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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.

On this report, and no ship appearing for some days, we were all under the greatest concern, suspecting that her people must be under the utmost distress for want of water, and so weakened and diminished in numbers by sickness, as to be unable to ply up to windward, so that we dreaded, after having been in sight of the island, that her whole crew might yet perish at sea.  On the 21st, at noon, we again discerned a ship at sea in the N.E. quarter, which we conceived to be the same that had been seen before, and our conjecture proved true.  About one o’clock she had come so near that we could plainly distinguish her to be the Gloucester; and as we had no doubt of her being in great distress, the commodore immediately ordered out his boat to our assistance, laden with fresh water, fish, and vegetables, which was a most comfortable relief to them; for our apprehensions of their calamitous situation were only too well founded, as there never was, perhaps, a crew in greater distress.  They had already thrown two-thirds of their complement overboard; and of those who remained alive, scarcely any were capable of doing duty, except the officers and their servants.  They had been a considerable time at the small allowance of a pint of water to each man in twenty-four hours, and yet had so very little left, that they must soon have died of thirst, had it not been for the supply sent them by our commodore.

The Gloucester plied up within three miles of the bay, but could not reach the road, both wind and currents being contrary.  She continued, however, in the offing next day; and as she had no chance of being able to come to anchor, the commodore repeated his assistance, sending off the Tryal’s boat, manned with the people of the Centurion, with a farther supply of water, and other refreshments.  Captain Mitchell of the Gloucester was under the necessity of detaining both this boat and that sent the preceding day, as he had no longer strength to navigate his ship without the aid of both their crews.  The Gloucester continued near a fortnight in this tantalizing situation, without being able to fetch the road, though frequently making the attempt, and even at times bidding fair to effect the object in view.  On the 9th July, we observed her stretching away to the eastward, at a considerable distance, which we supposed was with a design to get to the southward of the island; but, as she did not again appear for near a week, we were prodigiously alarmed for her safety, knowing that she must be again in extreme distress for want of water.  After great impatience about her, we again discovered her on the 16th, endeavouring to come round the eastern point of the island, but the wind still blowing directly from the bay, prevented her from getting nearer than within four miles of the land.

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