A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.
in what manner they guided their course in those seas.  To this the pilot made answer, that in navigating these southern seas, they were particularly guided by five stars, and one other particular star which was directly opposite thee north star, and that they also used the loadstone, which always points to the north.  He said moreover, that beyond the island of Java there was a certain people who were antipodes to them of European Sarmatia, inhabiting a cold climate, and as near to the antarctic pole as Sarmatia is to the arctic, as was evident by the shortness of their day, which was only four hours long in winter[103], in which conversation we took much delight.

[Footnote 103:  This pilot must have been acquainted with the southern extremity of South America, or must have built this information on hypothesis, as there is no known inhabited land of this description to the South of Java—­E.]

Proceeding on our voyage for five days, we came to the great island of Java, in which there are many kingdoms and peoples, all idolaters, but of sundry manners and customs.  Some worship the sun, others the moon, some consider cows as their gods, while others worship all day whatever they first meet in the morning.  This island produces silk, which grows spontaneously in the woods, and has the finest emeralds in the world, as also great plenty of gold and copper.  The soil is as productive of corn and fruits as that of Calicut, and has an abundance of flesh.  The inhabitants are an honest and fair-dealing people, much of the same stature and colour with Europeans, but with larger foreheads, very large eyes of a brazil or red colour, with flat noses, and wear their hair long.  It has a great number of birds different from ours, except peacocks, turtle-doves, and crows, which are the same as we have.  In their dress, the natives wear mantles or cloaks of cotton, silk, or camblet, always having one arm bare.  They have no defensive armour, as they are hardly ever at war; but when they go to sea they use bows and arrows, and likewise poisoned arrows made of reeds, which they blow from long hollow canes, and the poison with which these arrows are infected is so virulent that death certainly follows from the slightest wound.  They have no kind of fire-arms.  They eat all kinds of flesh, fish, or fruit, as they please or can procure.

Some of the natives of this island are so very barbarous, that when their parents become feeble from age, so as to be useless to themselves and others, they bring them into the public market and sell them to the cannibals who eat human flesh, who immediately upon buying them, kill and eat them.  Likewise when any young person falls into disease of which they do not expect he shall recover, his kinsmen sell him in the same manner to the cannibals.  When my companion expressed his horror at this barbarous and savage practice, a certain native merchant observed, “That no sacrifice could redeem the sins of the Persians, who

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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