A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 787 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.
of boiled seal by him, and was the only one that was provided with any thing like a meal; but we were become so hardened against the impressions of others sufferings by our own, so familiarized to scenes of this and every other kind of misery, that the poor man’s dying entreaties were vain.  I sat next to him when he dropped, and having a few dried shell-fish (about five or six) in my pocket, from time to time put one in his mouth, which served only to prolong his pains; from which, however, soon after my little supply failed, he was released by death.  For this, and another man I mentioned a little before to have expired under the like circumstances, when we returned from this unsuccessful enterprize, we made a grave in the sands.

It would have redounded greatly to the tenderness and humanity of Captain Cheap, if at this time he had remitted somewhat of that attention he shewed to self-preservation, which is hardly allowable but where the consequence of relieving others must be immediately and manifestly fatal to ourselves; but I would venture to affirm, that in these last affecting exigencies, as well as some others, a sparing perhaps adequate to the emergency, might have been admitted consistently with a due regard to his own necessities.  The captain had better opportunities of recruiting his stock than any of us; for his rank was considered by the Indians a reason for supplying him when he would not find a bit for us.  Upon the evening of the day in which these disasters happened, the captain producing a large piece of boiled seal, suffered no one to partake with him but the surgeon, who was the only man in favour at this time.  We did not expect, indeed, any relief from him in our present condition, for we had a few small mussels and herbs to eat; but the men could not help expressing the greatest indignation at his neglect of the deceased, saying, that he deserved to be deserted by the rest for his savage behaviour.

The endeavouring to pass up this river was for us, who had so long struggled with hunger, a most unseasonable attempt, by which we were harassed to a degree that threatened to be fatal to more of us; but our guide, without any respect to the condition our hardships had reduced us to, was very solicitous for us to go that way, which possibly he had gone before in light canoes, but for such a boat as ours, was impracticable.  We conceived, therefore, at that time, that this was some short cut, which was to bring us forward in our voyage; but we had reason to think afterwards, that the greater probability there was of his getting the barge, which was the wages of his undertaking, safe to his settlement by this, rather than another course, was his motive for preferring it to the way we took afterwards, where there was a carrying place of considerable length, over which it would have been impossible to have carried our boat.

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