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.

[Footnote 66:  In Mr Leslie’s table of the heights of mountains appended to the second edition of his Elements of Geometry, the altitude of this remarkable peak is stated to be 5162 English feet, but on what authority is not mentioned.  That of Ben Nevis, in Inverness-shire, as ascertained by the barometer, is 4380.—­E.]

The number of inhabitants in this island is supposed to be about 80,000, and the custom-house duties produce a revenue to the king of Portugal of 20,000 a-year, clear of all essences, which might easily by doubled by the product of the island, exclusive of the vines, if advantage were taken of the excellence of the climate, and the amazing fertility of the soil; but-this object is utterly neglected by the Portugueze.  In the trade of the inhabitants of Madeira with Lisbon the balance is against them, so that all the Portugueze money naturally going thither, the currency of the island is Spanish:  there are indeed a few Portuguese pieces of copper, but they are so scarce that we did not see one of them:  The Spanish coin, is of three denominations; Pistereens, worth about a shilling; Bitts, worth about sixpence; and Half bitts, threepence.[67]

[Footnote 67:  The reader need scarcely be apprized of the necessity of verifying on modifying the account of some of the particulars now given respecting Madeira, by an appeal to more recent authorities.  A hint to this effect is sufficient, without further occupying his attention on the subject.—­E.]

The tides at this place flow at the fall and change of the moon, north and south; the spring-tides rise seven feet perpendicular, and the neap-tides four.  By Dr Heberden’s observation, the variation of the compass here is now 15 deg. 30’ west, and decreasing; but I have some doubt whether he is not mistaken with respect to its decrease:  We found that the north point of the dipping needle belonging to the Royal Society dipped 77 deg. 18’.

The refreshments to be had here, are water, wine, fruit of several sorts, onions in plenty; and some sweetmeats; fresh-meat and poultry are not to be had without leave from the governor, and the payment of a very high price.  We took in 270 lib. of fresh, beer, and a live bullock, charged at 613 lib. 3,032 gallons of water, and ten tons of wine; and in the night, between Sunday the 18th and Monday the 19th of September, we set sail in prosecution of our voyage.

When Funchiale bore north, 13 east, at the distance of seventy-six miles, the variation appeared by several azimuths to be 16 deg. 30’West.


The Passage from Madeira to Rio de Janeiro, with some Account of the Country, and the Incidents that happened there.

On the 21st of September we saw the islands called the Salvages, to the north of the Canaries; when, the principal of these bore S. 1/2 W. at the distance of about five leagues, we found the variation of the compass by an azimuth to be 17 deg. 50.  I make these islands to lie to latitude 80 deg. 11’ north, and distant fifty-eight leagues from Funchiale in Madeira, in the direction of S. l6 deg.  E.

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