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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 681 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.
from any other land, being 550 leagues from the Cape, 500 leagues from Brazil, and 350 from Augusta, which is the nearest land[1]; yet the sea is all around so very deep, that there is hardly an anchorage to be found.  This island was first discovered by the Portuguese, on which occasion one of their large Indian carracks was wrecked, from the remains of which they built a chapel, long since decayed, but which still gives name to the finest valley in the island.  They planted lemons, oranges, and pomegranates all over the island, and left here hogs and goats, together with partridges, pigeons, and peacocks, for the convenience of ships touching here.  At one time a hermit chose to live here, killing the goats for the sake of their skins, which he sold to ships that stopped here; but the Portuguese removed him, as they did afterwards some negro slaves who had settled in the mountains.  It is now possessed by the English, who have so good a fort that it is not likely any other nation should be able to drive them out.  The vallies are exceedingly beautiful and fertile, and in these the weather is sometimes exceedingly hot; but as it is always cool on the mountains, the inhabitants can never be in want of a place of refreshment.  It is admirably watered, having many rivulets running from the tops of the hills into the sea, the water of these being as clear as crystal.  The island produces abundance of mustard, parsley, sorrel, cresses, and other herbs, excellent against the scurvy.  It has also abundance of trees fit for fuel, but none that can serve as timber.  All sorts of refreshments are to be had in plenty.

[Footnote 1:  Caleo Negro, in lat. 16 deg. 20’ S. on the coast of Africa, is the nearest part of the continent, and is probably what is referred to in the text under the name of Augusta.—­E.]

They sailed from hence for the island of Ascension, which lies in lat 8 deg.  N. and long. 14 deg. 20’ W. about 200 leagues N.W. from St Helena.  This is much of the same size, but the shore is excessively rocky, and the whole island absolutely barren, having neither trees nor grass, and the entire surface seems as it were rent asunder, whence some have conceived, and not without great show of reason, that it had been formerly a volcano, or burning mountain.  In the middle of the island there is a high hill, on one side of which water has been found.  At one season of the year, the whole surface of the island is covered with sea-fowl.  What chiefly induces ships to put into the only harbour of the island, is the great plenty of excellent turtle to be found here.  When these animals come on shore in the night to lay their eggs, the sailors turn them over on their backs till they have leisure to carry them on board.  These creatures will live above a month without any kind of sustenance, having only a little salt water sprinkled over them three or four times a-day.  The sailors never weary of eating them, believing that they make a perfect change of their juices, freeing them entirely from the scurvy and other diseases of the blood.

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