August 1787

August 1st. In latitude 22°39'S. Captain Phillip for the first time displayed his broad pendant; and in the evening made the signal for the longitude, which, being considerably astern, we could not discern.

2d. Early in the morning we passed and spoke a Portugueze brig steering the same course with us, which was to the coast of Brazil. She sailed so very dull that we passed her as if she lay at anchor, although we had not a fast sailing ship in the fleet. At eight in the morning saw a ganet, which are seldom seen out of soundings. Being now in expectation of soon seeing land, the commodore made the Supply's signal to look out ahead, and the Alexander's and Prince of Wales's to take their station in the order of sailing, being too far ahead. At three in the afternoon the Supply made the signal for seeing land, which was repeated by the commodore to the convoy. At nine at night, being well in with Cape Frio, we shortened sail, running at an

  ― 44 ―
easy rate until morning, when the wind was little and variable.

3d. This evening, finding it impossible to get hold of anchorage, the commodore dispatched Lieutenant King in the Supply, which sailed well in light winds, to the viceroy, with information that he was, with his convoy, arrived near the mouth of the harbour. He then made the signal for the ships to bring to, with their heads to the southward, about six miles from the shore, Rio de Janeiro Sugar Loaf bearing west half north, distant about six leagues. In the course of the day we saw many whales playing about.

4th. This morning, standing in for the harbour, the wind headed us, which obliged us to tack, and stand out to sea a little, in order to prevent our falling to leeward of the port, which it would have been no easy matter to have regained.

5th. Still calm. This morning a boat came alongside, in which were three Portugueze and six slaves, from whom we purchased some oranges, plantains, and bread. In trafficking with these people, we discovered that one Thomas Barret, a convict, had, with great ingenuity and address, passed some quarter dollars which he, assisted by two others, had

  ― 45 ―
coined out of old buckles, buttons belonging to the marines, and pewter spoons, during their passage from Teneriffe. The impression, milling, character, in a word, the whole was so inimitably executed that had their metal been a little better the fraud, I am convinced, would have passed undetected. A strict and careful search was made for the apparatus wherewith this was done, but in vain; not the smallest trace or vestige of any thing of the kind was to be found among them. How they managed this business without discovery, or how they could effect it at all, is a matter of inexpressible surprise to me, as they never were suffered to come near a fire and a centinel was constantly placed over their hatchway, which, one would imagine, rendered it impossible for either fire or fused metal to be conveyed into their apartments. Besides, hardly ten minutes ever elapsed, without an officer of some degree or other going down among them. The adroitness, therefore, with which they must have managed, in order to complete a business that required so complicated a process, gave me a high opinion of their ingenuity, cunning, caution, and address; and I could not help wishing that these qualities had been employed to more laudable purposes. The officers of marines, the master of

  ― 46 ―
the ship, and myself fully explained to the injured Portugueze what villains they were who had imposed upon them. We were not without apprehensions that they might entertain an unfavourable opinion of Englishmen in general from the conduct of these rascals; we therefore thought it necessary to acquaint them that the perpetrators of the fraud were felons doomed to transportation, by the laws of their country, for having committed similar offences there.

About one o'clock a gentle breeze from the east carried us within about a mile of the bar, where, at nine o'clock, we anchored in sixteen-fathom water. The calms had baffled the Supply so much that she had only dropped her anchor a little while before us.

6th. Early this morning, it being quite calm, the commodore dispatched an officer to the viceroy, who met with a courteous reception, and about eleven o'clock returned with the boat nearly full of fruit and vegetables, sent as presents to the commodore from some of his old friends and acquaintances. Some years ago Captain Phillip was on this coast, commander of a Portugueze man of war. During that time he performed several gallant acts, which, aided by

  ― 47 ―
his other amiable qualities, rendered him extremely popular here, and recommended him to the notice of the court of Lisbon. Shortly after, his own country having a claim to his services, on the breaking out of a war, he declined a command offered him by the Portugueze, and returned to the English navy, where he served some time as lieutenant (a rank he had held before he had engaged in the service of Portugal) on board the Alexander, under the command of that brave and exemplary character, Lord Longford.

About two o'clock we got under way, with a gentle sea-breeze, which ran us into the harbour. In passing Santa Cruz fort, the commodore saluted it with thirteen guns, which was returned with an equal number. This day a Portugueze ship sailed for Lisbon, which gave us an opportunity of writing short letters to our friends in England.

8th. In the forenoon, the commodore, attended by most of the officers on the expedition, paid the viceroy a visit of ceremony. On our landing, we were received by an officer and a friar, who conducted us to the palace. As we passed the guard on duty there, the colours were laid at the feet of the commodore, than which nothing could have been a higher token of respect. We then proceeded up stairs into

  ― 48 ―
a large anti-chamber, crowded with officers, soldiers, and domestics. Here we were received by several officers belonging to the household, and the surgeon-general to the army, who spoke good English, having acquired his professional knowledge in London. A few minutes after our arrival, a curtain, which hung over the door of the presence-chamber, was drawn aside; and on our entrance we were individually introduced to the viceroy by the commodore. The ceremony being ended, and a short conversation having taken place, we were ushered into another spacious room, where we all sat down. I could not help remarking that the viceroy placed himself in such a manner as to have his back turned on most of the officers. I was told afterwards that he apologized for this; but I did not hear him, though very near. Neither the room we were now in, nor that into which we were first introduced, exhibited any marks of magnificence or elegance. I acknowledge that, for my own part, I was exceedingly disappointed. From the parade without, such as the number of guards, &c., I was led to suppose that we should find everything within the palace proportionably magnificent and princely. But this was by no means the case. The only furniture I saw in the room we were in,

  ― 49 ―
except chairs, were six card tables, and portraits of two of the sovereigns of Portugal, one of which was that of King Sebastian the First, the other of her present majesty; the former placed in the centre, the latter at the upper end of the room. The viceroy appeared to be of a middle age, somewhere between forty and fifty, stout and corpulent, with a strong cast or defect in both his eyes. He seemed to be a person of few words, but at the same time civil and attentive. I could not, however, help observing the very great difference there was between his excellency's manner and address and that of the elegant and accomplished Marquis de Brancifort.

9th. The contract being settled, the commissary supplied the troops and convicts with rice (in lieu of bread), with fresh beef, vegetables, and oranges, which soon removed every symptom of the scurvy prevalent among them.

11th. The commodore ordered six female convicts, who had behaved well, to be removed from the Friendship into the Charlotte; and at the same time an equal number, whose conduct was more exceptionable, to be returned to the Friendship in their stead. The commodore's view was (a matter not easily accomplished) to separate those whose decent

  ― 50 ―
behaviour entitled them to some favour from those who were totally abandoned and obdurate.

13th. Cornelius Connell, a private in the marines, was, according to the sentence of a court martial, punished with a hundred lashes, for having an improper intercourse with some of the female convicts, contrary to orders. Thomas Jones was also sentenced to receive three hundred lashes, for attempting to make a centinel betray his trust in suffering him to go among the women; but in consideration of the good character he bore previous to this circumstance, the court recommended him to the clemency of the commanding officer, and, in consequence thereof, he was forgiven. John Jones and James Reiley, privates, accused of similar offences to that of Connell's, were acquitted for want of evidence, their being no witnesses to support the charge except convicts, whose testimony could not be admitted.

15th. This being a day of great parade and gaiety with the Portugueze, the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro, arrayed in their best and richest attire, as their custom is on regale days, began to show themselves, during the forenoon, between the city and the church of St. Gloria, which is about a mile distant, and situated on a rising ground near the sea.

  ― 51 ―
Persons of all ranks, as well in carriages as equestrians and pedestrians, joined in the crowd; but what was the purpose of this cavalcade, or to what circumstances it owed its origin, I am still at a loss to know. Gloria church, which is rather neat than rich, was decorated with various flowers (in the disposal of which some taste was displayed), and most brilliantly illuminated. I observed that the multitude generally stopped here, in succession, and employed themselves in some religious ceremonies, such as praying and singing hymns, before they returned to the city. This kind of parade was continued the whole day; the better sort of people, however, made their appearance only in the afternoon. Returning with the rest of the crowd, after it was dark, to the town, I perceived a small church, in one of the bye streets, richly ornamented and elegantly illuminated. As I saw men, women, and children, struggling for entrance, I joined in the throng out of mere curiosity, and with no little difficulty made my way in; but all the satisfaction I reaped from being thus squeezed and jostled was seeing such as could gain admission fall on their knees, and praying with more fervor, to appearance, than real devotion. On one side of the church stood a shabby ill-looking fellow,

  ― 52 ―
selling to the multitude consecrated beads; as did another, on the outside of the door. I own I could not help resembling them to mountebanks vending and distributing their nostrums. There were many more of these religious hawkers in the streets, from some of whom, as I saw it was the custom, I purchased a few of their beads. At a little distance from the door of the church was erected a stage, on which was placed a band of vocal and instrumental performers, who exerted themselves with might and main to please the surrounding audience. I cannot, however, say that they succeeded in pleasing me. About ten o'clock a display of fireworks and rockets, of which the Portugueze seem to be very fond, concluded the entertainments of the day. Some intrigues, I have reason to believe, followed. I was led to this conclusion from seeing many well-dressed women in the crowd quite unattended; and this was the only time during my stay in the country that I ever saw any circumstances which could warrant my forming such an opinion. I know it has been asserted by some writers, that the women of Rio de Janeiro are not uncensurable in this point. They have affirmed that, as soon as it became dark, the generality of them exposed themselves at their doors

  ― 53 ―
and windows, distinguishing, by presents of nosegays and flowers, those on whom they had no objection to bestow their favours, a distinction in which strangers shared as well as their acquaintance. That this might have been the case I will not take upon me to deny, and, impressed with the idea, on my first arrival, I considered every woman as a proper object of gallantry; but a month's residence among them convinced me that this imputed turn for intrigue is chiefly confined to the lower class, and that, in general, the higher ranks are as undeserving of the imputation as the females of any other country.

The popularity of our commodore with the viceroy and principal inhabitants here procured for the officers the liberty of going wherever they pleased. It has always been the custom for a soldier to follow every foreign officer that landed at this port, and it was scarcely ever dispensed with. It was, however, unknown to us, and this unaccustomed liberty gave us an opportunity of inspecting more minutely into the manners and disposition of the women as well as the men.

21st. This being the Prince of Brazil's birth-day, the commodore, with most of his officers, went to court, to

  ― 54 ―
compliment the viceroy on the occasion. As soon as we landed, we were received by an officer, who conducted us to the presence-chamber, where his excellency stood, under a canopy of state, receiving the compliments of the officers of the garrison, the principal inhabitants, and such foreigners as were in the place. After having paid our respects, we withdrew, as did every other person, except the principal officers of state, some general and law officers, and those of the governor's household. The Sirius and one of the forts fired royal salutes. The court was brilliant, if a place where a female does not appear can be said to be brilliant; but this, I was informed, is always the case here. Those gentlemen who appeared in the circle were richly and elegantly dressed. The officers of the army and of the militia were particularly so, and that in a stile and fashion which did no small credit to their taste. The viceroy wore a scarlet coat trimmed with very broad rich gold lace, and his hair, according to his usual mode of wearing it, in a remarkable long queue, with very little powder; an article of dress to which I observed the Portugueze were not very partial, while, on the contrary, they were profuse in the use of pomatum. The day ended without any other demonstrations of joy. As the

  ― 55 ―
Portugueze seemed fond of fireworks and illuminations, and never fail to exhibit them on every religious festival, we were not a little disappointed in finding them omitted on the birth-day of their prince.

31st. James Baker, a private marine, received two hundred lashes, agreeable to the sentence of a court-martial, for endeavouring to get passed on shore, by means of one of the seamen, a spurious dollar, knowing it to be so; and one he had undoubtedly got from some of the convicts, as it was of a similar base metal to those which they had coined during the passage, and had attempted to put off on our first arrival at this port.