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 manned the boat with all speed, and went ashore, if happily we might succour our men; but we found them all slain, and laid naked in a row, with their faces upwards, and a cross set up beside them.  We saw also two large pinnaces coming from Rio de Janeiro, full of men, who, as we supposed, were intended to take us.  We were now much reduced, as of seventy-six persons we had on board when we left England, there were now only twenty-seven of us remaining, thirty-two having died formerly, and thirteen being slain in this place.  Between those formerly slain by the savages at Port Desire, and those now in the island of Placencia by the Portuguese, all those who had conspired to murder our captain and master were now cut off, the gunner only excepted.  Our casks were so greatly decayed, that we could not take in a sufficient supply of water, and what we had was exceedingly bad.  Having lost several muskets on shore, which had belonged to our slain men, with good store of powder and shot, we expected to be beaten from our decks by means of our own weapons, by the Portuguese on the island, joined by those coming from Janeiro:  and as we were moored to the trees, for want of cables and anchors, we were in dread of having our mooring ropes cut.  In this miserable state we knew not what measures to pursue.  To depart with only eight tons of bad water, and in bad casks, were to run the risk of starving at sea, and to remain seemed inevitable ruin.  These were severe alternatives; but in our perplexity we preferred trusting to the hand of God than to the mercy of our enemies, and concluded to depart.  Wherefore, on the 6th February, we unmoored and removed our ship into the channel, putting all our ordnance and small arms in readiness in case of an assault, and having a small gale of wind, we put to sea in deep distress.

Thus bemoaning our sad estate, and recounting our past misfortunes, we came to Cape Frio; being much crossed for three weeks by contrary winds, and our water running short, we were reduced to the utmost distress and perplexity.  Some of the people were desirous of going into Bahia, and submitting to the Portuguese, rather than die of thirst; but our captain persuaded them against this measure.  In this extremity, it pleased God to send us such abundant rain, that we were enabled to supply ourselves with water.  On getting into the hot climate near the line, our dried penguins began to corrupt, and there bred in them many loathsome worms, an inch in length.  These worms increased with astonishing rapidity, devouring our victuals so fast that we now seemed doomed to die of famine, as before of thirst We were even in danger of being eaten up by these worms, which devoured every thing except iron.  They so gnawed the timbers of our ship, that we feared they would eat holes through her sides.  We used every possible contrivance to destroy these noisome vermin, but they seemed only to increase so much the more, so that at last they would eat our flesh, and bite us like mosquitoes when we were asleep.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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