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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.
likewise said to have sailed almost 800 miles along its coast, without finding any end; on which account it is considered to be a continent, and not an island:  and its coast appears to join with another land, formerly discovered almost under the very north[2].  But the vessel was unable to proceed so far, on account of the sea being frozen, and from excessive falls of snow.  It is concluded, from the number of rivers which descend from the snowy mountains, that this land must be a continent, as no island could possibly supply so many rivers.  The land is said to be well cultivated.  The houses of the inhabitants are constructed of wood, covered with hides or the skins of fish.  The vessel now arrived has brought over seven of the natives of both sexes, and the other ship, which is hourly expected, is said to have fifty.  In stature, colour, appearance, and dress, these people are very like the Cingani.  They are clothed in the skins of fish and otters, and other hairy skins like those of wolves; wearing the fur side inwards in winter, as we do, and outwards in summer; but these are not fashioned or sewed together, being used in their natural forms.  These are principally worn on their arms and shoulders, and their loins are girded with many cords made of sinews.  They appear a savage people, yet not impudent, and are well made in all their limbs.  Their faces are punctured with many marks, like the Indians, having six or eight punctured lines, more or less according to their fancies, in which they seem to take great delight.  They have a language, which is not understood by any one, although interpreters of almost every tongue have been tried.  Their country is destitute of iron, yet they have swords edged with sharp stones; and their arrows are pointed by the same means, and are sharper even than ours.  Our people brought from thence part of a broken sword with gilded ornaments, which seemed of Italian manufacture.

A certain boy is said to have been seen in that country, having two silver balls banging from his ears, which certainly appeared to be engraved after our manner.  On the whole, it may be concluded that this country is a continent, not an island, and that is a new discovery; for if any ships had ever been here before, we should assuredly have heard something respecting it.  The coast abounds in fish, particularly salmon, herrings, and many others of that kind.  There are forests, which abound in all kinds of trees; so that they build[3] ships, with masts, yards, benches, and all things conformable.  On this account the king of Portugal has resolved to convert this discovery to profit, both on account of the abundance of wood which is fit for many purposes, and because the natives, being accustomed to labour, may become very useful, and indeed I have never seen better slaves.  I have deemed it consistent with our friendship to acquaint you with these things; and when the other vessel arrives, which is daily expected, I shall communicate other particulars.

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