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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 641 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.

The inhabitants of this island were of large stature, their only weapons being bows and arrows.  The men had one of their nipples bored, wearing a piece of reed in the hole, and a similar ornament in their under lip.  They dwelt in this island from October to February, feeding much on certain roots.  In the months of November and December they caught fish in a kind of wears inclosed with reeds; but these were not to be got at any other time.  At the latter end of February, when all the roots were eaten, they were forced to remove from the island in search of food elsewhere.  These natives were extraordinarily fond of their children, the parents and kindred lamenting for such as died during a whole year, after which they completed the funeral ceremonies, and washed off the black paint they had worn in token of mourning.  They did not lament for the death of the old, alleging that they had lived their time, and that they took away the food which ought to go to the children.  All the dead were buried, except the physicians[135], whose bodies were burnt, and their ashes kept for a year, after which these ashes were mixed with water and drank by the relations of the deceased.  Every man was contented with one wife; but these physicians had usually two or three each, who lived together very amicably.  When a man engages to marry the daughter of another, he gives her all he possesses, and sends to the father of his bride every thing he kills, and in return his diet is sent him from the house of his father-in-law, as he is not permitted to enter the house during the first year of the marriage.  Should his father-in-law or any of the brothers of his wife meet him during that time, they always look down and pass on without speaking; yet in that period the woman converses freely with the father or other relations of her husband.  These customs are observed both in the island of Mal-hado and through all the country of Florida for fifty leagues inland.  When a son or brother dies, the people of the house will rather starve than go in quest of any thing to eat during three months, in all which time the relations of the family send in all that is necessary for their sustenance.  Owing to this, several families in Mal-hado were in great straits while the Spaniards resided among them, as many had died and the survivors strictly observed the custom.  The houses in the island were of mats, and strewed with oyster shells, on which they lay at night stark naked round the fire.  The inhabitants of the province of Tegesta[136], reaching from the Martyrs to Cape Cannaveral, feed better than those Indians among whom Cabeza resided, being extraordinarily expert fishers.  Two of them will venture out in a small canoe to attack, whales when any are seen upon the coast.  One of them steers or paddles the canoe; while the other, being provided with two or three stakes and a mallet, leaps into the sea as soon as he sees a whale rise to the surface, gets upon its head, and immediately

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