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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.
their safe return; and indeed I would gladly have consented if it had been in my power; but a strong westerly current hurried me to so great a distance, that I had no opportunity to seek for anchorage, and night coming on we pursued our course.  When our visitors perceived this, one of them insisted upon going with us, and, notwithstanding all that I and his companions could say or do, obstinately refused to go on shore.  As I thought it possible that this man might be the means of our making some useful discovery, I did not put him ashore by force, but indulged him in his desire.  We learned from him that there were other islands to the northward, the inhabitants of which, he said, had iron, and always killed his countrymen when they could catch them out at sea.  It was with great concern that I perceived this poor fellow, whom I called Joseph Freewill, from his readiness to go with us, become gradually sickly after he had been some time at sea.  He lived till I got to the island of Celebes, and there died.  As the islands from which I had taken him were very small and low, the largest being not more than five miles in compass, I was surprised to see with how many of the productions of Celebes he was acquainted; beside the cocoa-nut and palm, he knew the beetle-nut and the lime, and the moment he got a bread-fruit, he went to the fire and roasted it in the embers.  He made us understand also, that in his country they had plenty of fish, and turtle in their season.  It is, however, very probable, notwithstanding the number of people who subsist upon these islands, that they have no fresh water but what falls in rain:  How they catch and preserve it, I had no opportunity to learn, but I never met with a spring in a spot so small and low, and in such a spot I believe no spring was ever found.  The largest of these islands, which the natives call Pegan, and to which I gave the name of Freewill Island, lies fifty minutes north of the Line, and in 137 deg. 51’ east longitude.  They are all surrounded by a reef of rocks.  The chart of these islands I drew from the Indian’s description, who delineated them with chalk upon the deck, and ascertained the depth of water by stretching-his arms as a fathom.

I now steered N.W. by N. to get from under the sun, and had light winds at E.S.E. with which almost any ship but the Swallow would have made good way, but with every possible advantage she went at a heavy rate.  We now found our variation begin again to decrease, as will appear by the following table: 

                  Longitude from Queen
   Latitude.  Charlotte’s Foreland.  Variation.

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