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dismal regions we had escaped, it is impossible to describe our satisfaction at the change. We crossed the line in longitude twenty degrees twenty minutes, the breeze continuing to freshen every hour. According to immemorial custom, the usual ceremonies were performed on this important occasion, and were productive of much innocent mirth and gaiety, but an account of particulars would probably afford no entertainment to the reader, as they varied but little from those which have been so repeatedly detailed by voyagers. We had thus far enjoyed excellent health, even the unpleasant calm we had experienced, occasioned no sickness among the crew; owing in a great measure to the cleanliness on board American ships, and the precautions so carefully taken.
Being now fairly in the trades, our course was bard. ly interrupted for a moment; we had a steady breeze filling all our sails, and a smooth sea. Nothing could be more agreeable than the temperature of the air; the sails required little or no attention, but there was no want of employment in this little busy world. I could not have imagined such a variety of occupations as the seamen were continually engaged in. The officers not on duty, spent their time in reading and study, while the midshipmen, fifteen or twenty in number were kept closely to their books. There was no lounging, no idleness, no silly gossipping, no loud talking; and as to intemperance, this is regarded, on board of an American man of war, a vice for which there is no forgiveness. The north star gradually disappeared, and its place was imperfectly supplied by the constellation of the cross, and the Magellanic clouds. The constellations of the southern hemis
phere, are thought by some to be more brilliant than those of the northern; the sight of so many new stars which I had never expected to behold, and the disappearance of the greater part of those I had gazed on from infancy, naturally inspired a variety of strange sensations. The brilliant phosphoric light which. marked at night the track of the ship, resembling that of the comet, very frequently amused us, and caused our wonder when we reflected that it was produced by myriads of small insects possessing the properties of the glow worm, or fire fly. The flying fish was occasionally seen darting through the air for a few hundred yards, and then plunging again into a more congenial element. They often fall on board merchant vessels, but the height of the frigate above the water, prevented them from passing over us. In latitude nine degrees south, we ran over a turtle of prodigious size, which appeared to have been lying asleep on the surface of the water; the nearest land was the island of Fernando de Noronha, distant at least four hundred miles.
As we drew up with the coast of Brazil, the lead was kept continually going. On the 26th, we passed over a bed of coral rock, much farther out than is laid down by any chart, and kept soundings in thirty-five fathoms for five or six leagues, steering south-west, and suddenly fell off into very deep water. This spot was determined to be in south latitude twenty degrees thirty minutes, and in longitude thirty-seven degrees thirty minutes, by a very good chronometer.
The hope of soon approaching land awakened a new interest in our breasts. Even the hardy sons of
the ocean seemed to be cheered with the prospect; much greater therefore must have been the gratification of mere landsmen. By our observations and reckoning, we expected by twelve o'clock on the 27th to make Cape Frio, a beadland of great celebrity with mariners. During the greater part of the forenoon all were anxiously looking out for it, and about one it was descried by the man stationed at the mast head; but it was not until two or three that it could be seen from deck; and even then for some time only by those who were accustomed to distinguish the loom of the land, from the low clouds which skirt the horizon. We found our reckoning within eighteen miles of being correct, having been set somewhat to the southward by a current, which usually sets with the wind along the coast. By observation we were in twenty-three degrees nine minutes south, and by chronometer in forty-one west. Cape Frio was seen at the distance of fifteen or twenty miles; its appearance is so remarkable and so easily recognized from the description of navigators, that it is impossible to mistake it. It seemed to be a high promontory, its summit presenting a waving line, with places somewhat conical; and when first seen it has the appearance of two sepa. rate islands, from a hollow in the middle. The clouds rested on its summit. It appeared to be immense naked rock, incapable of affording sustenance to any living thing, and yet I felt a kind of pleasure in contemplating this huge inhospitable mass, being weary of seeing nothing for nearly sixty days but the sky and water. : · Having ascertained where we were, the commodore
gave orders to stand along down the land, under easy
sail. It was somewhat squally during the night, as, is usual in the neighborhood of these headlands. Be. fore day it fell calm, when we descried the sugar loať, the entrance of the harbor of Rio Janeiro, bearing west south-west, at the distance of twenty miles; by which it appeared, that we had been set twenty-one miles to the westward by the current. There appeared before us an irregular line of high rocky coast, and a person not accustomed to measure distances by the eye, would have thought himself not more than a few miles off, and the rocks, instead of mountains, to be little more than a hundred feet high. The sugar loaf, a leaning cone, was like a watch tower at the termination of a high irregular rampart, forming the western portal of the entrance of the harbor, towards which it leans as if frowning on those who approach. Immediately on the opposite side, there is the same kind of rock though not quite so high, but more broken and irregular. A light breeze springing up from the land, we worked in towards the shore, and as we approach. ed discovered high mountains in the back ground, whose tops rose above the region of the clouds. Every object of nature is here on the boldest and most mag. nificent scale. In the evening we came to anchor within a few miles of the forts which command the entrance to the harbor, and lieutenant Clack was des. patched by the commodore, to wait on the commander of the fort and to obtain a pilot. The number of vessels continually entering and leaving the harbor, gave us a high opinion of the commercial importance of the city we were about to visit. The anchorage is excellent every where along the coast. Before the entrance there are a number of small islands from two to
six miles out, of various sizes and appearances. They seem to be small detatched knobs or hills, gra. dually sloping on every side to the water's edge, with a thick covering of shrubs and vines, and tbeir summits crowned with palm trees. They are uninhabited although some of them are several miles in cir. cumference. The largest vessel may sail with per. fect safety between them, as the water is, with scarcely an exception, bold and deep:
Early next morning the pilot having come on board, more for the sake of complying with every necessary precaution than because his services were necessary, we passed into the spacious harbor of Rio. T'he entrance is about a mile wide, and probably the safest and easiest in the world. We passed on the right, fort Santa Cruz built upon a shelf of the rock, with several tier of guns and most formidable in its appear. apce. Strong works are also erected on the steep rock behind it, from which it is separated by a singular cleft crossed by a drawbridge. On the left under the sugar loaf there is another fort, but comparatively of not much consequence; as the best channel lies pretty close to Santa Cruz. Vessels generally pass directly under its guns. We passed another small fort just within the harbor. The place is said to be very strongly fortified; it certainly possesses extraordinary natural facilities for this purpose. It was forced about the beginning of the last century by the cele. brated French mariner, Dugai Trouin, who took possession of the city, and laid it under contribution; but its fortifications were in consequence greatly improv. ed. As we entered the harbor, a most magnificent scene opened upon us. The noble basin scarcely sur