Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

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.
staggered into the cook-room, where he threw down a pan of grease, and being sharply reproved by the cook, drew his knife and rushed upon him.  Some of the crew gathered about him and wrenched the knife out of his hand, but not till he had drawn it two or three times across the cook’s face.  For this they drubbed him soundly, which he resented so deeply that he seized a knife as soon as he got loose, and gave himself several stabs in the belly.  The utmost care was taken of his recovery, in order to make him a public example, to prevent such actions in future among the crew; and after his recovery he was punished in the following manner.  Being declared infamous at the fore-mast, he was thrice keel-hauled, and had 300 strokes on the buttocks, after which his right hand was fastened to the mast with his own knife.  When he had stood some time in this condition, he was put in chains on the fore-castle, being allowed nothing but bread and water for some days; and was continued in irons to be set on shore at the first barren island they came to.

Continuing their voyage till near the line, they were much incommoded by the shifting of the wind; and by scarcity of water, many of the crew falling ill of the scurvy.  When it sometimes fell entirely calm, the heat of the sun became more than ordinarily oppressive, owing to which some of the men became quite distracted, others fell into high fevers, and some had fits like the epilepsy.  Their water, as it grew low, stunk abominably, and became full of worms.  The salt provisions were in a manner quite spoiled, and served only to turn their stomachs and increase their thirst.  Hunger is said to be the greatest of torments, but they had reason to consider thirst as the greatest misery incident to human nature.  At this time they often observed towards evening that the sea appeared all on fire; and taking up some buckets of water in this condition, they observed that it was full of an infinite number of little globules, of the size, form, and colour of pearls.  These retained their lustre for some time when held in the hand, but on pressure seemed nothing more than an earthy fat substance like mud.

They at length crossed the line, with the loss only of one man, who died of a high fever; and on getting into the latitude of 3 deg.  S. they fell into the true trade-wind, before which they scudded along at a great rate.  In lat. 5 deg.  S. they had the sun directly vertical, so that they were some days without any observation.  In 6 deg.  S. they caught many dorados and dolphins, both, in the opinion of the author of this voyage, being the same fish, of which the dolphin is the male and the dorado the female.  Some of these are six feet long, but not of proportional bulk.  In the water they appear excessively beautiful, their skins shining as if streaked with burnished gold; but lose their splendid appearance on being taken out of the water.  Their flesh is very sweet and well flavoured, so that the seamen always

Follow Us on Facebook