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.

As there was but one small canoe that intended to accompany us any longer, and that in which Mr Hamilton had been to this time intended to proceed no further to the northward, our cacique proposed to him to come into our canoe, which he refused, as the insolence of this fellow was to him insupportable; he therefore rather chose to remain where he was, till chance should throw in his way some other means of getting forward; so here we left him, and it was some months before we saw him again.


We land on the Island of Chiloe.—­To our great Joy we at length discover Something having the Appearance of a House.—­Kindness of the Natives.—­We are delivered to the Custody of a Spanish Guard.—­Transactions with the Spanish Residents.—­Arrival at Chaco.—­Manners of the Inhabitants.

We now got on, by very slow degrees, to the northward; and as the difficulties and hardships we daily went through would only be a repetition of those already mentioned, I shall say no more, but that at last we reached an island about thirty leagues to the southward of Chiloe.  Here we remained two days for a favourable opportunity to cross the bay, the very thoughts of which seemed to frighten our cacique out of his senses; and indeed there was great reason for his apprehensions, for there ran a most dreadful hollow sea, dangerous indeed for any open boat whatever, but a thousand times more for such a crazy vessel as we were in.  He at length mustered up resolution enough to attempt it, first having crossed himself for an hour together, and made a kind of lug-sail out of the bits of blankets they wore about them, sewed together with split supple-jacks.  We then put off, and a terrible passage we had.  The bottom plank of the canoe was split, which opened upon every sea; and the water continually rushing over the gunnel, I may say that we were in a manner full the whole way over, though all hands were employed in bailing, without ceasing a moment.

As we drew near the shore, the cacique was eager to land, having been terrified to that degree with this run, that if it had not been for us, every soul must have perished; for he had very near got in amongst the breakers, where the sea drove with such violence upon the rocks, that not even an Indian could have escaped, especially as it was in the night.  We kept off till we got into smooth water, and landed upon the island of Chiloe, though in a part of it that was not inhabited.  Here we staid all the next day, in a very heavy snow, to recover ourselves a little after our fatigue; but the cold was so excessive, having neither shoe nor stocking, we thought we should have lost our feet; and Captain Cheap was so ill, that if he had had but a few leagues further to have gone without relief, he could not have held out.  It pleased God now that our sufferings, in a great measure, were drawing to an end.

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