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.
earth taken from this hollow is thrown upon the outside.  Their fishing-tackle is very curious, and is furnished with hooks made of stone, nearly of the same shape with ours.  They are variously armed, some having bows and arrows artificially headed with stone; others long javelins or spears, headed with bone; some have great wooden clubs, some have slings, and most have stone knives, or daggers, which are very sharp.  They are never seen without their arms, as they are always at war among themselves; and it would appear that the several tribes paint differently, that they may distinguish each other; for the people about the island of Torhaltens, and about Schapenham bay, were all painted black, while those about Greyhound bay were painted red.

Their canoes are very singular, being formed of bark, fortified both on the inside and outside with several pieces of small wood, and then covered over by bark, so as to be both tight and strong.  These canoes are from ten to fourteen, and even sixteen feet long, and two feet broad, and will contain seven or eight men, who navigate them as swiftly as our boats.  In manners, these people resemble beasts more than men, for they tear human bodies in pieces, and eat the raw and bloody flesh.  They have not the smallest spark of religion, neither any appearance of polity or civilization, being in all respects utterly brutal, insomuch that if they have occasion to make water, they let fly upon whoever is nearest them.  They have no knowledge of our arms, and would even lay their hands on the edges of the Dutchmen’s swords; yet are exceedingly cunning, faithless, and cruel; shewing every appearance of friendship at one time, and instantly afterwards murdering those with whom they have been familiar.  The Dutch found it impossible to procure any kind of refreshments from them, though such surely were among them, for quantities of cow-dung were seen; and their bow-strings were made of ox sinews:  besides, a soldier who went ashore from the Greyhound yacht, while she lay at anchor, reported to the vice-admiral, that he had seen a large herd of cattle feeding in a meadow.[137]

[Footnote 137:  This is not at all likely to have been true.  The cattle, the dung, and the sinews mentioned in the text, are more likely to have been of some species of the seal tribe—­E.]

On the 27th of February, 1624, the admiral made a signal for sailing, the wind being then N. so that hopes were entertained of getting from the bay of Nassau to the west; but a storm came on in the evening at W. and blew hard all night.  March 3d, they had an observation at noon, when they were in lat, 59 deg. 45’ S. with the wind at N.W.  Hitherto it had been the opinion of nautical men, that it was easy to get from the Straits of Le Maire to Chili, but hardly possible to pass from Chili by that strait into the Atlantic, as they imagined that the south wind blew constantly in these seas:  but they now found the case quite otherwise, as the frequent tempests they encountered from W. and N.W. rendered it beyond comparison easier to have passed through the Straits of Le Maire from the South Sea than from the Atlantic.

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