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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 756 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03.
every thing we saw in this long and arduous navigation, my letter would exceed all bounds.  We found few things of any value, except great numbers of cassia trees, and many others which produce certain nuts, to describe which and many other curious things would occasion great prolixity.  We spent ten months in this voyage, but finding no precious minerals, we agreed to bend our course to a different quarter.  Accordingly orders were issued to lay in a stock of wood and water for six months, as our pilots concluded that our vessels were able to continue so much longer at sea.

Having provided ourselves for continuing the voyage, we departed with a south-east wind, and on the 13th of February, when the sun had already begun to approach the equinoctial on its way to our northern hemisphere, we had gone so far that the south pole was elevated fifty-two degrees above the horizon, so that we had now lost sight not only of the Less but of the Great Bear; and by the 3d of April we had got 500 leagues from the place of our last departure[8].  On that day, 3d April, so fierce a tempest arose at S.W. that we had to take in all our sails and scud under bare poles, the sea running mountains high, and all our people in great fear.  The nights now were very long, as on the 7th April, when the sun is near the sign of Aries, we found them to last fifteen hours, the winter now beginning.  While driving amid this tempest, we descried land on the 2d of April[9] at about twenty leagues distance.  We found this land altogether barren, without harbours, and destitute of inhabitants, in my opinion because the intense cold would render it almost impossible for any one to live there[10].

We had undergone such fatigue and danger from this storm, that all now agreed to return towards Portugal; yet on the following day we were assailed by a fresh tempest of such violence that every one expected to be overwhelmed by its fury.  In this extremity, our sailors made many vows of pilgrimages for their safety, and performed many ceremonies according to the customs of sea-faring men.  We were driven by this terrible storm for five days without a single rag of sail in which time we proceeded 250 leagues on the ocean, approaching towards the equator, the temperature of the sea and air always improving, till at length, by the cessation of the storm, it pleased God to relieve us from our danger.  In this course our direction was towards the N.N.E. because we wished to attain the coast of Africa, from which we were 1300 leagues distant across the Atlantic; and by the blessing of the Almighty, we arrived on the 10th of May at that province which is named Sierra Leone, where we remained fifteen days for refreshments, and to rest ourselves from the fatigues of our long and perilous voyage.  From thence we steered for the Azores, distant 750 leagues from Sierra Leone, and arrived there near the end of July, where likewise we stopped fifteen days for refreshments.  We sailed

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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