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26 November 1768
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26 November 1768

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in Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine
26 November 1768

26. I myself went ashore this morn before day break and stayd till dark night; while I was ashore I met several of the inhabitants who were very civil to me, taking me to their houses where I bought of them stock for the ship tolerably cheap, a porker midlingly fat for 11 shill, a muscovy duck something under two shils &c.

The countrey where I saw it abounded with vast variety of Plants and animals, mostly such as have not been describd by our naturalists as so few have had an opportunity of coming here; indeed no one that I know of even tolerably curious has been here since Marcgrave and Piso about the year 1640, so it is easy to guess the state in which the nat hist of such a countrey must be.

To give a Cataloge of what I found would be a trouble very little to the purpose, as every particular is mentiond in the general catalogues of this place. I cannot however help mentioning some which struck me the most and consequently gave me particular pleasure: these were cheifly the parasitick plants especialy renealmias, for I was not fortunate enough to see one epidendron, and the different species of Bromelia, many not before describd had I been fortunate enough to see fructifications which I did of very Few. B. Karratas I saw here growing on the decayd trunk of a tree 50 feet high at least, which it had so intirely coverd that the whole seemd to be a tree of Karratas. The growth of the also pleasd me much tho I had before got a very good Idea of it from Rumphius, who has a very good figure of the tree in his Herb:Amboin. Tab:   Add to these the whole Contrey Coverd with the Beatifull blossom of Malpigias, Bannisterias, Pasifloras, not to Forget Poinciana and Mimosa sensitiva and a beatifull species of Clutia of which I saw great plenty, in short the wildest Spotts here were varied with a greater quantity of Flowers as well as more beatifull ones than our best devisd gardens, a sight infinitely pleasing to the Eye for a short time tho no doubt it would soon tire with the continuance of it.

The birds of many species especialy the smaller ones sat in great abundance on the bough's, many of them coverd with most Elegant plumage. I shot Loxia Brasiliensis and saw several specimens of them. In sects also were here in great abundance, many species very fine but much more Nimble than our Europaeans especialy the Butterflies, which almost all flew near the topps of the trees and were very difficult to come at except when the sea breeze flew fresh, which kept them low down among the trees where they might be taken. Humming birds I also saw of one species but could not shoot them.

The banks of the Sea and more remarkably all the Edges of small brooks were coverd with innumerable quantities of small Crabbs, cancer vocans Linn, one hand of which is very large. Among these were many both whose hands were remarkably small and of equal size: these my black servant told me were females of the others, and indeed all I examind, which were many, provd to be females tho whether realy of the same species with vocans I cannot determine on so short an acquaintance.

I saw but little cu[l]tivation and that seemd to be taken but little pains with; grass land was the cheif on which were many Lean cattle feeding and lean they might well be, for almost all the species of grass which I observd here were creepers, and consequently so close to the ground that tho there might be upon them a sufficient bite for horses or sheep yet how horned cattle could live at all was all that appeard extraordinary to me.

I also saw their gardens or small patches in which they cultivate many sorts of European garden stuff as Cabbage, peas, beans, kidney beans, turnips, white raddishes, pumkins, & c. but all much inferior to ours except perhaps the last; here also they grow water melons and pine apples the only Fruits which I have seen them cultivate. The water melons are very good but the Pines much inferior to those I have tasted in Europe; hardly one I have yet had could have been reckond among the midling sort, many were worse than I have seen sent from table in England where nobody would Eat them, tho in general they are very sweet they have not the least flavour; but more of their Fruits by and by.

In these gardens grow also Yamms and Mandihoca or Cassada which supplys the place of Bread here, for as our Europaean bread corn will not grow here all the Flour they have is brought from Portugal at a large expence, too great for even the midling people to purchase much more the inferior ones.


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© Derived from State Library of NSW 1998 Transcription of Banks's Endeavour Journal pages (vol.1) 92 - (vol.1) 98, 2004
Published by South Seas, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-banks-17681126