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.

Departing from St. George’s island, we passed Cape Virgin[43] on the 11th November, going out of the straits into the southern Atlantic ocean, and directed our course to the N.E. till the last day of that month, when we arrived at an island in the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, or River of Silver.  On this island there is an incredible number of seals, some of which are sixteen feet long, not fearing the approach of men.  Most of our men were ashore in this island for fifteen days, setting up a pinnace; during which time the seals would often come and sleep beside our men, rather resisting them than giving place, unless when mortal blows forced them to yield.  Having finished our pinnace, we went to another island, where we watered, and afterwards departed on the 1st January, 1579.  We went to the northwards till the 20th of that month, when we came to an island on the coast of Brazil, near a town called St Vincent, inhabited by the Portuguese, which is in lat. 24 deg.  S. Here we lost our pinnace in foul weather, together with her crew of eight men.  And here also our ship was in great danger, in consequence of a strong current, which almost forced her on shore before we were aware, so that we had to drop anchor in the open sea, broke our cable and lost our anchor, and had to let fell another, in weighing which afterwards our men were sore distressed; for, owing to the heaving of the ship with the sea, the capstan ran round with so much violence as to throw the men from the bars, dashed out the brains of one man, broke the leg of another, and severely hurt several more.  At length we hove up our anchor, and ran to a place called Tanay. where we rode under the lee of an island, whence we had a supply of wood and water.

[Footnote 43:  Called Cape Victory by Mr Cliffe.—­E.]

While at this place, three Portuguese came aboard in a canoe, desiring to know who we were and what we wanted.  Our captain made answer, that we were Englishmen, and had brought commodities with us for their country, if they would trade with us, at which they seemed much surprised, as they said they had never before heard of any English ship being in that country.  So they went ashore, taking one of our men with them to speak with the governor of the town, while we detained one of the Portuguese as a pledge.  Soon after there came another canoe on board, in which was one Portuguese, all the rest being naked natives of the country.  From this man we had two small oxen, a young hog, and several fowls, with pome-citrons, lemons, oranges, and other fruits, for which our captain gave them linen cloth, combs, knives, and other articles of small value.  In the mean time, the governor of the town sent word that we should have nothing, unless the ship was brought into the harbour, to which our captain would not consent, lest they might betray us.

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