This expedition was focused on the US West Coast and Pacific natural history rather than high latitudes though it did reach the Bering Strait. Its focus was chiefly botanical.
p. 67, Thomas Edmonston was a naturalist who joined the Herald until he was killed by an accidental bullet: Thomas Edmonston was…born on the 20th of September, 1825, at the seat of his uncle at Buness. He was a very delicate child, and the utmost care was necessary to restrain his brain from work until his constitution had become strong. He had hardly completed his fourth year, when, to the surprise of his parents, he taught himself to read in a most peculiar manner. Having an extraordinarily quick and retentive memory, he asked whomsoever he could get to read to him. Two or three readings were sufficient to impress the matter on his mind, and then he learnt the words from the book, thus avoiding all spelling out of syllables….
p. 300, on the Spanish people in Panama: With the exception of those who have been brought up in Europe or in North America, their education is defective; they derive therefore no pleasure from rational conversation, reading, or any other intellectual occupation. The women especially are ill-informed, and are highly delighted if any one talks to them in high-sounding phrases, however empty they may be. This however is the fault of the Isthmians in general, and is probably the reason why they show a greater liking for the French than for other foreigners. Yet sensible men are fully aware, that to the English and North American, and not to the Gallic race, they are indebted for their present prosperity. All the French ever did for the Isthmus consists in having talked and written about assisting in carrying out various improvements; here however their friendship stopped. But when the Anglo-Saxon appeared, the country began to revive and prosper. With all these defects however the Isthmians stand far above the Spanish Americans. Frequent intercourse with foreigners has greatly diminished their bigotry, and rendered them more liberal than their neighbours, a tendency which will soon emancipate them from those prejudices which Spanish priestcraft and tyranny have bequeathed to them.
p. 305: Perhaps the greatest crimes with which the Isthmians can be charged are those arising from their licentious habits. Unnatural crimes do not seem to prevail; it is well known however that the women are occasionally guilty of using, in order to procure abortion, several herbs, the most effectual of which is said to be the Culantrilla de pozo (Anemia Seemanni, Hook.). But being without the Book of books to guide them, having a number of ignorant and sluggish priests who confuse their ideas of right and wrong by indulging in everything contrary to morality and respectable conduct, and living in a tropical climate, where exposures which would cause people of a colder climate to blush are every-day occurrences, they must not be judged too severely.
p. 322, again in Panama: In reading of the discovery of Peru, how the Spaniards gradually pushed southwards, everywhere making inquiries about the empire of the Incas, and even obtaining information of the city of Cuzco, we are at a loss to understand how it was that the accounts given by the natives were intelligible to them. Even the best historians have left this enigma unexplained. But the fact that the same language is spoken from San Miguel to those districts where the Quichua commences, and that it was familiar to the Spaniards before they started, enables us to comprehend how the existence of the dominions of Atahualpa could be known on the banks of the Churchunque, how Balboa could receive information respecting the llama, and how Pizarro and his followers could converse with natives who had never before beheld the face of a white man.
p. 9-10: As may be imagined, the long passage to Behring’s Strait had been extremely dull, and monotony, followed by its usual train, soon began to exercise its baneful influence. As a remedy, recourse was had to various kinds of diversion. After leaving Awatcha Bay, it was unanimously agreed to have a series of theatricals. Mr. Chimmo and Mr. Woodward painted the scenes, and Mr. Pim showed great skill in making ladies’ dresses, including caps and bonnets. The first piece was performed in Kotzebue Sound, when Mr. J. G. Whiffin, the manager [Royal Theatre, Kotzebue], produced, with a most powerful cast, a highly amusing play, and issued the following programme: [The Mock Doctor; or the Dumb Lady Cured: a comedy freely translated from the French of Moliere, by Fielding]…. The play went off exceedingly well; the performers were repeatedly called before the curtain…. [Later they gave performances to the Russian inhabitants of Petropaulowski, Kamchatka. One can infer that they had a copy of Moliere or a translation on board the ship. The Herald did not winter over during two trips to the northwest arctic, but Seeman does give an account of the Plover winter of 1849-50, taken from the diary of Bedford Pim on the Plover.]
p. 167, visiting the city of Durango: During my short sojourn I became acquainted with three persons who were of more than ordinary interest to me. The first was a niece of Bolivar, a highly accomplished lady, who could speak five European languages with the greatest fluency, and who is now married to a German merchant, Mr. Lehmann. The second was a descendant of Montezuma, the Emperor of Mexico, who on this account was generally called by the inhabitants El Emperador; he filled an office at the Mint, and I fancied I could discern in his physiognomy a certain resemblance to that which the face of his great ancestor is said to have expressed. The third was Don F. Ramirez, the historian, well known by his Spanish translation of Prescott’s admirable ‘History of the Conquest of Mexico,’ to which he has added a volume of notes and additions. Ramirez possesses a profound knowledge of the Aztec picture-writings, and intends to publish an account of the early history of the tribes of Anahuac, their origin, migration, and ultimate settlement on the plains of Mexico. He has a very extensive library, including every book which has the least reference to his favourite study, from the gigantic work of Lord Kingsborough down to the smallest pamphlet.
p. 189ff, Gives a brief account of the search for Franklin, provided by Augustus Petermann.
p. 237, in Hong Kong: This season is characterized by a most intense and oppressive heat, which causes the greatest languor to European residents; rain falls for a week or ten days together, rather in sheets than drops; the swollen torrents rush roaring down into the sea, which they often discolour for a quarter of a mile from the shore; terrific thunderstorms reverberate amongst the hills; which are hidden in a dense veil of cloud and mist, and such is the excessive humidity of the atmosphere that articles of wood or Russia-leather, or covers of books, even if washed over with alcohol or a solution of some essential oil, become in the course of a night covered with a thick blue mould. The rain will then cease for a few days; the heavens remain unclouded, though always more or less hazy, and lit up in the evening by almost unintermitting flashes of sheet-lightning; not a breath will agitate the air, tremulous with the heat radiated from the ground, and the silence is alone broken by the unceasing, loud, and monotonous chirping of the Cicada hidden in the grass. At this period vegetation is at its height and is developed with wonderful rapidity; a few days suffice to perfect the blossoming of the richest flowers.
p. 267, in Cape Town: During my stay at Cape Town I paid several visits to the Botanic Garden. This institution occupies a space of ground formerly known as the “Government Garden.” Considering that it was only established a few years ago, and possesses limited pecuniary means, it has already made some progress, containing a good many plants, two little hothouses, and a library. It is now however retrograding, chiefly through the mismanagement of the commissioners, a body of men who, with a few exceptions, seem to be quite incapable of exercising the supreme direction, and who, by a series of measures, have brought not only ridicule upon themselves, but the whole institution; and unless the chief direction is vested in a scientific person, this establishment, which, if conducted properly, might have been productive of much good both to the colony and botany in general, must soon fall to the ground, or at least fail to accomplish the object for which it was originally designed.