Spent in preparing for a long excursion in the boats. In consequence, the Captain determined to take the whole party to J. Button's country in Ponsonby Sound.
18th. Having moored the Beagle in security, and made arrangements for the occupation of those who were to remain on board, I set out with four boats (yawl and three whale-boats), carrying Matthews and the Fuegians, with all the stock of useful things which had been given to them in England.† A temporary deck having been put upon the yawl, she carried a large cargo, and was towed by the other boats when the wind was adverse. Matthews showed no sign of hesitation or reluctance; on the contrary, he was eager to begin the trial to which he had been so long looking forward. Messrs. Darwin, Bynoe [Surgeon], Hamond [Mate], Stewart [Mate], and Johnson [Midshipman], with twenty-four seamen and marines, completed the party.
My intention was to go round the north-east part of Navarin Island, along the eastern arm of the Beagle Channel, through Murray Narrow, to the spot which Jemmy called his country: there establish the Fuegians, with Matthews: leave them for a time, while I continued my route westward to explore the western arms of the channel, and part of Whale-boat Sound: and at my return thence decide whether Matthews should be left among the natives for a longer period, or return with me to the Beagle.
† By far the larger part of their property, including Matthews's outfit, was sent by Mr. Coates, Secretary of the Church Missionary Society.