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covered; but neither was there a single circumstance in the then state of geographical knowledge calculated to establish the opinion that Tierra del Fuego extended, without interruption, to the South Pole. When Magalhaens passed through the strait which bears his name, he took it for granted that the country on his right hand, or towards the north, was the mainland of America; and, as to the country on his left, he concluded it was an island, because the noise of the ocean beyond it was sometimes audible, This observation certainly referred to the western portion of the strait, but it was expressed without limitation, and conveyed, at the least, a very broad hint of the truth. Sir Francis Drake, after sailing through the strait, was driven far to the south by a gale, and found shelter not far from Cape Horn. He saw no land, but an open sea to the south of him. Again, a captain of Loyasa's fleet, in 1525, saw the end of the land, as he termed it, on the south-eastern side of Tierra del Fuego. Many other particulars might be adduced in proof of the assertion that the attempt to cut off all intercourse between Europe and the Pacific Ocean, by fortifying the strait of Magalhaens, is to be ascribed altogether to the wrongheadedness of the court of Spain; and must not be taken as an indication of the state of geographical knowledge at that time.
Thirty years after this lamentable expedition, an opulent and well-informed Dutch merchant, Isaac le Maire, equipped two ships for the express purpose of sailing through the open sea round the southern termination of the new world. His views were realized, and the southern Cape, lashed by the waves of a restless ocean, took the name of the village of Horn, on the Zuyder Zee. This discovery again roused the jealousy of Spain; and, in 1618, the Nodales were dispatched to circumnavigate Tierra del Fuego. To this effort, however, succeeded a long period of inaction, and it was not till the English Jesuit, Falkner, published, in 1774, his account of Patagonia, in which he dwelt on the advantages derivable from the occupation of that country, that the Spanish government again shook off its lethargy, and sent Don Antonio de Cordova to survey the Magellanic shores,—a commission which that officer executed with much ability.
While the Beagle, carrying on the survey westward, was lying in Port Gallant, one of the officers ascended the neighbouring mountain, De la Cruz, and found on its summit the remains of a glass bottle, a Spanish coin, and a roll of papers; which proved to be the memorials lest by Don Antonio, together with a copy of a document previously deposited there by M. de Bougainville. There is something extremely touching in those simple memorials of eminent navigators, whose noiseless discoveries exert a
nore permanent, and certainly far more beneficial, influence on he destinies of the human race, than the most brilliant victories. in their anxiety to leave on the shores explored by them some memorial of what they have done, it is easy to discern a union of the opposite feelings which dictate the inscription of a trophy and that of an epitaph.
While the ships remained in the strait, a tolerably constant intercourse was maintained with the small tribe of Patagonians, who, to the number of two hundred, wandered along the shore from Cape Virgin to Port Famine. The Patagonians, whom some travellers have magnified into giants, are really somewhat larger than Europeans. With an average height rather exceeding six feet, they have very broad shoulders and a large head, the ample dimensions of which are set off by a quantity of long matted hair hanging in the wildest disorder over their faces. Falkner, who lived many years among the Patagonians, says that he never saw one of them who was above an inch or two taller than the Cacique Cangapol; and he,' observes the Jesuit, 'must have been seven feet and some inches in height, because
on tiptoe I could not reach to the top of his head. The exaggerations of those who have represented the Patagonians as a race of giants, eight feet in height, and with the voice of bulls, are, after all, less embarrassing than the silence of others respecting the superior stature of the natives inhabiting the northern shores of the Strait of Magalhaens. But it must be observed that these people are great wanderers, roving over an immense extent of desert plains. The same tribe which was found by the officers of the Beagle on the shores of the strait, was seen a year after on the banks of the Rio Negro, eight hundred miles further north. It is probable, also, that the various tribes differ in robustness according to the abundance of their food; and, indeed, Falkner points out the distinction between the large-bodied and the small Huilliches. This circumstance, added to their nomadic habits, will serve to explain why it has not been the lot of every visiter to the Magellanic shores, to see natives with the Herculean proportions of Cangapol.amera
Nearly every Patagonian, now-a-days, is a horseman. The countless droves of horses which, since the arrival of the Spaniards, have spread over the pampas of South America, have, pro
a Patagonian leading a tame guanaco with a halter round its neck; and later accounts inform us that they domesticated those animals, and kept large herds of them near their dwellings. The arms of the Patagonian, in the sixteenth century, were the bow and arrow, and light spear. He now entangles his prey with the laço or noose, and with the bolas or tied balls, as dexterously as the Indian of the northern pampas. Provided with the horse, and the weapons of his northern neighbours, the Patagonian has found the chase grow more productive; he has abandoned pastoral cares, and acquired nomadic, easily degenerating into predatory habits. If these views be correct, he has been a loser by the acquisition of the horse; for that, by relieving him from dependence on, and weaning him from any attachment to the soil, has lessened his tendency to civilisation.
The Patagonians, seen by the officers of the Adventure and Beagle in the strait, carried with them, in general, some evidence of the extent of their travels. One young chief rode a horse handsomely caparisoned, after the fashion of the Gauchos, or peasants of Buenos Ayres. A woman, named Maria, who seemed to exercise some authority over her countrymen, spoke a little Spanish. Her brother, a cacique, dwelling on the Rio Negro, was, as she related, an important personage, respected both for his gigantic size and his riches; which consisted of horses, hides, and furs of various kinds. Under kind treatment they were found to be extremely tractable and willing to oblige. Fearless and without mistrust, they betrayed in their avowed love of intoxication alone, the uncontrolled passions of the barbarian.
Captain Stokes, in the Beagle, ran along the western side of Patagonia, and, though constantly thwarted in his operations by tempestuons weather, he succeeded in making a correct outline of that intricate coast. In port Santa Barbara, he found imbedded in the sand a beam of a large ship, and concluded it, for good reasons, to be a remnant of the Wager, one of Lord Anson's fleet, the loss of which, and subsequent sufferings of the crew, are so well described by Byron and Bulkeley. Being opposed himself by the same warring elements, this memorial of their fatal wrath was little calculated to comfort or to cheer him. Surrounded by dangers, and rendered doubly anxious by his zealous desire to execute the task intrusted to him, his spirits at length sank under the load of care. He grew listless and dejected, and in a few days after his return to Port Famine, in August 1828, he put an end to his life. At the time when this melancholy event took place, the crews of both vessels, but particularly of the Adventure, were suffering from scurvy. This terrible disease, brought on by the gloom and severity of the climate,
could not be checked in its progress by the abundance of fresh meat supplied by the natives, or of wild celery found along the shores. As its inroads, under depressing circumstances, might quickly become fatal, Captain King determined at once to quit the straits of Magalhaens, and to repair to Rio de Janeiro. At that port Captain Fitzroy was appointed to command the Beagle; and, the ships being repaired and their crews restored to health, they returned to the strait in the beginning of the following year.
Among the events of this period of the survey, one of the most interesting was the discovery of the great lakes called Otway and Skyring waters, situated on the northern side of the strait, in the angle made by its bend to the south; and looking like unfinished short-cuts between the opposite seas. In May 1829, Captain Fitzroy, while exploring the Jerome Channel, unexpectedly arrived at a great expanse of water, about forty miles long from south-west to north-east, and twenty miles in width. Near its northern limit, he found a navigable channel about a mile wide, which, being followed for a dozen miles, led him into another lake, only ten or twelve miles wide, but stretching westward beyond the reach of the human eye. The first of these lakes was named Otway, the second Skyring water. Unfavourable weather forbad the complete examination of their shores, but, from an eminence, it was seen that low land and a chain of lagoons intervene between the strait of Magalhaens and the eastern end of Otway water--their nearest shores being hardly ten miles asunder. Skyring water, it was subsequently discovered, is separated from the ocean, at its western extremity, by a barrier of mountains and glaciers hardly five miles broad. These lakes border on the limits of the two distinct climates of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. On their north-eastern side were clear skies, grassy plains, and plants like those characteristic of the eastern coasts. In the opposite direction, they were encompassed by snowy mountains, glaciers, and gloomy forests. To a country possessing industry and civilisation, such an extent of inland navigable waters would be an inestimable advantage. In Patagonia they seem deemed to remain for a long time useless. We are far, however, from being disposed to admit that the Magellanic regions are condemned, by asperity of climate, to be the seat of perpetual barbarism. The arts of civilized man render him superior to climate; and the same energy and ingenuity which enable him to live comfortably in Iceland, or Hudson's Bay, might certainly provide him with luxuries in the strait of Magalhaens.
While the Beagle was employed in surveying the southern coast of Tierra del Fuego, an adventure occurred which was ulti
VOL. LXIX. NO. CXL.