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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 685 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 07.

[Footnote 163:  These observations, distinguished by inverted commas, are placed in the text, as too long for a note.—­E.]

SECTION XVII.

Of Tanasserim and other Places.

In continuation of my peregrinations, I sailed from the port of Piqueno to Cochin, from whence I went to Malacca, and afterwards to Pegu, being 800 miles distant.  That voyage is ordinarily performed in twenty-five or thirty days; but we were four months on the way, and at the end of three months we were destitute of provisions.  The pilot alleged that, according to the latitude by his observation, we could not be far from Tanassery, or Tanasserim, a city in the kingdom of Pegu.  In this he was mistaken, as we found ourselves in the middle of many islands and uninhabited rocks, yet some Portuguese who were on board affirmed that they knew the land, and could even point out where the city of Tanasserim stood.  This city belongs of right to Siam, and is situated on the side of a great river, which comes from the kingdom of Siam.  At the month of this river there is a village called Mirgim, Merghi, or Morgui, at which some ships load every year with Verzino, Nypa, and Benzoin, with a few cloves, nutmegs, and mace, that come from Siam; but the principal merchandise are Verzino and Nypa.  This last is an excellent wine, which is made from the flower of a tree called Nyper.  They distil the liquor prepared from the Nyper, and make therewith an excellent drink, as clear as crystal, which is pleasant to the taste, and still better to the stomach, as it has most excellent virtues, insomuch that if a person were rotten with the lues, and drinks abundantly of this wine, he shall be made whole, as I have seen proved:  For when I was in Cochin, the nose of a friend of mine began to drop off with that disease, on which he was advised by the physicians to go to Tanasserim at the season of the new wines, and to drink the Nyper wine day and night, as much as he was able.  He was ordered to use it before being distilled, when it is most delicate; for after distillation it become much stronger, and is apt to produce drunkenness.  He went accordingly, and did as he was directed, and I have seen him since perfectly sound and well-coloured.  It is very cheap in Pegu, where a great quantity is made every year; but being in great repute in the Indies, it is dear when carried to a distance.

I now return to my unfortunate voyage, where we were among the uninhabited rocks and islands far from Tanasserim, and in great straits for victuals.  From what was said by the pilot and two Portuguese, that we were directly opposite the harbour of Tanasserim, we determined to go thither in out boat to bring provisions, leaving orders to the ship to await our return.  Accordingly, twenty-eight of us went into the boat, and left the ship about noon one day, expecting to

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