Page:Incidents of travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan.djvu/29

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INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL

IN

CENTRAL AMERICA, CHIAPAS, AND YUCATAN.

 

 

CHAPTER I.

 

DEPARTURE—THE VOYAGE—ARRIVAL AT BALIZE—MIXING OF COLOURS—GOVERNMENT HOUSE—COLONEL M'DONALD—ORIGIN OF BALIZE—NEGRO SCHOOLS—SCENE IN A COURT-ROOM—LAW WITHOUT LAWYERS—THE BARRACKS—EXCURSION IN A PIT-PAN—A BEGINNING OF HONOURS—HONOURS ACCUMULATING—DEPARTURE FROM BALIZE—SWEETS OF OFFICE.

On Wednesday, the 3d of October, 1839, we embarked at New York on board the British brig Mary Ann, Hampton, master, for the Bay of Honduras. The brig was lying in the North River, with her anchor apeak and sails loose, and in a few minutes, in company with a large whaling-ship bound for the Pacific, we were under way. It was before seven o'clock in the morning: the streets and wharfs were still; the Battery was desolate, and, at the moment of leaving it on a voyage of uncertain duration, seemed more beautiful than I had ever known it before.

Opposite the Quarantine Ground, a few friends who had accompanied us on board left; in an hour the pilot followed; at dusk the dark outline of the highlands of Neversink was barely visible, and the next morning we were fairly at sea.

Hurried on by a strong north-easter, on the 9th we were within the region of the trade-winds, on the 10th within the tropics, and on the 11th, with the thermometer at 80°, but a refreshing breeze, we were moving gently between Cuba and St Domingo, with both in full sight. For the rest, after eighteen days of boisterous weather, drenched with tropical rains, on the 29th we were driven inside the Lighthouse reef and, avoiding altogether the regular pilot-ground, at midnight reached St. George's Bay, about twenty miles from Balize. A large brig, loaded with mahogany, was lying at anchor, with a pilot on