30th March 1834

(With nothing happening for another week, for the next few days some drawings from artist Conrad Martens' Sketchbooks from the voyage)

[Caryophyllia sp. Elizabeth Island, Straits of Magellan]

The flowers are coloured brown inside, yellow-brown outside, with a white bar across the centre. The plant has a tall thin stem, coloured brown, and grey-green mottled leaves, ovate in shape. The root system is shown in detail, coloured pale brown.

24th March 2009

Sorry about what must seem to be a long time without an entry. Unfortunately Darwin did not make any entries in his Diary of the Beagle voyage between the 20th March and the 7th April -- but not long after that they come thick and fast as a party explore the Santa Cruz river valley in Patagonia. THAT is worth waiting for!

Regards to all,

Roger R.

20th to 30th March 1834

E. Falkland Islands
The Adventure sailed to continue her survey. We are detained owing to some prisoners who are in irons on board: we are waiting till a Cutter returns which will be chartered to take them to Rio. My time passes very evenly. One day hammering the rocks; another pulling up the roots of the Kelp for the curious little Corallines which are attached to them.

19th March 1834

E. Falkland Islands
The weather continued so bad I was determined to make a push & try to reach the Ship before dark, which I succeeded in doing. From the great quantity of rain this boggy country was in a very bad state. I suppose my horse fell at least a dozen times & sometimes the whole six were floundering in the mud together. All the little streams have their sides soft, so that it is a great exertion for the horses to jump over them, & from the same cause they repeatedly fall.

To finish our misery, we crossed an arm of the sea, which was up to the top of the horses backs, & the little waves from the violent winds broke over us. So that even the Gauchos were not sorry to reach the houses.

18th March 1834

E. Falkland Islands
It rained during nearly the whole day; so that at night it began to be very miserable work. We managed however with our Recado's to keep pretty warm & dry; but the ground on which we slept was every night more or less a bog & there was not a dry spot to sit on after our days work.

The best wood in the island for burning is about the size of large heath it has however the good property of burning when green. It was very surprising to see the Gauchos in the midst of rain, & everything soaking wet, with nothing more than a tinder box & piece of rag immediately make a fire. They seek beneath the bushes for some dry twigs or grass & this they rub into fibres & then (somewhat like a birds nest) surround it with coarser twigs; they put the rag with its spark of fire in the centre & then covering it up with the fibrous matter, hold it up to the wind. When by degrees it smokes more & more & at last burst out into flames. I am sure no other method would have any chance of succeeding with such damp materials.

17th March 1834

E. Falkland Islands
During the night it rained, & the next day was very stormy with much hail & snow. From the number of cows which have been killed there is a much larger proportion of bulls. These wander about by two & threes or by themselves & are very savage. I never saw such magnificent beasts; they truly resemble the ancient sculptures, in which the vast neck & head is but seldom seen amongst tame animals. The young bulls run away for a short distance, but the old ones will not stir a step, excepting to rush at man & horse; & many horses have thus been killed. — One old bull crossed a boggy stream & took up his stand on the side opposite to us. We in vain tried to drive him away & failing were obliged to make a large circuit. The gauchos in revenge were determined to render him for the future innocuous; it was very interesting to see how art completely mastered huge force. One lazo was thrown over his horns as he rushed at the horse, & another round his hind legs; in a minute the monster was stretched harmless on the ground. During the whole time we only saw one troop of wild horses & this was to the North of the hills — it is a curious thing that these horses although very numerous always remain in the East end of the island. The Gauchos cannot account for it.

We slept in a valley in the neck of land which joins the rincon del toro, the great peninsula to the SW point of the island. The valley was pretty well sheltered from the cold wind; but there was very little brushwood for making a fire; the Gauchos soon found what to my surprise made nearly as hot a fire as coals, it was the bones of a bullock, lately killed but all the flesh picked off by the Vultures. They told me that in winter time they have often killed an animal, cleaned the flesh from the bones with their knives, & then with these very bones roasted the meat for their dinner. What curious resources will necessity put men to discover!

16th March 1834

E. Falkland Islands
Early in the morning I set out with 6 horses & two Gauchos. These were the only two Spaniards who were not directly concerned with the murder; but I am afraid my friends had a very good idea of what was going to take place. However they had no temptation to murder me & turned out to be most excellent Gauchos, that is they were dexterous hands in all the requisites of making the camp-life comfortable. The weather was very boisterous & cold, with heavy hail storms.

We got on however pretty well; excepting some little geology nothing could be less interesting. The country is uniformly the same, an undulating moorland; the surface covered with light brown withered grass, & some few very low shrubs all growing out of an elastic peaty soil. There is one main range of quartz rock hills, whose broken barren crests gave us some trouble to cross. Few sorts of birds inhabit this miserable looking country: there are many small flocks of geese feeding in the valleys, & solitary snipes are common in all parts. On the South side of the range of hills we came into the best country for the wild cattle; we did not however see very many, because the Murderers had by hunting them so much, driven them amongst the mountains.

These men only killed the cows, & then took out the tongue & piece of meat from the breast, when this was finished they killed another. By their own account they must have killed more than 200 head. We saw plenty of the half decayed carcases. In the evening we came across a nice little herd. St Jago soon separated a fat cow, he threw his balls, they hit her legs, but did not entangle her: he dropped his hat to mark the place where the balls fell, uncoiled his lazo & again we commenced the chase; at last he caught her round the horns. The other Gaucho had gone on with the horses, so that St Jago had some difficulty in killing the furious beast. The horses generally soon learn for their own safety to keep the lazo tight when their rider dismounts, when this is the case the man can easily hamstring & thus secure the beast. Here the horse would not stand still, & it was admirable to see with what dexterity St Jago dogged about the cow till he contrived to give the fatal touch to the main tendon of the hind leg. After which, driving his knife into the head of the spinal marrow the animal dropped as if struck by lightning. St Jago cut off enough flesh with the skin, & without any bones, to last for our expedition. We then rode on to our sleeping place.

Meat roasted with its skin (carne con cuero) is known over all these parts of S. America for its excellence, it bears the same relation to common beef, which venison does to mutton. I am sure if any worthy alderman was once to taste it; carne con cuero would soon be celebrated in London.

Syms Covington Journal:
Anchored Berkeley Sound, Port Louis. On our arrival here, which was the second time, we found Brisbane, the Governor, had been shot with three others by the gauchos. It was said, he was very tyrannical to the whole of people in general. Two of the murderers were secured by H.M.S. Challenger a short time before our arrival, and two by our own ship, who were sent to England. A new Governor (a lieutenant of the Navy) was left by the Challenger, with marines for his guard. One of the Challenger's boats capsized here; a lieutenant and one or two others were drowned. Some of the clothes of the former, and a knife, were picked up on the beach by our people.

John Stevens Henslow (reprise)

In his autobiography Darwin described his friendship with Henslow as the most important circumstance in his whole career. Their friendship began in 1828 at Cambridge University, where Henslow was the popular Regius Professor of Botany. Darwin, an undergraduate at the university, had heard of Henslow's brilliance from his brother, Erasmus, who revered the professor as a man who knew every branch of science. Although he was supposed to be studying for an arts degree in Theology, Euclid, and the Classics, Darwin soon secured an invitation to attend one of Henslow's scientific soirées. In no time at all, he was a regular visitor at Henslow's house, rubbing shoulders with fellow undergraduates and more senior members of the university's scientific community, including the Reverend Professors Adam Sedgwick and William Whewell.

Henslow's popularity as a teacher was due largely to his progressive teaching techniques, which relied heavily on field- and garden-work, and on encouraging his students to make observations of their own, rather than simply having them spoon-fed. Darwin attended Henslow's field trips assiduously, and was soon taking long, almost daily walks with his tutor. Indeed, Darwin was to become such a regular companion of the professor that some of the university's other dons began to refer to him as 'the man who walks with Henslow'.

Word from Wormingford
(,...) a signpost waves to us. Hitcham, it says: come to where one of the mightiest of all village outings took place.

The rain-filled skies are low and propped up by oaks and church towers, and the windscreen-wipers click fretfully. But here, and all unplanned for, lies Hitcham. And here in my memory are dull Sundays in Cambridge marvellously enlightened the moment I open the gate of the Botanic Garden with the Sunday key that has been loaned to me by my friend Denis Garrett, the celebrated mycologist.

Once the Garden had been created, the question arose whether it would be breaking the sabbath to visit it on a Sunday, and this key was given to people who could be trusted to do this without enjoyment.

But we are about to visit the parish of the wonderful John Stevens Henslow, who, practically single-handed, removed a small physic garden in the middle of Cambridge to some 40 acres of farmland along Trumpington Road, and thus formed one of the world’s finest botanic centres.

He arrived at Hitcham in 1837 to discover a wretched village of warring farmers and child labour, and left it with a good school, allotments, cricket and athletic clubs, and a history of railway excursions, the great one being that of Thursday 27 July 1854, when he took no fewer than 287 Hitchamites to Cambridge to see his Botanic Garden.

He gave each one of them an 11-page booklet that he had written and illustrated — he was a splendid botanical artist — and they all arrived at Cambridge station at 9.20 a.m. They walked the Garden, had dinner at Downing College at two p.m., and, in effect, owing to their formidable and scholarly rector, had their lives changed.

As did an undergraduate named Charles Darwin. Henslow was only 13 years Darwin’s senior. Together, they laid the foundations of the neglected science of botany and natural history, as they explored the Fens, the college gardens, and, in the vacations, further afield.

When Henslow was asked to recommend a naturalist for a ship called the Beagle, he recommended Charles Darwin. Unknown to both of them, the voyage of the Beagle would shake Christianity to its foundations.

On Henslow’s memorial in Hitcham Church, by way of the usual flourish, we are required to look up Job 29 — which Stephen and I did in what we thought must have been John Henslow’s own lectern Bible.

It is the passage in which Job recalls his own honourable conduct. “I delivered the poor . . . and him that had none to help him. . . I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. . . I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. . .”

And no country clergyman could have done more for all his parishioners than this brilliant botanist. It took him out of Cambridge, of course, and there were moanings at this. He died, aged 65, and lies in the churchyard at Hitcham, under the nearly bursting rain clouds, a hero of mine.

In his Autobiography (1873), Darwin wrote of his old friend, “His judgment was excellent and his whole mind well-balanced, but I do not suppose that anyone would say that he possessed much original genius.” But, as a recent Director of the Cambridge Botanic Garden rightly observed, “Without Henslows there are no Darwins.”

Some time ago, recalling the Hitcham excursion, I took a dozen or so of our parishioners to walk in the lovely intellectual Garden, and must do so again.

Ronald Blythe
(Church Times ~ 29 Aug 2008)
(Back to Darwin's Diary for his next posting on the 16th March)

13th March 1834

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
On the 13th the Adventure arrived: she had almost completed her examination of the west, south, and south-east outer coasts, in a very satisfactory manner, having been greatly forwarded and helped by Mr. Low's minute acquaintance with every port, and almost every danger. Our tender sailed to continue her coasting examination on the 21st. She returned on the 26th, and sailed again on the 30th. Meanwhile our own boats were constantly occupied in and near Berkeley Sound and Port William.

When I visited the settlement it looked more melancholy than ever; and at two hundred yards' distance from the house in which he had lived, I found, to my horror, the feet of poor Brisbane protruding above the ground. So shallow was his grave that dogs had disturbed his mortal remains, and had fed upon the corpse. This was the fate of an honest, industrious, and most faithful man: of a man who feared no danger, and despised hardships. He was murdered by villains, because he defended the property of his friend; he was mangled by them to satisfy their hellish spite; dragged by a lasso, at a horse's heels, away from the houses, and left to be eaten by dogs.

Besides my own acquaintance with him and opinions derived from the personal knowledge of the Beagle's officers, some of whom had known Brisbane when his vessel, the Saxe Cobourg, was wrecked in Fury Harbour (owing to no fault of his), Mr. Weddell bears testimony to his character
on many occasions, particularly by an observation in page 48 (Weddell's Voyage), where he says, "I had full confidence in the care and ability of Mr. Brisbane." (1823.)

In 1830 Mr. Brisbane was wrecked on the eastern coast of Tierra del Fuego, near Policarpo Cove, (54° 38′ S.), when sealing there in partnership with Mr. Bray, who afterwards commanded the sealing schooner 'Transport,' lost in 1833, at Hope Harbour. (...)

The vessel in which Brisbane and Bray were wrecked, was driven ashore in a northerly gale, while sealing near Policarpo Cove. Their crew consisted of about twenty men, most of whom had fire-arms, and plenty of ammunition. Though it will swell yet more the catalogue of his disasters, I must add that Brisbane was once wrecked on South Georgia, and escaped thence to Monte Video in a shallop, which he and his companions in distress built out of the wreck of their sealing vessel.

I have now by me two of the tools, almost the only ones, which they had to use: one is a cooper's adze, nearly worn down to the middle; and the other a saw, made out of a piece of iron hoop, fixed to a wooden frame.

East Falkland Island, March, 1834


I am quite charmed with Geology, but like the wise animal between two bundles of hay, I do not know which to like the best; the old crystalline group of rocks, or the softer and fossiliferous beds. When puzzling about stratifications, etc., I feel inclined to cry "a fig for your big oysters, and your bigger megatheriums." But then when digging out some fine bones, I wonder how any man can tire his arms with hammering granite. By the way I have not one clear idea about cleavage, stratification, lines of upheaval. I have no books which tell me much, and what they do I cannot apply to what I see. In consequence I draw my own conclusions, and most gloriously ridiculous ones they are, I sometimes fancy... Can you throw any light into my mind by telling me what relation cleavage and planes of deposition bear to each other?
And now for my second SECTION, Zoology. I have chiefly been employed in preparing myself for the South Sea by examining the polypi of the smaller Corallines in these latitudes. Many in themselves are very curious, and I think are quite undescribed; there was one appalling one, allied to a Flustra, which I dare say I mentioned having found to the northward, where the cells have a movable organ (like a vulture's head, with a dilatable beak), fixed on the edge. But what is of more general interest is the unquestionable (as it appears to me) existence of another species of ostrich, besides the Struthio Rhea. All the Gauchos and Indians state it is the case, and I place the greatest faith in their observations. I have the head, neck, piece of skin, feathers, and legs of one. The differences are chiefly in the colour of the feathers and scales on legs, being feathered below the knees, nidification, and geographical distribution. So much for what I have lately done; the prospect before me is full of sunshine, fine weather, glorious scenery, the geology of the Andes, plains abounding with organic remains (which perhaps I may have the good luck to catch in the very act of moving), and lastly, an ocean, its shores abounding with life, so that, if nothing unforeseen happens, I will stick to the voyage, although for what I can see this may last till we return a fine set of white-headed old gentlemen. I have to thank you most cordially for sending me the books. I am now reading the Oxford 'Report' (The second meeting of the British Association was held at Oxford in 1832, the following year it was at Cambridge.); the whole account of your proceedings is most glorious; you remaining in England cannot well imagine how excessively interesting I find the reports. I am sure from my own thrilling sensations when reading them, that they cannot fail to have an excellent effect upon all those residing in distant colonies, and who have little opportunity of seeing the periodicals. My hammer has flown with redoubled force on the devoted blocks; as I thought over the eloquence of the Cambridge President, I hit harder and harder blows. I hope to give my arms strength for the Cordilleras. You will send me through Capt. Beaufort a copy of the Cambridge 'Report.'
I have forgotten to mention that for some time past, and for the future, I will put a pencil cross on the pill-boxes containing insects, as these alone will require being kept particularly dry; it may perhaps save you some trouble. When this letter will go I do not know, as this little seat of discord has lately been embroiled by a dreadful scene of murder, and at present there are more prisoners than inhabitants. If a merchant vessel is chartered to take them to Rio, I will send some specimens (especially my few plants and seeds). Remember me to all my Cambridge friends. I love and treasure up every recollection of dear old Cambridge. I am much obliged to you for putting my name down to poor Ramsay's monument; I never think of him without the warmest admiration.

Farewell, my dear Henslow.

Believe me your most obliged and affectionate friend,


11th to 14th March 1834

E. Falkland Islands
The ship was moved to near the Town. The Adventure arrived, after an exceedingly prosperous voyage. They killed so many wild bulls, geese &c &c & caught so many fish, that they have not tasted salt meat; this with fine weather is the beau ideal of a sailors cruise. I went on shore, intending to start on a riding excursion round the island, but the weather was so bad I deferred it.

10th March 1834

E. Falkland Islands
Arrived in the middle of the day at Berkeley Sound, having made a short passage by scudding before a gale of wind. Mr Smith, who is acting as Governor, came on board, & has related such complicated scenes of cold-blooded murder, robbery, plunder, suffering, such infamous conduct in almost every person who has breathed this atmosphere, as would take two or three sheets to describe. With poor Brisbane, four others were butchered; the principal murderer, Antuco, has given himself up. He says he knows he shall be hanged but he wishes some of the Englishmen, who were implicated, to suffer with him; pure thirst for blood seems to have incited him to this latter act. Surrounded as Mr Smith, with such a set of villains, he appears to be getting on with all his schemes admirably well.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:

10th Next day we anchored in Berkeley Sound; first in Johnson Cove, and afterwards in Port Louis.

We found a state of affairs somewhat different from that of March 1833; but though more settled, in consequence of the presence of an established authority, resident at Port Louis (a lieutenant in the navy), my worst forebodings had not equaled the sad reality.

In a previous note, I alluded to the murder of the Buenos Ayrean commanding officer; and to that of Mr. Brisbane. A few weeks before the Clio arrived in 1833, there was a small garrison at Port Louis, consisting of a sergeant's guard of soldiers, a subaltern, and a field officer. The men mutinied because their superior was thought to be unnecessarily severe, and occupied them unceasingly in drill and parade, to the prejudice of their obtaining food sufficient for health. They were obliged, in consequence of his system, to live upon worse fare than the settlers, because they could not go about to forage for themselves; and the result was that, after many threats, they murdered him. A small armed schooner arrived a few days afterwards from Buenos Ayres, by whose officers and crew, assisted by some French sailors, the principal mutineers, nine in number, were taken and put into confinement on board. They were afterwards carried to Buenos Ayres.

On the 26th of August 1833, three 'gauchos' and five Indians (the prisoners before mentioned), set upon and murdered Mr. Brisbane; Dickson, the man in charge of Vernet's store; Simon, the capataz; the poor German; and another settler; after which atrocious acts they plundered the settlement and drove all the cattle and horses into the interior. Only that morning Mr. Low, who was then living with Mr. Brisbane, left Port Louis on a sealing excursion, with four men. Hardly was his boat out of sight, when the deceitful villains attacked Brisbane in Vernet's house: suspecting no treachery, he fell at once by the knife of Antonio Rivero. Simon defended himself desperately, but was overpowered; the others, overcome by fear, fell easy victims. The rest of the settlers, consisting of thirteen men, three women, and two children, remained with the murderers two days, and then escaped to a small island in the Sound; where they lived on birds' eggs and fish, till the arrival of the English sealer Hopeful, on board which was an officer of the navy, who in some measure relieved their immediate distress, but could not delay to protect them from the assaults which they anticipated. About a month after the Hopeful sailed, H.M.S. Challenger, Captain M. Seymour, arrived, having a lieutenant of the navy and four seamen on board, who had volunteered from H.M.S. Tyne, and were duly authorized to remain at the Falklands. The following extract from a letter will show what took place on Captain Seymour's arrival.

"Captain Seymour, and the consuls, being anxious to visit the settlement of Port Louis, landed some distance from it (the wind being strong from S.S.W.), intending to walk there. About a mile from the houses they were met by an Englishman named Channon, sent by the gauchoes to see who they were, and whether the ship was a whaler in want of beef, or a man-of-war. He informed them that the gauchoes and Indians had murdered Mr. Brisbane: Dickson, who had been left in charge of the flag by Captain Onslow: Simon; and two others: and had pillaged the houses, destroying every thing in their search for money. He then pointed them out, sitting under a wall, with their horses behind the remains of the government house, ready saddled for a start on our nearer approach. They had two gauchoes, prisoners, who had not been concerned in the murders, and whom they threatened to kill, if he, Channon, did not return. He also stated that one of them was willing to turn king's evidence, and would bring back all the horses, if possible, provided Captain Seymour would ensure his pardon. The whole of them, nine in number, retreated into the interior as soon as they found out it was a ship of war, taking all the tame horses, between fifty and sixty.* As his party were not armed, Captain Seymour thought it right to return on board; but after dark, Lieutenant Smith was sent with a party of marines, and two boats, to try and take them, if they should be still about the houses, and to leave with Channon a bottle containing a crucifix, as a signal for Luna. On their landing, Lieutenant Smith took all necessary precautions, left six men in charge of the boats, and proceeded cautiously with the rest. He carefully searched every building in the place, without seeing even a trace of them. All was desolation; yet he learned afterwards from the two innocent gauchoes, that Antonio Rivero and another, suspecting who the party were, had watched them closely: that at one time Lieut. Smith was near treading on them; which seemed hardly credible, until the arrangements made on landing, the marching in Indian file to hide his men, &c. were mentioned. Mr. Smith left with Channon Luna's pardon, who, on the fourth day, brought in two horses—not having been able to obtain more, as the murderers were very watchful and fearful of each other, so much so, that one of them had fallen a sacrifice to suspicion; and Luna's desertion reduced their number to six. With Luna for their guide, on the sixth day Lieut. Smith, four midshipmen and twelve marines, were despatched into the interior. They were absent four days, and marched more than a hundred miles, enduring much fatigue, which was increased by the boisterous state of the weather, and by continual rain for three out of the four days. Water in ravines, which on going out hardly rose above their ankles, on their return had increased to torrents: in crossing them some nearly lost their lives, and on the bleak moors they sunk at every step knee-deep in bog. Without sleep or shelter, they lived for the last two days on beef just warmed through, by fires that it took hours to kindle. They were not successful in capturing any of the murderers, but at one time were so near, that they had the mortification to see them drive their horses away at a gallop, and having all the tame ones but two, they were quickly out of reach of musket-shot. So hasty however was their retreat, that they left their provisions behind them. Captain Seymour finding that capturing the Indians would be a tedious and uncertain task, made one of the ruined houses habitable, and leaving six marines as an additional protection to Lieut. Smith and his boat's crew, proceeded as ordered. The lieutenant endeavored to make his abode comfortable, by clearing away rubbish and bones, and putting a garden into some order. With the two horses he succeeded in catching and taming two cows, which gave about two gallons of milk daily, besides fourteen others, five or six of which were in calf. By one means or other all but one of the murderers were taken, and a cutter was hired to remove them to the flag-ship at Rio de Janeiro."

Before the Beagle's arrival Lieut. Smith had succeeded in capturing the principal murderer, and transporting him to an islet in the Sound, where he was watched, and furnished with provisions by the boat's crew. The lieutenant applied to me for assistance, and knowing that he was not safe while such a desperate character as Rivero was at large, though on an islet, and that the life of Luna (the king's evidence) was still more risked, I took those men, and one named Channon, who was said to have been an accomplice in the plot, though not an active agent, on board the Beagle. Rivero was put in irons, Channon confined to the ship, and Luna left at liberty, though watched.

When Mr. Low returned from his sealing expedition he found that his life was sought, as a friend of Mr. Brisbane; and as he could do nothing on foot against the mounted gauchoes, he retired to Kidney Islet, at the entrance of Berkeley Sound, to await the arrival of some ship. Tired, however, of inaction, he set out to go westward, in search of some whaler, and on the 6th of February, when in great distress, he fell in with our tender, the Adventure, and immediately offered his services as a pilot: they were accepted, provisionally, by Lieut. Wickham, and afterwards by me, trusting that the Admiralty would approve of my so engaging a person who, in pilotage and general information about the Falklands, Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, and the Galapagos Islands, could afford us more information than any other individual, without exception.
Mr. William Low is the son of a respectable land-agent in Scotland; he was brought up as a sailor, and possesses strong common sense, quick apprehension, a readiness at description, and an extraordinary local memory.

9th March 1834

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
On the 9th of March we were off Beauchesne Island. Many persons have fancied that there are two islands near together in that place, having been deceived by two hummocks on the only island, which from a distance show just above the horizon like two islets.

7th to 9th March 1834

Darwin did not make a diary entry between these days, but the route of the next portion of the Beagle's Voyage is shown above -- from the quite wonderful www.aboutdarwin.com site. We will next read Darwin's Diary entry on the 10th March when the Beagle reaches the Falkland Islands.

6th March 1834

Tierra del Fuego
Jemmy went to sleep on shore but came in the morning for breakfast. The Captain had some long conversations with him & extracted much curious information: they had left the old wigwams & crossed the water in order to be out of the reach of the Ohens men who came over the mountains to steal. They clearly are the tall men, the foot Patagonians of the East coast. Jemmy staid on board till the ship got under weigh, which frightened his wife so that she did not cease crying till he was safe out of the ship with all his valuable presents. Every soul on board was as sorry to shake hands with poor Jemmy for the last time, as we were glad to have seen him. I hope & have little doubt he will be as happy as if he had never left his country; which is much more than I formerly thought. He lighted a farewell signal fire as the ship stood out of Ponsonby Sound, on her course to East Falkland Island.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Next morning Jemmy shared my breakfast, and then we had a long conversation by ourselves; the result of which was, that I felt quite decided not to make a second attempt to place Matthews among the natives of Tierra del Fuego. Jemmy told me that he knew very little of his own language; that he spoke some words of English, and some Tekeenica, when he talked to his family; and that they all understood the English words he used. York and Fuegia left him some months before our arrival, and went in a large canoe to their own country; the last act of that cunning fellow was to rob poor Jemmy of all his clothes; nearly all the tools his Tekeenica 'friends' had left him; and various other necessaries. Fuegia was dressed as usual, and looking well, when they decamped: her helpmate was also well clothed, and had hardly lost anything I left with him. Jemmy said "York very much jaw," "pick up big stones," "all men afraid." Fuegia seemed to be very happy, and quite contented with her lot. Jemmy asserted that she helped to "catch (steal) his clothes," while he was asleep, the night before York left him naked.

Not long after my departure in Febuary 1833, the much-dreaded Oens-men came in numbers, overland, to Woollӯa; obliged Jemmy's tribe to escape to the small islands, and carried off every valuable which his party had not time to remove. They had doubtless heard of the houses and property left there, and hastened to seize upon it — like other 'borderers.' Until this time York had appeared to be settled, and quite at ease, but he had been employed about a suspiciously large canoe, just finished when the inroad was made. He saved this canoe, indeed escaped in it, and afterwards induced Jemmy and his family to accompany him "to look at his land." They went together in four canoes (York's large one and three others) as far west as Devil Island, at the junction of the north-west and south-west arms of the Beagle Channel: there they met York's brother and some others of the Alikhoolip tribe; and, while Jemmy was asleep, all the Alikhoolip party stole off, taking nearly all Jemmy's things, and leaving him in his original condition. York's fine canoe was evidently not built for transporting himself alone; neither was the meeting with his brother accidental. I am now quite sure that from the time of his changing his mind, and desiring to be placed at Woollӯa, with Matthews and Jemmy, he meditated taking a good opportunity of possessing himself of every thing; and that he thought, if he were left in his own country without Matthews, he would not have many things given to him, neither would he know where he might afterwards look for and plunder poor Jemmy.

While Mr. Bynoe was walking about on shore, Jemmy and his brother pointed out to him the places where our tents were pitched in 1833, where the boundary line was, and where any particular occurrence happened. He told Mr. Bynoe that he had watched day after day for the sprouting of the peas, beans, and other vegetables, but that his countrymen walked over them without heeding any thing he said. The large wigwams which we had erected with some labour, proved to be cold in the winter, because they were too high; therefore they had been deserted after the first frosts. Since the last depredations of the Oens-men, he had not ventured to live any longer at Woollӯa; his own island, as he called it, affording safer refuge and sufficient food.

Jemmy told us that these Oens-men crossed over the Beagle Channel, from eastern Tierra del Fuego, in canoes which they seized from the Yapoo Tekeenica. To avoid being separated they fastened several canoes together, crossed over in a body, and when once landed, travelled over-land and came upon his people by surprise, from the heights behind Woollӯa. Jemmy asserted that he had himself killed one of his antagonists. It was generally remarked that his family were become considerably more humanized than any savages we had seen in Tierra del Fuego: that they put confidence in us; were pleased by our return; that they were ready to do what we could explain to be for their interest; and, in short, that the first step towards civilization — that of obtaining their confidence — was undoubtedly made: but an individual, with limited means, could not then go farther. The whole scheme, with respect to establishing a missionary with the Fuegians who were in England, among their countrymen, was on too small a scale, although so earnestly assisted by Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wigram, Mr. Coates, and other kind friends.

I cannot help still hoping that some benefit, however slight, may result from the intercourse of these people, Jemmy, York, and Fuegia, with other natives of Tierra del Fuego. Perhaps a ship-wrecked seaman may hereafter receive help and kind treatment from Jemmy Button's children; prompted, as they can hardly fail to be, by the traditions they will have heard of men of other lands; and by an idea, however faint, of their duty to God as well as their neighbour.

That Jemmy felt sincere gratitude is, I think, proved by his having so carefully preserved two fine otter skins, as I mentioned; by his asking me to carry a bow and quiver full of arrows to the schoolmaster of Walthamstow, with whom he had lived; by his having made two spear-heads expressly for Mr. Darwin; and by the pleasure he showed at seeing us all again.

As nothing more could be done, we took leave of our young friend and his family, every one of whom was loaded with presents, and sailed away from Woollӯa.

5th March 1834

[Jemmy Button ~ 'civilised' (1833) and 'wild' (1834)]

Tierra del Fuego
In the morning, after anchoring in Ponsonby Sound we stood down to Wollya or Jemmy Buttons country. This being a populous part of the country, we were followed by seven canoes. When we arrived at the old spot; we could see no signs of our friends, & we were the more alarmed, as the Fuegians made signs of fighting with their bows and arrows. Shortly afterwards a canoe was seen coming with a flag hanging up: until she was close alongside, we could not recognise poor Jemmy. It was quite painful to behold him; thin, pale, & without a remnant of clothes, excepting a bit of blanket round his waist: his hair, hanging over his shoulders; & so ashamed of himself, he turned his back to the ship as the canoe approached. When he left us he was very fat, & so particular about his clothes, that he was always afraid of even dirtying his shoes; scarcely ever without gloves & his hair neatly cut. I never saw so complete & grievous a change. When however he was clothed & the first flurry over, things wore a very good appearance. He had plenty (or as he expressed himself too much) to eat. Was not cold; his friends were very good people; could talk a little of his own language! & lastly we found out in the evening (by her arrival) that he had got a young & very nice looking squaw. This he would not at first own to: & we were rather surprised to find he had not the least wish to return to England. Poor Jemmy with his usual good feeling brought two beautiful otter skins for two of his old friends & some spear heads & arrows of his own making for the Captain. He had also built a canoe & is clearly now well established. The various things now given to him he will doubtless be able to keep. The strangest thing is Jemmy’s difficulty in regaining his own language. He seems to have taught all his friends some English. When his wife came, an old man announced her, "as Jemmy Buttons wife"! York Minster, returned to his own country several month ago, & took farewell by an act of consummate villainy: He persuaded Jemmy & his mother to come to his country, when he robbed them of every thing & left them. He appears to have treated Fuegia very ill.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
The Beagle anchored at Woollӯa. But few natives were seen as we sailed along: probably they were alarmed at the ship, and did not show themselves.

The wigwams in which I had left York, Jemmy, and Fuegia, were found empty, though uninjured: the garden had been trampled over, but some turnips and potatoes of moderate size were pulled up by us, and eaten at my table, a proof that they may be grown in that region. Not a living soul was visible any where; the wigwams seemed to have been deserted many months; and an anxious hour or two passed, after the ship was moored, before three canoes were seen in the offing, paddling hastily towards us, from the place now called Button Island.

Looking through a glass I saw that two of the natives in them were washing their faces, while the rest were paddling with might and main: I was then sure that some of our acquaintances were there, and in a few minutes recognized Tommy Button, Jemmy's brother. In the other canoe was a face which I knew yet could not name. "It must be some one I have seen before," said I, — when his sharp eye detected me, and a sudden movement of the hand to his head (as a sailor touches his hat) at once told me it was indeed Jemmy Button — but how altered! I could hardly restrain my feelings, and I was not, by any means, the only one so touched by his squalid miserable appearance. He was naked, like his companions, except a bit of skin about his loins; his hair was long and matted, just like theirs; he was wretchedly thin, and his eyes were affected by smoke.

We hurried him below, clothed him immediately, and in half an hour he was sitting with me at dinner in my cabin, using his knife and fork properly, and in every way behaving as correctly as if he had never left us. He spoke as much English as ever, and, to our astonishment, his companions, his wife, his brothers and their wives, mixed broken English words in their talking with him. Jemmy recollected every one well, and was very glad to see them all, especially Mr. Bynoe and James Bennett. I thought he was ill, but he surprised me by saying that he was "hearty, sir, never better," that he had not been ill, even for a day, was happy and contented, and had no wish whatever to change his way of life. He said that he got "plenty fruits," "plenty birdies," "ten guanaco in snow time," and "too much fish." Besides, though he said nothing about her, I soon heard that there was a good-looking young woman in his canoe, who was said to be his wife. Directly this became known, shawls, handkerchiefs, and a gold-laced cap appeared, with which she was speedily decorated; but fears had been excited for her husband's safe return to her, and no finery could stop her crying until Jemmy again showed himself on deck.

While he was below, his brother Tommy called out in a loud tone — "Jemmy Button, canoe, come!" After some time the three canoes went ashore, laden with presents, and their owners promised to come again early next morning. Jemmy gave a fine otter skin to me, which he had dressed and kept purposely; another he gave to Bennett.

4th March 1834

Tierra del Fuego
Came to an anchor in the Northern part of Ponsonby sound. We here enjoyed three very interesting days: the weather has been fine & the views magnificent. The mountains, which we passed today, on the Northern shore of the Channel are about 3000 feet high, — they terminate in very broken & sharp peaks; & many of them rise in one abrupt rise from the waters edge to the above elevation. The lower 14 or 1500 feet is covered with a dense forest. A mountain, which the Captain has done me the honour to call by my name, has been determined by angular measurement to be the highest in Tierra del Fuego, above 7000 feet & therefore higher than M. Sarmiento. It presented a very grand, appearance; there is such splendour in one of these snow-clad mountains, when illuminated by the rosy light of the sun; & then the outline is so distinct, yet from the distance so light & aerial, that one such view merely varied by the passing clouds affords a feast to the mind. Till near Ponsonby Sound we saw very few Fuegians; yesterday we met with very many; they were the men Jemmy Button was so much afraid of last year, & said they were enemies to his tribe; the intervening & thinly inhabited space of ground, I suppose, is neutral between the belligerents. We had at one time 10 or 12 canoes alongside; a rapid barter was established Fish & Crabs being exchanged for bits of cloth & rags. It was very amusing to see with what unfeigned satisfaction one young & handsome woman with her face painted black, tied with rushes, several bits of gay rags round her head. Her husband, who enjoyed the very unusual priviledge in this country of possessing two wives, evidently became jealous of all the attention paid to his young wife, & after a consultation with his two naked beauties, was paddled away by them. As soon as a breeze sprung up, the Fuegians were much puzzled by our tacking; they had no idea that it was to go to windward & in consequence all their attempts to meet the ship were quite fruitless. It was quite worth being becalmed, to have so good an opportunity of looking & laughing at these curious creatures; I find it makes a great difference being in a ship instead of a boat. Last year I got to detest the very sound of their voices; so much trouble did it generally bring to us.

But now we are the stronger party, the more Fuegians the merrier & very merry work it is. Both parties laughing, wondering & gaping at each other: we pitying them for giving us good fish for rags &c; they grasping at the chance of finding people who would exchange such valuable articles for a good supper.

2nd March 1834

['M' above indicates Ponsonby Sound]
Tierra del Fuego
The Captain determined to make the bold attempt of beating against the Westerly winds & proceeding up the Beagle Channel to Ponsonby Sound or Jemmy Buttons country. The day was beautiful, but a calm.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
The Beagle was actively occupied in working to windward (westward) through the channel.

1st March 1834

Tierra del Fuego
All hands employed in getting in a stock of wood & water. There were three canoes full of Fuegians in this bay, who were very quiet & civil & more amusing than any Monkeys. Their constant employment was begging for everything they saw; by the eternal word — yammer-scooner — They understood that guns could kill Guanaco & pointed out in which direction to go. They had a fair idea of barter & honesty. I gave one man a large nail (a very valuable present) & without making signs for any return, he picked out two fish & handed them up on the point of his spear. If any present was designed for one canoe & it fell near another, invariably it was restored to the right owner. When they ‘yammer-scooner’ for any article very eagerly; they by a simple artifice point to their young women or little children; as much as to say, "if you will not give it me, surely you will to them".

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
The 1st of March passed in replenishing our wood and water at a cove, where we had an opportunity of making acquaintance with some Yapoo Tekeenica natives, who seemed not to have met white men before.