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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 03.
Invited by the convenient appearance of the place, he went up the river in a boat, finding eight fathom water at the entrance.  He proceeded some way up the river, the banks of which were pleasantly embellished with fine trees swarming with a variety of birds.  At length he came to some houses, where a boat was found under an arbour, having twelve thwarts, or seats for rowers, and in one of the houses they found a mass of wax, and a mans head hanging in a basket.  This wax was carried to their majesties, but as no more was ever found in Cuba, it was afterwards supposed to have been brought from Yucatan.  They found no people in this place, as they had all fled, but they saw another canoe ninety-five spans long, capable of holding fifty persons, made all of one piece of wood like the rest, and hollowed out with tools of flint.

After sailing 107 leagues eastwards along the coast of Cuba, the admiral arrived at its eastern end, and departed thence on the 5th December for Hispaniola, which is only 18 leagues distant; yet he could not reach it till next day, on account of the currents.  On the 6th he came to a harbour which he called St Nicholas, at the western extremity of Hispaniola, having discovered it on the day of that Saint.  This port is safe, spacious, and deep, surrounded by thick groves and a mountainous land; the trees, however, were not large, and resembled those of Spain; among others, there were found pine and myrtle.  A pleasant river discharged itself into this harbour, and on its banks were many canoes, as large as brigantines, of 25 benches.  Finding no people, he went on to the north-east, to a harbour which he named Conception, south from a small island called Tortuga, 10 leagues north of Hispaniola.  Observing this island of Bohio to be very large, that its land and trees resembled Spain, that his people caught, among other fish, many skates, soles, and other fishes like those in Spain, and that nightingales and other European birds were heard to sing in the month of December, at which they much admired; the admiral named this land La Espannola, which we now corruptly write Hispaniola.  Some thought it ought to have been named Castellana, as the crown of Castile alone was concerned in this expedition of discovery.  As he had received a favourable account of this island from the Indians, he was desirous of learning whether it were really so wealthy as they represented; and, as the natives all fled, communicating the alarm from place to place by fires, he sent six well armed Spaniards into the interior to explore the country.  These people returned, after having proceeded a considerable way without finding any inhabitants; but they reported wonders of the deliciousness of the country.  One day three of the seamen having gone into a wood, saw many naked people, who fled as soon as they saw our men into the thickest parts of the wood; but the sailors pursued and took a woman, who had a small plate of gold hanging at her nose.  The admiral gave her some hawks-bells and glass beads, and ordered her to have a shirt, and sent her away with three Spaniards, and three of the Indian captives, to accompany her to her dwelling.

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