the invertebrate animals will be my chief object of pursuit through the whole voyage.

We then sailed for Bahia, and touched at the rock of St. Paul. This is a serpentine formation. Is it not the only island in the Atlantic which is not volcanic? We likewise stayed a few hours at Fernando Noronha; a tremendous surf was running so that a boat was swamped, and the Captain would not wait. I find my life on board when we are on blue water most delightful, so very comfortable and quiet-it is almost impossible to be idle, and that for me is saying a good deal. Nobody could possibly be better fitted in every respect for collecting than I am; many cooks have not spoiled the broth this time. Mr. Brown's little hints about microscopes, &c., have been invaluable I am well off in books, the 'Dictionnaire Classique' is most useful. If you should think of any thing or book that would be useful to me, if you would write one line, E. Darwin, Wyndham Club, St. James's Street, he will procure them, and send them with some other things to Monte Video, which for the next year will be my headquarters.

Touching at the Abrolhos, we arrived here on April 4th, when amongst others I received your most kind letter. You may rely on it during the evening I thought of the many most happy hours I have spent with you in Cambridge. I am now living at Botofogo, a village about a league from the city, and shall be able to remain a month longer. The Beagle has gone back to Bahia, and will pick me up on its return. There is a most important error in the longitude of South America, to settle which this second trip has been undertaken. Our chronometers, at least sixteen of them, are going superbly ; none on record have ever gone at all like them.

A few days after arriving I started on an expedition of 150 miles to Rio Macao, which lasted eighteen days. Here I first saw a tropical forest in all its sublime grandeur-nothing but the reality can give any idea how wonderful, how magnificent the scene is. If I was to specify any one thing I should give the pre-eminence to the host of parasitical plants. Your

engraving is exactly true, but underrates rather than exaggerates the luxuriance. I never experienced such intense delight. I formerly admired Humboldt, I now almost adore him; he alone gives any notion of the feelings which are raised in the mind on first entering the Tropics. I am now collecting fresh-water and land animals; if what was told me in London is true, viz., that there are no small insects in the collections from the Tropics, I tell Entomologists to look out and have their pens ready for describing. I have taken as minute (if not more so) as in England, Hydropori, Hygroti, Hydrobii, Pselaphi, Staphylini, Curculio, &c. &c. It is exceedingly interesting observing the difference of genera and species from those which I know; it is however much less than I had expected. I am at present red-hot with spiders they are very interesting, and if I am not mistaken I have already taken some new genera. I shall have a large box to send very soon to Cambridge, and with that I will mention some more natural history particulars.

The Captain does everything in his power to assist me, and we get on very well, but I thank my better fortune he has not made me a renegade to Whig principles. I would not be a Tory, if it was merely on account of their cold hearts about that scandal to Christian nations-Slavery. I am very good friends with all the officers.

I have just returned from a walk, and as a specimen, how little the insects are known. Noterus, according to the ‘Dictionnaire Classique,' contains solely three European species. I in one haul of my net took five distinct species ; is this not quite extraordinary?

Tell Professor Sedgwick he does not know how much I am indebted to him for the Welsh Expedition ; it has given me an interest in Geology which I would not give up for any consideration. I do not think I ever spent a more delightful three weeks than pounding the North-west Mountains. I look forward to the geology about Monte Video as I hear there are slates there, so I presume in that district I shall find the junctions of the Pampas, and the enormous granite forma




tion of Brazils. At Bahia the pegmatite and gneiss in beds had the same direction, as observed by Humboldt, prevailing over Columbia, distant 1300 miles—is it not wonderful ? Monte Video will be for a long time my direction. I hope you will write again to me, there is nobody from whom I like receiving advice so much as from you. ... Excuse this almost unintelligible letter, and believe me, my dear Henslow, with the warmest feelings of respect and friendship,

Yours affectionately,


C. Darwin to J. M. Herbert.

Botofogo Bay, Rio de Janeiro,


Your letter arrived here when I had given up all hopes of receiving another, it gave me, therefore, an additional degree of pleasure. At such an interval of time and space one does learn to feel truly obliged to those who do not forget one. The memory when recalling scenes past by, affords to us exiles one of the greatest pleasures. Often and often whilst wandering amongst these hills do I think of Barmouth, and, I may add, as often wish for such a companion. What a contrast does a walk in these two places afford; here abrupt and stony peaks are to the very summit enclosed by luxuriant woods; the whole surface of the country, excepting where cleared by man, is one impenetrable forest. How different from Wales, with its sloping hills covered with turf, and its open valleys. I was not previously aware how intimately what may be called the moral part is connected with the enjoyment of scenery. I mean such ideas, as the history of the country, the utility of the produce, and more especially the happiness of the people living with them. Change the English labourer into a poor slave, working for another, and you will hardly recognise the same view. I am sure you will be glad to hear how very well every part (Heaven forefend,

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

except sea-sickness) of the expedition has answered. We have already seen Teneriffe and the Great Canary ; St. Jago where I spent three most delightful weeks, revelling in the delights of first naturalising a tropical volcanic island, and besides other islands, the two celebrated ports in the Brazils, viz. Bahia and Rio.

I was in my hammock till we arrived at the Canaries, and I shall never forget the sublime impression the first view of Teneriffe made on my mind. The first arriving into warm weather was most luxuriously pleasant; the clear blue sky of the Tropics was no common change after those accursed southwest gales at Plymouth. About the Line it became weltering hot. We spent one day at St. Paul's, a little group of rocks about a quarter of a mile in circumference, peeping up in the midst of the Atlantic. There was such a scene here. Wickham (1st Lieutenant) and I were the only two who landed with guns and geological hammers, &c. The birds by myriads were too close to shoot; we then tried stones, but at last, proh pudor! my geological hammer was the instrument of death. We soon loaded the boat with birds and eggs. Whilst we were so engaged, the men in the boat were fairly fighting with the sharks for such magnificent fish as you could not see in the London market. Our boat would have made a fine subject for Snyders, such a medley of game it contained. We have been here ten weeks, and shall now start for Monte Video, when I look forward to many a gallop over the Pampas. I am ashamed of sending such a scrambling letter, but if you were to see the heap of letters on my table you would understand the reason.

I am glad to hear music flourishes so well in Cambridge; but it [is] as barbarous to talk to me of “celestial concerts " as to a person in Arabia of cold water, In a voyage of this sort, if one gains many new and great pleasures, on the other side the loss is not inconsiderable. How should you like to be suddenly debarred from seeing every person and place, which you have ever known and loved, for five years? I do assure you I am occasionally “taken aback” by this reflec

[ocr errors]




tion; and then for man or ship it is not so easy to right again. Remember me most sincerely to the remnant of most excellent fellows whom I have the good luck to know in Cambridge -I mean Whitley and Watkins. Tell Lowe I am even beneath his contempt. I can eat salt beef and musty biscuits for dinner. See what a fall man may come to!

My direction for the next year and a half will be Monte Video.

God bless you, my very dear old Herbert. May you always be happy and prosperous is my most cordial wish.

Yours affectionately,


C. Darwin to F. Watkins.

Monte Video, River Plata,

August 18, 1832. MY DEAR WATKINS,

I do not feel very sure you will think a letter from one so far distant will be worth having; I write therefore on the selfish principle of getting an answer.

In the different countries we visit the entire newness and difference from England only serves to make more keen the recollection of its scenes and delights. In consequence the pleasure of thinking of, and hearing from one's former friends, does indeed become great. Recollect this, and some long winter's evening sit down and send me a long account of yourself and our friends; both what you have, and what (you) intend doing; otherwise in three or four more years when I return you will be all strangers to me. Considering how many months have passed, we have not in the Beagle made much way round the world. Hitherto everything has well repaid the necessary trouble and loss of comfort. We stayed three weeks at the Cape de Verds; it was no ordinary pleasure rambling over the plains of lava under a tropical sun, but when I first entered on and beheld the luxuriant vegetation in Brazil, it was realizing the visions in the Arabian Nights.' The brilliancy of the scenery

« VorigeDoorgaan »