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resources have still to be developed. Would that those in authority at home were aware of the mine of wealth we possess in these islands, and utilize them more. Every man of war that rounds Cape Horn might be ordered to call here on her way, instead of seeking refreshments in a foreign port, and running the risk which too often awaits her of getting yellow fever on board in that hot bed of filth and disease-Rio.
This indeed is the natural half-way house for an Englishman bound to or from the Pacific, and having, by the blessing of God, reached it safely, notwithstanding our dilapidated condition, I shall jot down a few remarks upon our passage; which has been tedious, owing to the very light winds experienced for so great a portion of the distance, but on the whole most favourable, no casualty worth naming having occurred. It is true that I might have run down my longitude in a more southern parallel, thereby shortening the distance a trifle, with the chance of getting better winds; but the long nights (full eighteen hours of darkness) induced me to follow strictly the Sailing Directions, which recommend vessels not to go further South than 54° in the winter till within a few miles of Cape Horn. At the same time it must be confessed that a sailing ship, with the baffling winds we had, would have been delayed many days longer in rounding the cape, which we were forced to do at last under steam.
The actual distance run, by the log and reckoning, between Onehunga and Port Stanley, was 5,774 miles,mor 115 a day, 4.8 knots per hour: of which, 772 miles was done under steam in four days and eighteen hours, or at the rate of 6.8 knots per hour; revolutions, 48.8; speed of screw, 8.424; slip per cent., 23.96 ;-altogether a most miserable performance. The consumption of coal amounted to 135 tops, or 50715 knots for every ton; 104 tons were used in addition for raising steam, making the gross quantity expended 1451 tons,—an enormous quantity compared with the work done; but the fuel was Australian (Newcastle) coal of the worst description for our tubes, depositing enormous quantities of soot and clinker, and two of the boilers were leaking very badly.
Friday, 28th.—We commenced coaling this morning from the hulk belonging to the Falkland Island Company, which was bauled along. side for that purpose. Mr. Dean, the head of a firm which is also ready to undertake the coaling, provisioning, and repairs of the lame ducks that arrive here in such increasing numbers, bad tendered for the honour of supplying us; but as he had only fifty tons available, I was obliged to patronize the rival company. The weather was against us, being very boisterous, and we had to leave off to house topgallant masts, veer cable, and let go a second anchor. In spite of all drawbacks, however, in two days 154 tons were taken in West Hartley, at sixty shillings a ton,--and on Sunday afternoon, during a lull, the hulk was safely transported back to her moorings.
With the exception of tobacco and flour, which were obtained from Captain Malony, the officer in charge of the Commissariat store, I got all our other supplies from the Falkland Island Company. Excellent beef at threepence a pound, delicious mutton, sixpence, the finest sheep I ever saw. Besides the fresh beef, I had sufficient corned during our stay for a fortnight's consumption, at fourpence a pound, but the casks cost ten shillings each.
I found Mr. Lane, the Company's Manager, most obliging. He gave me an interesting account of the grazing establishment under his charge, which seems to be in a very thriving state, the sheep increasing at the rate of seventy per cent. per annum. The wool fetches a high price in the London market, the fleece being very superior, owing to the climate, which is much more equable than in England; the temperature ranging from 40° to 50° in winter, and 50° to 70° in summer, while snow falls rarely, and still more seldom lies on the ground. The flocks, I suspect, will prove even more valuable than the herds to the company, but everything is yet in its infancy.
In 1859, the first year for which there is any return, the imports into Great Britain from these islands, consisting of hides and horns, bones, wool, seal oil, and skins, amounted to £2,844; last year they had increased to £7,339! And the hulk from which we coaled contained, Mr. Lane informed me, upwards of £8,000 worth of produce, ready for transmission home by the first opportunity. It is evident, therefore, that there is a good opening here for men fond of pastoral pursuits, who can stand hard work and exposure in all weathere. But the climate is considered remarkably healthy, and even persons afflicted with pulmonary complaints are said to experience relief here. See A. K. Johnston's Physical Atlas of Natural Phenomena, p. 119.)
Cultivation can hardly be said to have commenced as yet, although many kinds of European vegetables, especially turnips and carrots, thrive exceedingly well. Barley has been grown, but wheat has not ripened, owing, it is supposed, to not having been sown at the right season, and experiments are to be made with winter wheat, which it is hoped will be successful. Trees are utterly wanting ; there is not one in all the Falklands, nothing larger than the currant and gooseberry bushes in the settler's gardens, which, by the way, bear uncommonly well. If labour and capital could be found, it might be well worth while to try planting on a large scale. Scotch firs or larch would probably stand the best change, and there is no knowing what effect draining and planting might not have in mitigating the severity of the gales and otherwise ameliorating this boisterous climate.
I must not omit some notice of the minerals, for there are indications which go far to prove that these islands are rich in various kinds. Captain Moore presented me with specimens of several that had been discovered ;* among them what appeared to be a rich chrome iron ore and a specimen of black lead. Coal has been discovered also, and the Governor seems perfectly satisfied that it is fit for steaming purposes. It answers well as fuel in the ordinary grates ; so at all events, for household purposes, it may supersede the peat now in general use.
* These were all deposited at the Geological Museum in Jermyn Street on my arrival in England.
But all these resources, and many others which require capital and labour to develope them, are likely enough to lie fallow for many & day without assistance from the Imperial Government; and it appears to me that the most effectual mode of rendering that assistance would be to declare this a penal settlement. There is a cry in England just now for a return to transportation,--the feeling among the settlers here is almost unanimous in favour of convicts being sent to them, and I cannot imagine a more eligible position for such an establishment, It has, indeed, every desirable qualification: the climate has been declared by no mean authority to be healthy yet not enervating; the country is extensive enough to be capable of absorbing the convicts after their term of imprisonment has expired. Roads, jetties, and other public works are urgently needed. Without the former no industry can flourish, and no agriculturalist would be tempted to cast his lot in the land; but once established, there would be a fine opening for the farmer and grazier, for the land is suitable for green crops and resembles much that of the West coast of Scotland and Ireland.
Again, the distance from home is not so great as to render the cost of transport excessive, especially when compared with the expense the country has been put to in sending criminals to the Antipodes. It is under 8,000 miles, or less than half the distance between England and Western Australia.
Another important consideration is the remoteness of these islands from any civilized community, to whom runaway convicts might be come a serious puisance ;-Monte Video, the nearest civilized state, being upwards of 1,200 miles off.
Altogether, the Falkland Islands fulfil almost every condition considered necessary or desirable in the selection of a place of security for condemned criminals; and no valid objection can be brought for ward against their being appropriated to this purpose.
(To be continued.)
EXCURSION TO THE LAKE OF NICARAGUA UP THE RIVER SAN
JUAN.—By Mr. George Lawrence, Assistant-Surveyor of H.M.S. “ Thunder,” Commander E. Barnett, in March, 1840.
(Continued from page 290). Friday 13th. We noticed here the remains of a Catholic church or chapel, and its great bell that was wont to arrest the pious traveller in his journey to and from the Lake now lies prostrate at the foot of the belfry, still in a good state of preservation ; but evidently having long since ceased to wag its monitory tongue! The remains of a sort of pavement, seem to indicate the site of a considerable town.
The bongo we passed two days ago arrived at this place this morning, and a canoe laden with corn and other provisions from the island
of Solentinane, where it is said there are several agricultural settlements. Her crew consisted of three women and a male coxswain. The former paddled, and appeared to be quite adepts in their occupation; they were remarkably clean in their dress and person, the latter by no means deficient in point of beauty; but I cannot say so much for their modesty and morals.
The entrance of the Lake of Nicaragua. Island Sapote on the left; site of
Fort San Carlos on the distant higħ land.
Site of the Fort. The commandant must have been either very studious, very sleepy, or very tipsy, for we did not see the light of his countenance nor hear of bim since our audience of yesterday. In such a place as this he cannot often have an opportunity of showing off his importance, and on that account one would have expected a little more attention and civility; but perhaps he had not yet recovered from the effects of his indulgence. We remarked this morning that, with the wind at E.N.E.. the lake had again risen to its former level, proving that the padrone was quite right.
Sounding round the Morro Point, I found that the depth varies from 11 to 2 fathoms. The best guide in the dry season, when there is only six feet in the deepest channel, "is,” the padrone says, “to steer direct from this point to the northern extreme of Solentinane.”
Having obtained observations, we left San Carlos at 3h. 45m. p.m., paddling along the North shore of the lake till we came to Lime Point, about one mile and three quarters distant from the Morro Point, when we made sail, put the log over, and steered N.b.W. (magnetic) with the wind at E.N.E. No. 4 or 5; weather exceedingly fine. Running along shore at the distance of one and two miles, the land appeared to be low and swampy near the margin of the lake, but gradually rising to one and two hundred feet, and overgrown with a few trees of small growth. Here the soundings were ten feet, and then gradually decreased till we came abreast of Punta del Toole, about two miles and a half from Cay Bokeet, where a small rivulet, named Rio de las Ma, rias, empties itself. At this time the patent log showed 15.2 miles. At 9h. 30m. p.m., we arrived at San Miguelito, where we remained for the night, the weather fine. NO. 7.-VOL. XXXII.
Saturday, 14th.–At daylight we looked round the settlement of San Miguelito, which is a small village, containing about fifteen huts, situated on a declivity eighty or one hundred feet above, and less than half a mile from, the lake. A few acres of land surrounding the huts have been cleared away, leaving a pleasant open grass plot, where the soil appears to be rich and fertile.
We saw few men at this place, their occupation being pastoral, they had left their homes before daylight to look after their herds, grazing on the neighbouring hills and savannas, and would not return till the afternoon to take their siesta. The women, of whom we saw several, are many of them rather pretty and well dressed, their principal garment being a sort of petticoat, and their busts slightly covered with a thin jacket, giving their tout ensemble an air of gracefulness which I little expected to have met with in such a place. Others were bathing as usual in their birthday suit, or, in other words, in all their naked beauty, near the spot of our observations.
Here we found a bongo laden with cheese, jerked beef, &c., the produce of the adjacent country. Of the latter we found it again necessary to purchase a “roba,” equal to 25lbs., which cost three quarters of a dollar. Bullocks may here be had for four and a half dollars, fowls for one quarter, eggs and milk for a mere trifle.
The height of Solentinane peak, &c., I found to be 800 feet, and San Bernardo 317 feet high.
The first point we passed is called Padernal, where there are a few houses on its western extremity, said to be a good place for live stock; but having supplied ourselves at the place from which we last started, we did not land here. · Again running along shore at the distance of a quarter, and sometimes one mile ;-here there is nothing striking in the features of the land, which near the beach is low, but not swampy, and strewed with small detached pieces of rock, evidently bearing the impress of volcanic action. At a short distance inland, hills of 100 and 200 feet begin to rise, not much wooded, but thickly grass-clad, and affording pasturage to numerous herds of cattle. Here we saw several small huts, the residences of drovers.
Passed the small river Guapola at two p.m., landed to dine on Punta de la Haing, where we afterwards obtained observations, and at four p.m. sailed with a delightful sea breeze, the sky nearly cloudless.
The hills on this side of the lake, divested of forest clothing, remind me of those of Portugal and the North coast of Spain. At sunset we passed a bongo going to the eastward, but did not speak her. At this time saw the peak of Ometape clear and well defined, its summit having all the appearance of a crater.
The night was unusually clear and beautiful, not a cloud to be seen, wind easterly, and canoe gliding along at the rate of four knots. At eight p.m. passed Nanci Tal Cays, and at 9h. 30m. landed for the night at Punta Pederosa. i Between this and Punta de la Haing are three rivulets, viz., Rio Oyate, Rio Rapel, and Rio Burro Negro, which discharge themselves into the lake.