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.

On the 5th July the fleet anchored in the road of St Vincent, which is extremely safe and commodious, where they procured refreshments of sea-tortoises, fish, goats, and oranges.  The islands of St Vincent and St Antonio are the most westerly of the Cape Verds, being in from 16 deg. 30’ to 18 deg.  N. latitude, and about two leagues from each other.  The bay of St Vincent, in which they anchored, is in lat. 16 deg. 56’ N. and has a good firm sandy bottom, with eighteen, twenty, and twenty-five fathoms water.  The island of St Vincent is rocky, barren, and uncultivated, having very little fresh water, though they found a small spring which might have served two or three ships.  By digging wells they procured plenty of water, but somewhat brackish, to which they attributed the bloody flux, which soon after began to prevail in the fleet.  The goats there, of which they caught fifteen or sixteen every day, were very fat and excellent eating.  The sea-tortoises which they took there were from two to three feet long.  They come on shore to lay their eggs, which they cover with sand, leaving them to be hatched by the heat of the sun.  Their season of laying eggs is from August to February, remaining all the rest of the year in the sea.  They caught every night great numbers of these animals while ashore to lay their eggs, and the sailors found them wholesome and pleasant food, eating more like flesh than fish.

This island is altogether uninhabited, but the people of St Lucia come here once a year to catch tortoises, for the sake of an oil they prepare from them; and to hunt goats, the skins of which are sent to Portugal, and their flesh, after being salted and dried at St Jago, is exported to Brazil.  There are no fruit-trees in this island, except a few wild figs in the interior; besides which, it produces colocinth, or bitter apple which is a very strong purge.[134] This island has a very dry climate, except during the rainy season, which begins in August and ends in February, but is not very regular.

[Footnote 134:  Cucumis Colocynthis, a plant of the cucumber family, producing a fruit about the size of an orange, the medullary part of which, when ripe, dried, and freed from the seeds, is a very light, white, spongy substance, composed of membranous leaves, excessively bitter, nauseous, and acrid.]

The island of St Antonio is inhabited by about 500 negroes, including men, women, and children, who subsist chiefly on goats, and also cultivate a small quantity of cotton.  On the sea-side they have extensive plantations of lemons and oranges, whence they gather great quantities every year.  These were very readily supplied to the Dutch by the negroes in exchange for mercery goods, but they saw neither hogs, sheep, nor poultry in the island.

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