A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 665 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 02.

Having doubled the cape, we came to three small uninhabited islands, full of green trees[4]; and being in want of water, we anchored at that which seemed the largest and most fruitful, in hopes of meeting with a spring, but could find none to answer our purpose.  We met, however, with the nests and eggs of several kinds of birds, such as we had never seen before.  This was in the month of July 1456, and we continued here all day, fishing with lines and large hooks, catching a prodigious number of fish, among which were dentali, and gilded fish[5], some of which weighed from twelve to fifteen pounds each.  On the next day we proceeded in our course, keeping always in sight of land, and found a kind of gulf formed by the coast on the south side of the cape[6].  This coast is all low, and full of fine large trees, which are continually green, as the new leaves grow before the old ones fall off, and they never wither like those in Europe; and the trees grow so near the shore, that they seem to drink as it were the water of the sea.  The coast is most beautiful, insomuch that I never saw any thing comparable to it, though I had sailed much both in the Levant and the western parts of Europe.  It is well watered every where by small rivers, but these are useless for trade, as they do not admit ships of any size.  Beyond this little gulf, the coast is inhabited by two negro nations, called Barbasini and Serreri, which are not subject to the king of Senegal, neither have they any king or lord of their own; but one person is more honoured than another, according to his condition or quality.  They are great idolaters, without laws, and living in almost a state of nature, and extremely cruel, and refuse to become subjected to any lord.  That their wives and children may not be taken from them and sold as slaves, as is the custom among all the negro nations which are under subjection to kings or lords, they use bows and poisoned arrows, the wounds from which are incurable, if even the smallest blood is drawn, and the wounded person or animal soon dies.  Their colour is jet black, and their persons are well made.  The country is full of woods, lakes, and streams, from which they derive great security, as they can only be invaded through narrow defiles, by which means they set the neighbouring lords at defiance.  In former times, the kings of Senegal often attempted to reduce these two nations under obedience, but were always worsted, owing to the natural strength of the country, and their arrows.  Running along the coast to the south with a fair wind, we discovered the mouth of a river about a bow-shot wide, but not deep, to which we gave the name of the Barbasini river, and have marked it on the chart which I made of the coast, as sixty miles from Cape Verd[7].  In sailing along the coast, we only made sail at sun rise, having a man continually on the top, and two others on the prow or head, to look out for breakers, and always came to anchor at sun set, about four or five miles from the land, in ten or twelve fathoms water.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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