Miners disembark at Rio

Soon after crossing the Equator, we had fresh favourable breezes with moderately fine weather – until we arrived in sight of our destined Port, to the great joy of all, on Wednesday 12th January. Owing to the strength of tide and a scanty wind we were obliged to anchor off the Sugar Loaf, which in my first Journal, as being so conspicuous an object at the entrance of Rio harbour. We had therefore abundance of time to look around us, and I was even more pleased with the scenery than I had been before.

Miners leave us at Rio

All our Miners, of whom only two or three had been abroad were all on the “qui vive” and every thing novel was looked for with eagerness. Next day 13th we succeeded in gaining our proper anchorage, and there awaited till we should [be] sent to Monte Video. Our orders were to land and receive the Mails, but it is usual to detain the Packet two or three days. In the afternoon of the 14th two large boats were sent off to us to receive all the Miners luggage, which was a great pleasure to us, since nothing had encumbered and annoyed us so much during our whole voyage. Of course along with the luggage, the owners went for the purpose of submitting the different contents to the Customs House Officers. I propose to note down here a few remarks, which may or may not be applicable to Miners in general, but which struck me with regard to our party.

Female passengers – List of Miners

And First of all I may mention the names of all our passengers, as they all belonged directly or individually to one concern. By every man of the least civility and politeness, the ladies are first attended to. There were M.rs Trebilcock and M.rs Angove. The former was the wife of the chief captain and was one of those you might meet with every day, without any marked character – by no means disagreeable in her manner – but rather brief and silent. The latter was the wife of one of the Miners, who was then at the Mines, and had been there 15 months. She was very tall, with a loud voice (for a female) – a great deal of ease and freedom, so that she could address any one with an unembarrassed air. I do not mean to speak disparagingly – for she was not over-forward or in other words pert & imprudent.

M.rs Trebilcock had brought with her a sweet little girl, called Elizabeth, and a very pretty boy called John. Both the Children were great pets, the girl of the father & the boy of the Mother. By their presence they greatly enlivened our voyage and gave no trouble.

List of Miners who went out with us to work the Gongo Soco Mines –

Captain John Trebilcock
Captain William Jeffery
Joseph Goldsworthy, very stout young man & a great wrestler.
Thomas Bunt young thoughtless boy – will require looking after.
W.m Thomas, the subject of the accident – middle aged – formerly in Columbia.
John Bennet very tall stout man, more roguish than foolish.
W.m Treweek our old friend, who afforded so much amusement.
Tho.s Manuel an inexperienced young man, who requires to learn a little more of the world.
Charles Mitchell very stout man, and rather superior to the rest.
W.m Tuckfield stout young man, had much the appearance of a farmers servant
W.m Rowe sober staid man, but too much of the “gift of the gab.”
John Richards young may, very quiet – but dreadful when drunk.
John More young & stout – with a face & manners unlike the rest of the Miners.
Henry Davey stout young – much pock marked.
Tristam Bath stout young man, nothing particular.
W.m Slocam an old hand once a smuggler – once in Columbia – full of tricks.
Fr.s Ralph steady stout young man – only married a month before he left.
Sam.l Trengrove, Carpenter little fiery yet good natured fellow.
Sabastian Trewartha nothing particular – stout in the prime of life.
W.m Merret very quiet – rather peculiar countenance – of a very pious turn.
Tho.s Pengilly stout young man – rather dull.
Fr.s Tuckfield a younger brother of W.m and
Thomas Skewes a very quiet sober young man, who paid much attention to religion and whose conduct was perfectly consistent. He did not belong to the Gongo Soco Company, but intended to join those of the Minas Geraes Company, for whom we carried out some on our Brazil Voyage. He expected to be made a captain as soon as he reached the Mines.

Further information on The Cornish in Latin America: http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/cornishlatin/gongosoco.htm

Captain Trebilcock had been already 2½ years at Gongo Soco, and only a month or two before our departure had arrived in England from Brazil. He seemed to be a man who was very clever at his business, and who had gained the confidence of the Directors to that degree that they were most anxious to have his services again. He was also possessed of a strong common sense, which stood him in place of learning in his conversation.

Captain W.m Jeffery was a young man who made himself very agreeable to the Officers of the Duke. He was far from being polished or deep-read – but he was easy to be pleased and anxious to please, so that we were very comfortable together. What will not the “Auri sacra fames” not de.t [?] Had it not been for the temptation of a large Salary He would never have quitted his beloved home, to which his thoughts often turned, and rendered him melancholy. I suspect however that a four years residence in Brazil will materially alter the nature of his feelings, and that when the time arrives for his return, he will not experience the same degree of pleasure, which his immediate return would produce. Time will show.

Change produced in Cornwall by Wesleyism

Now with respect to Our Miners I have somewhat to say, but I forewarn you that I shall observe no method, but jot down what first occurred to me. In Auld Reekie you can have little idea of the anomalous genus of Cornish Miners. They possess a character peculiar to themselves – which character had some good as well as some bad points in it. Before the introduction of Wesleyism, they were little better than savages, but after that period a most wonderful alteration took place. It was then no unusual thing for those living near the sea coast to thank God whenever any unfortunate vessel was wrecked, as if the Almighty had intended only to bless them while he inflicted the extremity of misery upon many helpless creatures. So prevalent was this custom, that their consciences either became quite hardened or they were such excellent [cas- or cus-inety; or -insty ?], as to confound evil with good. Children from their earliest years were taught to pray for a storm and a wreck and woe be to the luckless mariners who were stranded on their inhospitable shores. If they escaped the dreadful perils of rocks, sands, or water, they found to their misfortune that death at the hands of men more merciless than the waves. It was the ancient maxim that whatever goods or merchandise were discovered having no legal that is living claimants became the undisputed property of the Discoverer, subtracting always a portion to the owners of the land. If it ever occurred that the proper owners of wreck were still alive, the justice of their claim was not necessarily admitted, nay was absolutely denied, as if God, in the mysterious ways of his providence, had appeared [toy ?] the storm off their coasts to give them a little, where not a shadow of a claim could lie, except for salvage. Fortunately, for the interests of humanity, and the character of Cornishmen, all these old things have passed, and all things have become new.

Incidental Remarks on Christianity & Infidelity

By the wonderful influence of the peace inculcating doctrines of Christ justice and humanity have taken the place of injustice and barbarous cruelty – honesty has supplanted dishonesty and shipwrecked mariners may now confidently look [for] Christian Charity and sympathy where their appearance would have called forth unalterable resolutions of deadly violence. How beautiful, how wonderful is the contrast – to me, who am far from being a fanatic or enthusiast, my faith and confidence in Christ and his doctrines receive a strength and confirmation, more than sufficient to overturn all the specious arguments of Devils or Infidels. I wonder that, considering how admirably adapted Christianity is to secure peace, tranquillity and obedience to the Laws of a kingdom or State; Infidels, who follow reason as their guide and seek alone the evil face of their species, have not left its doctrines to exert so beneficial an influence over the mass of the people? Are they mad or foolish in opening the eyes of their underlings to the absurdity of the Christian doctrines, while they in the meantime suggest no better system of political economy, morality or religion in its room? Most assuredly they are – and their whole conduct shews that tis their pride that will not allow them to be silent as to their discovery, rather than an interest which they pretend to feel for the welfare of the whole human race. The question between Christianity and infidelity affords a wide field for argument & discussion – I do not mean to touch it, but have been unintentionally to the mention of the subject by the consideration of the rapid and beneficial effect of the introduction of true Christianity among the miners of Cornwall.

Read on … Cornish Miners