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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 659 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 12.

In this place, therefore, I ordered tents to be erected, and the surgeon and his mate, with proper officers, to attend; at the same time strictly charging that no man should be suffered to go into the town, and that no liquor should be brought to the tents.  All the sick, except two, left the ship early in the morning, with their provisions and firing; and for those that were reduced to great weakness, I ordered the surgeon to procure such extraordinary provisions as he should think proper, particularly milk, though it was sold at an excessive price.  About six in the evening they returned on board, and seemed to be greatly refreshed.  At the same time, being extremely ill myself, I was obliged to be put on shore, and carried about eight miles up the country, where I continued all the time the ship lay here; and when she was ready to sail, returned on board without having received the least benefit.

No time, however, was lost in refitting the vessel:  The sails were all unbent, the yards and top-masts struck, the forge was set up, the carpenters were employed in caulking, the sail-makers in mending the sails, the cooper in repairing the casks, the people in overhauling the rigging, and the boats in filling water.

By the 10th of February, the heavy work being nearly dispatched, twenty of the men who had had the small-pox, were permitted to go ashore at the town, and others, who were still liable to the distemper, were landed at some distance, with orders to go into the country, and return in the evening, which they punctually obeyed:  This liberty, therefore, was continued to them all the while the vessel lay at this port, which produced so good an effect, that the ship’s company, except the sick, who recovered very fast, had a more healthy and vigorous appearance than when they left England.  We purchased here the necessaries that we endeavoured to procure at Batavia, at a reasonable price, besides canvass and other stores; we also procured fresh water by distillation, principally to shew the captains of the Indiamen, and their officers, that, upon an emergency, wholesome water might be procured at sea.  At five o’clock in the morning, we put fifty-six gallons of salt water into the still, at seven it began to run, and in about five hours and a quarter afforded us two-and-forty gallons of fresh water, at an expence of nine pounds of wood, and sixty-nine pounds of coals.  Thirteen gallons and two quarts remained in the still, and that which came off had no ill taste, nor, as we had often experienced, any hurtful quality.  I thought the shewing this experiment of the more consequence, as the being able to allow plenty of water not only for drink, but for boiling any kind of provision, and even for making tea and coffee, especially during long voyages, and in hot climates, conduces greatly to health, and is the means of saving many lives.  I never once put my people to an allowance of water during this whole voyage, always using the still when we were reduced to five-and-forty tons, and preserving the rain water with the utmost diligence.  I did not, however, allow water to be fetched away at pleasure, but the officer of the watch had orders to give such as brought provisions of any kind, water sufficient to dress it, and a proper quantity also to such as brought tea and coffee.

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