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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 18
Historical Sketch of the Progress of Discovery, Navigation, and
Commerce, from the Earliest Records to the Beginning of the Nineteenth
Century, By William Stevenson

written by "Stevenson, William, 1772-1829"
...tead of meal or bread, or form them into a sort of cakes or frumenty. The very cattle live on dried fish, for there is neither grass nor pasture on the coast. Oysters, crabs, and shell-fish, are caught in plenty; and though this circumstance is specified twice only in the early part of the voyage, there is little doubt but these formed the principal support of the people during their navigation. Salt is here the production of nature, by which we are to understand, that the power of the sun in this latitude, is sufficient for exhalation and crystallization, without the additional aid of fire; and from this salt they formed an extract which they used as the Greeks use oil. The country, for the most part, is so desolate, that the natives have no addition to their fish but dates: in some few places a small quantity of grain is sown; and there bread is their viand of luxury, and fish stands in the rank of bread. The generality of the people live in cabins, small and stifling: the better sort only have houses constructed with the bones of whales, for whales are frequently thrown upon the coast; and, when the flesh is rotted off, they take the bones, making planks and doors of such as are flat, and beams or rafters of the ribs or jaw-bones; and many of these monsters are found fifty yards in length." Strabo confirms the report of Arrian, and adds, that "the vertebræ, or socket bones, of the back, are formed into mortars, in which they pound their fish, and mix it up into a paste, with the addition of a little meal."--(Vincent's Nearchus, p. 265.) Dr. Vincent, in this passage, does not seem to be aware that no whale was ever found nearly so long as fifty yards, and that half that length is the more common size of the largest whales, even in seas more suitable to their nature and growth. That the animal which Nearchus himself saw was a whale, there can be little doubt: while he was off Kyiza, the seamen were extremely surprised, and not a...

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