Skip to main content

Rio

Tuesday 7 October 1828 - got up at 6 oClock expecting to see land, but a thick mist entirely precluded our seeing any thing beyond a mile or two. At 8 oClock A.M. Two vessels were seen, on the misty horizon. At 12 oClock, the faint shadowy outline of high land became visible thro’ the mist. Shortly after, the wind, which had been particularly fresh and in our favour, fell to nearly a calm. At this time also six vessels were in sight. Spoke with an English Brig the William & Henry of Yarmouth, just come from the Cape of Good Hope in 77 days. She was bound for Rio, and laden with wheat and wine. Half an hour after, an American Ship called the Potosi passed very close to us – but we did not hail her. Several islands now appeared which being known indicated that the Port of our destination was at hand. But as if to tantalise us, there was little or no wind – the sails flapped ineffectively & the Duke moved sluggishly and like an over-ridden horse thro’ the “green waters.”

At ½ past four, we came abreast of the mouth of the celebrated Harbour of Rio de Janeiro – said to be so large, as to be capable of containing all the navy in the World. The entrance to it is most romantic, & grand. Numerous hills of all Sizes and Shapes, some verdant and covered with wood, while others showed their forms dreary and bleak. As you advance further into the Harbour, you have on your right hand, the Port of Santa Cruz, and on your left, a mountain called the “Sugar loaf” rears its peculiar formed head. There are many hills, which have the same form but none are of the same height, and what is very remarkable, this one at the entrance has an inclination (for they all slope or incline) exactly the reverse of any other. Its nearly bare and precipitous sides present no appearances of any ledges by which one may ascend to the top – but notwithstanding this, it is said, that a British Lieutenant, had the daring hardihood to attempt the ascent. His fate, however, will it is supposed will forever put an end to any future exploits, for having missed his footing, or met with some other accident, he was never seen again.

Owing to the little wind, and to our having been obliged to wait, till we [were] boarded by the proper Officers and the passports of our passengers examined, we did not come to Anchor, nor see the city of S.t Sebastian, before darkness came on. We had still light enough as we passed, to enable us to perceive that besides the strong fort of Santa Cruz (formerly mentioned) the entrance was further secured most powerfully by several other strong and well manned forts, built so as to completely command the access. When we came to anchor, amidst the darkness we saw a large building with numerous lights, which seemed like an illumination, in front of us were a few scattered lights and close around us were the lights of the Men of War. Our voyage has been exactly 8 weeks and one day –

Wednesday 8 October - having professional matters to attend to today – I staid on board.

Appearance on landing at Rio

Thursday 9 October, 1828 - to day I went on shore and made several observations respecting the city and people. But as [I] intend to go to the city almost every day - and as it would be tedious to mention the disjointed occurrences of every day, I shall relate what I saw or heard generally, except when any thing particular occurred. 

To begin them, with the houses &.c We landed at a place called the palace square, being a piece of clear ground before the Emperor’s abode. This palace makes no show at all either for extent, elegance, or grandeur. On two sides of it black soldiers continually keep guard, but certainly not with that precision and attention to correct discipline, which are so remarkable in our soldiers. One side of this square is fully occupied by a public well, which is not without elegance in the structure. Hither great numbers assemble for the purpose of procuring water, and in order to prevent disputes several soldiers armed with canes were stationed near, and do not scruple to exercise fully and apply their delighted authority upon the naked backs of the poor Negroes, & near this well is the market – a most miserable place – formed of mere sheds under which are sold the various articles. On another side of the square is the Imperial Chapel which is not unworthy, by its splendour, of that appellation – but as I shall afterwards speak of the churches under a particular head, I shall say nothing of this at present.

Custom House at Rio

You may pass out of the palace square in various directions – but I passed on to the ‘Rua Dereita’ which is a long, and wide street, full of shops of all descriptions, having several churches, & the Custom House in its line. Almost all the windows have balustrades before them, generally of cast iron – and I observed what I did not see elsewhere, that the ornamental tops of many were handsomely gilded. – Which produced a rich effect.

The appearance of that part of the Custom House fronting the street, is not at all remarkable – but it is a building of immense extent but irregular as I had an opportunity of observing it this way – Our Miners, wishing to have their materials & private luggage on shore were of course obliged to have them first carried to the custom for inspection. I went along with them – saw the goods landed on a convenient quay, where lay an immense quantity of parcels – and then removed to a particular place, to which I also proceeded. To arrive at it we had to pass thro’ long passages on each side of which were large rooms, full of goods – and additional ones were on the process of being built. The baggage being at last brought before the examining officer. Instead of inspecting a number as I had expected, the 14 or 15 trunks belonging to the miners, they contented themselves with the most imperfect examination possible rather as a matter of form than because they had any suspicion of smuggling. As I am now speaking of our friends, & passengers I may as well finish with them at once. Their names are as follows. – Captain Martyn Williams, John Madarn, Thomas Hambly, John Cocking, John Harris, William Wales, Thomas Pearces, Charles Barnet, Edward Jones, Henry Davy, William Trevain, Roger Bate, Wm. Hodskin

With the captain of these miners, I had much conversation & intimacy. He was a native of Redruth and had been induced to leave Cornwall for a consideration of £200 a year. He appeared a sensible man, and well informed with regard to mining operations. His men were all of them persons well adapted for the intended purpose – several of them had been before engaged by some if the other mining companies, which had failed & in particular one William Wales had been out in Rio for 2 years – during which time he had nothing to do, but was maintained at the company’s expense, altho’ he had a Salary, as a Common Miner, of £240 ! ! ! The Company, by whom Capt Williams is employed is termed, the National and Brazilian Mining Association – and it is intended to work the mines in conjunction with the native Company, by which it is hoped great advantage will be gained, while many of the causes of the failure of other companies will be avoided. I am told that, whereas other Joint Stocks, acting solely on their own bottom, had to pay £25 per cent of all the gold & silver brought up, the present Company by associating themselves with the natives will have only 5 per Cent to pay to the Royal Treasury.

Streets and Houses in Rio

To return to the Town. The streets are pretty well paved, & have a side path for passengers. All the shops are without windows as at the other places we have seen – and all the windows of the upper stories are large – made of glass and further protected by wooden doors, placed behind the glass. No carpets are seen, except in churches, - which, tho it looks bare-like to an English eye, is yet perfectly adopted to the climate.

Emperors Birthday

Sunday 12th October – this being the anniversary of the Emperor’s birth day was ushered in by the noise of cannon at early day break, from the Brazilian men of war. The English and French did not fire till noon – but all of them were gaily ornamented with party-coloured flags, which being strung as it were on ropes from head to stern produced a beautiful effect. Early in the morning also the various forts fired a salute and hoisted the Brazilian flag. Being anxious to see what doings were going on on shore, a party of us went in the Captains gig – and when we landed at the palace square, we perceived a considerable crowd of people, some soldiers, and by far the largest and most varied collection of equipages, which I have yet seen in the New World. Here were coaches, with two, four, & six horses. - with servants in livery & out of livery. Some of the liveries recalled to my mind those descriptions of the coloured gentry when they had their hair highly powdered & wore swords of a most preposterous length & curious fashion. Very few of the equipages were at all equal to those in London – and the horses were all of small breed (I should rather call them ponies). It was really a curious sight to see the black servants decked out with cocked hats, fine shirt, livery coat, boots & sword – to notice, how proudly the[y] drove or rode along, as if they looked down upon the rest of their dark brethren as beings, of a different mould from themselves.

The occupiers of the various equipages presented a grander & more pleasing spectacle – for in them were to be seen the soldier, the statesman, the naval hero, the proud and dignified churchman, with some humble and less elevated brother. The dresses of many were splendid in the extreme – and display all the variations of richness & elegance according to the taste of the wearers. Some were so much bedizened with gold lace, that to use an expression I have often heard, they might have stood without any other assistance than their own weight. The colours also were as various as the ornaments – but the green or national colour chiefly predominated. Stars, crosses, and other honorary marks of distinction, were as plentiful as ‘chuckie-stanes’ – but, I suspect, they are easily procured, and as little respected, as the numerous titles and honours of which our French & Italian neighbours are so lavish.

A pretty sight also, was the balconies before the windows, being hung with tapestry & silk hangings, which many ladies added to the effect by their beauty & the richness of their dress.

After looking for some time at the equipages, and the ladies, we proceeded to that side of the palace square, where [stood] the Emperors chapel, which has a covered communication with the palace. At the entrance were stationed several sentinels, but the inside was filled with various groupes. The centre space was occupied with the Emperors body servants dressed very much like the drummers of our Old Town rats, or the Town officers, in that there [was] more of the various coloured braiding used here. The hairs of all was highly powdered & stiffened – in their right hands the[y] carried long halberds, and around their bodies were buckled long swords. These, attired in this way, formed two lines the whole length of the church, leaving an open space for the Emperor & those with him. Behind these double lines, were a promiscuous concourse of people, who had entered to see the prince. At the farthest extremity of the church was the altar, enriched with ornaments of silver & gold and having innumerable wax candles burning upon it.

Ceremonies on the Emperor’s Birthday

Shortly after we came a party of cavalry riding up announced the Emperors approach, which was soon confirmed by the appearance of his Coach, upon which the band struck up the national anthem. The coach was drawn by 8 horses, all of a white colour – but it would appear that to accomplish this uniformity, the Emperor had been obliged to take one or two not of the best quality. Their harness was very gay, and I may say tasteful. The coach itself struck one as being very beautiful & in very good taste, for altho’ the poles, axletrees & shells were richly gilt, there was nothing gaudy about it – no ginger-bread ornaments, the sure proof of a corrupt taste. The coachman & postillion, I am told, were English. They both pretty well made fellows, and had only very splendid dresses. All was now anxiety to see the Emperor, who stepped out of his carriage with an air of dignity, which well set off his stately & noble person. He is not what one would call handsome, but his physiognomy is noble – but it is said that he condescends to actions unbefitting his high station, such as knocking down custom house officers – beating the officers of his ships. However on the present occasion, he acted his part well – and walked up the aisle, attended by a long procession of princes, noble, bishops, archbishops, naval & military officers, to a throne erected for him near the altar. None are permitted to enter a railed in space but himself and the ministers of religion. All the courtiers were stationed in open space, formed by the domestic servants of the Emperor. As the service proceeded, it became necessary for these to kneel down, which they did in a very soldierly way – but what a contrast did they exhibit in their conduct, to what might have been expected from persons in that posture. Instead of a reverential bearing & apparent devotion, there was nothing going on but talking & laughing. It would be difficult however to say how the Emperor himself felt – he at least conducted himself with much seeming devotion, kneeling on every occasion. After service the Emperor retired to his own palace, in order to hold a general levee – and sure enough I never saw such a curious medley of people in my life, of all the various graduations of rank. Very few people, comparatively speaking were lookers on at the show – certainly not the 10,000th part of the numbers, which one would see assembled on a similar occasion in London. This is perhaps to be attributed to the facility with which the Emperor is to be seen every day, as he comes from his country house, without guards. When the levee was finished, the Emperor retired to his country palace – but attended the opera in the evening. The setting off of a few sky rockets terminated the business of this day.

Anecdotes of the Emperor

In the evening I went ashore to endeavour, if possible to obtain admittance at the Opera, which was expected to be unusually grand – but this I soon found was impracticable, as there were earnest applications for some hundred seats more than the Place contained. But I was not ungratified with the sight I had of a numerous crowd of respectable and well dressed people – all eagerly bent on the same object. Here were congregated together, men of all nations – but I think the English exceeded all others in number. At the conclusion of the Operatic Pieces the Emperor returned to his country palace. Whilst I am now speaking of the Emperor of Brazils birth day I think this the best opportunity of relating to you what I have heard from several quarters respecting him. Don Pedro 1st is, by all accounts, a most singular character – he is to be seen openly every day driving his own barouche, and attended only by one servant on horseback. Nor does he confine himself to riding or walking in the day time – he also goes about at night incognito – so that, if he were not so much beloved, his enemies might easily find an opportunity of wreaking their vengeance upon him. When remonstrated with, by his friends on the danger he incurs by playing such pranks, he answers – ‘I am not afraid of any danger – for I consider that my best protection, & my strongest guard are the hearts and affections of my subjects.’ One night, after strolling about for some time, he came to his palace in the city, and found the soldiers who guarded one of the entrances asleep on their post. In silence he removed their arms, assisted by a servant who was with him, and he resolved to punish them in an exemplary manner next day. His servant ventured to urge him, that if the soldiers awoke and discovered their arms to be amissing, they would desert and that he would lose some of his best soldiers – he therefore recommended his master to replace them, and then punish them next day. The Emperor was persuaded so to do – and next day, summoning the commanding officer to appear before him, he ordered him to whip those soldiers, who had been on duty, between such and such hours which he had previously ascertained to be the time when the careless guards did duty at the palace. After that nothing more was said – but I believe a more severe, and very different punishment would have been awarded to an English sentinel, who was guilty of sleeping on his post. But, indeed, discipline among the soldiers here is miserably disregarded – and I have myself seen soldiers on duty at the palace, lolling about or balancing their guns in their hands, instead of pacing backwards and forwards, as they ought to do.

Another story of the midnight adventures of Don Pedro, is this. On one occasion, he wished to enter his palace at night – but upon approaching he was challenged by the sentinel, who demanded what he wanted. The Emperor replied that he was his sovereign and wished to enter his own palace. I don’t know that, says the sentinel – but tell me what is the sign. He was told it – very well says [he], but what’s the countersign. This the Emperor had forgotten – but declared, as he was the Emperor, the soldier had no right to oppose his entrance, or to demand the sign or countersign. Thinking that he had said enough to satisfy the scruples of his interrogator, he made a motion as if to proceed, when instantly the sentinel checked him. ‘You may be the Emperor or you may not,’ says he ‘but even tho’ you were, I would not allow you to pass, without giving me the countersign. The Emperor finding it impossible to overcome the resistance of the soldier to his ingress, retired – and next day sending for the same person, who expected to be punished for his temerity – he made him a Serjeant, & promised him further promotion, if he should continue to perform his duty always as faithfully.

Don Pedro 1st of Brazil, and 4th of Portugal is a great proficient in Music – plays scientifically on several instruments, and is a regular attender at the Opera. This, which is the only place of Theatrical amusement in Rio, is patronised, and chiefly supported by him. For the benefit of it he allows lotteries pretty frequently, and pays 1000 milrees or dollars per month for his box.

Story of the Emperor & two Portuguese

A story was related to me by M.r Pecanha, Brazilian Consul at Liverpool, which created a great sensation at the time in Rio, and displayed also the eccentric character of the Emperor. At the time when Brazil declared herself independent of Portugal, hostilities took place between the Portuguese and Brazilians. It happened that a line of battle ship belonging to the Brazilians, & called after the Emperor Don Pedro, fell in with a Portuguese ship, and prepared to engage. Every thing was out in order for battle – and the only thing required was powder. But this was precisely what they could not obtain – for it so chanced that the two men whose duty it was to furnish the powder from the Magazine, flatly refused either to give or allow any to be taken. Promises and threats were equally employed without effect – being Portuguese by birth, they declared that they would never be consenting to such an act of wickedness as to furnish the means of destruction against their own countrymen, threatening at the same time, that if any attempt were made to procure the Powder by force, they would instantly set fire to the whole store, and blow up the ship. As these men seemed so determined in their purpose, the Commodore had not other alternative left to him, but to turn and decline the engagement. When the Don Pedro arrived in the Harbour of Rio, these poor fellows were instantly tried and as was to be expected condemned to be shot. From the extreme youth of the Offenders (the one being only 17 & the [other] 19 or 20), and also from the patriotic feelings which had dictated their act of disobedience, their hapless case excited universal commiseration – and besides there were many Portuguese, who, altho’ they had decided to follow the fortunes of Don Pedro, and to adopt Brazil as their country, had not yet forgotten all the tender and endearing ties & associations, which still bound their secret affections to Portugal. These expatriated Portuguese in an especial manner, and all the classes of society in Rio, without exception, interested themselves with great earnestness in the behalf of the unfortunate men. The whole city was in a state of ferment, after their condemnation, and petitions were presented from all quarters, and daily, to the Emperor, in order to procure their pardon. The Emperor, however appeared inexorably determined, that their sentence should be fully executed – and lent a deaf ear to every petition in their favour.

The eventful day arrived and no pardon had been obtained – the military were drawn out to put the sentence of the Court Martial into execution – and the scene of their suffering was completely crowded with people, few of whom had their eyes free from tears. Now comes the eccentric part of Pedro’s character. After obstinately refusing to grant a pardon, he himself procured a station, where he could overlook all the circumstances of the execution – He was a witness of the deep sympathy expressed by the people – he allowed every thing to proceed so far, that the youths, were kneeling with their eyes bandaged, and the soldiers destined to be their executioners, had already levelled their muskets & only waited for the word of command. At this deeply interesting moment a messenger of the Emperor was seen rapidly approaching & making signs to stay the execution. The soldiers in the fullness of their joy fired their muskets over the heads of the criminals, whilst the immediate multitude shouted aloud. Meanwhile some ran forward to raise the youths, who had fallen down imagining themselves to have been shot. They were soon, however, recovered to hear the gratifying intelligence of their pardon. But, who, said M.r Pecanha, can describe the joy felt thro’out the city – they went to the palace with music & loyal shouts – and by this one action of royal mercy, the Emperor rendered himself more beloved than almost by any thing else, which he could have done.

The Emperor has 5 daughters donna Maria, donna Paula, donna Francisca, donna Jannaria & donna  _________ and one Son Don Pedro.

This is all which I can remember to have heard concerning Don Pedro, I shall now proceed to put down without connection some remarks which I made at Rio.

Churches at Rio

I visited several of the Churches – and was every where treated with politeness. Almost all of them are adorned with figures of different saints in addition to the patron to whom the church is specially dedicated. These figures I cannot commend highly for beauty – they are like so many waxen dolls, with innumerable tapers burning before them. They seemed to me sometimes to be more frequently prayed to than even our Saviour, who was generally Represented on the Cross, & near him the virgin. I cannot say that any of the Churches I visited were equal to the one I saw at Pernambuco, except the royal chapel, which was certainly lofty, magnificent and containing much gold and silver. Seldom a day passes, but there is some feast at one or other of the convents – which then opens their doors for the reception of every one who chuses to enter. When divine service is performing anywhere, the tolling of the bell gives immediate intimation – and in consequence of this there are bells ringing from morning till night, which being more musical than ours, produce a pleasing effect. I often regretted my inability to speak Portuguese, as it prevented me from receiving an explanation of what was going on - & never more so than on one occasion when I entered one night the Imperial Chapel, which was brilliantly lighted up, and found there a large assemblage of young ladies & girls, and children, all dressed in their gayest, and all of them without exception, destitute of any covering to their head. This last peculiarity I had observed before – for that I had seen ever at night, fashionably dressed ladies walking in the street, without head dress. On the occasion to which I allude, I could make nothing of the ceremonies performed – but waited till all there dismissed. During the time of service, I attentively surveyed the [ladies], and am free to confess that I did not see a beauty amongst the whole set. Their dress was the same, or nearly so, as that of my countrywomen. Some were seated on low stools, and some were kneeling, but there were no gentlemen mingled with them, as is the custom of the country. For even at parties, the gentlemen take their seats on one side of the room, whilst the ladies sit on the other.

The [Priests in Brazil]

The priests, according to M.r Pecanha, are held in very little estimation in Brazil – and by all the Portuguese there, they are execrated as the cause of all the evils and disturbances in Portugal. The eyes of the people are beginning to be opened to the licentious & immoral character of these [drones], who like the vampire, suck the very blood from their poor deluded victims. I understand that several useful regulations have been established with regard to persons becoming monks or nuns – by which a provision is attempted to be made against any undue means taken by interested persons to force them to become such. The following anecdotes were related to me.

A priest, who wished to procure the consecrated wafer from a press, where it had been deposited, found, that, notwithstanding all his turning & turning of the key in the lock, the door would not open – and there upon, in his impatience, he passionately exclaimed, what devil is in here, that the door will not open!! The same priest being about to administer the sacrament for the first time, was in doubt, whether or not the same words & ceremonies were to be used to both sexes. To satisfy himself, he sent one of his brethren to the abbot to request information – The abbot wrote an answer on a slip of paper, which he gave to the messenger to be delivered to the officiating priest. He, when the line was brought, was in the act of giving the sacrament to some of the men – consequently having no leisure to read the note, he stiffed it hastily into his [Callop]. After he had finished with the person in hand, a woman presented herself next – her he pushed rather rudely back, exclaiming, with a loud slap on the [lower part] of his well filled paunch, “keep back there – whats for you is here,” indicating the part with his hand, to the great astonishment of his female audience.

The last story I heard was of a poor monk, who went one morning to a barbers shop, and requested to be shaved “for the love of God.” The Barber dared not refuse – but he showed his unwillingness, by using little care & less soap, tearing & scratching the poor monks face all the while. In the midst of his operations, a neighbouring cat, set up a terrible mewing, which so enraged the barber, that he cried with a loud oath “What the devils the matter with the cat, that it keeps up such a caterwauling there.” “Oh,” said the monk, “I know the cause of it – someone is shaving the poor animal for the love of God.”

Shipping in Rio &.c

When we arrived in Rio, there were a great of shipping from all nations, both merchant and war ships. There were three british frigates, the Thetis, the Tribune, from Bermudas, & Galatea.[5] In the Assistant Surgeon of the Thetis, I met with a scotchman, of the name of Gibson,[6] brought up at Edinburgh – and in that of the Tribune, my old school fellow Handyside [7] of Mussleburgh – but oh quantum mutates ab illo &.c There were also 1 line of battle ship, 1 frigate, 2 store-ships & a schooner, belonging to the French. The names were the Jean Bart, Arriege, Jus, and the Arethusa. Also 1 Dutch frigate, called the Sumatra, with many Brazilian line-of-battle ships & frigates. As I mentioned before the Harbour at Rio is perhaps the finest and most secure in the world – and capable of affording anchorage to the greatest fleet which could be collected.

16 October – Lord Strangford arrived in H.M. frigate the Galatea. He was to make his public entry on Wednesday the day we set sail.

Opera at Rio

19th October – as this was the anniversary of the sainted namesake of the Emperor, it was a gala day at court and at the opera. In the evening M.r Geach and myself repaired on shore, to endeavour, if possible, to procure admittance to the pit at the opera. As we had anticipated, we found that we had been too late in our application for tickets. Our enquiries of the box-keeper, made in broken Portuguese, induced him to ask us, if we were English – and finding we were, he entered into conversation with us in our own language. I remarked in him, as in many others, that foreigners are more perfect in English oaths, than in the more useful part of our language. He told us, that every ticket was disposed of – but as we treated him to something he promised to see, if there was not a seat or two vacant in the pit. Fortunately there were – and we were forthwith admitted to them.

On my first entrance to the interior of the Opera House, I was much struck, with its fine appearance. There are 4 tiers of boxes (all of then dress boxes) which run nearly round, and have (what I admire very much) a beautiful & fanciful railing in front of them. Before each separate box there are small chrystal chandeliers, having wax candles in wax, which give a sufficient light. There are no galleries for the mob, which is a great improvement. In the centre of the theatre is the Emperors box. It occupies the whole central extremity, and is fitted up in a most superb style with elegant gilding – magnificent mirrors & beautiful curtains. In the middle of it are placed three or four chairs of state for him and his daughters. Except on grand days the Emperors box is not lighted up even altho’ he is present – and his Majesty gives it to be understood that, except on grand occasions, the audience are to act with the same freedom, as if he were not present. The only other division of the theatre besides the 4 tiers of boxes, is the Plateau or pit. This is divided into two parts by a palisade passing along its breadth – the 1st or largest portion is for those who pay 2 potaes, & the 2nd for those who pay 3 potaes for admission. The seats in both have all backs, and are numbered, so that by this arrangement, you are sure of obtaining admittance to the seat whose number is upon your ticket. Nay more, the seats at least in the division of the Pit next the stage are capable, individually, of being raised up & locked. Thus one may see on a long bench several seats which are locked up, until the arrival of the person entitled to them, when they are unlocked & let down. Hence it follows, that there must always be a determinate number of tickets issued & no more – and the box-keeper informed us, that if he were to admit one person more than the authorised number, he would lose his post. None is allowed to stand or to express himself aloud to the annoyance of his neighbours, and all is perfect quietness. I saw no guards in the theatre – but there were several soldiers stationed outside. On the night on which I was present I had a good view of the Emperor and I think two of his daughters. There were many lords in waiting, who of course are obliged to stand the whole time. I am told, that [even] if they are very much fatigued they dare not sit down in the Imperial presence, but are allowed to kneel. Their dress was green, and almost wholly covered with gold and jewels.

Now with respect to the stage and the actors. The stage is of considerable size, and has a large Orchestra before it. The Drop scene represents a view of Rio, and is pretty well done. The Company are I believe almost all Italians and in my opinion act very well. I do not know the name of the Opera, nor did I understand a single word. The singing was most beautiful – and the dresses together with the scenery, all but equal to what I have seen in England. In addition to exquisite singing, we had a pantomime the greater part of which consisted in dancing. And certainly never have I witnessed such superior dancing – and the only fault which I could find out, was, that there were so many dancing so well at the same time, that the attention due to one was improperly divided among a number. We had shawl dances, flower dances – dances in groupes, but very little individual dancing. On the whole I would say, that the entertainment we received was very great, independent altogether of the gratification of our curiosity in witnessing foreign amusements.

Unpleasant Occurrence at Rio

October 10th - arrived from Buenos Ayres H. M. Packet the Princess Elizabeth, and sailed the 14th.

Monday 20th October – arrived his Majestys Packet the Francis Freeling from England, and bound to Buenos Ayres.

Tuesday 21st Oc.r – is a day of bustle and preparation for sailing to morrow. To day M.r E.d Williams was greatly alarmed by the apprehension of being carried to prison.

It seems that he, M.r Day Surgeon of the Freeling and a Spanish passenger in the same Packet, were coming on board in a small boat. As they passed the Guard boat, they were hailed – and upon saying that [they] were going to the Packets they were allowed to pass. They had not gone far, when they were hailed by another boat, which they did not think proper to answer, and besides the Spanish lad, clenched his fist at them & called them very improper names. This perhaps enraged the guards who obliged them to come alongside – and in a short time they were conducted ashore, under the conduct of some soldiers. When they had landed, M.r W.ms gave them leg bail – and M.r Day together with the Spaniard were thro’ the remonstrances of some gentlemen allowed to get off with no other scathe than a hearty fit of alarm. On board our Packet not a little uneasiness pervaded because the prisoners having hailed us as they were going off we thought that they had got into some scrape or other. This circumstance was looked upon as the more awkward – as we were to sail on the next morning early – and therefore when I went ashore to obtain my clothes I made some enquiries when I had the satisfaction of learning that all were at liberty – which intelligence was soon confirmed by the appearance of M.r E.d Williams on board.