[Footnote 201: The Lamentin, or Trichechus Manatus australis of naturalists.—E.]
The inhabitants are the most miserable wretches in the universe, having no houses or coverings but the heavens, and no garments except a piece of the bark of a tree tied round the waist. They have no sheep, poultry, or fruits, and subsist wretchedly on a few shell-fish, such as cockles, muscles, and periwinkles, living without any government or order, and cohabit promiscuously like brutes. Their bodies are straight, thin, and strong-limbed, having great heads and eye-brows, with round foreheads. Their eye-lids are constantly half closed, to keep out flies, which are here very numerous and troublesome. They have large bottle noses, thick lips, and wide mouth; and both men and women, young and old, wanted the two front teeth of the upper jaw. They have no beards, and their hair is short and curled like the negroes, their complexion being equally black with them. Their weapons are a kind of wooden swords or clubs, and long straight poles sharpened at one end. Of their language I can only say that they speak much in the throat. We landed several times, and brought the natives to some degree of familiarity with us, by giving them some old clothes, but could never prevail on them to assist us in carrying water or any other thing, as they seemed quite averse from labour.
We sailed hence on the 12th March, and on the 7th April got sight of Sumatra, whence we directed our course for the Nicobar islands, which we came in sight of on the 4th May, and anchored next day in a small bay at the N. end of the island of Nicobar Proper, in lat. 7 deg. 30’ N. This island produces plenty of cocoa-nuts, and mallories, a fruit as large as the bread-fruit of Guam, which the natives boil in covered jars.
Mr Hall, Mr Ambrose, and I, being desirous to leave the unruly crew among whom we had sailed so long, were set ashore at this island, intending to proceed for Acheen. We accordingly left this island on the 5th May, accompanied by four Malays and a Portuguese, in a Nicobar canoe, not much bigger than one of the London wherries used below bridge. On the 18th we had a violent storm, when we expected every moment to be swallowed up by the waves; but on the 19th, to our great joy, we saw Pulo Way, near the N.W. end of Sumatra, as was supposed, but it turned out to be the golden mountain of Sumatra, and at length arrived at Acheen in June. In July I went with Captain Weldon to Tonquin, and returned to Acheen in April, 1689. In September of that year I went to Malacca, and came back about Christmas, 1690. Soon after I went to Fort St George or Madras, where I remained five months, and came back to Bencoolen, an English factory on the west coast of Sumatra.