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On this day ...
29 September - 14 November 1768

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James Cook
Joseph Banks

From England


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From England (continued)

Nothing material occurred from the 29th to the 7th of October; then we had variable winds, with some showers of rain; and the dampness of the air greatly affected all our iron utensils. We caught two sea swallows, and several curious marine animals, of the molusca tribe, such as sea-worms, star-fish, and sea urchins.

On the 21st, we reached the S.E. trade wind, and continued our course without any remarkable occurrence till the 8th of November; then we discovered land at about eight leagues distance, and spoke with the crew of a Portugueze fishing vessel, of whom Mr. Banks bought a great quantity of fish, among which were dolphins and breams, which afforded much speculation to our naturalists. After having left the vessel, we stood in for the land, which proved to be the Brazils; and coasted along the shore till the 13th, and then sailed into the harbour of Rio de Janeiro, which lies in latitude 22° 56’ south, and longitude 42° 45’ west; but before we arrived in the harbour, the captain had sent Mr. Hicks, the first lieutenant, and the chief mate, in the pinnace, to the viceroy, to obtain a pilot; however, as the wind was fair, the captain ventured to continue sailing on, and was assisted by signals from the forts.

The viceroy detained the lieutenant and the mate, and sent back the pinnace with three of his own officers in it (of which one was a colonel) but no pilot. The colonel told us, that our officers would only be detained till the ship should be examined, according to custom: we therefore stood forward into the harbour, and anchored near the north end of Ilhos dos Scobros, or Snakes island; but the colonel would not permit any of us to go ashore.

Our lieutenant had been instructed to evade answering any questions the Portugueze might ask him respecting our destination; or at least to answer them with reserve: the captain thought such questions would be impertinent, as our vessel was a ship of war; and the lieutenant observed these directions.

The viceroy held a council, the result of which was to prohibit any person coming on shore from our ship; but they condescended to order all necessary supplies to be sent to us. We were displeased on receiving this intelligence, as we had expected to have met with agreeable entertainment on shore. Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander appeared much chagrined at their disappointment: but, notwithstanding all the viceroy’s precautions, we determined to gratify our curiosity, in some measure, and having obtained a sufficient knowledge of the river and harbour, by the surveys that we had made of the country, we frequently, unknown to the centinel, stole out of the cabin window at midnight, letting ourselves down into a boat by a rope; and, driving away with the tide till we were out of hearing, we then rowed to some unfrequented part of the shore, where we landed, and made excursions up into the country, though not so far as we could have wished to have done. The morning after we went ashore, my eyes were feasted with the pleasing prospects that opened to my view on every hand. I soon discovered a hedge in which were many very curious plants in bloom, and all of them quite new to me. There were so many, that I even loaded myself with them. We found also many curious plants in the sallading that was sent to us; and desired the people that brought it to procure us, if possible, all the different sorts that grew upon the island.

People in South Seas Companion: Rolim, Antonio, Viceroy of Brazil
Places in South Seas Companion: Island of Snakes | Rio de Janeiro

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© Derived from the London 1773 edition printed for Stanfield Parkinson, pages 3 - 4, 2004
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