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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 664 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 10.

[Footnote 139:  Isola de Tierra, the eastermost of these islands of Juan Fernandez, in lat. 33 deg. 42’ S. and long. 79 deg. 5’ E. is about 15 English miles from E. to W. by 5-1/2 miles in its greatest breadth from N. to S. Besides this and Isola de Fuera, mentioned in the text, there is still a third, or smallest island, a mile and a half south from the S.W. end of the Isola de Tierra, called Isola de Cabras or Conejos, Goat or Rabbit island, three English miles from N.W. to S.E. and a mile in breadth.—­E.]

The more easterly and larger island, at which the Nassau fleet anchored, is about six leagues in circuit, and is about two leagues and a half long, from east to west.  The road is on the N.E. part of the island, from whence there is a beautiful prospect of valleys covered with clover.  The ground of this bay is in some places rocky, and in others a fine black sand, and it affords good anchorage in thirty to thirty-five fathoms.  The island produces excellent water, and fish are to be had in abundance in the bay, and of various kinds.  Many thousand seals and sea-lions come daily on shore to bask in the sun, of which the seamen killed great numbers, both for food and amusement.  Some of the Dutch fancied that the flesh of these animals tasted as if twice cooked, while others thought, after the grease and tallow were carefully taken out, that it was as good as mutton.  There were many goats in the island, but difficult to be taken, and neither so fat nor so well tasted as those of St Vincents.  There were plenty of palm-trees in the interior, and three large quince-trees near the bay, the fruit of which was very refreshing.  They found also plenty of timber for all kinds of uses, but none fit for masts.  Formerly, ten or twelve Indians used to reside here, for the sake of fishing and making oil from the seals and sea-lions, but it was now quite uninhabited.  Three gunners and three soldiers belonging to the vice-admiral, were so sick of the voyage, that they asked and obtained leave to remain here.

Every thing being in readiness, the fleet departed from Isla de Tierra on the 13th April.  On the 8th May, being near the coast of Peru, they took a Spanish bark, in which, besides the captain, there were four Spaniards, and six or seven Indians and Negroes.  From these, they learnt that the Plate fleet had sailed on the 3d of the month from Calao de Lima for Panama, consisting of five treasure ships, three rich merchantmen, and two men of war.  They were also informed that the Spanish admiral was still at Calao, his ship being of 800 tons burden, and mounting 40 brass cannon; besides which, there were two pataches of 14 guns each, and forty or fifty unarmed merchant vessels.  All these vessels were said to have been hauled on shore, and secured by three strong batteries and other works, furnished with upwards of fifty pieces of cannon, all ready prepared for the reception of the Dutch, of whose motions the Spaniards had received early and certain intelligence.  The viceroy had likewise formed four companies of foot, of eighty men each, but the two best companies had gone with the ships to Panama; and, having just learnt the approach of the Dutch fleet, the viceroy had summoned the whole military force of Peru, so that many thousand men must soon be expected at Lima for its defence.

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