them to their convenience. A mode of determining the tariff prevalent no where else except where "might gives right." And these very men with an effrontery which is really admirable, arrogate to themselves an important place in the advancement of civilization and the arts of life at the Hawaiian Islands!

      The laws for the restraint of licentiousness are very strict, the offenders being subject to imprisonment at hard labor in the fort. The constables, when on duty, carry a cane as the badge of office. While the cargo is landing from the North America, two or three of them are stationed about the wharf for its protection as well as for repressing the curiosity of the natives, that are not employed about the ship. The

   THE FORT. 195

penitentiary system is adopted throughout these islands; criminals being compelled to labor on the roads or in quarrying coral stone from the reefs, or in other public works. Near the head of the harbor stands the fort, a large area, nearly square, enclosed by a thick wall of coral stone, which is finished off with white plaster. En passant, the Hawaiian islands are not dependent upon foreign importations for the lime used in the construction of buildings; the reefs afford an exhaustless supply of coral, a carbonate of lime, which when subjected to fire is converted into as good lime as that which we obtain from calcined shells. In the centre of the fort, rises the flagstaff, upon which the national flag, (the British Union, with alternate stripes of red and white,) is hoisted every time a ship arrives, as well as on the Sabbath and on pahau days, when the common people are required to labor for the government. It was formerly customary for the chiefs to exact every thing they might choose from the canaille, who were compelled to work almost every day to satisfy their oppressive demands. But now, the authority of the chiefs is less arbitrary, and these pahau or work days, do not recur so frequently.

      The other day, I made a visit to the fort. On the left hand side is a range of small buildings appropriated to Kekuanoa, the Governor, parallel to which runs the magazine, a stone vault ten or fifteen feet long. On the right hand side there is a row of small thatched houses, whose tops projecting a little above the ramparts, are pierced with grated openings intended as dungeon windows. These are the prisons of the islands although the impression upon a stranger of their use as a place of confinement would be rather vague. The Governor manages however, to hold his prisoners pretty safe,


and in most cases, finds work enough for them to do, to keep them out of mischief. The armament of the fort consists of fifty or sixty iron guns, stationed upon every side of the ramparts. Between each of these, is a stone mound, of no possible use that I could discern, except perhaps, to tumble into a breach in the wall in case of an attack, for which they are admirably disposed. The guns on the sea side are twelve pounders I should judge, while those pointing towards the town are much smaller. In the centre of the line of guns pointing towards the sea, is a long brass piece embossed with a great variety of ornaments and inscribed with numerous Latin phrases, to construe which would puzzle the ingenuity of king Kauikeaouli and his chiefs. Previous to my going into the fort, I had been told that no ceremony was expected of visiters, in going the rounds of the fortifications, and as there were no sentinels stationed at the gate, which was open, I walked in without any delay, and ascended the battlements for the purpose of taking a walk around them. Before I had proceeded very far however, a native came running across the area below, and in broken English enquires – " Have seen de Gov'nor?" – "No, I have no particular desire to see him just at this moment." "Aole maikai! (not good,) must see Gov'nor – 'spose you no see, he tell you lawe aku, (go away.)" At this eloquent appeal which sounded much better to my ear than "Hullo Mister, what you doing here? You may just take your walking papers and be off;" with which a foreigner intruding unintentionally into a similar place in my own country, might have been saluted, I followed the Kanaka. His excellency received me very politely, and his salutation "aloha" was uttered with more

   THE FORT. 197

dignity than the guttural intonations of the vulgar. But a cloud gathered upon his brow when he was told that I had the temerity to commence a review of his fortifications without having obtained his permission. "Why you no come see Gov'nor?" demanded the Kanaka before mentioned, who acted as interpreter. "Because I was told that there was no necessity for that." "Who tell you that?" My authority was given, at which they both exclaimed, "Aole maitai" in astonishment for the low estimation in which their dignity was held by the foreigners. After conferring together for some time, I was asked if "I did not see Governor when I went to see fort In other country?" "No!" I answered, if the Governor does not wish any one to see his fort, he stations a man at the gate to keep every one away. If he does not do so, as you have not done, any man might come in and go out as he chose." While this answer was under discussion, I had a good view of the Governor. He is a large, well-formed man, possessing that full developement of features which characterizes the natives in distinction from the foreigners, particularly Americans. His countenance gave me the impression of moroseness, but this expression was owing to his feeling himself treated with disrespect, by my unceremonious introduction. He is considered as capable as any in the nation for the office he holds, and possesses great dignity of manner. After a good deal of meditation, he told me I might take a survey of the fortifications if I pleased. They are all very anxious to adopt the customs of the most civilized nations.

      Capt. Brown, of the whale ship "Catharine," of Nantucket, arrived here the other day for the purpose of discharging one of his men who is dangerously sick with a pulmonary affection. In conversation with him, he gave me an account of a personal adventure among the


Marquesas Islands, which I relate, as it illustrates the treacherous character of the natives of many of the Polynesian Islands. Leaving Nookaheva bay in the Island of Nookaheva, he sailed around to the opposite side of the Island, for the purpose of trafficking with the natives that assembled in great numbers upon the beach, as his boat lay on the water, a few yards from the shore. The Tipaiis, the name of this tribe, are very ferocious, and to gratify their cannibal appetites, they are not very scrupulous in making choice of their victims. Capt. B., aware of their reputation for ferocity, disregarded all their solicitations to land, but made an agreement with them to supply his ship with a number of swine, which were to be brought down to the beach on the coming day. Accordingly, at the appointed time, these animals were exhibited upon the beach tied together, and every appearance of good faith was observed to induce the captain to come on shore. For a long time he hesitated about entrusting himself within their power, until after assurances from a Spanish boy (who had accompanied him from the opposite side of the island,) that there would he no danger, he landed upon the beach. He was instantly seized by a party of natives, and hurried off to some distance from shore, while the swine were cut loose that the savages had collected together to decoy the captain within their reach. They now thronged around him with horrid yells of triumph, and clamorously demanded of him, as a ransom, forty musquets and six kegs of gunpowder. As he was unable to comply with their extravagant demands, a dreadful doom was prepared for him. With awful anticipations of his horrid fate, he saw them collecting together piles of dry wood, and digging holes in the ground, to be used as ovens for roasting him, upon the following morning; and it was


with the agony of despair that he found himself surrounded at night upon every side by his merciless captors. About midnight, however, he stole away from his sleeping guards, in company with the Spanish boy, and after wandering about among the mountains, he made his escape to the tribe to which the Spanish boy belonged, by whom he had been adopted, after running away from some vessel which had stopped at Nookaheva. Capt. B., soon regained his ship, when the crew were eager to take vengeance upon the savages for their treachery, but he wisely restrained them, believing that any thing of this kind would be retaliated upon the next ship that might visit them. The day after his escape, the Tipaiis challenged the friendly tribe to mortal conflict, upon their refusal to give up into their power the man who had fled to them for protection. A battle ensued between the tribes, in which two men were killed upon each side, and hostilities then ceased to allow the contending parties the luxury of feeding upon their respective prisoners.

      Honolulu, the capital of the Hawaiian Islands, is built upon a plain about a mile wide, washed by the sea on one side and terminated by high mountains that rise up abruptly in the rear of it. The town is laid out regularly in wide streets with adobie walls running parallel to them. All the enclosures here are made of this material, which when plastered with lime and whitewashed, as is often the case, have a glaring effect contrasting with the sombre walls and dwellings of the natives. The houses of the foreign residents are built in cottage style, with green verandahs or piazzas around them, while the adjacent grounds are tastefully laid out and planted with trees and shrubbery. Belonging to each, are several small outhouses in which the various


operations of domestic economy are conducted. The number of foreign residents is not far from six hundred as I observed before. Some of them live in good style with their houses adorned with elegant furniture, and command all the luxuries of foreign cities. It was with no small interest that I heard the notes of the piano forte, so many thousands of miles from my native land. There have been musical concerts got up at Honolulu, by amateur performers among the residents, the proceeds of which have been given to charitable objects; and I have heard "a song for the oak, the brave old oak," "Pensez a moi," and other well known airs, sung with as much spirit and taste as in my own country. The foreign residents are very hospitable, and the kindness with which I have been received is extremely gratifying. As far as I have been able to judge from observation, there appears to be a division of sentiment among them – those that favor, and those that have an antipathy to the protestant missionaries. If you are known to be a "missionary man," you will not be overburdened with attentions from their opponents and vice versa.

      I was much surprised when I was told that the beautiful cottages belonging to the foreign residents, were most of them built of adobies, and plastered with lime. These answer, however, very well as a building material, as they grow hard by age; and as they are protected from the rain, which rarely falls, by the projecting roof, they are sufficiently durable. There are also several large and handsome dwelling houses and stores, built of coral stone cut from the reefs.

      The streets of Honolulu are hard and smooth, and a carriage rolls along without a stone to jar it. Carriages are rather rare articles of luxury here, and even these few have not a very modern aspect. The principle ve-


hicles are little four wheeled waggons, about the size of those which are usually appendages to a nursery at home, in which, drawn by one or two kanakas, a lady is seen riding in style through the streets, in going to church or making a fashionable call. The horses upon these islands, are imported from California, and riding horseback is a favorite amusement with all classes. There is a livery stable in one of the principal streets, where are exhibited an array of fine horses that many an equestrian might envy. The natives always gallop off at a John Gilpin pace without any regard to life or limb, either of themselves or of the poor animals they are goading to death. The women ride in the same style, though with a perfect indifference to side saddles, in imitation of the Spanish ladies of the South American coast.



Valley of Nuanu – Taro – Poi – Natives at work – Acquatic feats – An affecting incident – Native canoes – Commerce of the Hawaiian Islands – Moving a house – Treatment of a lunatic – Native salutation – Chinese – Annoyances – Scorpions – Centipedes.

      The other day, I took a delightful walk in company with a friend up the valley of Nuanu, which, about a mile in width, opening in the rear of the town, extends entirely across the island. It is delightfully verdant, contrasting widely with the barren, sunburnt mountains whose craggy precipices tower up on each side of it, into the region of the clouds. A mountain streamlet descending to the sea, is diverted into a thousand little canals, which distribute its waters among the taro patches through which we threaded our way. These taro patches are small basins of a quadrilateral form, prepared with great care, into which the waters are directed to give sustenance to the taro, which requires constant irrigation. The taro, is a bulbous root from twelve to fifteen inches in circumference, of an oval shape, having usually a purple tint, and puts forth several stalks terminating in a broad, arrowheaded leaf like that of the calla ethiopica. When raw, itsjuices are extremely acrid


and pungent, as if nettles had been introduced into the mouth; but when cooked, it is of a highly nutritious character, like that of the finest potato. With the natives, it is a sine qua non, in a much higher degree than the potato is to inhabitants of the Emerald Isle; and a man's right and title to his taro patch is defended with the utmost determination. It is in fact, the only personal property of any value possessed by the ignobile vulgus. In converting the taro into use, the root is baked in the ground, until it becomes dry and mealy, when it is macerated by a smooth stone, with an admixture of water, until it assumes the consistency of bookbinder's paste, and is then called poi. It is now set aside for twenty-four hours, when it becomes slightly acidulous, and is then considered as having attained the proper flavor. Then stretched out upon the ground, or adopting some other easy posture, the native with a dried fish in his left hand, prepares himself for his repast. Inserting the forefinger of the right hand into the mess, he turns it round and round until a mass of sufficient size adheres, when with the head thrown back, and mouth open, he introduces the poi, with the utmost dexterity and sleight of hand. A piece of fish administered by the other hand succeeds, ka rima poi, "the poi finger," divested of its adhesive covering; and thus, these processes are kept up alternately until the materials are exhausted. So extravagantly fond are the natives of their fish and poi, that the most luxurious feast could not present superior charms to their eyes. Even the chiefs, after making a repast in the European style, are regularly served with a dish of poi, without which they would consider themselves as having fared very poorly.

      Farther up the valley, is the Pari of Nuanu, an


awful precipice in the mountains, celebrated in the history of the islands, as the scene of the destruction of the King of Oahu with his followers, who were hurled down the abyss by the victorious army of Tamehameha the Great upon his invasion of Oahu. Just back of the town, is a mountain presenting a circular front, which has been fancifully named the "Punch bowl," from a peculiar aptitude possessed by English and Americans for giving awkward names to geographical points. It is terminated at the top in a spacious platform, down the sides of which are numerous angular columns. Above, a range of long iron guns, fourteen forty-two pounders, which were stationed there at an immense labor, commands the town and harbor, and the fortification might be rendered impregnable.

      In the valley, are one or two country seats belonging to gentlemen residing in town. Towards one of these we directed our steps, as fast as possible, against the wind which was blowing almost a gale. It was one of the pahau days, and we fell in with a numerous body of kanakas or native men, engaged in erecting a wall of adobies. The majority of them however, appeared to have nothing to do but to vociferate one to another while indulging themselves in a favorite and exceedingly graceful posture, commonly called "squatting." This is a common attitude with the natives when unemployed, and I have seen long lines of them drawn up in the shade, continuing in this posture for hours.

      After spending a short time at the seat of a gentleman of our acquaintance, in looking over some recent numbers of "the Knickerbocker," and of "the New York Mirror," we turned our steps towards a beautiful mountain streamlet, the waters of which tumbling down in many a lovely cascade through a narrow pass between


high hills, were received into a circular basin eight or ten yards in diameter, upon one side of which, a rock rose abruptly to the height of twenty or thirty feet. Here we had an interesting exhibition of the aquatic performances of some of the native boys. Several of them, not more than eight or nine years of age, ascended to the top of this rock, and Sam Patch like, leaped forward into the basin below, from which they soon emerged, and with loud shouts ran up to the top of the rock to resume their sport.

      The natives of these islands are almost amphibious, and they are to be seen playing for hours in the surf, apparently unconscious of any danger, although the attempt would be appalling to a foreigner. A feat in swimming, which was performed a few days since off these islands, would be received as incredible at home, although it can be proved on the very best of evidence, and is not doubted in the least at Honolulu. The day we arrived at Honolulu, intelligence had been received of a terrible catastrophe which occurred a day or two previous. A little schooner, the "Keola," of Honolulu, under the charge of natives, on her passage from one island to another of the group, with thirty or forty passengers, foundered at a distance of twenty-five miles from land, and out of this crowded vessel, but four ever returned to tell the tale of their disaster; and these incredible as it may seem – reached the shore by swimming! The particulars of this melancholy event are more fully mentioned in a letter from a missionary at Lahaina to the Rev. Mr. Thurston, and exhibit an affecting picture of conjugal tenderness and love, which shone pure and bright amid the gloomy horrors of that awful scene. The letter is in substance as follows –


Lahaina, May 21, 1840.     

Dear brother Thurston,

      As the Kinau ("Kenow") is soon expected to sail for Oahu ("Wawhoo"), I will write a few words. You have heard, I presume of the loss of the "Keola," as the report reached here just as Brother Green was embarking for Oahu. The same day that he sailed, the persons who escaped, arrived here and told us the sad particulars. You will be afflicted to learn that Mauae (Mow-ah-hay) is among those who were lost. As his wife is among the saved, and as they both swam about twenty-five miles together before he expired, we have a full account of him to the last.

      The following is a sketch of that melancholy occurrence. The "Keola" left Lahaina for Kawaihae (To-ay-hi, a settlement upon Hawaii) on Saturday evening, May 9th, in a leaky condition as was apparent to all on board. The next day the wind was strong, and, as we hear, the stone ballast rolled over to leeward. It was restored to its proper place, when two barrels of molasses and a cask of water, not well secured, were precipitated to leeward, in the rolling of the vessel. This was the immediate cause of the disaster, although this would not have been sufficient, were it not that the "Keola" had been aground five times since she was last examined, and of course was entirely unfit for sea without repairing. The forward part of the schooner was engulfed so suddenly, that some who were in the hold were never extricated, but were carried down in the sinking vessel.

      The natives plunged into the ocean upon seeing that the loss of the vessel was inevitable, while Mauae, who had conducted prayers early in the morning, and engaged in religious worship with the people during the fore-


noon, though contending with the ocean waves, called the natives around him, and implored help from on high. Having asked the assistance of the Almighty at this awful moment, they looked about to see what they could do to aid themselves. A current was setting to the north, so that none thought of swimming for Hawaii. Mauae and his wife, providing themselves with buckets, which were covered over to exclude the water, commenced swimming towards Kahoolawe, the nearest land to the northward of them. They were accompanied by three young men, who disappeared, one after the other, either by drowning or going in different directions. Several of their fellow passengers were in sight on the Sabbath, but during the night they were lost sight of, and Mauae and his wife were left to pursue their watery way alone. On Monday morning, Kaluawahinui's bucket came to pieces, and she swam without anything until afternoon, when Mauae became too much exhausted to proceed, and they stopped, while he was lomi-lomi'd* by his affectionate wife, which revived him so much that he was enabled to renew his exertions.

      They toiled on for some time longer until Kahoolawe was in full view before them, but Mauae began to sink under his extreme exhaustion. Kaluawahinui, then took his bucket, which was still uninjured, and with a heroic devotion that has never been surpassed, told him to grasp her long hair, which was trailing on the surface of the water, and in this way she assisted him for some distance. But his hand soon relaxed its grasp, and all her efforts to rouse

      * The process of lomi-lomi, consists in rubbing and kneading with the hands the person who subjects himself to the operation, and it is extremely reviving when one is fatigued. Upon an occasion, when exhausted with violent exercise, I experienced its refreshing effects, and pronounce the lomi-lomi of the Hawaiian Islands unparalleled in its effects in restoring vigor to the frame, when wearied.


him to exertion were vain. She told him he must pray to God for strength to assist him. He commenced, but could only utter a few sentences, and she then clasped his arms around her neck – held them with one hand, and under this unequal burden toiled on towards the shore. When yet within some distance of the shore, perceiving that Mauae was entirely dead, she left him and reached the Island about sunset, after being in the water over thirty hours. Faint with exhaustion, at a distance from any aid, and almost blinded by her long continuance in the sea, she wandered about in search of food for the three following days; but in vain, and she must have perished miserably, were it not for the water she found standing in crevices of the rocks. On Friday morning, she found a number of water-melons, which relieved her sufferings; soon after which, she was discovered by some fishermen and conducted to their village, whence she was brought to Lahaina.

      The canoes of the natives are little narrow structures, provided with an outrigger – two light sticks secured upon the gunnel of the canoe, and projecting from six to ten feet, where they are crossed by another stick – an arrangement which prevents their upsetting. In such frail structures, these daring navigators venture many miles out to sea, now paddling swiftly over the waves or stopping every few minutes to bail out the water which dashes into their humble craft. Whenever they set sail, they endeavor, if possible, to have the outrigger to windward, so that by extending themselves upon it outside of the canoe, they may carry sail in safety. If the outrigger breaks, the canoe becomes unmanageable, and many instances have occurred of disastrous consequences resulting from this accident. I have seen none of the large war canoes of former times, and the largest that

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have come under my notice would not hold more than fifteen or twenty men.

      A few years ago, there were several vessels belonging to the Hawaiian Government, manned by natives. Of these, the larger were wrecked or sold, and now there are only one or two schooners owned by the king or the chiefs. The king formerly owned a fine barque called the "Don Quixote," now lying in the harbor. She was under the charge of a former sailing master of the American Navy, and was conducted in man of war style, carrying an armament of light guns. On account of the expense of keeping her in order, she was sold to Pierce and Brewer, merchants at Honolulu. The port of Honolulu is visited by almost all vessels frequenting the north Pacific, and in the spring and fall seasons, great numbers of whale ships, principally American, touch for recruits, which are supplied in abundance and of every variety.

      The value of goods imported into the Hawaiian Islands for the past year, probably exceeds three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. These imports consisted of cotton cloths, prints, chintz, hardware, copper, cordage, canvass, naval stores, flour, bread, wines and spirits, furniture, soap, iron, paint &c., all which were from the United States. From Mexico, the imports were principally specie and bullion. From California were received sea otter skins, land furs, bullock hides, soap. Nankeens, blue cottons, teas, silks &c., were brought from China. From Tahiti and the southern islands were received turtle shell, oil, pearl, and pearl shell, sugar, &c. From the north west coast and Colombia River, the imports were lumber of various kinds, spars and salmon. From England, the imports were broadcloths and other goods similar to those received from the


United States. From Manilla, the manufactures of the United States, England and China were received, together with cigars, hats, cordage &c.

      The exports of native produce during this time, have amounted to not far from eighty thousand dollars. These consisted of sandal wood, bullock hides, salt, goat skins, arrow root, provisions of various kinds, ku-kui oil (a paint oil made from the candle nut,) sugar, molasses, and leaf tobacco.

      There are seven vessels owned at Honolulu by citizens of the United States – one barque, two brigs and four schooners; and one ship, one barque and one brig belonging to citizens of England. The commercial statistics of these islands show, that nearly one half of the imports into the Hawaiian Islands, were from the United States; and that the arrivals of American ships were more than double in number those from all other foreign countries. By far the greater proportion of the foreign residents are Americans, and the American interests are decidedly predominant throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

      The removal of a frame building through one of the streets of Honolulu was an interesting scene to me, from the novel mode in which it was conducted. The dimensions of the building were, I should judge, twenty by twenty five feet. Across the lower timbers, strong poles were firmly lashed, and in the interstices between them, a dense throng of kanakas were crowded together. After a scene of loud vociferation from those within the building and the multitude assembled without, accompanied with the most eloquent gesticulations, three sonorous cheers were given, and the building was lifted up upon the shoulders of those underneath, and carried steadily forward some distance before it was set down.


The surrounding natives were all enthusiasm, breaking forth into loud and expressive exclamations of wonder and delight, as the towering pile was seen moving along with a complicated machinery of legs and feet plying underneath. It is indeed a rare thing to see a house taking a walk. The enterprise was attended with no small degree of danger, for if one of the party had stumbled down, serious consequences would have resulted; or the building, when elevated upon the shoulders of the kanakas, might have fallen from its unstable position and crushed numbers of the crowd.

      While taking a walk through one of the most public places, my attention was arrested by a crowd of natives following with loud cries, a poor, forlorn boy, who wandered about bewildered by the din of the vociferous multitude that pressed upon him. Once or twice, he sat down upon the ground, but the throng compelled him to remove, and endeavor to escape from their vexatious clamors. As I stood wondering at the cause of the great delight manifested in torturing a creature apparently so harmless, a woman advanced to meet him, and touched noses with him as a token of recognition; then clasping him in her arms, and sending forth a piteous cry, in which she was joined by the boy, she extricated him from the crowd and conducted him into an adjoining hut. Here they were received by a number of natives, who united in the lamentation, and continued it without cessation as long as I was within hearing. The boy, it appears, was deranged, which the natives attributed to some superstitious cause, and considered him as a legitimate subject for annoyance, seeming to take delight in the bewilderment and terrified actions of the poor lunatic. There seems to be a strong propensity in human nature to ridicule and annoy the unfortunate. Nor is it con-


fined to a semibarbarous people; for even in our own country, it is no rare sight, to see a crowd of noisy boys following after some poor, decrepid creature, assailing him with abusive language, or with missiles of various kinds, which his infirmities will not allow him to escape. We reprobate vices which we readily discover in others, but of whose existence among ourselves under a modified form, we are insensible.

      It is customary with the natives, whenever any one dies, for the relatives of the deceased to utter loud cries and wails incessantly, for several days in succession. In their notes of wo, the word auwe ("oway,") is uttered, with a protraction of the last syllable for a long time, accompanied with numerous doleful demisemiquavers. To wake up at dead of night, and listen to the solemn "au-e-e-e-e," rising upon the stillness of that hour, is dismal indeed. When one of the royal family dies, the whole people burst forth into lamentations; and as these cadences of wo, from every village swell upon the breeze, the effect is said to be almost overpowering. When friends meet after a long separation, they touch noses, and each party commences a low wail to testify his joy on the occasion. We also exhibit the same incongruities; for tears, which are the emblems of sorrow with us, are also the overflowings of affectionate joy.

      Among the foreigners resident at Honolulu, are several Chinese, the singularity of whose costume cannot fail of attracting one's attention. It consists of a large frock with ample sleeves, reaching down about midway between the waist and the knee. For the lower dress, they wear a pair of pantaloons made very full, and these together with peaked shoes having thick, wooden soles, complete their costume. Their black hair is braided in

   CHINESE. 213

a tail, a yard long, which usually hangs down the back and vibrates from side to side, like a pendulum, as they walk through the streets; a loss of these tails, which many of them coil up around their heads, would be regarded as a great disgrace. The color of these Chinese is more sallow than that of Europeans; their noses are rather flat, the eyes small, and the expression of the features dull, unlike the intelligence we expect to see indicated by the physiognomy of so ingenious a people. There is a store here, under the direction of Chinamen, which is stocked with every variety of goods, partly Chinese and partly American. Chinese goods, such as silks, nankeens, &c., can be purchased here in any quantity, and at a less price than is expended for corresponding articles in the United States. Almost all other articles are sold at a hundred per cent. on the original cost, and some even at a much higher rate than this. A Bakery has been established here by "Sam & Mow," bakers from Canton, where bread, cakes, and pies, are manufactured in every variety, and of excellent quality. Their advertisement contains a classical allusion in the last line, which will not be readily perceived, except by those who are aware of the arrogance of the Celestial Empire.

"Good people all come near and buy
    Of Sam and Mow good cake and pie,
Bread hard or soft, for land or sea,
'Celestial' made; come buy of we."

      The three most unpleasant things about Honolulu, are the dust, the musketoes, and the fleas. The first is peculiar to this Island, which, except in the valleys, is sterile, and the soil, a light clay, is easily converted into dust, and raised in clouds by the strong winds. The musketoes are foreign importations, I am told, having


been brought by some ship within a few years; they are now common to all the Islands, and have become so numerous as to be a very great annoyance to all classes. To escape being devoured by them we are all obliged to sleep under canopies of gauze. As to the fleas, there is no escaping their tortures. They lie secreted in the matting of the floor, whence they sally forth to attack the feet and ankles of the occupant of the room, with malignant virulence, leaving dark, purple spots wherever they introduce their venom. They accompany one in his calls upon his friends, and while he is endeavoring to make himself agreeable, they run around inside of his boot and set every nerve in his system on the qui vive. A gentleman, the other day, told me, that he had frequently been deterred from making calls upon his friends by their annoyance. I have myself been terribly bitten, and it aggravates the evil to be denied the sweets of revenge, for they are so nimble that it is almost impossible to catch them.

      There are also at Honolulu numbers of scorpions and centipedes, which have been introduced from the Spanish main. The other day, in taking a walk, I carried my umbrella with me, as the clouds gave some indications of rain. Upon returning, after an absence of an hour or more, I raised the umbrella during a shower which was passing over, and walked with it over me for some distance, when, upon accidentally casting my eyes upwards, I was somewhat startled at seeing a scorpion crawling around very leisurely in the upper part of it, especially when I reflected that the umbrella had been carried loosely, and that my hand had slipped down the handle inside of it several times during my walk. He was not disturbed, however, until I reached my room, when I destroyed his ability to do mischief by putting him into


a phial of alcohol, for preservation. The scorpion is of a grey color, and usually from three to four inches in length. He moves upon four pairs of legs, and has a pair of claws upon each side of his head for seizing his prey. His body is of an oval form about one third the entire length of the animal; and extending from it, is his formidable tail consisting of numerous joints, of so flexible mechanism, that the tail can be instantaneously directed to any part of the animal. Upon the end of the tail is the sting, an extremely sharp hook, which is darted into the offender with great rapidity. These reptiles have frequently been seen in the room I occupy, and I never put on an article of dress, without first examining it. The long voyage from the coast, is said to have impaired the virulence of their poison in some degree, so that a sting from one of them is not attended with fatal consequences, although it is extremely painful.

      The centipede, is a long worm, about three inches in length, usually of a dark brown or black color, of a somewhat lighter shade on the lower side of his body. When provoked, he bites with a pair of scissor-like jaws, and injects the poison with his tail. The centipede, as his name implies, is provided with a vast number of feet, numbering in a specimen which I examined, not far from fifty. The poison of the centipede is by no means as virulent as that of the scorpion. I have seen one or two persons that had just been stung by this reptile; but the pain they suffered was not much greater than one would experience from the sting of a hornet.



Brig "Clementine" – Romish priests – Accommodations on board – Kailua – Governor Adams – Style of his house – Cavern – Natives playing in the surf – Native church – Manufactory – Lodgings – Escape from shipwreck – Shark catchers – Towaihae – Walk to Waimea – Spanish bullock hunters – MR. Lyons, missionary – Bullock hunting – Fate of Mr. Douglas – Spanish saddle – Return to Honolulu.

      Saturday, July 4. The great day of our National Independence has been commemorated at Honolulu with all the noise, and with much of the spirit, with which it is observed in our own land. At sunrise, the appropriate number of guns were fired from the fort, at the expense of the American foreign residents. All parties, American, English and French, all lovers of good dinners, embraced this opportunity for a holiday, and for amusements of every kind. A large party of most of the American residents met together in one of the beautiful valleys of this Island, to commemorate the illustrious deeds of their ancestors, and drink brandy and champagne, and to do other patriotic things. The English residents had a dinner by themselves, rejoicing, no doubt, in an event which gave them so plausible a pretext for gratifying their national propensity for good dinners. The natives too, participated in the rejoicings of the day, and followed, in crowds, a cracked clarionet and two or three drums with as much enthusiasm, as one of our own


democratic throngs could in our country. My fourth of July dinner was enjoyed in a more quiet manner, in company with the United States Consul and two or three of the missionaries residing here; and we spent the time far more pleasantly, and certainly more rationally, than if we were participating in the boisterous festivities of the other residents.

      This morning I arrived at Honolulu after an absence of about two weeks in an excursion to the island of Hawaii. Our party, consisting of two gentlemen of distinguished attainments, and myself, embarked in the "Clementine," a vessel owned here, on Tuesday morning, June 23d, where we were joined by a Mr. Grimes, a resident of Honolulu. The "Clementine," though considered much the best of the small vessels sailing out of this port, is one of those things of which it may be said most decidedly that "familiarity breeds contempt." She is one of those vessels rigged in defiance of all symmetry, and very appropriately termed "Morferdites" (Hermaphrodites) by seamen. To do her justice, however, she is a pretty good sailer, and we soon ran out of the harbor into the open ocean, where as she rolled and tumbled about, one or two of the passengers were unable to restrain their rising emotions; among whom I subscribe myself, not without some reluctance, however. There were two Roman Catholic priests on board, going to propagate their faith in the wild regions of Hawaii. One of these was an Irishman, educated in France, and fully versed in all the wily arguments and sophisms of that church. Many a warm argument ensued between him and the other passengers, and it was very amusing to hear how satisfactory (to himself) he resolved some of the absurd tenets of the Romish church. We pressed him very closely upon the doctrine of the Pope's


infallibility. "No good Catholic," said he, "is obliged to believe that the pope is infallible in all things. In the common affairs of this life, in his private relations, he may err in judgment, like all other men; but when he stands forth as the head of the church, holding the keys of St. Peter, to expound the doctrines of the church, then he is infallible." That is, in trivial matters, the pope may be subject to the frailty of all Adam's race, but in those solemn questions that involve the destiny of the soul, the most awful that ever agitate the human mind, he is endowed with infallibility! By what process he had arrived at this definite view of the powers of the papal pontiff; we were unable to discover.

      Our cabin boasted of five or six state-rooms, the berths of which were fortunately unprovided with beds. I say fortunately, as prudence would have prevented our making use of them, for reasons that may suggest themselves to the reader, and we stretched ourselves upon the bare boards with no very cheering anticipations of repose. These rooms had been whitewashed; so that when a man exhibited himself in the morning, he looked as if he had been sleeping in a flour barrel! The most forward state rooms were separated from the hold by a frail partition of matting, which gaping open in several places, emitted an odor that savored very much of the stable, which is doubtless to be attributed to a horse confined there, whose sonorous nostrils every few moments, gave indubitable indications of his close proximity.

      After a passage of more than three days, during which we barely escaped being roasted by the intense heat of the sun, in a calm off the island Ranai, we cast anchor off Kailua, a little town upon the western coast of Hawaii. Here is the residence of Kuakini, or John Adams, Governor of Hawaii, one of the highest chiefs of the nation, and distin-


guished in the history of these islands for the favor he has always manifested towards the missionaries. Kailua is built close upon the beach, and has a very pretty appearance with its cocoa-nut trees waving over the Governor's house, and a few koa trees scattered here and there. From the water's edge, the ground rises with a rapid ascent until it is lost to the eye in the clouds.

      Upon landing, we were received by Dr. Andrews, Physician to the missionary station at Kailua, who conducted us to his house, where we were cordially welcomed by Mrs. Andrews, and entertained with hospitality during our visit. After supper, we called upon Governor Adams. His house, which is one of the finest upon the islands, is situated close upon the beach, so that the rear of the yard is washed by the ever rolling billows of the ocean. A beautiful green sward, enclosed by a stone wall, presents a refreshing sight to the eye, while a grove of tall, slender cocoa-nut trees with their pendent branches rising from it, displays an elevation of taste such as we rarely expect to find around native residences. The house is a large two story stone building, with a small portico projecting beyond the door, directly above which, in the second story, are three small gothic windows; the other windows are like those that are fitted in our plain dwelling houses at home, which the house is itself intended to resemble. The roof is shingled and painted red, displaying upon the extremities of the ridge pole, two small chimnies placed there for ornament. In the rear of the house and adjoining it, is a thatched shed, where the Governor is to be found on most occasions, and there are several houses upon the premises built in native style, but much larger than those we ordinarily see.

      His Excellency we found seated in his favorite place.


He received us very cordially, making several enquiries of each one of us in the English language, and laughing very heartily every few minutes. Kuakini is the most corpulent man I ever saw, and in this respect, indicates that he is to be classed among the chiefs of the old school, with whom obesity was always indicative of high rank. On one account, this is an admirable method of exhibiting the distinguished in a nation, as the insignia of their exalted rank are inseparable from their persons. As to the Governor, his walk would remind one of Homer's "earth-quaking" heroes, if he had the power of locomotion, but unfortunately, he has for a long time been laboring under a weakness of the kness which forbids his moving about except with the aid of crutches. No wonder that his nether limbs should have found themselves incompetent to sustain so immense a structure. The expression of his features is good humored, though I am told, that his humor is rather capricious. Those who are acquainted with him, are very politic in their approaches to him for any favors. When they see him winking his eyes with great rapidity and frequency, and laughing heartily at everything that is said, they know that nothing will be refused them; but when he shrugs up his shoulders and draws down his eyebrows, they are fully convinced that an application for any favors would be useless.

      Upon the Governor's invitation, we examined the various rooms of his house. The main door opens into a large hall upon each side of which are spacious rooms finished off in good style. From the hall you ascend by a flight of steps defended by a balustrade into the second story, which is also finished off in the same manner The doors and the other wood work are made of koa wood which unites the elegance of the curled maple and


the black walnut. In the hall is a large centre table, which is decidedly the most beautiful article of the kind I ever saw. It is veneered with ko wood arranged in sectors of a circle, a variety resembling rose wood, but more beautiful and susceptible of a higher polish. From the centre of the table upon each of these sectors, the wood is ingeniously arranged in the radii of a circle, two feet in diameter, perhaps, formed of the knots of the tree of equal size, and very symmetrical. This table, together with that belonging to the king, which is said to be somewhat inferior to the one I have described, are the only specimens of the kind upon the island. They were made by a German carpenter at Honolulu, a very skilful artizan in all kinds of cabinet work. We were very profuse in our compliments, with which the Governor appeared to be highly gratified, and manifested his pleasure by laughing very loudly at every exclamation we uttered. Our principal object in visiting his Excellency, was to obtain his assistance on our excursion to the volcano. His love of money refused to do homage to a scientific expedition, and in talking over our proposed route, he was so liberal as to offer to forward us in a canoe to a place thirty or forty miles distant, for the slight consideration of twenty-five dollars, whereas we knew that any of the natives might easily have been engaged for eight or ten dollars.

      The next day we visited a cavern, the mouth of which opened close by the house of Mr. Thurston, the missionary of this station. The entrance is very low, so that you are obliged to proceed in a stooping posture for some distance, until you arrive in a spacious chamber, which also communicates with several in succession, until the cavern terminates in a pool of limpid water, so clear that some of the party walked into it without being


aware of its proximity. We explored the cavern by the blaze of torches made out of the ku-kui, or candle nut, strung upon slender twigs. The height of the loftiest chamber was about twenty-five feet, and its breadth ten feet, perhaps, and the entire length of the cavern about one thousand three hundred feet. Upon the rocks was a soft white incrustation in many places, looking very much like lime which has been violently acted upon by fire. The rocks overhead, seemed at some former time, to have been in a state of fusion, for the surface of them was very uneven, owing to the stalactitical form assumed by the molten material. We all dipped ourselves into the pool at the extremity of the cavern. The water was very cool, and was somewhat saline to the taste, which taken in connection with the fact that it rises and falls with the tide, proves that it has some communication with the sea. Upon emerging from the cavern, we walked along in the direction it pursued under ground, until at a distance from the mouth of the cavern where we supposed it to terminate, we came across a circular excavation, five or six feet in diameter, and ten or fifteen feet deep, which was to be continued until a passage was made into the chamber containing the pool of water referred to above. This labor was in progress of execution at the command of Governor Kuakini, to give him an opportunity of visiting this cavern, an object of interest to all strangers, but which his obesity had forbidden his having access to through the ordinary passage.

      After witnessing this striking instance of the zeal of Governor Kuakini for scientific objects, I took a stroll down to the sea shore, where a party of natives were playing in the surf, which was thundering upon the beach. Each of them had a surf board, a smooth, flat board from six to eight feet long, by twelve to fifteen inches



   THE CHURCH. 223

broad. Upon these, they plunged forward into the surf, diving under a roller as it broke in foam over them, until they arrived where the rollers were formed, a quarter of a mile from shore perhaps, when watching a favorable opportunity, they rose upon some huge breaker, and balancing themselves, either by kneeling upon their boards or extending themselves full length, they dashed impetuously towards the shore, guiding themselves with admirable skill and apparent unconsciousness of danger, in their lightning-like courses, while the bursting combers broke upon each side of them, with a deafening noise. In this way, they amuse themselves hour after hour, in sports which have too terrific an aspect for a foreigner to attempt, but which are admirably adapted to the almost amphibious character of the natives.

      Towards evening, Dr. Andrews gave us an invitation to accompany him to the church – which is one of the best native places of worship on the islands, and its excellence is to be attributed to the liberality of Governor Adams. It is built of dark grey compact lava, with a modest little cupola rising above its shingled roof, in which there is a bell to summon the people to worship upon proper occasions. A row of glass windows above and below, gives to the building an appearance which would not be discreditable to many of our beautiful villages in New England. A congregation of two or three thousand assemble here for worship, and in addition to the benches in the body of the church, there are accommodations provided in a large gallery extending around on the sides of the building, and supported by slender columns painted blue. The pulpit is constructed of elegant koa wood, as also the pannelling of the gallery. At the completion of this place of worship, I have been told, Governor Kuakini gave imperative commands that


at the expiration of a month, no woman should be admitted inside of the church who did not make her appearance in a neat gown, with a decent bonnet upon her head. His mandate was very generally complied with, I believe, as the fair sex have never been known to be dilatory in adopting the latest fashions.

      From the church, we directed our steps to the cotton manufactory belonging to the Governor. The cotton plant thrives, with but little or no trouble, upon all these islands. A plain grass house, forty or fifty feet long, overshadowed by the cocoa-nut tree and the pandanus constitute the manufactory. No cotton gin has as yet made its appearance in the Hawaiian Islands, and the seeds are extricated from the cotton by the tedious process of picking them out by hand. The wheels and looms are of native workmanship, and the products of the manufactory were of a superior quality. I say, were, for the manufactory is not now in operation, and the place gives but very little evidence of the purpose to which it was applied, except one or two knots of yarn hanging up on a post, hanks of cotton scattered here and there, one or two wheels and a loom or two. The discontinuance of the manufactory, is to last, I was told, until some machinery which the Governor has ordered, arrives from the United States. One or two specimens of its performance while in operation, were exhibited to us; they were similar to the coarse, chequered fabrics that are issued from our manufactories at home. After supper, we made preparations for returning to the brig. The plan we had at first adopted, was to go around the south-western part of the island in a canoe, and disembark upon the coast as near as possible to the volcano. This route would be the most eligible, were it perfectly safe; but the navigation around the southern point of

   KAILUA. 225

the island in so frail a structure, would have been a very hazardous enterprise.

      I have not yet mentioned the manner in which we passed the night at Kailua. Mrs. Thurston very kindly proffered the hospitality of her house to us for the night. Grimes and I, accordingly, accepted her invitation, and made our way thither during the evening, over the sharp fragments of lava that strewed the path to her house. We were ushered into a room on the south or west side of the house, which had been closed up tight during the absence of the family at Honolulu, that is, for more than a month. From the state of the atmosphere in the room, one would have supposed that the chamber had not been aired since the house was built; and from its situation on the south side of the house, exposed to the intense glare of the sun from day to day, the heat was intolerable, as we had ample proof, for there we were, now on the bed and now on the floor, burning and rolling and tossing about all night long, Grimes' countenance looking as if he had just had a dive into the Stygean Lake, which supposition, the streams of perspiration running down his red hot phiz, amply justified. As to myself, my experience was such, that I consoled myself afterwards with the reflection, that if I had not seen the lurid rolling fires of the crater of Mauna Roa, I had undoubtedly been in their immediate vicinity. No reflections upon Mrs. Thurston's hospitality; she did all she could to reduce the temperature of the room, but to no purpose. Grimes and I however, arrived at this decided conclusion, that exotics do not always thrive the best in hot beds. About eight o'clock, P. M., we were again upon the deck of the Clementine, and Mrs. Thurston and her son were still our compagnions du voyage. Mrs. T., had taken the trip to Hawaii, for the removal


of all her furniture and household utensils to Honolulu, in the prospect of a voyage with her family to the United States. Her departure from a people to whom she had been ardently devoted for so many years, was a very affecting scene. Upon her first arrival at Kailua, the poor natives followed her in crowds wherever she went, displaying the strongest affection for her, and the most sincere grief at her removal from them. They eagerly assisted in conveying her effects down to the shore, and when she was lifted into the boat to go on board the brig, many of them waded into the water to testify their affection, and a wail of sorrow followed the boat until she was along side the brig.

      After waiting for some time for the land breeze to come off, it was thought prudent to get under way with the light sea breeze that still lingered, and endeavor to beat out of the recess in the land where we lay at anchor, as a bank of black clouds was piling up in threatening array to seaward of us. The anchorage at Kailua is not good, and but a moderate blow might have dashed its ashore among the breakers. All sail was made upon the brig, and with her royal out, we shot forward. under the now freshening breeze, towards a ledge of frowning rocks, that run out into the sea on the right hand side of the bay. One of the natives, well acquainted with the place was stationed in the bow – "starboard your helm – luff all you can," shouted our pilot, as our little craft was moving rapidly towards the surf-beaten rocks, and was now close up with them. "Starboard – starboard a leetle!" And starboard it was, until the sails were shivering in the wind. "Must we go about? tell us for –– sake," demanded the captain in a voice tremulous with excitement, as he cast an anxious eye towards the angry clouds to windward of us, and then to the black


rocks close under our lee bow. There was a moment's pause, and I grasped the rail and braced myself to await the shock of our striking upon the rocks, which were now frightfully near us – not more distant apparently, than three or four rods, and we were beginning to feel the heaving motion of the surf which seemed ready to embrace us in its resistless folds. "Ready about," shouted our pilot. "Hard a lee," instantly responded the captain, and the little craft wheeling around, after a slight struggle with the rollers, made headway and ran forward in the opposite direction. The danger was now over for the most part, and I drew a long breath, thankful for this my second narrow escape from shipwreck. The clouds that appeared so threatening, expended themselves in rain, and the night passed away without any farther alarm.

      One of the passengers had been a resident upon Hawaii for a number of years, and being very communicative, he gave me a variety of information respecting the former customs of the people. The natives of these islands subsist almost entirely upon poi and fish, which they prefer to any kind of flesh. The capture of a shark, or of any large fish, is regarded as a great achievement, and is attended with great rejoicing. In former times, shark catching was often accompanied with the most revolting cruelty. The shark catchers were in the habit of waylaying those who had unfortunately wandered out of the reach of assistance, and despatching them secreted their victims until putrefaction had commenced. Then packing away parts of the body in wicker work, when the process of decomposition had sufficiently advanced, they started forth in their canoes, with the baskets of corruption towing after them. The sharks soon followed the scent, and became so enchanted with the taste of this


hellish preparation, as to allow a noose to be slipped over them without any difficulty.

      In the afternoon we came to anchor off Towaihae, a small settlement of a few houses upon the beach, about sixty miles to the northward of Kailua. The only building of any importance, is the stone store belonging to Mr. French of Honolulu, which is the depot of all goods shipped from this part of the island, as well as for goods destined for the interior. Immediately back of the village, there is a constant rise of the land, and the lofty summits of Mauna Kea and of other misty peaks are seen rising in gloomy grandeur at the distance of twenty or thirty miles. The principal object that strikes the eye is a high mound or morai, upon the left hand side of the village, erected upon the first line of hills back off the settlement. It was built by Tamehameha the Great, and consists of a huge pile of stones arranged in a quadrilateral form, measuring, I was told, one hundred and fifty two feet in length, and sixty in breadth.* Upon the top of it, overlooking the vast expanse of the ocean, the priests, in the former days of idolatry, were accustomed to immolate human victims to the gods of the sea.

      The first thing we attended to, upon landing, was to make immediate preparations for a walk to Waimea, a settlement among the mountains about fifteen miles from the coast. The impossibility of procuring any accommodations for the night obliged us to set off on the Sabbath, much against our wishes. A couple of natives were engaged by my comrades to transport their baggage, although it had been expressly told me that it was to be left behind, and forwarded the next day. When I

      * Ellis, in his "Polynesian Researches," gives much greater dimensions to this pile than those I have ascribed to it. He makes the length two hundred and twenty four feet, and width one hundred feet.


requested a delay of a few minutes, until a native could be engaged by me, I was answered, by two of the party setting off without me, which compelled me to seize one or two necessary articles and hurry along after them. It was most intolerably hot; the sun was blazing down in all his intensity, while scarcely a breath of wind mitigated his ardor. In addition to this, contrary to my repeated suggestions, the party were so impatient to proceed that they did not provide themselves with any water, and were it not for a pine apple we had with us, I should have suffered extremely from thirst. For the first eight miles, the heat was very oppressive, and a thick woolen jacket together with a heavy pea jacket strapped to my back, by no means contributed to my comfort. About nine miles from Towaihae, a cold rain came driving down from the mountains; and instantly checked the perspiration that was flowing from me in streams, so that before I had walked more than a mile or two farther, I was seized with violent rheumatic pains, and the rest of the journey was performed with very great difficulty and pain. My companions treated me with any thing but civility in my disabled state, and pushed forward, not even looking behind to see how I got along, until they were quite out of sight. I overtook them on the bank of a mountain streamlet which was swollen by the rain, just as two of the party had succeeded in fording it higher up the stream. The other who understood the native language perfectly, had made an agreement with a native to take him across upon his back, but when he was over on the other side he ran on to come up with the other gentlemen, without stopping a moment to consider that I stood in some need of his services as interpreter, to assist me in getting across the stream. After standing some time upon the bank at a


loss what to do, a kind hearted native, one of the baggage carriers came along, and volunteered his assistance to help me over. Grimes had the kindness to wait for me until I came up, and his company encouraged me to hurry forward with more rapidity in the rain and gloom; for it was now growing dark, and I had been revolving in my mind how I should spend the night in the native huts which were scattered along the road, as the severe pain I experienced seemed to forbid any farther exertion. About eight o'clock, we came up with a collection of thatched houses, towards the principal one of which we directed our steps, which was a store belonging to Mr. French of Honolulu. Here a novel scene presented itself to us. In front of the door, a bright fire was blazing in a cavity in the earthern floor, displaying in strong light the dark features of the natives congregated around it in their grotesque attitudes. Immediately back of these, a group of fine looking men, in a peculiar costume, were leaning against the counter of the store. Some of them were Spaniards from California, and they were all attired in the poncho, an oblong blanket of various brilliant colors, having a hole in the middle through which the head is thrust. The pantaloons are open from the knee downwards on the outside, with a row of dashing gilt buttons along the outside seam. A pair of boots armed with prodigiously long spurs completed their costume. They were bullock hunters, employed in capturing the wild bullocks that roam the mountains, and had just returned from an expedition of eight or ten days, in which they had been very successful.

      After a delicious cup of tea and some excellent beef steaks, we adjourned to our place for spending the night, about three quarters of a mile distant. Grimes took it


upon himself to be the pilot, but after stumbling about among the bogs, and being exposed to a cold wind and rain for more than half an hour, we were obliged to return and get a native for our guide. Our bed consisted of layers of thick mats, upon which the usual bedding was spread out. The beds of the natives are nothing more than several large mats laid one upon the other, making a slight elevation above the floor, as in the present instance. The chiefs, not unfrequently, take fifteen or twenty of these mats for a bed, the area of which is sometimes ten or twelve feet square.

      The next day, Mr. Lyons, missionary at Waimea, called upon me and invited me to his house, a very pretty frame building. Not far off is the church, a long grass house situated in the midst of half a dozen native houses. During our conversation, Mr. Lyons told me that the population of Hawaii is not far from forty-five thousand, of whom about twelve thousand are members of the church. The number of churches upon all these islands is not far from eighteen or nineteen. The number of persons admitted into the church since the establishment. of the mission is about twenty-one thousand three hundred. Of these there are about eighteen thousand four hundred still alive, and in good standing. During the year ending June eighteen hundred and forty, there were four thousand one hundred and seventy nine admitted into the church. There were two hundred and thirty seven excommunicated during the year. Of these, one hundred and thirty-six were restored, leaving one hundred and one, who are still excluded. It is to be supposed that a large proportion of those that are at present excluded from communion will return with penitence, and be restored to the fellowship of the church. The standard of discipline is high, and persons


are excommunicated for acts which would hardly be considered obnoxious to church discipline in our own country. The natives of these islands as well as of many of the Pacific Islands are very much addicted to smoking tobacco. All of both sexes, carry pipes with short stems, and a tinder box for kindling a fire at any moment, which comes into requisition at almost every hour of the day and night. Even at night they awake from their slumbers, and kindling a spark in their tobacco pipes, take three or four whiffs, which are blown down through the nostrils, then put up their pipes and consign themselves to sleep again. Some of the missionaries thinking this excessive use of tobacco to be an immorality, take particular cognizance of it in admitting persons into their churches. The feather and flower leis which are also obnoxious to some of the missionaries, are brilliant garlands of gay feathers and flowers, with which, many of the native women enrich the head and neck, and are very tasteful and pretty ornaments in my opinion, for which they ought to be commended rather than censured.

      Tuesday, June 29. This morning, the party started for the volcano. They employed eight or ten natives to transport their baggage and provisions, which consisted of jerked beef, and poi prepared in the solid form. They had a good deal of difficulty in procuring horses but after a scene of noisy bargaining with the natives and other vexations to which travellers are subject, they started in grand style, the natives moving on in their peculiar dog-trot, and the cavaliers bringing up the rear. I was too far disabled, to think of accompanying them, and it was a bitter disappointment to me to be obliged to abandon an expedition, after having advanced so far, which I had looked forward to with such high expectation.


      After the party had left, I accompanied Mr. French on a walk to a place about two miles distant, where the business of tanning is carried on under the direction of Chinamen. The establishment is extensive, and the leather exhibited to me was of very superior quality as far as I was capable of judging. Besides a saddle maker close by the tan works, Mr. French has a shoemaker and carpenter in his employ.

      Our principal object in taking the walk was to witness the marking of a lot of cattle, that had been driven down from the mountains, not long since. Great numbers of wild bullocks are caught in the mountains every year by the hunters. The lasso, the principal instrument in their capture, is made of braided thongs, upon one end of which is a ring forming a slip noose, which is thrown with astonishing precision around any part of the animal. Even while at full gallop in pursuit, the hunter grasps his lasso, and giving it two or three twirls around his head with the right hand, throws it unerringly and entangles his victim by the horns or limbs. And now, be wary for thy life bold hunter; for the savage animal is maddened with terror. See, he turns upon his pursuer, with eye-balls glaring with fire and his frame quivering with rage. But the well trained horse springs one side, and braces himself, while the unwieldy animal plunges forward, but is suddenly brought up by the lasso, and falls with a heavy momentum on the ground. Again he rises, and tears the ground with his hoofs, and loudly roars; then doubly furious, comes down upon his pursuer, but is again avoided and again dashed upon the ground. Exhausted by repeated shocks like these, his fury is subdued and he allows himself to be secured to a tame bullock, which soon removes all his ferocity.

      The bullocks of the mountains were till within a year


or two, very numerous and savage, so that travelling among the mountains was attended with great danger. For their capture, a mode frequently resorted to by the hunters, was to dig deep pits, and cover them over with underbrush and dirt. A very melancholy casualty occurred three or four years since among the mountains. A gentleman named Douglass, of distinguished attainments as a naturalist, was engaged in a scientific expedition to the volcano. He had nearly accomplished the objects of his excursion, when he met with an awful fate. As he was leaving an encampment where he had spent the night, he was particularly cautioned respecting three bullock pits that lay along the path he was expecting to take. He mistook the directions given him, it is presumed, for the first that was seen of him afterwards, was when he was discovered by some natives, in one of the bullock pits under the feet of a savage bull, who was trampling upon him and goring him in the most terrrific manner! The bull was very soon killed, and the mangled body of the unfortunate naturalist drawn out, but life had long since become extinct.

      The Spanish saddle is of very different construction from the saddles of our country in general use, and to myself, is far preferable. It rises very high before and behind, rendering it much easier for the rider, especially in ascending or descending hills. The pommel is surmounted by a large flat knot, termed the "loggerhead," from which the lasso of the hunter depends. A pair of large wooden stirrups with a broad piece of leather before each, to protect the feet in traversing a region where the bushes grow thickly together, are also peculiarities of the Spanish saddle. Their horses are governed with powerful bits, such as would be intolerable to our horses, and are allowed free rein, which seemed very


strange to me who had always been accustomed to see the equestrian exhausting the strength of his arms to keep his horse from stumbling. With us, a pull upon either rein teaches the horse which way we would have him go, whereas with the Spanish horse, the reins are gently pressed against that side of the neck in the direction in which he is to turn. The bullocks to be marked were driven into a pen towards which we directed our steps. They were noble animals, and had been tamed by tying them singly with tame cattle for a time. I had here some slight exhibition of the skill with which the lasso is thrown. One of the bullocks was selected from the herd, and in an instant the lasso was firmly entangled around his horns or legs, and he was thrown down and pinioned. The burning brand was then applied, and after sundry bellowings and other indications of disapprobation, the poor animal was released. There were not far from forty bullocks marked on this occasion, intended for the "Clementine," in her trip down to Honolulu, fellow-passengers of your humble servant. They are there put into pasture, to be fattened for the supply of ships visiting Honolulu in the fall season.

      About nine o'clock in the evening, I set off for my lodgings with a young man who carried a lantern to pilot me. A narrow foot-path leads off from the road which conducts over a brook between Mr. French's store, and the place where I lodged. Unfortunately, we could not find this path, and before long we plunged into the water up to our knees. The night was dark, and a drizzling mist almost blinded us; but after floundering about for a long time, we made our way back to the store, which we reached after much difficulty, almost exhausted with our fruitless efforts. Waimea is about 3,000 feet in elevation above the sea, and is constantly


swept by the mountain winds and rains. Although it is nearly midsummer, yet the air is so cool that an overcoat is not unacceptable at anytime. On Thursday morning, July 2d, I rode down to Towaihae in company with Mr. French, and in the afternoon went on board the "Clementine." The brig had upon deck forty head of bullocks; ranged closely together, with their heads turned inwards. They were tied down by the horns to a strong framework of spars, so that there was no danger of their getting loose. For more than four hours we were exposed to the most intense heat of the declining sun, without a breath of wind, but about eight o'clock in the evening, as there were some indications of a breeze off the land, we got under way and stood off under our topsail. Suddenly we heard the momuku, coming down the mountains and murmuring over the waters, but we anticipated its coming, and when it struck us, the topsail yard had been settled down snugly upon the cap, and we drove before it without a sail being spread until it expended itself in a few minutes. As we drew into the channel between Hawaii and Ranai, which is about forty miles wide, we were brought down to a close reefed topsail and balance reef mainsail, with a heavy sea running. All night long we thumped about, to the suffering of the poor animals on deck, that were thrown down every few minutes and were trodden upon by the others until they could be relieved. With the violent motion of the vessel, the creaking of the timbers, and the noise made by the stamping of the cattle upon deck, sleep was out of the question. Glad was I on Saturday morning, July 4th, to find myself sitting quietly in my room at Honolulu.



Farewell to the north america – Whaleship catharine – Objects of a consulate – Kauikeaouli, the king – Mission families at Honolulu.

      My excursion to Hawaii dissolved my connection with the "North America;" for she sailed from Honolulu on her cruize the same day that we left the harbor, bound to Hawaii. I have therefore bidden adieu to the good old ship upon whose staunch timbers I have been borne so many thousands of miles; and in taking farewell of my wave-tossed home, I seem to have severed the last link that bound me to my native land. Farewell good old ship; thou hast weathered many a gale, and carried me in safety over the swelling deep, and my heart is drawn towards thy old timbers, in which all that was to me of home and kindred has for so long a time been centered. To Captain Richards and his officers, I am under great obligations for the kind and respectful attention they have displayed towards me. Captain R., is a man I shall always remember with sincere regard. To his excellence as a navigator and sailor, he adds a suavity of manner and goodness of character, which ensure him the esteem of all who


know him. The crew always manifested a regard for me which I shall never forget, and which attached me very strongly to them. In conclusion, I shall often call to mind the time I spent aboard the "North America," as one of the happiest periods of my life.

      Wednesday, July 8. By the invitation of Mr. Brinsmade, the United States' Consul, I accompanied him on board the whaleship "Catharine," of Nantucket, lying at anchor off the harbor. The "Catharine" touched here some time since, under the command of Captain Brown, whose adventures at the Marquesas Islands I have before mentioned. After a delay of a day, or two, she proceeded on her cruise to the northwest-ward of these islands, when the sudden death of her commander, and the insubordination of her crew, obliged her to return to Honolulu. Captain B––, was off in his boat, and in the act of lancing a whale to which he was "fast," he suddenly fell over backwards, in an apoplectic fit, as was supposed, and instantly expired. The command of the ship now devolved upon the first mate, according to law, who is invested with all the authority of the former commander. Some of the crew, however, imagined that the death of Captain Brown absolved them from all obligation to the ship, and began to exhibit signs of a mutinous disposition. The new commander fore-seeing that any conduct of this kind must neutralize all the profits of the voyage, ran for this port to obtain the assistance of the American Consul.

      Upon arriving on board the "Catharine," we were invited into the cabin, where the crew-list was put into the hands of the Consul, and the names of the disaffected pointed out to him. The latter were then summoned aft upon the quarter deck, when the Consul asked each one of them in turn, a what reason he had for dissatis-


faction?" Some frivolous excuse was given, and they looked blank enough, when the Consul in a voice of authority, assured them that "they should not go in the ship," and that "he knew how to take care of such characters." He then made a short address to the crew, stating clearly to them what the laws of the United States required in similar cases, respecting the power of the officers, and the obedience of the crew – and concluded by asking each one if he was satisfied with the conditions laid down to them; to which they all assented. After the Consul had advised the officers of the ship to be determined in the exercise of their authority, and to flog the first man who manifested the least reluctance to obey orders, we left the ship having the four mutineers in charge. They were discharged according to law, after remaining under the orders of the Governor in the fort for a day or two, where they were kept upon a short allowance of poi, a most admirable method for reducing a feverish state of the system.

      The establishment of a Consulate in a foreign country is provided, not only that we may have a representative of our country, invested with high honors, to watch over its interests remote from home, but also that our seamen who are disabled by sickness while at a distance from home, may have a protector to take care of them. When a seaman is discharged from a ship and placed upon the Consul's hands, he is entitled, according to law, to receive decent accommodations, clothes, and medical assistance, and to be sent home as soon as possible; and all this too, at the expense of the United States. The Captain of the ship upon discharging a man, pays over to the Consul, a sum not far from thirty dollars, I believe, and gives the man two months'


wages in advance, i. e. from thirty to sixty dollars, according to his rank. Every ship also bearing the flag of the United States, arriving at any foreign port, is obliged to carry home a certain number of the men under the care of the Consul, if he chooses to put them on board, in the proportion of one man for every fifty tons. These men are required to render all the assistance they can in navigating the ship, the Captain of which receives ten dollars, as a kind of retaining fee, intended as the passage money for the Consul's men. The compensation is ten dollars, without respect to time or distance, whether it take one month or eight to reach home, whether for three hundred miles or for three thousand, a law, very unequal in its application.

      Tuesday, July 21. Yesterday afternoon, the town was thrown into commotion, by the cry of "sail ho!" echoed from mouth to mouth. The natives have become acquainted with our mode of indicating that a ship is in sight, and the alarm is echoed in every direction like a cry of fire, whenever a vessel is seen corning in from sea, and sometimes when there is none to be seen, from a praiseworthy zeal to interrupt the monotony of the town, and to rouse up the foreigners for a few minutes. The sail in sight was made out to be a man-of-war, and was pronounced to be one of the Exploring Expedition, so long and anxiously expected, until, as she came to anchor off the mouth of the harbor, the tri-colored ensign was run up to her mizen-peak. Then commenced the firing of salutes, the etiquette always observed requiring a discharge of twenty-one guns from the stranger, as a compliment to the flag of the nation she visits, which is instantly returned with an equal number of guns from a fortification or national vessel.

      By the invitation of Mr. Brinsmade, I accompanied


him in a call of ceremony upon the commander of the French Corvette "La Danaide." It is customary for all the consuls to call upon the commander of a vessel of war aboard his ship, out of respect to the flag under which he sails, and any omission of this ceremony is looked upon as a direct affront. The consul, dressed in full uniform, and myself, took our seats in a small boat upon the United States flag, and steered out of the harbor. On our way, we passed one of the Corvette's boats, with several officers on board, who perceiving the Consul's uniform, saluted us by raising their hats and bowing very politely. The shrill whistle of the boatswain announced our arrival alongside the "Danaide," and after scrambling up the side to the extreme danger of crushing our nether limbs between the ship and the boat, we mounted upon deck, the Consul preceding. We were introduced to Capt. Rosamel by M. Dudoit, the French Consul, who acted as our interpreter, a most fortunate thing for us, as otherwise our visit must have been conducted in dumb show. The Corvette rolled most unmercifully, and as we came alongside it looked extremely hazardous to attempt going aboard at all. When I set foot upon deck, I made a very awkward figure of it, especially upon being introduced to one of the officers, when I was rolled down to starboard, and brought up against one of the guns. We were invited into the cabin, when after a short palaver, interspersed with compliments, claret wine, &c., we took our leave, the Captain observing, among other things, that he could never make wine keep aboard his ship for any great length of time, which, however, judging from his appearance, was not because age exhausted its virtues.

      In leaving a ship of war, the highest in rank is the last to enter the boat, and as I considered Mr.


Brinsmade my superior, I preceded him over the side of the ship. We now shot ahead of the ship about twenty yards, when the consular salute of seven guns was fired from the Corvette, which the Consul received with hat doffed and resting upon his oars. Thus ended the ceremony, which the commander of the ship is bound to return in a day or two, according to the established etiquette.

      Several days since, I had the honor of an introduction to His Majesty, Kauikeaouli, king of the Hawaiian islands. He is a fine looking man, twenty seven or twenty eight years of age, of a light olive color, with an expressive face and intelligent eye, and the contour of his features well rounded. He is about the medium height, and is well formed and muscular. He made several enquiries of Rev. Mr. Richards, who introduced me, respecting my origin, and the reasons of my visiting the island; but he speaks but very little English and of course all my remarks were addressed to him through an interpreter. I have met the King several times since, and once at a small party at the house of the Rev. Mr. Bingham. His dignified bearing insures him the respect of all the foreign residents, although he always appears without any attempt at parade, in a short white jacket and white pantaloons, except when compelled in visits of ceremony to wear his uniform. So much attached is he to this light and cool dress, that while making an official visit on board a ship of war in full uniform, immediately after the ceremony of introduction, he has been known to take off his heavy cumbersome coat, and substitute a short jacket, borne by an attendant. His judgment respecting ships and nautical evolutions is said to be very good. The name of the king "Kauikeaouli," like that of most of his countrymen, has a significant


meaning attached to it, and the literal translation of it is "hanging in the blue sky." The native that takes care of my room bears the name of "Pahu," which signifies a "barrel "or " box," and I could easily mention the names of many others that have a very ludicrous idea attached to them.

      I have delayed making any particular mention of the missionaries I have met with at Honolulu and elsewhere, with the intention of speaking of them collectively, when I should be on the eve of leaving these islands. There are about forty mission families located upon the Hawaiian islands, eight of whom are stationed at Honolulu, the head quarters of missionary operations. All these families, with one exception, reside in the eastern part of the town, constituting a very delightful neighborhood. Once a year the missionaries hold a convention at Honolulu, to make reports of their respective parishes and to consult about the best means of benefitting those under their charge. This anniversary was held during the early part of my visit to Honolulu, and I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with many of them, whom I should not have seen at any other time in the year. They are all very worthy men, actuated by the most ardent piety, and devoting all their powers to the benefit of those among whom their lot is cast. I have heard several of them preach in the seamen's chapel, but cannot speak in the most exalted terms of their performances. Some of them did not appear to have prepared themselves sufficiently for the occasion, and perhaps their numerous cares would not admit of it. There ought to be no inferiority in the performance, on account of the supposed character of the audience, which consists, in a large proportion, of seamen; for sailors are shrewd in their estimate of a preacher's abilities, and are apt to


seize with avidity, upon any peculiarity which may afford them a subject for mirth. The chaplains sent out to foreign ports by the "Seamen's Friend Society," should be endowed with no ordinary degree of sagacity and discretion, any want of which, will be readily discovered by their hearers, who are thereby taught to cherish more firmly than ever, a saying very common among them, that "missionaries are mere know-nothings, sent away from home, because they cannot get into any other business." These remarks are not dictated by a spirit of unkindness, but from a conviction, that Bethel chaplains, ought not to infer from the humble character of their audience, that they are incapable of discerning between good and bad preaching. The missionaries at Honolulu have treated me very kindly and invited me frequently to their houses. Mr. and Mrs. Bingham have taken an affectionate interest in me, which has impressed me very strongly with a sense of their disinterested goodness.



Geography – Fertility – Climate – Ancient tabu system – Idolatry – Oppression of the chiefs – Arrival of missionaries – Discouragements – Success – Churches at Honolulu – Schools – Hawaiian Institute – Supremacy of law – Depopulation.

      Many persons visiting these islands, and other places where missionaries have been established, go away with less favorable opinions of what has been accomplished by these devoted men, than they ought to entertain, but it arises from a want of a comprehensive view of the past and the present. They come from a country where a highly enlightened state of public sentiment prevails, and has been perpetuated from generation to generation; where the energies of the mind are brought into activity, and subjected to culture, from the first developement of the faculties; and without reflecting that the missionaries have been obliged to teach the whole people before them the very elements of civilization, and to fix their wandering minds and accustom them to think upon the simplest truths, they are somewhat disappointed in their expectations of finding them a civilized and intelligent people. With the rude islanders of the Pacific, where the gospel has not been introduced, there is an inertness of mind verging towards idiocy, the effect of long continued devotion to degrading pleasures, accompanied with a vacuity of thought upon every subject. Tell


them of a God, and they associate his holy attributes with the disgusting history of their fabled deities. Tell them of religion, and their dark minds shudder at the bloody rites of human sacrifice, which accompany their own superstitious frenzies. It is almost impossible for one from our own favored country, to conceive of the depth of degradation and pollution, and the revolting cruelty that pervaded the character of the Polynesian Islanders in every aspect of life, before they were visited by the heralds of salvation; and no one can know it in its fullest extent, except those whose early residence in these islands was an introduction to heathenism in all its horrors. No one however, ought to leave these islands, without informing himself respecting the former condition of the natives previous to the introduction of Christianity, in order that he may contrast it with their present condition, else he will have but a faint conception of the immense good that has been accomplished by the missionaries, which is not so apparent at first view from the difficulty of conceiving of the extreme degradation of the natives in their state of idolatry. And this is the reason why the accounts of the missionaries seem to many to be too enthusiastical. All moral excellence is judged of comparatively, and the reports of the missionaries written upon this principle, often appear to be too highly colored to those who are at best but partially acquainted with things as they exist even at the present time.

      A slight sketch of the Hawaiian Islands, will enable us to form a more correct view of what has been done by the missionaries, than an elaborate detail could do, and will give me an opportunity of stating several facts, which I have as yet omitted to mention.

      The Hawaiian Islands were discovered by Capt. Cook

   CLIMATE. 247

in 1778, and were by him called the "Sandwich Islands," after the Earl of Sandwich, by which designation they are generally known. The missionaries upon these islands, however, have denominated them the "Hawaiian Islands," a title which I have adopted, as has been seen in what precedes. They are ten in number, viz., Hawaii, Maui, Torhoorawe, Molokini, Ranai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, Niihau, and Taura, and are situated on the borders of the northern tropic, between the parallels 18° 54', 23° 08', and the meridians 154° 54', 161° 45' west. These islands are of a volcanic nature, rising in high craggy mountains, whose sterile peaks give an aspect of barrenness to the island far different from that of the lovely valleys lying at their base. Two of them, Maui and Kauai, are highly fertile, but more particularly the latter, upon which besides large crops of sugar cane, the morus multicaulis is cultivated in great quantities. Maui and Kauai are admirably adapted to the culture of this plant, and to the rearing of cocooneries; especially the latter, in which very ample funds have been invested in leasing lands of the government, and preparing them for carrying on the silk business upon a very extensive scale. There are three kinds of worms, the American, the Chinese, and an intermixture of these two, which produces silk of an excellent quality. The proprietors are novices in the business, and were some one thoroughly acquainted with the silk growing business, to take up his residence upon that island, he could command a very ample support. The business will be confined to reeling the raw material which will be exported for manufacturing, and the time is not far distant when an immense quantity of raw silk will be shipped from these islands to foreign countries. The climate of these islands is most delightful; indeed, the purity and equable


temperature of the atmosphere are not surpassed any where in the world. The thermometer ranges between 65° and 86°, for the entire year, though it very rarely deviates from 73°, and the mercury seems, as it were, to stagnate at that point. Situated within the region of the trade winds, a fine cool breeze blows over them every day. The nights are cool, and a refreshing sleep obviates that extreme languor to which those residing in tropical climates are subject. There is but little dew at night, and the skies are rarely overcast with clouds. During the winter months, the rainy season, as it is called prevails. It is not to be supposed, however, that the rain falls incessantly; for during the winter months the rain comes in frequent showers, one or two a day perhaps, but not in a continued fall. These squalls are formed upon the mountains over which they hang in dense, black clouds, which slowly descending the mountains' side, discharge themselves into the valleys below. The drought of the summer season requires irrigation by artificial means. In the valleys, the mountain streamlets are diverted into a thousand little canals, but the gardens of Honolulu are provided with large windmills, by the revolutions of which, water is pumped up from the wells and distributed in every direction.

      The Hawaiian Islands are very favorably situated for Astronomical observations; for the most brilliant constellations of both hemispheres are here seen in all their splendor.

      Let us now turn to the moral aspect of the nation. Among the varied horrors connected with the former system of idolatry, there is none of so revolting a character, or which so clearly exhibits the extreme degradation of the people, as the tabu system, a consecration of some particular object by the priests and the chiefs, the viola-


tion of which subjected the offender to death. This institution is thus described. "One feature of the ancient system was found in the oppressive tabus. The restrictions of chiefs and priests were like the poisoned tooth of a reptile. If the shadow of a common man fell upon a chief, it was death; if he put on a kapa (mantle) or malo (girdle) of a chief, it was death; if he went into the chief's yard it was death; if he wore the chief's consecrated mat, it was death; if he went upon the house of a chief, it was death. If a man was found, standing on those occasions, when he should prostrate himself, viz., when the king's bathing water, or his kapa or his malo were carried along, it was death. So too, if he continued standing at the mention of the king's name in song, it was death. If a man walked in the shade of the house of a chief with his head besmeared with clay, or with a wreath around it, or with his head wet, or wearing a kihei (mantle,) it was death. There were many other offences of the people which were made capital by the chiefs, who magnified and exalted themselves over their subjects. These are some of the cruelties attributable to the priests. When one of them deemed it desirable that a temple should be built, he applied to the king, who commanded the natives to construct it. When it was completed, and a log of wood obtained for a god, a man was sacrificed to impart power to the wooden deity. When sacrifices were offered, men were slain and laid upon the altar with swine that had been immolated; if a fish proper for offering could not be obtained, a man was sacrificed in his stead; and human victims were required on other occasions. If a man committed a crime, he suffered death; if he was irreligious, he suffered death; if he indulged in connubial pleasures on a tabu day, he paid


the same penalty; if he made a noise while prayers were saying, he met a like fate. If a woman ate pork, cocoa-nuts, bananas, a certain kind of fish, or lobster, it was death. So too, was it death to be found in a canoe on a tabu day; and there were many other prohibitions of the priests.

      The priesthood was very oppressive to the people. If a temple was to be built, they had the stones to collect for the walls, and the timber and posts to put up. They had also the thatching to do; and a levy for sustaining the service was made on them of every variety of food. The time would fail to tell all the oppressions the people suffered from this quarter. The king and priests were much alike, and united together, they were the nation's main burden.

      Another grievance, was the tabu which existed on account of the idols. The idols of the chiefs and of the common people were of wood. If one made his idol of an apple tree, the apple tree was afterwards tabu to him. So of all the trees of which idols were made. So too, of articles of food. If one employed taro as the object of his idolatry, to him the taro became sacred, and might not be eaten by him with impunity. Thus it was of every object of which a god was made. Birds were objects of worship. If a hen, the hen was to him sacred, and in a similar manner respecting all the birds which were deified. Beasts were objects of worship, and if a hog was chosen as the object of devotion, he was sacred to him who chose him for his god. Stones were objects of worship, and tabu, and for the worshippers of them to sit upon one of them would be regarded as a gross sacrilege. Fish were idolized; if one adopted the shark as his god, to him the shark was sacred. So of all things in heaven and earth; and even the bones of the


departed were transformed into objects of worship. Hence the vexatious intricacy with which the tabu was overburdened, which rendered it so extremely oppressive to the nation.

      Among the tabus, the arbitrary regulations about eating were peculiarly burdensome both to the men and women. A man, upon his marriage, was obliged to build an eating house for himself; another for his god; another for his sleeping apartment; an apartment for his wife to eat in, was then built, and also a place in which to beat kapa. In addition to this, he prepared the taro and baked it for his wife and himself in distinct ovens, and then converted the separate portions into poi, which was always eaten in their respective eating houses. They never dared to eat together, lest they should incur the penalty of death for having violated the tabu. This was the tabu, which, on account of its severity was first exploded, and with it the whole system was abandoned.

      Another point in their past history worthy of notice, is this, that the common people were burdened with constant toil for their chiefs, and were severely taxed in various articles of property, which were also taken away from there for the chiefs without the slightest remuneration from their oppressive masters." There were other crimes of the most atrocious character prevalent among them. It is indeed difficult to conceive of any thing on the black catalogue of guilt that did not find its counterpart in the character of this people.

      An anecdote told by one of the missionaries, very forcibly illustrates the tyrannical bearing of the chiefs towards the common people. "A poor man" said he, "by some means obtained possession of a pig, when too small to make a meal for his family. He secreted it at a distance from his house, and fed it, until it had grown


to a size sufficient to afford the desired repast. It was then killed and put into an oven, with the same precaution of secrecy; but when almost prepared for appetites whetted by long anticipation to an exquisite keenness, a caterer of the royal household unhappily came near, and attracted to the spot by the savory fumes of the baking pile, deliberately took a seat until the animal was cooked, and then bore off the promised banquet without ceremony or apology."

      But my limits will not allow me to pursue this subject any farther, and I turn to a more interesting feature of Hawaiian history, the introduction of the Christian religion. On the 23d. of October, 1819, the first band of missionaries destined for these islands, sailed from Boston, and after a tedious voyage of six months, arrived in April 1820. Meanwhile the providence of God had been preparing the way for them to introduce the religion of the cross; and the destruction of the ancient system of idolatry and that of the tabu, so intimately connected with it, were the first welcome tidings that gladdened their hearts after their long voyage, and upon their arrival at these remote and uncivilized islands of the Pacific. These wonderful events seemed to them a miraculous interposition of divine providence, in removing the most formidable impediments to the successful introduction of the holy religion of the cross among a people, who had professedly abandoned the degrading institutions of their idol worship, and begun to make some enquiries after the services and worship of the "unknown God." It was at this crisis that the missionaries arrived: but if they had never come, the condition of this people would have been but little improved. They would have exchanged polytheism for atheism, but have retained some of the worst features of the former system. We


can easily see the nature of the influence exerted by the foreigners upon the nation, from the strenuous opposition they made to the reception of the missionaries, whose instructions they had good reason to fear would subvert their selfish plans. From the misrepresentations of these men, the chiefs were suspicious of the designs of the missionaries, and it was not until eight or ten days after their arrival, that they were alloweG to land; and then, it was with the express stipulation that at the end of a year they should leave the islands, if their conduct was not satisfactory to the chiefs. At the expiration of this period, so sensible had the nation become of the benevolent intentions of the missionaries, that they were glad to have them remain longer. But the missionaries had many disheartening difficulties to contend with. They took up their home in a land, where but a few years previous, human victims were immolated upon the altars of blood thirsty idols; and infants, murdered by their own mothers, were dashed into the roaring surf; where but a few years before, a song of savage triumph might be heard, as a trembling victim was to be roasted to satisfy their cannibal appetites. Here might have been witnessed the most disgusting scenes of licentiousness, and woman found degraded to a level with the lowest animals, and allowed to exist but as subservient to their vilest passions. What a picture of wretchedness is exhibited by the history of those times, every feature of which is so revolting! The tabu had been abolished, and the worship of idols had been abandoned, it is true; but their demoralizing effects still remained. The missionary with untiring zeal illumined their darkened minds with the contemplation of truths, to which their minds hitherto accustomed to sensual and grovelling ideas were utter strangers. He devoted himself to the


study of the language, and reduced it to a written form. Schobls were established, where religious truth and the elements of knowledge were with affectionate solicitude instilled into their minds. In 1822, the printing press was first put into operation, and since then a great variety of publications of a religious and moral character have been issued, as will be seen by consulting the statistics of the Hawaiian Mission. Within a few years, the entire scriptures have been published at Honolulu, in the Hawaiian language, in a style highly indicative of the improved state of the arts among this people. Nor have the mere rudiments of knowledge been taught. At Lahaina on the island of Maui is a high school, where the higher branches of science, Geometry, Trigonometry and Navigation, have been successfully prosecuted. To follow the advancement of the nation in intelligence, must be an interesting theme, a task however which belongs rather to the historian than to the tourist. Suffice it to say, that the engravings of maps and landscapes on copper, executed by the pupils of the high school, are among the most astonishing proofs of the progress of the nation in civilization, and of their capacity for improvement. At the eastern part of Honolulu, where the mission families are located, is the printing office and appurtenances, and the other buildings connected with the missionary operations upon these islands. The printing office is a two story building with an ample basement, and is constructed entirely of coral stone. There are belonging to it, three or four printing presses, several founts of type of various kinds, and a screw press. Almost all kinds of printing are executed at this office in good style. There is also a bindery connected with the printing office, where the binding_ of bcoks is not inferior to what we ordinarily see in the United States.




      At the different stations in the islands, churches have been erected by the natives for religious worship, and the architecture of these indicates in some measure the advancement in the arts of life at the respective stations. At Honolulu, there are two native churches, erected at different times, and differing widely in excellence of construction. The oldest one is an immense thatched building, nearly two hundred feet in length, making no pretensions to any advantages except in securing the coolness and comfort of the congregation. The accompanying representation is from a sketch I took of it in one of my morning walks, and I need not particularize respecting its exterior. In front of the middle door, is the pulpit, a plain though neat structure, upon each side of which, are the rude benches of the natives, capable of seating not far from two thousand, and the church could contain over a thousand more. This church is under the care of the Rev. Hiram Bingham, one of the first missionaries that were sent to these islands, and it numbers not far from one thousand members in good standing.

      The second native church is located in the northern part of the town, and is under the care of the Rev. Mr. Smith. As I attended service at this church, I shall be somewhat more particular in my description of it. It is a large building, about one hundred and twenty feet long by sixty broad, made of plastered adobies, having a roof projecting five or six feet from the main building, and thatched with straw. The belfry is a tower unconnected with the main building, as will be seen by reference to the sketch. The interior is finished off with a nice white wall, and reflects great credit upon the skill of the natives. The pulpit, consisting of a desk upon a platform, is located in the rear of the building, at some distance from the wall, from the difficulty of being heard


over so large a building. Notwithstanding the great dimensions of this church, every part was occupied with attentive hearers, and I should judge there were over a thousand persons in the room. The congregation was perfectly decorous, and entered into the services of the sanctuary with a propriety, which would have been creditable to an American audience. The exercises were conducted in the congregational form, and the tunes, which were familiar to me, were very well performed, though marked with a peculiar nasal intonation. There were several natives present, whose hoary locks indicated that they had been witnesses of the scenes of by-gone days, and of the strange revolutions that had so rapidly succeeded one another within the last twenty years. And only twenty years have sufficed to produce such mighty moral revolutions! I often thought, as I looked upon these representatives of the past, what must be their feelings, in contrasting their former degraded condition with the present blessings, which a pure and holy religion has conferred upon them. There are about a thousand communicants connected with this church; and from all I can learn, they appear to understand the fundamental doctrines of religion, and the nature of their covenant obligations, so that their admission into the church is the result of a sober and intelligent conviction of its importance.

      But the place of religious worship, which is destined to be by far the finest upon these islands, and which in architecture and construction will vie with some of the largest in our own country, is the church which is building in the eastern part of the town, very near the old native church. The representation I have made of it, is taken from a front view and side view, lent me by the Rev. Mr. Bingham, by whom the edifice was designed,



   SCHOOLS. 257

and who is himself chief architect. The foundation of this building was laid in 1839, and it is now carried up nearly as high as to the cornice. It is built of coral stone, hewn out into large cubical blocks, and its dimensions are very great, being one hundred and forty four by seventy eight feet. The expenses are defrayed by the chiefs and by the contributions of the natives. The labor is performed almost entirely by the natives, and when the church is completed, it will stand as a monument which will reflect high honor upon the enterprize and skill of the Hawaiian nation. The representations of the old and new native churches, are, in some respects, emblematic of the past and present condition of the Hawaiian nation.

      There are several schools in Honolulu, for the instruction of native children; but the most interesting among them, is a school for the education of the young chiefs of the nation, which is under the care of Mr. and Mrs. Cooke. It is held in a large adobie building, erected in the form of a quadrangle, enclosing an area, upon every side of which are the apartments of the pupils, the schoolroom, and dining-room, fitted up in the most convenient manner, and all at the expense of the government, whose desire, that those who are to direct the future destinies of the nation may be under a religious influence, is highly commendable. Among the pupils was pointed out to me the the Governor of Kauai, an office which is hereditary in these islands. He is a fine looking boy, and although rather restive when first introduced into the school, he has become very obedient, and attentive to his books.

      The Oahu Charity School was commenced about seven years ago, and has been supported by the patronage of the foreign residents, and by the contributions of the


benevolent visiting these islands. The house is a plain little edifice, built of coral stone, with a projecting tower surmounted by a modest cupola, in which there is a bell to summon the scholars to their tasks at the appointed hour. The school now contains about eighty pupils, consisting of half-cast children, and youth born on the islands, and being the offspring of foreign fathers, destined to exert a great influence in the Hawaiian nation. Until the establishment of this institution, the education of this class of children was almost entirely neglected, but now their situation seems to promise that they will become fitted for stations of usefulness and respectability in life. It was originated, I believe, by Mr. and Mrs. Johnston, who went out to these islands as missionaries, under whose charge it still continues, and to whose industry and skill, its present high degree of prosperity is to be attributed.

      One of the most interesting things at Honolulu, is the Institute, a society for the promotion of scientific investigation of every kind. Belonging to the society is a museum of curiosities, and also of specimens of natural history. There is also a library in the same room, consisting of several hundred choice books. The objects of the society are of a highly interesting character. For here in the central point of a vast ocean, studded with numerous groups of islands, a great variety of curious and useful information respecting the manners and customs of the different islanders, the natural history, and the productions of Polynesia, might be collected. Just before our arrival, unfortunately, the society had suspended its meetings for a time, so that I had not the pleasure of attending any of their exercises.

      The missionaries in their labors at these islands, while they have taught the people the way of life, have not



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been neglectful of the useful arts. The men have been instructed in agriculture, and the women have been taught to sew, and to make garments for themselves, and thus a people, indolent by nature, have been made industrious by those whose perseverance has indicated their devotion to the temporal as well as to the spiritual interests of the natives. But the happiest results that have flowed from the labors of the missionaries, and to which all the indications of refinement that are to be seen in these islands are to be attributed, have been owing to the establishment and supremacy of law throughout the nation. Next to religion, and indeed based upon it, was the recommendation of the missionaries to establish definite laws, by which the nation was to be governed, and among the first enactments of the government were those which were intimately connected with the observance of religion; for in February, 1823, the government publicly acknowledged the Christian Sabbath, and required the suspension of ordinary business and sports on that sacred day. Since I have been at Honolulu, I have been struck with the stillness and good order observed on the Sabbath. All the business and pleasures of the week are given up, and at the ringing of the bell, the people attired in their best, are seen walking quietly to their respective places of worship. The supremacy of law upon these islands, has given a perfect security to property, such as is not enjoyed any where else in the Pacific; and this is the secret of the commercial prosperity of the Hawaiian islands, and the appearance of enterprize and affluence exhibited by the foreign residents at Honolulu. It is the mainspring of commerce all over the world, and especially among these rude islanders of the Pacific, whose cupidity and treachery no sense of justice would ever have restrained, were it not ingrafted into them by the


religious teachings of the missionaries. Again I would ask, what would have been the condition of these islands had they never been visited by these devoted men? Would they have been taught to give up their degrading superstitions; to love justice and integrity; to maintain a sacred respect for property, by the example and recommendation of the foreigners residing among them? Alas, the conduct of foreigners has too often inculcated far different precepts from these, and these poor islanders would never have heard any mention of the God we worship, except in the oath of execration. I do not mean to imply that all the foreign residents at the Hawaiian Islands are exerting a bad influence upon the nation. Far from it; there are many that I could name, whose example has a most salutary effect upon the government; but these very persons would never have taken up their residence upon these islands, unless they had been preceded by the missionaries, whose exertions have brought about that supremacy of law and security of property which they now enjoy.

      The most alarming feature in the present aspect of the Hawaiian Islands, is the depopulation which is steadily taking place from year to year. I have heard several causes assigned for this, some of which are whimsical enough; but the most ridiculous of all of them, was told me by the pilot that took the North America into the harbor upon our arrival. He has resided for many years at these islands, and like many other foreigners, entertains an antipathy to the missionaries, and is disposed to attribute every thing bad, to their influence. Upon asking his opinion of the cause of the decrease of population, he said, that "since the missionaries obtained footing upon these islands, there has been so much praying, that the natives have been literally prayed to


death. They are a very superstitious people, and it was formerly the case with them to offer up prayers for the destruction of their individual enemies. The victim, imagining himself under a malignant influence from the prayers of his adversary, grew sick, and in a few days, expired. So it is at the present time, as was formerly the case; for the natives are constantly harassed about religious matters, and die through their own superstitious terrors. On one occasion," said he, in confirmation of his theory, "I was called upon to read prayers over the corpse of a foreign resident, and among the natives that thronged around, was a young chief, who had incurred the resentment of the deceased for some cause or other. As the burial service proceeded, he imagined that the prayers offered on the occasion were incantations offered to the god of the stranger for vengeance upon himself. So deeply was he impressed with this belief, that he was filled with terror and apprehension. It haunted him wherever he went, until he sank beneath the horrid images his fancy conjured up, and in about a week he was a corpse, the victim of his own superstitious fears. Religion is a gloomy thing, and it acts upon the simple minds of the natives in such a way, that they are blighted with melancholy, and die under the influence of so much priestcraft." Previous to the arrival of the missionaries at these islands, there were various causes that produced a diminution of the population, as the frequent wars, pestilence, and infanticide; but particularly the introduction of vile diseases by the ships touching at the islands. Since then, not even Christianity has been able to stay this infection, whose deadly taint is infused so widely throughout the nation. The consequence has been, that there have been fewer children, and these have too frequently fallen victims to the sins of their parents by inheriting their diseases.


"Vitio parentum
    Rara juventus."

      The following table exhibits the decrease of population at the several islands within the years 1832 and 1836, a period of only four years.

1832 1836 Decrease.
Hawaii 45,752 39,364 6,388
Maui 35,062 24,199 10,863
Molokai 6,000 6,090
Ranai 1,600 1,200 400
Kahoolawe 80 80
Oahu 29,755 26,809 2,946
Kauai 10,977 3,934 7,043
Niihau 1,047 993 54
Total 130,273102,579 27,694

      What alarming facts does this table declare! That the annual decrease df the population is, upon an average over six thousand. This estimate however, is much too high, I have been told, as it is formed by a comparison of the births and deaths that come to the knowledge of the missionaries, at their respective stations. A birth is regarded by the natives as a matter of so little consequence, that it is not made known to the missionaries, whereas a death is an affair of public notoriety, and is succeeded by continual wailing for several days by the relatives of the deceased. Still the depopulation of these islands is steadily moving forwards, and unless it is speedily arrested, the total extinction of the nation is inevitable, and these humble islanders must shrink away before the irresistible march of foreign enterprize, and like the aborigines of our own country, become extermi-


nated. What part Roman Catholicism is to bear in directing the future destinies of the nation, it is impossible to tell, but no one who is solicitous for the welfare of this interesting people, can look upon their movements without apprehension. But that they have gained a permanent footing upon many of the islands of the Pacific, and that their religion which is so indulgent towards the gross practices of the natives, and so attractive by its brilliant pageantry, is destined to have the ascendency in most of these islands, is perhaps not improbable.

      The Hawaiian Islands are annually growing in importance as their natural resources are becoming more fully developed, and their commercial advantages more generally known. Situated as they are in the central point of the vast Pacific, and communicating with the continent of America on the east, and with Asia on the west, and to the south west, NN ith the numberless islands of Polynesia, they seem to be destined to be the seat of a flourishing empire. Before this period shall have arrived, however, there is some reason for fearing, that from the depopulating causes enumerated above, or from the grasping and engrossing policy of foreign nations, the government will have passed into other hands, and the present race have reached the borders of extermination.

      With regard to the shameful aggressions of the French frigate "L'Artemise," at these islands, about a year since, and the insolent and bullying conduct of the French Consul, my limits will not allow me to enter into the discussion in full, without which, the transactions on that occasion, cannot be presented with sufficient vividness. All the proceedings of that disgraceful affair – the most outrageous that has violated national sovereignty for many years-have been published to the world, and are perhaps, familiar to the reader.



Embarkation – Passengers – An incident – Calm latitudes – Poisonous fish.

      Tuesday, August 4th. Yesterday, I bade a long adieu to many kind friends at Honolulu, and established myself in my quarters aboard the barque "Flora," Captain Spring, bound for New York. To Dr. Wood and his estimable and accomplished lady, and to Mr. Brinsmade, the United States' Consul, I am particularly indebted, for the continued kindness and hospitality they displayed towards me, which I shall ever bear in affectionate remembrance. Mr. Brinsmade is a man of most excellent character, the friend and supporter of the missionaries, and takes an active part in the religious interests of Honolulu: in all these respects exhibiting a striking contrast to his predecessor. If all the representatives of our nation in foreign countries, were like the United States Consul at the Hawaiian Islands, not only would the interests of the republic be sustained with more dignity, but their influence would have a most excellent effect upon the people with whom they are located.

      With these deserved tributes to the friends I have left


behind at the Hawaiian Islands, which have faded from view many hours since, I hasten to take a sketch of my ship and fellow voyagers. The Flora, is a harque of about two hundred and ninety three tons burden, nearly a hundred tons smaller than the North America, and in many other respects is her inferior. She is a merchant vessel, and arrived at Honolulu a short time since, with stores for the Exploring Expedition. Her commander is from a highly respectable family, a brother of Dr. Spring of New York City, and a gentleman of courteous manners. The Flora, is chartered by one of the mercantile houses at Honolulu, and is principally freighted with sugar and molasses, novel exports from the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, a distance of eighteen thousand miles. The speculation will undoubtedly prove a failure, from the high rate at which the ship is chartered – twelve hundred dollars per month – and from the long time that must elapse before reaching the United States, as the Flora is reputed to be a very dull sailer. In addition to the articles I have mentioned, she carries several casks of arrow root, of a very superior quality, and a quantity of hides. But the most interesting specimen of the productions of the Hawaiian Islands, consists in several varieties of raw silk from the plantations on the island of Kauai.

      The cabin of the Flora is very small, having three state-rooms, one of which belonging to the captain is the only one whose dimensions were intended, for comfort. As the other two are situated upon each quarter of the ship, they are conformed to the shape of the vessel, and are somewhat triangular in their outlines, which renders them very inconvenient; for with the large sea chest I am obliged to admit into mine, there is hardly room enough left to stand up securely. The steerage – that


part of a ship lying between the cabin and the mainmast, is fitted up with temporary state-rooms, of large dimensions, for the other passengers. There are twenty passengers in all, who, with the exception of two or three that are to be left at the Society Islands, are to constitute a community by ourselves for many a month, while roving the ocean, in the long voyage to our native land. The character of the passengers, gives the fairest promises of a happy and profitable voyage. Mr. and Mrs. Bingham, after a residence of twenty years at these remote isles of the sea, during which, amid toils and privations of which we have no adequate conception, they have seen the christian religion established among a race of idolaters, and have given permanency to a language existing but from generation to generation, have now embarked with their family of three young children, to revisit the land of their fathers, for the recovery of their health, and then to return again to these islands, after bidding farewell forever to their children, and committing them to the care of a benevolent public. The tide of contending emotions that agitate their hearts can only be imagined. With the thousand perplexities and cares attendant upon making preparation for so long a voyage, and in separating themselves perhaps forever from a people that had grown up under their instruction, and to whom they had become tenderly attached, they were almost exhausted, and it seemed like a renewal of that depressing sorrow that attended their departure from their native land. The poor natives accompanied them in crowds as they came down to the ship, and thronged the dock, with sorrow depicted in their countenances. Soon the voice of wailing, which had been heard from one or two, became general, and a note of wild lamentation burst forth in a deafening chorus, until by the


efforts of two or three of the missionaries, the sorrow of the people was restrained to a more quiet demonstration of their grief. I could not but admire the heroic fortitude with which Mrs. Thurston tore herself away from her affectionate husband, to voyage with her family, consisting of two sons and three daughters, to a far distant country, which had almost become a foreign land, after an exile of twenty years. Poor Mr. Thurston ! When he returns to his home upon the rocky shore of Hawaii, how heavily must the lonesome hours pass by, which are no longer enlivened by the presence of his beloved family. There are a father and mother too, who with bursting hearts, commit their little daughter, of only nine years of age, to the care of Mrs. Bingham, to be borne far away from their presence to a land of strangers. Such are some of the heart-rending scenes that are often exhibited in the missionaries' rife, who not only exile themselves from all they hold dear in their native land, but are ready to sunder every tie of affection, if required by a sense of duty. There are also a Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, from Hartford, Connecticut, very estimable people, who are returning home after a residence of a year or two at these islands, during which time they have been engaged in the silk culture. Mr. R., has been laboring for many months, under a severe attack of the epidemic ophthalmia prevalent upon Kauai, where he has been residing, which has obliged him to confine himself to a room made perfectly dark, a very disagreeable situation in so warm a climate, exclusive of the distressing nature of the ophthalmia.

      Our voyage commences rather unpropitiously; for this morning, we were all thrown into consternation by the alarm that one of the foremast hands had cut his throat in the forecastle. Captain S., followed by two or


three of the passengers hurried forward and ordered the man to be brought upon deck, when a deep gash upon the right side of his neck, from which the blood was bubbling out, and streaming down, told very plainly that he had penetrated into his windpipe, while a ghastly paleness made the wound appear more dangerous than it proved to be. The gash was speedily closed up with a needle and thread, and the man placed under guard, lest he should repeat this attempt at suicide. This man had been put on board the Flora, by the United States consul at Honolulu, agreeably to law, after having lived upon government for about a year. He had occasionaily given indications of mental aberration, and displayed great reluctance to come on board the ship, shedding tears very profusely when he was compelled to do so. To witness insanity is a painful scene, anywhere; but to be brought into so close proximity with it, and with its extravagances and perhaps violence constantly enacted before one's eyes, as must necessarily be the case when it occurs on board ship, seems to cast a shade of melancholy over our prospects for the voyage.

      Monday, Sept. 7. After leaving Honolulu, our course was in a south-easterly direction, "ontile wind," and we had a very pleasant run for two or three days, until we arrived in latitude 10° north, when we encountered a series of calms and light baffling winds, that detained us for more than two weeks between the parallels of 10° and 40° north. The Flora has most fully acted out her character for being a dull sailer, and in this calm region, between the north-east and south-east trade winds, she was perfectly intolerable. Her track over the ocean marked down upon the chart was zig-zag in every direction, like the filaments of a spider's web. Day after day presented the same scene with but little variety.


The ship with her sails resting listlessly against the masts and rigging, lay motionless upon-the sea, except as she was lifted by the swell as it rose and fell sluggishly, while to the verge of the horizon, the glassy ocean was a mirror to the piles of massive clouds, and reflected the intense rays of the sun, that seemed to be concentrated in this region. Two or three times during the day, a black cloud might be seen slowly rising above the horizon, and expanding itself; while in its approach, a dark shadow was cast upon the waters, preceded by the wind as it began to moan in the rigging, and accompanied by a refreshing rain, which soon passed over, however – the breeze died away, and the scorching sun came out again. In latitude 4° north, the south-east trade winds came to our assistance, and removed us from this region of rain, squalls and calms, into a more congenial clime. We crossed the equator in longitude 148° 20' west, and steering close hauled upon the wind, made a southerly course very nearly, but have fallen some distance to leeward of Tahiti however, and are now endeavoring to work up to windward.

      While we were floating about in the calm region north of the equator, the ship was surrounded by large schools of Bonetto and Albacore, that continued around her for many days, and even accompanied us for some time after we emerged from it, which afforded us a fine opportunity for fishing, and numbers of both varieties were captured every day. One morning, after we had breakfasted very freely upon some bonetto, one of the passengers was seized with a violent blinding headache, with a feeling of severe oppression upon the head, and the face was suffused with a deep purple hue, as if all the blood in the system had been determined in that direction. In about an hour, the symptoms began to be more favorable, and


not long after, the effects of this sudden attack had entirely passed away. A day or two afterwards, another person was taken in a similar manner, after partaking freely of a dish of bonetto, which convinced us that there were poisonous properties belonging to these fish, but confined to a particular part, as was evident from the fact, that but one person had been disagreeably affected in each of these instances, whereas the dish was participated in by all at the table. The poisonous properties that are frequently resident in the dolphin are well known, particularly in those that are taken in the vicinity of the West India Islands, but in the other varieties of ocean fish that live near the surface, as the bonetto and albacore, it is a rare occurrence to find them thus infected. While I was aboard the North America, we caught great numbers of these fish, but never experienced any injury from eating them. To detect the presence of poison, a silver spoon cooked along with them, is said to be an infallible test, as the silver will become blackened, if there are any poisonous properties present. In every case like those I have mentioned an emetic should be speedily administered, which will generally afford immediate relief. It would be an interesting object of enquiry to the naturalist, I should suppose, to discover the cause of this infection of ocean fish with poisonous properties, and in what part of the fish they reside.



Arrival at Tahiti – Papeete Bay – British Consulate – American whale ships – Natives – Capt. Upham – United States Consul – Disaster at Tongatabu.

      Monday, September 14. After an unusually long passage of thirty eight days from Honolulu, Tahiti and the adjacent islands hove in sight, and we came to anchor in Papeete ("Pah-pay-ay-tay") bay, on Thursday, September 10th, with the expectation of spending two or three days at this lovely island. Papeete bay is on the lee side of the island of Tahiti, around which the trade winds, intercepted by the lofty mountains, are diverted in curves around the northern and southern points of the island, in such a manner, that a little to the southward of the entrance to the harbor, there is a tract of water which is almost always perfectly calm, where ships are sometimes detained for many hours, while, perhaps, within a few feet of them, the wind, in a regularly defined stratum, is sweeping down from the mountains and dashing up the "white caps" upon the surface of the sea. The appearance of Tahiti is highly picturesque, and delightful to the eye, as you gradually draw nearer and nearer. Its outline is bold, and the high mountains that rise with a steep ascent from the shores form many an angular ridge, until the topmost peaks pierce the clouds,


that hang like wreaths around their summits; while down their sides a bright red clay contrasts strangely with the deep green verdure of the ravines. From the gracefully winding shore, long low points of land are seen running out into the sea, covered with a dense array of cocoa-nut groves, whose tall, branchless trunks, and canopies of broad leaves, present a novel and interesting appearance. At irregular distances from the shore, a coral reef extends itself, upon vhich the sea bursts, and encircles the islands with a snow-white fringe. In many places, the reef is connected immediately with the shore, but it is generally constructed at some distance, parallel to it, forming in some instances, safe anchorage for ships in the placid lagoons that lie between the reef and the shore. It is a singular fact, that wherever fresh water streams run into the sea, there are openings in the reef abreast of them; for the fresh water appears to have neutralized the labors of the animalculae, to which these reefs are supposed to owe their origin. Upon this principle, Papeete harbor was formed. Across a deep recess, in the island, extends the reef, which, far to the right, is interrupted, thus giving passage into the harbor while the surf bursts in one continued roar upon the immovable barrier upon each side. A ship in coming to anchor, runs into the passage, then beats up to her desired anchorage – for the wind is almost always from one quarter, that is, ahead. A noble sheet of water spreads out before you, a mile in length perhaps, and a half mile wide. On the left hand side, a small island of circular shape is a beautiful feature in the scenery of the bay, the shores of which, down to the beach are crowned with luxuriant groves, while a narrow point of land running out towards the reef, and set thickly with cocoa-nut trees, gives variety to the view in that direction. Around


this point, between the reef and the shore, there is a safe passage for ships up to Point Venus, celebrated in the voyages of Capt. Cook, as the place from which the transit of Venus was observed – whence its name. Papeete Bay is one of the finest in the world, and is far superior to Honoulu Harbor, in natural qualities. The hoarse surges that beat upon the reef without, are lulled to rest in its tranquil waters where

"The glassy ocean hushed forgets to roar,
      But trembling murmurs on the sandy shore."

Protected from the winds by the lofty mountain peaks, and embosomed in verdure of the densest luxuriance of the tropics, Papeete Bay exceeds in beauty, any sheet of water I have ever seen. It is so capacious, that a fleet of a hundred sail of ships might lie at anchor without incommoding one another, and its depth of water is such that large vessels are moored within a stone's throw of the shore.

      To form some idea of the appearance of Papeete, the seat of government at Tahiti, imagine the shore on the right hand side of the bay, to consist of a hot sand beach, and within a few feet of the water's edge, a range of light built, white houses, the intervals between which are filled up with the sombre shantees of the natives, while the rest of the settlement is concealed by a dense grove of orange and lime trees, prominent among which rise the stately bread-fruit trees, with their dark green enameled foliage, varied here and there by the waving leaves of the cocoa-nut tree, and you have some faint idea of the aspect of the harbor, where nature has been so profuse in richness of scenery, but art so humble. The residences of the foreigners, are light wooden structures, painted white with green blinds and thatched roofs; in the interior the rafters are left uncovered in many in-


stances, and they are divided off into separate rooms, by rude partitions constructed of boards sawn from the bread-fruit tree.

      As we came to anchor, the other day, we were boarded by Mr. Pritchard, British Consul, belonging formerly to the missionary corps upon these islands, who came to welcome our missionary passengers, and to propose measures for their accommodation during the detention of the ship at Papeete. Mr. Pritchard is a man of very amiable character and pleasant manners, and the course he has pursued, reflects high honor upon the nation he represents. Although nominally pursuing a different vocation from that of the missionary, he has not relaxed his exertions for the welfare of Tahiti, but preaches very frequently both in the native and in the foreign chapels.

      A short time after we had dropped our anchor, an American whale ship, the "Benjamin Tucker," Capt. Worth, got under way, and ran out of the harbor, bound on a cruise. Her fortune was somewhat similar with that of the North America; for when standing in for tin anchorage in a curve of the shore at James's Island, one of the Gallapagos group, the ship suddenly struck a sunken rock, and with such violence, that her loss seemed to be inevitable. This occurred not far from the scene of our disaster and about the same time. Had the North America continued on her original course after the accident which befel her at Chatham Island, both ships would have been making repairs at Tahiti, about the same time. It was a most fortunate circumstance however, that our course was altered for Honolulu, a more eligible place not only in offering greater facilities on all occasions, but because Tahiti would have been entirely exhausted of the materials we required, if the other ship had chanced to have arrived first. For other


reasons than these I have mentioned, I esteem it a most happy circumstance that Capt. Richards determined to bear away for Oahu.

      There was another American whale ship, the "Alexander Mansfield" of Hudson, lying dismantled near the shore. Not long ago, she had left Papeete bay, bound on a cruise, when, after being at sea for a few days, it was accidentally discovered that the stern timbers of the ship were falling to pieces. To have proceeded on the voyage in this dangerous condition would have been madness, and she returned to Papeete, where she was "condemned" as unseaworthy, and dismantled, a frequent occurrence whenever ships are found to be incompetent for service, either through age, or from injury. In a case like this, happening in a foreign port, the American Consul, upon receiving representations from the master of the weak condition of his ship, calls a "survey," as the examination is termed, which is performed by one or two masters of vessels, and a ship carpenter, who decide upon the fitness of the ship to go to sea, after a thorough inspection of her timbers. For this service they receive a suitable remuneration, and their decision determines the fate of the ship. The " Mansfield" was formerly a Liverpool packet, sailing from New York many years since, an exaltation that would hardly be surmised from the appearance of the dingy looking hulk lying condemned at Papeete.

      As soon as possible, I went ashore, where I was surprised at the many marks of indolence, and want of enterprise that presented themselves in every direction, and I could not but contrast the aspect of industry and vigor exhibited at Honolulu, with the lifeless air that pervaded Papeete. With the exception of two small piers, belonging to the French and English consuls, and used for


boats, there is no landing except immediately upon the beach. Nothing about the place indicates the least public spirit and energy. There were no large ware-houses filled with goods as at Honolulu, but all along the beach, we saw groups of natives, sitting under the shade of the cocoa-nut tree appearing to have nothing to do whatsoever, but to cast a dreamy look over the scenery of the bay, and to criticise the appearance of the Flora, as she lay at anchor, with her head high up in the air and her stern far depressed in the water-for she was sadly out of trim. Even their cupidity for levying contributions upon strangers, in the way of exchange for fruits and other articles – a predominant characteristic of the Pacific islanders – could tempt none of them to come alongside the ship, whereas, at Honolulu, a vessel would be surrounded by noisy venders of fruits and vegetables, before she had even come to anchor. There are many mountain rills emptying into the bay, which we forded as well as we were able, for, although the beach is the thoroughfare for all classes, yet they are too indolent to construct bridges across these water courses, and prefer wading through them to exerting themselves to such a degree.

      As we passed along the beach, 1 was introduced to Capt. Upham, Master of a large whale ship, the "Sarah," which was "standing off and on" outside the harbor. When my name was announced to him, he enquired if I was related to a young gentleman of the same family name, residing in New York city. Upon my answering in the affirmative, and that lie was a brother of mine, I was delighted to hear that the Captain had been very well acquainted with him while boarding in the same house in the city; for nothing is more acceptable to one who is far from home, in a strange land, than to meet with


one who is acquainted with those we love, for we then have a theme of conversation which brings our friends vividly to view. I was then invited by Captain Upham, to take dinner with him at a boarding house kept by an Englishwoman, who is almost entirely indebted to captains and officers of American whaleships for her pleasant little cottage and its appurtenances. After dinner, which by the way, was in a style of profusion quite astonishing to one connected with the Barque Flora, I parted with my newly acquired friend, who soon went off to his ship, a fine vessel of five hundred tons burden and carrying five boats in service, with a crew of forty men.

      Proceeding along the beach, I was made acquainted with Mr. Blackler, American Consul at his residence situated at the head of the bay. Our principal topic of conversation was the number of American whaleships that had touched at Papeete within a few months. Owing to the recent occupation of New Zealand by the English, whose grasping policy induces them to seize with avidity, upon the slightest pretext, the possessions of those who are too weak to resist their invasion, American whaleships have been excluded from obtaining supplies there, and have been obliged to go elsewhere; hence an unusual number have visited Papeete bay. Since the commencement of the the year, fifty-seven whale ships had arrived here for recruits, having cargoes, on the aggregate, to the value of a million and a half of dollars. The arrival of so many ships, placed a large number of invalid seamen under the charge of the consul, and many that had recovered, were standing listlessly under the shade of the trees, while the situation of the others must be wretched indeed, as there are no comfortable accommodations for an invalid in Papeete,


and the proper medical assistance cannot be obtained.

      A few words respecting the establishment of our consulates. At almost all foreign ports of any importance, the government of the United States have appointed a consul, whose duties I have specified in part, in a few preceding remarks. The only remuneration that the consul receives for his services, which often engage all his time, and are attended with no slight degree of labor and vexation, is in the way of perquisites, which are by far too inadequate for his support in a respectable standing.. He is therefore compelled to devise other methods for procuring the means of subsistence, an alternative reflecting great discredit upon a nation of such ample resources, that the representative of their dignity should be obliged to resort to commercial speculation through the illiberality of his government, which places him in a diminutive attitude, in the eyes of the people among whom he is residing. If the importance of our commerce with any foreign port renders the appointment of a consul desirable, his salary ought to be sufficiently large, that he may not feel it necessary to neglect the interests of his country, to attend to his own speculations; there are also many other reasons for rendering the consulate independent of commercial transactions.

      All the foreign residents – not a very numerous class – united in representing Tahiti as one of the most undesirable countries to inhabit in the world. They told me that they could hardly get anything for their tables except fruit and vegetables, and frequently when they had invited gentlemen to dine with them, they had the mortification of sitting down to empty dishes. This is not the case at Honolulu; and although the barren aspect of Oahu is strongly in contrast with the brilliant verdure of Tahiti, and although, the natives of that


island are held under a far more despotic vassalage than they are here, yet their energy and industry generally insures an abundance of everything to the purchaser.

      Friday, September 11. The brig "Camden," belonging to the London Missionary Society, and placed at the disposal of the missionaries upon Tahiti and the adjacent islands, came to anchor this morning in the bay. The intelligence she brought was of a highly interesting character to the foreign residents. The " Favorite," an English sloop of war, was lying at anchor at the island of Tongatabu, one of the Friendly islands, to the westward of this group, at a time, when the natives were divided into two parties, those that favored the Christian religion, and the adherents of the ancient system of idolatry, who maintained the most violent animosities between themselves. The Captain of the " Favorite" endeavored to reconcile them,and upon a certain occasion, landed with a party of men from his ship, under arms, to act as mediator between the opposite factions. In this character, he assumed arbitrary powers, in virtue of which, he marched to a fort where the heathen party had intrenched themselves, and urged them to surrender; and upon their refusal, he made an attack upon the fort, at the very commencement of which, he fell dead with two of his men, and not long afterwards, the rest retreated, carrying off the bodies of the killed, together with eighteen of their number that were desperately wounded. This interference was entirely unwarranted, and the British Government will not probably retaliate. Its disastrous result teaches the necessity of extreme caution in all transactions with the rude natives of Polynesia.



Difference of time – Natives – Tongatabu – Queen Pomare – Pomare-tane – Tahitian soldiers – Display – Church – Palace – Seamen's chapel.

Difference of time – Natives – Tongatabu – Queen Pomare – Pomare-tane – Tahitian soldiers – Display – Church – Palace – Seamen's chapel.

      September 30. Once more upon the main we are ploughing our way over its fathomless depths. Meanwhile, I return to Tahiti, to narrate what passed before me, subsequent to my preceding date.

      The reckoning of time at Tahiti is one day in advance of what obtains at the Hawaiian islands, which was derived from those who came from the United States by the way of Cape Horn. The missionary operations upon this and the adjacent islands, were commenced not far from the beginning of the present century, by missionaries sent out from England, under the auspices of the London Missionary Society, and their labors have been continued, without interruption ever since, a period of forty years. In their passage to these islands, they sailed eastward around Cape of Good Hope, and passed over about 210° difference of longitude, or more than half the circumference of the globe. Hence their computation of time must be in advance of that adopted by the Hawaiian missionaries, who lost time by sailing westward; and of course, Saturday with us on board the Flora corresponded with the Sabbath on shore.

   NATIVES. 281

      An incident occurred upon our arrival at Honolulu, which illustrates the difference in time produced. by sailing in opposite directions. While the North Amer. ica, was lying outside the harbor, an English ship came to anchor close by us, and the next day, which was Saturday with us, we observed that every thing was perfectly quiet on board, but on the following day, as we were putting off from the North America to go to church, all hands were in motion aboard our neighbor, some in hanging stagings over her side, from which to paint the ship, while a line of men was extended upon the maintopsail yard, engaged in "bending" a new maintopsail. This unusual activity was at first supposed an intended desecration of the day, but we afterwards ascertained, that they had come around Cape of Good Hope, and consequently, that our Sabbath was Monday with them.

      About nine o'clock, A. M., Queen Pomare, was seen moving in state along the beach, escorted by her body guards, numbering over a hundred, who, at the distance we viewed them, presented a very imposing pageant. Before the procession, were borne the royal standards of Tahiti, red, white and red, in horizontal bars; then followed the queen and king, and after them, their dashing soldiery two by two, – in proportion.e perturbata," as the geometricians say. The rear was brought up by all who could make any pretensions to decency of appearance, the whole procession extending to a great distance along the beach, and in this order moving slowly along towards the church. Soon after they had passed, Captain Spring and I directed our steps thither, and entered a large thatched building situated upon the beach within a few yards of the water. The body of the church was occupied by the queen and the military, and the galleries


principally by women. We took seats near the pulpit in full view of her majesty and her retinue. Queen Pomare is a good looking woman, of a light olive complexion, with very dark expressive eyes, and black hair. In person, she is about the medium height, and is rather inclined to embonpoint, and as she stood up several times during the service, she rose with an air of dignity that was truly royal. She wore a white satin hat, flaring open and flattened upon the upper rim, after the Tahitian style, trimmed with broad satin ribbon and then surmounted by three white ostrich feathers. Her dress was of satin or figured silk, of a pink color, with slippers to correspond. The husband of the queen, Pomare-tane, "Pomare's-man" as he is usually called, sustains the relation of a prince Albert to the government. He is a young man, of about twenty one years of age, while her majesty is not far from thirty, a disparity on the side of the lady, highly averse to our notions of propriety. In the affairs of the government, he has no power, as he was an inferior chief before his marriage with Pomare, but in domestic matters, is very tenacious of his rights. Pomare-tane is a good looking man, with very much of the bon vivant in his appearance, and an easy good humored way about him. Although so young, his hair is very grey, an indication of age, prematurely developed I doubt not, by the repeated floggings he received from her majesty many years since, when he was but a mere boy; occurrences entirely contrary to the order of nature. Pomare-tane, however, was very restive under her authority, and stimulated by the foreigners, had many desperate contests with his spouse, until she was compelled to succumb to his superior prowess. Since then, if reports speak true, he has not only administered wholesome chastisement for offences coming under his immediate


supervision, but repays with compound interest, her maternal care over him in his boyish days. Invested in a brilliant crimson uniform, decked with gold epaulets, a sword at his side and his chapeau surmounted by white ostrich feathers, his majesty presented a highly imposing appearance. It would have been a matter of deep envy to all hen-pecked husbands, acquainted with the past history of his household, to have witnessed with what utter nonchalance his majesty attended his royal spouse, appearing entirely regardless of her presence.

      The officers of the royal household, eight or ten in number perhaps, were dressed in uniforms, but of various colors and fashions, which had been adopted, as chance, or the visit of some man of war, gave them an opportunity for purchasing. White pantaloons were indulged in by all, but the state of them indicated either a ludicrous deficiency of material, or. a peculiar taste for imitating small clothes, which they were essentially, as far as regards dimensions. One or two of these worthies wore a pair of stockings, but most of them inserted their feet into thick leather boxes, without any intervening obstacle. The garb of one of these gentleman struck me as entirely anomalous. It consisted of a clergyman's black coat, of a most peaceful character, transmuted into the "horrid aspect of war," by means of sundry red stripes about half an inch wide bounding the outline of the coat, around which was buckled a bright red sword belt, a combination of colors that was quite enchanting. The officers of the queen's guards are undoubtedly the highest chiefs of the nation, no very illustrious personages, one would infer from the fact, that they have been seen paddling off to a man-of war, with nothing but a maro around the waist, to solicit the privilege of washing the clothes of any one who would favor them with his pat-


ronage, from the officer who promenaded the quarter deck, down to jack before the mast. These are specimens of much of the nobility of the Pacific Islands. Behind the officers were seated the privates, with an approach towards similarity in their uniforms, which were blue, and at a distance, would have appeared very well, but whose diversity of trimming was revealed by our proximity. Some of these coats were buttoned together; others had fastenings of hooks and eyes, and not a few, were held together by the ingenious device of drawing a threaded needle from side to side, which from appearances, must have taken wonderful strides in many instances. The nether garments of the soldiery, were always white, but in many instances, prepared without observing this invariable law of nature, that a large man requires garments of corresponding proportions. The ingenuity one of these displayed in devising expedients was highly creditable to him. By some miscalculation, his coat and pantaloons, when adjusted to his person, were found not to be within six inches of one another, which disclosed a "hiatus valde deflendus," between the top of his nether garments, and the edge of his coat. In this crisis, he had procured a large black silk neckerchief, which encircling his waist, and secured in a huge knot in front, effectually concealed the unskilfulness of his tailor. The soldiers, agreeably to the advice of the missionaries, leave their muskets at their quarters, upon the Sabbath, and carry nothing but ramrods. Their principal employment, as well as that of their officers, appeared to be in criticising and admiring the peculiar taste each one had displayed, in the decoration of his uniform. Queen Pomare seemed to be extremely anxious to exhibit her soldiery advantageously, and many were the searching looks she darted in among


them, to see if any were indulging in their propensity to avail themselves of the occasion, for repose. The congregation was rather disorderly, owing to the constant restlessness of some, who were running in and out of the church every few minutes. Tahitians are extremely fond of dress and show, and although the maintenance of one hundred and fifty men – of which the royal body guard consists – is impoverishing the nation, yet they are not discontended, as their ruling passion is gratified. The queen is constantly endeavoring to augment the grandeur of her appearance, much to the injury of the finances of her government, and notwithstanding the heavy expense she incurred in the equipment of this body of men, she has sent orders to Sydney, in New Holland, for additional articles. Her principal object at present, in collecting together, and keeping under arms so large a body of men – large in proportion to the population-is for the purpose of making a grand display in an intended excursion to some of the leeward islands, which has been determined upon every few days for the last six weeks, and as often postponed. Several days after seeing her at church, we were alarmed on board the Flora, by the discharge of artillery at intervals of every few minutes, the rolling drums, and the gathering of a dense throng of natives upon the beach, in gay costumes. The three or four small vessels, belonging to her majesty, were crowded to overflowing, the sails were hoisted, and the national colors were gaily waving from masthead, when an unlooked for obstacle presented itself, which put a stop to all further proceedings. In the eagerness for commencing the excursion, the idea did not occur that these little vessels might not possess sufficiently ample dimensions for the large retinue that were to attend her majesty, and it was not until it was


demonstrated, in the present instance, that the fact was apparent, and the expedition was, of necessity, postponed, much to the chagrin of her majesty. So desirous is she of making a constant display, that she never appears in public, without being followed by half a dozen soldiers, who step with a becoming consciousness of their proximity to royalty. On a subsequent day, when she was returning to Papeete from a visit to point Venus, the attempt at magnificence had a semblance of the ludicrous. As soon as the royal barge – in this case, a whaleboat, was seen entering the bay, with the national ensign waving proudly over her Tahitian majesty, a salute was fired by one of her loyal subjects, who was stationed upon the beach with a musket in his hand, which he continued to load and discharge with as much rapidity as possible, until her majesty reached the shore, exhibiting the most praiseworthy zeal upon the occasion. Pomare is a constant attendant upon church, but is scrupulously careful to appear in the afternoon, in a different dress from the one she assumed in the morning. This is however, the prevailing fashion among the elite of Tahiti, in which respect, they imitate the fashionables at some of our watering places, whose constant study, in some instances, appears to be, the acquisition of the cameleon-like property, of changing the hue of their garb every time they appear in public. The Tahitians are a finer looking race than the Hawaiians; for their features are more regular and their complexion is of a lighter shade of color. The men are generally tall and well formed, and the women are many of them, very pretty, with their long dark hair hanging gracefully over their shoulders, relieved by some bright flower interwoven with their tresses; and my taste fbr the beautiful was in no instance shocked with ugliness, as was fre-


quently the case at the Hawaiian islands. It is astonishing at what an early age they arrive at maturity. I saw numbers of them afterwards, whose ages were far from what I should have judged from their appearance; for they look older at thirteen, than American women do at the age of twenty-three or twentyfive. At the church, the congregation was very well dressed, and presented a neat appearance that was highly creditable to them. The singing 'was very delightful, although it was entirely unlike any thing I have ever heard befbre. The Tahitians have such a natural faculty for music, that they not only catch a tune with readiness, but even adapt symphonious parts to it; and their voices blend together in a strange, but agreeable harmony. The church is a large and convenient edifice, and the rafters and frame work supporting the roof are concealed in part, by ornamental matting extending ten or fifteen feet upwards from the wall.

      At the conclusion of the services, the soldiery were extended from the church door in two parallel rows, facing inwards, between which the royal party marched to the head of the column, and then led the way in solemn state, along the beach, through the dust and over the stones, shells and bones, strewn plentifully in their path, instead of a direct course to the "palace" by a delightful road, which led along under the cool bread-fruit groves. This preference had no other object than to present an imposing pageant to the shipping at anchor in the harbor.

      In company with a friend, I took a walk through the lovely grove back of the beach, to the "palace," by which appellation the queen's residence is known to the foreign residents. It is the largest house in Papeete, though but


one story high, running up in a peaked roof of thatch, and having a wide piazza extending entirely across the front. It is situated within an enclosure of green grass, and presents a somewhat pretty appearance, although as a royal residence it would be thought rather humble. At the gate were lounging three sentinels, whose attitudes indicated a judicious regard to their personal comfort. As the royal cortege had not yet come in sight, we seated ourselves in the piazza to await its approach, and before long it was seen deploying through the trees. The officers of the household came first, who separated at the entrance, and walking in solemn style up to the door step, faced inwards, with hats doffed, while Queen Pomare and Pomare-tane passed between them, and took their seats in the piazza, as the soldiery were arranging themselves in the form of a crescent upon the green sward in front of us. Meanwhile I shook hands with the king, with whom I had previously been made acquainted, and was then presented to her Tahitian majesty, by my friend. The "presentation" was divested of any court formalities, and consisted in merely shaking hands, and saying "Your honor boy," which is the exact sound, when spoken rapidly, of the native salutation, "ia ora na oe," or "peace be with you." Her majesty was not very communicative, as all her attention was absorbed in watching the movements of her guards, and in refreshing herself with plentiful draughts from a cocoanut which had been brought to her the moment she arrived, while Pomare-tane produced some cigars, and offering one to me, adjusted himself for smoking with the utmost tranquility. In imitation of the queen, I called for a cocoanut and refreshed myself with its delicious beverage, entertaining the most be-


nevolent wishes for the prosperity of Her Tahitian Majesty.

      The soldiers, as I have before said, were marshalling themselves in a semicircle in front of the palace, to be reviewed by the queen. At the word of command, they succeeded in averting their faces, although some of them manifested a strong indecision of mind, with regard to those opposite positions of the body, "front" and. "rear." After going through the intricate maneuvres of presenting their faces and their backs to the royal vision, they were dismissed, and my friend and I took our leave of their majesties.

      Feeling rather unwell, I went aboard the ship, and did not attend service at the foreign chapel on that day, but upon the succeeding Sabbath evening, I made my way thither. The foreign chapel is a little wooden building, painted white, and is situated close upon the beach. It is not plastered within, and its general appearance would remind one, of those rude edifices for worship found in some of the Southern and Western states of the Union, of so dubious an aspect, that the traveller is doubtful what may have been the original intentions of the builders, whether they had a barn or a meetinghouse in contemplation, in their architectural designs. The service was conducted by a Mr. Howe, no ways remarkable, I should judge, except for his plump, John Bull person, and for the use of the word "circumstances," which recurred not less than forty or fifty times, during the varied performances. The hymns were sung in that primitive style, which obtained when hymnbooks were a rarity, the preacher reading two lines to be sung by the congregation, and then two more, and so on through the hymn. The music was tolerably good, but


widely different in style from our own church music, the general tenor of which is more plaintive and possesses a higher degree of sentiment than theirs, which is more rapid, but less expressive. Upon the whole, I was well pleased with the exercises, and the audience appeared to be so, by the attention they manifested.



Police – Coral – Fishing by Torchlight – Diseases –Annoyances – Moonlight at Papeete – Shaving the head – Nl – Novel engineering – Climbing the Cocoa-nut tree.

      The principal power of the nation is vested in seven judges, who constitute a supreme court of appeal, and, I have been informed, have even power enough to try the king and queen for criminal offences. Next to these are the police officers, a numerous class, whose particular province it is to make domiciliary visits to check the erratic propensities of the natives during the night. They are pronounced to be a band of great rascals, as well as the patrol, a gang of night walkers who wander about Papeete, and catch up any unlucky Wight they may happen to come across, and convey him to the guard house for the night. A gun is fired at eight o'clock, and another follows at a quarter of an hour afterwards, wlien these desperadoes sally forth in different directions with all avidity for their prey. If any of them are successful a shrill whistle is heard, at which they gather around the captive, and he is walked of into durance vile, the patrol keeping step in regular cadence. The next morning, the prisoner is informed in the most delicate mannor, that wayfaring men cannot be sought after so diligently, and provided with a night's lodging without adequate compensation, two dollars, for instance. The pe-


culiar tramp of the gang along the beach, and the hissing a "whish–whish!" which accompanied their step, always informed us aboard the Flora, that a prisoner was under conveyance to his quarters. This order of police was instituted a short time since, to prevent the nocturnal sallies of seamen from the ships, but these zealous executors of the law, find it very difficult to discriminate. Notwithstanding their enthusiasm, which induces them to adopt too strict a construction of the law, in many instances, these worthy citizens have accomplished some good in the purification of public morals.

      The language of the Tahitians is similar to the Hawaiian, and many words are the same in both-a most remarkable circumstance when it is recollected that Tahiti and the Hawaiian islands are about twp thousand three hundred miles apart. Similarity of language among the various islanders of Polynesia, has given rise to many interesting speculations relating to the existence upon islands so widely remote from one another of different people having a common origin.

      At the head of the bay, the water is shallow, close in shore, and so clear that the beautiful coral trees growing upon the bottom, were distinctly seen. The corals and madripores are of every variety of form and color, and some of them are extremely beautiful. I often amused myself by stopping in the boat over these fantastic forests, and hooking up as many specimens of coral as I could take care of. Some of them resembled blown sugar in appearance and structure, and were tinged with many exquisite hues of green, red and purple. There were also many varieties of fish to diversify the picture the most numerous, were little fish about an inch long, of a splendid blue tint, that seemed like sapphires flitting about in the coraline forest below.

   FISHING. 293

      There are but few canoes at Papeete, and these are long, misshapen things, and, except in size, far inferior to the canoes of the Hawaiian Islands. Some of them were large, carrying huge sails made of mats, which would instantly have upset them, did not those who were navigating them, stretch themselves far out upon the outriggers of their frail craft, which are impelled forwards with great velocity, dashing the spray high into the air. The natives carry on their fishing operations principally by torchlight, and every evening, soon after dark, bright lights were seen gleaming over the glassy surface of the bay, occasionally shooting out brilliant scintillations, that disclosed more vividly the dark figures of the natives in their canoes. Sometimes they were ranged in a long line not far from the reef; and then they dispersed, gliding noiselessly with their glaring torches. Each canoe usually contained two men, one to direct its movements, and the other, who stood in the bow, to carry the torch, by which the fish were attracted to the surface of the water, and were then struck by the spear which was darted with unerring aim. They sometimes came close up to the ship, and I saw several fish with bright silvery sides, taken in this way. This sport they continue to a late hour of the night, and are generally successful, but they very rarely offer their fish for sale at' the residences of the foreigners, who consider them highly delicious. Two of our passengers, the day before we sailed from Papeete, partook freely of some fine fish at the house of one of the foreign residents, and a few hours afterwards, were seized with excruciating pain and distress, accompanied with deadly nausea. The attack continued for two or three hours, with scarcely any alleviation, and then passed off gradually, leaving them very much debilitated. Of those


who partook of the fish, none beside these were unpleasantly affected, and the conclusion. was, that the poisonous properties of the fish resided in some particular part, which was eaten by the sufferers. Such attacks are very common among the natives, and are analogous to those that occurred on board the Flora, in her passage down from Honolulu, with the exception of nausea which was not present in the latter. There is a singular relationship subsisting among the Tahitians, called ", Friends," which implies that individuals, whether of the same or the opposite sex, conceiving a fancy for one another, unite in a covenant of inviolable friendship, which requires either party to assist the other in all emergencies, and to be faithful to his interests. This obligation also involves the necessity of frequent presents, a source of great annoyance to the foreign residents, happening to have a "friend," who has no hesitation in signifying his desire to possess any article belonging to the other that he may fancy, an appeal which must be complied with, by every law of politeness existing among them.

      Scrofulous complaints are very prevalent among those that live on the island of Tahiti, both foreigners and natives. I saw several instances of large tumors upon the neck, and heard of many cases of those who were reduced to the last stages of misery by these terrible deformities. A gentleman expressed his opinion, that these glandular disorders were undoubtedly to be attributed to the peculiar nature of the water in the rills descending the mountains, a cause analogous to what I have somewhere read, as assigned for the prevalence of similar disorders among the mountains of Switzerland. The elephantiasis, a most singular deformity, bloating up the muscles of the limbs to twice their ordinary size


is no uncommon disease. An instance came under my observation, of a man whose lower limbs were swollen to prodigious dimensions, so that he presented a most uncouth figure, particularly in walking. It is rarely painful, but the deformity of the appearance, and the task of transporting such a mass of superfluous matter, must be highly afflictive to the sufferer.

      Our original intention in stopping at Tahiti, was to land one or two of our passengers with their effects, and then to put to sea as soon as possible, after procuring supplies of various kinds. But instead of being detained but a day or two, we did not get away from Papeete in less than two weeks, Captain S. having determined to take aboard the Flora, the oil belonging to the Alexander Mansfield. Meanwhile, all the passengers, took up their residence on shore, wherever they could find accommodations, except myself, who paid dearly for my preference of the ship. We then hauled up alongside the dismantled whaler, within a few rods of shore, to receive her cargo, consisting of a thousand barrels of oil.

      Papeete bay is on the lee side of Tahiti, as I before observed, and the lofty mountains that rise in the back ground, almost entirely interrupt the cool trade wind which is so grateful in the tropics, and the sun beats down in all his intensity upon the shipping in the bay, although on shore, the temperature is very agreeable in the shady bread-fruit groves. On board the Flora, the refreshing sea breeze, blowing in from the westward, was intercepted by the cook's galley and the long boat, so that scarcely a breath of air mitigated the scorching heat that pervaded the quarter deck. The thermometer, suspended in the companion way, stood as high as 980, and the deck became heated to such a degree, that the temperature of the cabin was like that of a furnace.


Besides this burning heat that was almost suffocating, swarms of venomous musquitoes harassed me during the night with their stings and incessant buzzing, so that my anticipations of spending the night, were deplorable enough. To give some idea of their number, I will just mention what destruction ensued among them at our vengeful hands. Captain S., killed over a hundred in one day, and I destroyed so many that I lost my reckoning of them altogether. Their virulence was as remarkable as their numbers, for while we were congratulating ourselves upon their having taken their flight from not having heard them for some time, they would suddenly u start up like hydras from every corner," and attack us with a perseverance and determination that made us desperate. To escape the intense heat on board ship, I rambled among the bread-fruit and cocoa-nut groves, whose cool shades were most delightfully reviving. Most of my walks were taken very early in the morning, before the sun was up, and nothing could be more refreshing, after the adventures of the night, than a ramble among these cool groves, shaded with the dark broad leaves of the bread-fruit tree, or the waving cocoanut, and varied by the orange and lime with their rich yellow fruit, and the bright green of the banana. The stillness of the hour, the invigorating air, and the merry notes of the birds, impressed me with the liveliest emotions of pleasure. But after the sun had set beyond the mountain peaks of Eimeo, and the fair moon,

"Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silvery mantle threw,"

a scene of enchantment bursts upon the view, such as one's early imagination may have pictured to himself, while roaming in fancy to the fairy isles of the Pacific. The moon rising from the dark mountains above, with


a brilliancy unknown without the tropics, tinges the prominent trees of the groves, and brings their outline vividly to view, deepening their shades, and giving to the cocoa-nut trees a strangely fantastic appearance. The still waters of the bay reflect her beams from its glassy surface, in which, along the well defined margin of the shore, the tall trees are seen depicted with the vividness of magic. The fisherman's torch, gliding slowly along, seems to struggle with her overpowering beams, and as she mounts towards the zenith, she pours in a flood of mellow light upon the ocean that sullenly roars upon the reef without, and upon the silent earth, tinging the dark grove, and gentle hillock, and tall mountain peaks, and rendering all nature a fairy scene. From the shore too, we were charmed with the singing of the natives, which rose upon the still evening air with a harmony like soft voices mingling in perfect concert with instrumental music. The singing of the natives has a slight nasal twang, that gives it a sound similar to instrumental music, and their voices chord together in a harmony unlike any thing I have ever heard before. In this respect, the Tahitians far surpass the Hawaiians, whose monotonous cadences, as they passed my room at Honolulu, were very annoying. Many of the Tahitian tunes are variations of old tunes familiar with us. " God save the King," and a sacred tune called " Cambridge," were readily recognized; and there were several others, which I found were old acquaintances. I often wished that some of my friends in the United States could have been transported to Papeete during those glorious evenings, which presented a picture of varied beauties, the tout ensemble approaching nearer to a scene of enchantment, than any thing I have ever before witnessed, even among the verdant lawns and majestic


elms, of loved New Haven. The foreign residents at Papeete are very hospitable, with but few exceptions, and give you carte blanche to all they have. There are but few national animosities indulged in, such as are too prevalent at Honolulu. Their interests also, are an argument for unanimity, to present a formidable obstacle to the capricious disposition of the government. They are all united in representing the native character, as the worst that can be imagined; but many of them are not very solicitous about improving it, as far as my observation extended. There are, doubtless, many natives of unexceptionable moral character, and many, it is to be hoped, that are truly pious people, but the tide of morality is at a very low ebb at Papeete.

      The Tahitians, with many other islanders of the Pacific, have a very singular fashion of shaving their heads close to the akin, with the exception of a bushy lock just above their ears. At Tahiti, before razors came into general use, it was customary to perform this operation with shark's teeth Ian extremely painful process; and in manyof the other islands of the Pacific, the practice is still continued. I could hardly discover any reason for this singular practice, especially as most of them go bareheaded, exposing their unprotected craniums to the intense heat of the sun. Fashion is apt to be irrespective of comfort; but the Tahitian is not at all more ridiculous in his compliance with the fashions of his country, than are its votaries in more enlightened society, whose limping gait in one instance, and impeded respiration in another, betray the penalties they are inflicting upon themselves for their subservience to its dictates. Besides, as a matter of taste, shaving the face is no greater improvement upon nature, that I can perceive, than shaving the head. Many of the customs of our own country would appear ridiculous to one who


had never been acquainted with them, if analyzed by a process that would very naturally occur to his mind.

      In the groves, I have occasionally fallen in with Tahitians that were at work, and had laid their garments aside, displaying very beautiful and tasteful figures tattood all over their persons, which consisted of every variety of curve, as well as of sprigs and branches of trees, and of flowers and animals. While at the Hawaiian islands, I saw some instances of tattooing, but it was very limited and not remarkably pretty. The women in general were slightly tattood around the ankle, as a substitute for open-worked hosiery. At Honolulu, I saw several Marquesas Islanders, whose faces were tattood in every imaginable curve, which gave their faces a most grotesque expression.

      The costume of the Tahitians consists of a kind of mantle which covers the upper part of the person, and reaches down to the parao, a piece of cloth about two yards long, which is wound around the waist, and extends just below the knees. The parao is also worn by the other sex, but is concealed by the long gown that constitutes the female costume. The men as would readily be supposed, have a very singular aspect, with their calico paraos waving in the wind and giving to them a most unmasculine appearance. A naked Tahitian is a very rare object, and in this respect they are far superior to their brethren of the Hawaiian islands, among whom, specimens of the cc human form divine," may be seen moving about in every direction with nothing but the maro to conceal the contour of their figures. If the taste of the Hawaiians is less sensitive, however, than that of the Tahitians, they have the advantage in energy and industry, over their petticoated neighbors.

      One afternoon while I was aboard the ship, I witness-


ed a novel exhibition of mechanical power. Within a small enclosure upon the beach, but a few rods off, a dense throng of natives had been engaged in warm discussion, as we judged by the animation of their tones, when all of them, to the number of several hundreds, proceeded en masse to a short distance above where we lay, and then another eloquent discussion ensued, which we supposed from the vehemence of their actions, involved the consideration of some affair of vital importance to the existence of the nation. The populace seemed to be upon the eve of insurrection, in which they were about to inflict summary vengeance upon an offender; and the idle curiosity with which we first watched their movements, assumed a deeper interest, as we saw them gathering with violent gesticulations, around a stout framework constructed like a gallows, and we looked eagerly in the expectation of seeing the culprit dragged from the throng, and condemned to instant execution. In an hour or more, our doubts and apprehensions were removed, and the agitation with which we viewed the scene, subsided. But neither the shedding of blood, nor violence of any kind was in contemplation, but the removal of a large log, which lay at the water's edge, was determined upon. To one end of this, a strong hawser was secured, and then two or three hundred of them eagerly seized hold of it, and prepared to drag it along the beach to the place of its destination. The arrangements were made with loud vociferations, and when everything was ready, with three loud cheers that resounded simultaneously throughout the Multitude, the log was started from its repose, and moved slowly along the beach, the throng keeping time with a regular cadence of their feet, and with a loud hissing sound like "which–whish!" bursting forth from the crowd at short intervals. The


procession was directed by four marshals, who ran up and down the lines in the most enthusiastic manner, stimulating, them with the poles they carried by right of office; while the fair Tahitian ladies, attired in their gayest robes, with their long dark tresses decked with bright flowers, and their brilliant eyes flashing with animation at the sight, inspired the young men to valorous deeds. The distance to the place where the log was deposited, was rather more than a quarter of a mile, and when I considered the peculiar mode they had adopted for removing logs. I was at no loss in accounting for their vehement and protracted debate upon the occasion. It was a method, I confess, which would not readily have occurred to any one's mind. A plan, more naturally suggesting itself, would be to have employed rollers, or better still, the log might have been floated to any required place along the beach. This incident exhibits the eloquence of language and of gesticulation which the Polynesian islanders throw into every thing that interests them, compared with which our conduct appears tame and phlegmatic.

      In one of my morning walks, I had a fine opportunity of witnessing the method pursued by the natives in climbing the cocoanut tree, which, as I have before observed, runs up in a branchless and leafless trunk to the height of fifty or sixty feet, at the very top of which it is crowned with broad waving leaves, among which the fruit is found adhering to the trunk. The loftiness of these trees, whose branchless aspect makes their ascent appear impracticable to a novice, was evidently intended by nature as a stimulus to the sluggish natives of tropical climates, where she has displayed herself with a luxuriance that calls for but little exertion to obtain the means of subsistence. Desirous of obtaining a fine


bunch of cocoanuts that were growing upon the summit of one of the loftiest of these trees, I succeeded in corning to terms with the owner of them, after a protracted discussion upon the terms of the agreement. The natives of Polynesia never transact any business, however unimportant, without having canvassed the subject to the utmost extent of which it is susceptible, and the plan of proceedings is definitely settled, when nothing more whatsoever can be said to elucidate the subject. In this respect they resemble many of our legislators, who are frequently not contented with the discusson of a question, however unimportant in its bearing, until the impossibility of advancing any thing more, compels them to put a period to their eloquence, after consuming much more time than the importance of the subject ought to require.

      The necessary stipulations being made with the owner of the cocoanuts, a long line is produced, with which, a boy, having his feet fettered with a short rope, so that they are twelve or fourteen inches apart, commences ascending the tree. Pressing his feet against the trunk, the friction of the rope gives him a good foothold, while with his hands clasped together around the body of the tree, he vaults upwards with surprising agility, and disengages the nuts with a hatchet, which he carries up with him, and lowers them down with the rope. There were eight or ten nuts in the bunch, for which I paid but twenty-five cents, a sum I would willingly have given, to have witnessed the activity of the native in the ascent of the tree.



Fruits – Cocoa-nut oil – Sugar – Guava – Breadfruit – Tide.

      Tahiti produces all the fruits of a tropical climate, in the utmost abundance and luxuriance of growth. Oranges of the most delicious quality, are sold in immense quantities, at the rate of fifty cents per hundred. They are prepared so as to keep for a long time without decay by selecting them with care and drying them in the sun, which partially evaporates the moisture of the rind, without impairing the juices of the orange. The pine apples of Tahiti are excellent, but by no means equal to those we procured at Tacames, while I was in the North America. Lemons attain a very large size, and are encased in a thick rind, and lime trees are so numerous and prolific, that hardly a ship touches here without purchasing a quantity of lime juice, prepared by fermenting it with chalk, which removes.the impurities, and enables it to keep in excellent preservation for years. Whalers, visiting Papeete, usually purchase a barrel or more or this article, whose anti-scorbutic properties are well known, for the benefit of their crews during their long voyages. The purchaser must have a sharp eye to his own interest, for the sagacity of the natives teaches them


that when a barrel is half full of water, only half as much lime juice is required to fill it, as if the barrel were empty. The citron flourishes extensively upon these islands, and is similar in appearance to a lemon, with an extremely thick rind, which is the only part appropriated to preserving. The East India citron, such as is found in our markets, is superior however, in all respects. The vi is a rough tree, in aspect somewhat like the oak, and sometimes grows to a great size, sending out numerous excrescences from its trunk. The fruit very nearly resembles our egg-plumb in its appearance. Of the banana and plantain family, there are numerous varieties. They are sometimes prepared for preserving by cutting them into slices, and drying them in the sun, which covers them with saccharine matter drawn out by the heat. There is a variety of banana or plantain, called the fei ("fayee") or mountain banana, growing wild in the mountains and highlands, and very dissimilar to the other kinds except in shape. It rises upward from the stalk, instead of depending downwards from it, as is the case in the other kinds, and its color is of a bright chrome yellow, with a rind of a brilliant red tint. The taste of the boiled fei, reminds one of our parsnips; but it is unfit to be eaten raw, and I thought it inferior to the other varieties of the banana. The taro thrives luxuriantly upon all these islands, and consists of two varieties one of which requires a low, marshy, watery soil, and the other grows upon dryer ground. Poi is not so favorite an article of food with the Tahitians as with the Hawaiians, among whom poi and fish are almost the only articles of subsistence. The former, however, prepare a delicious compound of taro, cocoanut, and bread-fruit called poi-poi, and another made of feis, taro, bread-fruit and cocoanut, called poi-maia, both of which have a ve-


ry rich and agreeable flavor. The cocoanut grows in immense quantities upon Tahiti and the adjacent islands. The natives almost always take the nuts from the trees for eating, when they are yet green, at a period of advancement, when the kernel is in the incipient state of pulp, and the shell very soft. In this state, they can be eaten with a spoon, and contain from a pint to a quart of slightly acidulous, and most refreshing beverage. So plentiful are cocoanuts, that 1 saw canoes every day, laden down the water's edge with them, traversing the bay, and the established price was one dollar per hundred. They were old cocoanuts, however, and the principal use to which they were applied, was in obtaining oil from them. For this purpose, the kernel is chopped up into fine pieces, and placed in a trough, which is inclined sufficiently for the oil, when expelled by the heat of the sun, to trickle down into a reservoir. This oil is used very extensively in the manufacture of soap, and for lubricating machinery, as well as for other purposes. Its value in the manufacture of soap, can hardly be appreciated by people in the United States, among whom, a large proportion of meat in their diet, supplies the soap dealer with soap-grease in abundance. Throughout the Pacific, soap is usually a great desideratum; for the food of the natives, consisting principally, of fish and vegetables, affords them nothing out of which to make this essential article of domestic economy. The greater part of the cocoanut oil, is exported to Sydney, in New Holland, where it is applied to various purposes of the arts. A few years since, the annual manufacture of cocoanut oil exceeded one hundred tons, which was generally sold to foreigners in small parcels by the natives, in exchange for articles of merchandize. Now, scarcely any is prepared from the immense quantities of cocoanuts that fall


from the trees, owing to an arbitrary enactment of the government which forbids the natives selling any nuts or oil to foreigners, unless upon receiving a stipulated amount of merchandize for a certain quantity of oil or nuts. The consequence is, that merchants finding the exchange to be unprofitable to themselves refuse to purchase, and thus the preparation of the oil is stopped.

      There are several sugar plantations upon these islands, and the culture of the cane is rapidly extending from year to year. The sugar is of excellent quality, though it is damp, the process of drying, after granulating, not being well understood. During the past year, there were one hundred and seventy-four tons manufactured upon Tahiti, by the natives, and by the foreign residents; but in the manufacture of this article, the Tahitians are far behind their brethren of the north Pacific, as they are indeed in almost every thing else. The sugar and molasses on board the " Flora," amounting to one hundred tons of sugar, and eighty casks of molasses-came from the island of Kauai, and is but a portion of what was manufactured upon that island. There are besides,extensive cane fields upon the other islands of the Hawaiian group. The sugar of the Hawaiian islands is very well manufactured, and is put up in bags woven out of rushes by the natives, each of them containing from fifty to seventy pounds. This sugar has almost as many gradations in in hue as there are shades of color in the human race. There is the clayed sugar, similar to the white Havana; then come light brown, brown, browner, brownest, in a long continued series, until. you arrive at an opacity and blackness of color, that would satisfy the most rigid economist.

      The guava is at once the bane and blessing of Tahiti. That its prolific and erratic nature is rapidly usurping

   GUAVA. 307

the verdure that once crowned this lovely isle, must be apparent to the most careless observer, who has had opportunity to witness its intruding progress. The guava, of which the world cannot present finer specimens, grows upon a bush from six to twelve feet in height, which in full bearing would forcibly remind one of the quinces of New England. The fruit is about the size and shape of a quince, and is of a brilliant yellow color, shaded with a carmine tinge. Within, there is a cavity, occupying half the dimensions of the fruit, which is filled with numberless seeds about the size of grape stones, held together by a thick glutinous substance. The color of the interior is of deep crimson, and the flavor of the fruit very closely resembles that of the strawberry; but like most tropical fruits, it is rather unpalatable, upon tasting it for the first time. So extremely abundant is the guava, that the Tahitians allow their swine to roam at large, and grow fat upon the fruit which lies neglected upon the ground; and the season when guavas are ripe, is hailed with a most enthusiastic grunt of thanksgiving from all experienced porkers, that have been dragging their emaciated carcasses along the beach in eager anticipations of enjoying a glorious return, of what they have such pleasing recollections. The rapid usurpation of the soil by the guava, is indeed, a serious evil, but, as a gentleman observed to me, the time will come, when the Tahitians, alarmed at the prospect of destruction impending over the island, if the guava obtains the ascendency, will throw off their indolence, and extirpate it from their soil. Thus, by rousing themselves to exertion against the invader, they will have acquired a momentum in the path of industry, which will not soon be stopped, so that this evil will prove to be a blessing.

      There are very few melons to be had at Tahiti, and


culinary vegetables are rare, a scarcity severely felt by the foreign residents. Sweet potatoes of the yellow kind, are cultivated in sufficient quantities, but are far inferior to those we had at Honolulu. The sweet potatoes ordered for the barque Flora, were unfortunately of very diminutive proportions, and were traversed by little veins of the bitterest substance imaginable, which was owing to their having grown upon worn out land. Such is their bitterness, that he who has been enjoying one of these " roots," and any thing of the vegetable kind becomes a luxury at sea-is suddenly brought to a dead stand, while carrying on the process of mastication, and by the most expressive contortions of his phiz, indicates his unfortunate collision with these bitterest of bitter things; a striking emblem of the bitterness of disappointed hopes.

      But the noblest product of the vegetable kingdom, which springing tip spontaneously, affords the most wholesome and palatable nutriment to the natives of the tropical islands, is the majestic breadfruit tree. "The bread-fruit tree is large and umbrageous, with a rough bark of a light color; and the trunk is sometimes two or three feet in diameter, rising to the height of twelve or twenty feet without a branch. The outline of the tree is remarkably beautiful; the leaves are broad and indented, somewhat like those of the fig tree, frequently twelve or eighteen inches long, and rather thick, of a dark green color, with a surface glossy as that of the richest evergreen. The fruit is generally circular or oval, and is on an average, six inches in diameter; it is covered with small square, or lozenge-shaped divisions, having each a small elevation in the centre, and is at first of a slight pea green color; subsequently, it changes to brown, and when fully ripe, assumes a rich yellow


Society Islands


tinge. It is attached to the small branches of the tree by a short thick stalk, and hangs either singly, or in clusters, of two or three together. The pulp is soft, and in the centre, there is a hard kind of core, extending from the stalk to the crown, around which a few imperfect seeds are formed. There is nothing very pleasing in the blossom; but a stately tree clothed with dark shining leaves, and loaded with many hundreds of large light green or yellowish colored fruit, is one of the most splendid and beautiful objects to be met with, among the rich and diversified scenery of a Tahitian landscape." The bread-fruit tree reminds one of the noble oaks we have in the United States, with their deep green canopy of glossy leaves, although its foliage is more dense than that of the oak. The rind of the fruit is of a cellular structure, having an exterior marked with pentagons and hexagons, and other geometrical figures, of a more interesting character than many that are pored over by the student of geometry. The cellular structure of a honey comb is perhaps the best illustration of the external appearance of the bread fruit. Upon dissection, you find an elongated core, of a brownish color, with delicate fibres radiating in every direction towards the rind. When the fruit has attained perfect ripeness upon the tree, it is of a pulpy nature, of which the natives prepare a fermented beverage, that they are very fond of, although it produces violent pains in every limb, particularly in the morning. The fruit is usually plucked from the tree, before it is fully ripe, and then its internal aspect is like that of a slightly wilted turnip. To exhibit its qualities in perfection, it must be baked under ground in the native style, and is then far preferable to being baked in the ovens of foreigners. Prepared in this way, it is of a pure white, mealy appearance, reminding one most


strongly of the richest boiled chestnut; more nearly than any thing else occurring to my mind. While we lay at Tahiti, I acquired a very great fondness for the breadfruit, which seemed to me the most delightful esculent I had ever tasted.

      The native style of preparing the bread-fruit, is similar to their method of cooking meats of various kinds. A swine that is to be cooked whole, is carefully cleansed, and then instead of the aromatics, which our experienced cook would introduce within his carcass, he receives a stuffing of hot stones, whose effect is accelerated by his swineship being carefully laid upon a bed of red hot stones in a cavity in the ground. Some broad leaves are then spread over him, with a layer of hot stones, and he is allowed to repose undisturbed for some time, when he is roused from his quiescent condition, with a high fever heat upon him, but at the same time in a state of profuse perspiration. This method of preparing meats, which, en passant, is in general use throughout the Pacific islands, is called in the Hawaiian dialect, a luau (luow,) derived from the name of the herbs frequently cooked along with them. It preserves the flavor and juices of the animal in a much higher degree of perfection than the process of roasting before the fire.

      While we lay at Papeete, I had frequent opportunity of observing the regularity with which the tide arrived at its flood every day at twelve o'clock, and at its lowest point at six o'clock, morning and evening. It is well known that high tide occurs in every other part of the world, not at the same hour, but about fifty minutes later, and is principally owing to the attraction of the moon, which arrives upon the meridian, later by this time every day, about three hours before high tide; this phenomenon therefore, presents a strange anomaly,

   TIDE. 311

which has not met with a satisfactory explanation. "Among the natural phenomena of the south sea islands, the tide is one of the most singular, and presents as great an exception to the theory of Sir Isaac Newton, as is to be met with in any part of the world. The rising and falling of the waters of the ocean appear, if influenced at all, to be so in a very small degree only by the moon. The height to which the water rises, varies but a few inches during the whole year, and at no time, is it elevated more than a foot or a foot and a half. The sea, however, often rises to an unusual height, but this appears to be the effect of strong winds blowing for some time from one quarter, or the heavy swells of the sea, which flow from different directions, and prevail equally during the time of high and low water. But the most remarkable circumstance is the uniformity of the time of high and low water, during the year, whatever be the age or the situation of the moon, the water is lowest at six in the morning, and highest at noon and midnight. This is so well established, that the time of night is marked by the ebbing and flowing of the tide, and in all the islands, the term for high water and for midnight is the same." (Ellis's Polynesian Researches.)



Retrospect of Tahiti – Additional passengers – Accident – Snow – Iceberg – Religion of sailors – Bird catching.

      Friday, September 25th., we weighed anchor at Papeete bay, and with a lowering unpropitious sky, that had been deluging us with rain all morning, and had dyed the bay of a bright yellow, from the muddy waters of the swollen streams, we moved slowly out of the harbor, and were soon tossing upon the ocean, "deep, dark, rough and shoreless" to us, for many a month.

      In taking a retrospect of Tahiti, it appears to me, from the observations which I have endeavored to make with candor, that the "queen of the Pacific," a proud title that has been given to this island, is far behind any of the Hawaiian islands, in industry, knowledge of government, and religion. The English missionaries will themselves allow this; and although many of them have been stationed upon this and the adjoining islands for more than forty years, yet their success, when compared with what has been accomplished by the missionaries at the Hawaiian islands, is by no means equal to what one would naturally expect. I do not say this in condemnation of the English missionaries, for the materials upon which their efforts have been expended, may have been of an unfavourable character, or they may


not have adopted the best possible course; and perhaps, they have not infused that energy into their operations, which is so characteristic of missionary movements at the Hawaiian islands. The number of English missionaries at Tahiti, bears a greaer proportion to the population, than that of the American missionaries at the Hawaiian islands to the population of those islands. I had an opportunity of seeing and conversing with several of them, as an unusual number had convened at Papeete, to try one of their corps, who had been guilty of some improprieties while acting as missionary at one of the adjacent islands. Some of them are far advanced in life, and have spent about forty years upon these islands; but one or two are very juvenile in their appearance. They all are good men, I doubt not, and are devoting themselves to the welfare of those among whom their lives are to be spent; for there is nothing in the life of a missionary that is inviting, except as it calls into exercise the promptings of disinterested benevolence. Although schools have been established at Tahiti, and the adjoining islands, for the instruction of the natives, yet there was nothing that I could discover, indicating that improvement and intelligence that is so apparent at Honolulu, and at many other places in the Hawaiian group. The American missionaries have been far more enterprising in printing tracts and books in the native language than their brethren in the south Pacific, who have published nothing upon any scientific subject, and had but just received a complete edition of the scriptures in the Tahitian language, a day or two afteer we arrived at Papeete. In reviewing the labors of the Hawaiian missionaries, and in comparing what they have done, with what has been accomplished in other islands of the Pacific, we cannot feel too high an admiration for the


glorious results, which the representations of impartial tourists and the missionary periodicals are daily presenting to the public.

      October, 5. At Tahiti we made some additions to our ship's company, which restored the original number of passengers aboard the Flora. The poor man, who cut his throat soon after leaving Honolulu, and exhibited other marks of insanity, became so very troublesome, that he was discharged from the ship, and placed under the care of the United States Consul at Papeete, where he will probably end his days. A gentleman by the name of Hall joined us at Tahiti, a man of intelligence and pleasing manners. He was formerly master of several vessels in succession, and has made repeated voyages to Russia and to various places in the East Indies, some accounts of which that he has given me in the dog-watches of the evening, have been highly interesting. Captain S., received on board the mate of the Alexander Mansfield, the condemned whale ship, who acts as one of the officers, a very important acquisition, as one of our officers is disabled, and has been so for some time past. It is a very pleasant thing for me to have a brother whaler for a shipmate; for although I dissolved my connection with whaling life, upon leaving the North America, yet I shall never cease feeling an interest in that noble service, for which I entertain such a high degree of admiration. Mr. Gan – our new officer – while engaged in "cutting in" a whale, several years since, was walking across the deck, when he was knocked down by a piece of blubber, that suddenly swung on board, which fractured his leg, and rendered him lame for life. He told me, that frequently when he has been at the head of the boat, attending to the gear, which was fast to a running whale, he has been carried


under, and almost strangled by the violent pitching of the boat in her impetuous course. Just before we arrived at Tahiti, an American ship had touched there, having met with the loss of her captain, a short time previously, who was killed by a stroke from the flukes of a whale to which he was fast, or had struck with the harpoon.

      After leaving Tahiti, we doubled around the island of Eimeo, or Morea, as it is called by the natives, which is in plain sight from Papeete. Its shores are thickly set with cocoa-nut trees, and in its general aspect it is not dissimilar to Tahiti. For the two or three succeeding days, the weather was cold and rainy, and one or two unpleasant scenes attendant upon the commencement of a voyage – for instance, sea-sickness, were enacted over again, by one or two of the passengers.

      October, 7. During the last night, a strong breeze brought the ship down to double reefed top-sails, when about four o'clock this morning, the main-top-sail yard snapped in two, but the sail was taken in, and secured, until four or five hours afterwards, when the wind died away into a calm, and the broken spar was sent down. It was found to be defective, owing to its being perforated by an iron eye bolt, to which the chain tie was attached, instead of to a band going around the yard. This accident was of no material importance in our present situation, but had it occurred while we were endeavoring to beat off a lee shore, it would have endangered the loss of the ship. By the middle of the afternoon, a new top-sail yard was sent up, and adjusted to its proper place by the perils, braces and lifts. The topsail was then bent upon it, with rope hands ("robeins") and earings; then sheeted home, and hoisted, and we were ready to take advan-


tage of the fair wind, which sprang up just as we were ready for it.

      To-day we saw albatrosses for the first time, although in the low latitude of 31° south, but were unsuccessful in capturing any of them although they snapped off from the line, and swallowed several large fish hooks for us, and gorged themselves with the salt pork, with which they were baited.

      Monday, October 26. Last night, a strong breeze on our starboard quarter, blew up into a gale of wind by morning, and we ran before it under double reefed top-sails, which was more than most ships could have carried in safety on such an occassion. Latitude 53° 47' longitude 96° 53'.

      Tuesday, October 27. A slight fall of snow excited great delight in our tropical friends, the more advanced of whom, hailed its appearance as that of an old acquaintance. It was highly amusing to see with what enthusiasm the children ran about the deck, collecting the falling flakes, delighted with the novel properties of a substance they had heard so much about, and wondering at its benumbing effect upon their hands. The theremometer stood not far from 32°, a temperature felt more severely at sea, than a fall of the thermometer eight or ten degrees lower, would be on land. The missionary families, as I had anticipated, were very meagerly supplied with suitable articles of clothing for a temperature of which they had but little idea until they encountered it; and the elder members, after a residence of twenty years in a tropical climate, had apparently almost forgotten the nature of cold weather. We had no fire on board, except what was in the cook's galley, and the clothing of some of the children was entirely inadequate

   ICEBERGS. 317

to the temperature of the weather, especially as they were laboring under the hooping cough. Many of the passengers, to keep warm, resort to their berths, and one or two of the ladies are provided with slabs of soapstone, whose power of retaining heat is rendered available in keeping their feet warm.

      Sunday, November 1. Latitude 56° 47'. Longitude 77° 00'. From the latitude and longitude, it will be seen that the ship is not far from Cape Horn. Last night, a heavy gale of wind sprang up from the westward, with frequent squalls of snow and sleet. This morning, while reefing the fore-topsail, a man fell from the extremity of the yard, and was caught in the studding-sail gear, which was fortunately rove at the time; otherwise, he must have been dashed to pieces by falling upon deck, or have been lost overboard, for no boat could survive such a sea. The conflict of the elements was a sight that could not but inspire the beholder with awe. We were flying before the gale, but the mighty surges, swollen with accumulated waters, gather in dread array in our rear, then sweep onward in pursuit, with increasing momentum, until towering above us with their foaming crests, they seem ready to engulf us; but the gallant ship, with her tafferel thrown high into the air, plunges headlong down the watery steep, then mounts upon the heaving sea, that is piling up under her bow. "An iceberg in sight!" is suddenly echoed throughout the ship, and every one hurries upon deck to view the interesting but unwelcome visitant. Through the gloom of the driving snow-storm, the majestic ice island is descried, and its craggy peaks of a light green color tipped with white, are distinctly seen rising in stateliness above the angry waters. It had a wild dreary aspect, comporting well with the hoarse roar of the winds and the raging sea,


and reminded us of the forlorn regions southward of us, in which it had its origin – whence it was detached, and now, impelled by the ocean storms, it is wasted away until not a vestige of it shall remain. The height of the iceberg was estimated to be not far from three hundred feet; if this conjecture is correct, then, as the specific gravity of ice compared with water, is as eight to nine, the depth of the ice island below the surface of the water, was two thousand four hundred feet, or not far from half a mile. Whenever a fragment is detached at this great depth – a not unfrequent occurrence – its buoyancy causes it to shoot upward with very great velocity, and many ships sailing in the neighborhood of icebergs, have filled with water and foundered, from an encounter with one of those masses, which are often of very great dimensions. A foggy atmosphere very frequently invests these ice islands, and the navigator, who has been accustomed to traverse those seas where they are prevalent, takes warning of their proximity, by being suddenly enveloped in a cold fog. On this account, and because their position can never be foreseen by calculation, as that of rocks laid down upon the chart, they are objects of peculiar dread to the mariner. In a gale of wind, where they are numerous, a ship is exposed to the extreme danger of being crushed by their collision. Many vessels bound around Cape Horn, that have never been heard from are supposed to have been lost among ice islands, whose presence in this region greatly enhances the danger. During the last night, several other icebergs were passed, as was supposed from the sudden and intense cold experienced at different intervals by the watch upon deck, and on one occasion, about midnight, one of the passengers perceived so sudden an alteration in the temperature, that he went upon deck to ascertain


the cause. All night long we were propelled before the blast, blinded by the snow, which shrouded our course in darkness, and winding our way amid dangers, the very thought of which is appalling to the voyager. Soon after this iceberg was seen, the foresail was taken in, and the ship under a close reefed main-top-sail bounded along over the swollen waters.

      Thursday, November 5. The gale of wind we encountered last Sunday, abated towards night, and with a strong breeze after us, in a day or two we doubled Cape Horn, and were out of all danger of icebergs.

      The man who fell from the fore-top-sail-yard arm, and so narrowly escaped destruction, was somewhat sobered by it at first, and continued so during the day, especially as the duties he and the other seamen were called upon to execute during the storm, were too serious and uncomfortable to admit of much jesting over that occurrence. The next day, however, he was as light hearted as any of them, and as would be the case with most sailors who think it effeminate to heed an escape from death, to which they are constantly exposed, the recollection of his hazardous situation was almost entirely effaced. Though compelled to undergo the severest toils and privations, which almost always terminate his life before he has reached its natural limit, yet the sailor is a light-hearted, careless fellow, forgetting all sober reflections when danger has passed by. His religious notions are often a species of universalism, and he believes that by a faithful discharge of his duties aboard ship, and by open handed generosity to his shipmates, all that is required of him, will be accomplished. Voyaging on the deep, where he sees so many exhibitions of Almighty power, he feels that he requires in a peculiar manner, the protection of that Supreme Being, who directs the ele-


ments at his will, and he is led to imagine that some kind spirit is watching over him from above, to speed him on his way, and he loves to think,

                                   "There's a sweet little cherub who sits up aloft
                                    To keep a watch o'er the life of poor Jack."
                                                                       MARINER'S SONG-BOOK

In the terrific hurricane, or in impending shipwreck, when death seems near, even the most thoughtless sailors are brought to sober reflection upon their lives, and the most earnest professions of repentance are made, and perhaps they supplicate for mercy for themselves. But as danger passes away, their serious impressions too often evaporate, or are sometimes succeeded by the profane jest upon their fears, which prompted them to seek help from on high. An instance in illustration, came to my knowledge some time since. A ship had just encountered a terrific gale of wind, in which she had been thrown on her beam ends, and was in imminent peril of being lost. While in this awful situation, some of the crew were paralyzed by fear, but the greater part were loudly imploring help from on high, and mercy upon themselves, in prospect of the doom which seemed to be impending over them. Meanwhile, the masts were cut away, and the ship righted again; and not long afterwards, the storm abated, when jury masts were rigged, and the ship continued on her course. But with the storm, the religious impressions of the crew had disappeared, or were considered as farcical, and legitimate subjects for merriment. "By –," some one more hardened than the rest exclaimed, "how Bill did pray; he walked it off at the rate of eight knots an hour, just as if he had been a parson all his life." "Yes, but I only wanted to see how big fools I could make of the rest of you, that were scared almost to death," retorts his opponent. "Scared to


death! You'd better 'bout ship on that tack, maty, for didn't we all see you with your teeth chattering together so that you couldn't speak the truth, if you had tried, and shaking all over like a top-sail shivering in the wind–"

      It does not seem strange that those whose lives depend upon the capricious elements, should be thoughtless upon the uncertain tenure of their lives, when we reflect, that the soldier in active service, when most familiar with death is more than ever reckless; and, therefore, sailors, except when overpowered with terror at the approach of death, are careless and indifferent about the dangers by which they are surrounded.

                                               "–"The loud tempests raise
                                    The waters, and repentance for past sinning
                                    In all, who o'er the great deep take their ways.
                                    They vow to amend their lives, and yet they don't
                                    Because if drowned they can't – is saved they wont."

      Saturday, Nov. 7. A beautiful and mild day, followed by a calm towards sunset. The great number of birds around the ship, induced me to make the attempt to catch some of them, which was successful; a Monimoke – as this bird is called by the whalers – and a dozen speckled Haglets, or Cape-pigeons, as they are commonly, but improperly, named, were captured. The Monimoke very nearly resembles the Albatross in shape, and, although but two-thirds the size of the latter, is a much finer bird in appearance. The variety is white, having upon the head, and particularly upon the neck, a most delicate, and pure white plumage, which is relieved by the dark lead color of his back and wings. His eye is of a most brilliant black, just above which, there is a narrow fringe of delicate black feathers, which gives it much more expression than it would otherwise


have. After all the passengers had embraced the opportunity of studying the captive, it was proposed to liberate him, and I was appointed to carry the proposition into effect. A speech was called for on the occasion, and mounting upon the capstan with the bird in hand, I pronounced his release in the true Latin formulary – alias, conferred on him his degree: "Pro auctoritate mihi commissa," &c. He was then thrown high into the air, but did not embrace the opportunity of taking to wing, and fell down upon deck, owing, as was suggested, to his partial acquaintance with the Latin dialect, and from his ignorance of our intention to liberate him. Descending from the capstan, and addressing him in the English tongue, "Over board with you! he apprehended our purposes, as they were rendered more clear by elevating him above the rail and giving him a tilt overboard.

      The speckled Haglet is a bird about the size of our large pigeon. His delicate webb feet and bill, are of jet black color, and the latter is formed with a tubular nostril protruding beyond the outline of the bill, like that of the Petrel, or "Mother Cary's chicken," although not quite so prominent. His eye is of a brilliant jet black, and his plumage is of a dark brown color, speckled with numerous white feathers, by which he is distinguished from another variety of the Haglet.

      A pin turned round about a quarter of an inch, baited with salt pork, and attached to a thread with a cork for a float, is all the apparatus necessary for the capture of these birds. There were great numbers of them about, and their loud chatterings, and the eagerness with which they took hold of the bait, even diving under water to the depth of one or two feet, indicated their vo-


racity. The plumage of these aquatic birds is so admirably adapted to the element from which they obtain their subsistence, that it always continues dry, even after repeated dives below the surface. The speckled Haglet is a beautiful bird, but like all other aquatic birds of this region, emits a most disgusting effluvium from its mouth when captured.



A merchant ship – Long-boat– Crew – Gale – Porpoise – Pampero – Dolphin – Waterspout – Protracted head-winds – Ominous character of the Flora – Employment of time.

      As the Flora is a merchant vessel, she is not provided with many of those appendages that are peculiar to whalers. Aloft, there is no difference, with the exception of top-gallant-cross-trees, which are wanting in the former. Upon deck the principal difference consists, in a long-boat in place of the try-works in which the oil is prepared, which are located between the fore and main masts. The long-boat is a large bulky craft, intended as a lighter in transporting merchandize from ship to shore, while the vessel is at anchor, and built very strong, but with no reference to any other quality but capacity. When not in use she is firmly secured in a framework upon deck, and is generally housed over, forming a very convenient receptacle for swine and other animals, as is the case in the present instance. Several dingy-looking hen-coops ranged along upon top, with an array of water casks upon each side, complete the appearance of the long-boat and its appendages. In a whaleship, the bearers – spars crossing the quarter deck at the height of nine or ten feet,


and supporting the spare boats, which are lashed upon them, bottom upwards – give to this part of the ship a very different aspect from that of a merchant vessel. At the tafferel, hangs a yawl, a light boat rowed with four oars, and a very convenient little craft for gliding around upon the still waters of a bay, but a miserable structure for venturing out upon the ocean billows. It is supported from two timbers, four or five feet long, projecting beyond the rail, called "davits," very unlike in shape and position, the long curved timbers, upon which the boats of a whale ship are elevated upon each side of the vessel.

      Merchant ships almost always carry more sail than whalers, which have no object in hurrying forward on their course with any more rapidity, than is necessary in hunting their game. The Flora sometimes spreads six studding sails when the wind is directly aft, and some ships display eight or more at times. When a ship is seen coming down before the wind, with lower, topmast, top-gallant, and royal studding sails run out upon both sides, and with lofty sky-sails set above this cloud of canvass, she presents a most majestic and beautiful appearance.

      The Flora carries eleven men "all told," for her complement – captain and two officers, cook and steward, and seven men before the mast – a number that appeared to me entirely inadequate for a vessel of her tonnage, as I had but a short time before left the North America, where we had thirty one men "all told," for our complement, and upon one or two occasions, when we were suddenly struck by heavy squalls, these were not found to be too numerous. No occurrence of this kind has as yet taken place, an event very much to be deprecated, as the sails could not be taken in with the expedition so


imperatively necessary on such occasions. An approaching squall is almost always an object of solicitude to the navigator, from the uncertainty of foretelling its effects. A light mist may be seen gathering to windward, that is hardly worth noticing, but in its folds it conceals the tornado, that may carry away the masts before its proximity is discovered; and again it may rise in threatening array, with angry clouds, and yet pass harmlessly by. Our crew is composed of representatives from a variety of nations. There are two Swedes, a Dane, a Fin, an Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotchman. They are excellent sailors, and I am very much pleased with their appearance. Of the invalid sailors, that were put on board at Papeete, by the United States Consul, only one is able to be upon duty all the time. The Flora is not well found in rigging, for much of the running rigging is defective, and not of sufficient length, and the tackles are of the worst description, a deficiency which struck me the more forcibly, from the excellent condition of every thing of this description on board the North America; but there are no ships in the world that are fitted out with more liberality than whale ships, and the Flora may not be very inferior to the average of merchant vessels. The discipline of these two ships is very different; for a familiarity often takes place between officers and men aboard this ship, that would never have been tolerated in the least aboard the North America. Where the seamen endeavor to modify an order they receive from their officers, by suggesting some improvement, there can be no very high degree of discipline observed. This is not the case in the generality of merchant ships; for in the merchant as well as in the whaling service, the degree of discipline observed depends almost entirely upon the will and energy of the master.

   GALE. 327

      Some degree of rivalry exists between the whaling and merchant services. The whaler in his career of adventure, looks with contempt upon the dullness and monotony of the merchant service, and the merchantman, as he is ploughing his way over the deep under a cloud of canvass, disdains the dirty "blubber hunter," as he invidiously denominates his rival, who is moving slowly under diminished sail, and quietly pursuing his avocations. I have conversed with many persons who have been engaged in both services, and they have invariably given their preference to a whaling life. A gentleman of my acquaintance, who was master of several merchant ships in succession, many years since, told me, that if he was a young man, upon the eve of following the seas for life, he should by all means enter the whaling business.

      Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, November 8, 9, 10. Foggy, rainy weather, with light and baffling winds for some time past. On Monday night last, it commenced blowing hard from the north-east preceded by a great fall in the barometer, which stood at 28° 37', at the commencement of the gale. The ship was "hove to," heading north north-west with the wind and sea increasing during the succeeding day. At night the aspect of the gale was surpassingly grand. "Storm howled to storm," careering through the rigging in one continued sullen roar, while the ominous gloom diffused around, and the angry waves "upraised in hills of fluctuating fire," flashing amid the surrounding darkness, impressed an awful grandeur upon the scene.

      Whenever a gale of wind in these latitudes comes from the north, it usually veers towards the west, then to the south-west, from which quarter it often bursts forth with increased violence. During one of these


gales, it is not an unusual occurrence, for the wind to shift suddenly to the south-west, exposing a ship to the danger of being taken aback, if she is heading towards the west, and driving her stern first against the heavy sea from the north, a situation of extreme peril. It is hence much safer for a ship to be hove to, on the other tack; for a sudden change of wind is received on her quarter, and all that is necessary is to check in the weather braces. During the gale, I amused myself with catching speckled-haglets, as a kind of relief to our uncomfortable situation, and was very successful. The ship's deck has been leaky for some time, and the passengers in the steerage bitterly complain of beds and clothes saturated with water. No doubt, the constant dampness of the state-rooms has been the cause of the violent coughs with which the children are all afflicted. Notwithstanding the grandeur and display of power in a storm at sea, a man who is at all rational, ought to be satisfied with one exhibition. Upon deck the raging storm holds undisputed sway, while below, the dismal gloom and humid exhalations from every thing, render the scene scarcely more inviting. In addition to this, the violent pitching of the ship, and the groaning of the bulkheads, forbid all attempts at seeking repose. And besides, let the rattling of the plates at the table be taken into the account, or, what is worse, the reception of your dinner upon your outward man – and, most respected reader, you have an exhibition of what a glorious thing a storm at sea is, when viewed behind the scenes.

      In the evening, Capt. Hall and I were suddenly alarmed by a crash upon deck just over our heads. We ran up to ascertain the cause, when we found that one of the wheel ropes had given way, and that the tiller had been forced up against the round house, carrying away a piece

   PORPOISE. 329

of it, by a sea striking against the rudder. The relieving-tackles were instantly hooked on, and the rope was soon repaired. An accident like this occurring under some circumstances – while scudding before a gale of wind for instance – might be attended with disastrous consequences. During the night – Tuesday – a rise of the barometer indicated that the violence of the gale was over, and by the next morning, it had materially abated. Lat. 51° S. Long. 45° W.

      Friday, Nov. 13. A large porpoise, of a species peculiar to Cape Horn and these regions, was captured this morning. This variety has but a short snout, which is a characteristic distinguishing it from the common kinds. His exterior is nearly black, with a broad, longitudinal stripe of a milk white color, wider towards the extremities than in the middle. The mouths of all varieties of the porpoise, have some resemblance to that of a swine, from which circumstance, sailors have assigned a rather fanciful origin to this class of cetacea. According to an opinion prevalent among them, when the evil spirits were cast out of the unfortunate man near the lake of Gennessaret, and entered into the herd of swine, "the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea," and were changed into porpoises, which also accounts for the unusual degree of activity, and the gambols displayed by these animals. This theory would be rather more plausible, if the miracle had not taken place upon the margin of an inland lake, which had no communication with the sea.

      Saturday, Nov. 14. With some of the blubber of the porpoise attached to a large fish hook, I succeeded in capturing six Albatrosses, besides losing many more by the breaking of the line or the hook, and blistering my hands. The capture of these birds was a source of great amuse-


ment to the passengers, who provided themselves amply with their beautiful feathers, and were by no means neglectful of the fricassee, in which form these Albatrosses made their appearance upon the table.

      Tuesday, Nov. 17. During the last night, a heavy gale of wind sprang up from the west, accompanied with frequent and violent squalls, surpassing everything of the kind we have yet experienced. The sea was not so high however as it has been on former occasions, and our situation was by no means as uncomfortable. The winds may howl in fury through the rigging, and yet, opposed by the powerful cordage and spars, may do no injury; but the impetuosity of the surges, as they accumulate during a heavy and continued gale of wind is irresistible, and the strain upon a ship is very great upon such occasions. The latitude of the ship to-day, is 43° 27', not far from that of the mouth of the river De la Plata, in passing which, ships not unfrequently encounter tremendous gales, lasting from six to eight hours, which have been known to reduce a vessel to a complete wreck. The vast pampas, or plains upon the banks of this river, extending far inland, disturb the equilibrium of the atmosphere, and give origin to these pamperos or hurricanes which are felt far out to sea.

                                   "Quippe ferant rapidi secum, verrantque per auras."

As for myself, my situation was uncomfortable enough, as I passed a sleepless night, listening to the roar of the gale, and holding myself in my berth, which, with reflecting upon the serious consequences likely to happen to my person in the event of falling out, kept me very effectually awake. What rendered my anticipations of such a casualty the more unfavorable to repose, was that there were two boxes in my state-room, separated from one an-


other by a space of two feet or more, and if I had been pitched out of my berth upon their sharp edges, I should certainly have been put hors du combat. The board that in stormy weather, passed across my berth for a defence, had been removed a day or two previous, and nothing would have prevented me from rolling out, if I had fallen asleep.

      Wednesday, Nov. 18. I find in my note book the following brief memoranda. "Constant rainy, foggy and blowy weather for more than two weeks past – ship leaky in her upper works – forecastle water-logged, and men sick." As regards the weather, the only qualifying adjectives applicable to it, are bad, worse, worst. With calms and fogs, cold rains and stormy winds, our situation may be readily conceived to be of a very trying nature to all on board. Our state-rooms are all wet, and the forecastle is pronounced to be afloat. Several of the men, in consequence, have been taken sick, and off duty, at a time when the services of every one were almost indispensable. Violent colds have also been very prevalent among the passengers.

      To diversify the scene in some degree, I amused myself in catching birds, among which were several specimens of the black Monimoke, a species I have not yet described. The black Monimoke is somewhat smaller than the white variety, and is about the size of a common goose. His plumage is of a dark brown, glossy appearance, and his bill and feet are of a jet black color. His jet black eye is set in bold relief, by a delicate fringe of white feathers immediately over it, and his bill is adorned with a white cord running along the lower part of it.

      Sunday, Nov. 22. Our Meteorological table still continues the same, with the agreeable reflection of having


made but little Northing for some time past. Lat. 32° 47' S., Long. 35° 46' W.

      Tuesday, Dec. 1. A mild and beautiful day with scarcely any wind, a most agreeable relief from the gloomy atmosphere that has hung over us for so long a time. From a school of small dolphins that visited the ship, I succeeded in capturing two, each of which measured about two feet in length. The Dolphin is regarded as one of the most beautiful of the finny tribe, not only for his elegance of shape, but from his possessing the chameleon-like property of changing his colors at will. He rarely exceeds five feet in length, and he is very thin in proportion to his breadth. The head of those of the largest size has some resemblance in outline to that of the sperm whale, although the under jaw does not differ materially from that of the common varieties of fish. Upon his back commencing just above the gills, and extending almost to his tail, is a thin membrane stretching between slender bones, forming a beautiful crest, which together with his back, is of a deep blue or purple color. His ventral fin resembles a delicate fringe, and is tipped with white. His tail is long and slender, and his entire shape fits him for great activity and velocity of motion. While the "North America" was in Panama bay, we were daily visited by numbers of dolphins, and I frequently saw them leap out of water ten or twelve times in rapid succession, as far as twenty or twenty-five feet at each time. With his dorsal crest erect, and all his fins distended in the eagerness of pursuit after flying fish, and his hues changing from blue to green, then to yellow, in all the intermediate shades – then with bands of a brown color encircling him, or stripes running longitudinally – and all these changes taking place like the flash of the Aurora Borealis – the dolphin is entitled to be considered one of


the most beautiful and interesting of the finny tribe. The changing hues of the dying dolphin have always been celebrated. The various shades of blue are the predominating colors, which are rapidly exchanged for delicate tinges of green and yellow, as the agonies of death are convulsing his frame.

      Wednesday, Dec. 9. This morning, we were called upon deck to view a waterspout. The weather had been lowering with light winds, and from an extended stratum of dark clouds, drawn along at an elevation of about twenty-five degrees, the waterspout or whirlwind was seen forming. It extended downwards in a well defined dark column, turned a little to the right, with a whitish streak in the middle of it, and assuming different attitudes until it disappeared. It never extended much more than half way to the horizon but when at its greatest elongation, we could perceive a light vapor rising from the sea immediately underneath. The distance from us was undoubtedly very great.

      Tuesday, Dec. 22. The following items I extract from my note book. "Dec. 13. Yesterday, gale of wind from the N.E. – Ship reefed down. To-day, wind from the north from which quarter it has been blowing steadily for the last twenty days, which has, of course, almost entirely prevented our making any progress. Dec. 15. Spoke a Swedish brig, the "Oberon," from Rio de Janeiro – light baffling weather – provisions almost gone. Dec. 20. Passed a barque on opposite tacks, within a few feet of him – spoke him, but he manifested a most determined silence – no colors were run up." A summary of the days in which we have experienced head winds, exhibits the lamentable truth, that from Nov. 27 to Dec. 22, a period of twenty-five days, we have encountered a constant succession of head winds, with but rare exceptions, and


those of very short continuance. On Nov. 27th our latitude was 27° 56' S.; and on Dec. 22, it was 23° 44' showing an advance of only 4° 12', or two hundred and fifty two miles in twenty-five days, which gives us an average of ten miles per day. The Flora is a most miserable sailer, and for beating to windward, a tub with a large pocket handkerchief for a sail could do almost as well. The vessels mentioned above, out-sailed us to such a degree, that although they were first seen upon our lee quarter, yet they worked up to windward, and were out of sight of us before the next day. Such a superiority is very humiliating; for the feelings of the voyager become intimately associated with his ship, and the character she exhibits is an object of no ordinary interest to him. It reminds us of the commencement of the fable of "The Hare and the Tortoise," in which the Hare is soon out of sight leaving the tortoise lagging on behind. It would be some consolation if we could entertain the animating hope declared at the end of the fable, that "slow and steady wins the race;" but by numerous irresistible proofs, we have arrived at the conclusion, that the Flora is an anomaly, setting all established rules at defiance. Standing east on one tack, and west on the other, we can hardly expect to make much northing. To do this craft justice, however, she possesses one desirable quality, in being very easy in a gale of wind, and safe, so long as she has plenty of sea room.

      The weather, for the most part, is now delightful, and were it not that we are short of provisions, and have been entirely destitute of vegetables for many weeks, it would make no material difference with me to be detained here much longer. Some of the passengers are absolutely suffering for the want of vegetables, and there is but little prospect of relief unless the wind changes, which will,


of course be in our favor. It is some consolation, when one is reduced to the lowest state of misfortune, to know that any change in his circumstances must necessarily prove an alleviation. Those that are shipwrecked and meet with the entire loss of their wardrobes, are admirably prepared for the latest fashions.

      The Swedish brig we spoke the other day, was a beautiful clipper built vessel, and Oberon himself, king of the fairies, would have felt honored by having his name adopted by so elegant a craft. She was from Rio de Janeiro, bound to Falmouth, England, with English property on board, which was owing to a panic among the English at that city, from a report that has just reached them, that France and England were on the eve of war; and they therefore entrusted their property to a neutral flag. This intelligence was highly interesting to us, as we were liable to be intercepted and annoyed by cruizers of either nation, and afforded an ample fund for conversation for some time.

      Tuesday, Dec. 22. After many most melancholy suppers upon hard bread and molasses (our butter disappeared more than two months since) a note of joy was heard throughout the ship, which diffused a smile of gladness over every face. A barrel of flour was found, which had eluded the strict search that had been made for it, and it was with feelings of thanksgiving that we saw it committed to the hands of the steward.

      Wednesday, Dec. 23. If "woes cluster," it is perhaps equally true that tokens of prosperity are not solitary visitors. It is so with us; for the ship is heading north with a fine breeze from the eastward, probably the first impulse of the S.E. trade wind.

      It may not prove uninteresting to take a sketch of the manner in which we spend our time. In the morning,


before eight o'clock – the breakfast hour – the missionary families hold prayer in their respective state-rooms. As to myself, I seize upon this time, as the most quiet period from sunrise to sunset, for reading or writing. At half past seven o'clock, commence the percussion of jumping ropes, squealing, and other indications that "this is the age of oddities let loose." From ten to twelve, I read in some favorite author to Mrs. Bingham upon deck, who is usually joined by the young ladies and others. From twelve o'clock M. until dinner is announced, we are again entertained by a prelude in clicker clack! clicker clak! clicker clack! from half a dozen jumping ropes, which although they are stringed instruments are of the most intolerable character. We dine at one o'clock, but are glad to dispatch our viands as soon as possible, to make our escape from the hard and uncomfortable benches upon which we sit, and also from the noise of the creaking bulkheads, which is so loud as almost to forbid conversation. After dinner, we take a stroll upon deck, not to work off its effects,however, for we are never guilty of the sin of satiety, although it may be questioned how far our abstemiousness is a virtue. At four o'clock the sounds from the deck announce that the juvenile part of the Flora's passengers is on the qui vive, and these are unceasing for the hour and half that succeeds. After supper, we promenade the deck; some walking arm-in-arm with the ladies, and entertaining them with the latest news, or cultivating scandal, which is always prolific when there is a vacuity of sense or of news, as is the case in the present instance. As for myself, I prefer my solitary walk upon deck; or leaning over the rail, or mounting up the rigging, to review what I may have heard or read worth remembering – to recall the happy hours of days long since passed away, and to


picture to myself the lineaments of my own dear home.

                                   "Oh! what can sanctify the joys of home
                                    Like hope's gay glance from Ocean's troubled foam."


At eight o'clock, public prayers are held in the steerage, and this interesting exercise is usually attended by all, except the officer of the watch and the man at the wheel. Upon the Sabbath, the Rev. Mr. Bingham delivers a discourse, both in the morning and in the afternoon, which is often accompanied with earnest appeals to the seamen. The two or three hours succeeding evening prayers are devoted by myself to study, or reading, and they are the most favorable as far as respects quiet, of the twenty four hours. At half past ten, the gentlemen take a bath upon deck, and we then retire to our berths, most delightfully refreshed, and prepared for uninterrupted slumbers.



Stores of the flora – Pernambuco – Harbor.

      Tuesday, December 29. It has already been intimated that we are almost out of provisions, and although the subject of eating and drinking may have a very unpoetical aspect, yet to the voyager, whose supplies are almost exhausted, and himself at a distance from any port where they may be procured, it becomes an object of prominent interest. Such is our situation, and as we hear that one article after another is entirely exhausted, and perceive that some of the passengers are suffering from the unpalatable diet to which they are subjected, we cannot but feel an anxiety about the meagre condition of our stores, which constitutes the principal theme of conversation. In approaching this subject, it is not in a spirit of censoriousness, nor with a design of attributing our illiberal fare to any thing but miscalculation.

      From the list of stores for the barque Flora, I might easily make a selection which would convince any one acquainted with the subject, that the most economical calculations were made in fitting out this ship with twenty passengers for a voyage of five months, or at best, that extremely inadequate views of human wants were entertained. The closeness manifested in the supply of some of the items, would appear ludicrous to any one, unless like ourselves, he had to bear the consequen-


ces. In our table furniture, no allowance was made for breakage, a very natural occurrence, particularly at sea, and hence we find ourselves reduced to three tumblers out of the dozen put on board. During our passage from Honolulu to Tahiti, our table exhibited itself to far greater advantage than it has done at any subsequent time. Even then, the rigid economy with which our viands were prepared, would have amused one accustomed to any degree of liberality. For the passengers, upon all occasions, swept off every thing from the dishes, so that not a fragment should be left. As an instance of the inadequate supply of provisions for so long a voyage, I will mention, that two barrels of flour were consumed during our passage of thirty-eight days, which constituted two fifths of all we had on board, for a voyage of five months. Although our provisions were more varied and better prepared than they were aboard the North America, yet in that good old ship, our food was always wholesome, and in abundance, so that we always left a few specimens of what was brought upon the table. At Tahiti, two barrels of flour were added to what remained; a most ample allowance one would suppose, judging from past experience. I forbear mentioning the proportionate relations of the articles on the table to the demands of the passengers. All the steward's calculations were carried on by the rules of Reduction descending, of which he exhibited a most profound knowledge. Our meagre amount of butter was entirely exhausted before we had doubled Cape Horn, and for more than two months we have been compelled to make molasses our substitute, of which, it ought to be regarded as a matter of rejoicing, we have an abundant supply, as the ship is freighted with it. Our Sandwich Islanders have proved themselves to be Yankees, in one important


particular, long before they have reached the shores of New England. The condition of our stores may be inferred from the fact, that for several days we have subsisted upon "salt junk, and hard tack,"* with beans for variety at regular intervals; rather disheartening fare to those that are invalids, as is the case with one or two of the passengers.

      After doubling the Cape, the necessity of replenishing our stores became more and more apparent every day. The passengers, in frequent consultations with one another, in private, came to the resolution of sending a petition to Captain Spring, to run for some port, where provisions might be obtained. The resolution was carried into effect, and a manifesto containing a representation of the exhausted state of our stores and its effect upon the health of the passengers, and subscribed by the signatures of all the gentlemen, was laid before the captain. This step had however, been anticipated by Captain S., who requested the oldest of the passengers to draw up a manifesto, which, bearing the signatures of all the gentlemen, would shield him from blame in the event of any disaster happening to the ship by deviating from the course prescribed by her policy of insurance; for a policy of insurance is always vitiated by a ship in going out of the course specified by the terms of the agreement, unless compelled to do so by some providential occurrence that could not have been anticipated.

      After receiving this manifesto, Captain S. determined to put in at Pernambuco, a town upon the coast not far from Cape St. Roque, the most eastern extremity of South America, to procure a supply of provisions. For a few days past, we have had a very good run, and are now within three or four hundred miles of our destined port.

      * Salt meat and sea-bread

   LAND HO! 341

      Friday, January 1, 1841. Land ho! At four bells in the forenoon watch, the dim outline of the coast of South America, was just discernible through the gloom resting upon it, the first sight of terra-firma that has greeted our eyes since leaving Tahiti, a period of three months. If those that have been at sea but thirty days while crossing the Atlantic, a distance of only three thousand miles, and faring most sumptuously all the time aboard those splendid packet ships, congratulate themselves upon the view of something more substantial than the ever heaving waters around, we, that for thrice that period, have been traversing stormy seas, and encountered every vicissitude of weather, while experimenting in the short allowance system, have a legitimate claim to exhibit more than ordinary demonstration of rejoicing at the sight of mother earth. The children upon this occasion, came out with an entirely new set of gymnastics, and ran round the deck testifying to their joy by very expressive vociferations of delight. In about a couple of hours, we ran in to the anchorage off Pernambuco, where were three or four vessels lying at anchor in the open roadstead outside the harbor, about two miles from the town. One of these is the "Nantucket," of Nantucket, a whaler, bound home full of oil. By comparing our respective tracks, after doubling Cape Horn, we find that we were not alone in bad luck. Between the parallels of latitude 27° and 24° south, the Nantucket was detained for thirty six days by head winds, whereas the Flora made her escape from that spell bound region in thirty days. This is certainly some consolation for past misfortunes, for

                                   "Misery still delights to trace
                                    Its semblance in another's case."

      Pernambuco lies in about 8° south latitude, upon the most eastern extremity of Brazil, within two or three


days sail of Cape St. Roque. From its situation not far from the track of ships bound around the two capes, it is a place of very frequent resort for procuring supplies; and not only this, but its commercial importance is rapidly increasing. The harbor is formed by a coral reef extending in front of the town, which completely protects the shipping inside, from the fury of the sea, which accumulating before the constant trade winds, thunders upon this natural breakwater, rolling up its surges, and falling in a sheet of pure foam into the quiet waters of the bay. By the assistance of art, the reef assumes the appearance of a perpendicular wall towards the city, rising eight or ten feet above the surface of the harbor. The bay thus formed, is very similar to that of Papeete, although much more regular in its outline. The entrance is at the right hand side of the reef, and the bay runs along parallel to it, upon the extremity of which, near the entrance, stands a fine lighthouse, built up from a solid foundation of stone work, that rises to the height of twenty feet or more, of an octagonal figure. It is a variegated light, as it is called, that is, the light assumes different colors, at regular intervals of every few moments. At one time, it is of a dull crimson hue; then increasing rapidly in intensity, it shoots up into a most vivid glowing red, when it gradually wanes, until it disappears. Again it makes its appearance, but with a totally different aspect; with a green hue, it is seen slowly emerging from the surrounding darkness, until with a sickly gleam it spreads across the waters, and then in turn gives place to a golden yellow. These are the only colors displayed at present, although there were two or three more exhibited at the first establishment of the lighthouse, which are now disued from their deficiency in vividness.

      The appearance of the city is rather prepossessing as


seen from our anchorage. The whitewashed houses and spires of the numerous churches stand out in bold relief from the verdure of the adjacent country, which though low, is gently undulating, with groves of cocoanut trees extending in dense array along the coast. In all Portuguese places, ships are exposed to numerous petty vexations from the officers of the custom house, and of the health office. We were very doubtful, on our passage to Parnambuco, whether we should be allowed to land at all, as we had obtained no bill of health from Papeete, the last port we visited. "A clean bill of health," as it is called, is a certificate from one of our consuls, that the ship is entirely free from any contagious diseases, upon her leaving the port from which it is procured; this certificate is always respected, and usually insures a ship somewhat greater facilities in communicating with any port where she may arrive.

      Soon after coming to anchor, Captain S. rowed into the harbor, to ascertain whether we should be allowed to go ashore. Upon entering the harbor, he was obliged to go alongside of three Brazilian men-of-war in succession, so that each one of them might have the agreeable privilege of exhibiting his authority before the strangers. We were very glad to find upon his return to the ship, that he had been successful in his application, and that the gentlemen would have an opportunity of visiting the city upon the next day.



Katamarans – Churches – Splendor – Appearance of the population – Architecture – Fireworks – Supplies purchased – Cross the equator.

      Saturday, January 2. This morning, after some delay, we started from our floating home, to refresh ourselves with a ramble on shore, prepared for all the sights and sounds that might present themselves in a strange city. Our progress in the boat was slow and tedious enough, as may be easily imagined, when we consider that our craft was a little egg-shell of a thing, two feet too short for a ship of three hundred tons, and laden down to the water's edge, which threatened her with the danger of being swamped every moment, as there was a heavy swell heaving in towards the land, and especially, as we had a long line of large water casks towing after us. Our anticipations for the safety and condition of our respective persons were therefore by no means of a favorable character. We escaped however, without any other misfortunes than being sprinkled with salt water, and having the skirts of our coats, in one or two instances, thoroughly saturated with brine by trailing over the side of the boat, through the carelessness of their


owners. Upon entering the harbor, we were astonished at the quantity of shipping lying there. Over a hundred sail of vessels from a great variety of nations, were displaying their colors to the breeze. A steamboat, bearing the Brazilian flag, lay at anchor in the bay. She was built in England, and like all English steamers, is a black heavy looking structure.

      On the side of the bay opposite the entrance, is a wide beach, upon which great numbers of katamarans, or fishermen's craft, were hauled up. The singular form of those frail structures – for they can hardly be called boats – claims a particular notice. They consist of several logs of light wood, varying in numbers, from three to six or seven and from fifteen to twenty five feet in length, bound securely together by wooden bolts passing through them. Upon the upper side there is a strong frame work fixed amid-ships, which holds a box to contain any fish that may be captured, and also serves to keep the voyagers from rolling off. A triangular sail of great dimensions, and the broad steering oar, complete the tout ensemble of these fantastic specimens of naval architecture, in which the hardy fishermen dash over the ocean wave, with the foam and spray hiding their craft from view, so that but occasional glimpses of her are seen as she rises upon the crests of the billows, while "all hands" are standing up on the weather side, with the water up to their knees, and grasping the frame work to prevent their being washed overboard in the plunging of the katamaran. These frail craft are often seen stretching out to sea beyond the sight of land, and working to windward with astonishing velocity.

      Just back of the beach, commences a line of buildings, which follow the curvature of the shore, extends to the public quays, about which lie the principal part of


the shipping. We were met at the landing place by a gentleman connected with an American mercantile house in the city, who conducted us to his office. After attending to the putting up of our private stores – of which, warned by past experience, we had determined to have enough – we were invited to take breakfast in an upper room, where we sat down in delightful bachelor style to a glorious breakfast of steaks, ham and potatoes, spread out in a style of profusion to which our eyes had long been strangers. We had carte blanche given us to call for any thing we wished, which we were not dilatory in availing ourselves of, and kept the Portuguese servant circulating between the kitchen and the dining room, with a frequency and earnestness that was a matter of astonishment to him; for we recollected that before the day was over, we should be obliged to return to the Flora, and each one applied to himself the injunction of the poet "take the good the gods provide thee," with a becoming sense of his individual responsibility. Indeed, we left no room for the regret expressed by Stephen Burroughs, when nearly famished in jail – "that he had not eaten more when he had the opportunity."

      After breakfast, we visited a church in the immediate vicinity. In all Roman Catholic countries, this season of the year, commencing with Christmas and extending along for several weeks, is devoted to rejoicings of every kind. The churches during the whole time, are thrown open, masses are performed with great frequency, and a general holiday is proclaimed among all classes. There are several large churches in Pernambuco, two or three of which were visited during our ramble. In the first one we entered, public mass was in performance, which we mistook at first, for the rehearsal of some military band, from the martial sounds issuing from the edifice.

   CHURCHES. 347

The interior of this church – the finest in some respects of any in Pernambuco, presented a splendor and glare of ornament that was highly imposing. In common with all the churches we examined, it is arranged in the form of a cross, at the upper end of which, is an image of the Savior, hanging upon the cross, with the utmost agony depicted in the expression of his countenance, and in the contortions of his body, and with streams of blood gushing from his hands and his side, a representation that can not but affect the sympathies of every worshipper. The ceiling above the cross is carved and gilded in the most elaborate and costly manner, and in this recess are some fine scriptural paintings. Besides the image of the Savior, there are six or eight images of saints fixed in niches in the walls, with paintings illustrating scenes in the lives of these holy personages. The Host, which is carried about the streets on great occasions, escorted by a procession of priests, is about twenty feet in height, and is covered over with glittering tapestry of velvet and tinsel. The vestibule and the aisle leading up to the alter, are paved in Mosaic, and the latter is defended by heavy balustrades upon each side. There are no pews in these churches as in ours, and the only provision for seats, consists in a range of mahogany chairs upon each side of the aisle adjoining the balustrades. A number of priests, dressed in their sacerdotal robes, consisting of a light tunic of white gauze worn over a black gown, were performing the ceremonies of mass, which were, of course, all pantomime to us. The orchestra was ranged along on the right hand side of the church near the alter, and numbered thirty or forty musicians, whose martial instruments uniting in a full burst of harmony, re-echoed with grand effect from the lofty ceiling. There is something extremely imposing in the ceremonies of the Roman


Catholic church, and it is not wonderful that this religion, by the pomp and glitter of its devotional exercises, and by the charms of noble music, whose solemn strains thrill through every feeling of the worshipper, is so firmly riveted upon those countries where it holds its sway.

      In viewing the spendor of this church, the principal objects that attracted our attention, were the immense number of waxen candles, that were kept constantly burning before the cross of the Savior, the images of the saints, and the Host, which were supported in massive silver candlesticks. There could not have been less than seventy or eighty of the smaller size, weighing, upon a general average, not far from thirty pounds. Besides these, there were eight or ten of an immense size, four feet or more in height, surrounding the Host. Respecting the value of these costly utensils, we – Yankee like – were making some calculations, as the religious ceremonies were proceeding. Thirty pounds of silver – the supposed weight of the smaller size – are worth about four hundred and fifty dollars; and as there were as many as seventy of them in all, their aggregate value could not be less than thirty-one thousand five hundred dollars. Of the larger size, one would probably be equal in weight to five of the smaller. Allowing that there were eight of these, their aggregate value would be nearly eighteen thousand dollars; so that the silver candlesticks alone, in this church, are worth about forty-nine thousand five hundred dollars. If the value of the other silver utensils that come into service during the complicated ceremonies, which are, undoubtedly, of a corresponding richness of material, is annexed to the sum computed above, the calculation swells to an immense amount. And when it is recollected that this is but one of the many churches in this city, all of which are furnished in a


somewhat similar style of magnificence, astonishment must succeed the calculation of the vast sums lavished upon them. While examining the magnificence of these palaces of superstition, it seemed strange to me, that we, who believe in a purer faith, which awakens the religious sensibilities by a direct appeal to the words of truth, instead of paralyzing them by unmeaning rites, by repressing the scriptures, and tolerating the most gross immoralities, should ever suffer our religion to languish for want of suitable funds to enable it to carry on its operations, and make such illiberal provision, as is too frequently the case, for those who minister at its sacred ordinances. Previous to entering the church, we were cautioned to take off our hats, before crossing the threshold of the outer door, and not to replace them until we had passed entirely out of the house; otherwise we might be treated with rudeness. When I saw the scrupulous care manifested by those that entered the church in the removal of their hats, and in putting them on again in leaving, I must confess that the veneration for their church thus exhibited, had a far better appearance than the ill-mannered custom – to call it by its least objectionable epithet – that obtains very generally in the United States, of wearing our hats sometime after entering the church, and of putting them on again, almost as soon as we have risen from our seats. There are other considerations, in which an imitation of the Roman Catholics would be attended with advantage. They have connections with the faculty of reverence, in which my countrymen are said by phrenologists to be deficient. Their constant habit of deep reverence for their church, guards them against expressions of disrespect to her observances. We have far less veneration for the sacredness of a place consecrated to the offices of religion, as such, than the


Roman Catholics have for their places of worship, and scenes are occurring in our churches, which a Roman Catholic would look upon with indignation, as a profanation of his sanctuary. That high degree of respect for those who are devoted to the offices of religion which the Roman Catholic entertains, is far less prevalent with us. While we speak with the utmost freedom and not unfrequently with disrespect of those whose sacred office, if nothing else, should teach us to revere them, the Roman Catholic would shrink from the sin of calumniating his priest

      After spending half an hour or more in this church, we took a walk around the city commenting upon the appearance of the population, as we saw it represented in the well dressed gentleman who passed us with an important air down to the grovelling slave, whose vacant look seemed almost to indicate, that "his race is a connecting link between man and the inferior order of animals," as is sometimes asserted. The free part of the population were very well dressed, and gentlemen in passing one another, raised their hats in the most graceful manner, which it would be well for Americans to imitate, as a substitute for the careless nod or the cold "How are you–", the customary salutation of acquaintance in the streets. We saw numerous soldiers in the streets, either standing guard at the corners or before public buildings, or promenading like ourselves, which indicated very forcibly that we were in the domains of despotism. They are well dressed and finely formed young men, though rather small, and what would surprise us, who, with all our benevolence, maintain the strongest antipathies to our fellow men, are of all shades of color, from white down to the dark, wooly race of Africa, and were to be seen walking arm-in-arm in every


direction, unconscious apparently, of any difference. Gentlemen of the ebony race received the salutations of the whites in exchange for their own, and I could not but feel a sincere pity for the people of color in my own country, who are doomed to an inferior condition in life, by the deeply fixed prejudices of society. As to the genuine African, whose infancy was nurtured amid the hot sands of the opposite continent, and who was brought hither in the hold of the slave ship, there seems to be very little hope for him. He is the most abject specimen of the human race I ever saw, but perhaps, is not more unpromising in appearance, than negro slaves, wherever they are found. The men that were not engaged in active exercise, in transporting merchandize, or in other laborious occupations, were employed in braiding straw for the manufacture of hats. Whenever there are several of them engaged in removing a heavy article of merchandize upon their shoulders, they keep step by a monotonous grunt, "Hu, Hu, Hu-e!" in a similar style with that which obtains among the islanders of the Pacific. The women are the most revolting specimens of the fairer portion of creation I have as yet had the felicity of beholding. Their principal employment in the streets, appeared to be in carrying burdens upon their heads, which are protected by little pads resting upon their craniums. In this, they are very expert, balancing whatever they carry with remarkable precision, so that they move about with the utmost nonchalance, talking and laughing all the time, without disturbing their equilibrium. At other times they are occupied in selling fruits and vegetables near the corners of the streets, for there are no houses in this city appropriated to markets. The population of Pernambuco is not far from seventy thousand, of which nearly two thirds are


slaves, a state of things not more deplorable than what obtains in some sections of our country. The importation of slaves is prohibited by the government, yet thousands are annually smuggled in by the connivance of underlings in office.

      In our ramble, we passed over two fine bridges, crossing a small river which empties into the bay, and extended our walk as far as the suburbs of the city, stopping frequently to admire the delightful residences of gentlemen of wealth, which are surrounded by ample grounds, crossed by elegant terraces and ornamented with lovely parterres. The country in the rear of the city, is highly verdant, varied here and there with rich meads, which are overshadowed by the dense dark foliage of the tall and wide spreading mango, the graceful palm, and other noble trees of the country. The mango is a variety of fruit about the size of one's fist, resembling in shape the fruit of the egg plant we have in the United States. When the thick rind is torn off, a rich golden yellow fruit is disclosed, of a fibrous nature, somewhat like that of a cling-stone peach, enveloping a large white pit of an oval form, two inches perhaps, in length, to which the pulp adheres with great tenacity. The flavor of the mango, is that of the pine-apple thoroughly impregnated with spruce.

      Brazil produces all the fruits of the tropics in the highest degree of luxuriance, and besides these, coffee is cultivated very extensively, so that the immense amount of one hundred and thirty-five million pounds is annually exported from this Empire, which is nearly one half of all that is consumed throughout the world.

      About five o'clock P.M., we started out for the ship in a clumsy Portuguese boat, and were entertained for more than an hour, during our slow and tedious passage

   FIRE-WORKS. 353

by the ceaseless chattering of the negroes who rowed the boat. We were obliged to pay six dollars for the hire of this boat, which is a good illustration of the exorbitant charges for every thing we purchased at Pernambuco. A ship could be provided with supplies at the Sandwich Islands at a far cheaper rate than at this city, although they are six times as far removed from communication with the great commercial nations.

      We found the ladies anxiously awaiting our arrival, and lamenting over the gloomy uncomfortable time that had passed during our absence, and which they were pleased to say, our return had tended to enliven, a state of affairs highly flattering to our vanity, although benevolence and courtesy prompted us to express the desire that our welcome had been suggested by other causes. We were careful to reciprocate such compliments, by assuring them, how often, during our delightful excursion, we regretted the necessity of their remaining aboard the ship, and of their being denied the pleasure of a stroll upon terra firma.

      Sunday, January 3. We had anticipated going ashore this morning, to witness the ceremonies of grand mass, which we understood were to be celebrated with unusual magnificence, but the danger of the ship being obliged to get under way, and stand out to sea, in case our ground tackling should give out, detained us aboard the Flora. This evening, at intervals of every few minutes, rockets are seen shooting upward from the city with their fiery trains, and exploding in brilliant scintillations. The fire-works, we were told, were to be on the grandest scale, exhibiting almost every variety of pyrotechnics, a display not very well comporting with our ideas of the proper observance of the sabbath, and not very well calculated to inspire devotional feelings in the


spectators. A religion whose rites consist in a great degree of holidays and amusements cannot but be acceptable to human nature.

      Thursday, January 7. On Monday last we left our anchorage off Pernambuco, and with a fine fresh breeze that swelled our sails, the shores of South America soon receded from view. Before long we were again upon the open ocean, and as sail after sail was distended to the breeze, that was speeding us on our course, the old ship seemed to wing her way, with renewed life, towards our dear native land.

      The supplies purchased for the ship were on a tolerably liberal scale; as far as regards the cost of them, we ought most certainly to be satisfied. Owing to the exorbitant charges for every thing, a sum rather more than three hundred dollars was expended for articles, whose reasonable value could not exceed two thirds of this amount. Our potatoes, of which we had but the meagre supply of ten bushels for a voyage, ordinarily of thirty or thirty-five days, were found to be disappearing with the most alarming rapidity, when it was ascertained that they had been invaded by the huge rats, that throng in immense numbers the old Flora, and are heard racing about among the timbers, squealing and making all sorts of noises to disturb our rest at night. While we were at Tahiti, Captain Hall and myself had cut a great number of elegant orange wood canes, which were intended for presents to our friends at home. After we had been out at sea for about a month, the captain drew his canes out of the locker in the back of his state-room, when great was his astonishment and chagrin, to find that these beautiful sticks had been completely stripped of their bark by these voracious vermin. While the oranges I purchased at Tahiti lasted, I was accustomed


to look them over every morning, to throw away what remained of those whose contents had been purloined during the night.

      We crossed the equator this evening in longitude 37° 50' west, making the tenth time I have crossed it since leaving the United States. The children were all stimulated with the prospect of seeing the line, which however, was not apparent to the unassisted vision, but through the spy-glass, it was represented in a broad distinct band crossing the field of view, which may be readily accounted for, by supposing a string to be drawn across one of the lenses of the instrument.

      Monday, January 11. We ran across the equator with a fine breeze, and were anticipating a most disagreeable time in the latitude of calms and rain, but our expectations have been most agreeably disappointed. On Friday night last, the wind hauled round to the north-east in a heavy squall, and has continued to blow from that quarter ever since; so that we left the south-east trade winds, to resume the north-east, without any disagreeable intermission of squalls, deluging rain, with thunder and lightning, rendered the more intolerable by the suffocating heat below. This evening, we caught the glimmer of the north star in the mist that invests the horizon, after having lost sight, for so long a time of his friendly ray that looks mildly down upon our dear homes in New England. Several evenings since, we recognized the Great Bear, elevating his starry dipper above the dark waters, telling us that our wanderings upon the ocean were drawing towards their close.



Bathing – Sailor's fare – Cape Hatteras – "Land ho!" – Anchor at Sandy Hook.

      Thursday, January 21. Since leaving Pernambuco, we have had a very fine run, with a strong breeze all the time, and frequently more than would admit of our carrying studding sails. To-day we passed out of the tropic of Cancer in the longitude of the Bermuda islands.

      Not long after doubling Cape Horn, the passengers adopted a course of frequent bathing, as soon as the temperature of the air and water would admit of it, which has been pronounced by all, to be attended with very beneficial effect upon the health. For the ladies, a large tub, which was secured by a sail supported on a frame, answered the purpose of a bath room. This arrangement would do very well for one person, but I did not much envy the seventh or eighth in the series. The gentlemen preferred the evening, and at half past nine or ten o'clock, we followed one another upon deck. The method we adopted had several advantages. Drawing twelve or fifteen buckets of water from the ocean in succession with the draw bucket, we invert them over our heads, giving ourselves the advantage of the exercise, as well as the invigorating shock from a considerable body

   BATHING. 357

of water; we then return to our state-rooms, and rub ourselves dry with coarse towels or canvass, which completes the process, and prepares us for most delightful slumbers. We have pursued this course every night, with scarcely or intermission, for two months past, and there is nothing connected with sea life, I shall wish for a return of so much, as the refreshing baths taken every night. When feeling rather exhausted from the studies and various occupations of the day, a pure cool saltwater bath at ten or eleven o'clock at night, has a most astonishingly reviving effect, and I attribute the excellent health, I am now enjoying, to this most salutary practice. When aboard the North America, I was in the habit of carrying a basin of salt water into my state-room every night, and of spunging myself thoroughly before retiring, a practice accompanied with admirable effects. But there is nothing of the kind equal to the application of successive buckets of cool water to the person; for a shock and stimulus are given to the system, which are extremely invigorating.

      Friday, January 22. We are now within a fortnight's sail of home, and as I soon expect to bid farewell to the ocean, upon whose restless billows I have been tossed incessantly for more than a year, and formed some acquaintance with life on shipboard, it would not seem an inappropriate finale, to make a connected sketch of the habits and mode of life of the sailor at home in his floating habitation; but believing that they have been portrayed in what precedes, as far as my opportunities for observation would admit, this attempt would be but repetition, and all that remains for me, is to complete the brief outline, by bringing in what might have been with more propriety perhaps, introduced into a former page.

358 HOME.

      The eating utensils, and the style in which the sailor partakes of his "grub," are as barbarous as his other accommodations. A tin cup, which serves for coffee cup, tea cup and tumbler, an iron spoon and a tin plate form his summary of eating utensils. An addition to these of a knife and fork, in any instance, would imply luxurious notions in the mind of the owner. The sheath knife, which hangs at his side, is his inseparable companion, and is devoted to a great variety of purposes. It is indispensable, while he is at work upon the tarred and "slushy" rigging; it assists him in his tailoring and shoe-making – cuts his tobacco and carves his meat. The style in which his meals are taken, is entirely primitive. The kid, a small tub, which contains the dinner, is located in the centre of the circle seated upon deck, and each one helps himself out of it, without any scrupulous notions about introducing knife and spoon; emphatically his own, for they are purchased out of his own scanty wages, or he goes without. The fare of the common sailor would be repugnant to the taste of any landsman, were he to be confined to it exclusively for month after month, as the sailor is obliged to be during a long voyage. In the morning, a piece of salt beef or pork with hard bread and coffee, is served out to him. The term coffee, conveys a luxurious idea, which vanishes, however, when we are aware that it is not unfrequently made out of burnt peas, or at any rate, that it is of the most inferior quality. Sometimes, for variety, a preparation of hard bread and beef and pork is served up, which with some slight variation, is known by the elegant denominations of "lobscouse" and "lobdominion." For dinner, he receives an allowance of potatoes, or some other vegetables – if they are not already exhausted, with his meat; or in lieu of these, duff, rice or beans, which

   THE LAND. 359

are well covered with molasses, answering to the acidulous preserves that accompany our viands. For supper, his tin cup full of tea sweetened with molasses, and a plenty of salt beef or pork and hard bread constitute his invariable bill of fare. The tea which sailors drink, is not always the growth of the celestial empire. One variety is said to flourish in North Carolina, and from the huge sticks entangled with the herb, which rise upon the surface of the fluid as they are successively disengaged, receives the appellation of "studding-sail boom tea," a very expressive soubriquet. It has nearly as delicate a flavor as might be expected from a decoction of mullen stalks.

      Monday, February 1. Cape Hatteras, opposite which we crossed the Gulf Stream, like most high headlands, is famous for sudden gusts of wind, called by seamen "white squalls," that without any warning, strike a ship in all their fury, and the first intimation the navigator has of their presence, is indicated by the falling of the spars over the side of the vessel. The region of the ocean lying between the Bermuda Islands and this Cape, is noted for its squally character, particularly the vicinity of these islands which was fully tested while I was in the North America. Hence this admonitory distich is treasured up in the mind of the mariner as he navigates these seas:

                                   "If Bermuda let you pass,
                                    Then look out for Hatteras."

      Wednesday, February 3. At daylight, this morning, the low outline of the coast of the United States, was seen stretching along to the westward of us, not more than ten or twelve miles off. Though the patches of snow, that were seen at frequent intervals along the coast, indicated the season of the year, yet the general aspect

360 HOME.

of the country was less forbidding than I had anticipated. Then too, the thought that I should soon be restored to the circle of those I hold dear, and hear from them the various occurrences that had taken place during our long separation – not an inkling of which had gladdened my heart for a year and a half – was so transporting, that even the desolate shores of New Jersey, with their shorn and melancholy forests, and the cold atmosphere of the morning were far more delightful to me than the exuberant verdure and balmy air of the tropics, from which we had not long since emerged. But a period of a year and a half may have brought many sad changes, and while I looked upon my native land growing more and more distinct, with such emotions of delight, as the returning voyager alone experiences, a feeling of deep solicitude, that cast a shade over my fairest anticipations, could not be repressed. In the evening we came to anchor off Sandy Hook, in six months from the Sandwich Islands.

      On Friday morning, I met with my brother in New York; but the enquiries that on ordinary occasions would have been made with eagerness, were repressed by sad forebodings, until, assured by his manner, I ventured to make the enquiry "Are all well at home–" and when it was answered in the affirmative, the solicitude that brooded over me like an incubus, was instantly succeeded by unspeakable emotions of joy and gratitude.

      Courteous Reader! Thou hast kindly accompanied me in my wandering, for forty thousand miles over the mighty main. Our cruise is up, and as I am taking my parting look of old ocean, if I have been favored with thy sympathies and kindness, while voyaging with me, believe me they are reciprocated, and permit me to express the language of my heart – shipmate farewell!


For information on Francis Allyn Olmsted see the articlein Wikipedia.


The list of illustrations has been added by the editor/transcriber.


Author: valign="top">Olmsted, Francis Allyn, 1819-1844
Title: valign="top">Incidents of a whaling voyage: to which are added observations on the scenery manners and customs, and missionary stations of the Sandwich and Society Islands ... / by Francis Allyn Olmsted.
Publisher: valign="top">New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1841.
Description: valign="top">360 p.: ill., music; 20 cm.
Subjects: valign="top">Missions – Hawaii
Whaling – South Pacific Ocean
Hawaii – Description and travel
Society Islands (French Polynesia)– Description and travel.

Last updated by Tom Tyler, Denver, CO, USA, September 18, 2018.

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