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.

To begin with the proper place for refreshment on the eastern side of South America.  For this purpose the island of St Catharines has been usually recommended by former writers, and on their authority we put in there; but the treatment we experienced, and the small store of refreshments we could procure their are sufficient reasons to render all ships very cautious in future how they trust to the government of Don Jose Sylva de Paz; for they may assuredly depend on having their strength, condition, and designs betrayed to the Spaniards, as far as the knowledge the governor can procure of these particulars may enable him.  As this treacherous conduct was inspired by the views of private gain, in the illicit commerce carried on to the river Plate, rather than by any natural affection between the Portuguese and Spaniards, the same perfidy may perhaps be expected from most of the governors on the coast of Brazil, since these smuggling engagements are doubtless very general and extensive; and, though the governors themselves should detest so faithless a procedure, yet, as ships are perpetually passing from one or other of the Brazilian ports to the Rio Plata, the Spaniards could scarcely fail of receiving intelligence, by this means, of any British ships being on the coast; and, however imperfect such intelligence might be, it might prove injurious to the views and interests of cruizers thus discovered.

As the Spanish trade in the South Seas is all in one direction, from north to south, or the direct reverse, with very little deviation to the eastward or westward, it is in the power, of two or three cruisers, properly stationed on different parts of this track, to possess themselves of every ship that puts to sea.  This, however, can only be the case so long as they continue concealed from the neighbouring coast; for, the moment that an enemy is known to be in these seas, all navigation is prohibited, and all chance of capture is consequently at an end; as the Spaniards, well aware of these advantages to an enemy, send expresses all along the coast, and lay a general embargo on all trade; which measure they know will not only prevent their vessels from being taken, but must soon oblige all cruisers, that have not sufficient strength to attempt their settlements on shore, to quit these seas for want of provisions.  Hence the great importance of carefully concealing all expeditions of this kind is quite evident; and hence too it is obvious how extremely prejudicial such intelligence must prove as that communicated by the Portuguese to the Spaniards in our case, in consequence of touching at the ports of Brazil.  Yet it will often happen that ships, bound beyond Cape Horn, may be obliged to call there for wood, water, and other refreshments; in which case, St Catharines is the very last place I would recommend; both because the proper animals for a live stock at sea, as hogs, sheep, and fowls, are not to be procured there, for want of which

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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