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Historical Materials from Southern Patagonia
Narrative of Four Voyages (extract), 1823
a North American adventurer meets the canoe people of the Strait of Magellan
Journal -- May 1823:    10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18 

May 12th. — At 11, A. M., we had arrived at the head of the bay, or salt-water lagoon, and were now about one hundred miles from the vessel, on nearly a west-by-north course for eighty miles, and north-west-by-west for twenty miles. Here we found a tribe of Indians comprising about four thousand souls, men, women, and children, in a village situated in a very extensive valley on the west bank of a river called by the natives Capac. This river extends into the country about seventy-five miles in a northerly direction, and it was my intention to ascend it as far as practicable, in search of die-woods.

We were favourably received and hospitably treated by the chief and people of this powerful tribe of natives, and as soon as the usual ceremonies of introduction were over, Cheleule prevailed on the chief, whose name was Calexchem, to accompany us up the river; he accordingly took a seat in my boat, and at 1, P. M., we were all ready for a start, with a fresh breeze from south-south-west, attended with a light rain. As we proceeded we carefully examined both banks of the river for the purpose of finding die-stuffs.

After ascending this river about twenty miles, against a strong freshet, we landed at 7, P. M., for the purpose of taking up our lodgings for the night in the skirts of a pleasant valley which extended to the river. Here we pitched our tent-fire and supper followed in the usual style of exploring parties; after which each man gathered from the trees as much moss as would serve for a pillow, and then stretched himself by the fire, on which we had placed a plenty of fuel, to keep the tenants of the forest at a respectful distance.

About daylight we were alarmed by the roaring of some wild beast, which the natives called faiche-ani, and which we afterward discovered was the South American lion. After daylight we saw many droves of guanacoes and deer; and by 8, A. M., we had shot seven gray foxes and four deer, the flesh of which was not unacceptable after our previous lent on clams and mullet. We now resumed our search for die-woods, but could discover nothing but inferior kinds of fustic and redwood, some specimens of which I caused to be conveyed to the boats.

Source: "Narrative of Four Voyages", Capt. Benjamin Morrell Jr., New York, 1832
Transcribed: April 2007