On the morning of the fourth of September we left Rio de Janeiro, amply furnished with the good things which its happy soil and clime so abundantly produce. The future voyager may with security depend on this place for laying in many parts of his stock. Among these may be enumerated sugar, coffee, rum, port wine, rice, tapioca, and tobacco, besides very beautiful wood for the purposes of household furniture. Poultry is not remarkably cheap, but may be procured in any quantity; as may hops at a low rate. The markets are well supplied with butcher’s meat, and vegetables of every sort are to be procured at a price next to nothing; the yams are particularly excellent. Oranges abound so much, as to be sold for sixpence a hundred; and limes are to be had on terms equally moderate. Bananas, cocoa nuts, and guavas, are common; but the few pineapples brought to market are not remarkable either for flavour, or cheapness. Besides the inducements to lay out money already mentioned, the naturalist may add to his collection by an almost endless variety of beautiful birds and curious insects, which are to be bought at a reasonable price, well preserved, and neatly assorted.
I shall close my account of this place by informing strangers, who may come here, that the Portuguese reckon their money in rees, an imaginary coin, twenty of which make a small copper piece called a ‘vintin’, and sixteen of these last a ‘petack’. Every piece is marked with the number of rees it is worth, so that a mistake can hardly happen. English silver coin has lost its reputation here, and dollars will be found preferable to any other money.
The Passage from the Brazils to the Cape of Good Hope; with an Account of the Transactions of the Fleet there.
Our passage from Rio de Janeiro to the Cape of Good Hope was equally prosperous with that which had preceded it. We steered away to the south-east, and lost sight of the American coast the day after our departure. From this time until the 13th of October, when we made the Cape, nothing remarkable occurred, except the loss of a convict in the ship I was on board, who unfortunately fell into the sea, and perished in spite of our efforts to save him, by cutting adrift a life buoy and hoisting out a boat. During the passage, a slight dysentery prevailed in some of the ships, but was in no instance mortal. We were at first inclined to impute it to the water we took on board at the Brazils, but as the effect was very partial, some other cause was more probably the occasion of it.
At seven o’clock in the evening of the 13th of October, we cast anchor in Table Bay, and found many ships of different nations in the harbour.