A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 768 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16.

They seemed very fearful and cautious, expressing their desire by signs, that no more of our people should be permitted to come up.  On my laying my hand on the shoulder of one of them, he started back several paces.  In proportion as I advanced, they retreated backward, always in the attitude of being ready to make use of their spears, while those on the rising ground stood ready to support them with their arrows.  Insensibly, myself and two or three of my companions, got in amongst them.  A few beads distributed to those about us, soon created a kind of confidence, so that they were not alarmed when a few more of our people joined us, and, by degrees, a sort of traffic between us commenced.  In exchange for knives, beads, tobacco, and other articles, they gave us some of their clothing, and a few arrows.  But nothing that we had to offer could induce them to part with a spear or a bow.  These they held in constant readiness, never once quitting them, except at one time, when four or five persons laid theirs down, while they gave us a song and a dance.  And even then, they placed them in such a manner, that they could lay hold of them in an instant, and, for their security, they desired us to sit down.

The arrows were pointed either with bone or stone, but very few of them had barbs, and some had a round blunt point.  What use these may be applied to I cannot say, unless it be to kill small animals, without damaging the skin.  The bows were such as we had seen on the American coast, and like those that were used by the Esquimaux.  The spears, or spontoons, were of iron or steel; and of European or Asiatic workmanship, in which no little pains had been taken to ornament them with carving, and inlayings of brass, and of a white metal.  Those who stood ready with bows and arrows in their hands, had the spear slung over their right shoulder by a leathern strap.  A leathern quiver, slung over their left shoulder, contained arrows; and some of these quivers were extremely beautiful, being made of red leather, on which was very neat embroidery, and other ornaments.

Several other things, and in particular their clothing, shewed that they were possessed of a degree of ingenuity, far surpassing what one could expect to find amongst so northern a people.  All the Americans we had seen since our arrival on that coast, were rather low of stature, with round chubby faces, and high cheek-bones.  The people we now were amongst, far from resembling them, had long visages, and were stout and well-made.  In short, they appeared to be a quite different nation.  We saw neither women nor children of either sex, nor any aged, except one man, who was bald-headed, and he was the only one who carried no arms.  The others seemed to be picked men, and rather under than above the middle age.  The old man had a black mark across his face, which I did not see in any others.  All of them had their ears bored, and some had glass beads hanging to them.  These were the only fixed ornaments we saw about them, for they wear none to the lips.  This is another thing in which they differ from the Americans we had lately seen.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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