A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 760 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12.

The people in my own ship, who had as much fresh meat and greens as they could eat every day, were very healthy, but there being many sick on board the Tamar, I procured a place for them on shore, where they soon recovered.  As the seams of both the ships were very open, some Portuguese caulkers were engaged, who, after having worked some time, rendered them perfectly tight.[9] While we lay here, Lord Clive, in the Kent Indiaman, came to the port.  This ship had sailed from England a month before us, and had not touched any where, yet she came in a month after us; so that her passage was just two months longer than ours, notwithstanding the time we lost in waiting for the Tamar, which, though the Dolphin was by no means a good sailer, sailed so much worse, that we seldom spread more than half our canvas.  The Kent had many of her people down in the scurvy.

[Footnote 9:  “We had six, who were paid at the rate of six shillings sterling a day; though it is certain that one of our English caulkers would do as much in one day as they could in three; but though they are slow and inactive, they perform their work very completely, or else their vessels could not run so many voyages in a shattered condition as they frequently do.”]

On Tuesday the 16th of October, we weighed anchor, being impatient to get to sea for the heat here was intolerable; but we lay four or five days above the bar, waiting for the land-breeze to carry us out, for there is no getting out with the sea-breeze, and the entrance between the two first forts is so narrow, and so great a sea breaks in upon them, that it was not without much danger, and difficulty we got out at last, and if we had followed the advice of the Portuguese pilot, we had certainly lost the ship.[10] As this narrative is published for the advantage of future navigators, particularly those of our own nation, it is also necessary I should observe, that the Portuguese here, carrying on a great trade, make it their business to attend every time a boat comes on shore, and practise every artifice in their power to entice away the crew:  if other methods do not succeed, they make them drunk, and immediately send them up the country, taking effectual care to prevent their return, till the ship to which they belong has left the place; by this practice I lost five of my men, and the Tamar nine:  Mine I never recovered, but the Tamar had the good fortune to learn where her’s were detained, and by sending out a party in the night, surprised them, and brought them back.

[Footnote 10:  The harbour of Rio de Janeiro is uncommonly good, and spacious enough for a large fleet, but the entrance is very narrow, and requires to be entered with the assistance of a sea-breeze, which fortunately blows daily from before noon till sun-set.  According to Captain Krusenstern, the harbour of St Catharines in the island of that name near the Brazil coast, is “infinitely preferable to Rio Janeiro,” for ships going round Cape Horn.—­See his reasons in the account of his voyage p. 76.—­E.]

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