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.


Voyage Home from the Western Coast of America.

Proceeding therefore across the Great Pacific Ocean, they saw some very low land towards the west on the 15th January, 1625, over which the sea broke with great violence, and which they conjectured to be the island of Galperico.[141] On the 23d the scurvy had made much progress, that there were hardly men enough to work the ships.  In the evening of the 25th, they were off the coast of Guam, one of the Ladrones or Mariane islands, the inhabitants coming two leagues out to sea to meet them, with all sorts of refreshments, which they exchanged for old iron, and next morning 150 canoes came off with fruits and garden stuffs.  On the 27th a good watering-place was found, where fifty soldiers were landed to protect the seamen.  In the beginning of February, the natives brought them considerable quantities of rice, giving 70 or 80 pounds weight in exchange for an old hatchet.  On the 5th, by a general muster, 1260 men were found to remain in the fleet, including 32 Spanish and Negro prisoners, so that they had lost 409 since leaving Holland.

[Footnote 141:  The relation of the voyage is too vague even to conjecture what island is here meant, but from the direction of the course towards Guam or Guaham it may possibly have been that now called Dawson’s island, about 600 leagues nearly east from Guam.—­E.]

The island of Guam, Guaham, or Guaci, one of the group named by the Spaniards Islas de las Velas, Ladrones, or Mariane Islands, is in lat 13 deg. 40’ N.[142] The soil is tolerably fertile producing vast quantities of cocoas, and the natives grow rice in several places.  The Dutch procured here about 2000 fowls, but the natives would not part with their cattle for any price.  The people of this island are larger than other Indians’ strong and well-proportioned, and are mostly painted red, the men going entirely naked, and the women having a leaf to cover their nakedness.  Their arms are assagaies, or javelins and slings, both of which they use with great dexterity.  Their canoes are very convenient, and go before the wind at a great rate; neither are these islanders afraid of putting to sea even in a storm; as, in case of their vessels being overset, they turn them up again immediately, and bale out the water.  They were also very expert in cheating; for when the Dutch came to examine the bags of rice they had bought so cheap, they found the insides full of stones and dirt; besides which, they stole every thing they could lay hold of.  Such persons also as land on this island ought to be very cautious, as the Dutch had several of their people slain here, through their own folly.

[Footnote 142:  Lat. 13 deg. 20’ N. long. 143 deg. 20’ E. from Greenwich.]

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