A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

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.
more correct than that of the Portuguese.  After passing lat. 16 deg.  S. we found a considerable current setting to the southward.  The same took place all along the coast of Brazil, and even to the southward of the Rio Plata, amounting sometimes to thirty miles in twenty-four hours, and once to above forty miles.  If, as is most probable, this current be occasioned by the running off of the water which is accumulated on the coast of Brazil by the constant sweeping of the eastern trade-wind over the Ethiopic Ocean, it were then most natural to suppose that its general course must be determined by the bearings of the adjacent shores.  Perhaps in every instance of currents the same may hold true, as I believe there are no examples of any considerable currents at any great distance from land.  If this could be ascertained as a general principle, it might be easy by their assistance and the observed latitude, to correct the reckoning.  But it were much to be wished, for the general interests of navigation, that the actual settings of the different currents in various parts of the world were examined more frequently and more accurately than appears to have been done hitherto.

[Footnote 1:  In the map of the world by Arrowsmith, the Abrolhos are made a cluster of islands off the coast of Brazil, in lat. 18 deg. 10’ S. long. 39 deg.  W. from Greenwich.—­E.]

We began now to grow impatient for a sight of land, both for the recovery of our sick, and for the refreshment and security of those who still continued in health.  When we left.  St Helens, we were in so good a condition that we only lost two men in the Centurion in our long run to Madeira.  But in this run, from Madeira to St Catharines, we were remarkably sickly, so that many died, and great numbers were confined to their hammocks, both in our ship and the others, and several of these past all hopes of recovery.  The disorders they in general laboured under were those common to hot climates, and which most ships bound to the south experience in a greater or less degree.  These were the fevers usually called calentures, a disease not only terrible in its first instance, but of which the remains often proved fatal to those who considered themselves as recovered; for it always left them in a very weak and helpless condition, and usually afflicted with fluxes or tenesmus.  By our continuance at sea all these complaints were every day increasing; so that it was with great joy we discovered the coast of Brazil on the 18th December, at seven in the morning.

The coast of Brazil appeared high and mountainous, extending from W. to W.S.W. and when we first saw it, the distance was about seventeen leagues.  At noon we could perceive a low double land, bearing W.S.W. about ten leagues distant, which we took to be the island of St Catharines.  That afternoon and the next morning, the wind being N.N.W. we gained very little to windward, and were apprehensive of being driven to leeward of the island:  But next day,

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