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.
the more wonderful, as we had hitherto kept together for seven weeks, through all the reiterated tempests of this turbulent climate.  It must be owned, indeed, that we had hence room to expect we might make our passage in a shorter time than if we had continued together, because we could now make the best of our way, without being retarded by the misfortunes of the other ships; but then we had the melancholy reflection, that we were thereby deprived of the assistance of others, and our safety depended solely on our single ship; so that, if a plank started, or any other important accident occurred, we must all irrecoverably perish.  Or, should we happen to be driven on shore, we had the uncomfortable prospect of ending our days on some desolate coast, without any reasonable hope of ever getting off again; whereas, with another ship in company, all these calamities are much less formidable, as in every kind of danger there would always be some probability that one ship at least might escape, and be capable of preserving or relieving the crew of the other.

During the remainder of April, we had generally hard gales, though every day, since the 22d, edging to the northward.  On the last day of the month, however, we flattered ourselves with the expectation of soon terminating our sufferings, as we then found ourselves in lat. 52 deg. 13’ S. which, being to the northward of the Straits of Magellan, we were now assured that we had completed our passage, and were arrived on the confines of the South Sea:  And, as this ocean is denominated the Pacific, from the equability of the seasons said to prevail there, and the facility and security with which navigation is there carried on, we doubted not that we should be speedily cheered with the moderate gales, the smooth water, and the temperate air, for which that portion of the globe is so renowned.  Under the influence of these pleasing circumstances, we hoped to experience some compensation for the complicated sufferings, which had so constantly beset us for the last eight weeks.  Yet here we were again miserably disappointed; for, in the succeeding month of May, our sufferings rose even to a much higher pitch than they had ever yet done, whether we consider the violence of the storms, the shattering of our sails and rigging, or the diminution and weakening of our crew by deaths and sickness, and the even threatening prospect of our utter destruction.  All this will be sufficiently evident, from the following circumstantial recital of our diversified misfortunes.

Soon after we had passed the Straits of Le Maire, the scurvy began to make its appearance among us, and our long continuance at sea, the fatigue we underwent, and the various disappointments we met with, had occasioned its spreading to such a degree, that there were but few on board, by the latter end of April, that were not afflicted with it in some degree; and in that month no less than forty-three died of it in the Centurion. 

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