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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 14.
spirits were so low, that they had no fever.  Though the use of that excellent prophylactic, the sour krout, prevented the appearance of the scurvy during all the cold weather, yet, being made of cabbage, it is not so nutritive that we could live upon it, without the assistance of biscuit and salt-beef.  But the former of these being rotten, and the other almost consumed by the salt, it is obvious that no wholesome juices could be secreted from thence, which might have kept the body strong and vigorous.  Under these difficulties all our patients recovered very slowly, having nothing to restore their strength; and my father, who had been in exquisite torments during the greatest part of our southern cruise, was afflicted with toothaches, swelled cheeks, sore throat, and universal pain, till the middle of February, when he went on deck perfectly emaciated.  The warm weather, which was beneficial to him, proved fatal to Captain Cook’s constitution.  The disappearance of his bilious complaint during our last push to the south, had not been so sincere, as to make him recover his appetite.  The return to the north, therefore, brought on a dangerous obstruction, which the captain very unfortunately slighted, and concealed from every person in the ship, at the same time endeavouring to get the better of it by taking hardly any subsistence.  This proceeding, instead of removing, increased the evil, his stomach being already weak enough before.  He was afflicted with violent pains, which in the space of a few days confined him to his bed, and forced him to have recourse to medicines.  He took a purge, but instead of producing the desired effect, it caused a violent vomiting, which was assisted immediately by proper emetics.  All attempts, however, to procure a passage through his bowels were ineffectual; his food and medicines were thrown up, and in a few days a most dreadful hiccough appeared, which lasted for upwards of twenty four hours, with such astonishing violence, that his life was entirely despaired of.  Opiates and glysters had no effect, till repeated hot baths, and plasters of theriaca applied on his stomach, had relieved his body and intestines.  This, however, was not effected till he had been above a week in the most imminent danger.  Next to providence it was chiefly owing to the skill of our surgeon, Mr Patten, that he recovered to prosecute the remaining part of our voyage, with the same spirit with which it had hitherto been carried on.  The care and assiduity with which that worthy man watched him during his whole illness, cannot be sufficiently extolled, as all our hopes of future discoveries, as well as union in the ship, depended solely on the preservation of the captain.  The surgeon’s extreme attention, however, had nearly cost him his own life.  Having taken no rest for many nights together, and seldom venturing to sleep an hour by day, he was so much exhausted, that we trembled for his life, upon which that of almost every man in the ship,
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