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They were of extraordinary height, that is to say, about ten spans, were clothed in the skins of wild beasts, and seemed darker than would be expected from the situation of the country. And forthwith drawing them out again, they seemed to rejoice greatly, as having shown their bravery by this exploit. At last three came as ambassadors, and prayed our men, by certain signs, to go further inland with them, as if they would receive them with all hospitality.
Magellan sent seven men, well armed, with them, to investigate as carefully as possible both country and people. When they had gone with them about seven miles inland, they came to a thick and pathless wood. Here was a rather low hut, covered with skins of wild beasts. There were two apartments in it; in one lived the women with their children, in the other the men.
There were thirteen women and children, and five men. These received their guests with a ferali apparatu  barbarous pomp, which seemed to them a royal one. An animal was slaughtered, which seemed to differ little from the onager, and they served it up half roasted to our men, without any other food or drink. Our men were obliged, contrary to their custom, to sleep under skins, on account of the severity of the snow and wind. Wherefore, before they slept, they set watch.
The Indians did the same, and lay down near our men, snoring horribly. When the day had broken, our men asked them to return with them to the ships, with the whole family. The Spaniards thought that they were consulting with their wives concerning this expedition; but they returned covered, from the sole of their feet to the crown of their heads, with different horrible skins, and with their faces painted in different colours, and equipped in this terrible and horrible garb with bows and arrows for battle, and seemingly? The Spaniards, who thought that it would come to a fight, ordered a shot to be fired.
Though this shot was harmless, still the giants, who looked just before fit to contend with Jove, were so frightened by this sound, that they began forthwith to speak of peace. The upshot was, that three men returned with our fellows to the ships, having sent away the rest of the family. So they started for the ships. But, as our men could not only not keep up with these almost giants when the latter were running, but could not, even by running, keep up with them walking, two of them escaped upon the march, on the pretext of pursuing an onager, which they saw feeding at a distance upon a mountain.
The third was brought to the ship, but died, within a few days, of fasting, which he had imposed upon himself, according to the habit of the Indians, through homesickness. Whence it seems clear that that race is a wandering one, nor did our men ever see another Indian on that coast, though they remained in that bay for many days, as we shall mention farther on. They did not think that there was anything in that region of sufficient importance to justify their exploring it and the interior any farther.
Magellan foreseeing that the voyage would be a long one, ordered provisions to be served out more sparingly among his crews, so that the stock might last longer.
But that, if they would continue towards the Antarctic portion of this country, the whole of its summer would be one perpetual day. That there were means if they would only try them, by which they might avoid famine and the rigour of the winter, inasmuch as there was abundance of wood, and the sea provided shellfish and many sorts of the very best fish. The springs there were wholesome, and birdfowling and hunting would supply many wants; and neither bread nor wine had as yet been lacking, nor would they lack in future if they would only bear that they should be served out when needed, or for health's sake, and not for pleasure or for luxury.
They had done nothing as yet worthy of admiration, or which could serve as an excuse for their return, inasmuch as the Portuguese crossed the tropic of Capricorn by as much as 12 deg. They would be thought worthy of very little praise who had gone only 4 deg. He had certainly made up his mind to endure the worst rather than return ignominiously to Spain, and he trusted that all his comrades, or at least those in whom the noble Spanish spirit was not yet dead, would be of the same mind.
Magellan thought that the minds of his crews were soothed and cheered by this harangue, but within a few days was harassed by a shameful and foul conspiracy. For talking began amongst the crews about the old eternal hatred between the Portuguese and the Spaniards, and about Magellan's being a Portuguese. Nor even had their course began to turn towards those happy Moluccas, but rather to distant snows and ice, and to perpetual storms. Magellan, very much enraged by these sayings, punished the men, but rather more harshly than was proper for a foreigner, especially when commanding in a distant country.
So, having planned a conspiracy, they seize upon a ship, and make ready to return to Spain. But he, with the rest whom he had still obedient to his commands, attacked that ship, and put to death the head man and the other ringleaders, those even who could not lawfully be so treated sharing the same fate.
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Nevertheless, no one from that time dared to disparage the power of the commander. Still, there were not wanting some who whispered that Magellan would, in the same manner, murder all the Spaniards to the last man, until he, having got rid of them all, might return with the few Portuguese with the fleet to his own country. And so this hatred settled more deeply in the hearts of the Spaniards. As soon as ever Magellan saw the storminess of the sea and the rigour of the winter mitigated, he set sail from the gulf of St.
Julian on the 24th of August.
And, as before, he followed the course of the coast southwards for many days. After this the land seemed to bear a little east and south, and this they began to coast along as usual, and on the 26th of November certain inlets of the sea were discovered, which had the appearance of a strait. Magellan entered them forthwith with the whole fleet, and when he saw other and again other bays, he gave orders that they should be all carefully examined from the ships, to see if anywhere a passage might be discovered; and said that he would himself wait at the mouth of the strait till the fifth day, to hear what might happen.
One of the ships, which Alvarus Meschito, his nephew, commanded, was carried back by the tide to the sea, to the very place where they entered the gulf. There they compel Alvarus to stand his trial in chains causam ex vinculis dicere faciunt quasi , for having, by his counsel and advice, induced his uncle Magellan to practise such harshness on the Spaniards.
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But when Magellan had waited for this ship some days longer than the time fixed, another returned, which had discovered nothing but a bay full of shoals and shingle, and very lofty cliffs. He made up his mind to sail through it. This channel, which they did not then know to be a channel, was at one place three Italian miles wide, at another two, sometimes ten, and sometimes five, and pointed a little westward.
The altitude of the southern pole was found to be 52 deg. Julian's Bay. The month of November was upon them Aderat jam mensis Novembris , the night was rather more than five hours long, and they had never seen any human beings on the shore. But one night a great number of fires were seen, mostly on their left hand, from which they guessed that they had been seen by the natives of the region. But Magellan, seeing that the country was rocky, and also stark with eternal cold, thought it useless to waste many days in examining it; and so, with only three ships, he continued on his course along the channel, until, on the twenty-second day after he had entered it, he sailed out upon another wide and vast sea.
Volume 2 Love Letters Crossing Continents
The length of the channel they attest to be nearly a hundred Spanish miles. There is no doubt that the land which they had upon their right was the continent of which we have spoken, but they think that the land on the left was not a mainland, but islands, because sometimes on that side they heard on a still farther coast the beating and roaring of the sea.
They kept this course uninterruptedly, nor did they ever depart from it, except when rough weather or violent winds compelled them to diverge; and when they had in this manner been carried for forty days by a strong and generally favourable wind, and had seen nothing but sea, and everywhere sea—when they had almost reached the tropic of Capricorn once more, two islands were sighted, but small and barren.
These they found uninhabited when they tried to land; still, they stopped there two days for their health's sake, and general recruiting of their bodies, for there was very fair fishing there. They named these the Unfortunate Islands by common consent.
Then they again set sail thence, following their original course and direction of sailing. And when, for three months and twenty days, they had been sailing over this ocean with great good fortune, and had traversed an immense part of the sea—more vast than mind of man can conceive, for they had been driven almost continuously by a very strong wind—they were now at last arrived on this side of the equinoctial line, and at last they saw an island, called, as they learnt afterwards, Inuagana by the natives. When they had approached nearer, they discovered the altitude of the Arctic pole to be 11 deg.
The longitude they thought to be deg. Then they saw other and still more islands, so that they knew they had arrived at some vast archipelago. When they reached Inuagana, the island was discovered to be uninhabited. They then approached a rather small island, where they saw two Indian canoes—for that is the name by which this strange kind of boat is called by the Indians. They asked the Indians the names of the islands, and where they could get provisions, of which they were in great want. They understood that the island in which they had been was called Inuagana, and that the one where they now were was Acaca, but both of them uninhabited.
They said that there was an island not far off, which was called Selani, and which they almost showed with their finger, and that it was inhabited, and that an abundance of everything necessary for life was to be found there.
"Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance"
Our men, having taken in water in Acaca, sailed towards Selani; here a storm took them, so that they could not bring the ships to that island, but were driven to another island called Massaus, where lives a king of the? This is an excellent and large island, and, having made a treaty with its chieftain, they landed immediately to perform divine service, according to the manner of Christians, for it was the feast of the resurrection of Him who was our salvation.
Wherefore they built a small chapel of the sails of the ships, and of boughs, and in that they built an altar according to the Christian rites, and performed service after their home fashion. The chieftain came up with a great number of Indians, who seemed in every way delighted by this worship of the gods.
NOVA | Transcripts | Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance | PBS
They led the admiral and some of the officers to the chief's hut, and put before them whatever food they had. Their bread, which they call sago, was made of the trunk or wood of a tree, rather like a palm. This, when cut in pieces, and fried in oil in a pan, supplies them with bread, a small piece of which I send to your reverence.
Their drink was a liquor which flows and trickles from the boughs of the palm-trees when cut. Fowling, too, supplied the feast, and the rest was the fruit of that region. He asked who he was, and what illness he was suffering from. He learnt that he was the chief's grandson, and had now suffered for two years from a raging fever.
But he told him to be of good cheer, and that he would immediately recover his health and former strength, if he would only become a Christian. The Indian accepted the condition, and, having adored the Cross, he received baptism, and the next day declared that he was well, rose from his bed, walked, and took food like the rest. He told I know not what visions to the Indians.
What need I say more? The chief himself, with two thousand two hundred Indians, was baptised, and professed the name and religion of Christ. But Magellan, judging this island to abound in gold and ginger, and, besides, to be convenient from its position with respect to the neighbouring islands, for exploring with ease their wealth and produce of the earth, goes to the Chief of Subuth, and persuades him that as he had abandoned that vain and impious worship of the gods, and had turned to the religion of Christ, it was only fair that the kings of the neighbouring isles should be subject to his rule and command; and he said that he had resolved to send ambassadors concerning this, and compel by arms those who did not listen to his command.
This proposition pleased the savage, and the ambassadors were sent. The chiefs came in one by one, and did homage. The nearest island was called Mauthan, the king of which excelled the others in number of soldiers and in arms, and he refused to do homage to one whom he had been accustomed for so long to command.