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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

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.
having a very verdant appearance, with large tall trees, but with no appearance of any inhabitants.  Having anchored our ships, we went to land with some of our boats, but after a long search we found the whole land so covered with water that we could not land anywhere, though we saw abundant indications of a numerous population, after which we returned to the ships.  Hoisting our anchors, we sailed along shore with the wind at S.S.E. for above forty leagues, frequently endeavouring to penetrate into the land, but in vain, as the flux of the sea was so rapid from the S.E. to the N.W. that it was impossible for the vessels to stem the current.  In consideration of this circumstance, we resolved to steer a course to the N.W. in the course of which we came to a harbour, where we found a beautiful island, and an excellent creek at the entrance.  While sailing with the intention of entering this harbour, we saw an immense number of people on this island, which was about four leagues from shore.  Having hoisted out our boats on purpose to land on the island, we perceived a canoe with several natives coming from seawards, which we endeavoured to surround with our boats, that we might make them prisoners.  After a long chase, finding that we gained upon them, the whole of the natives in the canoe, to the number of about twenty, jumped into the sea about two leagues from shore, and endeavoured to escape by swimming, which they all did except two whom we secured.  In the canoe which they had deserted, we found four young men of another nation whom they had made prisoners, and whose members had been quite recently cut off, at which strange circumstance we were greatly astonished.  On taking these unfortunate captives to our ships, they made us understand by signs that they had been taken away from their own country to be eaten, as the nation by whom they had been made captives were savage cannibals.  After this, taking the captured canoe along with us, we brought our ships to anchor within half a league of the shore, where we observed great numbers of the natives wandering about.  We then went on shore, taking the two prisoners belonging to the canoe along with us; but immediately on landing, all the natives fled into the woods.  Seeing this, we set free one of our prisoners, to whom we gave several trinkets, as bells and small mirrors, in token of friendship, assuring him that he and his countrymen need not be afraid of us, as we were desirous of entering into friendship with them.  This man soon brought back about four hundred of the natives from the woods, accompanied by many of their women, all of whom came to us unarmed, and an entire friendship was established between us to all appearance, on which we set free the other prisoner, and restored the captured canoe.  This vessel, which was hollowed from a single piece of wood, measured twenty-six paces long, and two yards broad, and was very artificially constructed.  As soon as they had secured their canoe in another part of the river beyond our reach, the whole of the natives suddenly deserted us, and never could be brought to renew their intercourse.

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