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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.

About one o’clock, on Monday the 10th of April, some of the people who were looking out for the island to which we were bound, said they saw land ahead, in that part of the horizon where it was expected to appear; but it was so faint, that, whether there was land in sight or not, remained a matter of dispute till sun-set.  The next morning, however, at six o’clock, we were convinced that those who said they had discovered land were not mistaken; it appeared to be very high and mountainous, extending from W. by S. 1/2 S. to W. by N. 1/2 N. and we knew it to be the same that Captain Wallis had called King George the Third’s Island.  We were delayed in our approach to it by light airs and calms, so that in the morning of the 12th we were but little nearer than we had been the night before; but about seven a breeze sprung up, and before eleven several canoes were seen making towards the ship.  There were but few of them, however, that would come near; and the people in those that did, could not be persuaded to come on board.  In every canoe there were young plantains, and branches of a tree which the Indians call E’Midho; these, as we afterwards learnt, were brought as tokens of peace and amity; and the people in one of the canoes handed them up the ship’s side, making signals at the same time with great earnestness, which we did not immediately understand; at length we guessed that they wished these symbols should be placed in some conspicuous part of the ship; we, therefore, immediately stuck them among the rigging, at which they expressed the greatest satisfaction.  We then purchased their cargoes, consisting of cocoa-nuts, and various kinds of fruit, which, after our long voyage, were very acceptable.

We stood on with an easy sail all night, with soundings from twenty-two fathom to twelve; and about seven o’clock in the morning we came to an anchor in thirteen fathom in Port-Royal Bay, called by the natives Matavai.  We were immediately surrounded by the natives in their canoes, who gave us cocoa-nuts, fruit resembling apples, bread-fruit, and some small fishes, in exchange for beads and other trifles.  They had with them a pig, which they would not part with for any thing but a hatchet, and therefore we refused to purchase it; because, if we gave them a hatchet for a pig now, we knew they would never afterwards sell one for less, and we could not afford to buy as many as it was probable we should want at that price.  The bread-fruit grows on a tree that is about the size of a middling oak:  Its leaves are frequently a foot and an half long, of an oblong shape, deeply sinuated like those of the fig-tree, which they resemble in consistence and colour, and in the exuding of a white milky juice upon being broken.  The fruit is about the size and shape of a child’s head, and the surface is reticulated not much unlike a truffle:  It is covered with a thin skin, and has a core about as big as the handle of a small knife:  The eatable part lies between the skin and the core; it is as white as snow, and somewhat of the consistence of new bread.  It must be roasted before it is eaten, being first divided into three or four parts.  Its taste is insipid, with a slight sweetness somewhat resembling that of the crumb of wheaten-bread mixed with a Jerusalem artichoke.[87]

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