A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10.

Being detained in the Moluccas and at Bantam in the service of the Dutch East India Company till the 14th December, 1616, admiral Spilbergen then sailed from Bantam for Holland, in the Amsterdam of 1400 tons, having also under his command the Zealand of 1200 tons, leaving the ships with which he had hitherto sailed in India.  On the 1st January, 1617, the Zealand parted company, and on the 24th of that month the Amsterdam anchored at the island of Mauritius.  They doubled the Cape of Good Hope on the 6th March, and arrived at St Helena on 30th of that month, where they found the Zealand.  Leaving that island on the 6th April, they passed the line on the 24th of that month, and arrived safe in Holland on the 1st July, 1617, having been absent two years, ten months, and twenty-four days; nearly nine months of which time were spent in India, without prosecuting the direct purpose of their circumnavigation.

The directors of the Dutch East India company bestowed the highest commendations on Spilbergen for his prudence and good conduct in this voyage, which contributed both to the advantage of the company, his own reputation, and the glory of his country.  The Dutch company may be said to have dated their grandeur from the day of his return, both in respect to reputation, power, and riches; the former resulting from his successful circumnavigation of the globe, and the others from their conquests in the Moluccas, in which he not only assisted, but likewise brought home the first intelligence.  On his return to Holland, Spilbergen confirmed the report of Magellan respecting a gigantic people inhabiting the straits, named Patagons.  He said that he had gone several times on shore, and had examined several graves of the natives, and saw several savages at different times in their canoes, all of whom were of the ordinary size; or rather under.  But one day he observed a man on shore, who first climbed one hill and then another, to look at the ships, and at last came to the sea-side for that purpose, and this man was allowed by all who saw him to be even taller than those spoken of by Magellan.  This is likewise confirmed by the accounts given to Van Noort and De Weert, by a boy they took from the savages; who said there were only two tribes of these giants, all the other savages being of the ordinary size.[101]

[Footnote 101:  Without pretending to give any opinion on this subject, it may be remarked, that the account from the savage boy is worthy of little credit, as a kind of nursery tale, and given by one who certainly could hardly have sufficient language to express himself.  The solitary giant seen looking at the ships from a distance, may have been of the ordinary size, magnified to the eye in looking through a hazy atmosphere.—­E.]



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