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.
and surgeon on board; and the 25th we sent the boat up the river again.  The 30th our pinnace came from Benin with the sorrowful news that Thomas Hemstead and our captain were both dead.  She brought with her 159 serons or bags of pepper, besides elephants teeth.  In all the time of our remaining off the river of Benin, we had fair and temperate weather when the wind was at S.W. from the sea; but when the wind blew at N. and N.E. from the land, it then rained with thunder and lightning, and the weather was intemperately hot.

The 13th of April 1589, we began our voyage homeward, and the 27th of July we spoke a ship called the Port belonging to London, giving us good news of England.  The 9th September we put into Catwater, where we remained till the 28th, owing to sickness and want of men.  The 29th we sailed from Plymouth, and arrived at London on the 2d October 1589.

The commodities we carried out in this, voyage were linens and woollen cloths, iron work of sundry kinds, manillios or bracelets of copper, glass beads and coral.  Those we brought home were pepper, elephants teeth, palm oil, cloth made of cotton very curiously woven, and cloth made of the bark of the palm tree.  Their money consists of pretty white shells, as they have no gold or silver.  They have also great store of cotton.  Their bread is made of certain roots called Inamia, as large as a mans arm, which when well boiled is very pleasant and light of digestion.  On banian or fish days, our men preferred eating these roots with oil and vinegar to the best stock-fish[313].  There are great quantities of palm trees, out of which the negroes procure abundance of a very pleasant white wine, of which we could purchase two gallons for 20 shells.  The negroes have plenty of soap, which has the flavour of violets.  They make very pretty mats and baskets, also spoons of ivory very curiously wrought with figures of birds and beasts.

[Footnote 313:  It is obvious that the banian or meager days, still continued in the British navy, are a remnant of the meager days of the Roman catholic times, when it was deemed a mortal sin to eat flesh.  Stock-fish are, however now abandoned, having been found to promote scurvy.—­E.]

Upon this coast we had the most terrible thunder and lightning, which used to make the deck tremble under our feet, such as I never heard the like in any other part of the world.  Before we became accustomed to it, we were much alarmed, but God be thanked we had no harm.  The natives are very gentle and courteous; both men and women going naked till they are married, after which they wear a garment reaching from the middle down to the knees.  Honey was so plentiful, that they used to sell our people earthen pots of comb full of honey, the size of two gallons for 100 shells.  They brought us also great store of oranges and plantains, which last is a fruit which grows on a tree, and resembles our cucumbers, but is very pleasant eating.  It pleased God of his merciful goodness to give me the knowledge of a means of preserving water fresh with little cost, which served us six months at sea; and when we came to Plymouth it was much wondered at by the principal men of the town, who said there was not sweeter water in all Plymouth[314].  Thus God provides for his creatures, unto whom be praise, now and for ever more, amen.

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