A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 822 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14.
we neither saw the people, whose voices we heard, nor any of their dwellings.  It being late in the evening, we proceeded no farther, and without discovering ourselves, retreated to the beach.”—­G.F.
[7] The elder Forster has some judicious and important remarks on volcanos, in his observations, but they are too long to be given here.  “It may be remarked,” says his son, “that the volcano and its productions seem to contribute greatly to that prodigious luxuriance of vegetation which is so remarkable on this island.  Many plants here attain twice the height which they have in other countries; their leaves are broader, their flowers larger, and more richly scented.  The same observation has been made in various volcanic countries.  The soil of Vesuvius and Etna is reckoned the most fertile in Italy and Sicily; and some of the best flavoured wines which Italy produces are raised upon it.  The volcanic ground on the Habichtswald in Hesse, though situated in a high, cold, and barren country, is surprisingly fertile, and covered with verdure.  All kinds of plants, indigenous and foreign, thrive with luxuriance, and make this beautiful spot, on which the gardens of the landgrave are situated, the admiration of all beholders.  Nay, to confine ourselves to our own voyage, the Society Islands, the Marquesas, and some of the Friendly Islands, where we found volcanic remains, as well as Ambrrym and Tanna, where we actually saw burning mountains, have a rich and fertile soil, in which nature displays the magnificence of the vegetable kingdom.  Easter Island itself, wholly overturned by some volcanic eruption, produces different vegetables and useful roots, without any other soil than flags, cinders, and pumice-stones; though the burning heat of the sun, from which there is no shelter, should seem sufficient to shrivel and destroy every plant.”—­G.F.
[8] Mr G.F. has spoken of the atrocious deed above recited with much indignation, and the more so apparently, as it broke in on a very pleasing series of reflections he was indulging, on the felicity of these islanders and the friendly intercourse with them that had been at last effected.  He concludes his account of it in the following manner.—­“Thus one dark and detestable action effaced all the hopes with which I had flattered myself.  The natives, instead of looking upon us in a more favourable light than upon other strangers, had reason to detest us much more, as we came to destroy under the specious mask of friendship; and some amongst us lamented that instead of making amends at this place for the many rash acts which we had perpetrated at almost every island in our course, we had wantonly made it the scene of the greatest cruelty.  Captain Cook resolved to punish the marine with the utmost rigour for having transgressed his positive orders, according to which the choleric emotions of the savages were to be repressed with gentleness, and prudently suffered to cool.  But the officer
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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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