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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.
armed in the same manner as those that we had seen upon the other island, and kept abreast of the ship for several leagues.  As the heat of this climate is very great, they seemed to suffer much by running so far in the sun, for they sometimes plunged into the sea, and sometimes fell flat upon the sand, that the surf might break over them, after which they renewed the race with great vigour.  Our boats were at this time sounding along the shore, as usual, but I had given strict orders to the officers who commanded them never to molest the natives, except it should become absolutely necessary for their own defence, but to try all possible means to obtain their confidence and good will:  Our people therefore went as near to the shore as they durst for the surf, and made signs that they wanted water; the Indians readily understood them, and directed them to run down farther along the shore, which they did, till they came abreast of such a cluster of houses as we had just left upon the other island; to this place the Indians still followed them, and were there joined by many others:  The boats immediately hauled close into the surf, and we brought-to, with the ships, at a little distance from the shore, upon which a stout old man, with a long white beard, that gave him a very venerable appearance, came down from the houses to the beach.  He was attended by a young man, and appeared to have the authority of a chief or king:  The rest of the Indians, at a signal which he made, retired to a little distance, and he then advanced quite to the water’s edge; in one hand he held the green branch of a tree, and in the other he grasped his beard, which he pressed to his bosom; in this attitude he made a long oration, or rather song, for it had a musical cadence which was by no means disagreeable.  We regretted infinitely that we could not understand what he said to us, and not less that he could not understand any thing which we should say to him; to shew our good-will, however, we threw him some trifling presents, while he was yet speaking, but he would neither touch them himself, nor suffer them to be touched by others till he had done:  He then walked into the water, and threw our people the green branch, after which he took up the things which had been thrown from the boats.  Every thing now having a friendly appearance, our people made signs that they should lay down their arms, and most of them having complied, one of the midshipmen, encouraged by this testimony of confidence and friendship, leaped out of the boat with his clothes on, and swam through the surf to shore.  The Indians immediately gathered round him, and began to examine his clothes with great curiosity; they seemed particularly to admire his waistcoat, and being willing to gratify his new friends, he took it off, and presented it to them; this courtesy, however, produced a disagreeable effect, for he had no sooner given away his waistcoat; than one of the Indians very ingeniously untied his
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