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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.

We had notice on the 2d December, 1705, that all of us who wished to return to England should immediately go on board the homeward-bound Dutch East India fleet, which we did accordingly, and sailed next day.  This fleet consisted of twelve ships, as well provided in all respects as any I had ever seen, and we made the voyage in good order.  We arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on the 3d February, 1706.  The Dutch have here a strong fortress, and about half a mile from this is a fine town of 150 houses, with a small church.  The country in the neighbourhood is very high, and the mountains are mostly barren, producing only a few shrubs; but the country is full of lions, tigers, elephants, and other wild beasts, which give great disturbance to the settlers, for which reason the government gives a reward of fifty-two guilders for killing a lion, equal to four pounds six and eight-pence, and twenty-four guilders, or forty shillings, for killing a tiger.  While we were there, a certain Scotsman killed four lions, three tigers, and three wild elephants, for all of which he got the rewards.  The Dutch make here a great quantity of an excellent wine, called Cape wine, which is sold by retail at eight-pence a quart.

We sailed from the Cape the 24th of March, excellently provided with every thing requisite for the voyage.  We were now twenty-four sail, having nine English and fifteen Dutch ships.  On the 17th April we made the island of Ascension, but did not touch there even for turtle, although their season of laying, having been so well provided with fresh provisions at the Cape that we had no occasion for more.  On the 19th there happened a great earthquake, when the ship seemed for some time as if she run along the ground, on which we heaved the lead on both sides, but had no ground at 200 fathoms.  The whole fleet felt the shock at the same time; so that for about ten minutes every ship was making signals and firing guns.  On the 14th June we saw four sail of French privateers, which were waiting for us; but after looking at us for some time, and observing the regular order in which we sailed, they did not think it adviseable to make any attempt against us, and bore away.  This shewed the great advantage of the regular order observed by the Dutch in sailing, in which on this occasion they were imitated by the English ships in company.

On the 30th June we were in lat. 62 deg. 40’ N. the highest north I was ever in, and I could not help noticing the great difference in point of cold here and in 60 deg.  S. There we had continual showers of snow or hail, with bitter cold weather; while here the weather was fair, and the cold moderate.  In the evening of the 3d July we saw the Faro Islands.  On the 5th we met with eight Dutch men of war, which were cruizing on purpose to convoy us safe home, accompanied by four victuallers and three of the Company’s privateers.  On the 15th July we all arrived safely in the Texel, and got on the 17th to Amsterdam. 

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