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.
cocoa-nuts had been gathered, and at very little distance from the shore.  Here we procured above a thousand cocoa-nuts, and as many of the cabbages as we could use while they were good, and I would have staid long enough to have given my people all the refreshments they wanted, but the season of the year made the shortest delay dangerous.  There was too much reason to suppose that the lives of all on board depended upon our getting to Batavia while the monsoon continued to blow from the eastward; there was indeed time enough for any other ship to have gone three times the distance, but I knew it was scarcely sufficient for the Swallow in her present condition:  And that if we should be obliged to continue here another season, it would probably become impossible to navigate her at all, especially as she had but a single sheathing, and her bottom was not filled with nails, so that the worms would have eaten through it; besides that our provision would long before that time have been totally exhausted.  I therefore weighed anchor and quitted this station, which was much the best that had been our lot during the whole run from the Strait of Magellan, on the 9th in the morning, at break of day, with a light breeze from the land.

[Footnote 59:  The following quotation from the account of Bougainville’s voyage may interest the reader:—­“A sailor, belonging to my barge, being in search of shells, found buried in the sand, a piece of a plate of lead, on which we read these remains of English words, HOR’D HERE ICK MAJESTY.  There yet remained the mark of the nails, with which they had fastened this inscription, that did not seem to be of any ancient date.  The savages had, doubtless, torn off the plate, and broken it in pieces.  This adventure engaged us carefully to examine all the neighbourhood of our anchorage.  We therefore ran along the coast within the isle which covers the bay; we followed it for about two leagues, and came to a deep bay of very little breadth, open to the S.W. at the bottom of which we landed, near a fine river.  Some trees sawed in pieces, or cut down with hatchets, immediately struck our eyes, and shewed us that this was the place where the English put in at.  We now had little trouble to find the spot where the inscription had been placed.  It was a very large and very apparent tree, on the right-hand shore of the river, in the middle of a great place, where we concluded that the English had pitched their tents; for we still saw several ends of ropes fastened to the trees, the nails stuck in the tree; and the plate had been torn off but a few days before; for the marks of it appeared quite fresh.  In the tree itself, there were notches cut, either by the English or the islanders.  Some fresh shoots coming up from one of the trees which was cut down, gave us an opportunity of concluding, that the English had anchored in this bay but about four months ago.  The rope which we found, likewise sufficiently indicated it; for though it lay in a very

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