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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 687 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 13.
sailing with a southerly wind, and because I thought it the best situation for watering; but I afterwards found a very fine stream on the north shore, in the first sandy cove within the island, before which a ship might lie almost land-locked, and procure wood as well as water in great abundance.  Wood indeed is every where plenty, but I saw only two kinds which may be considered as timber.  These trees are as large, or larger than the English oak, and one of them has not a very different appearance:  This is the same that yields the reddish gum like sanguis draconis, and the wood is heavy, hard, and dark-coloured, like lignum vitae; the other grows tall and straight, something like the pine; and the wood of this, which has some resemblance to the live oak of America, is also hard and heavy.  There are a few shrubs, and several kinds of the palm; mangroves also grow in great plenty near the head of the bay.  The country in general is level, low, and woody, as far as we could see.  The woods, as I have before observed, abound with birds of exquisite beauty, particularly of the parrot kind; we found also crows here, exactly the same with those in England.  About the head of the harbour, where there are large flats of sand and mud, there is great plenty of water-fowl, most of which were altogether unknown to us:  One of the most remarkable was black and white, much larger than a swan, and in shape somewhat resembling a pelican.  On these banks of sand and mud there are great quantities of oysters, mussels, cockles, and other shell-fish, which seem to be the principal subsistence of the inhabitants, who go into shoal water with their little canoes, and pick them out with their hands.  We did not observe that they eat any of them raw, nor do they always go on shore to dress them, for they have frequently fires in their canoes for that purpose.  They do not however subsist wholly upon this food, for they catch a variety of other fish, some of which they strike with gigs, and some they take with hook and line.  All the inhabitants that we saw were stark naked:  They did not appear to be numerous, nor to live in societies, but like other animals were scattered about along the coast, and in the woods.  Of their manner of life, however, we could know but little, as we were never able to form the least connection with them:  After the first contest at our landing, they would never come near enough to parley; nor did they touch a single article of all that we had left at their huts, and the places they frequented, on purpose for them to take away.

[Footnote 72:  The reader will be plentifully supplied with information respecting this noted place, and the settlement of British convicts made at Port Jackson, in another part of this work.  It would be very injudicious to break down the matter intended to be given there, for the purpose of ekeing out the limited remarks here made.  This intimation may be equally applied to the whole subject of New Holland:  about which the reader may promise himself very ample satisfaction in the course of this collection.  Let this then be accepted as a pledge in apology for the paucity of observations on the text.—­E.]

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