These few days of rest were very pleasant; I had plenty of business to transact; & was employed in obtaining letters of introduction, passport &c for St Fe. — My servant having arrived from M. Video, I despatched him to an English Estancia to shoot & skin birds.
I resided a Mr. G's, who kept a large estancia, or farm, where by the kindness of him and his family I passed a month very comfortably. This estancia is situated on the bank of Río de la Plata. Here is the celebrated pampas, or plain that reaches to the Cordillera, where so many million head of cattle are fed both for consumption and FOR their hides and tallow for exportation. Here is a very fine prospect: the pampas as far as the eye can discern, shews its numerous estancias with its patches of cultivated ground, many thousand head of cattle, and the largest river in the world, on who's banks which are very muddy, I may say, ARE the most splendid birds in the world. In the small rivulets are found unbelievable numbers of ducks of different species and most beautiful plumage, also A wild turkey about the size of the domesticated, the ostrich, the mulita species of the armadillo, deers, lions, tigers, foxes, aperea or guinea pig, bizcacha, etc. The latter are in prodigious quantities, and do much injury to the dykes or ditches round abouts cultivated ground, where they are constantly burrowing, which is the occasion of a continual warfare between those animals and the labourers. These animals are of a greyish colour with very large whiskers and A tuft at the end of the tail, and somewhat resemble the rabbit, as they live in warrens, and feed upon herbs, and when young are very good eating.
A man-of-war requires strength, solidity, capacity; great buoyancy for supporting her heavy metal, durability, and tenacity; besides easiness as a sea-boat, and superiority of sailing. Vessels may easily be built to excel in any of these qualifications; but to excel in all is the climax, only to be obtained by genius, aided by extraordinary study and experience.
After running a few miles with the Snake, and finding that she steered towards Buenos Ayres, we altered our course to resume our easterly route, and early next morning were anchored alongside the Adventure.
As it was evident that another month must elapse before the schooner would be ready for her work, notwithstanding the zealous exertions of Lieut. Wickham and his crew, I decided to finish myself the survey, which I had intended he should begin with, namely, of the south shore of the Plata and a reported bank off Cape Corrientes—and defer the second visit to Tierra del Fuego until December or January.