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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.

Our first care after mooring the ships was to get our sick men on shore; preparatory for which each ship was ordered by the commodore to erect two tents, one for the reception of the sick, and the other for the surgeon and his assistants.  We sent eighty sick on shore from the Centurion, and I believe the other ships sent as many in proportion to the number of their hands.  As soon as this necessary duty was performed, we scraped our decks, and gave our ship a thorough cleansing, then smoaked it between decks, and lastly washed every part with vinegar.  These operations were extremely necessary for correcting the noisome stench on board, and destroying the vermin; for, from the number of our men and the heat of the climate, both these nuisances had increased upon us to a very loathsome degree, and, besides being most intolerably offensive, were doubtless in some sort productive of the sickness we had laboured under for a considerable time before our arrival at this island.[3]

[Footnote 3:  This matter is now infinitely better regulated in the British navy, and with most admirable and infinitely important advantages.  By the most minute, sedulous, and perpetual attention to cleanliness, all noisome stench and all vermin are prevented, by which doubtless diseases are in a great measure lessened.—­E.]

Our next employment was wooding and watering the squadron, caulking the sides and decks of the ships, overhawling the rigging, and securing our masts against the tempestuous weather we were, in all probability, to meet with in going round Cape Horn at so advanced and inconvenient a season.  Before proceeding in the narrative of our voyage, it may be proper to give some account of the present state of the island of St Catharines and the neighbouring country; both because the circumstances of the place have materially changed from what they were in the time of former writers, and as these changes laid us under many more difficulties and perplexities than we had reason to expect, or than other British ships, bound hereafter to the South Sea, may perhaps think it prudent to struggle with.

This island is nine leagues from N. to S. and two from E. to W. It extends from lat. 27 deg. 35’ to 28 deg. both S. and is in long. 49 deg. 45’ W. from London.[4] Although of considerable height, it is scarcely discernible at the distance of ten leagues, being obscured under the continent of Brazil, the mountains of which are exceedingly high; but on a nearer approach is easily distinguished, and may be readily known by having a number of small islands at each end.[5] Frezier has given a draught of the island of St Catharines and the neighbouring coast, with the smaller adjacent isles; but has, by mistake, called the island of Alvoredo St Gal; whereas the true island of St Gal is seven or eight miles northward of Alvoredo, and much smaller.  He has also called an island to the southward of St Catharines Alvoredo, and has omitted the island of Masaquara.  In other

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