A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 08 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 754 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 08.
called Trinquamalee,] at which was a similar trade.  They engaged that we might load our ships, and procure a plentiful supply of provisions, at either of these places, for little money; and we accordingly used our utmost possible exertions to get to them, but all to no purpose, as the wind was quite contrary.  The Indians then told us, that if we would remain till January, we should meet above an hundred sail of ships, laden with spiceries, linen cloth, [cottons,] and commodities of China; but our commander would not agree to stay there for the purpose of war, as his commission only authorised him to trade, but proposed to remain for traffic, paying for every thing he might be able to procure.  To this, however, the company would not consent; and we accordingly began our voyage homewards on the 28th of December, after beating up for sixteen days to endeavour to make Batacolo.  We had discharged our prize on the 18th, after taking out most of her rice, for which our commander paid them to their satisfaction; but our men plundered the Indians of their goods and money in a disorderly manner.  We took with us twelve of the Indians, belonging to different countries; and after they had been with us some time, they informed us that the merchants in the Negapatam ship had a large quantity of precious stones in the ship, hidden under the planks of her lining.  How far this might be true I know not, as, for some unknown reason, Mr Tomkins and I were not allowed to go on board her.

[Footnote 44:  Perhaps Batacolo is here meant, on the east side of Ceylon, in lat. 7 deg. 45’ N.]

The 5th March, 1600, our victuals were poisoned, but God preserved us; for one of our people tasting it by chance, or from greediness, was infected.  It was strongly poisoned before it came to us, being fresh fish; for our surgeon took almost a spoonful of poison out of one fish.  But this is not the first time, if the grieved would complain.[45] The 10th March we fell in with the Cape of Good Hope, where we encountered a heavy storm; and on the 26th we doubled that Cape.

[Footnote 45:  This story is very unintelligible, as no circumstance is mentioned as to where the fish were got, nor who was suspected of introducing the poison.—­E.]

We anchored at St Helena on the 13th March.  This island is in lat. 16 deg.  S. [15 deg. 45’.] We here found plenty of water, with abundance of figs, and as many fish as we chose to take.  At sun-set, on the 15th, a caravel came into the roads, and anchored a large musket-shot to windward of us.  She was totally unprepared for fighting, as none of her guns were mounted.  We fought her all night, giving her in that time, as I think, upwards of 200 shots, though, in the course of eight hours, she did not return a single shot, nor seemed to regard us.  By midnight she got six pieces mounted, which she used to good purpose, shooting us often through, and slew two of our men.  So, on the 16th, in the morning,

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