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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 661 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.

In this miserable hovel, one of our company, a lieutenant of invalids, died this night; and of those who for want of room took shelter under a great tree, which stood them in very little stead, two more perished by the severity of that cold and rainy night.  In the morning, the calls of hunger, which had been hitherto suppressed by our attention to more immediate dangers and difficulties, were now become too importunate to be resisted.  We had most of us fasted eight-and-forty hours, some more; it was time therefore to make enquiry among ourselves what store of sustenance had been brought from the wreck by dire providence of some, and what could be procured on the island by the industry of others; but the produce of the one amounted to no more than two or three pounds of biscuit-dust preserved in a bag; and all the success of those who ventured abroad, the weather being still exceedingly bad, was to kill one sea-gull and pick some wild sellery.  These, therefore, were immediately put into a pot, with the addition of a large quantity of water, and made into a kind of soup, of which each partook as far as it would go; but we had no sooner thrown this down than we were seized with the most painful sickness at our stomachs, violent reachings, swoonings, and other symptoms of being poisoned.  This was imputed to various causes, but in general to the herbs we made use of, in the nature and quality of which we fancied ourselves mistaken; but a little farther enquiry let us into the real occasion of it, which was no other than this:  the biscuit-dust was the sweepings of the bread-room, but the bag in which they were put had been a tobacco-bag, the contents of which not being entirely taken out, what remained mixed with the biscuit-dust, and proved a strong emetic.

We were in all about a hundred and forty who had got to shore, but some few remained still on board, detained either by drunkenness or a view of pillaging the wreck, among whom was the boatswain.  These were visited by an officer in the yawl, who was to endeavour to prevail upon them to join the rest; but finding them in the greatest disorder and disposed to mutiny, he was obliged to desist from his purpose and return without them.  Though we were very desirous, and our necessities required that we should take some survey of the land we were upon, yet being strongly prepossessed that the savages were retired but some little distance from us, and waited to see us divided, our parties did not make this day any great excursions from the hut; but as far as we went, we found it very morassy and unpromising.  The spot which we occupied was a bay formed by hilly promontories; that to the north so exceeding steep, that in order to ascend it (for there was no going round, the bottom being washed by the sea) we were at the labour of cutting steps.  This, which we call Mount Misery, was of use to us in taking some observations afterwards when the weather would permit:  the southern promontory was not

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