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Title: Celebrated Travels and Travellers
       Part I. The Exploration of the World

Author: Jules Verne

Illustrator: Léon Benett
             Paul Philippoteaux

Translator: Dora  Leigh

Release Date: March 7, 2008 [EBook #24777]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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The Exploration of the World.




CELEBRATED TRAVELS AND TRAVELLERS.


THE EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD.





Translated by Dora Leigh.




CELEBRATED TRAVELS AND TRAVELLERS.


THE EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD.


BY JULES VERNE





WITH 59 ILLUSTRATIONS BY L. BENETT AND P. PHILIPPOTEAUX,
AND 50 FAC-SIMILES OF ANCIENT DRAWINGS.


Natives in a boat.


TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH.




London:
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON,
CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET.
1882.
[All rights reserved.]




Celebrated Travels and Travellers,
BY JULES VERNE.

In Three Vols., demy 8vo, each containing 400 pages and upwards of
100 Illustrations, price 12s. 6d. each; cloth extra, gilt edges, 14s.
Part I. The Exploration of the World.
Part II. The Great Navigators of the Eighteenth Century.
Part III. The Great Navigators of the Nineteenth Century.




EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD.




LIST OF MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

REPRODUCED IN FAC-SIMILE FROM THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS,
GIVING THE SOURCES WHENCE THEY ARE DERIVED.




FIRST PART.

Map of the World as known to the Ancients.

Approach to Constantinople. Anselmi Banduri Imperium orientale, tome II., p. 448. 2 vols. folio. Parisiis, 1711.

Map of the World according to Marco Polo's ideas. Vol. I., p. 134 of the edition of Marco Polo published in London by Colonel Yule, 2 vols. 8vo.

Plan of Pekin in 1290. Yule's edition. Vol. I., p. 332.

Portrait of Jean de Béthencourt. "The discovery and conquest of the Canaries." Page 1, 12mo. Paris, 1630.

Plan of Jerusalem. "Narrative of the journey beyond seas to the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem," by Antoine Régnant, p. 229, 4to. Lyons, 1573.

Prince Henry the Navigator. From a miniature engraved in "The Discoveries of Prince Henry the Navigator," by H. Major. 8vo. London, 1877.

Christopher Columbus. Taken from "Vitæ illustrium virorum," by Paul Jove. Folio. Basileæ, Perna.

Imaginary view of Seville. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, pl. I., part IV.

Building of a caravel. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part IV., plate XIX.

Christopher Columbus on board his caravel. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part IV., plate VI.

Embarkation of Christopher Columbus. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part IV., plate VIII.

Map of the Antilles and the Gulf of Mexico. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part V.

Fishing for Pearl oysters. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part IV., plate XII.

Gold-mines in Cuba. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part V., plate I.

Vasco da Gama. From an engraving in the Cabinet des Estampes of the Bibl. Nat.

La Mina. "Histoire générale des Voyages," by the Abbé Prévost. Vol. III., p. 461, 4to. 20 vols. An X. 1746.

Map of the East Coast of Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Cape del Gado. From the French map of the Eastern Ocean, published in 1740 by order of the Comte de Maurepas.

Map of Mozambique. Bibl. Nat. Estampes.

Interview with the Zamorin. "Hist. Gén. des Voyages," by Prévost. Vol. I., p. 39. 4to. An X. 20 vols. 1746.

View of Quiloa. From an engraving in the Cabinet des Estampes. Topography. (Africa).

Map of the Coasts of Persia, Guzerat, and Malabar. From the French Map of the Eastern Ocean, pub. in 1740 by order of the Comte de Maurepas.

The Island of Ormuz. "Hist. Gén. des Voyages." Prévost. Vol. II., p. 98.


SECOND PART.

Americus Vespucius. From an engraving in the Cabinet des Estampes of the Bibliothèque Nationale.

Indians devoured by dogs. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part IV., plate XXII.

Punishment of Indians. Page 17 of Las Casas' "Narratio regionum indicarum per Hispanos quosdam devastatarum," 4to. Francofurti, sumptibus Th. de Bry, 1698.

Portrait of F. Cortès. From an engraving after Velasquez in the Cabinet des Estampes of the Bibliothèque Nationale.

Plan of Mexico. From Clavigero and Bernal Diaz del Castillo. Jourdanet's translation, 2nd Edition.

Portrait of Pizarro. From an engraving in the Cabinet des Estampes of the Bib. Nat.

Map of Peru. From Garcilasso de la Vega. History of the Incas. 4to. Bernard, Amsterdam, 1738.

Atahualpa taken prisoner. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part VI., plate VII.

Assassination of Pizarro. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part VI., plate XV.

Magellan on board his caravel. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Americæ, part IV., plate XV.

Map of the Coast of Brazil. From the map called Henry 2nd's. Bibl. Nat., Geographical collections.

The Ladrone Islands. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Occidentalis Indiæ, pars VIII., p. 50.

Portrait of Sebastian Cabot. From a miniature engraved in "The remarkable Life, adventures, and discoveries of Sebastian Cabot," by Nicholls. 8vo. London, 1869.

Fragment of Cabot's map. Bibl. Nat., Geographical collections.

Map of Newfoundland and of the Mouth of the St. Lawrence. Lescarbot, "Histoire de la Nouvelle France." 12mo. Perier, Paris, 1617.

Portrait of Jacques Cartier. After Charlevoix. "History and general description of New France," translated by John Gilmary Shea, p. III. 6 vols. 4to. Shea, New York, 1866.

Barentz' ship fixed in the ice. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages. Tertia pars Indiæ Orientales, plate XLIV.

Interior of Barentz' house. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages. Tertia pars Indiæ Orientalis, plate XLVII.

Exterior view of Barentz' house. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages. Tertia pars Indiæ Orientalis, plate XLVIII.

Map of Nova Zembla. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages. Tertia pars Indiæ Orientalis, plate LIX.

A sea-lion hunt. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, Occidentalis Indiæ, pars VIII., p. 37.

A fight between the Dutch and the Spaniards. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages, "Historiarum novi orbis;" part IX., book II., page 87.

Portrait of Raleigh. From an engraving in the Cabinet des Estampes of the Bibl. Nat.

Berreo seized by Raleigh. Th. de Bry. Grands Voyages. Occid. Indiæ, part VIII., p. 64.

Portrait of Chardin. "Voyages de M. le Chevalier Chardin en Perse." Vol. I. 10 vols. 12mo. Ferrand, Rouen, 1723.

Japanese Archer. From a Japanese print engraved by Yule, vol. II., p. 206.

Attack upon an Indian Town. "Voyages du Sieur de Champlain," p. 44. 12mo. Collet, Paris, 1727.





NAMES OF THE PRINCIPAL TRAVELLERS

OF WHOM THE HISTORY AND TRAVELS ARE RELATED IN THIS VOLUME.




FIRST PART.

HANNO—HERODOTUS—PYTHEAS—NEARCHUS—EUDOXUS—CÆSAR—STRABO—PAUSANIAS—FA-HIAN—COSMOS INDICOPLEUSTES—ARCULPHE—WILLIBALD—SOLEYMAN—BENJAMIN OF TUDELA—PLAN DE CARPIN—RUBRUQUIS—MARCO POLO—IBN BATUTA—JEAN DE BÉTHENCOURT—CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS—COVILHAM AND PAÏVA—VASCO DA GAMA—ALVARÈS CABRAL—JOAO DA NOVA—DA CUNHA—ALMEIDA—ALBUQUERQUE.

SECOND PART.

HOJEDA—AMERICUS VESPUCIUS—JUAN DE LA COSA—YAÑEZ PINZON—DIAZ DE SOLIS—PONCE DE LEON—BALBOA—GRIJALVA—CORTÈS—PIZARRO—ALMAGRO—ALVARADO—ORELLANA—MAGELLAN—ERIC THE RED—THE ZENI—THE CORTEREALS—THE CABOTS—WILLOUGHBY—CHANCELLOR—VERRAZZANO—JACQUES CARTIER—FROBISHER—JOHN DAVIS—BARENTZ AND HEEMSKERKE—DRAKE—CAVENDISH—DE NOORT—W. RALEIGH—LEMAIRE AND SCHOUTEN—TASMAN—MENDANA—QUIROS AND TORRÈS—PYRARD DE LAVAL—PIETRO DELLA VALLE—TAVERNIER—THÉVENOT—BERNIER—ROBERT KNOX—CHARDIN—DE BRUYN—KÆMPFER—WILLIAM DAMPIER—HUDSON AND BAFFIN—CHAMPLAIN AND LA SALE.




PREFACE.



This narrative will comprehend not only all the explorations made in past ages, but also all the new discoveries which have of late years so greatly interested the scientific world. In order to give to this work—enlarged perforce by the recent labours of modern travellers,—all the accuracy possible, I have called in the aid of a man whom I with justice regard as one of the most competent geographers of the present day: M. Gabriel Marcel, attached to the Bibliothèque Nationale.

With the advantage of his acquaintance with several foreign languages which are unknown to me, we have been able to go to the fountain-head, and to derive all information from absolutely original documents. Our readers will, therefore, render to M. Marcel the credit due to him for his share in a work which will demonstrate what manner of men the great travellers have been, from the time of Hanno and Herodotus down to that of Livingstone and Stanley.

JULES VERNE.        




TABLE OF CONTENTS.



FIRST PART.

CHAPTER I.

CELEBRATED TRAVELLERS BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN ERA.

HANNO, 505; HERODOTUS, 484; PYTHEAS, 340; NEARCHUS, 326;
EUDOXUS, 146; CÆSAR, 100; STRABO, 50.
Hanno, the Carthaginian—Herodotus visits Egypt, Lybia, Ethiopia, Phoenicia, Arabia, Babylon, Persia, India, Media, Colchis, the Caspian Sea, Scythia, Thrace, and Greece—Pytheas explores the coasts of Iberia and Gaul, the English Channel, the Isle of Albion, the Orkney Islands, and the land of Thule—Nearchus visits the Asiatic coast, from the Indus to the Persian Gulf—Eudoxus reconnoitres the West Coast of Africa—Cæsar conquers Gaul and Great Britain—Strabo travels over the interior of Asia, and Egypt, Greece, and Italy

CHAPTER II.

CELEBRATED TRAVELLERS FROM THE FIRST TO THE NINTH CENTURY.

PAUSANIAS, 174; FA-HIAN, 399; COSMOS INDICOPLEUSTES, 500;
ARCULPHE, 700; WILLIBALD, 725; SOLEYMAN, 851.
Pliny, Hippalus, Arian, and Ptolemy—Pausanias visits Attica, Corinth, Laconia, Messenia, Elis, Achaia, Arcadia, Boeotia, and Phocis—Fa-Hian explores Kan-tcheou, Tartary, Northern India, the Punjaub, Ceylon, and Java—Cosmos Indicopleustes, and the Christian Topography of the Universe—Arculphe describes Jerusalem, the valley of Jehoshaphat, the Mount of Olives, Bethlehem, Jericho, the river Jordan, Libanus, the Dead Sea, Capernaum, Nazareth, Mount Tabor, Damascus, Tyre, Alexandria, and Constantinople—Willibald and the Holy Land—Soleyman travels through Ceylon, and Sumatra, and crosses the Gulf of Siam and the China Sea

CHAPTER III.

CELEBRATED TRAVELLERS BETWEEN THE TENTH AND THIRTEENTH CENTURIES.

BENJAMIN OF TUDELA, 1159-1173; PLAN DE CARPIN, OR CARPINI, 1245-1247;
RUBRUQUIS, 1253-1254.
The Scandinavians in the North, Iceland and Greenland—Benjamin of Tudela visits Marseilles, Rome, Constantinople, the Archipelago, Palestine, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Damascus, Baalbec, Nineveh, Baghdad, Babylon, Bassorah, Ispahan, Shiraz, Samarcand, Thibet, Malabar, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Egypt, Sicily, Italy, Germany, and France—Carpini explores Turkestan—Manners and customs of the Tartars—Rubruquis and the Sea of Azov, the Volga, Karakorum, Astrakhan, and Derbend

CHAPTER IV.

MARCO POLO, 1253-1324.

I.
The interest of the Genoese and Venetian merchants in encouraging the exploration of Central Asia—The family of Polo, and its position in Venice—Nicholas and Matteo Polo, the two brothers—They go from Constantinople to the Court of the Emperor of China—Their reception at the Court of Kublaï-Khan—The Emperor appoints them his ambassadors to the Pope—Their return to Venice—Marco Polo—He leaves his father Nicholas and his uncle Matteo for the residence of the King of Tartary—The new Pope Gregory X.—The narrative of Marco Polo is written in French from his dictation, by Rusticien of Pisa

II.
Armenia Minor—Armenia—Mount Ararat—Georgia—Mosul, Baghdad, Bussorah, Tauris—Persia—The Province of Kirman—Comadi—Ormuz—The Old Man of the Mountain—Cheburgan—Balkh—Cashmir—Kashgar—Samarcand—Kotan—The Desert—Tangun—Kara-Korum—Signan-fu—The Great Wall—Chang-tou—The residence of Kublaï-Khan—Cambaluc, now Pekin—The Emperor's fêtes—His hunting—Description of Pekin—Chinese Mint and bank-notes—The system of posts in the Empire

III.
Tso-cheu—Tai-yen-fou—Pin-yang-fou—The Yellow River—Signan-fou—Szu-tchouan—Ching-tu-fou—Thibet—Li-kiang-fou—Carajan—Yung-tchang—Mien—Bengal—Annam—Tai-ping—Cintingui—Sindifoo—Té-cheu—Tsi-nan-fou—Lin-tsin-choo—Lin-sing—Mangi—Yang-tcheu-fou—Towns on the coast—Quin-say or Hang-tcheou-foo—Fo-kien

IV.
Japan—Departure of the three Venetians with the Emperor's daughter and the Persian ambassadors—Sai-gon—Java—Condor—Bintang—Sumatra—The Nicobar Islands—Ceylon—The Coromandel coast—The Malabar coast—The Sea of Oman—The island of Socotra—Madagascar—Zanzibar and the coast of Africa—Abyssinia—Yemen—Hadramaut and Oman—Ormuz—The return to Venice—A feast in the household of Polo—Marco Polo a Genoese prisoner—Death of Marco Polo about 1323

CHAPTER V.

IBN BATUTA, 1328-1353.
Ibn Batuta—The Nile—Gaza, Tyre, Tiberias, Libanus, Baalbec, Damascus, Meshid, Bussorah, Baghdad, Tabriz, Mecca and Medina—Yemen—Abyssinia—The country of the Berbers—Zanguebar—Ormuz—Syria—Anatolia—Asia Minor—Astrakhan—Constantinople—Turkestan—Herat—The Indus—Delhi—Malabar—The Maldives—Ceylon—The Coromandel coast—Bengal—The Nicobar Islands—Sumatra—China—Africa—The Niger—Timbuctoo

CHAPTER VI.

JEAN DE BÉTHENCOURT, 1339-1425.

I.
The Norman cavalier—His ideas of conquest—What was known of the Canary Islands—Cadiz—The Canary Archipelago—Graciosa—Lancerota—Fortaventura—Jean de Béthencourt returns to Spain—Revolt of Berneval—His interview with King Henry III.—Gadifer visits the Canary Archipelago—Canary Island or "Gran Canaria"—Ferro Island—Palma Island

II.
The return of Jean de Béthencourt—Gadifer's jealousy—Béthencourt visits his archipelago—Gadifer goes to conquer Gran Canaria—Disagreement of the two commanders—Their return to Spain—Gadifer blamed by the King—Return of Béthencourt—The natives of Fortaventura are baptized—Béthencourt revisits Caux—Returns to Lancerota—Lands on the African coast—Conquest of Gran Canaria, Ferro, and Palma Islands—Maciot appointed Governor of the archipelago—Béthencourt obtains the Pope's consent to the Canary Islands being made an Episcopal See—His return to his country and his death

CHAPTER VII.

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, 1436-1506.

I.
Discovery of Madeira, Cape de Verd Islands, the Azores, Congo, and Guinea—Bartholomew Diaz—Cabot and Labrador—The geographical and commercial tendencies of the middle ages—The erroneous idea of the distance between Europe and Asia—Birth of Christopher Columbus—His first voyages—His plans rejected—His sojourn at the Franciscan convent—His reception by Ferdinand and Isabella—Treaty of the 17th of April, 1492—The brothers Pinzon—Three armed caravels at the port of Palos—Departure on the 3rd of August, 1492

II.
First voyage: The Great Canary—Gomera—Magnetic variation—Symptoms of revolt—Land, land—San Salvador—Taking possession—Conception—Fernandina or Great Exuma—Isabella, or Long Island—The Mucaras—Cuba—Description of the island—Archipelago of Notre-Dame—Hispaniola or San Domingo—Tortuga Island—The cacique on board the Santa-Maria—The caravel of Columbus goes aground and cannot be floated off—Island of Monte-Christi—Return—Tempest—Arrival in Spain—Homage rendered to Christopher Columbus

III.
Second Voyage: Flotilla of seventeen vessels—Island of Ferro—Dominica—Marie-Galante—Guadaloupe—The Cannibals—Montserrat—Santa-Maria-la-Rodonda—St. Martin and Santa Cruz—Archipelago of the Eleven Thousand Virgins—The island of St. John Baptist, or Porto Rico—Hispaniola—The first Colonists massacred—Foundation of the town of Isabella—Twelve ships laden with treasure sent to Spain—Fort St. Thomas built in the Province of Cibao—Don Diego, Columbus' brother, named Governor of the Island—Jamaica—The Coast of Cuba—The Remora—Return to Isabella—The Cacique made prisoner—Revolt of the Natives—Famine—Columbus traduced in Spain—Juan Aguado sent as Commissary to Isabella—Gold-mines—Departure of Columbus—His arrival at Cadiz

IV.
Third Voyage: Madeira—Santiago in the Cape Verd Archipelago—Trinidad—First sight of the American Coast in Venezuela, beyond the Orinoco, now the Province of Cumana—Gulf of Paria—The Gardens—Tobago—Grenada—Margarita—Cubaga—Hispaniola during the absence of Columbus—Foundation of the town of San Domingo—Arrival of Columbus—Insubordination in the Colony—Complaints in Spain—Bovadilla sent by the king to inquire into the conduct of Columbus—Columbus sent to Europe in fetters with his two brothers—His appearance before Ferdinand and Isabella—Renewal of royal favour

V.
Fourth Voyage: A Flotilla of four vessels—Canary Islands—Martinique—Dominica—Santa-Cruz—Porto-Rico—Hispaniola—Jamaica—Cayman Island—Pinos Island—Island of Guanaja—Cape Honduras—The American Coast of Truxillo on the Gulf of Darien—The Limonare Islands—Huerta—The Coast of Veragua—Auriferous Strata—Revolt of the Natives—The Dream of Columbus—Porto-Bello—The Mulatas—Putting into port at Jamaica—Distress—Revolt of the Spaniards against Columbus—Lunar Eclipse—Arrival of Columbus at Hispaniola—Return of Columbus to Spain—His death, on the 20th of March, 1506

CHAPTER VIII.

THE CONQUEST OF INDIA, AND OF THE SPICE COUNTRIES.

I.
Covilham and Païva—Vasco da Gama—The Cape of Good Hope is doubled—Escalès at Sam-Braz—Mozambique, Mombaz, and Melinda—Arrival at Calicut—Treason of the Zamorin—Battles—Return to Europe—The scurvy—Death of Paul da Gama—Arrival at Lisbon

II.
Alvarès Cabral—Discovery of Brazil—The coast of Africa—Arrival at Calicut, Cochin, Cananore—Joao da Nova—Gama's second expedition—The King of Cochin—The early life of Albuquerque—The taking of Goa—The siege and capture of Malacca—Second expedition against Ormuz—Ceylon—The Moluccas—Death of Albuquerque—Fate of the Portuguese empire of the Indies

SECOND PART.

CHAPTER I.

THE CONQUERORS OF CENTRAL AMERICA.

I.
Hojeda—Americus Vespucius—The New World named after him—Juan de la Cosa—Vincent Yañez Pinzon—Bastidas—Diego de Lepe—Diaz de Solis—Ponce de Leon and Florida—Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean—Grijalva explores the coast of Mexico

II.
Ferdinand Cortès—His character—His appointment—Preparations for the expedition, and attempts of Velasquez to stop it—Landing at Vera-Cruz—Mexico and the Emperor Montezuma—The republic of Tlascala—March upon Mexico—The Emperor is made prisoner—Narvaez defeated—The Noche Triste—Battle of Otumba—The second siege and taking of Mexico—Expedition to Honduras—Voyage to Spain—Expeditions on the Pacific Ocean—Second Voyage of Cortès to Spain—His death

III.
The triple alliance—Francisco Pizarro and his brothers—Don Diego d'Almagro—First attempts—Peru, its extent, people, and kings—Capture of Atahualpa, his ransom and death—Pedro d'Alvarado—Almagro in Chili—Strife among the conquerors—Trial and execution of Almagro—Expeditions of Gonzalo Pizarro and Orellana—Assassination of Francisco Pizarro—Rebellion and execution of his brother Gonzalo

CHAPTER II.

THE FIRST VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD.
Magellan—His early history—His disappointment—His change of nationality—Preparations for the expedition—Rio de Janeiro— St. Julian's Bay—Revolt of a part of the squadron—Terrible punishment of the guilty—Magellan's Strait—Patagonia—The Pacific—The Ladrone Islands—Zebu and the Philippine Islands— Death of Magellan—Borneo—The Moluccas and their Productions— Separation of the Trinidad and Victoria—Return to Europe by the Cape of Good Hope—Last misadventures

CHAPTER III.

THE POLAR EXPEDITIONS AND THE SEARCH FOR THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE.

I.
The Northmen—Eric the Red—The Zenos—John Cabot—Cortereal—Sebastian Cabot—Willoughby—Chancellor

II.
John Verrazzano—Jacques Cartier and his three voyages to Canada—The town of Hochelaga—Tobacco—The scurvy—Voyage of Roberval—Martin Frobisher and his voyages—John Davis—Barentz and Heemskerke—Spitzbergen—Winter season at Nova Zembla— Return to Europe—Relics of the Expedition

CHAPTER IV.

VOYAGES OF ADVENTURE AND PRIVATEERING WARFARE.
Drake—Cavendish—De Noort—Walter Raleigh

CHAPTER V.

MISSIONARIES AND SETTLERS. MERCHANTS AND TOURISTS.

I.
Distinguishing characteristics of the Seventeenth Century—The more thorough exploration of regions previously discovered—To the thirst for gold succeeds Apostolic zeal—Italian Missionaries in Congo—Portuguese Missionaries in Abyssinia—Brue in Senegal and Flacourt in Madagascar—The Apostles of India, of Indo-China, and of Japan

II.
The Dutch in the Spice Islands—Lemaire and Schouten—Tasman—Mendana—Queiros and Torrès—Pyrard de Laval—Pietro della Valle—Tavernier—Thévenot—Bernier—Robert Knox—Chardin—De Bruyn—Kæmpfer

CHAPTER VI.

I.
THE GREAT CORSAIR.
William Dampier; or a Sea-King of the Seventeenth Century

II.
THE POLE AND AMERICA.
Hudson and Baffin—Champlain and La Sale—The English upon the coast of the Atlantic—The Spaniards in South America—Summary of the information acquired at the close of the 17th century—The measure of the terrestrial degree—Progress of cartography—Inauguration of Mathematical Geography




Exporation of the World. Part I.




CHAPTER I.

CELEBRATED TRAVELLERS BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN ERA.

HANNO, 505; HERODOTUS, 484; PYTHEAS, 340; NEARCHUS, 326;
EUDOXUS, 146; CÆSAR, 100; STRABO, 50.
Hanno, the Carthaginian—Herodotus visits Egypt, Lybia, Ethiopia, Phoenicia, Arabia, Babylon, Persia, India, Media, Colchis, the Caspian Sea, Scythia, Thrace, and Greece—Pytheas explores the coasts of Iberia and Gaul, the English Channel, the Isle of Albion, the Orkney Islands, and the land of Thule—Nearchus visits the Asiatic coast, from the Indus to the Persian Gulf—Eudoxus reconnoitres the West Coast of Africa—Cæsar conquers Gaul and Great Britain—Strabo travels over the interior of Asia, and Egypt, Greece, and Italy.

The first traveller of whom we have any account in history, is Hanno, who was sent by the Carthaginian senate to colonize some parts of the Western coast of Africa. The account of this expedition was written in the Carthaginian language and afterwards translated into Greek. It is known to us now by the name of the "Periplus of Hanno." At what period this explorer lived, historians are not agreed, but the most probable account assigns the date B.C. 505 to his exploration of the African coast.

Hanno left Carthage with a fleet of sixty vessels of fifty oars each, carrying 30,000 persons, and provisions for a long voyage. These emigrants, for so we may call them, were destined to people the new towns that the Carthaginians hoped to found on the west coast of Libya, or as we now call it, Africa.

The fleet successfully passed the Pillars of Hercules, the rocks of Gibraltar and Ceuta which command the Strait, and ventured on the Atlantic, taking a southerly course. Two days after passing the Straits, Hanno anchored on the coast, and laid the foundation of the town of Thumiaterion.

Then he put to sea again, and doubling the cape of Soloïs, made fresh discoveries, and advanced to the mouth of a large African river, where he found a tribe of wandering shepherds camping on the banks. He only waited to conclude a treaty of alliance with them, before continuing his voyage southward. He next reached the Island of Cerne, situated in a bay, and measuring five stadia in circumference, or as we should say at the present day, nearly 925 yards. According to Hanno's own account, this island should be placed, with regard to the Pillars of Hercules, at an equal distance to that which separates these Pillars from Carthage.

They set sail again, and Hanno reached the mouth of the river Chretes, which forms a sort of natural harbour, but as they endeavoured to explore this river, they were assailed with showers of stones from the native negro race, inhabiting the surrounding country, and driven back, and after this inhospitable reception they returned to Cerne. We must not omit to add that Hanno mentions finding large numbers of crocodiles and hippopotami in this river. Twelve days after this unsuccessful expedition, the fleet reached a mountainous region, where fragrant trees and shrubs abounded, and it then entered a vast gulf which terminated in a plain. This region appeared quite calm during the day, but after nightfall it was illumined by tongues of flame, which might have proceeded from fires lighted by the natives, or from the natural ignition of the dry grass when the rainy season was over.

In five days, Hanno doubled the Cape, known as the Hespera Keras, there, according to his own account, "he heard the sound of fifes, cymbals, and tambourines, and the clamour of a multitude of people." The soothsayers, who accompanied the party of Carthaginian explorers, counselled flight from this land of terrors, and, in obedience to their advice, they set sail again, still taking a southerly course. They arrived at a cape, which, stretching southwards, formed a gulf, called Notu Keras, and, according to M. D'Avezac, this gulf must have been the mouth of the river Ouro, which falls into the Atlantic almost within the Tropic of Cancer. At the lower end of this gulf, they found an island inhabited by a vast number of gorillas, which the Carthaginians mistook for hairy savages. They contrived to get possession of three female gorillas, but were obliged to kill them on account of their great ferocity.

This Notu Keras must have been the extreme limit reached by the Carthaginian explorers, and though some historians incline to the belief that they only went to Bojador, which is two degrees North of the tropics, it is more probable that the former account is the true one, and that Hanno, finding himself short of provisions, returned northwards to Carthage, where he had the account of his voyage engraved in the temple of Baal Moloch.

After Hanno, the most illustrious of ancient travellers, was Herodotus, who has been called the "Father of History," and who was the nephew of the poet Panyasis, whose poems ranked with those of Homer and Hesiod. It will serve our purpose better if we only speak of Herodotus as a traveller, not an historian, as we wish to follow him so far as possible through the countries that he traversed.

Herodotus was born at Halicarnassus, a town in Asia Minor, in the year B.C. 484. His family were rich, and having large commercial transactions they were able to encourage the taste for explorations which he showed. At this time there were many different opinions as to the shape of the earth: the Pythagorean school having even then begun to teach that it must be round, but Herodotus took no part in this discussion, which was of the deepest interest to learned men of that time, and, still young, he left home with a view of exploring with great care all the then known world, and especially those parts of it of which there were but few and uncertain data.

He left Halicarnassus in 464, being then twenty years of age, and probably directed his steps first to Egypt, visiting Memphis, Heliopolis, and Thebes. He seems to have specially turned his attention to the overflow of the banks of the Nile, and he gives an account of the different opinions held as to the source of this river, which the Egyptians worshipped as one of their deities. "When the Nile overflows its banks," he says, "you can see nothing but the towns rising out of the water, and they appear like the islands in the Ægean Sea." He tells of the religious ceremonies among the Egyptians, their sacrifices, their ardour in celebrating the feasts in honour of their goddess Isis, which took place principally at Busiris (whose ruins may still be seen near Bushir), and of the veneration paid to both wild and tame animals, which were looked upon almost as sacred, and to whom they even rendered funeral honours at their death. He depicts in the most faithful colours, the Nile crocodile, its form, habits, and the way in which it is caught, and the hippopotamus, the momot, the phoenix, the ibis, and the serpents that were consecrated to the god Jupiter. Nothing can be more life-like than his accounts of Egyptian customs, and the notices of their habits, their games, and their way of embalming the dead, in which the chemists of that period seem to have excelled. Then we have the history of the country from Menes, its first king, downwards to Herodotus' time, and he describes the building of the Pyramids under Cheops, the Labyrinth that was built a little above the Lake Moeris (of which the remains were discovered in A.D. 1799), Lake Moeris itself, whose origin he ascribes to the hand of man, and the two Pyramids which are situated a little above the lake. He seems to have admired many of the Egyptian temples, and especially that of Minerva at Sais, and of Vulcan and Isis at Memphis, and the colossal monolith that was three years in course of transportation from Elephantina to Sais, though 2000 men were employed on the gigantic work.

After having carefully inspected everything of interest in Egypt, Herodotus went into Lybia, little thinking that the continent he was exploring, extended thence to the tropic of Cancer. He made special inquiries in Lybia as to the number of its inhabitants, who were a simple nomadic race principally living near the sea-coast, and he speaks of the Ammonians, who possessed the celebrated temple of Jupiter Ammon, the remains of which have been discovered on the north-east side of the Lybian desert, about 300 miles from Cairo. Herodotus furnishes us with some very valuable information on Lybian customs; he describes their habits; speaks of the animals that infest the country, serpents of a prodigious size, lions, elephants, bears, asps, horned asses (probably the rhinoceros of the present day), and cynocephali, "animals with no heads, and whose eyes are placed on their chest," to use his own expression; foxes, hyenas, porcupines, wild zarus, panthers, etc. He winds up his description by saying that the only two aboriginal nations that inhabit this region are the Lybians and Ethiopians.

According to Herodotus the Ethiopians were at that time to be found above Elephantina, but commentators are induced to doubt if this learned explorer ever really visited Ethiopia, and if he did not, he may easily have learnt from the Egyptians the details that he gives of its capital, Meroe, of the worship of Jupiter and Bacchus, and the longevity of the natives. There can be no doubt, however, that he set sail for Tyre in Phoenicia, and that he was much struck with the beauty of the two magnificent temples of Hercules. He next visited Tarsus and took advantage of the information gathered on the spot, to write a short history of Phoenicia, Syria, and Palestine.

We next find that he went southward to Arabia, and he calls it the Ethiopia of Asia, for he thought the southern parts of Arabia were the limits of human habitation. He tells us of the remarkable way in which the Arabs kept any vow that they might have made; that their two deities were Uranius and Bacchus, and of the abundant growth of myrrh, cinnamon and other spices, and he gives a very interesting account of their culture and preparation.

We cannot be quite sure which country he next visited, as he calls it both Assyria and Babylonia, but he gives a most minute account of the splendid city of Babylon (which was the home of the monarchs of that country, after the destruction of Nineveh), and whose ruins are now only in scattered heaps on either side of the Euphrates, which flowed a broad, deep, rapid river, dividing the city into two parts. On one side of the river the fortified palace of the king stood, and on the other the temple of Jupiter Belus, which may have been built on the site of the Tower of Babel. Herodotus next speaks of the two queens, Semiramis and Nitocris, telling us of all the means taken by the latter to increase the prosperity and safety of her capital, and passing on to speak of the natural products of the country, the wheat, barley, millet, sesame, the vine, fig-tree and palm-tree. He winds up with a description of the costume of the Babylonians, and their customs, especially that of celebrating their marriages by the public crier.

The Marriage Ceremony
The Marriage Ceremony.

After exploring Babylonia he went to Persia, and as the express purpose of his travels was to collect all the information he could relating to the lengthy wars that had taken place between the Persians and Grecians, he was most anxious to visit the spots where the battles had been fought. He sets out by remarking upon the custom prevalent in Persia, of not clothing their deities in any human form, nor erecting temples nor altars where they might be worshipped, but contenting themselves with adoring them on the tops of the mountains. He notes their domestic habits, their disdain of animal food, their taste for delicacies, their passion for wine, and their custom of transacting business of the utmost importance when they had been drinking to excess; their curiosity as to the habits of other nations, their love of pleasure, their warlike qualities, their anxiety for the education of their children, their respect for the lives of all their fellow-creatures, even of their slaves, their horror both of debt and lying, and their repugnance to the disease of leprosy which they thought proved that the sufferer "had sinned in some way against the sun." The India of Herodotus, according to M. Vivien de St. Martin, only consisted of that part of the country that is watered by the five rivers of the Punjaub, adjoining Afghanistan, and this was the region where the young traveller turned his steps on leaving Persia. He thought that the population of India was larger than that of any other country, and he divided it into two classes, the first having settled habitations, the second leading a nomadic life. Those who lived in the eastern part of the country killed their sick and aged people, and ate them, while those in the north, who were a finer, braver, and more industrious race, employed themselves in collecting the auriferous sands. India was then the most easterly extremity of the inhabited world, as he thought, and he observes, "that the two extremities of the world seem to have shared nature's best gifts, as Greece enjoyed the most agreeable temperature possible," and that was his idea of the western limits of the world.

Media is the next country visited by this indefatigable traveller, and he gives the history of the Medes, the nation which was the first to shake off the Assyrian yoke. They founded the great city of Ecbatana, and surrounded it with seven concentric walls. They became a separate nation in the reign of Deioces. After crossing the mountains that separate Media from Colchis, the Greek traveller entered the country, made famous by the valour of Jason, and studied its manners and customs with the care and attention that were among his most striking characteristics.

Herodotus seems to have been well acquainted with the geography of the Caspian Sea, for he speaks of it as a Sea "quite by itself" and having no communication with any other. He considered that it was bounded on the west by the Caucasian Mountains and on the east by a great plain inhabited by the Massagetæ, who, both Arian and Diodorus Siculus think, may have been Scythians. These Massagetæ worshipped the Sun as their only deity, and sacrificed horses in its honour. He speaks here of two large rivers, one of which, the Araxes, would be the Volga, and the other, that he calls the Ista, must be the Danube. The traveller then went into Scythia, and he thought that the Scythians were the different tribes inhabiting the country that lay between the Danube and the Don, in fact a considerable portion of European Russia. He found the barbarous custom of putting out the eyes of their prisoners was practised among them, and he notices that they only wandered from place to place without caring to cultivate their land. Herodotus relates many of the fables that make the origin of the Scythian nation so obscure, and in which Hercules plays a prominent part. He adds a list of the different tribes that composed the Scythian nation, but he does not seem to have visited the country lying to the north of the Euxine, or Black Sea. He gives a minute description of the habits of these people, and expresses his admiration for the Pontus Euxinus. The dimensions that he gives of the Black Sea, the Bosphorus, of the Propontis, the Palus Mæotis and of the Ægean Sea, are almost exactly the same as those given by geographers of the present day. He also names the large rivers that flow into these seas. The Ister or Danube, the Borysthenes or Dnieper, the Tanais, or Don; and he finishes by relating how the alliance, and afterwards the union between the Scythians and Amazons took place, which explains the reason why the young women of that country are not allowed to marry before they have killed an enemy and established their character for valour.

After a short stay in Thrace, during which he was convinced that the Getæ were the bravest portion of this race, Herodotus arrived in Greece, which was to be the termination of his travels, to the country where he hoped to collect the only documents still wanting to complete his history, and he visited all the spots that had become illustrious by the great battles fought between the Greeks and Persians. He gives a minute description of the Pass of Thermopylæ, and of his visit to the plain of Marathon, the battlefield of Platæa, and his return to Asia Minor, whence he passed along the coast on which the Greeks had established several colonies. Herodotus can only have been twenty-eight years of age when he returned to Halicarnassus in Caria, for it was in B.C. 456 that he read the history of his travels at the Olympic Games. His country was at that time oppressed by Lygdamis, and he was exiled to Samos; but though he soon after rose in arms to overthrow the tyrant, the ingratitude of his fellow-citizens obliged him to return into exile. In 444 he took part in the games at the Pantheon, and there he read his completed work, which was received with enthusiasm, and towards the end of his life he retired to Thurium in Italy, where he died, B.C. 406, leaving behind him the reputation of being the greatest traveller and the most celebrated historian of antiquity.

After Herodotus we must pass over a century and a half, and only note, in passing, the Physician Ctesias, a contemporary of Xenophon, who published the account of a voyage to India that he really never made; and we shall come in chronological order to Pytheas, who was at once a traveller, geographer, and historian, one of the most celebrated men of his time. It was about the year B.C. 340 that Pytheas set out from the columns of Hercules with a single vessel, but instead of taking a southerly course like his Carthaginian predecessors, he went northwards, passing by the coasts of Iberia and Gaul to the furthest points which now form the Cape of Finisterre, and then he entered the English Channel and came upon the English coast—the British Isles—of which he was to be the first explorer. He disembarked at various points on the coast and made friends with the simple, honest, sober, industrious inhabitants, who traded largely in tin.

Pytheas ventured still further north, and went beyond the Orcades Islands to the furthest point of Scotland, and he must have reached a very high latitude, for during the summer the night only lasted two hours. After six days further sailing, he came to lands which he calls Thule, probably the Jutland or Norway of the present day, beyond which he could not pass, for he says, "there was neither land, sea, nor air there." He retraced his course, and changing it slightly, he came to the mouth of the Rhine, to the country of the Ostians, and, further inland, to Germany. Thence he visited the mouth of the Tanais, that is supposed to be the Elbe or the Oder, and he retuned to Marseilles, just a year after leaving his native town. Pytheas, besides being such a brave sailor, was a remarkably scientific man: he was the first to discover the influence that the moon exercises on the tides, and to notice that the polar star is not situated at the exact spot at which the axis of the globe is supposed to be. Some years after the time of Pytheas, about B.C. 326 a Greek traveller made his name famous. This was Nearchus, a native of Crete, one of Alexander's admirals, and he was charged to visit all the coast of Asia from the mouth of the Indus to that of the Euphrates. When Alexander first resolved that this expedition should take place, which had for its object the opening up of a communication between India and Egypt, he was at the upper part of the Indus. He furnished Nearchus with a fleet of thirty-three galleys, of some vessels with two decks, and a great number of transport ships, and 2000 men. Nearchus came down the Indus in about four months, escorted on either bank of the river by Alexander's armies, and after spending seven months in exploring the Delta, he set sail and followed the west line of what we call Beloochistan in the present day.

He put to sea on the second of October, a month before the winter storms had taken a direction that was favourable to his purpose, so that the commencement of his voyage was disastrous, and in forty days he had scarcely made eighty miles in a westerly direction. He touched first at Stura and at Corestis, which do not seem to answer to any of the now-existing villages on the coast; then at the Island of Crocala, which forms the bay of Caranthia. Beaten back by contrary winds, after doubling the cape of Monze, the fleet took refuge in a natural harbour that its commander thought that he could fortify as a defence against the attacks of the barbarous natives, who, even at the present day, keep up their character as pirates.

After spending twenty-four days in this harbour, Nearchus put to sea again on the 3rd of November. Severe gales often obliged him to keep very near the coast, and when this was the case he was obliged to take all possible precautions to defend himself from the attacks of the ferocious Beloochees, who are described by eastern historians "as a barbarous nation, with long dishevelled hair, and long flowing beards, who are more like bears or satyrs than human beings." Up to this time, however, no serious disaster had happened to the fleet, but on the 10th of November in a heavy gale two galleys and a ship sank. Nearchus then anchored at Crocala, and there he was met by a ship laden with corn that Alexander had sent out to him, and he was able to supply each vessel with provisions for ten days.

After many disasters and a skirmish with some of the natives, Nearchus reached the extreme point of the land of the Orites, which is marked in modern geography by Cape Morant. Here, he states in his narrative that the rays of the sun at mid-day are vertical, and therefore there are no shadows of any kind; but this is surely a mistake, for at this time in the Southern hemisphere the sun is in the Tropic of Capricorn; and, beyond this, his vessels were always some degrees distant from the Tropic of Cancer, therefore even in the height of summer this phenomenon could not have taken place, and we know that his voyage was in winter.

Circumstances seemed now rather more in his favour; for the time of the eastern monsoon was over, when he sailed along the coast which is inhabited by a tribe called Ichthyophagi, who subsist solely on fish, and from the failure of all vegetation are obliged to feed even their sheep upon the same food. The fleet was now becoming very short of provisions; so after doubling Cape Posmi Nearchus took a pilot from those shores on board his own vessel, and with the wind in their favour they made rapid progress, finding the country less bare as they advanced, a few scattered trees and shrubs being visible from the shore. They reached a little town, of the name of which we have no record, and as they were almost without food Nearchus surprised and took possession of it, the inhabitants making but little resistance. Canasida, or Churbar as we call it, was their next resting-place, and at the present day the ruins of a town are still visible in the bay. But their corn was now entirely exhausted, and though they tried successively at Canate, Trois, and Dagasira for further supplies, it was all in vain, these miserable little towns not being able to furnish more than enough for their own consumption. The fleet had neither corn nor meat, and they could not make up their minds to feed upon the tortoises that abound in that part of the coast.

Just as they entered the Persian Gulf they encountered an immense number of whales, and the sailors were so terrified by their size and number, that they wished to fly; it was not without much difficulty that Nearchus at last prevailed upon them to advance boldly, and they soon scattered their formidable enemies.

Nearchus leading on his followers against the monsters of the deep
Nearchus leading on his followers against the monsters of the deep.

Having changed their westerly course for a north-easterly one, they soon came upon fertile shores, and their eyes were refreshed by the sight of corn-fields and pasture-lands, interspersed with all kinds of fruit-trees except the olive. They put into Badis or Jask, and after leaving it and passing Maceta or Mussendon, they came in sight of the Persian Gulf, to which Nearchus, following the geography of the Arabs, gave the misnomer of the Red Sea.

They sailed up the gulf, and after one halt reached Harmozia, which has since given its name to the little island of Ormuz. There he learnt that Alexander's army was only five days' march from him, and he disembarked at once, and hastened to meet it. No news of the fleet having reached the army for twenty-one weeks, they had given up all hope of seeing it again, and great was Alexander's joy when Nearchus appeared before him, though the hardships he had endured had altered him almost beyond recognition. Alexander ordered games to be celebrated and sacrifices offered up to the gods; then Nearchus returned to Harmozia, as he wished to go as far as Susa with the fleet, and set sail again, having invoked Jupiter the Deliverer.

He touched at some of the neighbouring islands, probably those of Arek and Kismis, and soon afterwards the vessels ran aground, but the advancing tide floated them again, and after passing Bestion, they arrived at the island of Keish, that is sacred to Mercury and Venus. This was the boundary-line between Karmania and Persia. As they advanced along the Persian coast, they visited different places, Gillam, Indarabia, Shevou, &c., and at the last-named was found a quantity of wheat which Alexander had sent for the use of the explorers.

Some days after this they came to the mouth of the river Araxes, that separates Persia from Susiana, and thence they reached a large lake situated in the country now called Dorghestan, and finally anchored near the village of Degela, at the source of the Euphrates, having accomplished their project of visiting all the coast lying between the Euphrates and Indus. Nearchus returned a second time to Alexander, who rewarded him magnificently, and placed him in command of his fleet. Alexander's wish, that the whole of the Arabian coast should be explored as far as the Red Sea, was never fulfilled, as he died before the expedition was arranged.

It is said that Nearchus became governor of Lysia and Pamphylia, but in his leisure time he wrote an account of his travels, which has unfortunately perished, though not before Arian had made a complete analysis of it in his Historia Indica. It seems probable that Nearchus fell in the battle of Ipsu, leaving behind him the reputation of being a very able commander; his voyage may be looked upon as an event of no small importance in the history of navigation.

We must not omit to mention a most hazardous attempt made in B.C. 146, by Eudoxus of Cyzicus, a geographer living at the court of Euergetes II, to sail round Africa. He had visited Egypt and the coast of India, when this far greater project occurred to him, one which was only accomplished sixteen hundred years later by Vasco da Gama. Eudoxus fitted out a large vessel and two smaller ones, and set sail upon the unknown waters of the Atlantic. How far he took these vessels we do not know, but after having had communication with some natives, whom he thought were Ethiopians, he returned to Mauritania. Thence he went to Tiberia, and made preparations for another attempt to circumnavigate Africa, but whether he ever set out upon this voyage is not known; in fact some learned men are even inclined to consider Eudoxus an impostor.

We have still to mention two names of illustrious travellers, living before the Christian era; those of Cæsar and Strabo. Cæsar, born B.C. 100, was pre-eminently a conqueror, not an explorer, but we must remember, that in the year B.C. 58, he undertook the conquest of Gaul, and during the ten years that were occupied in this vast enterprise, he led his victorious Legions to the shores of Great Britain, where the inhabitants were of German extraction.

As to Strabo, who was born in Cappadocia B.C. 50, he distinguished himself more as a geographer than a traveller, but he travelled through the interior of Asia, and visited Egypt, Greece, and Italy, living many years in Rome, and dying there in the latter part of the reign of Tiberius. Strabo wrote a Geography in seventeen Books, of which the greater part has come down to us, and this work, with that of Ptolemy, are the two most valuable legacies of ancient to modern Geographers.





CHAPTER II.

CELEBRATED TRAVELLERS FROM THE FIRST TO THE NINTH CENTURY.

PAUSANIAS, 174; FA-HIAN, 399; COSMOS INDICOPLEUSTES, 500;
ARCULPHE, 700; WILLIBALD, 725; SOLEYMAN, 851.
Pliny, Hippalus, Arian, and Ptolemy—Pausanias visits Attica, Corinth, Laconia, Messenia, Elis, Achaia, Arcadia, Boeotia, and Phocis—Fa-Hian explores Kan-tcheou, Tartary, Northern India, the Punjaub, Ceylon, and Java—Cosmos Indicopleustes, and the Christian Topography of the Universe—Arculphe describes Jerusalem, the valley of Jehoshaphat, the Mount of Olives, Bethlehem, Jericho, the river Jordan, Libanus, the Dead Sea, Capernaum, Nazareth, Mount Tabor, Damascus, Tyre, Alexandria, and Constantinople—Willibald and the Holy Land—Soleyman travels through Ceylon, and Sumatra, and crosses the Gulf of Siam and the China Sea.

In the first two centuries of the Christian era, the study of geography received a great stimulus from the advance of other branches of science, but travellers, or rather explorers of new countries were very few in number. Pliny in the year A.D. 23, devoted the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth books of his Natural History to geography, and in A.D. 50, Hippalus, a clever navigator, discovered the laws governing the monsoon in the Indian Ocean, and taught sailors how they might deviate from their usual course, so as to make these winds subservient to their being able to go to and return from India in one year. Arian, a Greek historian, born A.D. 105, wrote an account of the navigation of the Euxine or Black Sea, and pointed out as nearly as possible, the countries that had been discovered by explorers who had lived before his time; and Ptolemy the Egyptian, about A.D. 175, making use of the writings of his predecessors, published a celebrated geography, in which, for the first time, places and cities were marked in their relative latitude and longitude on a mathematical plan.

The first traveller of the Christian era, whose name has been handed down to us, was Pausanias, a Greek writer, living in Rome in the second century, and whose account of his travels bears the date of A.D. 175. Pausanias did for ancient Greece what Joanne, the industrious and clever Frenchman did for the other countries of Europe, in compiling the "Traveller's Guide." His account, a most reliable one on all points, and most exact even in details, was one upon which travellers of the second century might safely depend in their journeys through the different parts of Greece.

Pausanias gives a minute description of Attica, and especially of Athens and its monuments, tombs, temples, citadel, academy, columns, and of the Areopagus.

From Attica Pausanias went to Corinth, and then explored the Islands of Ægina and Methana, Sparta, the Island of Cerigo, Messene, Achaia, Arcadia, Boeotia, and Phocis. The roads in the provinces and even the streets in the towns, are mentioned in his narrative, as well as the general character of the country through which he passed; although we can scarcely say that he added any fresh discoveries to those already made, he was one of those careful travellers whose object was more to obtain exact information, than to make new discoveries. His narrative has been of the greatest use to all geographers and writers upon Greece and the Peloponnesus, and an author of the sixteenth century has truly said that this book is "a most ancient and rare specimen of erudition."

World as known to the Ancients

It was about a hundred and thirty years after the Greek historian, in the fourth century, that a Chinese monk undertook the exploration of the countries lying to the west of China. The account of his travels is still extant, and we may well agree with M. Charton when he says that "this is a most valuable work, carrying us beyond our ordinarily narrow view of western civilization."

Fa-Hian, the traveller, was accompanied by several monks; wishing to leave China by the west, they crossed more than one chain of mountains, and reached the country now called Kan-tcheou, which is not far from the great wall. They crossed the river Cha-ho, and a desert that Marco Polo was to explore eight hundred years later. After seventeen days' march they reached the Lake of Lobnor in Turkestan. From this point all the countries that the monks visited were alike as to manners and customs, the languages alone differing. Being dissatisfied with the reception that they met with in the country of the Ourgas, who are not a hospitable people, they took a south-easterly course towards a desert country, where they had great difficulty in crossing the rivers; and, after a thirty-five days' march, the little caravan reached Tartary in the kingdom of Khotan, which contained, according to Fa-Hian, "Many times ten thousand holy men." Here they met with a cordial welcome, and after a residence of three months were allowed to assist at the "Procession of the Images," a great feast, in which both Brahmins and Buddhists join, when all the idols are placed upon magnificently decorated cars, and paraded through streets strewn with flowers, amid clouds of incense.

The feast over, the monks left Khotan for Koukonyar, and after resting there fifteen days, we find them further south in the Balistan country of the present day, a cold and mountainous district, where wheat was the only grain cultivated, and where Fa-Hian found in use the curious cylinders on which prayers are written, and which are turned by the faithful with the most extraordinary rapidity. Thence they went to the eastern part of Afghanistan; it took them four weeks to cross the mountains, in the midst of which, and the never-melting snow they are said to have found venomous dragons.

On the further side of this rocky chain the travellers found themselves in Northern India, where the country is watered by the streams which, further on, form the Sinde or Indus. After traversing the kingdoms of On-tchang, Su-ho-to, and Kian-tho-wei, they arrived at Fo-loo-cha, which must be the town of Peshawur, standing between Cabul and the Indus, and twenty-four leagues farther west, they came to the town of Hilo, built on the banks of a tributary of the river Kabout. In these towns Fa-Hian specially notices the feasts and religious ceremonies practised in the worship of Fo or Buddha.

One of Fa-Hian's companions falls
One of Fa-Hian's companions falls.

When the monks left Kito, they were obliged to cross the Hindoo-Koosh mountains, lying between Turkestan and the Gandhara, the cold being so intense that one of their party sank under it. After enduring great hardships they reached Banoo, a town that is still standing, and then, after again crossing the Indus, they entered the Punjaub. Thence, descending towards the south-east, with a view of crossing the northern part of the Indian Peninsula, they reached Mathura, a town in the province of Agra, and crossing the great salt desert which lies to the east of the Indus, travelled through a country that Fa-Hian calls "a happy kingdom, where the inhabitants are good and honest, needing neither laws nor magistrates, and indebted to none for their support; without markets or wine merchants, and living happily, with plenty of all that they required, where the temperature was neither hot nor cold." This happy kingdom was India. Fa-Hian followed a south-easterly route, and came to Feroukh-abad, where Buddha is said to have alighted as he came down from heaven, the Chinese traveller dwelling much upon the Buddhist Creed. Thence he visited the town of Kanoji, standing on the right bank of the Ganges, that he calls Heng, and this is the very centre of Buddhism. Wherever Buddha is supposed to have rested, his followers have erected high towers in his honour. The travellers visited the temple of Tchihouan, where for twenty-five years Fo practised the most severe mortifications, and where he is said to have given sight to five hundred blind men. They are said to have been much moved by the sight of this temple.

They set out again, passing Kapila and Goruckpoor, on the frontier of Nepaul, all made famous by Fo's miracles, and then reached the celebrated town of Palian-foo, in the delta of the Ganges, in the kingdom of Magadha. This was a fertile tract of country inhabited by a civilized, upright people, who loved all philosophic researches. After climbing the peak of Vautour, which stands at the source of the Dyardanes and Banourah rivers, Fa-Hian descended the Ganges, visited the temple of Issi-paten that was frequented by magicians and astrologers, reached Benares, "the kingdom of splendours," and a little lower down, the town of Tomo-li-ti, situated at the mouth of the river, a short distance from the site of Calcutta in the present day.

Fa-Hian found a party of merchants just preparing to put to sea with the intention of going to Ceylon; he sailed with them, and in fourteen days landed on the shores of the ancient Taprobana, of which the Greek merchant, Jamboulos, had given a curious account some centuries previously. Here the Chinese monk found all the traditions and legends regarding the god Fo, and passed two years in searching ancient manuscripts. He left Ceylon for Java, where he landed after a very rough voyage, in the course of which, when the sky was overclouded, he says, "we saw nothing but great waves dashing one against another, lightning, crocodiles, tortoises, and monsters of the deep."

He spent five months in Java, and then set sail for Canton; but the winds were again unfavourable, and after undergoing great hardships he landed at the town of Chantoung of the present day; then having spent some time at Nankin he returned to Fi-an-foo, his native town, after an absence of eighteen months. Such is the account of Fa-Hian's travels, which have been well translated by M. Abel de Rémusat, and which give very interesting details of Indian and Tartar customs, especially those relating to their religious ceremonies.

The next traveller to the Chinese monk, in chronological order, is an Egyptian called Cosmos Indicopleustes, a name that M. Charton renders as "Cosmographic traveller in India." He lived in the sixth century, and was a merchant of Alexandria, who, on his return from visiting Ethiopia and part of Asia, entered a monastery.

His narrative is called the "Christian Topography of the Universe." It gives no details of its author's voyages, but begins with cosmographic discussions, to prove that the world is square, and enclosed in a great oblong coffer with all the other planets. This is followed by some dissertations on the function of the angels, and a description of the dress of the Jewish Priests. Cosmos also gives the natural history of the animals of India and Ceylon, and notices the rhinoceros and buffalo, which can be made of use for domestic purposes, the giraffe, the wild ox, the musk that is hunted for its "perfumed blood," the unicorn, which he considers a real animal and not a myth, the wild boar, the hippopotamus, the phoca, the dolphin, and the tortoise. Afterwards, Cosmos describes the pepper-plant, as a frail and delicate shrub, like the smallest tendrils of the vine, and the cocoa-tree, whose fruit has a fragrance "equal to that of a nut."

From the earliest times of the Christian era there has been a great love for visiting the Holy Land, the cradle of the new religion. These pilgrimages became more and more frequent, and we have many names left to us of those who visited Palestine during the first centuries of Christianity.

One of these pilgrims, the French Bishop Arculphe, who lived towards the end of the seventh century, has left us an account of his travels.

He sets out by giving a topographical description of the site of Jerusalem, and describes the wall that surrounds the holy city, then the circular church built over the Holy Sepulchre, the tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the stone that closed it, the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the church built upon Calvary, and the basilica of Constantine on the site of the place where the real cross was found. These various churches are united in one building, which also encloses the Tomb of Christ, and Calvary, where our Lord was crucified.

Arculphe then descended into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which is situated to the east of the city, and contains the church that covers the tomb of the Virgin; he also saw that of Absalom, which he calls the Tower of Jehoshaphat. He describes the Mount of Olives that faces the city beyond the valley, and he prayed in the cave where Jesus prayed. He also went to Mount Zion, which stands outside the town on the south side; he notices the gigantic fig-tree, on which, according to tradition, Judas Iscariot hanged himself, and he visited the church of the guest-chamber, now destroyed.

Absalom's Tomb
Absalom's Tomb.

After making the tour of the city by the Valley of Siloam, and ascending by the brook Cedron, the bishop returned to the Mount of Olives, which was covered with waving wheat and barley, grass and wild flowers, and he describes the place where Christ ascended from the summit of the mountain. On this spot a large church has been built, with three arched porticoes that are not roofed over or covered in any way, but are open to the sky. "They have not roofed in this church," says the bishop, "because it was the place whence our Saviour ascended upon a cloud, and the space open to heaven allows the prayers of the faithful to ascend thither. For when they paved this church they could not lay the pavement over the place where our Lord's feet had rested, as, when the stones were laid upon that spot, the earth, as though impatient of anything not divine resting upon it, threw them up again before the workmen. Beyond this, the dust bears the impress of the divine feet, and though, day by day, the faithful who visit the spot efface the marks, they immediately reappear and may be seen perpetually."

After having explored the neighbourhood of Bethany in the midst of the grove of olives, where the grave of Lazarus is said to be, and where the church, standing on the right hand is supposed to mark the spot where our Lord usually conversed with His disciples, Arculphe went to Bethlehem, which is a short distance from the holy city. He describes the birthplace of our Lord, a natural cave, hollowed out of the rock at the eastern end of the village, the church, built by St. Helena, the tombs of the three shepherds, upon whom the heavenly light shone at the birth of our Saviour, the burial-places of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that of Rachel, and he visited the oak of Mamre, under which Abraham received the visit of the angels. Thence, Arculphe went to Jericho, or rather the place where the town once stood, whose walls fell at the sound of Joshua's trumpets. He explored the place where the children of Israel first rested in the land of Canaan after crossing the river Jordan, and he speaks of the church of Galgala, where the twelve stones are placed, which the children of Israel took from the river when they entered the promised land. He followed the course of the Jordan, and found near one of the bends of the river on the right bank, and among the most beautiful scenery, about an hour's walk from the Dead Sea, the place where our Lord was baptized by St. John the Baptist. A cross is placed to mark the spot, but when the river is swollen, it is covered by the water.

After examining the banks of the Dead Sea and tasting its brackish water, he viewed the source of the Jordan, at the foot of Libanus, and explored the greater part of the Lake of Tiberias, visiting the well where the woman of Samaria gave our Lord the water He so much needed, seeing the fountain in the desert of which St. John the Baptist drank, and the great plain of Gaza, where our Lord blessed the five loaves and two fishes, and fed the multitude. Next he went down to Capernaum, of which there are now no remains; then visited Nazareth, where our Lord spent His childhood, and ended his journey at Mount Tabor in Galilee.

The bishop's narrative contains both geographical and historical accounts of other places, beyond those immediately connected with our Lord's life on earth. He visited the royal city of Damascus, which is watered by four large rivers. Also Tyre, the chief town of Phoenicia, which, though once separated from the mainland, was joined to it again by the jetty or pier made by the orders of Nabuchodonosor. He speaks of Alexandria, once the capital of Egypt, which he reached forty days after leaving Jaffa, and lastly, of Constantinople, where he often visited the large church in which "the wood of the cross is preserved, upon which the Saviour suffered for the salvation of the human race."

The account of this journey was written by the Abbé de St. Columban at the dictation of the bishop, and not many years afterwards the same journey was undertaken by an English pilgrim, and accomplished in much the same way. The name of this pilgrim was Willibald, a member of a rich family living at Southampton, who, on his recovery from a long illness, dedicated him to God's service. All his early life was spent in holy exercises in the monastery of Woltheim; when he was grown up he had the most intense wish to see St. Peter's at Rome, and was so set upon this, that it induced his father, brother, and young sister to wish to go there also; they embarked at Southampton in the spring of 721, and making their way up the Seine, they landed at Rouen. We have but few details of the journey to Rome, but Willibald mentions that after passing through Cortona and Lucca, at which latter place his father sank under the fatigue of the journey and died, he reached Rome in safety with his brother and sister, and passed the winter there, but they were all in turn attacked with fever. When Willibald regained his health, he determined to continue his journey to the Holy Land. He sent his brother and sister back to England, while he joined some monks who were going in the same direction as himself. They went by Terracina and Gaeta to Naples, and set sail for Reggio in Calabria, and Catania and Syracuse in Sicily, whence they again embarked, and, after touching at Cos and Samos, landed at Ephesus in Asia Minor, where they visited the tombs of St. John the Evangelist, of Mary Magdalene, and of the seven sleepers of Ephesus, that is, seven Christians martyred in the time of the Emperor Decius.

They made some stay at Patara and at Mitylene, and then went to Cyprus and Paphos; we next find the party, seven in number, at Edessa, visiting the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle. Here they were arrested as spies, and thrown into prison by the Saracens, but the king, on the petition of a Spaniard, set them at liberty. As soon as they were set free they left the town in great haste, and from that time their route is almost the same as that of the Bishop Arculphe; they visited Damascus, Nazareth, Cana, where they saw a wonderful amphora on Mount Tabor, where our Lord was transfigured, and the Lake of Tiberias, where St. Peter walked upon the water; Magdala, where Lazarus and his sister dwelt; Capernaum, where our Lord raised to life the son of the nobleman; Bethsaida in Galilee, the native place of St. Peter and St. Andrew; Chorazin, where our Lord cured those possessed with devils; Cæsarea, and the spot where our Lord was baptized, as well as Jericho and Jerusalem.

They also went to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, the Mount of Olives, and to Bethlehem, the scene of the murder of the Innocents by Herod, and Gaza. While they were at Gaza, Willibald tells us that he suddenly became blind, while he was in the church of St. Matthias, and only recovered his sight two months afterwards, as he entered the church of the Holy Cross at Jerusalem. He went through the valley of Diospolis or Lydda, ten miles from Jerusalem, and then went to Tyre and Sidon, and thence, by Libanus, Damascus, Cæsarea, and Emmaus, back to Jerusalem, where the travellers spent the winter.

This was not to be the limit of their exploration, for we hear of them at Ptolemais, Emesa, Jerusalem, Damascus, and Samaria, where St. John the Baptist is said to have been buried, and at Tyre, where it must be confessed that Willibald defrauded the revenue of that time by smuggling some balsam that was very celebrated, and on which a duty was levied. On quitting Tyre they went to Constantinople and lived there for two years before returning by Sicily, Calabria, Naples, and Capua. The English pilgrim reached the monastery of Monte Cassino, just ten years after his first setting out on his travels; but his time of rest had not yet come, as he was appointed to a bishopric in Franconia by Pope Gregory III. He was forty-one years of age when he was made bishop, and he lived forty years afterwards. In 938 he was canonized by Leo VII.

We will conclude the list of celebrated travellers living between the first and ninth centuries, by giving a short account of Soleyman, a merchant of Bassorah, who, starting from the Persian Gulf, arrived eventually on the shores of China. This narrative is in two distinct parts, one written in 851, by Soleyman himself, who was the traveller, and the other in 878 by a geographer named Abou-Zeyd Hassan with the view of completing the first. Renaud, the orientalist, is of opinion that this narrative "has thrown quite a new light on the commercial transactions that existed in the ninth century between Egypt, Arabia, and the countries bordering on the Persian Gulf on one side, and the vast provinces of India and China on the other."

Soleyman, as we have said, started from the Persian Gulf after having taken in a good supply of fresh water at Muscat, and visited first, the second sea, or that of Oman. He noticed a fish of enormous size, probably a spermaceti whale, which the seamen endeavoured to frighten away by ringing a bell, then a shark, in whose stomach they found a smaller shark, enclosing in its turn one still smaller, "both alive," says the traveller, which is manifestly an exaggeration; then, after describing the remora, the dactyloptera, and the porpoise, he speaks of the sea near the Maldive Islands in which he counted an enormous number of islands, among them he mentions Ceylon by its Arabian name, with its pearl fisheries; Sumatra, inhabited by cannibals, and rich in gold-mines; Nicobar, and the Andaman Islands, where cannibalism still exists even at the present day. "This sea," he says, "is subject to fearful water-spouts which wreck the ships, and throw on its shores an immense number of dead fish and sometimes even large stones. When these tempests are at their height the sea seethes and boils." Soleyman imagined it to be infested by a sort of monster who preyed upon human beings; this is thought to have been a kind of dog-fish.

Soleyman noticed a shark in whose stomach they found a smaller shark
Soleyman noticed a shark in whose stomach they found a smaller shark.

Arrived at Nicobar, Soleyman traded with the inhabitants, bartering some iron for cocoa-nuts, sugar-cane, bananas, &c.; he then crossed the sea, and seems to have made for Singapore, and northwards by the Gulf of Siam. Soleyman put into a harbour, near Cape Varella, to revictual his ships, and thence he went by the China Sea to Jehan-fou the port of the present town of Tche-kiang. The remainder of the account of Soleyman's travels, written by Abou-Zeyd Hassan, contains a detailed account of the manners and customs of the Indians and Chinese; but it is not the traveller himself who is speaking, and we shall find the same subjects spoken of in a more interesting manner by later authors.

We must add, in reviewing the discoveries made by travellers sixteen centuries before, and nine centuries after, the Christian era, that from Norway to the extreme boundaries of China, taking a line through the Atlantic ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Sea of China, the immense extent of coast bordering these seas had been in a great measure visited. Some explorations had been attempted in the interior of these countries; for instance, in Egypt as far as Ethiopia, in Asia Minor to the Caucasus, in India and China; and if these old travellers may not have quite understood mathematical precision, as to some of the points they visited, at all events the manners and customs of the inhabitants, the productions of the different countries, the mode of trading with them, and their religious customs, were quite sufficiently understood. Ships could sail with more safety when the change of winds was no longer a subject of mere speculation, the caravans could take a more direct route in the interior of the countries, and the great increase of trade which took place in the middle ages is surely owing to the facilities afforded by the writings of travellers.





CHAPTER III.

CELEBRATED TRAVELLERS BETWEEN THE TENTH AND THIRTEENTH CENTURIES.

BENJAMIN OF TUDELA, 1159-1173; PLAN DE CARPIN, OR CARPINI, 1245-1247;
RUBRUQUIS, 1253-1254.
The Scandinavians in the North, Iceland and Greenland—Benjamin of Tudela visits Marseilles, Rome, Constantinople, the Archipelago, Palestine, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Damascus, Baalbec, Nineveh, Baghdad, Babylon, Bassorah, Ispahan, Shiraz, Samarcand, Thibet, Malabar, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Egypt, Sicily, Italy, Germany, and France—Carpini explores Turkestan—Manners and customs of the Tartars—Rubruquis and the Sea of Azov, the Volga, Karakorum, Astrakhan, and Derbend.

In the course of the tenth, and at the beginning of the eleventh century, a considerable amount of ardour for exploration had arisen in Northern Europe. Some Norwegians and adventurous Gauls had penetrated to the Northern seas, and, if we may trust to some accounts, they had gone as far as the White Sea and visited the country of the Samoyedes. Some documents say that Prince Madoc may have explored the American continent.

At all events we may be tolerably certain that Iceland was discovered about A.D. 861 by some Scandinavian adventurers, and that it was soon after colonized by Normans. About this same time a Norwegian had taken refuge on a newly discovered land, and surprised by its verdure he gave it the name of Greenland.

The communication with this portion of the American continent was difficult and uncertain, and one geographer says "it took five years for a vessel to go from Norway to Greenland, and to return from Greenland to Norway." Sometimes in severe winters the Northern Ocean was completely frozen over, and a certain Hollur-Geit, guided by a goat, was able to cross on foot from Norway to Greenland. We should keep in mind that the period of which we are speaking is the time when legends and traditions were very plentiful, and gained ready credence.

Let us return to well-authenticated facts, and relate the journey of a Spanish Jew, whose truthfulness is beyond question.

This Jew was the son of a rabbi of Tudela, a town in Navarre, and he was called Benjamin of Tudela. It seems probable that the object of his voyage was to make a census of his brother Jews scattered over the surface of the Globe, but whatever may have been his motive, he spent thirteen years, from 1160-1173, exploring nearly all the known world, and his narrative was considered the great authority on this subject up to the sixteenth century.

Benjamin of Tudela left Barcelona, and travelling by Tarragona, Gironde, Narbonne, Béziers, Montpellier, Sunel, Pousquiers, St. Gilles, and Arles, reached Marseilles. Here he visited the two synagogues in the town and the principal Jews, and then set sail for Genoa, arriving there in four days. The Genoese were masters of the sea at that time, and were at war with the people of Pisa, a brave people, who, like the Genoese, says the traveller, "owned neither kings nor princes, but only the judges whom they appointed at their own pleasure."

After visiting Lucca, Benjamin of Tudela went to Rome. Alexander III. was Pope at that time, and according to this traveller, he included some Jews among his ministers. Among the monuments of special interest in the eternal city, he mentions St. Peter's and St. John Lateran, but his descriptions are not interesting. From Rome by Capua, and Pozzuoli, then partly inundated, he went to Naples, where he seems to have seen nothing but the five hundred Jews living there; then by Salerno, Amalfi, Benevento, Ascoli, Trani, St. Nicholas of Bari, and Brindisi, he arrived at Otranto, having crossed Italy and yet found nothing interesting to relate of this splendid country.

The list of the places Benjamin of Tudela visited, is not interesting, but we must not omit to mention one of them, for his narrative is most precise, and it is useful to follow his route by the maps specially prepared for this purpose by Lelewel. From Otranto to Zeitun, his halting-places were Corfu, the Gulf of Arta, Achelous, an ancient town in Ætolia, Anatolia in Greece, on the Gulf of Patras, Patras, Lepanto, Crissa, at the foot of Mount Parnassus, Corinth, Thebes, whose two thousand Jewish inhabitants were the best makers of silk and purple in Greece, Negropont and Zeitoun. Here, according to the Spanish traveller, is the boundary-line of Wallachia; he says the Wallachians are as nimble as goats, and come down from the mountains to pillage the neighbouring Greek towns.

Benjamin of Tudela went on to Constantinople by way of Gardiki, a small township on the Gulf of Volo, Armyros, a port much frequented by the Venetians and Genoese, Bissina, a town of which no traces are left, Salonica, the ancient Thessalonica, and Abydos. He gives us some details of Constantinople; the Emperor Emmanuel Comnenus was reigning at that time and lived in a palace that he had built upon the sea-shore, containing columns of pure gold and silver, and "the golden throne studded with precious stones, above which a golden crown is suspended by a chain of the same precious metal, which rests upon the monarch's head as he sits upon the throne." In this crown are many precious stones, and one of priceless worth: "so brilliant are they," says this traveller, "that at night, there is no occasion for any further light than that thrown back by these jewels." He adds that there is a large population in the city, and for the number of merchants from all countries who assemble there, it can only be compared to Baghdad. The inhabitants are principally dressed in embroidered silk robes enriched with golden fringes, and to see them thus attired and mounted upon their horses, one would take them for princes, but they are not brave warriors, and they keep mercenaries from all nations to fight for them. One regret he expresses, and that is, that there are no Jews left in the City, and that they have all been transported to Galata, near the entrance of the port, where are nearly two thousand five hundred of the sects (Rabbinites and Caraites), and among them many rich merchants and silk manufacturers, but the Turks have a bitter hatred for them, and treat them with great severity. Only one of these rich Jews was allowed to ride on horseback, he was the Emperor's physician, Solomon, the Egyptian. As to the remarkable buildings of Constantinople, he mentions the Mosque of St. Sophia, in which the number of altars answers to the number of days in a year, and the columns and gold and silver candlesticks, are too numerous to be counted; also the Hippodrome, which at the present day is used as a horse-market, but was then the scene of combats between "lions, bears, tigers, other wild beasts, and even birds."

The approach to Constantinople
The approach to Constantinople.

When Benjamin of Tudela left Constantinople, he visited Gallipoli and Kilia, a port on the Eastern coast, and went to the islands in the Archipelago, Mitylene, Chios, whence there was much trade in the juice of the pistachio-tree, Samos, Rhodes, and Cyprus. As he sailed towards the land of Aram, he passed by Messis, by Antioch, where he admired the arrangements for supplying the city with water, and by Latakia on his way to Tripoli, which he found had been recently shaken by an earthquake, that had been felt for miles round. We next hear of him at Beyrout, at Sidon, and Tyre, celebrated for its glass manufactory, at Acre, at Jaffa near Mount Carmel, at Capernaum, at the beautiful town of Cæsarea, at Samaria, which is built in the midst of a fertile tract, where are vineyards, gardens, orchards, and olive-yards, at Nablous, at Gibeon, and then at Jerusalem.

In the holy city, it was but natural that the Jew could see nothing that would have interested a Christian visitor. For him, Jerusalem appeared only a small town, defended by three walls and peopled with Jews, Syrians, Greeks, Georgians, and Franks of all languages and nations. He found four hundred horse-soldiers in the city ready for war at any moment, a great temple in which is the tomb of "that man," as the Talmud styles our Saviour, and a house in which the Jews had the privilege of carrying on the work of dyeing; but they were few in number, scarcely two hundred, and they lived under the tower of David at one corner of the city. Outside Jerusalem, the traveller mentions the tomb of Absalom, the sepulchre of Osias, the pool of Siloam, near the brook Cedron, the valley of Jehoshaphat, and the Mount of Olives, from whose summit one can see the Dead Sea. Two leagues from it stands the pillar of Lot's wife, and the traveller adds, "that though the flocks and herds which pass this pillar of salt are continually licking it, yet it never diminishes in size." From Jerusalem, Benjamin of Tudela went to Bethlehem, and inscribed his name on Rachel's tomb, as it was customary for all Jews to do who passed by it; and from Bethlehem, after counting twelve Jewish dyeing establishments, he went on to Hebron, which is now deserted and in ruins.

After visiting, in the plain of Machpelah, the tombs of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah, and passing by Beth-Jairim, Scilo, Mount Moriah, Beth-Nubi, Ramah, Joppa, Jabneh, Azotus, Ascalon, built by Esdras, Lud, Tiberias, where are some hot springs, Gish and Merom, which is still a spot visited by Jewish pilgrims, Kedesh and Laish, near the cavern, where the Jordan takes its rise, the traveller left the land of Israel, and entered Damascus.

The following is his description of this city, where the Turkish rule begins. "It is a very large and beautiful city, walled round, and outside the walls for fifteen miles are gardens and orchards, and of all the surrounding country, this is the most fertile spot. The town stands at the foot of Mount Hermon, whence rise the two rivers, Abana and Pharpar; the first passes through the city, and its waters are taken into the larger houses by means of aqueducts, as well as through the streets and markets. This town trades with all the world. The river Pharpar fertilizes the orchards and gardens outside the town. There is an Ishmaelitish mosque, called Goman-Dammesec, meaning the synagogue of Damascus, and this building has not its equal; it is said to have been Benhadad's palace, and it contains a glass wall, built apparently by magic. This wall has 365 holes in it, answering to the days of the year; as the sun rises and sets it shines through one or other of these holes, so that the hour of the day may thus always be known. Inside the palace or mosque are gold and silver houses, large enough to hold two or three persons at a time, if they wish to wash or bathe in them."

After going to Galad and Salkah, which are two days' journey from Damascus, Benjamin reached Baalbec, the Heliopolis of the Greeks and Romans, built by Solomon, in the valley of the Libanus, then to Tadmor, which is Palmyra, also built entirely of great stones. Then passing by Cariatin, he stopped at Hamah, which was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1157, which overthrew many of the Syrian towns.

Now comes in the narrative a list of names, which are of no great interest: we may mention among them, Nineveh, whence the traveller returned towards the Euphrates; and finally that he reached Baghdad, the residence of the Caliph.

Baghdad was of great interest to the Jewish traveller; he says it is a large town three miles in circumference, containing a hospital both for Jews and sick people of any nation. It is the centre for learned men, philosophers, and magicians from all parts of the world. It is the residence of the Caliph, who at this time was probably Mostaidjed, whose dominion included western Persia and the banks of the Tigris. He had a vast palace, standing in a park watered by a tributary of the Tigris and filled with wild beasts, he may be taken as a model sovereign on some points; he was a good and very truthful man, kind and considerate to all with whom he came in contact. He lived on the produce of his own toil, and made blankets, which, marked with his own seal, were sold in the market by the princes of his court, to defray the expense of his living. He only left his palace once a year, at the feast of Ramadan, when he went to the mosque near the Bassorah gate, and there acting as Iman, he explained the law to his people. He returned to his palace by a different route which was carefully guarded all the rest of the year, so that no other passer by might profane the marks of his footsteps. All the brothers of the Caliph inhabit the same palace as he does; they are all treated with much respect, and have the government of provinces and towns in their hands, the revenues from them enabling them to pass a pleasant life; only, as they once rebelled against their sovereign, they are now all fettered with chains of iron, and have guards mounted before their houses.

Benjamin of Tudela visited that part of Turkey in Asia which is watered by the Euphrates and Tigris, and saw the ruined city of Babylon, passing by what is said to be the furnace into which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown, and the tower of Babel, which he describes as follows. "The tower built by the tribes that were dispersed is of bricks; its largest ground work must be two miles in circumference; its length is two hundred and forty cubits. At every ten cubits there is a passage leading to a spiral staircase, which goes to the upper part of the building; from the tower there is a view of the surrounding country for twenty miles; but the wrath of God fell upon it and it is now only a heap of ruins."

The Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel.

From Babel the traveller went to the Synagogue of Ezekiel, situated on the Euphrates, a real sanctuary where believers congregate to read the book written by the prophet. Then traversing Alkotzonath, &c., to Sura, once the site of a celebrated Jewish college, and Shafjathib, whose synagogue is built with stones from Jerusalem, and crossing the desert of Yemen he passed Themar, Tilimar, and Chaibar which contained a great number of Jewish inhabitants, to Waseth; and thence to Bassorah on the Tigris, nearly at the end of the Persian Gulf.

He gives no account of this important town; and thence he seems to have gone to Karna, to visit the tomb of the prophet Esdras; then he entered Persia and sojourned at Chuzestan, a large town, partly in ruins, which the river Tigris divides into two parts, one rich the other poor, joined by a bridge, over which hangs the coffin of Daniel the prophet. He went to Amaria, which is the boundary of Media, where he says the impostor David-el-roi appeared, the worker of false miracles, who is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ, but called among the Jews of that part by the former name. Then he went to Hamadan, where the tombs of Mordecai and Esther are found, and by Dabrestan he reached Ispahan, the capital of the kingdom, a city measuring twelve miles in circumference. At this point the narrative of the traveller becomes somewhat obscure; according to his notes we find him at Shiraz, then at Samarcand, then at the foot of the mountains in Thibet. This seems to have been his farthest point towards the north-east; he must have come back to Nizapur and Chuzestan on the banks of the Tigris; thence after a sea voyage of two days to El-Cachif, an Arabian town on the Persian Gulf, where the pearl fishery is carried on. Then, after another voyage of seven days and crossing the Sea of Oman, he seems to have reached Quilon on the coast of Malabar.

He was at last in India, the kingdom of the worshippers of the Sun and of the descendants of Cush. This country produces pepper, ginger, and cinnamon. Twenty days after leaving Quilon he was among the fire-worshippers in Ceylon, and thence, perhaps, he went to China. He thought this voyage a very perilous one, and says that many vessels are lost on it, giving the following singular expedient for averting the danger. "You should take on board with you several skins of oxen, and, if the wind rises and threatens the vessel with danger, all who wish to escape envelope themselves each in a skin, sew up this skin so as to make it as far as possible water-tight, then throw themselves into the sea, and flocks of the great eagles called griffins, thinking that they are really oxen, will descend and bear them on their wings to some mountain or valley, there to devour their prey. Immediately on reaching land the man will kill the eagle with his knife, and leaving the skin, will walk towards the nearest habitation; many people," he adds, "have been saved by this means."

We find Benjamin of Tudela again at Ceylon, then at the Island of Socotra in the Persian Gulf, and after crossing the Red Sea he arrives in Abyssinia, which he styles "the India that is on terra firma." Thence he goes down the Nile, crosses the country of Assouan, reaches the town of Holvan, and by the Sahara, where the sand swallows up whole caravans, he goes to Zairlah, Kous, Faiouna and Misraim or Cairo.

This last is a large town containing fine squares and shops. It never rains there, but this want is supplied by the overflow of the Nile once a year, which waters the country and renders it very fertile.

Benjamin of Tudela in the Desert of Sahara
Benjamin of Tudela in the Desert of Sahara.

He passed Gizeh on leaving Misraim but does not mention the pyramids, and just names Ain-Schams, Boutig, Zefita, and Damira; he stopped at Alexandria, built by Alexander the Great, a city of great commerce, frequented by merchants from all parts of the world. Its squares and streets are thronged with people, and so long that one cannot see from one end to another. A dike or causeway runs out a mile into the sea, on which a high tower was built by the conqueror, and on the top of it a glass mirror was placed, by which all vessels could be seen while still fifty days' sail away, coming from Greece or the east on their way to make war upon or otherwise harm the town. "This tower," if we may credit the writer, "is still of use as a signal to vessels coming to Alexandria, for it can be seen night or day, a great flaming torch being kept lighted at night, visible 100 miles off!" What are our light-houses when even with the electric light they are only visible thirty miles away? From Damietta, the traveller visited several neighbouring towns, then returning there he embarked on board a vessel and twenty days afterwards landed at Messina. He wished to continue the census that he was making, so by way of Rome and Lucca he went to St. Bernard. He mentions visiting several towns both in Germany and France, where Jews had settled, and according to Chateaubriand's account, Benjamin of Tudela's computation brought the number of Jews to about 768,165.

In conclusion the traveller speaks of Paris, which he seems to have visited; he says, "This great town numbers among its inhabitants some remarkably learned men, who are unequalled for learning by any in the world; they spend all their time studying law, and at the same time are very hospitable to all strangers, but especially to all their Jewish brethren." Such is the account of Benjamin of Tudela's travels; they form an important part of the geographical science of the middle of the twelfth century. As we have used the modern names, it is easy to follow the short account of his route that we have given, on any atlas of the present day.

Next in order of succession we come to the name of Jean du Plan de Carpin, or as some authors render it simply, Carpini. He was a Franciscan or Grey Friar, born in 1182, at Perugia in Italy. It is well known what inroads the Mongolians had made under Gengis-Khan, and in 1206 this chieftain had made Karakorum, an ancient Turkish town, his capital. This town was a little north of China. His successor Ojadaï, extended the Mongolian dominion into the centre of China, and, after raising an army of 600,000 men, he even invaded Europe. Russia, Georgia, Poland, Moravia, Silesia, and Hungary, all became the scenes of sanguinary conflicts which almost always ended in favour of the invaders. The Mongols were looked upon as demons possessed with superhuman power, and Western Europe was terrified at their approach.

Pope Innocent IV. sent an ambassador to the Tartars, but he was treated with arrogance; at the same time he sent other ambassadors to the Tartars living in North-Eastern Tartary, in the hope of stopping the Mongolian invasion, and as chief in this mission, the Franciscan Carpini was chosen, being known to be a clever and intelligent diplomatist. Carpini was accompanied by Stephen, a Bohemian; they set out on the 6th of April, 1245, and went first to Bohemia, where the king gave them letters to some relations living in Poland, who he hoped might facilitate their entrance into Russia. Carpini had no difficulty in reaching the territory of the Archduke of Russia, and by his advice they bought beaver and other furs as presents for the Tartar chiefs. Thus provided, they took a north-easterly route to Kiev, then the chief town of Russia and now the seat of Government of that part, but they travelled in fear of the Lithuanians, who scoured the country at that time.

The Governor of Kiev advised the Pope's envoys to exchange their own for Tartar horses, who were accustomed to seek for their food under the snow, and thus mounted they had no difficulty in getting as far as Danilisha. There they both were attacked by severe illness; when nearly recovered they bought a carriage, and in spite of the intense cold set out again. Arrived at Kaniev, on the Dnieper, they found themselves in the frontier town of the Mongol empire, and hence they were conducted to the Tartar camp by one of the chiefs, whom they had made their friend by gifts. In the camp they were badly received at first, but being directed to the Duke of Corrensa, who commanded an army of 60,000 men forming the advanced guard: this general sent them with an escort of three Tartars to Prince Bathy, the next in command to the Emperor himself. Relays of horses were prepared for them on the road, they travelled night and day, and thus passed through the Comans' country lying between the Dnieper, the Tanais, the Volga, and the Yaik, frequently having to cross the frozen rivers, and finally reaching the court of Prince Bathy on the frontiers of the Comans' country. "As we were being conducted to the prince," says Carpini, "we were told that we should have to pass between two fires, in order to purify us from any infection we might carry, and also to do away with any evil designs we might have towards the prince, which we agreed to do that we might be freed from all suspicion."

The prince was seated on his throne in the midst of his courtiers and officers in a magnificent tent made of fine linen. He had the reputation of being a just and kind ruler of his people, but very cruel in war. Carpini and Stephen were placed on the left of the throne, and the papal letters, translated into a language composed of Tartar and Arabic, were presented to the prince. He read them attentively and then dismissed the envoys to their tents, where their only refreshment was a little porringer full of millet.

This interview took place on Good Friday, and the next day Bathy sent for the envoys, and told them they must go to the Emperor. They set out on Easter-day with two guides; but having lived upon nothing but millet, water, and salt, the travellers were but little fit for a journey; nevertheless their guides obliged them to travel very quickly, changing horses five or six times in a day. They passed through almost a desert country, the Tartars having driven away nearly all the inhabitants. They came next to the country of the Kangites to the east of Comania, where there was a great deficiency of water; in this province the people were mostly herdsmen, under the hard yoke of the Mongolians.

Carpini was travelling from Easter till Ascension-Day through the land of the Kangites, and thence he came into the Biserium country, or what we call Turkestan in the present day; on all sides the eye rested on towns and villages in ruins. After crossing a chain of mountains the envoys entered Kara-Kâty on the 1st of July; here the governor received them very hospitably, and made his sons and the principal officers of his court dance before them for their amusement.

On leaving Kara-Kâty the envoys rode for some days along the banks of a lake lying to the north of the town of Zeman, which must be, according to M. de Rémusat, the Lake Balkash. There lived Ordu, the eldest of the Tartar captains, and here Carpini and Stephen took a day's rest before encountering the cold and mountainous country of the Maimans, a nomadic people living in tents. After some days the travellers reached the country of the Mongols, and on the 22nd of July arrived at the place where the Emperor was, or rather he who was to be Emperor, the election having not yet taken place.

This future Emperor was named Cunius; he received the envoys in a most friendly manner, a letter from Prince Bathy having explained to him the object of their visit; not being yet Emperor he could not entertain them nor take any part in public affairs, but from the time of Ojadaï's death, his widow, the mother of Prince Cunius had been Regent; she received the travellers in a purple and white tent capable of holding 2000 persons. Carpini gives the following account of the interview: "When we arrived we saw a large assembly of dukes and princes who had come from all parts with their attendants, who were on horseback in the neighbouring fields and on the hills. The first day they were all dressed in white and purple, on the second when Cunius appeared in the tent, in red, on the third day they wore violet, and on the fourth, scarlet, or crimson. Outside the tent, in the surrounding palisade were two great gates, by one of which the Emperor alone might enter; it was unguarded, but none dared to enter or leave by it; while the other, which was the general entrance, was guarded by soldiers with swords, and bows and arrows; if any one approached within the prescribed limits he was beaten, or else shot to death with arrows. We noticed several horsemen there, on whose harness cannot have been less than twenty marks' worth of silver."

The Tartars
The Tartars.

A whole month passed away before Cunius was proclaimed Emperor, and the envoys were obliged to wait patiently for this before they could be received by him. Carpini turned this leisure time to account by studying the habits of the people; he has given much interesting information on the subject in his account of his travels.

The country seemed to him to be principally very hilly and the soil sandy, with but little vegetation. There is scarce any wood; but all classes are content with dung for fuel. Though the country is so bare, sheep seem to do well. The climate is very changeable; in summer, storms are very frequent, many fall victims to the vivid lightning, and the wind is often so strong as even to blow over men on horseback: during the winter there is no rain, which all falls in the summer, and then scarcely enough to lay the dust, while the storms of hail are terrible; during Carpini's residence in the country they were so severe that once 140 persons were drowned by the melting of the enormous mass of hail-stones that had fallen. It is a very extensive country, but miserable beyond expression.

Carpini who seems to have been a man of great discernment took a very just idea of the Tartars themselves. He says, "Their eyes are set very far apart; they have very high cheek-bones, their noses are small and flat; their eyes small, and their eye-lashes and eyebrows seem to meet; they are of middle height with slender waists, they have small beards, some wear moustaches, and what are now called imperials. On the top of the head the hair is shaved off like monks, and to the width of three fingers between their ears they also shave off the hair, letting what is between the tonsure and the back of the head grow to some length; in fact it is as long as a woman's in many cases, and plaited and tied in two tails behind the ear. They have small feet. He says there is but little difference perceptible in the dress of the men and women, all alike wearing long robes trimmed with fur, and high buckram caps enlarged towards the upper part. Their houses are built like tents of rods and stakes, so that they can be easily taken down and packed on the beasts of burden. Other larger dwellings are sometimes carried whole as they stand, on carts, and thus follow their owner about the country.

"The Tartars believe in God as the Creator of the universe and as the Rewarder and Avenger of all, but they also worship the sun, moon, fire, earth, and water, and idols made in felt, like human beings. They have little toleration, and put Michael of Turnigoo and Féodor to death for not worshipping the sun at midday at the command of Prince Bathy. They are a superstitious people, believing in enchantment and sorcery, and looking upon fire as the purifier of all things. When one of their chiefs dies he is buried with a horse saddled and bridled, a table, a dish of meat, a cup of mare's milk, and a mare and foal.

"The Tartars are most obedient to their chiefs, and are truthful and not quarrelsome; murders and deeds of violence are rare, there is very little robbery, and articles of value are never guarded. They bear great fatigue and hunger without complaint, as well as heat and cold, singing and dancing under the most adverse circumstances. They are much prone to drink to excess; they are very proud and disdainful to strangers, and have no respect for the lives of human beings."

Carpini completes his sketch of the Tartar character by adding that they eat all kinds of animals, dogs, wolves, foxes, horses, and even sometimes their fellow-creatures. Their principal beverage is the milk of the mare, sheep, goat, cow, and camel. They have neither wine, cervisia, (a beverage composed of grain and herbs,) nor mead, but only intoxicating liquors. They are very dirty in their habits, scarcely ever washing their porringers, or only doing so in their broth; they hardly ever wash their clothes, more especially "when there is thunder about;" and they eat rats, mice, &c., if they are badly off for other food. The men are not brought up to any manual labour, their whole occupation consisting in hunting, shooting with bow and arrows, watching the flocks, and riding. The women and girls are very athletic and very brave, they prepare furs and make clothes, drive carts and camels, and as polygamy is practised among them, and a man buys as many wives as he can keep, there are enough women for all these employments.

Such is the résumé of Carpini's observations made during his residence at Syra-Orda while he was awaiting the Emperor's election. Soon he found that the election was about to take place; he noticed that the courtiers always sang before Cunius when he came out of his tent, and bowed down before him with beautiful little wands in their hands, having small pieces of scarlet wool attached to them. On a plain about four leagues from Syra-Orda, beside a stream, a tent was prepared for the Coronation, carpeted with scarlet, and supported on columns covered with gold. On St. Bartholomew's day a large concourse of people assembled, each one fell on his knees as he arrived, and remained praying towards the sun; but Carpini and his companion refused to join in this idolatrous worship of the sun. Then Cunius was placed on the imperial throne, and the dukes and all the assembled multitudes having done homage to him, he was consecrated.

As soon as this ceremony was over, Carpini and Stephen were commanded to appear before the Emperor. They were first searched and then entered the imperial presence at the same time as other Ambassadors, the bearers of rich presents; the poor papal envoys had nothing to present; whether this had anything to do with the length of time they had to wait before his Imperial Majesty could attend to their affairs we do not know; but days passed slowly by, and they were nearly dying of hunger and thirst, before they received a summons to appear before the Secretary of the Emperor, and letters to the Pope were given to them, ending with these words, "we worship GOD, and by His help we shall destroy the whole earth from east to west."

The envoys had now nothing to wait for, and during the whole of the winter they travelled across icy deserts. About May they again arrived at the court of Prince Bathy, who gave them free passes, and they reached Kiev about the middle of June, 1247. On the 9th of October of the same year the Pope made Carpini Bishop of Antivari in Dalmatia, and this celebrated traveller died at Rome about the year 1251.

Carpini's mission was not of much use, and the Tartars remained much as they were before, a savage and ferocious tribe; but six years after his return another monk of the minor order of Franciscans, named William Rubruquis, of Belgian origin, was sent to the barbarians who lived in the country between the Volga and the Don. The object of this journey was as follows,—

St. Louis was waging war against the Saracens of Syria at this time, and while he was engaging the Infidels, Erkalty, a Mongol prince, attacked them on the side nearest to Persia, and thus caused a diversion that was in favour of the King of France. The report arose that Prince Erkalty had become a Christian, and St. Louis, anxious to prove the truth of it, charged Rubruquis to go into the prince's own country and there make what observations he could upon the subject.

In the month of June 1253, Rubruquis and his companions embarked for Constantinople. From thence they reached the mouth of the river Don on the Sea of Azov where they found a great number of Goths. On their arrival among the Tartars, their reception was at first very inhospitable, but after presenting the letters with which they were furnished, Zagathal, the governor of that province, gave them waggons, horses, and oxen for their journey.

Thus equipped they set out and were much surprised next day by meeting a moving village; that is to say, all the huts were placed on waggons and were being moved away. During the ten days that Rubruquis and his companions were passing through this part of the country they were very badly treated, and had it not been for their own store of biscuits, they must have died of starvation. After passing by the end of the Sea of Azov they went in an easterly direction and crossed a sandy desert on which neither tree nor stone was visible. This was the country of the Comans that Carpini had traversed, but in a more northerly part. Rubruquis left the mountains inhabited by the Circassians to the south, and after a wearisome journey of two months arrived at the camp of Prince Sartach on the banks of the Volga.

This was the court of the prince, the son of Baatu-Khan; he had six wives, each of whom possessed a palace of her own, some houses, and a great number of chariots, some of them very large, being drawn by a team of twenty-two oxen harnessed in pairs.

Sartach received the envoys of the King of France very graciously, and seeing their poverty, he supplied them with all that they required. They were to be presented to the prince in their sacerdotal dress, when, bearing on a cushion a splendid Bible, the gift of the King of France, a Psalter given by the Queen, a Missal, a crucifix and a censer, they entered the royal presence, taking good care not to touch the threshold of the door, which would have been considered profanation. Once in the royal presence, they sang the "Salve Regina." After the prince and those of the princesses who were present at the ceremony had examined the books, &c., that the monks had brought with them, the envoys were allowed to retire; it being impossible for Rubruquis to form any opinion as to Sartach's being a Christian, or not; but his work was not yet finished, the prince having pressed the envoys to go to his father's court. Rubruquis complied with the request, and crossing the country lying between the Volga and the Don, they arrived at their destination. There the same ceremonies had to be gone through as at the court of Prince Sartach. The monks had to prepare their books, &c., and be presented to the Khan, who was seated on a large gilded throne, but not wishing to treat with the envoys himself, he sent them to Karakorum, to the court of Mangu-khan.

They crossed the country of the Bashkirs and visited Kenchat, Talach, passed the Axiartes and reached Equius, a town of which the position cannot be accurately ascertained in the present day; then by the land of Organum, by the Lake of Balkash, and the territory of the Uigurs, they arrived at Karakorum, the capital of the Mongolian empire, where Carpini had stopped without entering the town.

This town, says Rubruquis, was surrounded with walls of earth, and had four gates in the walls. The principal buildings it contained were two mosques and a Christian church. While in this city, the monk made many interesting observations on the surrounding people, especially upon the Tangurs, whose oxen, of a remarkable race, are no other than the Yaks, so celebrated in Thibet. In speaking of the Thibetans he notices their most extraordinary custom of eating the bodies of their fathers and mothers, in order to secure their having an honourable sepulture.

When Rubruquis and his companions reached Karakorum, they found that the great khan was not in his capital, but in one of his palaces which was situated on the further side of the mountains which rise in the northern part of the country. They followed him there, and the next day after their arrival presented themselves before him with bare feet, according to the Franciscan custom, so securing for themselves frozen toes. Rubruquis thus describes the interview: "Mangu-Khan is a man of middle height with a flat nose; he was lying on a couch clad in a robe of bright fur, which was speckled like the skin of a sea-calf." He was surrounded with falcons and other birds. Several kinds of beverages, arrack punch, fermented mare's milk, and ball, a kind of mead, were offered to the envoys; but they refused them all. The khan, less prudent than they, soon became intoxicated on these drinks, and the audience had to be ended without any result being arrived at. Rubruquis remained several days at Mangu-Khan's court; he found there a great number of German and French prisoners, mostly employed in making different kinds of arms, or in working the mines of Bocol. The prisoners were well treated by the Tartars, and did not complain of their lot. After several interviews with the great khan, Rubruquis gained permission to leave, and he returned to Karakorum.

Near this town stood a magnificent palace, belonging to the khan; it was like a large church with nave and double aisles, here the sovereign sits at the northern end on a raised platform, the gentlemen being seated on his right, and the ladies on his left hand. It is at this palace that twice every year splendid fêtes are given, when all the nobles of the country are assembled round their sovereign.

While at Karakorum, Rubruquis collected many interesting documents relating to the Chinese, their customs, literature, &c.; then leaving the capital of the Mongols, he returned by the same route as he had come, as far as Astrakhan; but there he branched to the south and went to Syria with a Turkish escort, which was rendered necessary by the presence of tribes bent on pillage. He visited Derbend, and went thence by Nakshivan, Erzeroum, Sivas, Cæsarea, and Iconium, to the port of Kertch, whence he embarked for his own country. His route was much the same as that of Carpini, but his narrative is less interesting, and the Belgian does not seem to have been gifted with the spirit of observation which characterized the Italian monk.

With Carpini and Rubruquis closes the list of celebrated travellers of the thirteenth century, but we have the brilliant career of Marco Polo now before us, whose travels extended over part of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.





CHAPTER IV.

MARCO POLO, 1253-1324.

I.
The interest of the Genoese and Venetian merchants in encouraging the exploration of Central Asia—The family of Polo, and its position in Venice—Nicholas and Matteo Polo, the two brothers—They go from Constantinople to the Court of the Emperor of China—Their reception at the Court of Kublaï-Khan—The Emperor appoints them his ambassadors to the Pope—Their return to Venice—Marco Polo—He leaves his father Nicholas and his uncle Matteo for the residence of the King of Tartary—The new Pope Gregory X.—The narrative of Marco Polo is written in French from his dictation, by Rusticien of Pisa.

The Genoese and Venetian merchants could not fail to be much interested in the explorations of the brave travellers in Central Asia, India, and China, for they saw that these countries would give them new openings for disposing of their merchandise, and also the great benefit to be derived by the West from being supplied with the productions of the East. The interests of commerce stimulated fresh explorations, and it was this motive that actuated two noble Venetians to leave their homes, and brave all the fatigue and danger of a perilous journey.

These two Venetians belonged to the family of Polo, which had come originally from Dalmatia, and, owing to successful trading, had become so opulent as to be reckoned among the patrician families of Venice. In 1260 the two brothers, Nicholas and Matteo, who had lived for some years in Constantinople, where they had established a branch house, went to the Crimea, with a considerable stock of precious stones, where their eldest brother, Andrea Polo, had his place of business. Thence, taking a north-easterly direction and crossing the country of the Comans, they reached the camp of Barkaï-Khan on the Volga. This Mongol prince received the two merchants very kindly, and bought all the jewels they offered him at double their value.

Nicolo and Matteo remained a year in the Mongolian camp, but a war breaking out at this time between Barkaï, and Houlagou, the conqueror of Persia, the two brothers, not wishing to be in the midst of a country where war was being waged, went to Bokhara, and there they remained three years. But when Barkaï was vanquished and his capital taken, the partisans of Houlagou induced the two Venetians to follow them to the residence of the grand Khan of Tartary, who was sure to give them a hearty welcome. This Kublaï-Khan, the fourth son of Gengis-Khan, was Emperor of China, and was then at his summer-palace in Mongolia, on the frontier of the Chinese empire.

The Venetian merchants set out, and were a whole year crossing the immense extent of country lying between Bokhara and the northern limits of China. Kublaï-Khan was much pleased to receive these strangers from the distant West. He fêted them, and asked, with much eagerness, for any information that they could give him of what was happening in Europe, requiring details of the government of the various kings and emperors, and their methods of making war; and he then conversed at some length about the Pope and the state of the Latin Church. Matteo and Nicolo fortunately spoke the Tartar language fluently, so they could freely answer all the emperor's questions.

Kublaï-Khan's feast on the arrival of the Venetian Merchants
Kublaï-Khan's feast on the arrival of the Venetian Merchants.

It had occurred to Kublaï-Khan to send messengers to the Pope; and he seized the opportunity to beg the two brothers to act as his ambassadors to his Holiness. The merchants thankfully accepted his proposal, for they foresaw that this new character would be very advantageous to them. The emperor had some charters drawn up in the Turkish language, asking the Pope to send a hundred learned men to convert his people to Christianity; then he appointed one of his barons named Cogatal to accompany them, and he charged them to bring him some oil from the sacred lamp, which is perpetually burning before the tomb of Christ at Jerusalem.

The two brothers took leave of the khan, having been furnished with passports by him, which put both men and horses at their disposal throughout the empire, and in 1266 they set out on their journey. Soon the baron Cogatal fell ill, and the Venetians were obliged to leave him and continue their journey; but in spite of all the aid that had been given to them, they were three years in reaching the port of Laïas, in Armenia, now known by the name of Issus. Leaving this port, they arrived at Acre in 1269, where they heard of the death of Pope Clement IV., to whom they were sent, but the legate Theobald lived in Acre and received the Venetians; learning what was the object of their mission he begged them to wait for the election of the new Pope.

The brothers had been absent from their country for fifteen years, so they resolved to return to Venice, and at Negropont they embarked on board a vessel that was going direct to their native town.

On landing there, Nicolo was met by news of the death of his wife, and of the birth of his son, who had been born shortly after his departure in 1254; this son was the celebrated Marco Polo. The two brothers waited at Venice for the election of the Pope, but at the end of two years, as it had not taken place, they thought they could no longer defer their return to the Emperor of the Mongols; accordingly they started for Acre, taking Marco Polo with them, who could not then have been more than seventeen. At Acre they had an interview with the legate Theobald, who authorized them to go to Jerusalem and there to procure some of the sacred oil. This mission accomplished, the Venetians returned to Acre and asked the legate to give them letters to Kublaï-Khan, mentioning the death of Pope Clement IV.; he complied with their request, and they returned to Laïas or Issus. There, to their great joy, they learnt that the legate Theobald had just been made Pope with the title of Gregory X., on the 1st of September, 1271. The newly-elected Pope sent at once for the Venetian envoys, and the King of Armenia placed a galley at their disposal to expedite their return to Acre. The Pope received them with much affection, and gave them letters to the Emperor of China; he added two preaching friars, Nicholas of Vicenza and William of Tripoli, to their party, and gave them his blessing on their departure. They went back to Laïas, but had scarcely arrived before they were made prisoners by the soldiers of the Mameluke Sultan Bibars, who was then ravaging Armenia. The two preaching friars were so discouraged at this outset of the expedition that they gave up all idea of going to China, and left the two Venetians and Marco Polo to prosecute the journey together as best they could.

Marco Polo
Marco Polo.

Here begins what may properly be called Marco Polo's travels. It is a question if he really visited all the places that he describes, and it seems probable that he did not; in fact, in the narrative written at his dictation by Rusticien of Pisa it is stated "Marco-Polo, a wise and noble citizen of Venice, saw nearly all herein described with his own eyes, and what he did not see he learnt from the lips of truthful and credible witnesses;" but we must add that the greater part of the kingdoms and towns spoken of by Marco Polo he certainly did visit. We will follow the route he describes, simply pointing out what the traveller learnt by hearsay, during the important missions with which he was charged by Kublaï-Khan. During this second journey the travellers did not follow exactly the same road as on the first occasion of their visit to the Emperor of China. They had lengthened their route by passing to the north of the celestial mountains, but now they turned to the south of them, and though this route was shorter than the other, they were three years and a half in accomplishing their journey, being much impeded by the rains and the difficulty of crossing the great rivers. Their course may be easily followed with the help of a map of Asia, as we have substituted the modern names in place of the ancient ones used by Marco Polo in his narrative.



II.
MARCO POLO.
Armenia Minor—Armenia—Mount Ararat—Georgia—Mosul, Baghdad, Bussorah, Tauris—Persia—The Province of Kirman—Comadi—Ormuz—The Old Man of the Mountain—Cheburgan—Balkh—Cashmir—Kashgar—Samarcand—Kotan—The Desert—Tangun—Kara-Korum—Signan-fu—The Great Wall—Chang-tou—The residence of Kublaï-Khan—Cambaluc, now Pekin—The Emperor's fêtes—His hunting—Description of Pekin—Chinese Mint and bank-notes—The system of posts in the Empire.

Marco Polo left the town of Issus; he describes Armenia Minor as a very unhealthy place, the inhabitants of which, though once valiant, are now cowardly and wretched, their only talent seeming to lie in their capacity for drinking to excess. From Armenia Minor he went to Turcomania, whose inhabitants, though somewhat of savages, are clever in cultivating pastures and breeding horses and mules; and the townspeople excel in the manufacture of carpets and silk. Armenia Proper, that Marco Polo next visited, affords a good camping-ground to the Tartar armies during the summer. There the traveller saw Mount Ararat, where Noah's Ark rested after the Deluge. He noticed that the lands bordering on the Caspian Sea afford large supplies of naphtha, which forms an important item in the trade of that neighbourhood.

When he left Armenia he took a north-easterly course towards Georgia, a kingdom lying on the south side of the Caucasus, whose ancient kings, says the legend, "were born with an eagle traced on their right shoulders." The Georgians, he describes as good archers and men of war, and also as clever in working in gold and manufacturing silk. Here is a celebrated defile, four leagues in length, which lies between the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea, that the Turks call the Iron Door, and Europeans the Pass of Derbend, and here too is the miraculous lake, where fish are said to exist only during Lent. Hence the travellers descended towards the kingdom of Mosul, and arrived at the town of the same name on the right bank of the Tigris, thence going to Baghdad, the residence of the Caliph of all the Saracens. Marco Polo gives an account of the taking of Baghdad by the Tartars in 1255; mentioning a wonderful story in support of the Christian idea of Faith, "that can remove mountains;" he points out the route from this town to the Persian Gulf, which may be reached in eighteen days by the river, passing Bussorah, the country of dates.

From this point to Tauris, a Persian town in the province of Adzer-baidjan, Marco Polo's route seems to be doubtful. He takes up his narrative at Tauris, which he describes as a large flourishing town built in the midst of beautiful gardens and carrying on a great traffic in precious stones and other valuable merchandise, but its Saracen inhabitants are disloyal and treacherous. Here he seems to divide Persia geographically into eight provinces. The natives of Persia, according to him, are formidable enemies to the merchants, who are obliged to travel armed with bows and arrows. The principal trade of the country seems to be in horses and asses, which are sent to Kis or Ormuz and thence to India. The natural productions of the country are wheat, barley, millet, and grapes, which grow in abundance.

Marco Polo went next to Yezd, the most easterly town of Persia Proper; on leaving it, after a ride of seven days through magnificent forests abounding in game, he came to the province of Kirman. Here the mines yield large quantities of turquoise, as well as iron and antimony; the manufacture of arms and harness as well as embroidery and the training of falcons for hunting occupy a great number of the inhabitants. On leaving Kirman Marco Polo and his two companions set out on a nine days' journey across a rich and populous country to the town of Comadi, which is supposed to be the Memaun of the present day, and was even then sinking into decay. The country was superb; on all sides were to be seen fine fat sheep, great oxen, white as snow, with short strong horns, and thousands of domestic fowls and other birds; also there were magnificent date, orange, and pistachio trees.

After travelling for five days they entered the beautiful and well watered plain of Cormos or Ormuz, and after two days' further march they reached the shores of the Persian Gulf and the town of Ormuz, which forms the sea-port of the kingdom of Kirman. This country they found very warm und unhealthy, but rich in date and spice trees, in grain, precious stones, silk and golden stuffs, and elephants' tusks, wine made from the date and other merchandise being brought into the town ready for shipment on board ships with but one mast, which came in numbers to the port; but many were lost on the voyage to India, as they were only built with wooden pegs, not iron nails, to fasten them together.

From Ormuz, Marco Polo, going up again towards the north-east, visited Kirman; then he ventured by dangerous roads across a sandy desert, where there was only brackish water to be found, the desert across which, 1500 years before, Alexander had led his army to meet Nearchus. Seven days afterwards he entered the town of Khabis. On leaving this town he crossed for eight days the great plains to Tonokan, the capital of the province of Kumis, probably Damaghan. At this point of his narrative Marco Polo gives an account of the "Old Man of the Mountain," the chief of the Mahometan sect called the Hashishins, who were noted for their religious fanaticism and terrible cruelty. He next visited the Khorassan town of Cheburgan, a city celebrated for its sweet melons, and then the noble city of Balkh, situated near the source of the Oxus. Next he crossed a country infested by lions to Taikan, a great salt-market frequented by a large number of merchants, and to Scasem; this town seems to be the Kashme spoken of by Marsden, the Kishin or Krishin of Hiouen-Tsang, which Sir Henry Rawlinson has identified with the hill of Kharesm of Zend-Avesta, that some commentators think must be the modern Koundouz. In this part of the country he says porcupines abound, and when they are hunted they curl themselves up, darting out the prickles on their sides and backs at the dogs that are hunting them. We now know how much faith to put in this pretended power of defence said to be possessed by the porcupine.

Marco Polo now entered the rocky mountainous kingdom of the Balkhs, whose kings claim descent from Alexander the Great; a cold country, producing good fast horses, excellent falcons, and all kinds of game. Here, too, are prolific ruby-mines worked by the king and which yield large quantities, but they are so strictly enclosed that no one on pain of death may set foot on the Sighinan mountain containing the mines. In other places silver is found, and many precious stones, of which he says "they make the finest azure in the world," meaning lapis-lazuli; his stay in this part of the country must have been a long one to have enabled him to observe so many of its characteristics. Ten days' journey from hence he entered a province which must be the Peshawur of the present day, whose dark-skinned inhabitants were idolaters; then after seven days' further march, about mid-day he came to the kingdom of Cashmere, where the temperature is cool, and towns and villages are very numerous. Had Marco Polo continued his route in the same direction he would soon have reached the territory of India, but instead of that he took a northerly course, and in twelve days was in Vaccan, a land watered by the Upper Oxus, which runs through splendid pastures, where feed immense flocks of wild sheep, called mufflons. Thence he went through a mountainous country, lying between the Altai and Himalayan ranges to Kashgar. Here Marco Polo's route is the same as that of his uncle and his father during their first voyage, when from Bokhara they were taken to the residence of the great khan. From Kashgar, Marco Polo diverged a little to the west, to Samarcand, a large town inhabited by Saracens and Christians, then to Yarkand, a city frequented by caravans trading between India and Northern Asia; passing by Khotan, the capital of the province of that name, and by Pein, a town whose situation is uncertain, but in a part of the country where chalcedony and jasper abound. He came to the kingdom of Kharachar, which extends along the borders of the desert of Jobe; then after five days' further travelling over sandy plains, where there was no water fit to drink, he rested for eight days in the city of Lob, a place now in ruins, while he prepared to cross the desert lying to the east, "so great a desert," he says, "that it would require a year to traverse its whole length, a haunted wilderness, where drums and other instruments are heard, though invisible."

After spending a year crossing this desert, Marco Polo reached Tcha-tcheou, in the province of Tangaut, a town built on the western limits of the Chinese empire. There are but few merchants here, the greater part of the population being agricultural. The custom that seems to have struck him the most in the province of Tangaut, was that of burning their dead only on a day fixed by the astrologers; "all the time that the dead remain in their houses, the relations stay there with them, preparing a place at each meal as well as providing both food and drink for the corpse, as though it were still alive."

Marco Polo and his companions made an excursion to the north-east, to the city of Amil, going on as far as Ginchintalas, a town inhabited by idolaters, Mahometans, and Nestorian Christians, whose situation is disputed. From this town Marco Polo returned to Tcha-tcheou, and went eastward across Tangaut, by the town of So-ceu, over a tract of country particularly favourable to the cultivation of rhubarb, and by Kanpiceon, the Khan-tcheou of the Chinese, then the capital of the province of Tangaut, an important town, whose numerous chiefs are idolaters and polygamists. The three Venetians remained a year in this large city; it is easy to understand, from their long halts and deviations, why they required three years for their journey across Central Asia.

They left Khan-tcheou, and after riding for twelve days they reached the borders of a sandy desert, and entered the city of Etzina. This was another détour, as it lay directly north of their route, but they wished to visit Kara-Korum, the celebrated capital of Tartary, where Rubruquis had been in 1254. Marco Polo was certainly an explorer by nature; fatigue was nothing to him if he had any geographical studies to complete, which is proved by his spending forty days crossing an uninhabited desert without vegetation, in order to reach the Tartar town.

When he arrived there, he found a city measuring three miles in circumference, which had been for a long time the capital of the Empire, before it was conquered by Gengis-Khan, the grandfather of the reigning emperor. Here Marco Polo makes an historical digression, in which he gives an account of the wars of the Tartar chiefs against the famous Prester John who held all this part of the country under his dominion.

Marco Polo after returning to Khan-tcheou left it again, marching five days towards the east, and arriving at the town of Erginul. Thence he went a little to the south to visit Sining-foo, across a tract of country where grazed great wild oxen and the valuable species of goat which is called the "musk-bearer." Returning to Erginul, they went eastward to Cialis, where there is the best manufactory of cloth made from camels' hair in the world, to Tenduc, a town in the province of the same name, where a descendant of Prester John reigned, but who had given in his submission to the great khan; this was a busy flourishing town: from hence the travellers went to Sinda-tchou, and on beyond the great wall of China as far as Ciagannor, which must be Tzin-balgassa, a pretty town where the emperor lives when he wishes to hawk; for cranes, storks, pheasants, and partridges abound in this neighbourhood.

At last Marco Polo, his father, and his uncle, reached Ciandu or Tchan-tchou of the present day, called elsewhere in this narrative Clemen-foo. Here Kublaï-Khan received the papal envoys, for he was occupying his summer palace beyond the great wall, north of Pekin, which was then the capital of the empire. The traveller does not tell us what reception he met with, but he describes most carefully the palace, the grandeur of the building of stone and marble, standing in the middle of a park surrounded by walls, enclosing menageries and fountains. Also a building made of reeds, so closely interlaced as to be impenetrable to water; it was a sort of movable kiosk that the great khan inhabited during the fine months of June, July, and August. The weather during the emperor's sojourn in this summer palace could not but be beautiful, for, according to Marco Polo, the astrologers who were attached to the khan's court were charged to scatter all rain and fog by their sorcery, and the travellers seem to believe in the power of these magicians. "These astrologers," he says, "belong to two races, both idolaters; they are learned in all magic and enchantments, above any other men, and what they do is done by the aid of the devil, but they make others believe that they owe their power to the help of God, and their own holiness. These people have the following strange custom: when a man has been condemned and put to death, they take the body, cook, and eat it; but in the case of a natural death they do not eat the body. And you must know that these people of whom I am speaking, who know so many kinds of enchantments, work the wonder I am about to relate. When the great khan is seated at dinner in the principal dining-hall, the table of which is eight cubits in length, and the cups are on the floor ten paces from the table, filled with wine, milk, and other good beverages, these clever magicians, by their arts, make these cups rise by themselves, and without any one touching them, they are placed before the great khan. This has been done before an immense number of people, and is the exact truth; and those skilled in necromancy will tell you that it is quite possible to do this."

Marco Polo next gives a history of Kublaï, whom he considers to possess more lands and treasures than any man since our first father, Adam. He tells how the great khan ascended the throne in the year 1256, being then eighty-five; he was a man of middle height, rather stout, but of a fine figure, with a good complexion and black eyes. He was a good commander in war, and his talents were put to the proof when his uncle Naïan, having rebelled against him, wished to dispute his power at the head of 400,000 cavalry. Kublaï-Khan collected (in secret) a force of 300,000 horsemen, and 100,000 foot-soldiers, and marched against his uncle. The battle was a most terrible one, so many men being killed, but the khan was victorious, and Naïan, as a prince of the blood royal, was condemned to be sewn up tightly in a carpet, and died in great suffering. After his victory the khan made a triumphal entry into Cathay, capital of Cambaluc, or, as it is now called, Pekin. When Marco Polo arrived at this city he made a long stay there, remaining until the emperor needed his services to undertake various missions into the interior of China. The emperor had a splendid palace at Cambaluc, and the traveller gives so graphic an account of the riches and magnificence of the Mongol sovereigns, that we give it word for word. "The palace is surrounded by a great wall, a mile long each way, four miles in length altogether, very thick, ten feet in height, all white and battlemented. At each corner of this wall is a palace beautiful and rich, in which all the trappings of war belonging to the great khan are kept; his bows, quivers, the saddles and bridles of the horses, the bow-strings, in fact everything that would be wanted in time of war; in the midst of each square is another building, like those at the corner, so that there are eight in all, and each building contains one particular kind of harness or trapping. In the wall on the south side are five doors, the middle or large door only being opened when the emperor wishes to go in or out; near this great gate on either side is a smaller one through which other people may pass, and two others for the same purpose. Inside this wall is another, having also eight buildings to be used in the same manner."

Plan of Pekin
Plan of Pekin.

Thus we see that all these buildings constituted the emperor's armoury and harness-store; we shall not be surprised that there was so much harness to be kept when we know that the emperor possessed a race of horses white as snow, and among them ten thousand mares, whose milk was reserved for the sole use of princes of the blood royal.

The Emperor's palace at Pekin
The Emperor's palace at Pekin.

Marco Polo continues his narrative thus:—"The inner wall has five gates on the south side, answering to those in the outer wall, but on the other sides the walls have only one gate each. In the centre of the enclosure made by these walls, stands the palace, the largest in the world. It has no second story, but the ground-floor is raised about eight feet above the ground. The roof is very high, the walls of the rooms are covered with gold and silver, and on this gold and silver are paintings of dragons, birds, horses, and other animals, so that nothing can be seen but gilding and pictures. The dining-hall is large enough to hold 6000 men, and the number of other rooms is marvellous, and all is so well arranged that it could not be improved. The ceilings are painted vermillion, green, blue, yellow, and all kinds of colours, varnished so as to shine like crystal, and the roof is so well built that it will last for many years. Between the two walls the land is laid out in fields with fine trees in them, containing different species of animals, the musk-ox, white deer, roe-buck, fallow-deer, and other animals, who fill the space between the walls, except the roads reserved for human beings. On the north-western side is a great lake, full of fishes of divers kinds, for the great khan has had several species placed there, and each time that he desires it to be done, he has his will in it. A river rises in this lake and flows out from the grounds of the palace, but no fish escape in it, there being iron and brass nets to prevent their doing so. On the northern side, near an arched doorway, the emperor has had a mound made, a hundred feet in height and more than a mile in circumference; it is covered with evergreen trees, and the emperor, being very fond of horticulture, whenever he hears of a fine tree, sends for it and has it brought by his elephants, with the roots and surrounding soil, the size of the tree being no impediment, and thus he has the finest collection of trees in the world. The hill is called 'green hill,' from its being covered with evergreen trees and green turf, and on the top of the hill is a house. This hill is altogether so beautiful that it is the admiration of every one."

After Marco Polo has concluded his description of this palace, he gives one of that of the emperor's son and heir; then he speaks of the town of Cambaluc, the old town which is separated from the modern town of Taidu by a canal, the same which divides the Chinese and Tartar quarters of Pekin. The traveller gives many particulars of the emperor's habits, and among other things, he says that Kublaï-Khan has a body-guard of 2000 horse-soldiers; but he adds, "it is not fear that causes him to keep this guard." His meals are real ceremonies, and etiquette is most rigidly enforced. His table is raised above the others, and he always sits on the north side with his principal wife on his right, and lower down his sons, nephews, and relations; he is waited upon by noble barons, who are careful to envelope their mouths and noses in fine cloth of gold, "so that their breath and their odour may not contaminate the food or drink of their lord." When the emperor is about to drink, a band of music plays, and when he takes the cup in his hand, all the barons and every one present, fall on their knees.

The principal fêtes given by the grand khan were on the anniversary of his birth, and on the first day of the year. At the first, 12,000 barons were accustomed to assemble round the throne, and to them were presented annually 150,000 garments made of gold and silk and ornamented with pearls, whilst the subjects, idolaters as well as Christians, offered up public prayers. At the second of these fêtes, on the first day of the year, the whole population, men and women alike, appeared dressed in white, following the tradition that white brings good fortune, and every one brought gifts to the king of great value. One hundred thousand richly-caparisoned horses, five thousand elephants covered with handsome cloths and carrying the imperial plate, as well as a large number of camels, passed in procession before the emperor.

During the three winter months of December, January, and February, when the khan is living in his winter palace, all the nobles within a radius of sixty days' march are obliged to supply him with boars, stags, fallow-deer, roes, and bears. Besides, Kublaï is a great huntsman himself, and his hunting-train is superbly mounted and kept up. He has leopards, lynxes and fine lions trained to hunt for wild animals, eagles strong enough to chase wolves, foxes, fallow and roe-deer, and, as Marco Polo says, "often to take them too," and his dogs may be counted by thousands. It is about March when the emperor begins his principal hunting in the direction of the sea, and he is accompanied by no less than 10,000 falconers, 500 gerfalcons, and many goshawks, peregrine, and sacred falcons. During the hunting excursion, a portable palace, covered outside with lions' skins and inside with cloth of gold, and carried on four elephants harnessed together, accompanies the emperor everywhere, who seems to enjoy all this oriental pomp and display. He goes as far as the camp of Chachiri-Mongou, which is situated on a stream, a tributary of the river Amoor, and the tent is set up, which is large enough to hold ten thousand nobles. This is his reception-saloon where he gives audiences; and when he wishes to sleep he goes into a tent which is hung all round with ermine and sable furs of almost priceless value. The emperor lives thus till about Easter, hunting cranes, swans, hares, stags, roebucks, &c., and then returns to his capital, Cambaluc.

Marco Polo now completes his description of this fine city and enumerates the twelve quarters it contains, in many of which the rich merchants have their palatial houses, for commerce flourishes in this town, and more valuable merchandise is brought to it than to any other in the world. It is the depôt and market for the richest productions of India, such as pearls and precious stones, and merchants come from long distances round to purchase them. The khan has established a mint here for the benefit of trade, and it is an inexhaustible source of revenue to him. The bank-notes, sealed with the emperor's seal, are made of a kind of card-board manufactured from the bark of the mulberry-tree. The card-board thus prepared is cut into various thicknesses according to the value of the money it is supposed to represent. The currency of this money is enforced, none daring to refuse it "on pain of death;" the emperor using it in all his payments, and enforcing its circulation throughout his dominions. Besides this, several times in the year the possessors of precious stones, pearls, gold, or silver, are obliged to bring their treasures to the mint and receive in exchange for them these pieces of card-board, so that, in fact, the emperor becomes the possessor of all the riches in his empire.

According to Marco Polo the system of the Imperial Government was wonderfully centralized. "The kingdom is divided into thirty-four provinces, and is governed by twelve of the greatest barons living in Cambaluc; in the same palace also reside the intendants and secretaries, who conduct the business of each province. From this central city a great number of roads diverge to the various parts of the kingdom, and on these roads are now post-houses stationed at intervals of twenty-two miles, where well-mounted messengers are always ready to carry the emperor's messages. Besides this, at every three miles on the road there is a little hamlet of about fourteen houses where the couriers live, who carry messages on foot; these men wear a belt round their waists and have a girdle with bells attached to it, that are heard at a long distance; they start at a gallop, quickly accomplishing the three miles and giving the message to the courier who is waiting for it at the next hamlet; thus the emperor receives news from places at long distances from the capital in a comparatively short time." This mode of communication also involved but small expense to Kublaï-Khan, as the only remuneration he gave these couriers was their exemption from taxation, and as to the horses, they were furnished gratuitously by the provinces.

But if the emperor used his power in this manner to lay heavy burdens upon his subjects, he exerted himself actively for their good, and was always ready to help them; for instance, when their crops were damaged by hail-storms, he not only remitted all taxes, but gave them corn from his own stores, and when there was any great mortality among the flocks and herds in any particular province, he always replaced them at his own expense. He was careful to have a large quantity of wheat, barley, millet, and rice, stored up in years of abundant harvest, so as to keep the price of grain at a uniform rate when the harvest failed. He was particularly careful of the poor who lived in Cambaluc. "He had a list made of all the poorest houses in the town, where they were usually short of food, and supplied them liberally with wheat and other grain according to the size of their families, and bread was never refused to any applying at the palace for it; it is computed that at least 30,000 persons avail themselves of this daily throughout the year. His kindness to his poor subjects makes them almost worship him." The whole affairs of the empire are administered with great care, the roads well kept up and planted with fine trees, so that from a distance their direction can easily be traced. There is no want of wood, and in Cathay they work a number of coal-pits which supply abundance of coal.

Map of the World according to Marco Polo's ideas

Marco Polo remained a long time at Cambaluc, and his intelligence, spirit, and readiness in adapting himself, made him a great favourite with the emperor. He was intrusted with various missions, not only in China, but also to places on the coast of India, Ceylon, the Coromandel and Malabar coasts, and a part of Cochin-China near Cambogia, and between the years 1277 and 1280 he was made governor of Yang-tcheou, and of twenty-seven other towns which were joined with it under the same government. Thanks to the missions on which he was sent, he travelled over an immense extent of country, and gained a great amount of ethnological and geographical knowledge. We can now follow him map in hand through some of these journeys, which were of the greatest service to science.



III.
MARCO POLO.
Tso-cheu—Tai-yen-fou—Pin-yang-fou—The Yellow River—Signan-fou—Szu-tchouan—Ching-tu-fou—Thibet—Li-kiang-fou—Carajan—Yung-tchang—Mien—Bengal—Annam—Tai-ping—Cintingui—Sindifoo—Té-cheu—Tsi-nan-fou—Lin-tsin-choo—Lin-sing—Mangi—Yang-tcheu-fou—Towns on the coast—Quin-say or Hang-tcheou-foo—Fo-kien.

When Marco Polo had been at Cambaluc some time, he was sent on a mission that kept him absent from the capital for four months. Ten miles southwards from Cambaluc, he crossed the fine river Pe-ho-nor (which he calls the Pulisanghi), by a stone bridge of twenty-four arches, and 300 feet in length, which was then without parallel in the world. Thirty miles further on he came to the town of Tso-cheu, where a large trade in sandal-wood is carried on; at ten days' journey from hence he came to the modern town of Tai-yen-fou, which was once the seat of an independent government. All the province of Shan-si seemed rich in vines and mulberry-trees; the principal industry in the towns was the making of armour for the emperor's use.

A fine bridge of stone built on twenty-four arches
A fine bridge of stone built on twenty-four arches.

Seven days' journey further on they came to the beautiful commercial city of Pianfou, now called Pin-yang-foo, where the manufacture of silk was carried on. He soon afterwards came to the banks of the Yellow River, which he calls Caramoran or Black River, probably on account of its waters being darkened by the aquatic plants growing in them; at two days' journey from hence he came to the town of Cacianfu, whose position is not now clearly defined. He found nothing remarkable in this town, and leaving it he rode across a beautiful country, covered with towns, country-houses, and gardens, and abounding in game.

In eight days he reached the fine city of Quangianfoo, the ancient capital of the Tâng dynasty, now called Signanfoo, and the capital of Shensi; here reigned Prince Mangalai, the emperor's son, an upright and amiable prince, much loved by his people. He lived in a magnificent palace outside the town, built in the midst of a park, of which the battlemented wall cannot have been less than five miles in circumference.

From Signanfoo, the traveller went towards Thibet, across the modern province of Szu-tchouan, a mountainous country intersected by deep valleys, where lions, bears, lynxes, &c., abounded, and after twenty-eight days' march he found himself on the borders of the great plain of Acmelic-mangi. This is a fertile country and produces all kinds of vegetation; ginger is especially cultivated; there is sufficient to supply all the province of Cathay, and so fertile is the soil that according to a French traveller, M. E. Simon, an acre is now worth 15,000 francs, or three francs the metre. In the thirteenth century this plain was covered with towns and country-houses, and the inhabitants lived upon the fruits of the ground, and the produce of their flocks and herds, while the large quantity of game furnished hunters with abundant occupation.

Marco Polo next visited the town of Sindafou (now Tching-too-foo), the capital of the province of Se-tchu-an, whose population at the present day exceeds 1,500,000 souls. Sindafu, measuring at that time twenty miles round, was divided into three parts, each surrounded with its own wall, and each part had a king of its own before Kublaï-Khan took possession of the town. The great river Kiang ran through the town: it contained large quantities of fish, and from its size resembled a sea more than a river; its waters were covered by a vast number of vessels. Five days after leaving this busy, thriving town Marco Polo reached the province of Thibet, which he says "is very desolate, for it has been destroyed by the war."

Thibet abounds in lions, bears, and other savage animals, from which the travellers would have much difficulty in defending themselves had it not been for the quantity of large thick canes that grow there, which are probably bamboos: he says, "the merchants and travellers passing through these countries at night collect a quantity of these canes and make a large fire of them, for when they are burning they make such a noise and crackle so much, that the lions, bears, and other wild beasts take flight to a distance, and would not approach these fires on any account; thus both men, horses, and camels are safe. In another way, too, protection is afforded by throwing a number of these canes on a wood fire, and when they become heated and split, and the sap hisses, the sound is heard at least ten miles off. When any one is not accustomed to this noise, it is so terrifying that even the horses will break away from their cords and tethers; so their owners often bandage their eyes and tie their feet together to prevent their running away." This method of burning canes is still used in countries where the bamboo grows, and indeed the noise may be compared to the loudest explosion of fire-works.

According to Marco Polo, Thibet is a very large province, having its own language; and its inhabitants, who are idolaters, are a race of bold thieves. A large river, the Khin-cha-kiang, flows over auriferous sands through the province; a quantity of coral is found in it which is much used for idols, and for the adornment of the women. Thibet was at this time under the dominion of the great khan.

The traveller took a westerly direction when he left Sindafou, and crossing the kingdom of Gaindu he must have come to Li-kiang-foo, the capital of the country that is now called Tsi-mong. In this province he visited a beautiful lake which produces pearl-oysters; the fishing is the emperor's property; he also found great quantities of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and other spices under cultivation.

After leaving the province of Gaindu, and crossing a large river, probably the Irrawaddy, Marco Polo took a south-easterly course to the province of Carajan, which probably forms the north-western part of Yunnan. According to his account all the inhabitants of this province, who are mostly great riders, live on the raw flesh of fowls, sheep, buffaloes, and oxen; the rich seasoning their raw meat with garlic sauce and good spices. This country is infested with great adders, and serpents, "hideous to look upon." These reptiles, probably alligators, were ten feet long, had two legs armed with claws, and with their large heads and great jaws could at one gulp swallow a man.

Five days' journey west of Carajan, Marco Polo took a new route to the south, and entered the province of Zardandan, whose capital Nocian, is the modern town of Yung-chang. All the inhabitants of the city had teeth of gold; that is to say, they covered their teeth with little plates of gold which they removed before eating. The men of this province employed themselves only in hunting, catching birds, and making war, the hard work all devolving upon the women and slaves. These Zardanians have neither idols nor churches, but they each worship their ancestor, the patriarch of the family. Their tradesmen carry their goods about on barrows like the bakers in France. They have no doctors, but only enchanters, who jump, dance, and play musical instruments around the invalid's bed till he either dies or recovers.

Marco Polo in the midst of the forests
Marco Polo in the midst of the forests.

Leaving these people with gilded teeth, Marco Polo took the great road which conveys all the traffic between India and Indo-China, and passed by Bhamo, where a market is held three times a week, which attracts merchants from the most distant countries. After riding for fifteen days through forests filled with elephants, unicorns, and other wild animals, he came to the great city of Mien; that is to say, to that part of Upper Burmah, of which the present capital, of recent erection, is called Amarapura. This city of Mien, which may be, perhaps, the old town of Ava now in ruins, or the old town of Paghan situated on the Irrawaddy, possessed a veritable architectural marvel, in two towers, one built of fine stone, and entirely covered with a coating of gold about an inch in thickness, and the other, also of stone, coated with silver, both intended to serve as a tomb for the king of Mien, before his kingdom fell under the dominion of the khan. After visiting this province, the traveller went to Bangala, the Bengal of the present day, which at this time, 1290, did not belong to Kublaï-Khan. The emperor's forces were then engaged in trying to conquer this fertile country, rich in cotton plants, in sugar-canes, &c., and whose magnificent oxen were like elephants in height. From thence, the traveller ventured as far as the city of Cancigu, in the province of the same name, probably the modern town of Kassaye. The natives here tattooed their bodies, and with needles drew pictures of lions, dragons, and birds on their faces, necks, bellies, hands, legs, and bodies, and he who had the greatest number of these pictures they considered the most beautiful of human beings.

Cancigu was the most southerly point visited by Marco Polo, during this journey. Leaving this city, he went towards the north-east, and by the country of Amu, Anam, and Tonkin, he reached Toloman, now called Tai-ping, after fifteen days' march. There he found that fine race of men, of dark colour, who have crowned their mountains with strong castles, and whose ordinary food is the flesh of animals, milk, rice, and spices.

On leaving Toloman, he followed the course of a river for twelve days, and found numerous towns on its banks. Here, as M. Charton truly observes, the traveller is leaving the country known as India beyond the Ganges, and returning towards China. In fact, Marco Polo after leaving Toloman visited the province of Guigui with its capital of the same name, and what struck him most in this country, (and we cannot but think that the bold explorer was also a keen hunter) was the great number of lions that were to be seen about its mountains and plains. Only, commentators are of opinion that the lions he speaks of must have been tigers, for no lions are found in China, but we will give his own words: he says, "There are so many lions in this country, that it is not safe to sleep out of doors for fear of being devoured. And when you are on the river and stop for the night, you must be careful to anchor far from land, for otherwise the lions come to the vessel, seize upon a man, and devour him. The inhabitants of this part of the country are well aware of this, and so take measures to guard against it. These lions are very large and very dangerous, but there are dogs in this country brave enough to attack these lions; it requires two dogs and a man to overcome each lion."

From this province Marco Polo returned to Sindifu, the capital of the province of Se-chuen, whence he had started on his excursion into Thibet; and retracing the route by which he had set out, he returned to Kublaï-Khan, after having brought his mission to Indo-China to a satisfactory termination. It was probably at this time that the traveller was first entrusted by the emperor with another mission to the south-east of China. M. Pauthier, in his fine work upon the Venetian traveller, speaks of this south-easterly part of China as "the richest and most flourishing quarter of this vast empire and that also about which, since the 16th century, Europeans have had the most information."

As we return to the route that M. Pauthier has traced on his map, we find that Marco Polo went southwards to Ciangli, probably the town of Ti-choo, and at six days' journey from thence he came to Condinfoo, the present city of Tsi-nan, the capital of the province of Shan-tung, the birthplace of Confucius. It was at that time a fine town and much frequented by silk-merchants, and its beautiful gardens produced abundance of excellent fruit. Three days' march from hence, the traveller came to the town of Lin-tsing, standing at the mouth of the Yu-ho canal, the principal rendezvous for the innumerable boats that carry so much merchandise to the provinces of Mangi and Cathay. Eight days afterwards he passed by Ligui, which seems to correspond to the modern town of Lin-tsin, and the town of Piceu, the first city in the province of Tchang-su; then by the town of Cingui, he arrived at Caramoran, the Yellow River, which he had crossed higher up when he was on his way to Indo-China; here Marco Polo was not more than a league from the mouth of this great river. After crossing it he was in the province of Mangi, a territory included in the Empire of the Soongs.

Before this province of Mangi belonged to Kublaï-Khan it was governed by a very pacific king, who shunned war, and was very merciful to all his subjects. Marco Polo describes him so well that we will quote his own words. "This last emperor of the Soong dynasty was most generous, and I will cite but two noble traits to show this; every year he had nearly 20,000 infants brought up at the royal charge, for it was the custom in these provinces, when a poor woman could not bring up a child herself, to cast it away as soon as it was born, to die. The king had all these children taken care of, and a record kept of the sign and the planet under which each was born, and then they were sent to different places to be brought up, for there are a quantity of nurses. When a rich man had no sons, he came to the king and asked of him some of his wards, who were immediately given to him. As the children grew up they intermarried, and the king gave them sufficient incomes to live upon. When he went through his dominions and saw a small house among several much larger ones, he inquired why this house was smaller than those near it, and if he found it was on account of the poverty of the owner, he immediately had it made as large as the others at his own expense. He was always waited upon by a thousand pages and a thousand girls. He kept up such rigorous discipline throughout his kingdom that there was never any crime; at night, houses and shops remained open, and nothing was taken from them, and travelling was as safe by night as by day."

Marco Polo came first to the town of Coigangui, now called Hoang-fou, on the banks of the Yellow River, where the principal industry is the preparation of the salt found in the salt marshes. One day's journey from this town he came to Pau-in-chen, famous for its cloth of gold, and the town of Caiu, now Kao-yu, whose inhabitants are clever fishermen and hunters, then to the city of Tai-cheu, where numerous vessels are generally to be found, and at last to the city of Yangui.

This town of Yangui, of which Marco Polo was the governor for three years, is the modern Yang-tchou; it is a very populous and busy town, and cannot be less than two leagues in circumference. It was from Yangui that the traveller set out on the various expeditions which enabled him to see so much of the inland and sea-coast towns.

First, the traveller went westward to Nan-ghin, which must not be confounded with Nan-kin of the present day. Its modern name is Ngan-khing, and it stands in the midst of a remarkably fertile province. Further on in the same direction he came to Saianfu, which is now called Siang-yang, and is built in the northern part of the province of Hou-pe. This was the last town in the province of Mangi that resisted the dominion of Kublaï-Khan; he besieged it for three years, and he owed his taking it at last to the help of the three Polos, who constructed some powerful balistas and crushed the besieged under a perfect hail-storm of stones, some of which weighed as much as three hundred pounds. From Saianfu Marco Polo retraced his steps that he might visit some of the towns on the sea-coast. He visited Kui-kiang on the river Kiang, which is very broad here, and upon which 5000 ships can sail at the same moment; Kain-gui, which supplies the Emperor's palace with corn; Ching-kiang where are two Nestorian Christian churches; Ginguigui, now Tchang-tcheou, a busy thriving city; and Singui, now called Soo-choo, a large town, which, according to the very exaggerated account of the Venetian traveller, has no less than 6000 bridges.

After spending some time at Vugui, probably Hou-tcheou, and at Ciangan, now Kia-hing, Marco Polo reached the fine city of Quinsay, after three days' march. This name means the "City of Heaven," but it is now called Hang-chow-foo. It is six leagues round; the river Tsien-tang-kiang flows through it, and by its constant windings, makes Quinsay almost a second Venice. This ancient capital of the Soongs is almost as populous as Pekin; its streets are paved with stones and bricks, and if we may credit Marco Polo's statement, it contained "600,000 houses, 4000 bathing establishments, and 12,000 stone bridges." In this city dwell the richest merchants in the world with their wives, who are "beautiful and angelic creatures." It is the residence of a viceroy, who has besides, 140 other cities under his dominion. Here was to be seen also the palace of the Mangi sovereigns surrounded by beautiful gardens, lakes, and fountains, the palace itself containing more than a thousand rooms. Kublaï-Khan draws immense revenues from this town and province, and it is by tens of thousands of pounds we must reckon the income derived from the sugar, salt, spices, and silk, which form the principal productions of this country. At one day's journey south from Quinsay, Marco Polo visited Chao-hing, Vugui, or Hou-tcheou, Ghengui or Kui-tcheou, Cianscian or Yo-tcheou-fou (according to M. Charton), and Sonï-tchang-fou (according to M. Pauthier), and Cugui or Kiou-tcheou, the last town in the kingdom of Quinsay; thence he entered the kingdom of Fugui, whose chief town of the same name is now called Fou-tcheou-foo, the capital of the province of Fo-kien. According to Marco Polo, the inhabitants of this province are a cruel warlike race, never sparing their enemies, of whom, after they have killed them, they drink the blood and eat the flesh. After passing by Quenlifu, now Kien-ning-foo, and Unguen, the traveller entered Fugui, probably the modern town of Kuant-tcheou (called Canton amongst us), and the chief town of the province, where a large trade in pearls and precious stones was carried on, and in five days he reached the port of Zaitem, probably the Chinese town of Tsiuen-tcheou, which was the extreme point reached by him in this exploration of south-eastern China.



IV.
MARCO POLO.
Japan—Departure of the three Venetians with the Emperor's daughter and the Persian ambassadors—Sai-gon—Java—Condor—Bintang—Sumatra—The Nicobar Islands—Ceylon—The Coromandel coast—The Malabar coast—The Sea of Oman—The island of Socotra—Madagascar—Zanzibar and the coast of Africa—Abyssinia—Yemen—Hadramaut and Oman—Ormuz—The return to Venice—A feast in the household of Polo—Marco Polo a Genoese prisoner—Death of Marco Polo about 1323.

Marco Polo returned to the court of Kublaï-Khan when he had finished the expedition of which we spoke in the last chapter. He was then entrusted with several other missions, in which he found his knowledge of the Turkish, Chinese, Mongolian, and Mantchorian languages of the greatest use. He seems to have taken part in an expedition to the islands in the Indian Ocean, and he brought back a detailed account of this hitherto little known sea. There is a want of clearness as to dates at this part of his life, which makes it difficult to give a correct narrative of these voyages in their right order. He gives a circumstantial account of the Island of Cipango, a name applying to the group of islands which make up Japan; but it does not appear that he actually entered that kingdom. This country was famous for its wealth, and about 1264, some years before Marco Polo arrived at the Tartar court, Kublaï-Khan had tried to conquer it and sent his fleet there with that purpose. They had taken possession of a citadel and put all its valiant defenders to the edge of the sword, but just at the moment of apparent victory a storm arose and dispersed all the enemy's fleet, and thus the expedition was useless. Marco Polo gives a long account of this attempt, and adds many curious particulars as to Japanese customs.

Marco Polo, with his father and uncle, had now been seventeen years in the service of Kublaï-Khan, and even longer absent from their own country; they had a great wish to revisit it, but the Emperor had become so much attached to them, and valued their services so highly, that he could not make up his mind to part with them. He tried in every way to shake their resolution, offering them riches and honour if only they would remain with him, but they still held to their plan of returning to Europe; the Emperor then absolutely refused to allow them to go, and Marco Polo could find no means of eluding the surveillance of which he was the object, until circumstances arose which quite changed Kublaï-Khan's resolution.

A Mongol prince, named Arghun, whose dominions were in Persia, had sent an ambassador to the Emperor to ask one of the princesses of the blood royal, in marriage. Kublaï-Khan acceded to his request and sent off his daughter Cogatra to Prince Arghun, attended by a numerous suite; but the countries by which they endeavoured to travel were not safe; the caravan was soon stopped by disturbances and rebellions, and after some months was obliged to return to the Emperor's palace. The Persian ambassadors had heard Marco Polo spoken of as a clever navigator who had had some experience of the Indian Ocean, and they begged the Emperor to confide the Princess Cogatra to his care, that he might conduct her to her future husband, thinking that the voyage by sea would probably be attended by less danger than a land journey.

After some demur Kublaï-Khan acceded to their request, and equipped a fleet of forty four-masted vessels, provisioning them for two years. Some of these were very large, having a crew of 250 men, for this was an important expedition worthy of the opulent Emperor of China. Matteo, Nicolo, and Marco Polo set out with the Chinese princess and the Persian ambassadors, and it was during this voyage, which lasted eighteen months, that it seems most probable that Marco Polo visited the islands of Sunda and other islands in the Indian Ocean, as well as Ceylon and the towns on the coast of India. We will follow him in his voyage and give his description of the places that he visited in this hitherto little known portion of the globe.

Kublaï-Khan equips a fleet
Kublaï-Khan equips a fleet.

It must have been about 1291 or 1292 that the fleet left the port of Zaitem, under the command of Marco Polo. He steered first for Tchampa, a great country situated at the south of Cochin China, and which contains the present province of Saïgon, belonging to France. This was not a new country to Marco Polo, as he had visited it about 1280, when he was on a mission for the Emperor. At this time, Tchampa was under the dominion of the grand khan, and paid him an annual tribute in elephants; when Marco Polo visited this country before its conquest by Kublaï-Khan, he found the reigning king had no less than 326 children, of whom 150 were old enough to carry arms.

Leaving the peninsula of Cambodia, the fleet went in the direction of Java, the rich island that Kublaï-Khan had never been able to subjugate, where abundance of pepper, cloves, nutmegs, &c., grew. After putting into port at Condor and Sandur, at the extremity of the peninsular of Cochin China, they reached the island of Pentam (Bintang), situated near the eastern entrance of the straits of Malacca, and the island of Sumatra, called Little Java. "This island is so much in the south," he says, "that they never see there the polar star," which is true as far as the inhabitants of the southern part are concerned. It is very fertile, aloes growing most luxuriantly; and here wild elephants and rhinoceroses (called by Marco Polo unicorns) are found, and apes, too, in large numbers. The fleet was detained five months on these shores by contrary winds, and the traveller made the most of his time in visiting the principal provinces of the island, such as Samara, Dagraian, and Labrin (which boasts a great number of men with tails—evidently apes), and the island of Fandur or Panchor, where the sago-tree grows, from which a kind of flour is obtained that makes very good bread.

At last the wind changed, and enabled the vessels to leave Little Java, and after touching at Necaran, which must be one of the Nicobar Islands, and at the Andaman group, whose inhabitants are still cannibals, as they were in the time of Marco Polo, the fleet took a south-westerly course and arrived on the coast of Ceylon. "This island," says the traveller in his narrative, "was once much larger, for according to the map of the world that the pilots of these seas carry, it was once 3600 miles in circumference but the north wind blows with such force in these parts that it caused a part of the island to be submerged." This tradition is still held by the inhabitants of Ceylon. Here are collected in abundance, rubies, sapphires, topaz, amethysts, and other precious stones, such as garnets, opals, agates, and sardonyx. The king of the country was the possessor at this time of a most splendid ruby as long as the palm of the hand, as thick as a man's arm, and red as fire, which excited the envy of the grand khan, who vainly tried to induce its possessor to part with it, offering a whole city in exchange, but that could not tempt the King to let him have the jewel.

Sixty miles west of Ceylon the travellers came to Maabar, a great province on the coast of India. This must not be mistaken for Malabar, which is situated on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. This Maabar forms the southern part of the Coromandel coast, and is celebrated for its pearl fisheries. Here the magicians are at work, and are said to render the monsters of the deep harmless to the fishermen; they are astrologers whose race is perpetuated even to modern times. Marco Polo gives some interesting details of the customs of the natives, one is that when a king dies, the nobles throw themselves into the fire in his honour; another strange custom is that of the religious purifications twice every day, and their blind faith in astrologers and diviners; he also speaks of the frequency of religious suicides, and the sacrifice of widows whom the funeral pile awaits on the death of their husbands. He also notices the skill in physiognomy evinced by the natives.

The next resting-place of the fleet was Muftili, of which the capital is now called Masulipatam, the chief city of the kingdom of Golconda. This country was well governed by a queen, a widow for forty years, who desired to remain faithful to the memory of her husband. The country contained many valuable diamond mines, but these were unfortunately among mountains where serpents abounded; the miners had recourse to a strange device when collecting the precious stones, to protect themselves from these reptiles, which we may believe or not as we choose. Marco Polo says: "They take several pieces of meat, and throw them among the pointed rocks, where no man can go, and the meat, falling upon the diamonds, they become attached to it. Now, among these mountains live a number of white eagles, who hunt the serpents, and when they see the meat at the foot of the precipices they swoop down and carry it away. At the moment the men who have been following the eagles' movements see them alight to eat the meat, they raise fearful cries, the meat is dropped and the eagles take to flight, and thus the men have no difficulty in taking the diamonds that are attached to the meat. Diamonds are often found on the mountains, mingled with the excrement of the eagles."

After visiting the small town of St. Thomas, situated some miles to the south of Madras, where St. Thomas the apostle is said to be buried, the travellers explored the kingdom of Maabar and especially the province of Lar, from whence spring all the "Abrahamites" of the world, probably the Brahmins. These men, he says, live to a great age, owing to their abstinence and sobriety; some have been known to attain 150 and even 200 years of age; their diet is principally rice and milk, and they drink a mixture of sulphur and quicksilver. These "Abrahamites" are clever merchants, superstitious, however, but remarkably sincere, and never guilty of theft of any kind; they never kill any living thing, and they worship the ox, which is a sacred animal among them.

The fleet now returned to Ceylon, where in 1284 Kublaï-Khan had sent an ambassador who had brought him back some pretended relics of Adam, and among other things two of his molar teeth; for, if we can believe the Saracen traditions, the tomb of our first father must have been on the summit of one of the precipitous mountains, which forms the highest ground in the island. After losing sight of Ceylon, Marco Polo went to Cail, a port that we do not find marked on any of the modern maps, but a place where all the vessels touched coming from Ormuz, Kiss, Aden, and the coasts of Arabia. Thence doubling Cape Comorin they came to Coilum, now Quilon, which was a very thriving city in the thirteenth century. It is there that a great quantity of sandal-wood and indigo is found, and merchants come in large numbers from the Levant and from the West to trade in both. The country of Malabar produces a great quantity of rice, and wild animals are found there, such as leopards, which Marco Polo calls "black lions," also peacocks of much greater beauty than those of Europe, as well as different kinds of parroquets.

The fleet, leaving Coilum, and advancing northwards along the Malabar coast, arrived at the shores of the kingdom of Maundallay, which derives its name from a mountain situated on the borders of Kanara and Malabar; here pepper, ginger, saffron, and other spices abound. To the north of this kingdom extended that country which the Venetian traveller calls Melibar, and which is situated to the north of Malabar proper. The vessels of the Mangalore merchants came here to trade with the natives of this part of India for cargoes of spices, a fine kind of cloth called buckram and other valuable wares; but their vessels were frequently attacked, and too often pillaged by the pirates who infested these seas, and who were justly regarded as formidable enemies. These pirates principally inhabit the peninsula of Gohourat, now called Gujerat, where the fleet was on its way after calling at Tana—a country where is collected the frankincense—and Canboat, now Kambay, a town where there is a great trade in leather. Visiting Sumenath, a city of the peninsula, whose inhabitants are cruel, ferocious, and idolaters, and Kesmacoran, the modern city of Kedje, the capital of Makran, situated on the Indus near the sea, and the last town in India on the northwest, Marco Polo went westward across the sea of Oman, instead of going to Persia, which was the destination of the princess.

His insatiable love of exploration led him 500 miles away to the shores of Arabia, where he stopped at the Male and Female Islands, so called from the men usually living on one island, and their wives on the other. Thence they sailed to the south towards the island of Socotra, at the entrance of the Gulf of Aden, which, Marco Polo partially explored. He speaks of the inhabitants of Socotra as clever magicians, who, by their enchantments, obtain the fulfilment of all their wishes as well as the power of stilling storms and tempests. Then, taking a southerly course of 1000 miles, he arrived at the shores of Madagascar. This island appeared to him to be one of the grandest in the world. Its inhabitants are very much occupied with commerce, especially in elephants' tusks. They live principally upon camels' flesh, which is better and more wholesome food than any other. The merchants on their way from the coast of India are usually only twenty days crossing the Sea of Oman; but when they return they are often three months on the voyage on account of the opposing currents which take them always southwards. Nevertheless, they visit Madagascar very constantly, for there are whole forests of sandal-wood, and amber is also found there, from which they can obtain great profit by bartering it for gold and silk stuffs. Wild animals and game are plentiful; according to Marco Polo, leopards, bears, lions, wild boars, giraffes, wild asses, roebucks, deer, stags, and cattle were to be found in great numbers; but what seemed most marvellous of all to him was the fabulous griffin, the roc, of which we hear so much in the "Thousand and one Nights," which is not, he says, "an animal, half-lion and half-bird, able to raise and carry away an elephant in its claws." It was probably the "epyornis maximus," for some eggs of this bird are still to be found in Madagascar.

This wonderful bird was probably the epyornis maximus
This wonderful bird was probably the epyornis maximus.

From this island Marco Polo went in a north-westerly direction to Zanzibar and the coast of Africa. The inhabitants seemed to him remarkably stout, but strong and able to carry the burdens of four ordinary men, "which is not strange," he says, "for they each eat as much as five other men;" these natives were black and wore no clothing, they had large mouths and turned-up noses, thick lips, and large eyes, a description that agrees exactly with that of the natives of that part of Africa now. They live upon rice, meat, milk, and dates, and make a kind of wine of rice, sugar, and spices. They are brave warriors and fearless of death; they are usually in war mounted on camels and elephants, and armed with a leathern shield, a sword, and a lance; they give their animals an intoxicating drink to excite them on going into action.

In Marco Polo's time, says M. Charton, the countries comprised under the title of India were divided into three parts; Greater India or Hindostan, that is, the country lying between the Indus and the Ganges; Lesser India, that is, all the country lying beyond the Ganges, between the western coast of the peninsula and the coast of Cochin China; lastly, Middle India, that is, Abyssinia and the Arabian coast to the Persian Gulf. After leaving Zanzibar it was Middle India whose coast Marco Polo explored, sailing towards the north, and first Abassy or Abyssinia, a fertile country where the manufacture of fine cotton cloths and buckram is largely carried on. Then the fleet went to Zaila, almost at the entrance of the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, and at last by the coast of Yemen and Hadramaut they came to Aden, the port frequented by all the ships trading with India and China; then to Escier, whence a great quantity of fine horses are exported; Dafar, which produces incense of the finest quality, and Galatu, now Kalajate, on the coast of Oman; then to Ormuz, that Marco Polo had visited once before when he was on his way from Venice to the court of Kublaï-Khan. This was the furthest point that the fleet had to reach, as the princess was now on the borders of Persia, after a voyage of eighteen months. But on their arrival they were met by the sad news of the death of Prince Arghun, the fiancé of the princess, and they found the country involved in civil war. The poor princess was put under the care of Prince Ghazan, the son of Prince Arghun, who did not ascend the throne until 1295, when his uncle, the usurper, was strangled. What became of the princess we do not hear, but on parting with Nicolo, Matteo, and Marco Polo, she bestowed on them great marks of favour. It was probably during Marco Polo's residence in Persia that he collected some curious documents upon Turkey in Asia; they are disconnected pieces, which he gives at the close of his narrative, and they form a genuine history of the Mongol Khans of Persia. His travels for exploration were at an end, and after taking leave of the Tartar princess, the three Venetians well escorted, and with all expenses paid, set out on their way home. They went to Trebizond, then to Constantinople, and thence to Negropont, where they embarked for Venice.

It was in the year 1295, twenty-four years after leaving it, that Marco Polo and his companions returned to their native town. They were bronzed by exposure to the air and sun, coarsely clad in Tartar costume, and both in manners and language were so much more Mongolian than Venetian, that even their nearest relatives failed to recognize them. Beyond this, a report had been widely spread that they were dead, and it had gained so much credence that their friends never expected to see them again. They went to their own house in the part of Venice called St. John Chrysostom, and found it occupied by different members of the Polo family, who received the travellers with every mark of distrust, which their pitiable appearance did not tend to lessen, and placed no faith in the somewhat marvellous stories related to them by Marco Polo. After some persuasion, however, they gained admittance into their own house. When they had been a few days in Venice, the three travellers gave a magnificent banquet, followed by a splendid fête, to do away with any remaining doubts as to their identity. They invited the nobility of Venice and all the members of their own family, and when all the guests were assembled the three hosts appeared dressed in crimson satin robes; the guests then entered the dining-room, and the feast began. After the first course was over the three travellers retired for a few moments and then reappeared, clad in robes of splendid silk damask, which they proceeded to tear, and to present each of their guests with a piece. After the second course they dressed themselves in even more splendid robes of crimson velvet, which they wore until the feast was over, when they appeared in simple Venetian costume. The astonished guests marvelled at the magnificence of these garments, and wondered what their hosts would next show them; then the coarse rough clothes that they had worn on the voyage were brought in, and when the linings and seams were undone, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, and carbuncles of great value were poured forth from them; great riches had been hidden in these rags. This unexpected sight cleared away all doubt; the three travellers were recognized at once as Marco, Nicolo, and Matteo Polo, and congratulations upon their return were showered upon them.

So celebrated a man as Marco Polo could not escape civic honours. He was made first magistrate in Venice, and as he was continually speaking of the "millions" of the Grand Khan, who commanded "millions" of subjects, he gained the soubriquet of Signor Million.

It was about 1296 that a war broke out between Venice and Genoa. A Genoese fleet under the command of Lamba Doria crossed the Adriatic, and threatened the sea coast. The Venetian Admiral Andrea Dandolo immediately manned a larger fleet and entrusted the command of a galley to Marco Polo who was justly considered an able commander. The Venetians were beaten in a naval battle on the 8th of September, 1296, and Marco Polo, badly wounded, fell into the hands of the Genoese, who, knowing and appreciating the value of their prisoner, treated him with great kindness. He was taken to Genoa, and there met with a hearty welcome from the most distinguished people, who were anxious to hear the account of his travels. It was during his captivity, in 1298, that he made acquaintance with Pisano Rusticien, and, tired of repeating his story again and again, dictated his narrative to him.

About 1299 Marco Polo was set at liberty; he returned to Venice, and there married. From this time we hear no more of the incidents of his life, and only know from his will that he left three daughters; he is thought to have died about the 9th of January, 1323, at the age of seventy.

Such is the life of this celebrated traveller, whose narrative had a marked influence on the progress of geographical science. He was gifted with great power of observation, and could see and describe equally well; and all later explorers have confirmed the truth of his statements. Until the middle of the eighteenth century, the documents founded on this narrative formed the basis of geographical books, and were used as a guide in commercial expeditions to China, India, and Central Asia. Posterity will concur in the suitability of the title that the first copyists gave to Marco Polo's work, that of "The Book of the Wonders of the World."





CHAPTER V.

IBN BATUTA, 1328-1353.
Ibn Batuta—The Nile—Gaza, Tyre, Tiberias, Libanus, Baalbec, Damascus, Meshid, Bussorah, Baghdad, Tabriz, Mecca and Medina—Yemen—Abyssinia—The country of the Berbers—Zanguebar—Ormuz—Syria—Anatolia—Asia Minor—Astrakhan—Constantinople—Turkestan—Herat—The Indus—Delhi—Malabar—The Maldives—Ceylon—The Coromandel coast—Bengal—The Nicobar Islands—Sumatra—China—Africa—The Niger—Timbuctoo.

Marco Polo had returned to his native land now nearly twenty-five years, when a Franciscan monk traversed the whole of Asia, from the Black Sea to the extreme limits of China, passing by Trebizond, Mount Ararat, Babel, and the island of Java; but he was so credulous of all that was told him, and his narrative is so confused, that but little reliance can be placed upon it. It is the same with the fabulous travels of Jean de Mandeville. Cooley says of them, "They are so utterly untrue, that they have not their parallel in any language."

But we find a worthy successor to the Venetian traveller in an Arabian theologian, named Abdallah El Lawati, better known by the name of Ibn Batuta. He did for Egypt, Arabia, Anatolia, Tartary, India, China, Bengal, and Soudan, what Marco Polo had done for Central Asia, and he is worthy to be placed in the foremost rank as a brave traveller and bold explorer. In the year 1324, the 725th year of the Hegira, he resolved to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, and starting from Tangier, his native town, he went first to Alexandria, and thence to Cairo. During his stay in Egypt he turned his attention to the Nile, and especially to the Delta; then he tried to sail up the river, but being stopped by disturbances on the Nubian frontier, he was obliged to return to the mouth of the river, and then set sail for Asia Minor.

Ibn Batuta in Egypt
Ibn Batuta in Egypt.

After visiting Gaza, the tombs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Tyre, then strongly fortified and unassailable on three sides, and Tiberias, which was in ruins, and whose celebrated baths were completely destroyed, Ibn Batuta was attracted by the wonders of Lebanon, the centre for all the hermits of that day, who had judiciously chosen one of the most lovely spots in the whole world wherein to end their days. Then passing Baalbec, and going on to Damascus, he found the city (in the year 1345) decimated by the plague. This fearful scourge devoured "24,000 persons daily," if we may believe his report, and Damascus would have been depopulated, had not the prayers of all the people offered up in the mosque containing the stone with the print of Moses' foot upon it, been heard and answered. On leaving Damascus, Ibn Batuta went to Mesjid, where he visited the tomb of Ali, which attracts a large number of paralytic pilgrims who need only to spend one night in prayer beside it, to be completely cured. Batuta does not seem to doubt the authenticity of this miracle, well known in the East under the title of "the Night of Cure."

From Mesjid, the traveller went to Bussorah, and entered the kingdom of Ispahan, and then the province of Shiraz, where he wished to converse with the celebrated worker of miracles, Magd Oddin. From Shiraz he went to Baghdad, to Tabriz, then to Medina, where he prayed beside the tomb of the Prophet, and finally to Mecca, where he remained three years. It is well known that from Mecca, caravans are continually starting for the surrounding country, and it was in company with some of these bold merchants that Ibn Batuta was able to visit the towns of Yemen. He went as far as Aden, at the mouth of the Red Sea, and embarked for Zaila, one of the Abyssinian ports. He was now once more on African ground, and advanced into the country of the Berbers, that he might study the manners and customs of those dirty and repulsive tribes; he found their diet consisted wholly of fish and camels' flesh. But in the town of Makdasbu, there was an attempt at comfort and civilization, presenting a most agreeable contrast with the surrounding squalor. The inhabitants were very fat, each of them, to use Ibn's own expression, "eating enough to feed a convent;" they were very fond of delicacies, such as plantains boiled in milk, preserved citrons, pods of fresh pepper, and green ginger.

After seeing all he wished of the country of the Berbers, chiefly on the coast, he resolved to go to Zanguebar, and then, crossing the Red Sea and following the coast of Arabia, he came to Zafar, a town situated upon the Indian Ocean. The vegetation of this country is most luxuriant, the betel, cocoa-nut, and incense-trees forming there great forests; still the traveller pushed on, and came to Ormuz on the Persian Gulf, and passed through several provinces of Persia. We find him a second time at Mecca in the year 1332, three years after he had left it.

But this was only to be a short rest for the traveller, for now, leaving Asia for Africa, he went to Upper Egypt, a region but little known, and thence to Cairo. He next visited Syria, making a short stay at Jerusalem and Tripoli, and thence he visited the Turkomans of Anatolia, where the "confraternity of young men" gave him a most hearty welcome.

After Anatolia, the Arabian narrative speaks of Asia Minor. Ibn Batuta advanced as far as Erzeroum, where he was shown an aerolite weighing 620 pounds. Then, crossing the Black Sea, he visited the Crimea, Kaffa, and Bulgar, a town of sufficiently high latitude for the unequal length of day and night to be very marked; and at last he reached Astrakhan, at the mouth of the Volga, where the Khan of Tartary lived during the winter months.

The Princess Bailun, the wife of the khan, and daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople, was wishing to visit her father, and it was an opportunity not to be lost by Ibn Batuta for exploring Turkey in Europe; he gained permission to accompany the princess, who set out attended by 5000 men, and followed by a portable mosque, which was set up at every place where they stayed. The princess's reception at Constantinople was very magnificent, the bells being rung with such spirit that he says, "even the horizon seemed full of the vibration."

The welcome given to the theologian by the princes of the country was worthy of his fame; he remained in the city thirty-six days, so that he was able to study it in all its details.

This was a time when communication between the different countries was both dangerous and difficult, and Ibn Batuta was considered a very bold traveller. Egypt, Arabia, Turkey in Asia, the Caucasian provinces had all in turn been explored by him. After such hard work he might well have taken rest and been satisfied with the laurels that he had gained, for he was without doubt the most celebrated traveller of the fourteenth century; but his insatiable passion for travelling remained, and the circle of his explorations was still to widen considerably.

On leaving Constantinople, Ibn Batuta went again to Astrakhan, thence crossing the sandy wastes of the present Turkestan, he arrived at Khovarezen, a large populous town, then at Bokhara, half destroyed by the armies of Gengis-Khan. Some time after we hear of him at Samarcand, a religious town which greatly pleased the learned traveller, and then at Balkh which he could not reach without crossing the desert of Khorassan. This town was all in ruins and desolate, for the armies of the barbarians had been there, and Ibn Batuta could not remain in it, but wished to go westward to the frontier of Afghanistan. The mountainous country, near the Hindoo Koosh range, confronted him, but this was no barrier to him, and after great fatigue, which he bore with equal patience and good-humour, he reached the important town of Herat. This was the most westerly point reached by the traveller; he now resolved to change his course for an easterly one, and in going to the extreme limits of Asia, to reach the shores of the Pacific: if he could succeed in this he would pass the bounds of the explorations of the celebrated Marco Polo.

He set out, and following the course of the river Kabul and the frontiers of Afghanistan, he came to the Sindhu, the modern Indus, and descended it to its mouth. From the town of Lahore, he went to Delhi, which great and beautiful city had been deserted by its inhabitants, who had fled from the Emperor Mohammed.

This tyrant, who was occasionally both generous and magnificent, received the Arabian traveller very well, made him a judge in Delhi, and gave him a grant of land with some pecuniary advantages that were attached to the post, but these honours were not to be of any long duration, for Ibn Batuta being implicated in a pretended conspiracy, thought it best to give up his place, and make himself a fakir to escape the Emperor's displeasure. Mohammed, however, pardoned him, and made him his ambassador to China.

Fortune again smiled upon the courageous traveller, and he had now the prospect of seeing these distant lands under exceptionally good and safe circumstances. He was charged with presents for the Emperor of China, and 2000 horse-soldiers were given him as an escort.

But Ibn Batuta had not thought of the insurgents who occupied the surrounding countries; a skirmish took place between the escort and the Hindoos, and the traveller, being separated from his companions, was taken prisoner, robbed, garotted, and carried off he knew not whither; but his courage and hopefulness did not forsake him, and he contrived to escape from the hands of these robbers. After wandering about for seven days, he was received into his house by a negro, who at length led him back to the emperor's palace at Delhi.

Mohammed fitted out another expedition, and again appointed the Arabian traveller as his ambassador. This time they passed through the enemy's country without molestation, and by way of Kanoje, Mersa, Gwalior, and Barun, they reached Malabar. Some time after, they arrived at the great port of Calicut, an important place which became afterwards the chief town of Malabar; here they were detained by contrary winds for three months, and made use of this time to study the Chinese mercantile marine which frequented this port. Ibn speaks with great admiration of these junks which are like floating gardens, where ginger and herbs are grown on deck; they are each like a separate village, and some merchants were the possessors of a great number of these junks.

At last the wind changed; Ibn Batuta chose a small junk well fitted up, to take him to China, and had all his property put on board. Thirteen other junks were to receive the presents sent by the King of Delhi to the Emperor of China, but during the night a violent storm arose, and all the vessels sank. Fortunately for Ibn he had remained on shore to attend the service at the mosque, and thus his piety saved his life, but he had lost everything except "the carpet which he used at his devotions." After this second misfortune he could not make up his mind to appear before the King of Delhi. This catastrophe was enough to weary the patience of a more long-suffering emperor than Mohammed.

Ibn soon made up his mind what to do. Leaving the service of the emperor, and the advantages attaching to the post of ambassador, he embarked for the Maldive Islands, which were governed by a woman, and where a large trade in cocoa was carried on. Here he was again made a judge, but this was only of short duration, for the vizier became jealous of his success, and, after marrying three wives, Ibn was obliged to take refuge in flight. He hoped to reach the Coromandel coast, but contrary winds drove his vessel towards Ceylon, where he was very well received, and gained the king's permission to climb the sacred mountain of Serendid, or Adam's Peak. His object was to see the wonderful impression of a foot at the summit, which the Hindoos call "Buddha's," and the Mahometans "Adam's, foot." He pretends, in his narrative, that this impression measures eleven hands in length, a very different account from that of an historian of the ninth century, who declared it to be seventy-nine cubits long! This historian also adds that while one of the feet of our forefather rested on the mountain, the other was in the Indian ocean.

Ibn Batuta speaks also of large bearded apes, forming a considerable item in the population of the island, and said to be under a king of their own, crowned with leaves. We can give what credit we like to such fables as these, which were propagated by the credulity of the Hindoos.

From Ceylon, the traveller made his way to the Coromandel coast, but not without experiencing some severe storms. He crossed to the other side of the Indian peninsula, and again embarked.

Ibn Batuta's vessel was seized by pirates
Ibn Batuta's vessel was seized by pirates.

But his vessel was seized by pirates, and Ibn Batuta arrived at Calicut almost without clothes, robbed, and worn out with fatigue. No misfortune could damp his ardour, his was one of those great spirits which seem only invigorated by trouble and disasters. As soon as he was enabled by the kindness of some Delhi merchants to resume his travels, he embarked for the Maldive Islands, went on to Bengal, there set sail for Sumatra, and disembarked at one of the Nicobar Islands after a very bad passage which had lasted fifty days. Fifteen days afterwards he arrived at Sumatra, where the king gave him a hearty welcome and furnished him with means to continue his journey to China.

A junk took him in seventy-one days to the port Kailuka, capital of a country somewhat problematical, of which the brave and handsome inhabitants excelled in making arms. From Kailuka, Ibn passed into the Chinese provinces, and went first to the splendid town of Zaitem, probably the present Tsieun-tcheou of the Chinese, a little to the north of Nankin. He passed through various cities of this great empire, studying the customs of the people and admiring everywhere the riches, industry, and civilization that he found, but he did not get as far as the Great Wall, which he calls "The obstacle of Gog and Magog." It was while he was exploring this immense tract of country that he made a short stay in the city of Tchensi, which is composed of six fortified towns standing together. It happened that during his wanderings he was able to be present at the funeral of a khan, who was buried with four slaves, six of his favourites, and four horses.

In the meanwhile, disturbances had occurred at Zaitem, which obliged Ibn to leave this town, so he set sail for Sumatra, and then after touching at Calicut and Ormuz, he returned to Mecca in 1348, having made the tour of Persia and Syria.

But the time of rest had not yet come for this indefatigable explorer; the following year he revisited his native place Tangier, and then after travelling in the southern countries of Europe he returned to Morocco, went to Soudan and the countries watered by the Niger, crossed the Great Desert and entered Timbuctoo, thus making a journey which would have rendered illustrious a less ambitious traveller.

This was to be his last expedition. In 1353, twenty-nine years after leaving Tangier for the first time, he returned to Morocco, and settled at Fez. He has earned the reputation of being the most intrepid explorer of the fourteenth century, and well merits to be ranked next after Marco Polo, the illustrious Venetian.





CHAPTER VI.

JEAN DE BÉTHENCOURT, 1339-1425.

I.
The Norman cavalier—His ideas of conquest—What was known of the Canary Islands—Cadiz—The Canary Archipelago—Graciosa—Lancerota—Fortaventura—Jean de Béthencourt returns to Spain—Revolt of Berneval—His interview with King Henry III.—Gadifer visits the Canary Archipelago—Canary Island or "Gran Canaria"—Ferro Island—Palma Island.

Jean de Béthencourt was born about the year 1339, at Eu in Normandy. He was of good family, and Baron of St. Martin-le-Gaillard, and had distinguished himself both as a navigator and warrior; he was made chamberlain to Charles VI. But his tastes were more for travelling than a life at court; he resolved to make himself a still more illustrious name by further conquests, and soon an opportunity offered for him to carry out his plans.

Jean de Béthencourt
Jean de Béthencourt.

On the coast of Africa there is a group of islands called the Canaries, which were once known as the Fortunate Islands. Juba, a son of one of the Numidian kings, is said to have been their first explorer, about the year of Rome 776. In the middle ages, according to some accounts, Arabs, Genoese, Portuguese, Spaniards, and Biscayans, had partially visited this interesting group of islands. In 1393, a Spanish gentleman named Almonaster, who was commanding an expedition, succeeded in landing on Lancerota, one of these islands, and brought back, with several prisoners, some produce which was a sufficient guarantee of the fertility of this archipelago.

The Norman cavalier now found the opening that he sought, and he determined to conquer the Canary Islands and try to convert the inhabitants to the Catholic faith. He was as intelligent, brave, and full of resources as he was energetic; and leaving his house of Grainville-la-Teinturière at Caux, he went to La Rochelle, where he met the Chevalier Gadifer de la Salle, and having explained his project to him, they decided to go to the Canary Islands together. Jean de Béthencourt having collected an army and made his preparations, and had vessels fitted out and manned, Gadifer and he set sail; after experiencing adverse winds on the way to the Ile de Ré, and being much harassed by the constant dissensions on board, they arrived at Vivero, and then at Corunna. Here they remained eight days, then set sail again, and doubling Cape Finisterre, followed the Portuguese coast to Cape St. Vincent, and arrived at Cadiz, where they made a longer stay. Here Béthencourt had a dispute with some Genoese merchants, who accused him of having taken their vessel, and he had to go to Seville, where King Henry III. heard his complaint and acquitted him from all blame. On his return to Cadiz he found part of his crew in open mutiny, and some of his sailors so frightened that they refused to continue the voyage, so the chevalier sent back the cowardly sailors, and set sail with those who were more courageous.

The vessel in which Jean de Béthencourt sailed was becalmed for three days, then, the weather improving, he reached the island of Graziosa, one of the smaller of the Canary group, in five days, and then the larger island of Lancerota, which is nearly the same size as the island of Rhodes. Lancerota has excellent pasturage, and arable land, which is particularly good for the cultivation of barley; its numerous fountains and cisterns are well supplied with excellent water. The orchilla, which is so much used in dyeing, grows abundantly here. The inhabitants of this island, who as a rule wear scarce any clothing, are tall and well-made, and the women, who wear leathern great-coats reaching to the ground, are very good-looking and honest.

The traveller, prior to disclosing his plans of conquest, wished to possess himself of some of the natives, but his ignorance of the country made this a difficult matter, so, anchoring under the shelter of a small island in the archipelago, he called a meeting of his companions to decide upon a plan of action. They all agreed that the only thing to be done was to take some of the natives by fair means or foul. Guardafia, the king of the island, treated Béthencourt more as a friend than a subject. A castle or rather fort was built at the south-western extremity of the island, and some men left there under the command of Berthin de Berneval, while Béthencourt set out with the rest of his followers for the island of Erbania or Fortaventura. Gadifer counselled a debarcation by night, which was done, and then he took the command of a small body of men and scoured the island with them for eight days without meeting one native, they having all fled to the mountains. Provisions failing, Gadifer was forced to return, and he went to the island of Lobos between Lancerota and Fortaventura; but there his chief sailor mutinied and it was not without difficulty that Gadifer and Béthencourt reached the fort on Lancerota.

Béthencourt resolved to return to Spain to get provisions and a new contingent of soldiers, for his crew he could not depend upon; so he left Gadifer in command and set sail for Spain in one of Gadifer's ships.

It will be remembered that Berthin de Berneval had been left in command of the fort on Lancerota Island. Unfortunately he was Gadifer's bitter enemy, and no sooner had Béthencourt set out than he tried to poison the minds of Gadifer's men against him; he succeeded in inducing some, especially the Gascons, to revolt against the governor, who, quite innocent of Berneval's base designs, was spending his time hunting sea-wolves on the island of Lobos with Remonnet de Levéden and several others. Remonnet having been sent to Lancerota for provisions, found no Berneval there, he having deserted the island with his accomplices for a port on Graziosa, where a coxswain, deceived by his promises, had placed his vessel at his disposal. From Graziosa, the traitor Berneval returned to Lancerota, and put the finishing stroke to his villany by pretending to make an alliance with the king of the island. The king, thinking that no officer of Béthencourt's, in whom he had implicit confidence, could deceive him, came with twenty-four of his subjects to see Berneval, who seized them when asleep, had them bound, and then carried them off to Graziosa. The king managed to break his bonds, set three of his men free, and succeeded in escaping, but the remainder of his unfortunate companions were still prisoners, and Berneval gave them up to some Spanish thieves, who took them away to sell in a foreign land.

Berneval's evil deeds did not stop here. By his order the vessel that Gadifer had sent to the fort at Lancerota was seized; Remonnet tried resistance, but his numbers were too small, and his supplications were useless to prevent Berneval's men, and even Berneval himself, from destroying all the arms, furniture, and goods, which Béthencourt had placed in the fort at Lancerota. Insults were showered upon the governor, and Berneval cried, "I should like Gadifer de la Salle to know that if he were as young as I, I would kill him, but as he is not, I will spare him. If he is put above me I shall have him drowned, and then he can fish for sea-wolves."

Meanwhile, Gadifer and his ten companions were in danger of perishing on the island of Lobos for want of food and fresh water, but happily the two chaplains of the fort of Lancerota had gone to Graziosa, and met the coxswain, who had been the victim of Berneval's treason, and he sent one of his men named Ximenes with them back to Lancerota. There they found a small boat which they filled with provisions, and embarking with four men who were faithful to Gadifer, they succeeded in reaching Lobos, four leagues off, after a most dangerous passage.

Gadifer and his companions were suffering fearfully from hunger and thirst, when Ximenes arrived just in time to save them from perishing, and the governor learning Berneval's treachery embarked in the boat for Lancerota, as soon as he was a little restored to health. He was grieved at Berneval's conduct towards the poor islanders whom Béthencourt and he had sworn to protect. No! he never could have expected such wickedness in one who was looked upon as the most able of the whole band.

But what was Berneval doing meanwhile? After having betrayed his master, he did the same to the companions who had aided him in his evil deeds; he had twelve of them killed and then he set out for Spain to rejoin Béthencourt and make his own case good by representing all that had happened in his own way. It was to his interest to get rid of inconvenient witnesses, and therefore he abandoned his companions. These unfortunate men at first meditated imploring the pardon of the governor; they confessed all to the chaplains, but then, fearing the consequences of their deeds, they seized a boat and fled towards Morocco. The boat reached the coast of Barbary, where ten of the crew were drowned and the two others taken for slaves.

While all this was happening at Lancerota, Béthencourt arrived at Cadiz, where he took strong measures against his mutinous crew, and had the ringleaders imprisoned. Then he sent his vessel to Seville, where King Henry III. was at that time; but the ship sank in the Guadalquiver, a great loss to Gadifer, her owner.

Béthencourt having arrived at Seville, met a certain Francisque Calve who had lately come from the Canaries, and who offered to return thither with all the things needed by the governor, but Béthencourt could not agree to this proposal before he had seen the king.

Just at this time, Berneval arrived with some of his accomplices, and some islanders whom he intended to sell as slaves. He hoped to be able to deceive Béthencourt, but he had not reckoned upon a certain Courtille who was with him, who lost no time in denouncing the villany of Berneval, and on whose word the traitors were all imprisoned at Cadiz. Courtille also told of the treatment that the poor islanders had received; as Béthencourt could not leave Seville till he had had an audience with the king, he gave orders that they should receive every kindness, but while these preliminaries were being concluded, the vessel that contained them was taken to Aragon, and they were sold for slaves.

Béthencourt obtained the audience that he sought with the king of Castille, and after telling him the result of his expedition he said, "Sire, I come to ask your assistance and your leave to conquer the Canary Islands for the Catholic faith, and as you are king and lord of all the surrounding country, and the nearest Christian king to these islands, I beg you to receive the homage of your humble servant." The king was very gracious to him and gave him dominion over these islands, and beyond this, a fifth of all the merchandise that should be brought from them to Spain. He gave him 20,000 maravédis, about 600l., to buy all that he needed, and also the right to coin money in the Canary Islands. Most unfortunately these 20,000 maravédis were confided to the care of a dishonest man, who fled to France, carrying the money with him.

However, Henry III. gave Béthencourt a well-rigged vessel manned by eighty men, and stocked with provisions, arms, &c. He was most grateful for this fresh bounty, and sent Gadifer an account of all that had happened, and his extreme disappointment and disgust at Berneval's conduct, in whom he had so much confidence, announcing at the same time the speedy departure of the vessel given by the King of Castille.

Plan of Jerusalem
Plan of Jerusalem.

But meanwhile very serious troubles had arisen on Lancerota. King Guardafia was so hurt at Berneval's conduct that he had revolted, and some of Gadifer's companions had been killed by the islanders. Gadifer insisted upon these subjects being punished, when one of the king's relations named Ache, came to him proposing to dethrone the king, and put himself in his place. This Ache was a villain, who after having betrayed his king, proposed to betray the Normans, and to chase them from the country. Gadifer had no suspicion of his motives; wishing to avenge the death of his men, he accepted Ache's proposal, and a short time afterwards, on the vigil of St. Catherine's day, the king was seized, and conveyed to the fort in chains.

Some days afterwards, Ache, the new king of the island attacked Gadifer's companions, mortally wounding several of them, but the following night Guardafia having made his escape from the fort seized Ache, had him stoned to death, and his body burnt. The governor (Gadifer) was so grieved by these scenes of violence, which were renewed daily, that he resolved to kill all the men on the island, and save only the women and children, whom he hoped to have baptized. But just at this time, the vessel that Béthencourt had freighted for the governor arrived, and brought besides the eighty men, provisions, &c., a letter which told him among other things that Béthencourt had done homage to the King of Castille for the Canary Islands. The governor was not well pleased at this news, for he thought that he ought to have had his share in the islands; but he concealed his displeasure, and gave the new comers a hearty welcome.

The arms were at once disembarked, and then Gadifer went on board the vessel to explore the neighbouring islands. Remonnet and several others joined him in this expedition, and they took two of the islanders with them to serve as guides.

They arrived safely at Fortaventura island; a few days after landing on the island, Gadifer set out with thirty-five men to explore the country; but soon the greater part of his followers deserted him, only thirteen men, including two archers, remaining with him. But he did not give up his project; after wading through a large stream, he found himself in a lovely valley shaded by numberless palm-trees; here having rested and refreshed himself, he set out again and climbed a hill. At the summit he found about fifty natives, who surrounded the small party and threatened to murder them. Gadifer and his companions showed no signs of fear, and succeeded in putting their enemies to flight; by the evening they were able to regain their vessel, carrying away four of the native women as prisoners.

Gadifer found himself in a lovely valley
Gadifer found himself in a lovely valley.

The next day Gadifer left the island and went to the Gran Canaria island anchoring in a large harbour lying between Telde and Argonney. Five hundred of the natives confronted them, but apparently with no hostile intentions; they gave them some fish-hooks and old iron in exchange for some of the natural productions of the island, such as figs, and dragon's blood, a resinous substance taken from the dragon-tree, which has a very pleasant balsamic odour. The natives were very much on their guard with the strangers, for twenty years before this some of Captain Lopez' men had invaded the island; so they would not allow Gadifer to land.

The governor was obliged to weigh anchor without exploring the island; he went to Ferro Island, and coasting along it arrived next at Gomera; it was night, and the sailors were attracted by the fires that the natives had lighted on the shore. When day broke Gadifer and his companions wished to land; but the islanders would not allow them to proceed when they reached the shore, and drove them back to their vessel. Much disappointed by his reception, Gadifer determined to make another attempt at Ferro Island; there he found that he could land without opposition, and he remained on the island twenty-two days. The interior of the island was very beautiful. Pine-trees grew in abundance, and clear streams of water added to its fertility. Quails were found in large numbers, as well as pigs, goats, and sheep.

From this fertile island the party of explorers went to Palma, and anchored in a harbour situated to the right of a large river. This is the furthest island of the Canary group; it is covered with pine and dragon-trees; from the abundance of fresh water the pasturage is excellent and the land might be cultivated with much profit. Its inhabitants are a tall, robust race, well made, with good features and very white skin. Gadifer remained a short time on this island; on leaving it he spent two days and two nights sailing round the other islands, and then returned to the fort on Lancerota. They had been absent three months. In the meantime, those of the party who had been left in the fort had waged a petty war with the natives, and had made a great number of prisoners. The Canarians, demoralized, now came daily to cast themselves on their mercy, and to pray for the consecration of baptism. Gadifer was so pleased to hear of this, that he sent one of his companions to Spain to inform Béthencourt of the state of the colony.



II.
JEAN DE BÉTHENCOURT.
The return of Jean de Béthencourt—Gadifer's jealousy—Béthencourt visits his archipelago—Gadifer goes to conquer Gran Canaria—Disagreement of the two commanders—Their return to Spain—Gadifer blamed by the King—Return of Béthencourt—The natives of Fortaventura are baptized—Béthencourt revisits Caux—Returns to Lancerota—Lands on the African coast—Conquest of Gran Canaria, Ferro, and Palma Islands—Maciot appointed Governor of the archipelago—Béthencourt obtains the Pope's consent to the Canary Islands being made an Episcopal See—His return to his country and his death.

The envoy had not reached Cadiz when Béthencourt landed at the fort on Lancerota. Gadifer gave him a hearty welcome, and so did the Canary islanders who had been baptized. A few days afterwards, King Guardafia came and threw himself on their mercy. He was baptized on the 20th of February, 1404, with all his followers. Béthencourt's chaplains drew up a very simple form of instruction for their use, embracing the principal elements of Christianity, the creation, Adam and Eve's fall, the history of Noah, the lives of the patriarchs, the life of our Saviour and His crucifixion by the Jews, finishing with an exhortation to believe the ten commandments, the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, Easter, confession, and some other points.

Béthencourt was an ambitious man. Not content with having explored, and so to speak, gained possession of the Canary Islands, he desired to conquer the African countries bordering on the ocean. This was his secret wish in returning to Lancerota, and meanwhile, he had full occupation in establishing his authority in these islands, of which he was only the nominal sovereign. He gave himself wholly to the task, and first visited the islands which Gadifer had explored.

But before he set out, a conversation took place between Gadifer and himself, which we must not omit to notice. Gadifer began boasting of all he had done, and asked for the gift of Fortaventura, Teneriffe, and Gomera Islands, as a recompense.

"My friend," replied Béthencourt, "the islands that you ask me to give you are not yet conquered, but I do not intend you to be at any loss for your trouble, nor that you should be unrequited; but let us accomplish our project, and meanwhile remain the friends we have always been."

"That is all very well," replied Gadifer, "but there is one point on which I do not feel at all satisfied, and that is that you have done homage to the King of Castille for these islands, and so you call yourself absolute master over them."

"With regard to that," said Béthencourt, "I certainly have done homage for them, and so I am their rightful master, but if you will only patiently wait the end of our affair, I will give you what I feel sure will quite content you."

"I shall not remain here," replied Gadifer, "I am going back to France, and have no wish to be here any longer."

Upon this they separated, but Gadifer gradually cooled down and agreed to accompany Béthencourt in his exploration of the islands.

They set out for Fortaventura well armed and with plenty of provisions. They remained there three months, and began by seizing a number of the natives, and sending them to Lancerota. This was such a usual mode of proceeding at that time that we are less surprised at it than we should be at the present day. The whole island was explored and a fort named Richeroque built on the slope of a high mountain; traces of it may still be found in a hamlet there.

Just at this time, and when he had scarcely had time to forget his grievances and ill-humour, Gadifer accepted the command of a small band of men who were to conquer Gran Canaria.

He set out on the 25th July, 1404, but this expedition was not fated to meet with any good results, winds and waves were against it. At last they reached the port of Telde, but as it was nearly dark and a strong wind blowing they dared not land, and they went on to the little town of Aginmez, where they remained eleven days at anchor; the natives, encouraged by their king, laid an ambush for Gadifer and his followers; there was a skirmish, blood was shed, and the Castilians, feeling themselves outnumbered, went to Telde for two days, and thence to Lancerota.

Gadifer was much disappointed at his want of success, and began to be discontented with everything around him. Above all, his jealousy of Béthencourt increased daily, and he gave way to violent recriminations, saying openly that the chief had not done everything himself, and that things would not have been in so advanced a stage as they were if others had not aided him. This reached Béthencourt's ears; he was much incensed, and reproached Gadifer. High words followed, Gadifer insisted upon leaving the country, and as Béthencourt had just made arrangements for returning to Spain, he proposed to Gadifer to accompany him, that their cause of disagreement might be inquired into. This proposal being accepted, they set sail, but each in his own ship. When they reached Seville, Gadifer laid his complaints before the king, but as the king gave judgment against him, fully approving of Béthencourt's conduct, he left Spain, and returning to France, never revisited the Canary Islands which he had so fondly hoped to conquer for himself.

Béthencourt took leave of the king almost at the same time, for the new colony demanded his immediate presence there; but before he left, the inhabitants of Seville, with whom he was a great favourite, showed him much kindness; what he valued more highly than anything else was the supply of arms, gold, silver, and provisions that they gave him. He went to Fortaventura, where his companions were delighted to see him. Gadifer had left his son Hannibal in his place, but Béthencourt treated him with much cordiality.

The first days of the installation of Béthencourt were far from peaceful; skirmishes were of constant occurrence, the natives even destroying the fortress of Richeroque, after burning and pillaging a chapel. Béthencourt was determined to overcome them, and in the end succeeded. He sent for several of his men from Lancerota, and gave orders that the fortress should be rebuilt.

In spite of all this the combats began again, and many of the islanders fell, among others a giant of nine feet high, whom Béthencourt would have liked to have made prisoner. The governor could not trust Gadifer's son nor the men who followed him, for Hannibal seemed to have inherited his father's jealousy, but as Béthencourt needed his help, he concealed his distrust. Happily, Béthencourt's men outnumbered those who were faithful to Gadifer, but Hannibal's taunts became so unbearable that Jean de Courtois was sent to remind him of his oath of obedience and to advise him to keep it.

Courtois was very badly received, he having a crow to pick with Hannibal with regard to some native prisoners whom Gadifer's followers had kept and would not give up. Hannibal was obliged to obey the orders, but Courtois represented his conduct to Béthencourt on his return in the very worst light, and tried to excite his master's anger against him. "No, sir," answered the upright Béthencourt, "I do not wish him to be wronged, we must never carry our power to its utmost limits, we should always endeavour to control ourselves and preserve our honour rather than seek for profit."

In spite of these intestine discords, the war continued between the natives and the conquerors, but the latter being well-armed always came off victorious. The kings of Fortaventura sent a native to Béthencourt saying that they wished to make peace with him, and to become Christians. This news delighted the conqueror, and he sent word that they would be well received if they would come to him. Almost immediately on receiving this reply, King Maxorata, who governed the north-westerly part of the island, set out, and with his suite of twenty-two persons, was baptized on the 18th of January, 1405. Three days afterwards twenty-two other natives received the sacrament of baptism. On the 25th of January the king who governed the peninsula of Handia, the south-eastern part of the island, came with twenty-six of his subjects, and was baptized. In a short time all the inhabitants of Fortaventura had embraced the Christian religion.

The King of Maxorata arrived with his suite
The King of Maxorata arrived with his suite.

Béthencourt was so elated with these happy results, that he arranged to revisit his own country, leaving Courtois as governor during his absence. He set out on the last day of January amid the prayers and blessings of his people, taking with him three native men and one woman, to whom he wished to show something of France. He reached Harfleur in twenty-one days, and two days later was at his own house, where he only intended making a short stay, and then returning to the Canary Islands. He met with a very warm reception from everybody. One of his chief motives in returning to France was the hope of finding people of all classes ready to return with him, on the promise of grants of land in the island. He succeeded in finding a certain number of emigrants, amongst whom were twenty-eight soldiers, of whom twenty-three took their wives. Two vessels were prepared to transport the party, and the 6th of May was the day named for them to set out. On the 9th of May they set sail, and landed on Lancerota just four mouths and a half after Béthencourt had quitted it.

He was received with trumpets, clarionets, tambourines, harps, and other musical instruments. Thunder could scarcely have been heard above the sound of this music. The natives celebrated his return by dancing and singing, and crying out, "Here comes our king." Jean de Courtois hastened to welcome his master, who asked him how everything was going on; he replied, "Sir, all is going on as well as possible."

Béthencourt's companions stayed with him at the fort of Lancerota; they appeared much pleased with the country, enjoying the dates and other fruits on the island, "and nothing seemed to harm them." After they had been a short time at Lancerota, Béthencourt went with them to see Fortaventura, and here his reception was as warm as it had been at Lancerota, especially from the islanders and their two kings. The kings supped with them at the fortress of Richeroque, which Courtois had rebuilt.

Béthencourt announced his intention of conquering Gran Canaria Island, as he had done Lancerota and Fortaventura; his hope was that his nephew Maciot, whom he had brought with him from France, would succeed him in the government of these islands, so that the name of Béthencourt might be perpetuated there. He imparted his project to Courtois, who highly approved of it, and added, "Sir, when you return to France, I will go with you. I am a bad husband. It is five years since I saw my wife, and, by my troth, she did not much care about it."

The 6th of October, 1405, was the day fixed for starting for Gran Canaria, but contrary winds carried the ships towards the African coast, and they passed by Cape Bojador, where Béthencourt landed. He made an expedition twenty-four miles inland, and seized some natives and a great number of camels that he took to his vessels. They put as many of the camels as possible on board, wishing to acclimatize them in the Canary Islands, and the baron set sail again, leaving Cape Bojador, which he had the honour of seeing thirty years before the Portuguese navigators.

During this voyage from the coast of Africa to Gran Canaria, the three vessels were separated in stormy weather, one going to Palma, and another to Fortaventura, but finally they all reached Gran Canaria. This island is sixty miles long and thirty-six miles broad; at the northern end it is flat, but very hilly towards the south. Firs, dragon-trees, olive, fig, and date-trees form large forests, and sheep, goats, and wild dogs are found here in large numbers. The soil is very fertile, and produces two crops of corn every year, and that without any means of improving it. Its inhabitants form a large body of people, and consider themselves all on an equality.

When Béthencourt had landed he set to work at once to conquer the island. Unfortunately his Norman soldiers were so proud of their success on the coast of Africa, that they thought they could conquer this island with its ten thousand natives, with a mere handful of men. Béthencourt seeing that they were so confident of success, recommended them to be prudent, but they took no heed of this and bitterly they rued their confidence. After a skirmish, in which they seemed to have got the better of the islanders, they had left their ranks, when the natives surprised them, massacring twenty-two of them, including Jean de Courtois and Hannibal, Gadifer's son.

After this sad affair Béthencourt left Gran Canaria and went to try to subdue Palma. The natives of this island were very clever in slinging stones, rarely missing their aim, and in the encounters with these islanders many fell on both sides, but more natives than Normans, whose loss, however, amounted to one hundred.

After six weeks of skirmishing, Béthencourt left Palma, and went to Ferro for three months, a large island twenty-one miles long and fifteen broad. It is a flat table-land, and large woods of pine and laurel-trees shade it in many places. The mists, which are frequent, moisten the soil and make it especially favourable for the cultivation of corn and the vine. Game is abundant; pigs, goats, and sheep run wild about the country; there are also great lizards in shape like the iguana of America. The inhabitants both men and women are a very fine race, healthy, lively, agile and particularly well made, in fact Ferro is one of the pleasantest islands of the group.

Béthencourt returned to Fortaventura with his ships after conquering Ferro and Palma. This island is fifty-one miles in length by twenty-four in breadth, and has high mountains as well as large plains, but its surface is less undulating than that of the other islands. Large streams of fresh water run through the island; the euphorbia, a deadly poison, grows largely here, and date and olive-trees are abundant, as well as a plant that is invaluable for dyeing and whose cultivation would be most remunerative. The coast of Fortaventura has no good harbours for large vessels, but small ones can anchor there quite safely. It was in this island that Béthencourt began to make a partition of land to the colonists, and he succeeded in doing it so evenly that every one was satisfied with his portion. Those colonists whom he had brought with him were to be exempted from taxes for nine years.

The question of religion, and religious administration could not fail to be of the deepest interest to so pious a man as Béthencourt, so he resolved to go to Rome and try to obtain a bishop for this country, who "would order and adorn the Roman Catholic faith." Before setting out he appointed his nephew Maciot as lieutenant and governor of the islands. Under his orders two sergeants were to act, and enforce justice; he desired that twice a year news of the colony should be sent to him in Normandy, and the revenue from Lancerota and Fortaventura was to be devoted to building two churches. He said to his nephew Maciot, "I give you full authority in everything to do whatever you think best, and I believe you will do all for my honour and to my advantage. Follow as nearly as possible Norman and French customs, especially in the administration of justice. Above all things, try and keep peace and unity among yourselves, and care for each other as brothers, and specially try that there shall be no rivalry among the gentlemen; I have given to each one his share and the country is quite large enough for each to have his own sphere. I can tell you nothing further beyond again impressing the importance of your all living as good friends together, and then all will be well."

Béthencourt remained three months in Fortaventura and the other islands. He rode about among the people on his mule, and found many of the natives beginning to speak Norman-French. Maciot and the other gentlemen accompanied him, he pointing out what was best to be done and the most honest way of doing it. Then he gave notice that he would set out for Rome on the ensuing 15th of December. Returning to Lancerota, he remained there till his departure, and ordered all the gentlemen he had brought with him, the workmen, and the three kings to appear before him two days before his departure, to tell them what he wished done, and to commend himself and them to God's protection.

None failed to appear at this meeting; they were all received at the fort on Lancerota, and sumptuously entertained. When the repast was over, he spoke to them, especially impressing the duty of obedience to his nephew Maciot upon them, the retention of the fifth of everything for himself, and also the exercise of all Christian virtues and of fervent love to God. This done, he chose those who were to accompany him to Rome, and prepared to set out.

His vessel had scarcely set sail when cries and groans were heard on all sides, both Europeans and natives alike regretting this just master, who they feared would never return to them. A great number waded into the water, and tried to stop the vessel that carried him away from them, but the sails were set and Béthencourt was really gone. "May God keep him safe from all harm," was the utterance of many that day. In a week he was at Seville, from thence he went to Valladolid, where the king received him very graciously. He related the narrative of his conquests to the king, and requested from him letters recommending him to the Pope, that he might have a bishop appointed for the islands. The king gave him the letters, and loaded him with gifts, and then Béthencourt set out for Rome with a numerous retinue.

He remained three weeks in the eternal city, and was admitted to kiss Pope Innocent VII.'s foot, who complimented him on his having made so many proselytes to the Christian faith, and on his bravery in having ventured so far from his native country. When the bulls were prepared as Béthencourt had requested, and Albert des Maisons was appointed Bishop of the Canary Islands, the Norman took leave of the Pope after receiving his blessing.

The new prelate took leave of Béthencourt, and set out at once for his diocese. He went by way of Spain, taking with him some letters from Béthencourt to the king. Then he set sail for Fortaventura and arrived there without any obstacle. Maciot gave him a cordial reception, and the bishop at once began to organize his diocese, governing with gentleness and courtesy, preaching now in one island, now in another, and offering up public prayers for Béthencourt's safety. Maciot was universally beloved, but especially by the natives. This happy, peaceful time only lasted for five years, for later on, Maciot began to abuse his unlimited power, and levied such heavy exactions that he was obliged to fly the country to save his life.

Béthencourt after leaving Rome went to Florence and to Paris, and then to his own chateau, where a great number of people came to pay their respects to the king of the Canary Islands, and if on his return the first time he was much thought of, his reception this second time far exceeded it. Béthencourt established himself at Grainville; although he was an old man, his wife was still young. He had frequent accounts from Maciot of his beloved islands, and he hoped one day to return to his kingdom, but God willed otherwise. One day in the year 1425 he was seized with what proved to be fatal illness; he was aware that the end was near; and after making his will and receiving the last sacraments of the church he passed away. "May God keep him and pardon his sins," says the narrative of his life; "he is buried in the church of Grainville la Teinturière, in front of the high altar."

Jean de Béthencourt makes his will
Jean de Béthencourt makes his will.





CHAPTER VII.

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, 1436-1506.

I.
Discovery of Madeira, Cape de Verd Islands, the Azores, Congo, and Guinea—Bartholomew Diaz—Cabot and Labrador—The geographical and commercial tendencies of the middle ages—The erroneous idea of the distance between Europe and Asia—Birth of Christopher Columbus—His first voyages—His plans rejected—His sojourn at the Franciscan convent—His reception by Ferdinand and Isabella—Treaty of the 17th of April, 1492—The brothers Pinzon—Three armed caravels at the port of Palos—Departure on the 3rd of August, 1492.

The year 1492 is an era in geographical annals. It is the date of the discovery of America. The genius of one man was fated to complete the terrestrial globe, and to show the truth of Gagliuffi's saying,—

Unus erat mundus; duo sint, ait iste; fuere.

The old world was to be entrusted with the moral and political education of the new. Was it equal to the task, with its ideas still limited, its tendencies still semi-barbarous, and its bitter religious animosities? We must leave the answer to these questions to the facts that follow.

Between the year 1405, when Béthencourt had just accomplished the colonization of the Canary Islands, and the year 1492, what had taken place? We will give a short sketch of the geographical enterprise of the intervening years. A considerable impetus had been given to science by the Arabs (who were soon to be expelled from Spain), and had spread throughout the peninsula. In all the ports, but more especially in those of Portugal, there was much talk of the continent of Africa, and the rich and wonderful countries beyond the sea. "A thousand anecdotes," says Michelet, "stimulated curiosity, valour and avarice, every one wishing to see these mysterious countries where monsters abounded and gold was scattered over the surface of the land." A young prince, Don Henry, duke of Viseu, third son of John I., who was very fond of the study of astronomy and geography, exercised a considerable influence over his contemporaries; it is to him that Portugal owes her colonial power and wealth and the expeditions so repeatedly made, which were vividly described, and their results spoken of as so wonderful, that they may have aided in awakening Columbus' love of adventure. Don Henry had an observatory built in the southern part of the province of Algarve, at Sagres, commanding a most splendid view over the sea, and seeming as though it must have been placed there to seek for some unknown land; he also established a naval college, where learned geographers traced correct maps and taught the use of the mariner's compass. The young prince surrounded himself with learned men, and especially gathered all the information he could as to the possibility of circumnavigating Africa, and thus reaching India. Though he had never taken part in any maritime expedition, his encouragement and care for seamen gave him the soubriquet of "the Navigator," by which name he is known in history. Two gentlemen belonging to Don Henry's court, Juan Gonzales Zarco, and Tristram Vaz Teixeira had passed Cape Nun, the terror of ancient navigators, when they were carried out to sea and passed near an island to which they gave the name of Porto-Santo. Sometime afterwards, as they were sailing towards a black point that remained on the horizon, they came to a large island covered with splendid forests; this was Madeira.

Prince Henry of Portugal—'The Navigator.'
Prince Henry of Portugal—"The Navigator."

In 1433, Cape Bojador, which had for long been such a difficulty to navigators, was first doubled by the two Portuguese sailors, Gillianès and Gonzalès Baldaya, who passed more than forty leagues beyond it.

Encouraged by their example, Antonio Gonzalès, and Nuño Tristram, in 1441, sailed as far as Cape Blanco, "a feat," says Faria y Souza "that is generally looked upon as being little short of the labours of Hercules," and they brought back with them to Lisbon some gold-dust taken from the Rio del Ouro. In a second voyage Tristram noticed some of the Cape de Verd Islands, and went as far south as Sierra Leone. In the course of this expedition, he bought from some Moors off the coast of Guinea, ten negroes, whom he took back with him to Lisbon and parted with for a very high price, they having excited great curiosity. This was the origin of the slave-trade in Europe, which for the next 400 years robbed Africa of so many of her people, and was a disgrace to humanity.

In 1441, Cada Mosto doubled Cape Verd, and explored a part of the coast below it. About 1446, the Portuguese, advancing further into the open sea than their predecessors, came upon the group of the Azores. From this time all fear vanished, for the formidable line had been passed, beyond which the air was said to scorch like fire; expeditions succeeded each other without intermission, and each brought home accounts of newly-discovered regions. It seemed as if the African continent was really endless, for the further they advanced towards the south, the further the cape they sought appeared to recede. Some little time before this King John II. had added the title of Seigneur of Guinea to his other titles, and to the discovery of Congo had been added that of some stars in the southern hemisphere hitherto unknown, when Diogo Cam, in three successive voyages, went further south than any preceding navigator, and bore away from Diaz the honour of being the discoverer of the southern point of the African continent. This cape is called Cape Cross, and here he raised a monument called a padrao or padron in memory of his discovery, which is still standing. On his way back, he visited the King of Congo in his capital, and took back with him an ambassador and numerous suite of natives, who were all baptized, and taught the elements of the Christian religion, which they were to propagate on their return to Congo.

A short time after Diogo Cam's return in the month of August, 1487, three caravels left the Tagus under the command of Bartholomew Diaz, a gentleman attached to the king's household, and an old sailor on the Guinea seas. He had an experienced mariner under him, and the smallest of the three vessels freighted with provisions, was commanded by his brother Pedro Diaz. We have no record of the earlier part of this expedition; we only know, from Joao de Barros, to whom we owe nearly all we learn of Portuguese navigation, that beyond Congo he followed the coast for some distance, and came to an anchorage that he named "Das Voltas" on account of the manner in which he had to tack to reach it, and there he left the smallest of the caravels under the care of nine sailors. After having been detained here five days by stress of weather, Diaz stood out to sea, and took a southerly course, but for thirteen days his vessels were tossed hither and thither by the tempest.

As he went further south the temperature fell and the air became very cold; at last the fury of the elements abated, and Diaz took an easterly course hoping to sight the land, but after several days had passed, and being in about 42° south latitude, he anchored in the bay "dos Vaquieros," so named from the numbers of horned animals and shepherds, who fled inland at the sight of the two vessels.

At this time Diaz was about 120 miles east of the Cape of Good Hope, which he had doubled without seeing it. They then went to Sam Braz (now Mossel) bay, and coasted as far as Algoa bay and to an island called Da Cruz where they set up a padrao. But here the crews being much discouraged by the dangers they had passed through, and feeling much the scarcity and bad quality of the provisions, refused to go any farther. "Besides," they said, "as the land is now on our left, let us go back and see the Cape, which we have doubled without knowing it."

Diaz called a council, and decided that they should go forwards in a north-easterly direction for two or three days longer. We owe it to his firmness of purpose that he was able to reach a river, 75 miles from Da Cruz that he called Rio Infante, but then the crew refusing to go farther, Diaz was obliged to return to Europe. Barros says, "When Diaz left the pillar that he had erected, it was with such sorrow and so much bitterness, that it seemed almost as though he were leaving an exiled son, and especially when he thought of all the dangers that he and his companions had passed through, and the long distance which they had come with only this memorial as a remembrance: it was indeed painful to break off when the task was but half completed." At last they saw the Cape of Good Hope, or as Diaz and his followers called it then, the "Cape of Torments," in remembrance of all the storms and tempests they had passed through before they could double it. With the foresight which so often accompanies genius, John II. substituted for the "Cape of Torments," the name of the "Cape of Good Hope," for he saw that now the route to India was open at last, and his vast plans for the extension of the commerce and influence of his country were about to be realized.

On the 24th of August, 1488, Diaz returned to Angra das Voltas, where he had left his smallest caravel. He found six of his nine men dead, and the seventh was so overcome with joy at seeing his companions again that he died also. No particular incident marked the voyage home; they reached Lisbon in December, 1488, after staying at Benin, where they traded, and at La Mina to receive the money gained by the commerce of the colony.

It is strange but true, that Diaz not only received no reward of any kind for this voyage which had been so successful, but he seemed to be treated rather as though he had disgraced himself, for he was not employed again for ten years. More than this the command of the expedition that was sent to double the cape which Diaz had discovered, was given to Vasco da Gama, and Diaz was only to accompany it to La Mina holding a subordinate position. He was to hear of the marvellous campaign of his successful rival in India, and to see what an effect such an event would have upon the destiny of his country.

He took part in Cabral's expedition which discovered Brazil, but he had not the pleasure of seeing the shores to which he had been the pioneer, for the fleet had only just left the American shore, when a fearful storm arose; four vessels sank, and among them the one that Diaz commanded. It is in allusion to his sad fate that Camoens puts the following prediction into the mouth of Adamastor, the spirit of the Cape of Tempests. "I will make a terrible example of the first fleet that shall pass near these rocks, and I will wreak my vengeance on him who first comes to brave me in my dwelling."

In fact it was only in 1497, maybe five years after the discovery of America, that the southern point of Africa was passed by Vasco da Gama, and it may be affirmed that if this latter had preceded Columbus, the discovery of the new continent might have been delayed for several centuries. The navigators of this period were very timorous, and did not dare to sail out into mid-ocean; not liking to venture upon seas that were but little known, they always followed the coast-line of Africa, rather than go further from land. If the Cape of Tempests had been doubled, the sailors would have gone by this route to India, and none would have thought of going to the "Land of Spices," that is to say Asia, by venturing across the Atlantic. Who, in fact, would have thought of seeking for the east by the route to the west? But in truth this was the great idea of that day, for Cooley says, "The principal object of Portuguese maritime enterprise in the fifteenth century was to search for a passage to India by the Ocean." The most learned men had not gone so far as to imagine the existence of another continent to complete the equilibrium and balance of the terrestrial globe. Some parts of the American continent had been already discovered, for an Italian navigator Sebastian Cabot had landed on Labrador in 1487, and the Scandinavians had certainly disembarked on this unknown land. The colonists of Greenland, too had explored Winland, but so little disposition was there at this time to believe in the existence of a new world, that Greenland, Winland, and Labrador were all thought to be a continuation of the European continent.

The main question before the navigators of the fifteenth century was the opening up of an easier communication with the shores of Asia. The route to India, China, and Japan (countries already known through the wonderful narrative of Marco Polo), viâ, Asia Minor, Persia, and Tartary, was long and dangerous. The transport of goods was too difficult and costly for these "ways terrestrial" ever to become roads for commerce. A more practicable means of communication must be found. Thus all the dwellers on the coasts, from England to Spain, as well as the people living on the shores of the Mediterranean, seeing the great Atlantic ocean open to their vessels, began to inquire, whether indeed this new route might not conduct them to the shores of Asia.

The sphericity of the Globe being established, this reasoning was correct, for going always westward, the traveller must necessarily at last reach the east, and as to the route across the ocean, it would certainly be open. Who could, indeed, have suspected the existence of an obstacle 9750 miles in length, lying between Europe and Asia, and called America?

We must observe also that the scientific men of the Middle Ages believed that the shores of Asia were not more than 6000 miles distant from those of Europe. Aristotle supposed the terrestrial globe to be smaller than it really is. Seneca said "How far is it from the shores of Spain to India? A very few days' sail, should the wind be favourable." This was also the opinion of Strabo. So it seemed that the route between Europe and Asia must be short, and there being such places for ships to touch at as the Azores and Antilles, of which the existence was known in the fifteenth century, the transoceanic communication promised not to be difficult. This popular error as to distance had the happy effect of inducing navigators to try to cross the Atlantic, a feat which, had they been aware of the 15,000 miles of ocean separating Europe from Asia, they would scarcely have dared to attempt.

We must in justice allow that certain facts gave, or seemed to give, reason to the partisans of Aristotle and Strabo for their belief in the proximity of the eastern shores. Thus, a pilot in the service of the King of Portugal, while sailing at 1350 miles' distance from Cape St. Vincent, the south-western point of the Portuguese province of Algarve, met with a piece of wood ornamented with ancient sculptures, which he considered must have come from a continent not far off. Again, some fishermen had found near the island of Madeira, a sculptured post and some bamboos, which in shape resembled those found in India. The inhabitants of the Azores also, often picked up gigantic pine-trees, of an unknown species, and one day two human bodies were cast upon their shores, "corpses with broad faces," says the chronicler Herrera, "and not resembling Christians."

These various facts tended to inflame imagination. As in the fifteenth century men had no knowledge of that great Gulf-stream, which, in nearing the European coasts, brings with it waifs and strays from America, so they could only imagine that these various débris must come from Asia. Therefore, they argued, Asia could not be far off, and the communication between these two extremes of the old continent must be easy. One point must be clearly borne in mind, no geographer of this period had any notion of the existence of a new world; it was not even a desire of adding to geographical knowledge which led to the exploration of the western route. It was the men of commerce who were the leaders in this movement, and who first undertook to cross the Atlantic. Their only thought was of traffic, and of carrying it on by the shortest road.

The mariner's compass, invented, according to the generally received opinion, about 1302, by one Flavio Gioja of Amalfi, enabled vessels to sail at a distance from the coasts, and to guide themselves when out of sight of land. Martin Béhaim, with two physicians in the service of Prince Henry of Portugal, had also added to nautical science by discovering the way of directing the voyager's course according to the position of the sun in the heavens, and by applying the astrolabe to the purposes of navigation. These improvements being adopted, the commercial question of the western route increased daily in importance in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, countries in which three-quarters of the science is made up of imagination. There was discussion, there were writings. The excited world of commerce disputed with the world of science. Facts, systems, doctrines, were grouped together. The time was come when there was needed one single intelligence to collect together and assimilate the various floating ideas. This intelligence was found. At length all the scattered notions were gathered together in the mind of one man, who possessed in a remarkable degree genius, perseverance, and boldness.

Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus.

This man was no other than Christopher Columbus, born, probably near Genoa, about the year 1436. We say "probably," for the towns of Cogoreo and Nervi dispute with Savona and Genoa, the honour of having given him birth. The date of his birth varies, with different biographers, from 1430 to 1445, but the year 1436 would appear to be the correct one, according to the most reliable documents. The family of Columbus was of humble origin; his father, Domenic Columbus, a manufacturer of woollen stuffs, seems, however, to have been in sufficiently easy circumstances to enable him to give his children a more than ordinarily good education. The young Christopher, the eldest of the family, was sent to the University of Pavia, there to study Grammar, Latin, Geography, Astronomy, and Navigation.

At fourteen years of age Christopher left school and went to sea; from this time until 1487, very little is known of his career. It is interesting to give the remark of Humboldt on this subject, as reported by M. Charton; he said, "that he regretted the more this uncertainty about the early life of Columbus when he remembered all that the chroniclers have so minutely preserved for us upon the life of the dog Becerillo, or the elephant Aboulababat, which Haroun-al-Raschid sent to Charlemagne!" The most probable account to be gathered from contemporary documents and from the writings of Columbus himself, is that the young sailor visited the Levant, the west, the north, England several times, Portugal, the coast of Guinea, and the islands of Africa, perhaps even Greenland, for, by the age of forty "he had sailed to every part that had ever been sailed to before." He was looked upon as a thoroughly competent mariner, and his reputation led to his being chosen for the command of the Genoese galleys, in the war which that Republic was waging against Venice. He afterwards made an expedition, in the service of René, king of Anjou, to the coasts of Barbary, and in 1477, he went to explore the countries beyond Iceland.

This voyage being successfully terminated, Christopher Columbus returned to his home at Lisbon. He there married the daughter of an Italian gentleman, Bartolomeo Munez Perestrello, a sailor like himself and deeply interested in the geographical ideas of the day. The wife of Columbus, Dona Filippa, was without fortune, and Columbus, having none himself, felt he must work for the support of himself and his family. The future discoverer, therefore, set to work to make picture-books, terrestrial globes, maps, and nautical charts, and continued in this employment until 1481, but without at the same time abandoning his scientific and literary pursuits. It seems probable even, that during this period he studied deeply, and attained to knowledge far beyond that possessed by most of the sailors of his time. Can it have been that at this time "the Great Idea" first arose in his mind? It may well have been so. He was following assiduously the discussions relative to the western routes, and the facility of communication by the west, between Europe and Asia. His correspondence proves that he shared the opinion of Aristotle as to the relatively short distance separating the extreme shores of the old Continent. He wrote frequently to the most distinguished savants of his time. Martin Béhaim, of whom we have already spoken, was amongst his correspondents, and also the celebrated Florentine astronomer, Toscanelli, whose opinions in some degree influenced those of Columbus.

Imaginary view of Seville
A Spanish Port.

At this time Columbus, according to the portrait of him given by his biographer Washington Irving, was a tall man, of robust and noble presence. His face was long, he had an aquiline nose, high cheek bones, eyes clear and full of fire; he had a bright complexion, and his face was much covered with freckles. He was a truly Christian man, and it was with the liveliest faith that he fulfilled all the duties of the Catholic religion.

At the time when Christopher Columbus was in correspondence with the astronomer Toscanelli, he learnt that the latter, at the request of Alphonso V., King of Portugal, had sent to the king a learned Memoir upon the possibility of reaching the Indies by the western route. Columbus was consulted, and supported the ideas of Toscanelli with all his influence; but without result, for the King of Portugal, who was engaged at the time in war with Spain, died, without having been able to give any attention to maritime discoveries. His successor, John II., adopted the plans of Columbus and Toscanelli with enthusiasm. At the same time, with most reprehensible cunning, he tried to deprive these two savants of the benefit of their proposition; without telling them, he sent out a caravel to attempt this great enterprise, and to reach China by crossing the Atlantic. But he had not reckoned upon the inexperience of his pilots, nor upon the violence of the storms which they might encounter; the result was, that some days after their departure, a hurricane brought back to Lisbon the sailors of the Portuguese king. Columbus was justly wounded by this unworthy action, and felt that he could not reckon upon a king who had so deceived him. His wife being dead, he left Spain with his son Diego, towards the end of the year 1484. It is thought that he went to Genoa and to Venice, where his projects of transoceanic navigation were but badly received.

Columbus knocks at a convent door
Columbus knocks at a convent door.

However it may have been, in 1485 we find him again in Spain. This great man was poor, without resources. He travelled on foot, carrying Diego his little son of ten years old, in his arms. From this period of his life, history follows him step by step; she no more loses sight of him, and she has preserved to posterity the smallest incidents of this grand existence. We find Columbus arrived in Andalusia, only half a league from the port of Palos. Destitute, and dying of hunger, he knocked at the door of a Franciscan convent, dedicated to Santa Maria de Rabida, and asked for a little bread and water for his poor child and for himself. The superior of the convent, Juan Perez de Marchena, gave hospitality to the unfortunate traveller. He questioned him, and was surprised by the nobleness of his language, but still more astonished was he, by the boldness of the ideas of Columbus, who made the good Father the confidant of his aspirations. For several months the wandering sailor remained in this hospitable convent; some of the monks were learned men, and interested themselves about him and his projects; they studied his plans; they mentioned him to some of the well-known navigators of the time; and we must give them the credit of having been the first to believe in the genius of Christopher Columbus. Juan Perez showed still greater kindness; he offered to take upon himself the charge of the education of Diego, and he gave to Columbus a letter of recommendation addressed to the confessor of the Queen of Castille.

This confessor, prior of the monastery of Prado, was deep in the confidence of Ferdinand and Isabella; but he did not approve of the projects of the Genoese navigator, and he rendered him no service whatever with his royal penitent. Columbus must still resign himself to wait. He went to live at Cordova, where the court was soon to come, and for livelihood he resumed his trade of picture-seller. Is it possible to quote from the lives of illustrious men an instance of a more trying existence than this of the great navigator? Could ill-fortune have assailed any man with more cruel blows? But this indomitable, indefatigable man of genius, rising up again after each trial, did not despair. He felt within him the sacred fire of genius, he worked on unceasingly, he visited influential persons, spreading his ideas and defending them, and combating all objections with the most heroic energy. At length he obtained the protection of the great cardinal-archbishop of Toledo, Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, and thanks to him, was admitted into the presence of the King and Queen of Spain.

Christopher Columbus must have imagined himself now at the end of all his troubles. Ferdinand and Isabella received his project favourably, and caused it to be submitted for examination to a council of learned men, consisting of bishops and monks who were gathered together ad hoc in a Dominican convent at Salamanca. But the unfortunate pleader was not yet at the end of his vicissitudes. In this meeting at Salamanca all his judges were against him. The truth was, that his ideas interfered with the intolerant religious notions of the fifteenth century. The Fathers of the Church had denied the sphericity of the earth, and since the earth was not round they declared that a voyage of circumnavigation was absolutely contrary to the Bible, and could not therefore, on any logical theory, be undertaken. "Besides," said these theologians, "if any one should ever succeed in descending into the other hemisphere, how could he ever mount up again into this one?" This manner of arguing was a very formidable one at this period; for Christopher Columbus saw himself, in consequence, almost accused of heresy, the most unpardonable crime which could be committed in these intolerant countries. He escaped any evil consequences from the hostile disposition of the Council, but the execution of his project was again adjourned.

Building a caravel
Building a caravel.

Long years passed away. The unfortunate man of genius, despairing of success in Spain, sent his brother to England to make an offer of his services to the king, Henry VII. But it is probable that the king gave no answer. Then Christopher Columbus turned again with unabated perseverance to Ferdinand, but Ferdinand was at this time engaged in a war of extermination against the Moors, and it was not until 1492, when he had chased the Moors from Spain, that he was able again to listen to the solicitations of the Genoese sailor.

This time the affair was thoroughly considered, and the king consented to the enterprise. But Columbus, as is the manner of proud natures, wished to impose his own conditions. They bargained over that which should enrich Spain! Columbus, in disgust, was without doubt ready to quit, and for ever, this ungrateful country, but Isabella, touched by the thought of the unbelievers of Asia, whom she hoped to convert to the Catholic faith, ordered Columbus to be recalled, and then acceded to all his demands.

Columbus was in the fifty-sixth year of his age when he signed a treaty with the King of Spain at Santa-Feta on the 17th of April, 1492, being eighteen years after he had first conceived his project, and seven years from the time of his quitting the monastery of Palos. By this solemn convention, the dignity of high admiral was to belong to Columbus in all the lands which he might discover, and this dignity was to descend in perpetuity to his heirs and successors. He was named viceroy and governor of the new possessions which he hoped to conquer in the rich countries of Asia, and one-tenth part of the pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices, provisions, and merchandise of whatever kind, which might be acquired in any manner whatsoever, within the limits of his jurisdiction, was of right to belong to him.

All was arranged, and at length Columbus was to put his cherished projects in execution. But let us repeat, he had no thought of meeting with the New World, of the existence of which he had not the faintest suspicion. His aim was "to explore the East by the West, and to pass by the way of the West to the Land whence come the spices." One may even aver that Columbus died in the belief that he had arrived at the shores of Asia, and never knew himself that he had made the discovery of America. But this in no way lessens his glory; the meeting with the new Continent was but an accident. The real cause of the immortal renown of Columbus was that audacity of genius which induced him to brave the dangers of an unknown ocean, to separate himself afar from those familiar shores, which, until now, navigators had never ventured to quit, to adventure himself upon the waves of the Atlantic Ocean in the frail ships of the period, which the first tempest might engulf, to launch himself, in a word, upon the deep darkness of an unknown sea.

The preparations began, Columbus entering into an arrangement with some rich navigators of Palos, the three brothers Pinzon, who made the necessary advances for defraying the expenses of fitting out the ships. Three caravels, named the Gallega, the Nina, and the Pinta, were equipped in the port of Palos. The Gallega was destined to carry the admiral, who changed her name to the Santa-Maria. The Pinta was commanded by Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and the Nina by his two brothers, Francis Martin, and Vincent Yanez Pinzon. It was difficult to man the ships, sailors generally being frightened at the enterprise, but at last the captains succeeded in getting together one hundred and twenty men, and on Friday, August 3rd, 1492, the admiral crossing at eight o'clock in the morning the bar of Saltez, off the town of Huelva, in Andalusia, adventured himself with his three half-decked caravels upon the Atlantic waves.



II.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.
First voyage: The Great Canary—Gomera—Magnetic variation—Symptoms of revolt—Land, land—San Salvador—Taking possession—Conception—Fernandina or Great Exuma—Isabella, or Long Island—The Mucaras—Cuba—Description of the island—Archipelago of Notre-Dame—Hispaniola or San Domingo—Tortuga Island—The cacique on board the Santa-Maria—The caravel of Columbus goes aground and cannot be floated off—Island of Monte-Christi—Return—Tempest—Arrival in Spain—Homage rendered to Christopher Columbus.

During the first day's voyage, the admiral—the title by which he is usually known in the various accounts of his exploits—bearing directly southwards, sailed forty-five miles before sunset; turning then to the south-east, he steered for the Canaries, in order to repair the Pinta, which had unshipped her rudder, an accident caused perhaps by the ill-will of the steersman, who dreaded the voyage. Ten days later Columbus cast anchor before the Great Canary Island, where the rudder of the caravel was repaired. Nineteen days afterwards he arrived before Gomera, where the inhabitants assured him of the existence of an unknown land in the west of the Archipelago. He did not leave Gomera until the 6th of September. He had received warning that three Portuguese ships awaited him in the open sea, with the intention of barring his passage; however, without taking any heed of this news, he put to sea, cleverly avoided meeting his enemies, and steering directly westward, he lost all sight of land. During the voyage the admiral took care to conceal from his companions the true distance traversed each day; he made it appear less than it really was in the daily abstracts of his observations, that he might not add to the fear already felt by the sailors, by letting them know the real distance which separated them from Europe. Each day he watched the compasses with attention, and it is to him we owe the discovery of the magnetic variation, of which he took account in his calculations. The pilots, however, were much disturbed on seeing the compasses all "north-westers," as they expressed it.

Christopher Columbus on board his caravel
Christopher Columbus on board his caravel.

On the 14th of September the sailors saw a swallow and some tropic-birds. The sight of these birds was an evidence of land being near, for they do not usually fly more than about seventy miles out to sea. The temperature was very mild, the weather magnificent; the wind blew from the east and wafted the caravels in the desired direction. But it was exactly this continuance of east wind which frightened the greater part of the sailors, who saw in this persistence, so favourable for the outward voyage, the promise of a formidable obstacle to their return home. On the 16th of September some tufts of seaweed, still fresh, were seen floating on the waves. But no land was to be seen, and this seaweed might possibly indicate the presence of submarine rocks, and not of the shores of a continent. On the 17th, thirty-five days after the departure of the expedition, floating weeds were frequently seen, and upon one mass of weed was found a live cray-fish, a sure sign this of the proximity of land.

During the following days a large number of birds, such as gannets, sea-swallows, and tropic-birds, flew around the caravels. Columbus turned their presence to account as a means of reassuring his companions, who were beginning to be terribly frightened at not meeting with land after six weeks of sailing. His own confidence never abated, but putting firm trust in God, he often addressed energetic words of comfort to those around him, and made them each evening chant the Salve Regina, or some other hymn to the Virgin. At the words of this heroic man, so noble, so sure of himself, so superior to all human weaknesses, the courage of the sailors revived, and they again went onwards.

We can well imagine how anxiously both officers and men scanned the western horizon towards which they were steering. Each one had a pecuniary motive for wishing to be the first to descry the New Continent, King Ferdinand having promised a reward of 10,000 maravédis, or 400 pounds sterling, to the first discoverer. The latter days of the month of September were enlivened by the presence of numerous large birds, petrels, man-of-war birds, and damiers, flying in couples, a sign that they were not far away from home. So Columbus retained his unshaken conviction that land could not be far off.

On the 1st of October, the admiral announced to his companions that they had made 1272 miles to the west since leaving Ferro; in reality, the distance traversed exceeded 2100 miles, and of this Columbus was quite aware, but persisted in his policy of disguising the truth in this particular. On the 7th of October, the crews were excited by hearing discharges of musketry from the Nina, the commanders of which, the two brothers Pinzon, thought they had descried the land; they soon found, however, that they had been mistaken. Still, on their representing that they had seen some parroquets flying in a south-westerly direction, the admiral consented to change his route so far as to steer some points to the south, a change which had happy consequences in the future, for had they continued to run directly westward, the caravels would have been aground upon the great Bahama Bank, and would probably have been altogether destroyed.

Still the ardently desired land did not appear. Each evening the sun as it went down dipped behind an interminable horizon of water. The crews who had several times been the victims of an optical illusion, now began to murmur against Columbus, "the Genoese, the foreigner," who had enticed them so far away from their country. Some symptoms of mutiny had already shown themselves on board the vessels, when, on the 10th of October, the sailors openly declared that they would go no further. In treating of this part of the voyage, the historians would seem to have drawn somewhat upon their imagination; they narrate scenes of serious import which took place upon the admiral's caravel, the sailors going so far as even to threaten his life. They say also, that the recriminations ended by a kind of arrangement, granting a respite of three days to Columbus, at the end of which time, should land not have been then discovered, the fleet was to set out on its return to Europe. All these statements we may look upon as pure fiction; there is nothing in the accounts given by Columbus himself which lends them the smallest credibility. But it has been needful to touch upon them, for nothing must be omitted relating to the great Genoese Navigator, and some amount of legend mixed up with history does not ill beseem the grand figure of Christopher Columbus. Still, it is an undoubted fact that there was much murmuring on board the caravels, but it would seem that the crews, cheered by the words of the admiral, and by his brave attitude in the midst of uncertainty, did not refuse to do their duty in working the ships.

On the 11th of October, the admiral noticed alongside of his vessel, a reed still green, floating upon the top of a large wave: at the same time the crew of the Pinta hoisted on board another reed, a small board, and a little stick, which appeared to have been cut with an instrument of iron; it was evident that human hands had been employed upon these things. Almost at the same moment, the men of the Nina perceived a branch of some thorny tree covered with blossoms. At all this every one rejoiced exceedingly; there could be no doubt now of the proximity of the coast. Night fell over the sea. The Pinta, the best sailor of the three vessels, was leading. Already, Columbus himself, and one Rodrigo Sanchez, comptroller of the expedition, had thought they had seen a light moving amidst the shadows of the horizon, when a sailor named Rodrigo, on board the Pinta, cried out, "Land, land."

What must have been the feelings in the breast of Columbus at that moment?
What must have been the feelings in the breast of Columbus at that moment?

What must have been the feelings in the breast of Columbus at that moment? Never had any man, since the first creation of the human race experienced a similar emotion to that now felt by the great navigator. Perhaps even it is allowable to think that the eye which first saw this New Continent, was indeed that of the admiral himself. But what matters it? The glory of Columbus consisted not in the having arrived, his glory was in the having set out. It was at two o'clock in the morning that the land was first seen, when the caravels were not two hours' sail away from it. At once all the crews deeply moved, joined in singing together the Salve Regina. With the first rays of the sun they saw a little island, six miles to windward of them. It was one of the Bahama group; Columbus named it San Salvador, and immediately falling on his knees, he began to repeat the hymn of Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine: "Te Deum laudamus, Te Deum confitemur."

At this moment, some naked savages appeared upon the newly discovered coast. Columbus had his long boat lowered, and got into it with Alonzo and Yanez Pinzon, the comptroller Rodrigo, the secretary Descovedo, and some others. He landed upon the shore, carrying in his hand the royal banner, whilst the two captains bore between them the green banner of the Cross, upon which were interlaced, the initials of Ferdinand and Isabella. Then the admiral solemnly took possession of the island in the name of the King and Queen of Spain, and caused a record of the act to be drawn up. During this ceremony the natives came round Columbus and his companions. M. Charton gives the account of the scene in the very words of Columbus: "Desiring to inspire them (the natives) with friendship for us, and being persuaded, on seeing them, that they would confide the more readily in us, and be the better disposed towards embracing our Holy Faith, if we used mildness in persuading them, rather than if we had recourse to force, I caused to be given to several amongst them, coloured caps, and also glass beads, which they put around their necks. I added various other articles of small value; they testified great joy, and showed so much gratitude that we marvelled greatly at it. When we were re-embarking, they swam towards us, to offer us parroquets, balls of cotton thread, zagayes (or long darts), and many other things; in exchange we gave them some small glass beads, little bells, and other objects. They gave us all they had, but they appeared to me to be very poor. The men and women both were as naked as when they were born. Amongst those whom we saw, one woman was rather young, and none of the men appeared to be more than thirty years of age. They were well made, their figures handsome, and their faces agreeable. Their hair, coarse as that of a horse's tail, hung down in front as low as their eyebrows, behind it formed a long mass, which they never cut. There are some who paint themselves with a blackish pigment; their natural colour being neither black nor white, but similar to that of the inhabitants of the Canary islands; some paint themselves with white, some with red, or any other colour, either covering the whole body with it, or the whole face, or perhaps only the eyes, or the nose. They do not carry arms like our people, and do not even know what they are. When I showed them some swords, they laid hold of them by the blades, and cut their fingers. They have no iron; their zagayes are sticks, the tip is not of iron, but sometimes made of a fish tooth, or of some other hard substance. They have much grace in their movements. I remarked that several had scars upon their bodies, and I asked them by means of signs, how they had been wounded. They answered in the same manner, that the inhabitants of the neighbouring islands had come to attack them, and make them prisoners, and that they had defended themselves. I thought then and I still think that they must have come from the mainland to make them prisoners for slaves; they would be faithful and gentle servants. They seem to have the power of repeating quickly what they hear. I am persuaded that they might be converted to Christianity without difficulty, for I believe that they belong to no sect."

When Columbus returned on board, several of the savages swam after his boat; the next day, the 13th, they came in crowds around the ships, on board of enormous canoes shaped out of the trunks of trees; they were guided by means of a kind of baker's shovel, and some of the canoes were capable of holding forty men. Several natives wore little plates of gold hanging from their nostrils; they appeared much surprised at the arrival of the strangers, and quite believed that these white men must have fallen from the skies. It was with a mixture of respect and curiosity that they touched the garments of the Spaniards, considering them doubtless, a kind of natural plumage. The scarlet coat of the admiral excited their admiration above everything, and it was evident they looked upon Columbus as a parroquet of a superior species; at once they seemed to recognize him as the chief amongst the strangers.

So Columbus and his followers visited this new island of San Salvador. They were never tired of admiring the beauty of its situation, its magnificent groves, its running streams, and verdant meadows. The fauna of the island offered little variety; parroquets of radiant plumage abounded amongst the trees, but they appeared to be the only species of birds upon the island. San Salvador presented an almost flat plateau of which no mountain broke the uniformity; a small lake occupied the centre of the island. The explorers imagined that San Salvador must contain great mineral riches, since the inhabitants were adorned with ornaments of gold. But was this precious metal derived from the island itself? Upon this point the admiral questioned one of the natives, and succeeded in learning from him by means of signs, that in turning the island and sailing towards the south, the admiral would find a country of which the king possessed great vessels of gold and immense riches. The next morning, at daybreak, Columbus gave orders to have the ships prepared for sea; he set sail, and steered towards the continent of which the natives had spoken, which, as he imagined, could be none other than Cipango.

Here an important observation must be made, showing the state of geographical knowledge at this period: viz. that Columbus now believed himself to have arrived at Asia, Cipango being the name given by Marco Polo to Japan. This error of the admiral, shared in by all his companions, was not rectified for many years afterwards, and thus, as we have already remarked, the great navigator after four successive voyages to the islands, died, without knowing that he had discovered a new world. It is beyond doubt that the sailors of Columbus, and Columbus himself, imagined that they had arrived, during that night of the 12th October, 1492, either at Japan, or China, or the Indies. This is the reason why America so long bore the name of the "Western Indies," and why the aborigines of this continent, in Brazil and in Mexico, as well as in the United States, are still classed under the general appellation of "Indians."

So Columbus dreamt only of reaching the shores of Japan. He coasted along San Salvador, exploring its western side. The natives, running down to the shore, offered him water and cassava bread, made from the root of a plant called the "Yucca." Several times the admiral landed upon the coast at different points, and with a sad want of humanity, he carried away some of the natives, that he might take them with him to Spain. Poor men! already the strangers began to tear them from their country; it would not be long before they began to sell them! At last the caravels lost sight of San Salvador, and were again upon the wide ocean.

Fortune had favoured Columbus in thus guiding him into the centre of one of the most beautiful archipelagos which the world contains. These new lands which he discovered were as a casket of precious stones, which needed only to be opened, and the hands of the discoverer were full of treasures. On the 15th October, at sunset, the flotilla came to anchor near the western point of a second island, at a distance of only fifteen miles from San Salvador; this island was named Conception; on the morrow the admiral landed upon the shore, having his men well armed for fear of surprise; the natives, however, proved to be of the same race as those of San Salvador, and gave a kind welcome to the Spaniards. A south-easterly wind having arisen, Columbus soon put to sea again, and twenty-seven miles further westward, he discovered a third island, which he called Fernandina, but which now goes by the name of the Great Exuma. All night they lay-to, and next day, the 17th October, large native canoes came off to the vessels. The relations with the natives were excellent, the savages peacefully exchanging fruit, and small balls of cotton for glass beads, tambourines, needles, which took their fancy greatly, and some molasses, of which they appeared very fond. These natives of Fernandina wore some clothing, and appeared altogether more civilized than those of San Salvador; they inhabited houses made in the shape of tents and having high chimneys; the interiors of these dwellings were remarkably clean and well kept. The western side of the island, with its deeply indented shore, formed a grand natural harbour, capable of containing a hundred vessels.

But Fernandina did not afford the riches so much coveted by the Spaniards as spoils to take back to Europe; there were no gold-mines here; the natives who were on board the flotilla always spoke, however, of a larger island, situated to the south and called Saometo, in which the precious metal was found. Columbus steered in the direction indicated, and during the night of Friday, the 19th of October, he cast anchor near this Saometo, calling it Isabella; in modern maps it goes by the name of Long Island. According to the natives of San Salvador, there was a powerful king in this island, but the admiral for several days awaited in vain the advent of this great personage; he did not show himself. The island of Isabella was beautiful of aspect, with its clear lakes, and thick forests; the Spaniards were never tired of admiring the new type of nature presented to their view, and of which the intense verdure was wonderful to European eyes. Parroquets in innumerable flocks were flying amongst the thick trees, and great lizards, doubtless iguanas, glided with rapid movements in the high grass. The inhabitants of the island fled at first at the sight of the foreigners, but soon becoming bolder, they trafficked with the Spaniards in the productions of their country.

Still Columbus held firmly to the notion of reaching the shores of Japan. The natives had mentioned to him a large island a little to the west which they called Cuba, and this the admiral supposed must form part of the kingdom of Cipango; he felt little doubt but that he would soon arrive at the town of Quinsay, or Hang-tchoo-foo, formerly the capital of China. With this object, as soon as the winds permitted, the fleet weighed anchor. On Thursday, the 25th of October, seven or eight islands lying in a straight line were sighted, these were probably the Mucaras. Columbus did not stop to visit them, and on the Sunday he came in sight of Cuba. The caravels were moored in a river, to which the Spaniards gave the name of San Salvador; after a short stay, they sailed again towards the west, and entered a harbour situated at the mouth of a large river which was afterwards called the harbour of Las Nuevitas del Principe.

Numerous palm-trees were growing upon the shores of the island, having leaves so broad that only one was required for roofing a native hut. The natives had fled at the approach of the Spaniards, who found upon the shore idols of female form, tame birds, bones of animals, also dumb dogs, and some fishing instruments. The Cuban savages, however, were ready to be enticed like the others, and they consented to barter their goods with the Spaniards. Columbus believed himself to be now on the mainland, and only a few leagues from Hang-tchoo-foo; this idea being so rooted in his mind, that he even busied himself in despatching some presents to the great Khan of China. On the 2nd of November he desired one of the officers of his ship, and a Jew who could speak Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic, to set out to seek this native monarch. The ambassadors, carrying with them strings of beads, and having six days given to them for the fulfilment of their mission, started, taking a route leading towards the interior of this so-called continent.

In the meantime, Columbus explored for nearly six miles a splendid river which flowed beneath the shade of woods of odoriferous trees. The inhabitants freely bartered their goods with the Spaniards, and frequently mentioned to them a place named Bohio, where gold and pearls might be obtained in abundance. They added that men lived there who had dogs' heads, and who fed upon human flesh.

The admiral's envoys returned to the port on the 6th of November, after a four days' absence. Two days had sufficed to bring them to a village composed of about fifty huts, where they were received with every mark of respect; the natives kissing their feet and hands, and taking them for deities descended from the skies. Among other details of native customs, they reported that both men and women smoked tobacco by means of a forked pipe, drawing up the smoke through their nostrils. These savages were acquainted with the secret of obtaining fire by rubbing briskly two pieces of wood against each other. Cotton was found in large quantities in the houses, made up into the form of tents, one of these containing as much as 11,000 pounds of the material. As to the grand khan they saw no vestige of him.

Another consequence of the error of Columbus must be noticed here, one which, according to Irving, changed the whole series of his discoveries. He believed himself to be on the coast of Asia, and therefore looked upon Cuba as a portion of that continent. In consequence, he never thought of making the tour of Cuba, but decided on returning towards the east. Now, had he not been deceived on this occasion, and had he continued to follow the same direction as at first, the results of his enterprise would have been greatly modified. He might then have drifted towards Florida at the south-eastern point of North America, or he might have run direct to Mexico. In this latter case, instead of ignorant and savage natives, what would he have found? The inhabitants of the great Aztec Empire, of the half-civilized kingdom of Montezuma. There he would have seen towns, armies, enormous wealth, and his rôle would no doubt have been the same as that afterwards played by Fernando Cortès. But it was not to be thus, and the admiral, persevering in his mistake, directed his flotilla towards the east, weighing anchor on the 12th of November, 1492.

Columbus tacked in and out along the Cuban coast; he saw the two mountains—Cristal and Moa; he explored a harbour to which he gave the name of Puerto del Principe, and an archipelago which he called the Sea of Nuestra Señora. Each night the fishermen's fires were seen upon the numerous islands, the inhabitants of which lived upon spiders and huge worms. Several times the Spaniards landed upon different points of the coast, and there planted the cross as a sign of taking possession of the country. The natives often spoke to the admiral about a certain island of Babeque, where gold abounded, and thither Columbus resolved to go, but Martin-Alonzo Pinzon, the captain of the Pinta, the best sailer of the three ships, was beforehand with him, and at day-break on the 21st of November, he had completely disappeared from sight. The admiral was very angry at this separation, his feelings on the subject appearing plainly in his narrative, where he says, "Pinzon has said and done to me many like things." Continuing his exploration of the coast of Cuba, Columbus discovered the Bay of Moa, the Point of Mangle, Point Vaez, and the harbour of Barracoa, but nowhere did he meet with cannibals, although the huts of the natives were often to be seen adorned with human skulls, a sight which appeared to give great satisfaction to the islanders on board the fleet. On the following days, they saw the Boma River, and the caravels, doubling the point of Los Azules, found themselves upon the eastern part of the island, whose coast they had now reconnoitred for a distance of 375 miles. But Columbus instead of continuing his route to the south turned off to the east, and on the 5th of December perceived a large island, called by the natives Bohio. This was Hayti, or San Domingo.

In the evening, the Nina by the admiral's orders, entered a harbour which was named Port Mary; it is situated at the north-western extremity of the island, and, with the cape near which it lies, is now called St. Nicholas. The next day the Spaniards discovered a number of headlands, and an islet, called Tortuga Island. Everywhere on the appearance of the ships, the Indian canoes took to flight. The island, along which they were now coasting, appeared very large and very high, from which latter peculiarity it gained, later on, its name of Hayti, which signifies High Land. The coast was explored by the Spaniards as far as Mosquito Bay; its natural features, its plains and hills, its plants and the birds which fluttered amongst the beautiful trees of the island, all recalled to the memory the landscapes of Castille, and for this reason Columbus named it Hispaniola, or Spanish Island. The inhabitants were extremely timid and distrustful; they fled away into the interior and no communication could be held with them. Some sailors, however, succeeded in capturing a young woman, whom they carried on board with them. She was young and rather pretty. The admiral gave her, besides rings and beads, some clothing, of which she had great need, and after most generous treatment, he sent her back to shore.

This good conduct had the result of taming the natives, and the next day, when nine of the sailors, well armed, ventured as far as sixteen miles inland, they were received with respect, the savages running to them in crowds, and offering them everything which their country produced. The sailors returned to the ships enchanted with their excursion. The interior of the island they had found rich in cotton plants, mastic-trees and aloes, while a fine river, named afterwards the Three Rivers, flowed gently along its limpid course. On December 15th, Columbus again set sail, and was carried by the wind towards Tortuga Island, upon which he saw a navigable stream of water, and a valley so beautiful that he called it the Vale of Paradise. The day following, having tacked into a deep gulf, an Indian was seen who, notwithstanding the violence of the wind, was skilfully manoeuvring a light canoe. This Indian was invited to come on board, was loaded with presents by the admiral, and then put on shore again, at one of the harbours of Hispaniola, now called the Puerto de Paz. This kindness tended to attach the natives to the admiral, and from that day they came in numbers round the caravels; their king came with them, a strong, vigorous, and somewhat stout young man of twenty years of age; he was naked, like his subjects of both sexes, who showed him much respect, but with no appearance of servility. Columbus ordered royal honours to be rendered to him, and in return, the king, or rather cacique, informed the admiral that the provinces to the east abounded in gold.

Columbus named it the Vale of Paradise
Columbus named it the Vale of Paradise.

Next day another cacique arrived, offering to place all the treasures of his country at the service of the Spaniards. He was present at a fête in honour of the Virgin Mary, that Columbus caused to be celebrated with great pomp on board his vessel, which was gaily dressed with flags on the occasion. The cacique dined at the admiral's table, apparently enjoying the repast; after he had himself tasted of the different viands and beverages, he sent the dishes and goblets to the members of his suite; he had good manners, spoke little, but showed great politeness. After the feast, he gave the admiral some thin leaves of gold, while Columbus, on his side, presented him with some coins, upon which were engraved the portraits of Ferdinand and Isabella, and after explaining to him by signs that these were the representations of the most powerful sovereigns in the world, he caused the royal banners of Castille to be displayed before the savage prince. When night fell, the cacique retired, highly delighted with his visit; and on his departure he was saluted with a salvo of artillery. On the day following, the crews before quitting this hospitable coast, set up a large cross in the middle of the little town. In issuing from the gulf formed by Tortuga Island and Hispaniola, they discovered several harbours, capes, bays, and rivers; at the point of Limbé, a small island which Columbus named St. Thomas, and finally, an enormous harbour safe and sheltered, hidden between the island and the Bay of Acul, and to which access was given by a canal surrounded by high mountains covered with trees.

The admiral often disembarked upon this coast, the natives receiving him as an ambassador from heaven, and imploring him to remain among them. Columbus gave them quantities of little bells, brass rings, glass beads, and other toys, which they eagerly accepted. A cacique named Guacanagari, reigning over the province of Marien, sent to the admiral a belt adorned with the figure of an animal with large ears, of which the nose and tongue were made of beaten gold. Gold appeared to be abundant in the island, and the natives soon brought a considerable quantity of it to the strangers. The inhabitants of this part of Hispaniola seemed to be superior in intelligence and appearance to those of that portion of the island which had been first visited; in the opinion of Columbus, the paint, red, black, or white, with which the natives covered their bodies, served to protect them from sunstroke. The huts of these savages were pretty and well built. Upon Columbus questioning them as to the country which produced gold, they always indicated one towards the east, a country which they called Cibao, and which the admiral continued to identify with Cipango or Japan.

On Christmas Day a serious accident occurred to the admiral's caravel, the first damage sustained in this hitherto prosperous voyage. An inexperienced steersman was at the helm of the Santa-Maria during an excursion outside the Gulf of St. Thomas; night came on, and he allowed the vessel to be caught in some currents which threw her upon the rocks; the caravel grounded and her rudder stuck fast. The admiral, awakened by the shock, ran upon deck; he ordered an anchor to be fastened forward, by which the ship might warp herself off and so float again. The master and some of the sailors charged with the execution of this order, jumped into the long boat, but seized with a sudden panic, they rowed away in haste to the Nina. Meantime the tide fell, and the Santa-Maria ran further aground; it became necessary to cut away the masts to lighten her, and soon it was evident that everything on board must be removed to the other ship. The cacique Guacanagari, quite understanding the dangerous situation of the caravel, came with his brothers and other relations, accompanied by a great number of the Indians, and helped in unlading the ship. Thanks to this prince, not a single article of the cargo was stolen, and during the whole night armed natives kept watch around the stores of provisions.

The next day Guacanagari went on board the Nina, to console the admiral, and to place all his own possessions at his disposal, at the same time offering him a repast of bread, doe's flesh, fish, roots, and fruit. Columbus, much moved by these tokens of friendship, formed the design of founding an establishment on this island. With this purpose in view, he addressed himself to gain the hearts of the Indians by presents and kindness, and wishing also to give them an adequate notion of his power, he ordered the discharge of an arquebuse and a small cannon, of which the reports frightened the poor savages terribly. On December 26th, the Spaniards commenced the construction of a fort upon this part of the coast, the intention of the admiral being to leave there a certain number of men, with a year's provision of bread, wine, and seed, and to give them the long boat belonging to the Santa-Maria. The works at the fort were pushed forward with rapidity. It was also on the 26th that they received news of the Pinta, which had been separated from the flotilla since November 21st. The natives announced that she was at anchor in a river at the extreme point of the island, but a canoe despatched by Guacanagari returned without having found her. Then Columbus, not wishing to continue his explorations under the present conditions, since the loss of the Santa-Maria, which could not be floated again, left him but one caravel, decided to return to Spain, and preparations for the departure began.

On the 2nd of January Columbus caused his soldiers to act a mimic battle, greatly to the admiration of the cacique and his subjects. Afterwards the admiral chose out thirty-nine men to form the garrison of the fortress during his absence, naming Rodrigo de Escovedo as their commander. The greater part of the cargo of the Santa-Maria was to be left behind with them, for their year's provision. Amongst these first colonists of the New World were included a writer, an alguazil, a cooper, a doctor, and a tailor. These Spaniards were charged with the mission of seeking for gold-mines, and of choosing a suitable site for the building of a town. On the 3rd of January, after solemn leave-takings of the cacique and the new colonists, the Nina weighed anchor and sailed out of the harbour. An island was soon discovered, having upon it a very high mountain; to this was given the name of Monte-Christi. Columbus had already sailed for two days along the coast, when he was aware of the approach of the Pinta, and very soon her captain, Martin Alonzo Pinzon, came on board the Nina, endeavouring to excuse his conduct. The real truth was that Pinzon had taken the lead with the view of being the first to reach the pretended island of Babeque, of which the riches had been described in glowing colours by the natives. The admiral was very ready to accept the bad reasons given him by Captain Pinzon, and learnt from him that the Pinta had done nothing but coast along the shores of Hispaniola, without discovering any new island.

On the 7th of January the ships lay to, to stop a leak which had sprung in the hold of the Nina. Columbus profited by this delay to explore a wide river, situated about three miles from Monte-Christi, and which carried so much gold-dust along with it, that he gave it the name of the Golden River. The admiral would have desired to visit this part of Hispaniola with greater care, but the crews were in haste to return home, and under the influence of the brothers Pinzon, began to murmur against his authority.

On the 9th of January the caravels set sail and steered towards the east-south-east, skirting the coast, and distinguishing by names even its smallest sinuosities; of such were point Isabella, the cape of La Roca, French Cape, Cape Cabron, and the Bay of Samana, situated at the eastern extremity of the island, where was a port, in which the fleet, being becalmed, came to anchor. At first the relations between the foreigners and the natives were excellent, but a change was suddenly perceived, the savages ceasing to barter, and making some hostile demonstrations, which left no doubt of the bad intentions entertained by them. On the 13th of January the savages made a sudden and unexpected attack upon the Spaniards, who, however, put a bold face on the matter, and by the aid of their weapons, put their enemies to flight after a few minutes' combat. Thus, for the first time, the blood of the Indian flowed beneath the hand of the European.

On the morrow Columbus again set sail, having on board four young natives, whom, notwithstanding their objections, he persisted in carrying off with him. His crews, embittered and fatigued, caused him great uneasiness, and in his narrative of the voyage, this great man, superior though he were to all human weaknesses, and a being whom adverse fate could not humble, bemoans himself bitterly over this trial. It was on the 16th of January that the homeward voyage commenced in good earnest, and Cape Samana, the extreme point of Hispaniola, disappeared below the horizon. The passage proved a quick one, and no incident is recorded until the 12th of February, when the vessels encountered a fearful storm lasting three days, with furious wind, enormous waves, and much lightning from the north-north-east. Three times did the terrified sailors make a vow of pilgrimage to St. Mary of Guadalupe, to our Lady of Loretto, and to St. Clara of Moguer, and at length, in extremity of fear, the whole crew swore to go and pray in their shirts and with naked feet in some church dedicated to the Virgin. But in spite of all, the storm raged with redoubled fury, and even the admiral feared for the result. In case of a catastrophe, he thought it well hastily to write upon a parchment an abstract of his discoveries, with a request that who ever should find the document would forward it to the King of Spain; wrapping the parchment in oil-cloth, he enclosed it in a wooden barrel, which was thrown into the sea.

At sunrise on the 15th of February the hurricane abated, the two caravels which had been separated by the storm again joined company, and after three days they cast anchor at the island of St. Mary, one of the Azores; as soon as they arrived there, the admiral sought to further the accomplishment of the vows made during the storm, and with this object, sent half of his people on shore; but these were unhappily made prisoners by the Portuguese, who did not restore them to liberty for five days, notwithstanding the urgent remonstrances made by Columbus. The admiral put to sea again on the 23rd of February; again the winds were contrary, and again, amidst a violent tempest, he took fresh vows in company with all his crew, promising to fast on the first Saturday which should follow their arrival in Spain. At last, on the 4th of March, the pilots sighted the mouth of the Tagus, in which the Nina took refuge, whilst the Pinta, caught by the wind, was carried away into the Bay of Biscay.

The Portuguese welcomed the admiral kindly, the king even admitting him to an audience. Columbus was in haste to return to Spain; as soon as the weather permitted, the Nina again set sail, and at mid-day on the 15th of March, she cast anchor in the port of Palos, after seven months and a half of navigation, during which Columbus had discovered the islands of San Salvador, Conception, Great Exuma, Long Island, the Mucaras, Cuba, and San Domingo.

The court of Ferdinand and Isabella was then at Barcelona, whither the admiral was summoned. He set out immediately, taking with him the Indians whom he had brought from the New World. The enthusiasm he excited was extreme; from all parts the people ran to look at him as he passed, rendering him royal honours. His entry into Barcelona was magnificent. The king and queen, with the grandees of Spain, received him with great pomp at the palace of the Deputation. He there gave an account of his wonderful voyage, and presented the specimens of gold which he had brought with him; then all the assembly knelt down and chanted the Te Deum. Christopher Columbus was afterwards ennobled by letters patent, and the king granted him a coat of arms bearing this device: "To Castille and Leon, Columbus gives a New World." The fame of the Genoese navigator rang through the whole of Europe; the Indians whom he had brought with him were baptized in presence of the whole court; and thus, the man of genius, so long poor and unknown, had now risen to the highest point of celebrity.



III.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.
Second Voyage: Flotilla of seventeen vessels—Island of Ferro—Dominica—Marie-Galante—Guadaloupe—The Cannibals—Montserrat—Santa-Maria-la-Rodonda—St. Martin and Santa Cruz—Archipelago of the Eleven Thousand Virgins—The island of St. John Baptist, or Porto Rico—Hispaniola—The first Colonists massacred—Foundation of the town of Isabella—Twelve ships laden with treasure sent to Spain—Fort St. Thomas built in the Province of Cibao—Don Diego, Columbus' brother, named Governor of the Island—Jamaica—The Coast of Cuba—The Remora—Return to Isabella—The Cacique made prisoner—Revolt of the Natives—Famine—Columbus traduced in Spain—Juan Aguado sent as Commissary to Isabella—Gold-mines—Departure of Columbus—His arrival at Cadiz.

The narrative of the adventures of the great Genoese navigator had over-excited the minds of the hearers. Imagination already caught glimpses of golden continents situated beyond the seas. All the passions which are engendered by cupidity were seething in the people's hearts. The admiral, under pressure of public opinion, must set forth again with the most brief delay. He was himself also, eager to return to the theatre of his conquests, and to yet enrich the maps of the day with more new discoveries. He declared himself, therefore, ready to start.

The king and queen placed at his disposal a flotilla composed of three large ships and fourteen caravels. Twelve hundred men were to sail in them. Several Castilian nobles, with firm faith in the lucky star of Columbus, decided to try their fortune with him beyond seas. In the holds of the vessels were horses, cattle, instruments of all kinds for collecting and purifying gold, grain of various kinds; in a word, everything that might be needful in the establishing an important colony. Of the ten natives brought to Europe, five returned to their country, three, who were ill, remained behind in Europe, the other two were dead. Columbus was named captain-general of the squadron, with unlimited powers.

On the 25th of September, 1493, the seventeen ships left Cadiz, with all sails set, amidst the acclamations of an immense crowd of people and on the 1st of October, they cast anchor at the island of Ferro, the most westerly of the Canary group. On sailing again, the fleet was favoured by wind and sea, and after twenty-three days of navigation came in sight of new land. At sunrise on the 3rd of November, being the Sunday in the octave of All Saints, the pilot of the flag-ship, the Marie-Galante, cried out, "Good news, there is land." This land proved to be an island covered with trees; the admiral, thinking it uninhabited, did not stop; but, after passing several scattered islets, he arrived before a second island. The first he named Dominica, the second Marie-Galante, names which they retain to the present day. The next day a still larger island was in sight, and, says the narrative of this voyage given by Peter Martyr, the contemporary of Columbus, "When they were arrived, they saw it was the island of the infamous cannibals, or Caribbees, of whom they had only heard a rumour during the first voyage."

The Spaniards, well armed, landed upon the shore, where they found about thirty circular houses built of wood and covered with palm leaves. In the interior of the huts were suspended hammocks made of cotton. In the centre of the village were placed two trees or posts around which were entwined the dead bodies of two serpents. At the approach of the strangers the natives fled in haste, leaving behind them several prisoners whom they were preparing to devour. The sailors searched the houses, and found both leg and arm bones, heads so newly cut off that the blood was still moist, and other human remains, which left no doubt as to the food consumed by these Caribbees. This island, which, with its principal rivers, the admiral caused to be partially explored, was named Guadaloupe, on account of the resemblance it bore to one of the Spanish provinces. Some Indian women were carried off by the sailors, but, after having been kindly treated on board the admiral's ship, they were sent back to land, Columbus hoping that this conduct towards the females would induce the men of the place to come on board, but in this he was disappointed.

The sailors find some recently-severed heads
The sailors find some recently-severed heads.

On the 8th of November the signal for departure was given, and the whole fleet sailed for Hispaniola, the present San Domingo, and the island upon which Columbus had left thirty-nine of the companions of his first voyage. In turning again towards the north, a large island was discovered, to which the natives who had been kept on board after having been saved from the jaws of the Caribbees, gave the name of Mandanino. They declared that it was inhabited only by women, and as Marco Polo had mentioned an Asiatic country which possessed an exclusively feminine population, Columbus was confirmed in the idea that he was sailing upon the coast of Asia. He felt a great desire to explore this island, but the contrary winds completely prevented his doing so. Thirty miles from thence an island was seen surrounded by high mountains; it received the name of Montserrat; on the next day another, which was called Santa-Maria la Rodonda; and on the day following two more islands, St. Martin and Santa Cruz.

The squadron anchored before Santa Cruz, to take in water. There occurred a scene of grave import, reported by Peter Martyr in such expressive words, that we cannot do better than quote them: "The admiral," he says, "ordered thirty men from his ship to go ashore and explore the island; and these men, being landed on the coast, were aware of four dogs and as many young men and women coming towards them, extending their arms in supplication, and praying for help and deliverance from the cruel people. The cannibals on seeing this fled, as in the island of Guadaloupe, and all retired into the forests. And our people remained two days on the island to visit it.

"During that time, those who had remained with the boat saw a canoe coming towards them from a distance, containing eight men and as many women; to these our people made signs; but they on approaching, began to transpierce ours with their arrows, before they had time to cover themselves with their bucklers, so that one Spaniard was killed by a shaft aimed by a woman, who also transfixed another with a second arrow. These savages had poisoned arrows, the poison being contained in the tip; amongst them was a woman whom all the others obeyed, bowing before her. And this was, as they conjectured, a queen, having a son of cruel appearance, robust, and with the face of a lion, who followed her.

"Ours then, considering that it was better to fight hand to hand, than to wait for greater evils in thus fighting at a distance, advanced their boat by rowing, and by so great violence did they make it move forward, that the stern of the said boat came with such velocity, it caused the enemies' canoe to founder.

"But these Indians, being very good swimmers, without moving themselves either more slowly or more rapidly, did not cease, both men and women, to shoot arrows with all their might, at our people. And they succeeded in reaching, by swimming, a rock covered with the water, upon which they mounted, and still fought manfully. Nevertheless, they were finally taken, and one of them slain, and the son of the queen, pierced in two places; when they were taken to the admiral's ship they showed no less ferociousness and atrocity of mien, than if they had been lions of Libya who felt themselves taken in the net. And such were they that no man could have even looked upon them without his heart trembling with horror, so greatly was their look hideous, terrible, and infernal."

From all this it is clear that the strife between the Indians and the Europeans was beginning to be serious. Columbus sailed again towards the north, going in the midst of islands "pleasant and innumerable," covered with forests overshadowed by mountains of various hues. This collection of islands was called the Archipelago of the Eleven Thousand Virgins. Soon appeared the island of St. John Baptist (now Porto Rico), a place infested by Caribbees, but cultivated with care, and appearing truly superb from its immense woods. Some sailors landed upon the shore, but only found there a dozen uninhabited huts. The admiral put to sea again, and sailed along the southern coast of Porto Rico for about one hundred and fifty miles.

On Friday, the 12th of November, Columbus at last reached the island of Hispaniola. With what emotions must he not have been agitated in revisiting the theatre of his first success, in seeking to behold that fortress in which he had left his companions! What might not have happened in the course of a year to those Europeans left alone in this barbarous land? Soon a great canoe, bringing the brother of the Cacique Guacanagari, came alongside of the Marie-Galante, and the Indian prince springing on board, offered two images of gold to the admiral. Still Columbus sought for his fortress, but, although he had anchored opposite its site, there was no trace whatever to be seen of it. With feelings of the deepest anxiety as to the fate of his companions, he went on shore. What was his dismay, when he found nothing left of the fortress but a few ashes! What could have become of his compatriots? Had their lives been the forfeit of this first attempt at colonization? The admiral ordered the simultaneous discharge of the cannon from all the ships to announce his arrival at Hispaniola. But none of his companions appeared. Columbus, in despair, immediately despatched messengers to the Cacique Guacanagari; who, on their return brought sad news. If Guacanagari might be believed, some other caciques, irritated by the presence of the foreigners in their island, had attacked the unfortunate colonists, and had massacred them to the last man. Guacanagari himself had received a wound in endeavouring to defend them, and to corroborate his story he showed his leg enveloped in a cotton bandage.

Columbus did not believe in this intervention of the cacique, but, resolving to dissimulate, he welcomed Guacanagari kindly when he came on board the next day; the cacique accepted an image of the Virgin, suspending it on his bosom. He appeared astonished at the sight of the horses which they showed him, these animals having been hitherto quite unknown to himself and his companions. When his visit was over, he returned to the shore, regained the region of mountains, and was seen no more.

The admiral then despatched one of his captains with three hundred men under his orders, to scour the country and carry off the cacique. This captain penetrated far into the interior, but found no traces of the cacique, nor of the unfortunate colonists. During this excursion, a great river was discovered, and also a fine sheltered harbour, which was named Port Royal. However, in spite of the bad success of his first attempt, Columbus had resolved to found a new colony upon this island, which appeared to be rich both in gold and silver. The natives constantly spoke of mines situated in the province of Cibao, and in the month of January two gentlemen, Alonzo de Hojeda and Corvalan, set out accompanied by a numerous escort to verify these assertions. They discovered four rivers having auriferous sands, and brought back with them a nugget which weighed nine ounces. The admiral on seeing these riches was confirmed in his idea that Hispaniola was the famous Ophir, spoken of in the Book of Kings. After looking for a site upon which to build a town, he laid the foundation of Isabella in a spot at the mouth of a river which formed a harbour, and at a distance of thirty miles east from Monte Christi. On the Feast of the Epiphany, thirteen priests officiated in the church in presence of an immense crowd of natives.

Columbus was now anxious to send news of the colony to the King and Queen of Spain. Twelve ships laden with gold collected in the island, and with various specimens of the produce of the soil, were prepared to return to Europe under the command of Captain Torrès. This flotilla set sail on the 2nd of February, 1494, and a short time afterwards Columbus sent back one more of the five ships which remained to him, with the Lieutenant Bernard of Pisa, against whom he had cause of complaint.

As soon as order was established in the colony of Isabella, the admiral, leaving his brother behind as governor, set out, accompanied by five hundred men, to visit the mines of Cibao. The country they traversed seemed to be splendidly fertile; vegetables came to perfection in thirteen days; corn sown in February was in full ear in April, and each year yielded two abundant harvests. They crossed successively mountains and valleys, where often the pick-axe had to be used to clear a way over these still virgin lands; at last the Spaniards arrived at Cibao. There the admiral caused a fort to be constructed of wood and stone on a hill near the brink of a large river; it was surrounded with a deep ditch, and Columbus bestowed upon it the name of St. Thomas, in derision of some of his officers who were incredulous upon the subject of the gold-mines. It ill became them to doubt, for from all parts the natives brought nuggets and gold dust, which they were eager to exchange for beads, and above all for the hawks' bells, of which the silvery sound excited them to dance. This country was not only a land of gold, it was also a country rich in spices and aromatic gums, the trees which bore them forming quite large forests. The Spaniards considered the conquest of this wealthy island a cause of unmixed congratulation.

Columbus left fifty-six men to guard the Fort of St. Thomas, under the command of Don Pedro de Margarita, while he returned to Isabella, towards the beginning of April, being much hindered on the road by excessive rain. On his arrival he found the infant colony in great disorder; famine was threatening from the want of flour, which could not be obtained, for there were no mills; both soldiers and workmen were exhausted with fatigue. Columbus sought to oblige the gentlemen to aid them; but these proud Hidalgos, anxious as they were to conquer fortune, would not stoop to pick it up, and refused to perform any manual labour. The priests upholding them in this conduct, Columbus, who was forced to act with vigour, was obliged to place the churches under an interdict. He could not spare time to remain any longer at Isabella, but was in haste to make further discoveries; therefore, having formed a council, composed of three gentlemen and the chief of the missionaries, under the presidency of Don Diego, to govern the colony, he set out on the 24th of April with three vessels, to complete the cycle of his discoveries.

The flotilla sailing towards the south, a new island was soon discovered, which was called by the natives Jamaica. The highest point of the island was a mountain of which the sides sloped gently down. The inhabitants appeared clever, and much given to the mechanical arts, but they were far from pacific in character, and several times opposed the landing of the Spaniards, who, however, repulsed them, and at length the savages were induced to conclude a treaty of alliance with the admiral. From Jamaica Columbus pushed his researches more towards the west. He imagined himself to be arrived at the point where the old geographers placed the golden region of the west, Chersonesus. Strong currents carried him towards Cuba, along whose coast he sailed for a distance of six hundred and sixty-six miles. During this dangerous navigation amongst shallows and narrow passages, he named more than seven hundred islands, discovered a great number of harbours, and often entered into communication with the natives.

Fishermen on the coast of Cuba
Fishermen on the coast of Cuba.

In the month of May, the look-out-men on board the ships descried a large number of grassy islands, fertile and inhabited. Columbus, on approaching the shore, entered a river, of which the water was so warm that the hand could not remain in it, a fact evidently of exaggeration, and one which later researches have not authenticated. The fishermen of this coast employed a certain fish called the Remora or sucking-fish, "which fulfilled for them the same office as the dog does for the hunter. This fish was of an unknown species, having a body like a great eel, and upon the back of his head a very tenacious skin, in fashion like a purse, wherewith to take the fishes. They keep this fish fastened by a cord to the boat, always in the water, for it cannot bear the look of the air. And when they see a fish or a turtle, which there are larger than great bucklers, then they loose the fish by slackening the rope. And when he feels himself at liberty, suddenly, and more rapidly than the flight of an arrow, he (the remora) assails the said fish or turtle, throws over him his skin in the manner of a purse, and holds his prey so firmly, be it fish or turtle, by the part visible beyond the shell, that none can wrest it from him, if he be not drawn to the surface of the water; the cord is therefore pulled up, and gathered in little by little; and no sooner does he see the splendour of the air, than incontinent he lets go of his prey. And the fishermen descend as far as is necessary to take the prey, and they put it on board the boat, and fasten the fish-hunter with as much of rope as is necessary for him to regain his old position and place; then, by means of another rope, they give him for reward a small piece of the flesh of his prey."

The exploration of the coasts continued towards the west. The admiral visited several countries, in which abounded goslings, ducks, herons, and those dumb dogs which the natives eat, as we should kids, and which were probably either almigui or racoons. As the ships advanced, the sandy channels became narrower and narrower, and navigation more and more difficult, but the admiral adhered to his resolution of continuing the exploration of these coasts. One day, he imagined he saw upon a point of land some men dressed in white, whom he took for brothers of the order of Santa Maria de la Merced; he sent some sailors to open communication with them, when it proved to be simply an optical illusion; these so-called monks turning out to be great tropical herons, to whom distance had lent the appearance of human beings.

During the first days of June, Columbus was obliged to stop to repair the ships, of which the keels were much damaged by the shallow water on the coast. On the seventh day of the month he caused a solemn mass to be celebrated on the shore: during the service an old cacique arrived, who, the ceremony being over, offered the admiral some fruits, and then this native sovereign pronounced some words which the interpreters thus translated:—

"It hath been told us after what manner thou hast invested and enveloped with thy power these lands, which were to you unknown, and how thy presence has caused great terror to the people and the inhabitants. But I hold it my duty to exhort and to warn thee that two roads present themselves before the souls, when they are separated from the bodies: the one, filled with shadows and sadness destined for those who are harmful and hurtful to the human species; the other, pleasant and delightful, reserved for those who in their life-time have loved peace and the repose of the people. Therefore, if thou rememberest that thou art mortal, and that the future retribution will be meted out according to the works of the present life, thou wilt take care to do harm to nobody." What philosopher of ancient or modern time could have spoken better or in sounder language! All the human side of Christianity is expressed in these magnificent words, and they came from the mouth of a savage! Columbus and the cacique separated, charmed with one another, and the more astonished of the two was not, perhaps, the old native. The rest of his tribe appeared to live in the practice of the excellent precepts indicated by their chief. Land was common property amongst the natives, as much so as sun, air, and water. The Meum and Tuum, cause of all strife, did not exist amongst them, and they lived content with little. "They enjoy the Golden Age," says the narrative, "they protect not their possessions with ditches and hedges, they leave their gardens open; without laws, without books, without judges, they by nature follow what is right, and hold as bad and unjust whatever sins against, or causes harm to another."

Leaving Cuba, Columbus returned towards Jamaica, and sailed along the whole of the southern coast as far as the eastern extremity of the island. His intention was to attack the islands of the Caribbees, and destroy that mischievous brood. But the admiral was at this time seized with an illness, brought on by watching and fatigue, which obliged him to suspend his projects. He was forced to return to Isabella, where, under the influence of good air and repose, and the care of his brother and his friends, he recovered his health. The colony greatly needed his presence. The governor of St. Thomas had aroused the indignation of the natives by his cruel exactions, and had refused to listen to the remonstrances upon the subject addressed to him by Don Diego, the brother of Columbus; he had returned to Isabella from St. Thomas during the absence of the admiral and he embarked for Spain upon one of the ships which had just brought Don Bartolomeo, the second brother of Columbus, to Hispaniola. When the admiral regained his health he resolved to punish the cacique who had revolted against the governor of St. Thomas, feeling that it would be unwise to allow his authority, in the person of his delegates, to be set at nought. In the first place he sent nine men well armed to take prisoner a bold cacique named Caonabo. The leader Hojeda, with an intrepidity of which we shall have further instances in the future, carried off the cacique from the midst of his own people, and brought him prisoner to Isabella. Columbus afterwards sent Caonabo to Europe, but the ship in which he sailed was wrecked during the voyage, and he was never heard of more.

In the meantime, Antonio de Torrès, sent by the King and Queen of Spain to compliment Columbus in their names, arrived at San Domingo with four vessels. Ferdinand declared himself highly content with the successes of the admiral, and informed him that he was about to establish a monthly service of transport between Spain and Hispaniola.

The carrying off of Caonabo had excited a general revolt amongst the natives, who burned to revenge the chief, so deeply insulted and unjustly carried away. The Cacique Guacanagari, notwithstanding the share he had had in the murder of the first colonists, alone remained faithful to the Spaniards. Columbus, accompanied by his brother Bartolomeo and the cacique, marched against the rebels and soon met with an army of natives, the numbers of which, with manifest exaggeration, he places at 100,000 men. However numerous it may have been, this army was quickly routed by a small detachment, composed of 200 infantry, twenty-five cavalry, and twenty-five dogs. This victory to all appearance re-established the admiral's authority. The Indians were condemned to pay tribute to the Spaniards, those living near the mines were ordered to furnish every three months a small quantity of gold, while the others, more distant, were to contribute twenty-five pounds of cotton. But rebellion had been only curbed, not extinguished. At the voice of a woman, Anacaona, widow of Caonabo, the natives rose a second time; and even succeeded in drawing over the hitherto faithful Guacanagari to their side; the rebels destroyed all the fields of maize, and everything else which had been planted, and then retired into the mountains. The Spaniards, seeing themselves thus reduced to all the horrors of famine, indulged their anger by terrible reprisals against the natives; it is calculated that one-third of the island population perished from hunger, sickness, and the weapons of the companions of Columbus. These unfortunate Indians paid dearly indeed for their intercourse with the conquering Europeans.

The good fortune of Columbus was by this time on the wane. While his authority in Hispaniola was continually more and more compromised, his reputation and his character were the objects of violent attack in Europe. The officers whom he had sent back to the mother country, loudly accused him of injustice and cruelty; they even insinuated that he sought to render himself independent of the king; and against all these attacks, Columbus, being absent, could not defend himself. Ferdinand, influenced by this unworthy discourse, chose a commissioner, whom he ordered to proceed to the West Indies and to examine into the truth of the accusations. This gentleman was named Juan d'Aguado, and the choice of such a man to fulfil such a mission, possessing as he did a mind both prejudiced and partial, was not a happy one. Aguado arrived at Isabella in the month of October, at the time when the admiral was absent on an exploring expedition, and began at once to treat the brother of Columbus with extreme haughtiness, while Diego on his side, relying upon his title of governor-general, refused to submit to the commands of the royal commissioner. Aguado soon considered himself ready to return to Spain, although the examination he had made was a most incomplete one, when a fearful hurricane occurred, which sank the vessels which had brought him over in the harbour. There now remained only two caravels at Hispaniola, but Columbus, who had returned to the colony, acting with a greatness of soul which cannot be too much admired, placed one of these ships at the disposal of the commissioner, with the proviso that he himself would embark in the other, to plead his cause in person before the king.

So matters stood, when the news arriving of the discovery of fresh gold-mines in Hispaniola, caused the admiral to put off his departure. Covetousness was a power strong enough to cut short all discussions; there was no longer any mention of the King of Spain, nor of the inquiry which he had ordered; officers were sent off to the new auriferous ground, finding there nuggets of which some weighed as much as twenty ounces, and a lump of amber of the weight of 300 pounds. Columbus ordered two fortresses to be erected for the protection of the miners, one on the boundary of the province of Cibao, the other upon the banks of the River Hayna. Having taken this precaution, he set out for Europe, full of eagerness to justify himself. The two caravels sailed from the harbour of St. Isabella on the 10th of March, 1496. On board of the admiral's ship were 225 persons and thirty Indians. On the 9th of April he touched at Marie-Galante, and on the 10th at Guadaloupe, to take in water; here there occurred a sharp skirmish with the natives. On the 20th he left this inhospitable island, and for a whole month he had to contend with contrary winds. On the 11th of June land was sighted in Europe, and on the next day the caravels entered the harbour of Cadiz.

This second return of the great navigator was not welcomed, as the first had been, by the acclamations of the populace. To enthusiasm had succeeded coldness and envy; the companions even of the admiral took part against him. Discouraged as they were, with illusions destroyed, and not bringing back that wealth, for the acquisition of which they had encountered so many dangers, and submitted to so much fatigue, they became unjust, and forgot that it was not the fault of Columbus if the mines hitherto worked had been a source of expense rather than of profit.

However, the admiral was received at court with a certain measure of favour, the narrative of his second voyage doing much to reinstate him in public opinion. And who could deny that during that expedition he had discovered the islands of Dominica, Marie-Galante, Guadaloupe, Montserrat, Santa-Maria, Santa Cruz, Porto Rico, Jamaica? Had he not also carried out a new survey of Cuba and San Domingo? Columbus fought bravely against his adversaries, even employing against them the weapon of irony. To those who denied the merit of his discoveries, he proposed the experiment of making an egg remain upright while resting upon one end, and when they could not succeed in doing this, the admiral, breaking the top of the shell, made the egg stand upon the broken part. "You had not thought of that," said he; "but behold! it is done."



IV.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.
Third Voyage: Madeira—Santiago in the Cape Verd Archipelago—Trinidad—First sight of the American Coast in Venezuela, beyond the Orinoco, now the Province of Cumana—Gulf of Paria—The Gardens—Tobago—Grenada—Margarita—Cubaga—Hispaniola during the absence of Columbus—Foundation of the town of San Domingo—Arrival of Columbus—Insubordination in the Colony—Complaints in Spain—Bovadilla sent by the king to inquire into the conduct of Columbus—Columbus sent to Europe in fetters with his two brothers—His appearance before Ferdinand and Isabella—Renewal of royal favour.

Columbus had not yet given up the hope of pursuing his conquests on the further side of the Atlantic Ocean. No fatigue, no injustice from his fellow-men could stop him. After having triumphed, although not without difficulty, over the malice of his enemies, he succeeded in organizing a third expedition under the auspices of the Spanish government. The king granted him eight vessels, forty cavalry soldiers, and one hundred infantry, sixty sailors, twenty miners, fifty labourers, twenty workmen of various trades, thirty women, some doctors, and even some musicians. The admiral obtained the concession besides, that all the punishments in use in Spain should be changed into transportation to the islands. He was thus the precursor of the English in the intelligent idea of peopling new colonies with convicts, whom labour was to reform.

Embarkation of Christopher Columbus
Embarkation of Christopher Columbus.

Columbus put to sea on the 30th of May, 1498, although he was still suffering from gout, and from the various mental trials which he had experienced since his return. Before starting, he learnt that a French fleet was lying in wait off Cape St. Vincent, with the purpose of hindering the expedition. To avoid it, Columbus made for Madeira, and anchored there; from that island he dispatched all his vessels, except three, to Hispaniola under the command of the Captains Pedro de Arana, Alonzo Sanchez of Carabajal, and Juan Antonio Columbus, one of his own relations, while he, with a large ship and two caravels bore down to the south with the intention of crossing the equator, and seeking for more southern countries, which, according to the general opinion, must be even richer in all kinds of productions. On the 27th of June the small flotilla touched at the islands of Sel and of Santiago, which form part of the Cape Verd group. It sailed again on the 4th of July, and made 360 miles to the south-west, experiencing long calms and intense heat; on arriving abreast of Sierra Leone, it steered due west, and at mid-day on the 31st of July, one of the sailors raised the cry of "land." It was an island situated at the north-eastern extremity of South America, and very near the coast. The admiral gave it the name of Trinidad, and all the crews chanted the Salve Regina in sign of thankfulness. On the morrow, the 1st of August, at fifteen miles from the part of the land which had been first seen, the three vessels were moored near to the Point of Alcatraz, and the admiral sent some of his sailors ashore to obtain water and wood. The coast appeared to be uninhabited, but numerous footprints of animals were observed, made, as was thought, by goats.

On the 2nd of August a long canoe, manned by twenty-four natives, came towards the ships. These Indians, tall of stature, and paler in colour than those of Hispaniola, wore upon the head a turban formed of a cotton scarf of brilliant colours, and a small skirt of the same material around the body. The Spaniards endeavoured to entice them on board, by showing them mirrors and glass trinkets; the sailors even executing lively dances, in the hope of inspiring them with confidence; but the savages, taking fright at the sound of a tambourine, which seemed to them a sign of hostility, discharged a flight of arrows, and directed their canoe towards one of the caravels, whose pilot endeavoured to reassure them by steering towards them; but in vain, the canoe soon made off, and was seen no more.

Columbus again set sail, and discovered a new island which he called Gracia; but what he imagined to be an island, was, in reality, a portion of the American coast, and that part of the shore of Venezuela, which, being intersected by the numerous branches of the Orinoco, forms the Delta of that river. On this day the Continent of America, although unknown to him, was really discovered by Christopher Columbus, in that part of Venezuela which goes by the name of the Province of Cumana. Between this coast and the Island of Trinidad there is a dangerous gulf, the Gulf of Paria, in which a ship can with difficulty resist the currents which flow towards the west with great rapidity. The admiral, who believed himself to be in the open sea, was exposed to great peril in this gulf, where the rivers, falling into the sea from the continent, and being swollen at that time by an accidental flood, poured great masses of water upon the ships. Columbus, in writing to the king and queen, describes this incident in the following terms:—

"Being up on deck, at an advanced hour of the night, I heard a kind of terrible roaring; I tried to see through the darkness, and all at once I beheld a sea like a hill, as high as the ship, advancing slowly from the south towards my vessels. Opposing this great wave was a current, which met it with a frightful noise. I had no doubt then that we should be engulfed, and even now the remembrance causes me a feeling of horror. By good fortune, however, the current and the wave passed us, going towards the mouth of the canal, where, after long strife, they gradually sank to rest."

Gulf of Mexico and the Antilles

Notwithstanding the difficulties of the navigation, Columbus continued to explore this sea, of which the waters became gradually calmer as he sailed northwards; he discovered various headlands, one of them was to the east of the Island of Trinidad, and called the Cape of Pera Blanca. Another was on the west of the promontory of Paria, and named Cape Lapa. Several harbours were also noticed, amongst others one situated at the mouth of the Orinoco, to which was given the name of the Port of Monkeys. Columbus landed on the shore, west of Point Cumana, and received a kindly welcome from the numerous inhabitants. Towards the west, beyond the point of Alcatraz, the country was magnificent, and there according to the natives, much gold and pearls were to be obtained. Here the admiral would gladly have remained for some time if he could have found a safe anchorage. But as this was impossible, he felt it best to make for Port Isabella, especially as his crews were worn down by fatigue, and his own health much affected, besides the sufferings he experienced from the bad state of his eyesight. So he sailed onwards along the Venezuelan coast, making friends as far as possible with the natives. These Indians were agreeable in feature, and of magnificent physique; their dwellings displayed a certain amount of taste, their houses being built with façades in front, and containing articles of furniture ingeniously made. The natives wore plates of gold as ornaments upon their necks. As to the country, it was superb; the rivers, the mountains, the immense forests made it a real land of delight. So the admiral gave this beautiful country the name of Gracia, and by many arguments he tried to prove that in this spot was situated that terrestrial Paradise once inhabited by Adam and Eve, being the cradle of the whole human race. To explain to a certain degree this idea of the great navigator, we must not forget that he imagined himself all this time to be on the shores of Asia. This spot which delighted him so much, he called "the Gardens."

On the 23rd of August, after having at the expense of much danger and fatigue, overcome the perils of this bay, Columbus issued from the Gulf of Paria by the narrow strait to which he gave the name, retained to this day, of the Dragon's Mouth. Arrived in the open sea, the Spaniards discovered the Island of Tobago situated to the north-east of Trinidad, and then, more to the north, the Island of Conception, now known as Grenada. They next steered to the south-west and returned towards the American coast; after sailing along which for 120 miles, they discovered, on the 25th of August, the populous Island of Margarita, and afterwards the Island of Cubaga, situated very close to the mainland. At this place the natives had established a pearl-fishery, and busied themselves in collecting this valuable product. Columbus sent a boat on shore, when a very profitable traffic was carried on, the natives giving in exchange for broken pottery or hawks' bells, pounds' weight of pearls, some of which were very large, and of the finest water.

Pearl-fishers
Pearl-fishers.

The admiral stopped at this point of his discoveries; the temptation was strong to explore this country, but both officers and crews were exhausted. Orders were therefore given to start for San Domingo, where matters of the gravest moment demanded the presence of Columbus. Before his departure from Hispaniola he had authorized his brother to lay the foundations of a new town. With this end Don Bartolomeo had explored the different portions of the island, and having discovered at the distance of 150 miles from Isabella a magnificent harbour at the mouth of a fine river, he there marked out the first streets of a town which became later on the city of San Domingo. Here Don Bartolomeo fixed his residence, while Don Diego remained as Governor of Isabella. By this arrangement Columbus' two brothers had the whole administration of the colony in their hands. But there were many malcontents who were ready to revolt against their authority, and it was while this bad spirit was abroad that the admiral arrived at San Domingo. He approved of all that his brothers had done, their administration having been in fact, marked by great wisdom, and he published a proclamation recalling to their obedience the Spaniards who had revolted. On the 18th of October he despatched five ships to Spain, and with them an officer commissioned to inform the king of the new discoveries, and of the state of the colony, endangered by the fomenters of disorder.

Meanwhile, the affairs of Columbus had taken a bad turn in Europe. Since his departure calumnies against himself and his brothers had been ever on the increase. Some rebels who had been expelled the colony, denounced the encroaching dynasty of the Columbus family, thus exciting the jealousy of a vain and ungrateful monarch. Even the queen, until now the constant patroness of the Genoese navigator, was indignant at the arrival on board the vessels of three hundred Indians who had been torn from their country, and who were treated as slaves. Isabella did not know that this abuse of power had been carried out unknown to Columbus and during his absence; he was held responsible for it, and to inquire into his conduct, the Court sent to Hispaniola a commander of the order of Calatrava, named Francis de Bovadilla, to whom were given the titles of Governor-general, and Intendant of Justice. He was in reality meant to supersede Columbus. Bovadilla, invested with discretionary powers, set out with two caravels towards the end of June, 1500. On the 23rd of August, the colonists sighted the two ships, which were then endeavouring to enter the harbour of San Domingo.

At this time Christopher Columbus and his brother Bartolomeo were absent, engaged in superintending the erection of a fort in the province of Xaragua; Don Diego was commanding in their absence. Bovadilla landed and went to hear mass, displaying during the ceremony a very significant ostentation; then, having summoned Don Diego before him, he ordered him to resign his office into his hands. The admiral, warned by a messenger of what was occurring, arrived in great haste. He examined the letters patent brought by Bovadilla, and having read them, he declared his willingness to recognize him as intendant of justice, but not as governor-general of the colony.

Then Bovadilla gave him a letter from the king and queen, couched in the following terms:—

"Don Christopher Columbus, our Admiral in the ocean,

                 "We have ordered Commander Don Francis Bovadilla to explain to you our intentions. We command you to give credit to, and to execute, whatever he shall order on our part.

"I, THE KING, I, THE QUEEN."          

In this letter, the title of Viceroy appertaining to Columbus by the solemn conventions signed by Ferdinand and Isabella, was not even mentioned. Columbus, suppressing his just indignation, quietly submitted. Then arose against the fallen admiral a whole host of false friends. All those who owed their fortune to Columbus turned against him; accusing him of having desired to render himself independent. Foolish calumnies! How could this idea have occurred to the mind of a foreigner, a Genoese, alone in the midst of a Spanish colony!

Bovadilla found the moment propitious for harsh measures. Don Diego was already imprisoned, and the governor soon ordered Don Bartolomeo and Christopher Columbus himself to be put in fetters. The admiral, accused of high treason, was placed with his two brothers on board a vessel bound for Spain, under the command of Alphonso de Villejo. That officer, a man of feeling, and ashamed of the treatment to which Columbus was exposed, wished to strike off his chains; but Columbus refused. He, the conqueror of a new world, would arrive loaded with chains in that kingdom of Spain, which he had so greatly enriched!

Columbus bound like a felon
Columbus bound like a felon.

The admiral judged rightly in thus acting, for public opinion was revolted by the sight of him in this depth of humiliation, bound like a felon, and treated as a criminal. Gratitude towards the man of genius asserted itself against the bad passions which had been so unjustly excited, and there arose a cry of indignation against Bovadilla. The king and queen, swayed by the feelings of the people, loudly blamed the conduct of the commander, and addressed an affectionate letter to Columbus, inviting him to present himself at court.

Thus a bright day again dawned for Columbus. He appeared before Ferdinand, not as the accused, but as himself the accuser; then, his fortitude giving way under the remembrance of the unworthy treatment he had experienced, this unfortunate great man wept, and caused those around to weep with him. He pointed proudly to the story of his life. He showed himself to be almost without resources, he whom they accused of ambition, and of enriching himself out of the government of the colony! Verily, the man who had made the discovery of a world, did not possess a roof to shelter his own head!

Isabella, ever good and compassionate, wept in company with the old sailor, and for sometime could not make him any answer, so choked was she with her tears. At length she was able to utter some affectionate words; in assuring Columbus of her protection, she promised to avenge him of his enemies; she excused the bad choice they had made in sending this Bovadilla to the islands, and she declared he should expiate his guilt by an exemplary punishment. In addition, she desired the admiral to allow some time to elapse before returning to his government, in order that the minds prejudiced against him might return to sentiments of honour and justice.

The mind of Christopher Columbus was calmed by the gracious words of the queen; he showed himself content with his reception, and admitted the necessity of the delay enjoined upon him by Isabella. The chief wish of his heart was again to serve his adopted country and its sovereigns, and he sketched out grand designs of what still remained to be attempted in the way of discovery. His third voyage, in spite of its short duration, had not been without fruit, but had enriched the map with such new names as Trinidad, the Gulf of Paria, the coast of Cumana, the Islands of Tobago, of Grenada, of Margarita, and of Cubaga.



V.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.
Fourth Voyage: A Flotilla of four vessels—Canary Islands—Martinique—Dominica—Santa-Cruz—Porto-Rico—Hispaniola—Jamaica—Cayman Island—Pinos Island—Island of Guanaja—Cape Honduras—The American Coast of Truxillo on the Gulf of Darien—The Limonare Islands—Huerta—The Coast of Veragua—Auriferous Strata—Revolt of the Natives—The Dream of Columbus—Porto-Bello—The Mulatas—Putting into port at Jamaica—Distress—Revolt of the Spaniards against Columbus—Lunar Eclipse—Arrival of Columbus at Hispaniola—Return of Columbus to Spain—His death, on the 20th of March, 1506.

Christopher Columbus saw himself now reinstated in favour, as he deserved to be, at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Perhaps the king may have still evinced a certain degree of coldness towards him, but the queen was his avowed and enthusiastic protectress. His official title as viceroy had not, however, been restored to him, but the admiral, with his usual magnanimity, did not demand it. He had the satisfaction of seeing Bovadilla deposed, partly for his abuse of power, and partly because his conduct towards the Indians had become atrocious; his inhuman proceedings towards them being pushed to such a length, that under his administration the native population of Hispaniola, sensibly decreased.

During this time the island began to fulfil the hopes of Columbus, who had prophesied that in three years the crown would derive from it a revenue of sixty millions. Gold was obtained in abundance from the best worked mines; a slave had dug up on the banks of the Hayna, a mass, equal in weight to 3600 golden crowns; it was easy to foresee that the new colonies would yield incalculable riches.

The admiral, who could not bear to remain inactive, earnestly demanded to be sent on a fourth voyage, although he was by this time sixty-six years of age. In support of his request he adduced some very plausible reasons. One year before the return of Columbus, the Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, had returned from the Indies, after having doubled the Cape of Good Hope. Columbus felt certain that by sailing to India by the much safer and shorter western route, the Spaniards might enter into profitable competition with the Portuguese traders. He constantly maintained, believing as he did that he had been alongside the Asiatic territory, that the islands and continents discovered by him were only separated by a strait from the Moluccas. He therefore wished, without even returning to Hispaniola and the colonies already settled, to direct his course at once to the Indies. It is evident that the ex-Viceroy had again become the hardy navigator of his earlier years. The king agreed to the admiral's request, and placed him in command of a flotilla composed of four vessels, the Santiago, Gallego, Vizcaino, and a caravel, as admiral's galley. These ships were of small tonnage, the largest being only of seventy tons, and the smallest of fifty; they were in fact, little better than coasting-vessels.

Columbus left Cadiz on the 9th of May, 1502, with crews numbering in all 150 men. He took with him his brother Bartolomeo, and his son Fernando, the child of his second marriage, and at this time scarcely thirteen years old. On the 20th of May, the vessels stopped at Gran Canaria, and on the 15th of June arrived at Martinique, one of the Windward Islands; afterwards they touched at Dominica, Santa-Cruz, and Porto-Rico, and at length, after a prosperous voyage, reached Hispaniola, on the 29th of June. The intention of Columbus, acting on the queen's advice, was not to land upon the island whence he had been so unworthily expelled; but his badly-constructed ship was scarcely sea-worthy, and repairs to the keel were greatly needed. Therefore the admiral demanded permission of the governor to enter the harbour.

The new governor, successor to Bovadilla, was a just and moderate man, a knight of the order of Alcantara, named Nicholas Ovando. His excessive caution, however, made him fear that the presence of Columbus in the colony might be a cause of disorder; he therefore thought it right to refuse the request. The admiral concealed the indignation which such treatment could not but cause him, and returned good for evil, by offering wise counsel to the governor in the following instance. The fleet which was to take Bovadilla back to Europe, and to bear with it, besides the enormous lump of gold already mentioned, other treasures of great value, was ready to put to sea. But the weather was very threatening, and Columbus, with a sailor's penetration, having observed the signs of an approaching storm, implored the governor not to expose the ships and passengers to such danger. Ovando would not listen to the advice, and the ships put to sea; scarcely had they reached the eastern point of the island before a terrible hurricane arose, causing twenty-one of the ships to founder with all on board. Bovadilla was drowned, and with him the greater part of the enemies of Columbus, but by an exception which may be called providential, the ship which carried the poor remains of the admiral's fortune, escaped destruction. In this storm ten millions' worth of gold and precious stones was engulfed by the ocean.

Meanwhile, the four caravels of Columbus, denied access to the harbour, had been driven before the storm. They were separated one from the other, and disabled, but they succeeded in meeting together again, and by the 14th of July, the squall had carried them within sight of Jamaica. Arrived there, strong currents bore them towards the islands called the Queen's Garden, and then in the direction of east-south-east. The little flotilla contended for sixty days against the wind without making more than 210 miles, and at length was driven towards the coast of Cuba, which led to the discovery of Cayman and Pinos Islands.

Columbus then steered to the south-west, sailing upon seas hitherto unvisited by any European ship, and throwing himself once more into the course of discovery with all the passionate ardour of a navigator. Chance conducted him towards the southern coast of America; he discovered the island of Guanaja, on the 30th of July, and on the 14th of August he touched at Cape Honduras, that narrow strip of land, which, prolonged by the Isthmus of Panama, unites the two continents of America. Thus, for the second time Columbus, without being aware of it, approached the real soil of America. For more than nine months he followed the windings of these shores, in the face of all kinds of perils and difficulties, and succeeded in laying down the chart of the coast from the part since named Truxillo, as far as the Gulf of Darien. Each night he cast anchor, that he might not be driven far from the shore, and at length reached that eastern extremity of the coast where it ends abruptly in the Cape Gracias a Dios.

This cape was doubled on the 14th of September, but the ships encountered contrary winds so violent, that even the admiral, himself the oldest sailor of the crews, had never before experienced the like. He relates this terrible episode in his letter to the king of Spain in the following terms: "During eighty-four days the waves continued their assaults, nor did my eyes perceive sun, nor stars, nor any planet; the seams of my vessels gaped, my sails were torn; tackle, boats, rigging, all were lost; my sailors, ill and frightened, devoted themselves to the pious duties of religion; no one failed to promise pilgrimages, and all confessed to each other, thinking that each moment might prove their last. I have seen many tempests, but never have I experienced any of such duration and violence. Many of my men who passed for intrepid sailors, lost courage; but that which broke my heart, was the pain of my son, whose tender age added to my despair, and whom I saw the prey of greater suffering, greater torments, than fell to the lot of any one amongst us; but it was doubtless no other than God, who bestowed upon him such energy, that it was He alone who animated the courage, and reawakened the patience of the sailors under their severe toil; in a word, looking upon him, one might have fancied him a sailor who had grown old in contending with storms, an astonishing fact, almost incredible, but one which awakened some gleam of joy amidst the sorrows which overwhelmed me. I was ill, and several times I thought my last hour was near.... To complete my misery comes the thought that twenty years of service, of fatigues and perils, have brought me no profit, and I find myself to-day unpossessed of even a roof to shelter me in Spain, and forced to betake myself to an inn when I would obtain repose or food; and when there I often find myself unable to pay my reckoning." Do not these lines indicate clearly the intensity of sorrow which overwhelmed the soul of Columbus? In the midst of such dangers and anxieties, how could he preserve the energy needful to command an expedition?

Throughout the duration of the storm, the ships had been following the line of coast which successively bears the names of Honduras, Mosquito, Nicaragua, Costa-Rica, Veragua, and Panama, the twelve Limonare Islands being also discovered at this time, and at last, on the 25th of September, Columbus cast anchor between the small island of Huerta and the continent. On the 5th of October he again set sail, and after having taken the bearings of the Bay of Almirante, he anchored opposite to the village of Cariaz. There he remained until the 15th of October, the repairs of the vessels meanwhile going actively forward.

Columbus now believed himself to be arrived near the mouth of the Ganges, and from the natives speaking of a certain province of Ciguare, which was surrounded by the sea, he felt himself confirmed in this opinion. They declared that it was a country containing rich gold-mines, of which the most important was situated seventy-five miles to the south. When the admiral again set sail, he followed the wooded coast of Veragua, where the Indians appeared to be very wild. On the 26th of November, the flotilla entered the harbour of El Retrete, which is now the port of Escribanos. The ships battered by the winds, were now in a most miserable plight; it was absolutely necessary to repair the damage they had sustained, and for this purpose to prolong the stay at El Retrete. Upon quitting this harbour Columbus was met by a storm even more dreadful than those which had preceded it: "During nine days," he says, "I remained without hope of being saved. Never did any man see a more violent or terrible sea; it was covered with foam, the wind permitted no ships to advance, nor to steer towards any cape; I was kept in that sea, of which the waves seemed to be of blood, and the surges boiled as though heated by fire. Never have I seen so appalling an aspect of the heavens: on fire during one whole day and night like a furnace, they sent forth thunder and flame incessantly, and I feared each moment that the masts and sails would be carried away. The growling of the thunder was so horrible that it appeared sufficient to crush our vessels; and during the whole time the rain fell with such violence that one could scarcely call it rain, but rather a second Deluge. My sailors, overcome by so much trouble and suffering, prayed for death as putting a term to their miseries; my ships opened in all directions, and boats, anchors, ropes, and sails were once again lost."

During this long and painful navigation, the admiral had sailed one thousand and fifty miles. His crews were by this time quite exhausted; he was therefore obliged to turn back and to regain the river of Veragua, but not being able to find safe shelter there for his ships, he went a short distance off to the mouth of Bethlehem river, now called the Yebra, in which he cast anchor on the feast of the Epiphany in the year 1503. On the morrow the tempest was again renewed, and on the 24th of January, a sudden increase of water in the river caused the cables which held the ships to snap, and the vessels were only saved with great trouble.

In spite of all this, the admiral, who never forgot the principal object of his mission in these new countries, had succeeded in establishing regular intercourse with the natives. The cacique of Bethlehem showed a friendly disposition, and pointed out a country fifteen miles inland, where he said the gold-mines were very rich. On the 6th of February, Columbus despatched a force of seventy men to the spot indicated, under the command of his brother Bartolomeo. After travelling through a very undulating country, watered by rivers so winding that one of them had to be crossed thirty-nine times, the Spaniards arrived at the auriferous tracts. They were immense, and extended quite out of sight. Gold was so abundant that one man alone could collect enough of it in ten days to fill a measure. In four hours, Bartolomeo and his men had picked up gold to an enormous amount. They returned to the admiral, who, when he heard their narrative, resolved to settle upon this coast, and to have some wooden barracks constructed.

Gold-mines in Cuba
Gold-mines in Cuba.
From an old print.

The mines of this region were indeed of incomparable richness; they appeared to be inexhaustible, and quite made Columbus forget Cuba and San Domingo. His letter to King Ferdinand evinces his enthusiasm on the subject; one may feel some astonishment at reading the following sentiment from the pen of this great man, one indeed which is neither that of a philosopher nor of a Christian. "Gold! gold! excellent thing! It is from gold that spring riches! it is by means of gold that everything in the world is done, and its power suffices often to place souls in Paradise."

The Spaniards set to work with ardour to store up this gold in their ships. Hitherto the relations with the natives had been peaceable, although these people were of fierce disposition. But after a time the cacique, irritated by the usurpation of the foreigners, resolved to murder them and burn their dwellings. One day the natives suddenly attacked the Spaniards in considerable force, and a very severe battle ensued, ending in the repulse of the Indians. The cacique had been taken prisoner with all his family, but he succeeded with his children in escaping from custody, and took refuge in the mountains in company with a great number of his followers. In the month of April, a considerable troop of the natives again attacked the Spaniards, who exterminated a large proportion of them.

Meanwhile, the health of Columbus became more and more enfeebled; the wind failed him for quitting the harbour, and he was in despair. One day, exhausted by fatigue, he fell asleep, and heard a pitying voice which addressed him as follows:—words which shall be given verbatim, for they bear the imprint of that kind of ecstatic religious fervour which gives a finishing touch to the picture of the great navigator.

"'O foolish man! why such unwillingness to believe in and to serve thy God, the God of the Universe? What did He more for Moses His servant, and for David? Since thy birth, has He not had for thee the most tender solicitude; and when he saw thee of an age in which His designs for thee could be matured, has He not made thy name resound gloriously through the world? Has He not bestowed upon thee the Indies, the richest part of the earth? Has He not set thee free to make an offering of them to Him according to thine own will? Who but He has lent thee the means of executing His designs? Bounds were placed at the entrance of the ocean; they were formed of chains which could not be broken through. To thee were given the keys. Thy power was recognized in distant lands, and thy glory was proclaimed by all Christians. Did God even show Himself more favourable to the people of Israel, when He rescued them from Egypt? Did He favour David more, when from a shepherd boy He made him king of Judah? Turn to Him, confessing thy fault, for His compassion is infinite. Thine old age will prove no obstacle in the great actions which await thee: He holds in His hands a heritage the most brilliant. Was not Abraham a hundred years old, and had not Sarah already passed the flower of her youth when Isaac was born? Thou seekest an uncertain help. Answer me: who has exposed thee so often to so many dangers? Is it God, or the world? God never withholds the blessings promised to His servants. It is not His manner after receiving a service to pretend that His intentions have not been carried out, and to give a new interpretation to His desires; it is not He who seeks to give to arbitrary acts a favourable colour. His words are to be taken literally; all that He promises He gives with usury. Thus does He ever. I have told thee all that the Creator has done for thee; at this very moment He is showing thee the prize and the reward of the perils and sufferings to which thou hast been exposed in the service of thy fellow-men.' And I listened to this voice, overcome though I were with suffering; but I could not muster strength to reply to these assured promises; I contented myself by deploring my fault with tears. The voice concluded with these words:—'Take confidence, hope on; the record of thy labours will, with justice, be engraved on marble.'"

Columbus, as soon as he recovered, was anxious to leave this coast. He had desired to found a colony here, but his crews were not sufficiently numerous to justify the risk of leaving a part of them on land. The four caravels were full of worm-holes, and one of them had to be left behind at Bethlehem. On Easter day the admiral put to sea, but scarcely had he gone ninety miles before a leak was discovered in one of the ships; it was necessary to steer for the coast with all speed, and happily Porto-Bello was reached in safety, where the ship was abandoned, her injuries being irreparable. The flotilla consisted now of but two caravels, without boats, almost without provisions, and with 7000 miles of ocean to traverse. It sailed along the coast, passed the port of El Retrete, discovered the group of islands called the Mulatas, and at length entered the Gulf of Darien. This was the farthest point east reached by Columbus.

On the 1st of May the admiral steered for Hispaniola; by the 10th he was in sight of the Cayman Islands, but he found it impossible to make head against the winds which drove him to the north-west nearly as far as Cuba. There, while in shallow water, he encountered a storm, during which anchors and sails were carried away, and the two ships came into collision during the night. The hurricane then drove them southwards, and the admiral at length reached Jamaica with his shattered vessels, casting anchor on the 23rd of June in the harbour of San-Gloria, now called the bay of Don Christopher. Columbus wished to have gone to Hispaniola, where he would have found the stores needful for revictualling the ships, resources which were absolutely wanting in Jamaica; but his two caravels, full of worm-holes, "like to bee-hives," could not without danger attempt the ninety miles' voyage; the question now arose, how to send a message to Ovando, the governor of Hispaniola.

The Admiral is obliged to run the caravels aground
The Admiral is obliged to run the caravels aground.

The caravels let in water in every direction, and the admiral was obliged to run them aground; he then tried to organize a life in common upon shore. The Indians at first gave him assistance, and furnished the crews with the provisions of which they were in need, but the miserable and much tried sailors showed resentment against the admiral; they were ready for revolt, while the unfortunate Columbus, exhausted by illness, was confined to a bed of pain. It was in these trying circumstances that two brave officers, Mendez and Fieschi, proposed to the admiral to attempt to cross from Jamaica to Hispaniola in Indian canoes. This was in reality a voyage of six hundred miles, for it was necessary to row along the coast as far as the port where the colony was established. But these courageous officers were ready to face every peril, when it was a question of saving their companions. Columbus, appreciating the boldness of a proposal, which under other circumstances he would himself have been the first to make, gave the required permission to Mendez and Fieschi, who set out, while he, without ships, almost without provisions, remained with his crew upon this uncultivated island.

Indian Boats
Indian Boats.
From an old print.

Soon the misery of the shipwrecked people—for so we may fairly call them—became so great that a revolt ensued. The admiral's companions, blinded by their sufferings, imagined that their chief dared not return to the harbour in Hispaniola, to which Ovando had already denied him entrance. They thought this proscription applied to them equally with the admiral, and said among themselves that the governor, in excluding the flotilla from the harbours of the colony, must have acted under orders from the king. These absurd reasonings irritated minds already badly disposed, and at length on the 2nd of January, 1504, two brothers named Porras, one the captain of one of the caravels and the other the military treasurer, placed themselves at the head of the malcontents. Their wish was to return to Europe, and they rushed towards the admiral's tent, crying, "Castille! Castille!" Columbus was ill and in bed. His brother and his son threw themselves between him and the mutineers to defend him. At the sight of the aged admiral, the rebels stopped, and their violence abated; but they would not listen to the admiral's remonstrances and counsels; they did not understand that nothing could save them but general concord, and each, in unselfish forgetfulness, working for the public good. No! their decision was taken to quit the island, no matter by what means. Porras and his followers ran down to the shore, took possession of the canoes of the natives, and steered for the eastern extremity of the island. Arrived there, with no respect left for anything, and drunk with fury, they pillaged the Indians' dwellings—thus rendering the admiral responsible for their deeds of violence—and they dragged some unfortunate natives on board of the canoes which they had stolen. Porras and his companions continued their navigation; but when several leagues from shore, they were struck by a gust of wind which placed them in peril: with the object of lightening the canoes, they threw their prisoners overboard. After this barbarous execution, the canoes endeavoured, following the example of Mendez and Fieschi, to gain the island of Hispaniola, but in vain, they were continually thrown back upon the coasts of Jamaica.

Meanwhile the admiral, left alone with his friends and the sick, succeeded in establishing order in his little world. But the distress increased, and famine threatened. The natives wearied of providing food for these foreigners, whose sojourn upon their island was so prolonged; besides, they had seen the Spaniards fighting amongst themselves, a sight which had much destroyed their prestige, and convinced the Indians that these Europeans were nothing more than ordinary mortals; thus, they no longer respected nor feared them. The authority of Columbus over the native population was diminishing day by day, and an accidental circumstance was needed, of which the admiral cleverly took advantage, to bring back a renown which was necessary for the safety of his companions.

A lunar eclipse, foreseen and calculated by Columbus, was due on a certain day. On the morning of this day, the admiral sent to request an interview with the caciques of the island. They accepted the invitation, and when they were assembled in the tent of Columbus, the latter announced to them that God, desirous of punishing them for their inhospitable conduct, and their bad feeling towards the Spaniards, would that evening refuse them the light of the moon. All came to pass as the admiral had foretold; the shadow of the earth began to conceal the moon, whose disc had the appearance of being eaten away by some formidable monster. The savages in terror cast themselves at the feet of Columbus, praying him to intercede with Heaven on their behalf, and promising to place all they had at his disposal. Columbus, after some well feigned hesitation, pretended to yield to the prayers of the natives. Under pretext of supplicating the Deity, he remained in his tent during the whole time of the eclipse, only reappearing at the moment when the phenomenon was nearly over. Then he told the caciques that God had heard his prayer, and extending his arm he commanded the moon to reappear. Soon the disc was seen to issue from the cone of the shadow, and the queen of night shone forth in all her splendour. From that day forward, the grateful and submissive Indians accepted the admiral's authority as one manifestly delegated to him by the celestial powers.

While these events were passing at Jamaica, Mendez and Fieschi had long ago arrived at their destination. These brave officers had reached Hispaniola after a voyage of four days, little short of miraculous, accomplished as it was in a frail canoe. They immediately made the governor acquainted with the desperate condition of Columbus and his companions. Ovando, in a spirit of malice and injustice, detained these officers, and after a delay of eight months, under pretext of ascertaining the real condition of affairs, he despatched to Jamaica one of his own followers, a man named Diego Escobar, who was an especial enemy to Columbus. Escobar, on his arrival at Jamaica, would not communicate with Columbus; he did not even land, but contented himself with putting on shore, for the use of the distressed crews, "a side of pork and a barrel of wine;" then he again set sail without having allowed a single person to come on board. This infamous behaviour is but too real, although humanity almost refuses to believe in it.

The admiral was indignant over this cruel mockery; but he showed no violence, used no recrimination. The arrival of Escobar somewhat reassured the shipwrecked men, for at least it proved that their situation was known. Deliverance was therefore only a matter of time, and the morale of the Spaniards gradually improved.

The admiral was desirous of bringing about a reconciliation with Porras and the rebels, who, since their separation, had incessantly ravaged the island, and been guilty of odious cruelties towards the unfortunate natives. Columbus proposed to restore them to favour, but these foolish people only answered his generous overtures by advancing to attack him in his retreat. Those Spaniards who had remained faithful to the cause of order, were obliged to take up arms, and they valiantly defended the admiral, losing but one man in this sad affair. They took both the brothers Porras prisoners, and remained masters of the field of battle: then the rebels threw themselves on their knees before Columbus, who, in compassion for their sufferings, granted them pardon.

At length, just one year after the departure of Mendez and Fieschi, a ship appeared, equipped by them at the expense of Columbus, which was destined to restore the shipwrecked company to their homes. On the 24th of June, 1504, every one went on board, and quitting Jamaica, the theatre of accumulated miseries, both moral and physical, they set sail for Hispaniola. Arrived in harbour, after a prosperous voyage, Columbus, to his no small surprise, found himself at first received with much respect, the governor Ovando, as a shrewd man not willing to go against public opinion, doing him honour. But this happy temper did not last. Soon the quarrels recommenced, and then Columbus, unable as well as unwilling to hear more, humiliated, and even maltreated, freighted two ships, of which he shared the command with his brother Bartolomeo, and on the 12th of September, 1504, he for the last time set out for Europe.

His fourth voyage had increased geographical knowledge by the discovery of the Cayman Islands, Martinique, Guanaja, the Limonare Islands, with the coasts of Honduras, Mosquito, Nicaragua, Veragua, Costa-Rica, Porto-Bello, and Panama, the Mulatas Islands, and the Gulf of Darien.

During this, his last voyage across the ocean, Columbus was destined to be again tried by storms. His own vessel was disabled, and he and his crew were obliged to go on board his brother's ship. On the 19th of October, another fearful hurricane broke the mast of this vessel, which had then to make more than two thousand miles with incomplete sails. At last, on the 7th of November, the admiral entered the harbour of San-Lucar. Here a sad piece of news was awaiting him. Isabella, his generous protectress, was dead. Who was there now to take an interest in the old Genoese?

The admiral was coldly received by the ungrateful and jealous king Ferdinand, who did not even disdain to use subterfuges and delays, hoping thus to evade the solemn treaties given under his sign manual; he ended by proposing to Columbus the acceptance of a small Castilian town, Camon de los Condes, in exchange for his titles and dignities. This ingratitude and faithlessness overwhelmed the aged man; his health, already so much impaired, did not improve, and grief carried him to the grave. On the 20th of May, at Valladolid, at the age of seventy, he rendered up his soul to God with these words: "O Lord, into Thy hands I resign my soul and body."

The remains of Columbus were at first laid in the monastery of St. Francis; in 1513, they were removed to the Carthusian monastery of Seville. But it seemed as if, even after death, repose were to be denied to the great navigator, for in 1536 his body was transported to the cathedral of San Domingo. Local tradition affirms that when, after the Treaty of Basle in 1795, the Spanish government, before giving up to France the eastern portion of the island of San Domingo, ordered the removal of the ashes of the great sailor to Havana, a canon substituted some other remains for those of Christopher Columbus, and that the latter were deposited in the choir of the cathedral, to the left of the altar. Thanks to this manoeuvre of the canon, whether dictated by a sentiment of local patriotism or by respect to the last wishes of Columbus who had indicated San Domingo as his chosen place of sepulture, it is not the dust of the illustrious navigator which Spain possesses at Havana, but probably that of his brother Diego. The discovery so lately made in the cathedral of San Domingo, on the 10th of September, 1877, of a leaden chest containing human bones, and bearing an inscription stating that it encloses the remains of the Discoverer of America, seems to confirm in every particular the tradition which has been just mentioned.

But after all, it matters little whether the body of Columbus be at San Domingo or at Havana; his name and his glory are everywhere.





CHAPTER VIII.

THE CONQUEST OF INDIA, AND OF THE SPICE COUNTRIES.

I.
Covilham and Païva—Vasco da Gama—The Cape of Good Hope is doubled—Escalès at Sam-Braz—Mozambique, Mombaz, and Melinda—Arrival at Calicut—Treason of the Zamorin—Battles—Return to Europe—The scurvy—Death of Paul da Gama—Arrival at Lisbon.

At the same time that the King of Portugal, John II., despatched Diaz to seek in the south of Africa the route to the Indies, he ordered two gentlemen of his court to find out if it would not be possible to attain the same end by an easier, safer, and more rapid means; by way of the isthmus of Suez, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean.

For carrying out such a mission there was needed a clever, enterprising man, well acquainted with the difficulties of a journey in those regions, and possessing a knowledge of the Oriental languages, or at the very least, of Arabic. This agent must be of a versatile disposition, and able to dissemble; capable, in a word, of concealing the real meaning of projects which aimed at nothing less than withdrawing all the commerce of Asia from the hands of the Mussulmans and Arabs, and through them from the Venetians, in order to enrich Portugal with it.

There was living at this time an experienced navigator, Pedro de Covilham, who had served with distinction under Alonzo V. in the war with Castille, and who had made a long stay in Africa. It was upon him that John II. cast his eye, and Alonzo de Païva was given him as a colleague. They left Lisbon in the month of May, 1487, furnished with detailed instructions, and with a chart drawn according to Bishop Calsadilla's map of the World, by the help of which the tour of Africa might be made.

The two travellers reached Alexandria and Cairo, where they were much gratified at meeting with some Moorish traders from Fez and Tlemcen, who conducted them to Tor—the ancient Ezion-geber—at the foot of Sinai, where they were able to procure some valuable information upon the trade of Calicut. Covilham resolved to take advantage of this fortunate circumstance to visit a country which, for more than a century, had been regarded by Portugal with covetous longing, while Païva set out to penetrate into those regions then so vaguely designated as Ethiopia, in quest of the famous Prester John, who, according to old travellers, reigned over a marvellously rich and fertile country in Africa. Païva doubtless perished in his adventurous enterprise, being never again heard of.

As for Covilham, he travelled to Aden, whence he embarked for the Malabar coast. He visited in succession Cananore, Calicut, and Goa, and collected accurate information upon the commerce and productions of the countries bordering on the Indian Ocean, without arousing the fears of the Hindoos, who could not suspect that the kind and friendly welcome they accorded to the traveller would bring about in the future the enthralment and ruin of their country. Covilham, not considering that he had yet done enough for his country, quitted India, and went to the eastern coast of Africa, where he visited Mozambique, Sofala—long famous for its gold-mines, of which the reputation, by means of the Arabs, had even reached Europe—and Zeila, the Avalites portus of the ancients, and the principal town of the Adel coast, upon the Gulf of Oman, at the entrance of the Arabian Sea. After a somewhat long stay in that country, he returned by Aden, then the principal entrepôt of the commerce of the east, went as far as Ormuz, at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, and then again passing up the Red Sea, he arrived at Cairo.

John II. had sent to Cairo two learned Jews to await the arrival of Covilham, and to one of these, the Rabbi Abraham Beja, the traveller gave his notes, the itinerary of his journey, and a map of Africa given to him by a Mussulman, charging Beja to carry them all to Lisbon with the least possible delay. For himself, not content with all that he had done hitherto, and wishing to execute the mission which death had prevented Païva from accomplishing, he went into Abyssinia, where the "negus" or king, known by the name of Prester John, flattered by seeing his alliance sought by one of the most powerful sovereigns of Europe, received him with the greatest kindness, and gave him a high position at his court, but to make sure of retaining his services, he constantly refused him permission to leave the country. Although he had married there and had some children, Covilham still longed for his native country, and when, in 1525, a Portuguese embassy, of which Alvarès was a member, came into Abyssinia, he witnessed the departure of his countrymen with the deepest regret, and the chaplain of the expedition has naïvely re-echoed his complaints and his grief.

M. Ferdinand Denis says, "By furnishing precise information upon the possibility of circumnavigating Africa, by indicating the route to the Indies, by giving more positive and extended ideas upon the commerce of these countries, and above all, by describing the gold-mines of Sofala, and so exciting the cupidity of the Portuguese, Covilham contributed greatly to accelerate the expedition of Gama."

Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama.
From an old print.

If one may believe an old tradition, but one which is unsupported by any authentic document, Gama was descended by an illegitimate line from Alphonso III., King of Portugal. His father, Estevam Eanez da Gama, grand alcalde of Sinès and of Silvès, in the kingdom of Algarve, and commander of Seizal, occupied a high position at the court of John II. He enjoyed great reputation as a sailor, so much so, that just at the moment when his own unexpected death occurred, King John was thinking of giving Gama the command of the fleet which he was desirous of sending to the Indies. By his marriage with Dona Isabella Sodré, daughter of Juan de Resende, proveditore of the fortifications of Santarem, he had several children, and amongst them Vasco, who first reached India by doubling the Cape of Good Hope, and Paul, who accompanied him in that memorable expedition. It is known that Vasco was born at Sinès, but the date of his birth is uncertain; the year 1469 is that generally given, but besides the fact that if this be the correct date, Gama would have been very young—not more than eight and twenty—when the important command of the expedition to the Indies was confided to him, there was discovered twenty years ago, amongst the Spanish archives, a safe-conduct to Tangier granted in 1478 to two persons, Vasco da Gama and Lemos. It is scarcely probable that such a passport would have been given to a child of nine years of age, so that this discovery would appear to carry back the birth of the celebrated voyager to an earlier date.

It seems that from an early period of his life, Vasco da Gama was destined to follow the career of a sailor, in which his father had distinguished himself. The first historian of the Indies, Lopez de Castañeda, delights in recalling the fact that he had signalized himself upon the African seas. At one time he was ordered to seize all the French ships lying in the Portuguese ports, in revenge for the capture by French pirates during a time of peace of a rich Portuguese galleon returning from Mina. Such a mission would only have been confided to an active, energetic and well-tried captain, a clear proof that Gama's valour and cleverness were highly appreciated by the king.

About this time he married Dona Caterina de Ataïde, one of the highest ladies about the court, and by her he had several children, amongst others Estevam da Gama, who became governor of the Indies, and Dom Christovam, who, says Gaucher, by his struggle with Ahmed Guerad in Abyssinia, and by his romantic death, deserves to be reckoned amongst the famous adventurers of the sixteenth century.

All doubt as to the precise date of Gama's first voyage is now at an end, thanks to the document in the public library at Oporto, a paper with which Castañeda must have been acquainted, and of which M. Ferdinand Denis has published a translation in the Ancient and Modern Travellers of M. E. Charton. The date may be fixed with certainty for Saturday, the 8th of July, 1497.

This expedition had been long ago determined upon, and all its details were minutely arranged. It was to be composed of four vessels of medium size, "in order," says Pacheco, "that they may enter everywhere and again issue forth rapidly." They were solidly constructed, and provided with a triple supply of sails and hawsers; all the barrels destined to contain water, oil, or wine had been strengthened with iron hoops; large provisions of all kinds had been made, such as flour, wine, vegetables, drugs, and artillery; the personnel of the expedition consisted of the best sailors, the cleverest pilots, and the most experienced captains.

Gama, who had received the title of Capitam mõr, hoisted his flag upon the Sam-Gabriel of 120 tons. His brother Paul da Gama was on board the Sam-Raphael of 100 tons. A caravel of 50 tons, the Berrio, so named in memory of the pilot Berrio, who had sold her to Emmanuel I., was commanded by an experienced sailor, Nicolo Coelho, while Pedro Nuñes was the captain of a large barque, laden with provisions and merchandise, destined for exchange with the natives of the countries which should be visited. Pero de Alemquer, who had been pilot to Bartholomew Diaz, was to regulate the course of the vessels. The crews, including ten criminals who were put on board to be employed on any dangerous service, amounted to one hundred and sixty persons. What feeble means these, what almost absurd resources, compared with the grandeur of the mission which these men were to accomplish!

On the 8th of July, at sunrise, Gama advanced towards the vessels, followed by his officers through an immense crowd of people. Around him were a number of monks and religious persons, who chanted sacred hymns, and besought Heaven's protection for the voyagers. This departure from Rastello must have been a singularly moving scene; all, whether actors or spectators, mingling their chants, their cries, their adieux and their tears, while the sails, filled by a favourable breeze, bore away Gama and the fortune of Portugal towards the open sea. A large caravel and a smaller barque, which were bound for Mina under the command of Bartholomew Diaz, sailed in company with Gama's fleet. On the following Saturday, the ships were in sight of the Canaries, and passed the night windward of Lancerota. When they arrived parallel with the Rio de Ouro, a thick fog separated Paul da Gama, Coelho, and Diaz from the rest of the fleet, but they joined again near the Cape de Verd Islands, which were soon reached. At Santiago fresh stores of meat, water, and wood were taken on board, and the ships were again put into good sailing order.

La Mina
La Mina.
From an old print.

They quitted the shore of Santa Maria on the 3rd of August. The voyage was accomplished without any remarkable incidents, and on the 4th of November, anchors were dropped upon the African Coast in a bay which received the name of Santa-Ellena. Eight days were spent there in shipping wood, and in putting everything in order on board the vessels. It was there that they saw for the first time the Bushmen, a miserable and degraded race of people who fed upon the flesh of sea-wolves and whales, as well as upon roots. The Portuguese carried off some of these natives, and treated them with kindness. The savages knew nothing of the value of the merchandize which was offered to them, they saw the objects for the first time and were ignorant of their use. Copper was the only thing which they appeared to prize, wearing in their ears small chains of that metal. They understood well the use of the zagayes—a kind of javelin, of which the point is hardened in the fire—of which three or four of the sailors and even Gama himself had unpleasant experience, while endeavouring to rescue from their hands a certain Velloso, a man who had imprudently ventured into the interior of the country. This incident has furnished Camoens with one of the most charming episodes of the "Lusiad."

On leaving Santa-Ellena, Pero de Alemquer, formerly pilot to Diaz, declared his belief that they were then ninety miles from the Cape, but in the uncertainty the fleet stood off to sea; on the 18th of November the Cape of Good Hope was seen, and the next day it was doubled by the fleet sailing before the wind. On the 25th the vessels were moored in the Bay of Sam-Braz, where they remained thirteen days, during which time the boat which carried the stores was demolished, and her cargo divided amongst the three other vessels. During their stay the Portuguese gave the Bushmen some hawks' bells and other objects, which, to their surprise, were accepted, for in the time of Diaz the negroes had shown themselves timid and even hostile, and had thrown stones to prevent the crews from procuring water. Now they brought oxen and sheep, and to show their pleasure at the visit of the Portuguese, "they began," says Nicolas Velho, "to play upon four or five flutes, some set high, some low, a wonderful harmony for negroes, from whom one scarcely looks for music. They danced also, as dance the blacks, and the Capitam mõr commanded the trumpets to sound, and we in our boats danced too, the Capitam mõr himself dancing, as soon as he had returned amongst us."

What shall we say to this little fête and this mutual serenade between the Portuguese and the negroes? Would any one have expected to behold Gama, a grave man, as his portraits represent him, initiating the negroes into the charms of the pavane. Unhappily these favourable dispositions were transient, and it was found necessary to have recourse to some hostile demonstrations by means of repeated discharges of artillery.

In this Bay of Sam-Braz Gama erected a padrao, which was thrown down as soon as he was gone. The fleet soon passed the Rio Infante, the furthest point reached by Diaz. Here the ships experienced the effects of a strong current, but of which the violence was neutralized thanks to a favourable wind. On the 25th of December, Christmas Day, the country of Natal was discovered.

The ships had sustained some damage, and fresh water was needed; it was therefore urgent for them to find some harbour, which they succeeded in doing on the 10th of January, 1498. The blacks whom the Portuguese saw here upon landing were people of greater stature than those whom they had hitherto met with. Their arms were a large bow with long arrows, and a zagaye tipped with iron. They were Caffres, a race very superior to the Bushmen. Such happy relations were quickly established with them that Gama gave the country the name of the Land of Good People (Terra da bon Gente).

Map of the East Coast of Africa

A little further on, while still sailing up the coast, two Mussulman traders, one wearing a turban, the other a hood of green satin, came to visit the Portuguese, with a young man who, "from what could be understood from their signs, belonged to a very distant country, and who said he had already seen ships as large as ours." Vasco da Gama, took this as a proof that he was now approaching those Indian lands, which had been so long and so eagerly sought. For this reason he named the river which flowed into the sea at this place Rio dos Bonis Signaes (River of good tokens). Unhappily the first symptoms of scurvy appeared at this time amongst the crews, and soon there were many sailors upon the sick list.

On the 10th of March the expedition cast anchor before the Island of Mozambique, where, as Gama learnt through his Arab interpreters, there were several merchants of Mahometan extraction, who carried on trade with India. Gold and silver, cloth and spices, pearls and rubies, formed the staple of their commerce. Gama at the same time was assured that in pursuing the line of the coast, he would find numerous cities; "Whereat we were so joyful," says Velho in his naïve and valuable narrative, "that we wept for pleasure, praying God to grant us health that we might see all that which we had so much desired."

Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel.

The Viceroy Colyytam, who imagined he was dealing with Mussulmen, came on board several times and was magnificently entertained; he returned the civility by sending presents, and even furnished Gama with two skilful pilots, but when some Moorish merchants who had traded in Europe told him that these foreigners, far from being Turks, were in reality the worst enemies of the Mahometans, the viceroy, disgusted at his mistake, made preparations for seizing the Portuguese by treachery, and killing them. Gama was obliged to point his artillery at the town and threaten to reduce it to ashes before he could obtain the water needed for the prosecution of his voyage. Blood flowed, and Paul da Gama captured two barques, whose rich cargo was divided amongst the sailors. The ships quitted this inhospitable town, on the 29th of March, and the voyage continued, a close surveillance being kept over the Arab pilots, whom Gama was obliged to cause to be flogged.

On the 4th of April the coast was seen, and on the 8th Mombasa or Mombaz was reached, a town, according to the pilots, inhabited by Christians and Mussulmen. The fleet dropped anchor outside the harbour, and did not enter it, notwithstanding the enthusiastic reception given to them. Already the Portuguese were reckoning upon meeting at mass the next day with the Christians of the Island, when during the night, the flag-ship was approached by a zacra, having on board a hundred armed men, who endeavoured to enter the ships in a body, which was refused them. The king of Mombaz was informed of all that had occurred at Mozambique, but pretending ignorance, he sent presents to Gama, proposing to him to establish a factory in his capital, and assuring him that so soon as he should have entered the port, he might take on board a cargo of spices and aromatics. The Capitam mõr, suspecting nothing, immediately sent two men to announce his entry for the morrow; already they were weighing anchor when the flag-ship refusing to tack, the anchor was let fall again. In graceful and poetic fiction, Camoens affirms that it was the Nereids led by Venus, the protectress of the Portuguese, who stayed their ships when on the point of entering the port. At this moment all the Moors on board the fleet quitted it simultaneously, whilst the Mozambique pilots threw themselves into the sea.

Two Moors who were put to the question with a drop of hot oil, confessed that the intention was to take all the Portuguese prisoners as soon as they should be inside the harbour. During the night the Moors endeavoured several times to climb on board and to cut the cables in order to run the ships aground, but each time they were discovered. Under these circumstances no prolonged stay was possible at Mombaz, but it had been long enough for all those ill of scurvy to recover their health.

At the distance of four-and-twenty miles from land, the fleet captured a barque richly laden with gold, silver, and provisions. The next day Gama arrived at Melinda, a rich and flourishing city, whose gilded minarets, sparkling in the sunshine, and whose mosques of dazzling whiteness, stood out against a sky of the most intense blue. The reception of the Portuguese at Melinda was at first very cold, the capture of the barque the evening before being already known there, but as soon as explanations had been given, the people became cordial. The king's son came to visit the admiral, accompanied by a train of courtiers splendidly dressed, and a choir of musicians, who played upon various instruments. The greatest astonishment was shown at the artillery practice, for the invention of gunpowder was not yet known on the east coast of Africa. A solemn treaty was made, ratified by oaths upon the Gospel and the Koran, and cemented by an interchange of presents. From this moment the ill-will, the treachery, the difficulties of all kinds which had hitherto beset the expedition, ceased as if by magic: this must be attributed to the generosity of the King of Melinda, and to the aid which he furnished to the Portuguese.

Faithful to the promise which he had made to Vasco da Gama, the king sent him a Gujerat pilot named Malemo Cana, a man well instructed in navigation, understanding the use of charts, of the compass and the quadrant, and who rendered the most important service to the expedition. After a stay of nine days the fleet weighed anchor for Calicut. The coasting plan hitherto pursued was now to be abandoned, and the time was come when, in reliance upon the blessing of God, the Portuguese must venture out upon the wide ocean, without other guide than an unknown pilot furnished by a king whose kind welcome had not sufficed to lull to sleep the suspicions of the foreigners. And yet, thanks to the ability and loyalty of this pilot, thanks also to the clemency of the sea, and to the wind being constantly in its favour, the fleet, after a twenty-three days' voyage, reached the land on the 17th May, and the next day anchored at the distance of six miles below Calicut. The enthusiasm on board was great. At last they had arrived in those rich and wonderful countries. Fatigues, dangers, sickness, all were forgotten. The object of their long labours was attained! Or rather, it seemed to be so, for there was still needed the possession of the treasures and rich productions of India.

Scarcely were the anchors dropped when four boats came off from the shore, performing evolutions around the fleet, and apparently inviting the sailors to disembark. But Gama, rendered cautious by the occurrences at Mozambique and Mombaz, sent on shore one of the criminals who were on board, to act as a scout; ordering him to walk through the town and endeavour to ascertain the temper of its inhabitants. Surrounded by an inquisitive crowd, assailed by questions to which he could not reply, this man was conducted to the house of a Moor named Mouçaïda, who spoke Spanish, and to whom he gave a short account of the voyage of the fleet. Mouçaïda returned with him on board, and his first words on setting foot on the ship were "Good luck! good luck! quantities of rubies, quantities of emeralds!" Whereupon, Mouçaïda was at once engaged as interpreter.

The King of Calicut was at this time at a distance of forty-five miles from his capital, so the Capitam mõr despatched two men to announce the arrival of an ambassador from the King of Portugal, being the bearer of letters to him from his sovereign. The king at once sent a pilot, with orders to take the Portuguese ships into the safer roadstead of Pandarany, and promised to return himself on the morrow to Calicut; this he did, and ordered his Intendant or Catoual to invite Gama to land and open negotiations. In spite of the supplications of his brother, Paul da Gama, who represented to him the dangers which he might incur, and those to which his death would expose the expedition, the Capitam mõr set out for the shore, upon which an enormous crowd of people were awaiting him.

The idea that they were in the midst of a Christian population was so rooted in the minds of all the members of the expedition, that Gama, on passing by a pagoda on the way, entered it to perform his devotions. One of his companions, however, Juan de Saa, noticing the hideous pictures upon the walls, was less credulous, and whilst throwing himself upon his knees, said aloud, "If that be a devil, I intend nevertheless to adore only the true God!" A mental reservation which caused amusement to the admiral.

Near the gates of the town the crowd was even more closely packed. Gama and his companions, under the guidance of the Catoual, had some difficulty in reaching the palace, where the king, who in the narrative is called the "Zamorin," was awaiting them with extreme impatience. Ushered into halls splendidly decorated with silken stuffs and carpets, and in which burned the most exquisite perfumes, the Portuguese found themselves in the presence of the Zamorin. He was magnificently attired, and loaded with jewels, the pearls and diamonds which he wore being of extraordinary size. The king ordered refreshments to be served to the strangers, and permitted them to be seated, a peculiar mark of favour in a country where the sovereign is usually only addressed with the most lowly prostrations. The Zamorin afterwards passed into another apartment, to hear with his own ears, as was proudly demanded by Gama, the reasons for the embassy and the desire felt by the King of Portugal to conclude a treaty of commerce and alliance with the King of Calicut. The Zamorin listened to Gama's discourse, and replied that he should be happy to consider himself the friend and brother of King Emmanuel, and that he would, by the aid of Gama, send ambassadors to Portugal.

Gama's interview with the Zamorin
Gama's interview with the Zamorin.
From an old print.

There are certain proverbs of which the force is not affected by change of latitude, and the truth of that one which says, "The days succeed each other and have no similarity," was proved the next day at Calicut. The enthusiasm which had been aroused in the mind of the Zamorin by the ingenious discourse of Gama, and the hope it had awakened of the establishment of a profitable trade with Portugal, vanished at the sight of the presents which were to be given him. "Twelve pieces of striped cloth, twelve cloaks with scarlet hoods, six hats, and four branches of coral, accompanied by a box containing six large basons, a chest of sugar, and four kegs, two filled with oil, and two with honey," certainly did not constitute a very magnificent offering. At sight of it, the prime minister laughed, declaring that the poorest merchant from Mecca brought richer presents, and that the king would never accept of such ridiculous trifles. After this affront Gama again visited the Zamorin, but it was only after long waiting in the midst of a mocking crowd, that he was admitted to the presence of the king. The latter reproached him in a contemptuous manner for having nothing to offer him, while pretending to be the subject of a rich and powerful king. Gama replied with boldness, and produced the letters of Emmanuel, which were couched in flattering terms, and contained a formal promise to send merchandise to Calicut. The Zamorin, pleased at this prospect, then inquired with interest about the productions and resources of Portugal, and gave permission to Gama to disembark and sell his goods.

But this abrupt change in the humour of the Zamorin was not at all agreeable to the Moorish and Arab traders, whose dealings made the prosperity of Calicut. They could not look on quietly whilst foreigners were endeavouring for their own advantage to turn aside the commerce which had been hitherto entirely in their hands; they resolved, therefore, to leave no stone unturned to drive away once for all these formidable rivals from the shores of India. Their first care was to gain the ear of the Catoual; then they painted in the blackest colours these insatiable adventurers, these bold robbers, whose only object was to spy out the strength and resources of the town, that they might return in force to pillage it, and to massacre those who should venture to oppose their designs.

Upon arriving at the roadstead of Pandarany, Gama found no boat to take him off to the ships, and was forced to sleep on shore. The Catoual never left him, continually seeking to prove to him the necessity of bringing the ships nearer to the land; and when the admiral positively refused to consent to this, he declared him to be his prisoner. He had very little idea as yet of the firmness of Gama's character. Some armed boats were sent to surprise the ships, but the Portuguese, having received secret intelligence from the admiral of all that had happened, were on their guard, and their enemies dared not use open force. Gama, still a prisoner, threatened the Catoual with the anger of the Zamorin, whom he imagined could never thus have violated the duties of hospitality, but seeing that his menaces produced no effect, he tried bribery, presenting the minister with several pieces of stuff, who, thereupon at once altered his demeanour. "If the Portuguese," said he, "had but kept the promise they had made to the king, of disembarking their merchandise, the admiral would long ago have returned on board his ships." Gama at once sent an order to bring the goods to land, opened a shop for their sale, of which the superintendence was given to Diego Diaz, brother to the discoverer of the Cape of Good Hope, and was then allowed to go back to his ships.

The Mussulmen placed obstacles in the way of the sale of the merchandise by depreciating its value; Gama sent his agent Diaz to the Zamorin to complain of the perfidy of the Moors and of the bad treatment to which he had been subjected, requesting at the same time permission to move his place of sale to Calicut, where he hoped that the goods would be more easily disposed of. This request was favourably received, and friendly relations were maintained, in spite of the Moorish intrigues, until the 10th of August, 1498. On that day Diaz went to announce Gama's impending departure to the king, reminding him of his promise to send an embassy to Portugal, and asking him to allow Gama a specimen of each of the productions of the country. These were to be paid for on the first sale of goods which should take place after the departure of the fleet, it being intended that the employés of the factory should remain at Calicut during Gama's absence. The Zamorin, instigated by the Arab traders, not only refused to execute his promise, but demanded the payment of 600 seraphins as customs' duty, ordering at the same time the seizure of the merchandise, and making prisoners of the men employed in the factory.

Such an outrage, such contempt for the rights of nations, called for prompt vengeance, but Gama understood the art of dissimulation; however, on receiving a visit on board from some rich merchants, he detained them, and sent to the Zamorin to demand an exchange of prisoners. The king's reply not being sent within the time specified by the admiral, the latter set sail and anchored at the distance of sixteen miles from Calicut. After another fruitless attack by the Hindoos, the two agents returned on board, and a portion of the hostages whom Gama had secured were given up. Diaz brought back with him a curious letter from the Zamorin to the King of Portugal. It was written upon a palm leaf, and shall be quoted in all its strange laconicism, so different from the usual grandiloquence of the oriental style:—

"Vasco da Gama, a noble of thy palace, is come into my country which I have permitted. In my kingdom there is much cinnamon, cloves, and pepper, with many precious stones, and what I desire from thy country is gold, silver, coral, and scarlet. Adieu."

On the morrow, Mouçaïda the Moor of Tunis who had served as interpreter to the Portuguese, and had been a great assistance to them in their negotiations with the Zamorin, came to seek an asylum on board the ships. The merchandise had not been brought back on the appointed day, and the Capitam mõr now resolved to carry away with him the men whom he had kept as hostages, but the fleet was becalmed at several miles distance from Calicut, and was attacked by twenty armed boats, which were with difficulty kept at a distance by the artillery, until they were forced by a violent storm to take shelter under the coast.

The admiral was sailing along the coast of the Deccan, and had permitted some of the sailors to go on shore to gather fruit and collect cinnamon bark, when he perceived eight boats, which appeared to be coming towards him. Gama recalled the men, and sailed forward to meet the Hindoos, who made the greatest haste to flee from him, but not without leaving a boat laden with cocoa, and provisions, in the hands of the Portuguese. On arriving at the Laccadive Archipelago, Gama had the Berrio recalked, and his own ship drawn up on shore for repairs. The sailors were busy over this work when they were again attacked, but without more success than heretofore. The next day witnessed the arrival of an individual forty years of age, dressed in Hindoo style, who began to speak to the Portuguese in excellent Italian, telling them that he was a native of Venice, and had been torn from his country while still young, that he was a Christian, but without the possibility of practising his religion. He was in a high position at the court of the king of the country, who had sent him to them, to place at their disposal all that the country contained which could minister to their comfort. These offers of service, so different from the welcome accorded to them hitherto, excited the suspicions of the Portuguese, and they were not long in discovering that this adventurer was in command of the boats which had attacked them the day before. Upon this they had him scourged until he confessed that he had come to discover whether it were possible to attack the fleet with advantage, and he ended by affirming that all the inhabitants of the sea-shore were in league to destroy the Portuguese. He was retained on board, the work upon the ships was hurried forward, and as soon as water and provisions had been taken in, sail was made for a return to Europe.

In consequence of dead calms and contrary winds, the expedition was three months, all but three days, in reaching the African coast. During this long voyage the crews suffered terribly from scurvy, and thirty sailors perished. In each ship, only seven or eight men were in a condition to work the vessel, and very often the officers themselves were forced to lend a hand. "Whence I can affirm," says Velho, "that if the time in which we sailed across those seas had been prolonged a fortnight, nobody from hence would have navigated them after us.... And the captains having held a council upon the matter, it was resolved that in case of similar winds catching us again, to return towards India, there to take refuge." On the 2nd of February, 1499, the Portuguese found themselves at last abreast of a great town on the coast of Ajan, called Magadoxo, distant 300 miles from Melinda.

Gama, dreading another reception like the one given to him at Mozambique, would not stop here, but while passing within sight of the town, ordered a general discharge of the guns. A few days afterwards the rich and salubrious plains of Melinda came in sight, and here they cast anchor. The king hastened to send off fresh provisions and oranges for the invalids on board. The reception given by him to the Portuguese was in every particular most affectionate, and the friendship which had arisen during Gama's first visit to Melinda was greatly strengthened. The Sheik of Melinda sent for the King of Portugal a horn made of ivory and a number of other presents, entreating Gama at the same time to receive a young Moor on board his ship, that through him the king might learn how earnestly he desired his friendship.

The five days' rest at Melinda was of the greatest benefit to the Portuguese, at its expiration they again set sail. Soon after passing Mombaz they were obliged to burn the Sam-Raphael, the crews being too much reduced to be able to work three ships. They discovered the Island of Zanzibar, anchored in the Bay of Sam-Braz, and on the 20th February, a favourable wind enabled them to double the Cape of Good Hope, when they again found themselves upon the Atlantic Ocean. The breeze remaining favourable, helped forward the return of the mariners, and at the end of twenty-seven days, they had arrived in the neighbourhood of the Island of Santiago. On the 25th of April Nicholas Coelho, captain of the Berrio, eager to be the first to carry to Emmanuel the news of the discovery of the Indies, separated himself from his chief, and without touching, as had been arranged, at the Cape de Verd Islands, made sail direct for Portugal, arriving there on the 10th of July.

During this time the unfortunate Gama was plunged in the most profound sorrow, for his brother, Paul da Gama, who had shared his fatigues and sufferings, and who was to be a partaker of his glory, seemed to be slowly dying. At Santiago, Vasco da Gama, now returned to well known and much frequented seas, gave up the command of his ships to Joao da Saa, and chartered a fast-sailing caravel, to hasten as much as possible his beloved invalid's return to his native country. But all hope was vain, and the caravel only arrived at Terceira in time to inter there the body of the brave and sympathizing Paul da Gama.

Upon his arrival in Portugal, which must have taken place during the early part of September, the admiral was received with stately festivals. Of the 160 Portuguese whom he had taken with him, fifty-five only returned with him. The loss was great certainly, but what was it compared with the great advantages to be hoped for? The public realized this, and gave the most enthusiastic reception to Gama. The King, Emmanuel II., added to his own titles that of Lord of the conquests and of the navigation of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and the Indies; but he allowed two years to pass before rewarding Gama. He then bestowed upon him the title of Admiral of the Indies, and authorized him to use the prefix of Dom before his name, a privilege then rarely granted. Also, doubtless to make Vasco da Gama forget the tardiness with which his services had been rewarded, the king gave him 1000 crowns, a considerable sum for that period, and also conceded to him certain privileges in connexion with the commerce of the Indies, which were likely speedily to make his fortune.



II.
THE CONQUEST OF INDIA, AND OF THE SPICE COUNTRIES.
Alvarès Cabral—Discovery of Brazil—The coast of Africa—Arrival at Calicut, Cochin, Cananore—Joao da Nova—Gama's second expedition—The King of Cochin—The early life of Albuquerque—The taking of Goa—The siege and capture of Malacca—Second expedition against Ormuz—Ceylon—The Moluccas—Death of Albuquerque—Fate of the Portuguese empire of the Indies.

On the 9th of March, 1500, a fleet of thirteen vessels left Rastello, under the command of Pedro Alvarès Cabral; on board, as a volunteer, was Luiz de Camoens, who in his poem the "Lusiad," was to render illustrious the valour and adventurous spirit of his countrymen. But little is known of Cabral, and nothing of the reason which had gained him the command of this important expedition. Cabral belonged to one of the most illustrious families in Portugal, and his father, Fernando Cabral, lord of Zurara da Beira, was Alcalde mõr of Belmonte. Pedro Alvarès Cabral had married Isabel de Castro, first lady in waiting to the Infanta Dona Maria, daughter of John III. If it be asked whether Cabral had made himself famous by some important maritime discovery, we answer there is no reason to think so, for in that case the historians would have recorded it. But it is difficult to believe that he owed to court favour alone the command of an expedition in which such men as Bartholomew Diaz, Nicholas Coelho the companion of Gama, and Sancho de Thovar sailed under his orders. Why had not this mission been confided to Gama, who had been at home for six months, and whose knowledge of the countries to be visited and of the manners of their inhabitants, seemed to point him out as the fittest man for the service? Had he not yet recovered from the fatigues of his first voyage? Or had his grief for the loss of a brother who had died almost within sight of the coasts of Portugal so deeply affected him, that he desired to remain in retirement? May it not rather have been that King Emmanuel was jealous of the fame of Gama, and did not wish to give him the opportunity of increasing his renown? These are problems which perhaps history may be for ever unable to solve.

It is easy to believe in the realization of those things which we ardently desire. Emmanuel imagined that the Zamorin of Calicut would not object to the establishment of Portuguese shops and factories in his country, and Cabral, the bearer of presents of such magnificence as to obliterate the memory of the shabbiness of those offered by Gama, received orders to obtain from the Zamorin an interdict, forbidding any Moor to carry on trade in his capital. The new Capitam mõr was in the first place to visit Melinda, to offer rich presents to its king, and to restore to him the Moor who had come to Portugal with Gama. Sixteen friars were sent out on board the fleet, charged to carry the knowledge of the Gospel to the distant countries of Asia.

The fleet had sailed for thirteen days and had passed the Cape de Verd Islands, when it was discovered that one of the ships, under the command of Vasco d'Ataïde, was no longer in company. The rest of the ships lay to for some time to await her, but in vain, and the twelve vessels then continued their navigation upon the open sea, and not, as had been the manner hitherto, steering simply from cape to cape along the shores of Africa. Cabral hoped by this means to avoid the calms in the Gulf of Guinea, which had proved so great a cause of delay to the preceding expeditions. Perhaps even the Capitam mõr, who must, in common with the rest of his countrymen, have been acquainted with the discoveries of Christopher Columbus, may have had the secret hope, by keeping to the west, of arriving at some region unvisited by the great navigator.

The fact remains, whether it is to be accounted for by a storm or by some secret design, that the fleet was out of the right way for doubling the Cape of Good Hope when, on the 22nd of April, a high mountain was seen, and soon afterwards a long stretch of coast, which received the name of Vera Cruz, changed afterwards to that of Santa Cruz. This was Brazil, and the point where now stands Porto Seguro. On the 28th, after a skilful reconnaissance of the coasts had been made by Coelho, the Portuguese sailors landed upon the American shores, and became aware of a delicious mildness of temperature, with a luxuriance of vegetation greatly exceeding anything which they had seen on the coasts of Africa or of Malabar. The natives formed themselves in groups around the sailors, without showing the least sign of fear. They were almost naked, and bore upon the wrist a tame parroquet, after the fashion in which the gentlemen of Europe carry their hawks or their gerfalcons.

On Easter Sunday, the 26th of April, a solemn mass was celebrated on the shore in sight of the Indians, whose silence and attitude of respect excited the admiration of the Portuguese. On the 1st of May a large cross and a padrao were erected on the shore, and Cabral formally took possession of the country in the name of the King of Portugal. His first care after this formality was accomplished was to despatch Gaspard de Lemos to Lisbon, to announce the discovery of this rich and fertile country. Lemos took with him the narrative of the expedition written by Pedro Vaz de Caminha, and an important astronomical document, the work of Master Joao, in which was doubtless stated the exact situation of the new conquest. Before setting out for Asia, Cabral put on land two criminals, whom he ordered to ascertain the resources and riches of the country, as well as the manners and customs of the inhabitants. These wise and far-sighted measures speak much for Cabral's prudence and sagacity.

Cabral takes formal possession of Brazil
Cabral takes formal possession of Brazil.

It was the 2nd of May when the fleet lost sight of Brazil. All on board, rejoicing over this happy commencement of the voyage, believed in the prospect of an easy and rapid success, when the appearance of a brilliant comet on eight consecutive days struck the ignorant and simple minds of the sailors with terror; they considered it must be a bad omen, and for this once events appeared to justify superstition. A fearful storm arose, waves mountains high broke over the ships, whilst the wind blew furiously and rain fell without ceasing. When the sun at length succeeded in piercing the thick curtain of clouds which almost entirely intercepted his rays, a horrible scene was disclosed. The water looked thick and black, large patches of a livid white colour flecked the foaming, crested waves, while during the night phosphorescent lights, streaking the immense plain of water, marked out the course of the ships with a train of fire. For two-and-twenty days, without truce or mercy, the Portuguese ships were battered by the furious elements. The terrified sailors were utterly prostrate; they vainly exhausted their prayers and vows, and obeyed the orders of their officers only from the force of habit; from the first day they had given up any hope of their lives being spared, and only awaited the moment when they should all be submerged. When light at length returned and the billows became calm, each crew, thinking themselves to be perhaps the sole survivors, looked eagerly over the sea in search of their companions. Three ships met together again with a joy which the sad reality soon abated. Eight vessels were missing; four had been engulfed by a gigantic water-spout during the last days of the storm. One of these had been commanded by Bartholomew Diaz, the discoverer of the Cape of Good Hope: he had been drowned by these murderous waves, the defenders, according to Camoens, of the empire of the east against the nations of the west, who had for so many centuries coveted her marvellous riches.

During this long series of storms the Cape had been doubled and the fleet was approaching the coast of Africa. On the 20th of July Mozambique was signalled. The Moors of this place showed a more agreeable disposition than they had done when Gama was there, and furnished the Portuguese with two pilots, who conducted them to Quiloa, an island famed for the trade in gold-dust which was carried on with Sofala. There Cabral found two of the missing ships, which had been driven to this island by the wind. A plot was on foot in Quiloa for a wholesale massacre of the Europeans, but this was frustrated by a prompt departure from the island, and the ships arrived at Melinda without any untoward incident. The stay of the fleet in this port was the occasion of fêtes and rejoicings without number, and soon, revictualled, repaired, and furnished with excellent pilots, the Portuguese vessels sailed for Calicut, where they arrived on the 13th of December, 1500.

View of Quiloa
View of Quiloa.
From an old print.

This time, thanks to the power of their arms as well as to the richness of the presents offered to the Zamorin, the reception was different, and the versatile prince agreed to all the demands of Cabral: namely, a monopoly of the trade in aromatics and spicery, and the right of seizure upon all vessels which should infringe this privilege. For some time the Moors dissembled their resentment, but when they had succeeded in thoroughly exasperating the population against the foreigners, they rushed at a given signal into the factory which was under the direction of Ayrès Correa, and massacred fifty of the Portuguese, whom they surprised in it. Vengeance for this outrage was not slow; ten boats moored in the port were taken, pillaged, and burnt before the eyes of the Hindoos, who were powerless to render opposition; afterwards the town was bombarded, and was half-buried under its ruins.

When this affair was concluded, Cabral, continuing the exploration of the Malabar coast, arrived at Cochin, where the Rajah, a vassal of the Zamorin, hastened to conclude an alliance with the Portuguese, eagerly seizing this opportunity to declare himself independent. Although by this time his fleet was richly laden, Cabral made a visit to Cananore, where he entered into a treaty with the Rajah of the country; then, being impatient to return home, he set sail for Europe. While coasting along that shore of Africa, which is washed by the Indian Ocean, he discovered Sofala, a place which had escaped the observation of Gama. On the 13th of July, 1501, Cabral arrived at Lisbon, where he had the joy of finding the two remaining ships which he had imagined to be lost.

It is pleasant to believe that he received the welcome merited by the important results obtained in this memorable expedition. Although contemporary historians are silent upon the incidents of his life after his return, recent research has been rewarded by the discovery of his tomb at Santarem, and M. Ferdinand Denis has happily proved that, like Vasco da Gama, he received the title of Dom as a reward for his glorious deeds.

Whilst he was returning to Europe Alvarès Cabral might have encountered a fleet of four caravels under the command of Joao da Nova, which King Emmanuel had despatched to give fresh vigour to the commercial relations which Cabral had been charged to establish in the Indies. This new expedition doubled the Cape of Good Hope without misadventure, discovered between Mozambique and Quiloa an unknown island, which was named after the commander of the fleet, and arrived at Melinda, where Da Nova was informed of the events which had taken place at Calicut. He felt that he had not forces at his disposal sufficient to justify him in going to punish the Zamorin, and not wishing to endanger the prestige of Portuguese arms by the risk of a reverse, he steered for Cochin and Cananore, of which the kings, although tributaries of the Zamorin, had entered into alliance with Alvarès Cabral. Da Nova had already taken on board 1000 hundredweights of pepper, 50 of ginger, and 450 of cinnamon, when he received warning that a considerable fleet, coming apparently from Calicut, was advancing with hostile intentions. If he had hitherto been more concerned with trade than with war, he did not the less in these critical circumstances display a bold and courageous spirit worthy of his predecessors. He accepted the combat, notwithstanding the apparent superiority of the Hindoos, and partly by the skilful arrangements which he made, partly by the power of his guns, he managed to disperse, to take, or to sink the hostile vessels. Perhaps Da Nova ought to have profited by the terror which his victory had spread along the coast, and the temporary exhaustion of the Moorish resources, to strike a great blow by the taking of Calicut. But we are too far removed in time from the events, and know too little of their details, to appreciate with impartiality the reasons which induced the admiral to return immediately to Europe.

It was during this latter part of his voyage that Nova discovered the small island of Saint Helena in the midst of the Atlantic. A curious story attaches to this discovery. A certain Fernando Lopez had followed Gama to the Indies; this man, wishing to marry a Hindoo, was forced for this purpose to renounce Christianity and become a Mahometan. Upon Nova's visit, having had enough either of his wife or of her religion, he begged to be taken back to his country, and returned to his old creed. Upon arriving at Saint Helena, Lopez, in obedience to a sudden idea, which he regarded as an inspiration from on high, requested to be landed there, in order, as he said, to expiate his detestable apostasy and to atone for it by his devotion to humanity. His will appeared so fixed that Da Nova was forced to consent, and he left him there, having given him at his request various seeds of fruits and vegetables. It must be added that this singular hermit worked for four years at the clearing and planting of the island with such success, that ships were soon able to call there to revictual during their long passage from Europe to the Cape of Good Hope.

The successive expeditious of Gama, Cabral, and Da Nova had conclusively proved that an uninterrupted commerce must not be reckoned upon, nor a continued exchange of merchandise, with the population of the Malabar Coast, who, while their own independence and liberty were respected had each time leagued together against the Portuguese. That trade with Europeans which they so persistently refused, must be forced upon them, and for that purpose permanent military establishments must be formed, capable of overawing the malcontents, and even in case of necessity of taking possession of the country. But to whom should such an important mission be entrusted? The choice could scarcely be doubtful, and Vasco da Gama was unanimously chosen to take the command of the powerful armament which was in preparation.

Vasco had ten ships under his own immediate command, while his second brother Stephen da Gama, and his cousin Vincent Sodrez, had each five ships under his orders, but they were both to recognise Vasco da Gama as their chief. The ceremonies which preceded the departure of the fleet from Lisbon were of a particularly grave and solemn character. King Emmanuel, followed by the whole court, repaired to the cathedral in the midst of an enormous crowd, and there called down blessings from heaven upon this expedition, partly religious, partly military, while the Archbishop blessed the banner which was entrusted to Gama.

The admiral's first care was to visit Sofala and Mozambique, towns of which he had had reason to complain in the course of his first voyage. Being anxious to establish harbours for refuge, and revictualling of ships, he established there merchants' offices, and laid the foundations of forts. He also levied a heavy tribute upon the Sheik of Quiloa, and then sailed for the coast of Hindostan. When Gama had arrived off Calicut, he perceived on the 3rd of October a vessel of large tonnage, which appeared to him to be richly laden. It was the Merii bringing back from Mecca a great number of pilgrims belonging to all the countries of Asia. Gama attacked the ship without provocation, captured her and put to death more than three hundred men who were on board. Twenty children alone were saved and taken to Lisbon, where they were baptized, and entered the army of Portugal. This frightful massacre, besides being quite in accordance with the ideas of the period, was calculated according to Gama, to strike terror into the Hindoo mind: it did nothing of the sort. This hateful and useless cruelty has left a stain of blood upon the hitherto pure fame of the admiral.

Map of the Coasts of Persia, Guzerat, and Malabar

As soon as he arrived at Cananore, Gama obtained an audience of the Rajah, who authorized him to establish a counting-house, and to build a fort. At the same time a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive was concluded. After setting the labourers to work, and installing his agent, the admiral set sail for Calicut, where he intended to summon the Zamorin to a reckoning for his disloyalty, as well as for the murder of the Portuguese who had been surprised in the factory. Although the Rajah of Calicut had been informed of the arrival in the Indies of his formidable enemies, he had taken no military precautions, and thus, when Gama presented himself before the town, he was able to seize some vessels anchored in the port and to make a hundred prisoners, without encountering any resistance; afterwards he granted the Zamorin a respite of four days, in which to make atonement to the Portuguese for the murder of Correa, and to refund the value of the merchandise which had been stolen on that occasion.

The time specified had scarcely elapsed when the bodies of fifty of the prisoners were strung up at the yard-arms of the vessels, where they remained exposed to the view of the town during the whole day. In the evening the feet and hands of these expiatory victims were cut off and taken on shore, with a letter from the admiral, declaring that his vengeance would not be limited to this execution. Accordingly, under cover of the night, the broadsides of the vessels were brought to bear upon the town, which was bombarded for the space of three days. It will never be known what was the exact number of the slain, but it must have been considerable. Without reckoning those killed by the fire of the cannon and the muskets, a great number of Hindoos were buried beneath the ruins of the buildings, or perished in the conflagration, which destroyed a portion of the town of Calicut. The Rajah had been one of the first to take flight, and fortunate was it for him that he had done so, for his palace was amongst the buildings which were demolished. At length, satisfied with having transformed this heretofore rich and populous city into a heap of ruins, and considering his vengeance satiated, and that the lesson so taught would be profitable, Gama set sail for Cochin, leaving behind him Vincent Sodrez, with several ships, to continue the blockade.

Triumpara, the sovereign of Cochin, informed the admiral that he had been eagerly solicited by the Zamorin to take advantage of the confidence reposed in him by the Portuguese, to surprise and seize them, in consequence of which intelligence, and to reward the integrity of the king whose loyalty had exposed him to the enmity of the Rajah of Calicut, Gama, when starting for Lisbon with a valuable cargo, left with Triumpara ships sufficient to enable him to await in safety the arrival of another squadron. During Gama's return voyage the only noteworthy incident that occurred was the defeat of another Malabar fleet. The admiral arrived in Europe on the 20th of December, 1503.

Once more the eminent services rendered by this great man went unrecognised, or rather they were not appreciated as they deserved. Gama, who had just laid the foundations of the colonial empire of Portugal in India, remained for one and twenty years without employment, and it was only through the intercession of the Duke of Braganza, that he obtained the title of Count de Vidigueyra. A too common instance this of ingratitude, but one which it is never mal à propos to stigmatize as it deserves.

Scarcely had Gama set out for Europe, before the Zamorin at the instigation of the Musselmen, who saw their commercial supremacy more and more compromised, assembled his allies at Pani with the object of attacking the King of Cochin and of punishing him for the counsel and assistance which he had given to the Portuguese. The unfortunate Rajah's fidelity was now put to a hard proof. Besieged in his capital by a large force, he saw himself all at once deprived of the aid of those for whose advantage he had incurred so great a risk. Sodrez and several of his captains had deserted the post, where both honour and gratitude required them to remain, and if need were, to die in the discharge of their duty; they forsook Triumpara to go and cruise in the neighbourhood of Ormuz, and at the entrance to the Red Sea, where they calculated that the annual pilgrimage to Mecca was likely to ensure them some rich booty. The Portuguese agent vainly represented to them the unworthiness of their conduct, they set out in haste, to escape from these inconvenient reproaches.

The King of Cochin, betrayed by some of the Nairs (military nobles) of his palace, who had been gained over by the Zamorin, soon saw his capital carried by assault, and was obliged to seek refuge upon an inaccessible rock in the little Island of Viopia, with those Portuguese who had remained faithful to him. When he was reduced to the last extremity, an emissary was sent to him by the Zamorin, to promise him pardon and oblivion of his offences if he would give up to him the Portuguese. But Triumpara, whose fidelity cannot be sufficiently commended, answered, "that the Zamorin might use his rights of victory; that he was not ignorant of the perils by which he was menaced, but that it was not in the power of any man to make him a traitor and a perjurer." No one could have made a nobler return than this for the desertion and cowardice of Sodrez.

Vincent Sodrez had arrived at the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, when a fearful tempest occurred, in which his ship split upon the rocks, and he and his brother perished. The survivors regarded this event as a judgment of Providence for their bad conduct, and they made haste, with all sails set to return to Cochin. They were detained by contrary winds at the Laccadive Islands, and were there joined by another Portuguese squadron under the command of Francisco d'Albuquerque, who had sailed from Lisbon almost at the same time as his cousin Alfonzo d'Albuquerque the most distinguished captain of the period, who with the title of Capitam mõr had started from Belem at the beginning of April, 1503.

The arrival of Francisco d'Albuquerque placed the Portuguese affairs, which had been so gravely compromised by the criminal conduct of Sodrez, upon a better footing, and at the same time effected the rescue of Triumpara, their sole and faithful ally. The besiegers fled at the sight of the Portuguese squadron, without even a show of resistance, and the Europeans in conjunction with the troops of the King of Cochin ravaged the Malabar Coast. As a consequence of these events, Triumpara allowed his allies to construct a second fortress in his dominions, and authorised an augmentation of the number and importance of their mercantile houses. This was the moment that witnessed the arrival of Alfonzo d'Albuquerque, the man destined to be the real creator of the Portuguese Empire in the Indies. Diaz, Cabral, and Gama, had prepared the way, but Albuquerque was the leader of large views who was needed to determine which were the principal towns that must be seized in order to place the Portuguese dominion upon a solid and lasting basis. Thus every particular of the history of this man who showed so great a genius for colonisation, is of the deepest interest, and it is well worth while to record some particulars of his family, his education, and his early exploits.

Alfonzo d'Alboquerque or d'Albuquerque, was born in 1453 at Alhandra, eighteen miles from Lisbon. Through his father Gonzalo d'Albuquerque, the Lord of Villaverde, he was descended, but illegitimately, from King Diniz; and through his mother from the Menezez, the great explorers. Brought up at the court of Alphonzo V., he there received as liberal and thorough an education as was possible at the period. He made an especial study of the great writers of antiquity, whose influence may be traced in the majesty and accuracy of his own style, and of mathematics of which he knew as much as could be learnt at that time. After staying for some years at Arzila, an African town which was under the dominion of Alphonzo V., he returned to Portugal, and was appointed Master of the Horse to John II., a prince whose chief anxiety was to extend the name and power of Portugal beyond the seas. It is evident that it was to the constant attendance upon the king imposed upon him by the duties of his office, that Albuquerque owed the inclination of his mind towards geographical studies, and his anxious desire to find the means of giving to his country the Empire of the Indies. He had already taken part in an expedition sent to the succour of the King of Naples against an incursion of the Turks, and in 1489, had been charged with the commission of revictualling and defending the fortress of Graciosa, upon the coast of Larache.

We must now return from this digression and take up the history of Albuquerque, from the time of his arrival in India in 1503. It took him but a few days to become thoroughly aware of the position of affairs; he perceived that the commerce of Portugal must depend upon conquest for its power of development. But his first enterprise was proportioned to the feebleness of his resources; he laid siege to Raphelim, which he wished to make a military station for his countrymen, and then with two ships he undertook a reconnaissance of the coast of Hindostan. Being attacked quite unexpectedly both by land and sea, he was on the point of yielding when the fortunate arrival of his cousin Francisco turned the combat, and put the Zamorin's troops to flight. The importance of this victory was considerable; the conquerors remained masters of an immense booty and quantities of precious stones, which had the result of stimulating the Portuguese spirit of covetousness; at the same time it confirmed Albuquerque in his designs, for the execution of which the consent of the king was needful, and also more considerable resources. He therefore set out on his return to Lisbon, where he arrived in July, 1504.

This same year, King Emmanuel wishing to organize a regular government in the Indies, had made Tristan da Cunha his viceroy, but Da Cunha having become temporarily blind was obliged to resign his power before he had exercised it. The king's choice next fell upon Francisco d'Almeida, who set out with his son in 1505. It will be soon seen what were the means which he considered should be employed to assure the triumph of his countrymen.

On the 6th of March, 1506, sixteen vessels left Lisbon under the command of Tristan da Cunha, who had by that time regained his health. With him went Alfonzo Albuquerque, carrying with him, but unknown to himself, his patent of Viceroy of India. He was ordered not to open the sealed packet until three years should have expired, when Almeida would have completed the term of his mission.

This numerous fleet, after having stopped at the Cape de Verd Islands and discovered Cape St. Augustine in Brazil, steered directly for the unexplored parts of the South Atlantic, and went so far south that the old chroniclers assert that several sailors being too lightly clad died from cold, while the others were scarcely able to work the ships. In 37° 8' south latitude, and 14° 21' west longitude, Da Cunha discovered three small uninhabited islands, of which the largest still bears his name. A storm prevented a landing there, and so completely dispersed the fleet that the admiral could not get his vessels together again before he arrived at Mozambique. In sailing along this African coast he explored the island of Madagascar or Sam-Lorenzo, which had just been discovered by Soarez, who was in command of eight vessels which Almeida was sending back to Europe; it was not thought advisable to make a settlement upon the island.

After having wintered at Mozambique, Da Cunha landed three ambassadors at Melinda, who were to reach Abyssinia by travelling overland, then he anchored at Brava, which Coutinho, one of his lieutenants had been unable to subjugate. The Portuguese now laid siege to this town, which resisted bravely but which yielded in the end, thanks to the courage of the enemy and the perfection of their arms. The population was massacred without mercy, and the town pillaged and burnt. Upon Magadoxo, another town on the African Coast, Cunha tried but in vain, to impose his authority. The strength of the town and the stubborn resolution shown by the numerous population as well as the approach of winter forced him to raise the siege. He then turned his arms against Socotra, at the entrance of the Gulf of Aden, where he carried the fortress. The whole of the garrison were put to the sword, the only man spared being an old blind soldier, who was discovered hidden in a well. When asked how he had been able to get down there, he answered,—"The blind only see the road which leads to liberty." At Socotra, the two Portuguese chiefs constructed the fort of Çoco, intended by Albuquerque to command the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, by the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, thus cutting one of the lines of communication with the Indies, which was the most used by the Venetians.

Here Da Cunha and Albuquerque separated, the former going to India to obtain a cargo of spices, the latter officially invested with the title of Capitam mõr, and bent on the realization of his vast schemes, setting out on the 10th of August, 1507, for Ormuz, having left his nephew Alfonzo da Noronha in charge of the new fortress. He took in succession, and as if to get his hand in for the work, Calayati, where were found immense stores, Curiaty and Mascati, which he gave up to pillage, fire, and destruction, in order to avenge a series of acts of treachery easily understood by those who know the duplicity of these eastern people. The success which he had just gained at Mascati, important as it was, did not content Albuquerque. He dreamed of other and grander projects, of which the execution was, however, much compromised by the jealousy of the captains under his orders, and notably of Joao da Nova, who contemplated abandoning his chief, and whom Albuquerque was obliged to place under arrest on board his own ship. After having suppressed these beginnings of disobedience and rebellion, the Capitam mõr reached Orfacati, which was taken after a vigorous resistance.

It is a curious fact that Albuquerque had long heard Ormuz spoken of, but that as yet he was ignorant of its position. He knew that this town served as an entrepôt for all the merchandise passing from Asia into Europe. Its riches and power, the number of its inhabitants and the beauty of its monuments were at that time celebrated throughout the East, so much so that there was a common saying, "If the world be a ring, Ormuz is the precious stone set in it." Albuquerque had resolved to take this town, not only because in itself it was a prize worth having, but also because it commanded the whole of the Persian Gulf, which was the second of the great commercial roads between the East and West. Without saying anything to the captains of his fleet, who, without doubt, would have rebelled at the idea of attacking so strong a town, and the capital of a powerful empire, Albuquerque gave orders to double Cape Mussendom, and the fleet soon entered the Strait of Ormuz, the door of the Persian Gulf, from whence was seen rising in all its magnificence a busy town built upon a rocky island, provided with formidable artillery, and protected by an army amounting to not less than from fifteen to twenty thousand men, while its harbour enclosed a fleet more numerous than could have been suspected at first sight. At this sight the captains made urgent representations upon the danger that Albuquerque would run in attacking so well-prepared a town, and made the most of the plea how very bad an influence a reverse would exercise. To this discourse Albuquerque answered, that indeed "it was a very great affair, but that it was too late to draw back, and that he had greater need of determination than of good advice."

Albuquerque before Ormuz
Albuquerque before Ormuz.

Scarcely was the anchor dropped before Albuquerque declared his ultimatum. Although the forces under his orders were very disproportionate in numbers, the Capitam mõr imperiously demanded that Ormuz should recognize the suzerainty of the King of Portugal and submit to his envoy, if it did not wish to share the same fate as Mascati. The King, Seif-Ed-din, who was then reigning over Ormuz, was still a child, and his Prime Minister, Kodja-Atar, a skilful and cunning diplomatist, governed in the king's name. Without denying in principle the pretensions of Albuquerque, the Prime Minister wished to gain time, to allow contingents to arrive for the help of the capital; but the admiral, who guessed his object, did not hesitate, after waiting three days, to attack the formidable fleet at anchor under the guns of Ormuz, with his five vessels and the Flor de la Mar, the finest and largest ship of that time. The combat was bloody and long undecided, but when they saw fortune was against them the Moors, abandoning their vessels, endeavoured to swim on shore. The Portuguese upon this jumped into their boats, pursuing the Moors vigorously, and causing horrible carnage. Albuquerque next directed his efforts against a large wooden jetty defended by numerous guns and by archers, whose well-aimed arrows wounded a number of the Portuguese and the general himself, who, however, was not hindered thereby from landing and proceeding to burn the suburbs of the town. Convinced that resistance would soon be impossible, and that their capital was in danger of being destroyed, the Moors hoisted a flag of truce, and signed a treaty, by which Seif-Ed-din declared himself the vassal of King Emmanuel, promised to pay him an annual tribute of 15,000 seraphins or xarafins, and gave to the conquerors a site for a fortress, which, in spite of the repugnance and reproaches of the Portuguese captains, was soon put into a condition of resistance. Unfortunately some deserters quickly brought these unworthy dissensions to the knowledge of Kodja-Atar, who profited by them to avoid, under various pretexts, fulfilling the execution of the articles of the new treaty. Some days afterwards Joao da Nova and two other captains, jealous of the successes of Albuquerque, and trampling in the dust every sentiment of honour, discipline, and patriotism, left him to go to the Indies; while Albuquerque was obliged by this cowardly desertion to withdraw without being able even to guard the fortress which he had been at so much pains to construct. He went to Socotra, where the garrison was in need of help, and then returned to cruise before Ormuz, but thinking himself too weak to undertake anything, he retired for a time to Goa, arriving there at the end of the year 1508.

What had been occurring on the Malabar coast during this long and adventurous campaign? The answer may be summed up in a few lines. It will be remembered that Almeida had set out from Belem in 1505 with a fleet of twenty-two sail, carrying soldiers to the number of 1500 men. First he seized Quiloa and then Mombaz, of which the "cavaliers, as the inhabitants loved to repeat, did not yield as easily as the chicken hearts of Quiloa." Out of the enormous booty, which by the fall of this town fell into the hands of the Portuguese, Almeida only took one arrow as his share of the spoil, thus giving a rare example of disinterestedness. After having stopped at Melinda he went on to Cochin, where he delivered to the Rajah the golden crown sent to him by Emmanuel, whilst he himself, with the presumptuous vanity of which he gave so many proofs, assumed the title of viceroy. Then, after commencing a fortress at Sofala, destined to overawe the Mussulmen of that coast, Almeida and his son, Lorenzo, scoured the Indian Seas, destroying the Malabar fleets, capturing some trading vessels, and causing great injury to the enemy, whose accustomed commercial roads were thus intercepted. But for this cruising warfare a numerous fleet of light vessels was needed, for there was scarcely any other harbour of refuge except Cochin upon the Asiatic coast. How preferable was Albuquerque's system of establishing himself in the country in a permanent manner, by constructing fortresses in all directions, by seizing upon the most powerful cities, whence it was easy to branch off into the interior of the country, by rendering himself master of the keys of the straits, and thus ensuring with much less risk, and more solidity, the monopoly of the Indian commerce.

Meantime the victories of Almeida, and the conquests of Albuquerque had much disquieted the Sultan of Egypt. The abandonment of the Alexandrian route caused a great diminution in the amount of imposts and dues of customs, anchorage, and transit, which were laid upon the merchandise of Asia as it passed through his states. Therefore, with the help of the Venetians, who furnished him with the wood for ship-building as well as with skilful sailors, he fitted out a squadron of twelve large ships, which came as far as Cochin, seeking the fleet of Lorenzo d'Almeida, and defeating it in a bloody combat in which Lorenzo was killed. If the sorrow of the viceroy were great at this sad news, at least he did not let it appear outwardly, but set to work to make all preparations for taking prompt vengeance upon the Roumis,—an appellation which shows the lasting terror attaching to the name of the Romans, and commonly used at this time upon the Malabar coast, for all Mussulman soldiers coming from Byzantium. With nineteen sail Almeida appeared before the fort where his son had been killed, and gained a great victory, but one sullied, it must be confessed, by most frightful cruelties, so much so that it soon became a common saying: "May the anger of the Franks fall upon thee as it fell upon Daboul." Not content with this first success, Almeida, some weeks later, annihilated the combined forces of the Sultan of Egypt, and the Rajah of Calicut, before Diu. This victory made a profound impression in India, and put an end to the power of the Mahumetists of Egypt.

Joao da Nova and the other captains, who had abandoned Albuquerque before Ormuz, had decided to rejoin Almeida; they had excused their disobedience by calumnies, in consequence of which a judicial process was about to be instituted against Albuquerque, when the viceroy received the news of his being replaced in his office by Albuquerque. At first Almeida declared that obedience must be rendered to this sovereign decree, but afterwards influenced by the traitors, who feared that they would be severely punished when the power had passed into the hands of Albuquerque, he repaired to Cochin in the month of March, 1509, with the fixed determination not to give up the command to his successor. There were disagreeable and painful disputes between these two great men, in which all the wrong done was on the side of Almeida. Albuquerque was about to be sent to Lisbon with chains on his feet, when a fleet of fifteen sail entered the harbour, under the command of the grand Marshal of Portugal, Ferdinand Coutinho. The latter took the part of the prisoner, whom he immediately released, notifying again to Almeida the powers held by Albuquerque from the king, and threatening him with the great anger of Emmanuel if he refused to obey. Almeida could do nothing but yield, and he then did it nobly. As for Joao da Nova, the author of these sad misunderstandings, he died some time afterwards, forsaken by everybody, and had scarcely any one to follow him to the grave except the new viceroy, who thus generously forgot the injuries done to Alfonzo Albuquerque.

Immediately after the departure of Almeida, the grand Marshal Coutinho declared that, having come to India with the intention of destroying Calicut, he intended to turn to account the absence of the Zamorin from his capital. In vain the new viceroy endeavoured to modify his zeal and induce him to take the wise measures recommended by experience. Coutinho would listen to nothing, and Albuquerque was obliged to follow him. Calicut, taken by surprise, was easily set on fire; but the Portuguese, having lingered to pillage the Zamorin's palace, were fiercely attacked in rear by the Nairs, who had succeeded in rallying their troops. Coutinho, whose impetuous valour led him into the greatest danger, was killed, and it required all the skill and coolness of the viceroy to effect a re-embarkation of the troops under the enemy's fire, and to preserve the soldiers of the King of Portugal from total destruction.

On his return to Cintagara, a sea-port which was a dependency of the King of Narsingue, with whom the Portuguese had been able to form an alliance, Albuquerque learnt that Goa, the capital of a powerful kingdom, was a prey to political and religious anarchy. Several chiefs were contending there for power. One of them, Melek Çufergugi, was just on the point of seizing the throne, and it was important to profit by the circumstances of the moment, and attack the town before he should have been able to gather a force capable of resisting the Portuguese. The viceroy perceived all the importance of this counsel. The situation of Goa, giving access as it did to the kingdom of Narsingue and to the Deccan, had already struck him forcibly. He did not delay, and soon the Portuguese reckoned one conquest more. Goa the Golden, a cosmopolitan town, where were mingled with all the various sects of Islam Parsees, the worshippers of Fire, and even some Christians, submitted to Albuquerque, and soon became, under a wise and strict government which understood how to conciliate the sympathies of opposing sects, the capital, the chief fortress, and the principal seat of trade of the Portuguese empire of the Indies.

By degrees and with the course of years the knowledge of these rich countries had increased. Much information had been gathered together by all those who had ploughed these sunny seas in their gallant vessels, and it was now known what was the centre of production of those spices which people went so far to seek, and for whose acquisition they encountered so many perils. It was already several years since Almeida had founded the first Portuguese factories in Ceylon, the ancient Taprobane. The Islands of Sunda, and the Peninsula of Malacca, were now exciting the desires of King Emmanuel, who had already been surnamed "the fortunate." He resolved to send a fleet to explore them, for Albuquerque had enough to do in India to restrain the trembling Rajahs, and the Mussulmen—Moors as they were then called—who were always ready to shake off the yoke. This new expedition was under the command of Diego Lopez Sequeira, and according to the traditional policy of the Moors, was at first amicably received at Malacca; but when the suspicions of Lopez Sequeira had been lulled to sleep by reiterated protestations of alliance, the whole population suddenly rose against him, and he was forced to return on board, but not without leaving thirty of his companions in the hands of the Malays. These events had already happened some time when the news of the taking of Goa arrived at Malacca. The bendarra, or Minister of Justice, who exercised regal power in the name of his nephew who was still a child, fearing the vengeance which the Portuguese would doubtless exact for his treachery, resolved to pacify them. He went to visit his prisoners, excused himself to them by swearing that all had been done unknown to him and against his will, for he desired nothing so much as to see the Portuguese establish themselves in Malacca; also he was about to order the authors of the treason to be sought out and punished. The prisoners naturally gave no credence to these lying declarations, but profiting by the comparative liberty which was henceforth granted to them, they cleverly succeeded in conveying to Albuquerque some valuable information upon the position and strength of the town.

Albuquerque with much trouble collected a fleet of nineteen men of war, carrying fourteen hundred men, amongst whom there were only eight hundred Portuguese. This being the case, ought he to venture in obedience to the wish of King Emmanuel to steer for Aden, the key of the Red Sea, which it was important to master in preparation for opposing the passage of a new squadron, which the Sultan of Egypt was intending to send to India? Albuquerque hesitated, when a change in the trade-winds occurred which put an end to his irresolution. In fact, it was impossible to reach Aden in the teeth of the prevailing wind, while it was favourable for a descent upon Malacca. This town, at that time in its full splendour, did not contain less than 100,000 inhabitants. If many of the houses were built of wood, and roofed with the leaves of the palm-tree, yet they were equalled in number by the more important buildings, such as mosques and towers built of stone, which stretched out in a long panorama for the distance of three miles. The ships of India, China, and of the Malay kingdoms of the Sunda Islands, met in its harbour, where numerous vessels coming from the Malabar coast, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and the coast of Africa traded in merchandise of all kinds and of every country.

When the Rajah of Malacca saw the Portuguese fleet arrive in his waters, he felt that it was necessary to appear to give satisfaction to the foreigners by sacrificing the minister who had excited their anger and caused their arrival. His ambassador therefore came to the viceroy to announce the death of the bendarra, and to find out what were the intentions of the Portuguese. Albuquerque answered by demanding the prisoners who had remained in the hands of the Rajah, but the latter, desirous of gaining time to allow for the expected change in the trade-wind,—a change which would force the Portuguese to regain the Malabar coast, or else would oblige them to remain at Malacca, where he hoped to be able to exterminate them,—invented a thousand pretexts for delay, and in the meantime according to the old narratives, he prepared a battery of 8000 cannon, and collected troops to the number of 20,000. At length Albuquerque lost his patience, and ordered some houses and several Gujerat vessels to be set on fire, a beginning of execution which speedily brought about the restoration of the prisoners; he then claimed 20,000 crusades as indemnity for the damage caused to the fleet of Lopez Sequeira, and finally he demanded to be allowed to build a fortress within the town itself, which should also serve as a counting-house for the merchants. This demand could not be complied with as Albuquerque well knew; but upon the refusal he resolved to seize the town, fixing upon St. James' day for the attack. The town was taken quarter by quarter, house by house, after a truly heroic struggle and a most vigorous defence, which lasted for nine whole days, notwithstanding the employment of extraordinary devices, such as elephants of war, poisoned sabres and arrows, barricades, and skilfully concealed troops. An enormous booty was divided amongst the soldiers, Albuquerque only reserving to himself six lions, of gold according to some accounts, of iron according to others, which he intended for the adornment of his tomb, to perpetuate the memory of his victory.

The door which gave access to Oceania, and to Upper Asia, was henceforth open. Many nations unknown till this time would now have intercourse with Europeans. The strange manners and fabulous history of many people were about to be disclosed to the astonished West. A new era had commenced, and these great results were due to the unbridled audacity, and indomitable courage of a nation whose country was scarcely discernible upon the map of the world!

It was in part owing to the religious toleration which Albuquerque displayed, a toleration which contrasts strangely with the cruel fanaticism of the Spaniards, and in part to the skilful measures which he took, that the prosperity of Malacca resisted the rude shock which it had received. In the course of a few months no trace remained of the trials which the town had experienced, except the sight of the Portuguese banner floating proudly over this great city, which had now become the head and vanguard of the colonial empire of this people, small in numbers, but rendered great by their courage and their spirit of enterprise.

Great and wonderful as this new conquest might be, it had not made Albuquerque forget his former projects. If he had appeared to have renounced them, it was only because circumstances had not hitherto seemed favourable for their execution. With that tenacity of determination which formed the basis of his character, while still at the southern extremity of the empire which he was founding, his thoughts were fixed upon the northern part of it, upon Ormuz, which the jealousy and treachery of his subordinates had obliged him to abandon at the beginning of his career, at the very moment when success was about to crown his persevering efforts; it was Ormuz which tempted him still.

The Island of Ormuz

The fame of his exploits and the terror inspired by his name had decided Kodja-Atar to make some advances to Albuquerque, to ask for a treaty, and to send the arrears of the tribute which had been formerly imposed. Although the viceroy placed no belief on these repeated declarations of friendship—on that Moorish faith which deserves to be as notorious as Punic faith,—he nevertheless welcomed them, whilst waiting for the power to establish his dominion after a permanent manner in these countries. In 1513 or 1514—the exact date is not ascertained—when his fleet and soldiers were set at liberty by the conquest of Malacca and the tranquillity of his other possessions, Albuquerque set sail for the Persian Gulf. Immediately upon his arrival, although a series of revolutions had changed the government of Ormuz and the power was then in the hands of a usurper named Rais-Nordim or Noureddin, Albuquerque demanded that the fortress, which had been formerly begun, should be immediately placed in his hands. After having had it repaired and finished, he took part against the pretender Rais Named, in the quarrel which was then dividing the town of Ormuz and preparing it to fall under the dominion of Persia. He seized upon the town and bestowed it upon the aspirant who had accepted his conditions beforehand, and who appeared to Albuquerque to present the most solid guarantees of submission and fidelity. Besides, it would not be difficult in the future to make this certain, for Albuquerque left in the new fortress a garrison perfectly able to bring Rais-Nordim to repentance for the slightest attempt at revolt, or the least desire of independence.

A well-known anecdote is related of this expedition to Ormuz, but one which, even from its notoriety, we should be blamed for omitting. When the King of Persia sent to Noureddin to demand the tribute which the sovereigns of Ormuz had been in the habit of paying to him, Albuquerque gave orders that a quantity of bullets, cannon-balls and shells, should be brought from his ships, and showing them to the ambassadors he told them that such was the coin in which the King of Portugal was accustomed to pay tribute. It does not appear that the Persian ambassadors repeated their demand.

Albuquerque had a quantity of bullets brought from his vessels
Albuquerque had a quantity of bullets brought from his vessels.

With his usual wisdom, the viceroy did not wound the feelings of the inhabitants, who speedily returned to the town. Far from squeezing all he could from them, as his successors were destined soon to do, he established an upright system of government which caused the Portuguese name to be loved and respected.

At the same time that he was himself accomplishing these marvellous labours, Albuquerque had desired some of his lieutenants to explore the unknown regions to which access had been given by the taking of Malacca. For this purpose he gave to Antonio and Francisco d'Abreu the command of a small squadron carrying 220 men, with which they explored the whole of the Sunda Archipelago, Sumatra, Java, Anjoam, Simbala, Jolor, Galam, &c.; then being not far from the coast of Australia they sailed back again to the north and arrived at the Islands of Buro and Amboyna, which form part of the Molucca group. After having made a voyage of more than 1500 miles amongst dangerous archipelagos strewn with rocks and coral reefs, and amidst populations often hostile, and after loading their ships there with cloves, nutmegs, sandal-wood, mace, and pearls, they set sail for Malacca in 1512. This time the veritable land of spices had been reached, it now only remained to found establishments there and to take possession of it definitely, which was not likely to be long postponed.

It has been often remarked that the Tarpeian rock is not far from the Capitol; of this Albuquerque was destined to make experience, and his last days were to be saddened by unmerited disgrace, the result of calumnies and lies, and of a skilfully woven plot, which, although it succeeded in temporarily clouding his reputation with King Emmanuel, has not availed to obscure the glory of this great man in the eyes of posterity. Already there had been an effort made to persuade the king that the taking possession of Goa had been a grave error; its unhealthy climate must, it was said, decimate the European population in a short time, but the king, with perfect confidence in the experience and prudence of his lieutenant, had refused to listen to his enemies, for which Albuquerque had publicly thanked him, saying,—"I think more is owing to King Emmanuel for having defended Goa against the Portuguese, than to myself for having twice conquered it." But in 1514 Albuquerque had asked the king to bestow upon him as a reward for his services the title of Duke of Goa, and it was this imprudent step which gave an advantage to his adversaries.

Soarez d'Albergavia and Diogo Mendez, whom Albuquerque had sent as prisoners to Portugal after they had publicly declared themselves his enemies, had succeeded not only in clearing themselves from the accusation brought against them by the viceroy, but in persuading Emmanuel that he wished to constitute an independent duchy of which Goa should be the capital, and they ended by obtaining his disgrace. The news of the appointment of Albergavia to the post of Captain-General of Cochin, reached Albuquerque as he was issuing from the Strait of Ormuz on his return to the Malabar coast, and at a time when he was suffering much from disease. "He raised his hands towards heaven," says M. F. Denis, in his excellent History of Portugal, "and pronounced these few words: Behold I am in disgrace with the king on account of my love to men, and with men on account of my love to the king. Turn thee, old man, to the Church, and prepare to die, for it behoves thine honour that thou shouldest die, and never hast thou neglected to do aught which thine honour demands." Whereupon, being arrived in the roadstead of Goa, Alfonzo Albuquerque set in order the affairs of his conscience with the Church, caused himself to be clad in the dress of the Order of St. Iago of which he was a commander, and then "on Sunday the 16th of December, an hour before daybreak, he rendered up his soul to God. Thus ended all his labours, without their having ever brought him any satisfaction."

Albuquerque was buried with great pomp. The soldiers who had been the faithful companions of his wonderful adventures, and the witnesses of his manifold tribulations, disputed amidst their tears for the honour of carrying his remains to their last resting-place, which their commander had himself chosen. The Hindoos in their grief refused to believe that he was dead, declaring that he was gone to command the armies of the sky. A letter of King Emmanuel has been comparatively lately discovered which proves that, although he were deceived for a time by the false reports of the enemies of Albuquerque, he soon discovered his mistake, and rendered him full and entire justice. Unfortunately this letter of reparation never reached the unfortunate second Viceroy of the Indies; it would have sweetened his last moments, whereas he had the pain of dying in the belief that the sovereign for whose glory and the increase of whose power he had consecrated his life, had in the end proved ungrateful towards him. "With Albuquerque," says Michelet, "all humanity and all justice disappeared from amongst the conquerors. Long years after his death the Indians would repair to the tomb of the great Albuquerque, to demand justice of him against the oppressions of his successors."

Many causes may be adduced as bringing about the rapid decay and dismemberment of that great colonial empire with which Albuquerque had enriched his country, and which even amidst its ruins has left ineffaceable traces upon India. With Michelet we may cite the distance and dispersion of the various factories, the smallness of the population of Portugal, but little suited to the wide extension of her establishments, the love of brigandage, and the exactions of a bad government, but beyond all, that indomitable national pride which forbade any mingling of the victors with the vanquished.

The fall of the colonial empire was hindered for a time by the influence of two heroic men, the first was Juan de Castro, who after having had the control of untold riches, remained so poor that he had not even the wherewithal to buy a fowl in his last illness; and the second, Ataïde, who once again gave the corrupt eastern populations an example of the most manly virtues, and of the most upright administration. But after their time the empire began to drop to pieces, and fell by degrees into the hands of the Spaniards and the Dutch, who in their turn were unable to preserve it intact. All passes away, all is changed. What can be said but to repeat the Spanish saw, in applying it to the case of empires, "Life is but a dream"?



END OF THE FIRST PART.





PART II.





CHAPTER I.

THE CONQUERORS OF CENTRAL AMERICA.

I.
Hojeda—Americus Vespucius—The New World named after him—Juan de la Cosa—Vincent Yañez Pinzon—Bastidas—Diego de Lepe—Diaz de Solis—Ponce de Leon and Florida—Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean—Grijalva explores the coast of Mexico.

The letters and narratives of Columbus and his companions, especially those dwelling upon the large quantity of gold and pearls found in the recently discovered countries, had inflamed the imagination of eager traders, and of numbers of gentlemen who loved adventure. On the 10th of April, 1495, the Spanish government had issued an order allowing any one who might wish to do so, to go and discover new countries; but this privilege was so much abused, and Columbus complained so bitterly of its trenching upon established rights, that the permission was withdrawn on the 2nd of June, 1497, and four years later it became necessary to repeat the prohibition with more severe penalties attached to its infringement. The effect of the royal decree was at once to produce a kind of general rush to the Indies, and this was favoured by Bishop Fonseca of Badajoz, through whose hands passed all business connected with the Indies, and of whom Columbus had had so much reason to complain.

The admiral had but just left San-Lucar on his third voyage, when four expeditions of discovery were fitted out almost at the same moment, at the cost of some rich ship-owners, foremost among whom we find the Pinzons and Americus Vespucius. The first of these expeditions, which left the port of Santa-Maria on the 20th of May, 1499, consisted of four vessels, and was commanded by Alonzo Hojeda. Juan de la Cosa sailed with him as pilot; Americus Vespucius was also on board, without any very clearly defined duties, but he would seem to have been astronomer to the fleet.

Americus Vespucius
Americus Vespucius.
Fac-simile of an old print.

Before entering on a brief account of this voyage, we will glance for a few moments at the three men whom we have just named; the last of the three especially, plays a most important part in the discovery of the New World, which received its name from him.

Hojeda, born at Cuença about 1465, and brought up in the household of the Duke of Medina-Celi, had gained his first experience in arms in the wars against the Moors. Columbus enrolled him amongst the adventurers whom he recruited for his second voyage, when Hojeda distinguished himself alike by his cool courage and his readiness in surmounting all difficulties. What caused his complete rupture with Columbus remains a mystery; it appears still more inexplicable when we think of the distinguished services that Hojeda had rendered, especially in 1495, at the battle of La Vega, when the Caribbean Confederation was annihilated. All we know is, that on Hojeda's return to Spain he found shelter and protection with Bishop Fonseca. It is said even that the Indian minister supplied him with the journal of the admiral's last voyage, and the map of the countries which Columbus had discovered.

The first pilot employed by Hojeda was Juan de la Cosa, born probably at Santona, in the Biscayan country. He had often sailed along the coast of Africa before accompanying Columbus on his first voyage, while in the second expedition he filled the post of hydrographer (maestro de hacer cartas).

As specimens of La Cosa's talent in drawing maps may be mentioned two very curious ones still extant; one showing all the territory that had been acquired in Africa in 1500, the other on vellum, and enriched with colour like the first, giving the discoveries made by Columbus and his successors. The second pilot was Bartholomew Roldan, who had likewise sailed with Columbus on his voyage to Paria.

As to Americus Vespucius, his duties were not, as we have said, very clearly defined, he was there to aid in making discoveries (per ajutare a discoprire, says the Italian text of his letter to Soderini). Born at Florence on the 9th of March, 1451, Amerigo Vespucci belonged to a family of distinction and wealth. He had made mathematics, natural philosophy, and astrology (as it was then called) his special studies. His knowledge of history and literature, judging from his letters, appears to have been somewhat vague and ill-digested. He left Florence in 1492 without any special aim in view, and went to Spain, where he occupied himself at first in commercial pursuits. We hear of him in Seville acting as factor in the powerful trading house of his fellow countryman, Juanoto Berardi. As this house had advanced money to Columbus for his second voyage, it is not unlikely that Vespucius had become acquainted with the admiral at this period of his career. On Juanoto's death in 1495, Vespucius was placed by his heirs at the head of the financial department of the house. Whether he may have been tired of a situation that he thought below his powers, or been seized in his turn with the fever for making new discoveries, or whether he hoped to make his fortune rapidly in the new countries reputed to be so rich; whatever in short may have been the motive that actuated him, at least this we know, that he joined Hojeda's expedition in 1499, this fact being so stated in Hojeda's deposition in the law-suit instituted by the Treasury with the heirs of Columbus.

The flotilla, consisting of four vessels, set sail on the 20th of May from Santa-Maria, taking a south-westerly course, and in twenty-seven days the American continent was sighted at the place which was named Venezuela, because the houses being built upon piles reminded the beholders of Venice. Hojeda, after some ineffectual attempts to hold intercourse with the natives, with whom he had several skirmishes, next saw the Island of Margarita; after sailing about 250 miles to the east of the river Orinoco he reached the Gulf of Paria, and entered a bay called the Bay of Las Perlas, from the natives of that part being employed in the pearl fisheries.

Guided by the maps of Columbus, Hojeda passed by the Dragon's-Mouth, which separates Trinidad from the continent, and returned westward to Cape La Vela. Then, after touching at the Caribbee Islands, where he made a number of prisoners, whom he hoped to sell for slaves in Spain, he was obliged to cast anchor at Yaquimo, in Hispaniola, on the 5th of September, 1499.

Columbus, knowing Hojeda's courage and his restless spirit only too well, feared that he would introduce a new element of discord into the colony. He therefore despatched Francesco Roldan with two caravels to inquire into his motives in coming to the island, and if necessary to prevent his landing. The admiral's fears were but too well grounded; Hojeda had scarcely landed before he had an interview with some of the malcontents, inciting them to a rising at Xaragua, and to a determination to expel Columbus. After some skirmishes, which had not ended to Hojeda's advantage, a meeting was arranged for him with Roldan, Diego d'Escobar, and Juan de la Cosa, when they prevailed upon him to leave the island. "He took with him," says Las Casas, "a prodigious cargo of slaves, whom he sold in the market at Cadiz for enormous sums of money." He returned to Spain in February, 1500, where he had been preceded by Americus Vespucius and B. Roldan on the 18th of October, 1499.

The most southerly point that Hojeda had reached in this voyage was 4° north latitude, and he had only spent fourteen weeks on the voyage of discovery, properly so called. If we appear to have dwelt at some length upon this voyage, it is because it was the first one made by Vespucius. Some authors, Varnhagen for instance, and quite recently, Mr. H. Major, in his history of Prince Henry the Navigator, assert that Vespucius' first voyage was in 1497, and consequently that he must have seen the American continent before Columbus, but we prefer to follow Humboldt, who spent so many years in studying the history of the discovery of America, in his opinion that 1499 was the right date, also M. Ed. Charton and M. Jules Codine, the latter of whom discussed this question in the Report of the Geographical Society for 1873, apropos of Mr. Major's book.

"If it were true," says Voltaire, "that Vespucius had discovered the American Continent, yet the glory would not be his; it belongs undoubtedly to the man who had the genius and courage to undertake the first voyage, to Columbus." As Newton says in his argument with Leibnitz, "the glory is due only to the inventor." But we agree with M. Codine when he says, "How can we allow that there was an expedition in 1497 which resulted in the discovery of above 2500 miles of the coast-line of the mainland, when there is no trace of it left either among the great historians of that time, or in the legal depositions in connexion with the claims made by the heir of Columbus against the Spanish Government, in which the priority of the discoveries of each leader of an expedition is carefully mentioned, with the part of the coast explored by each?" Finally, the authentic documents extracted from the archives of the Casa de contratacion make it evident that Vespucius was entrusted with the preparation of the vessels destined for the third voyage of Columbus at Seville and at San Lucar from the middle of August, 1497, till the departure of Columbus on the 30th of May, 1498. The narratives of the voyages of Vespucius are very diffuse and wanting in precision and order; the information they give upon the places he visited is so vague, that it might apply to one part of the coast as well as to another; as to the localities treated of, as well as of the companions of Vespucius, there are no indications given of a nature to aid the historian. Not a single name is given of any well-known person, and the dates are contradictory in those famous letters which have given endless work to commentators. Humboldt says of them "There is an element of discord in the most authentic documents relating to the Florentine navigator." We have given an account of Hojeda's first voyage, which coincides with that of Vespucius according to Humboldt, who has compared the principal incidents of the two narratives. Varnhagen asserts that Vespucius, having started on the 10th of May, 1497, entered the Gulf of Honduras on the 10th of June, coasted by Yucatan and Mexico, sailed up the Mississippi, and at the end of February, 1498, doubled the Cape of Florida. After anchoring for thirty-seven days at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, he returned to Cadiz in October, 1498.

If Vespucius had really made this marvellous voyage, he would have far outstripped all the navigators of his time, and would have fully deserved that his name should be given to the newly-discovered continent, whose coast-line he had explored for so great a distance. But nothing is less certain, and Humboldt's opinion has hitherto appeared to the best writers to offer the largest amount of probability.

Americus Vespucius made three other voyages. Humboldt identifies the first with that of Vincent Yañez Pinzon, and M. d'Avezac with that of Diego de Lepe (1499-1500). At the close of this latter year, Giuliano Bartholomeo di Giocondo induced Vespucius to enter the service of Emmanuel, King of Portugal, and he accomplished two more voyages at the expense of his new master. On the first of these two voyages, he was no higher in command than he had been in his earlier ones, and only accompanied the expedition as one whose intimate acquaintance with all nautical matters might prove of service under certain circumstances. During this voyage the ships coasted along the American shores from Cape St. Augustine to 52° of south latitude. The fourth voyage of Vespucius was marked by the wreck of the flag-ship off the Island of Fernando de Noronha, which prevented the other vessels from continuing their voyage towards Malacca by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and obliged the crews to land at All Saints' Bay, in Brazil.

This fourth voyage was unquestionably made with Gonzalo Coelho, but we are quite ignorant as to who was in command on the third voyage. These various expeditions had not tended to enrich Vespucius, while his position at the Portuguese court was so far from satisfactory that he determined to re-enter the service of the King of Spain. By him he was made Piloto Mayor on the 22nd of March, 1508. There were some valuable emoluments attached for his advantage to this appointment, which enabled him to end his days, if not as a rich man, at least as one far removed from want. He died at Seville on the 22nd of February, 1512, with the same conviction as Columbus, that he had reached the shores of Asia. Americus Vespucius is especially famous from the New World having been named after him, instead of being called Columbia, as in all justice it should have been, but with this Vespucius had nothing to do. He was for a long time charged, though most unjustly, with impudence, falsehood, and deceit, it being alleged that he wished to veil the glory of Columbus and to arrogate to himself the honour of a discovery which did not belong to him. This was an utterly unfounded accusation, for Vespucius was both loved and esteemed by Columbus and his contemporaries, and there is nothing in his writings to justify this calumnious assertion. Seven printed documents exist which are attributed to Vespucius; they are—the abridged accounts of his four voyages, two narratives of his third and fourth voyages, in the form of letters, addressed to Lorenzo de Pier Francesco de Medici, and a letter addressed to the same nobleman, relative to the Portuguese discoveries in the Indies. These documents, printed and bound up as small thin volumes, were soon translated into various languages and distributed throughout Europe.

It was in the year 1507 that a certain Hylacolymus, whose real name was Martin Waldtzemuller, first proposed to give the name of America to the new part of the world. He did so in a book printed at Saint Dié and called Cosmographia introductio. In 1509 a small geographical treatise appeared at Strasburg adopting the proposal of Hylacolymus; and in 1520 an edition of Pomponius Mela was printed at Basle, giving a map of the New World with the name of America. From this time the number of works employing the denomination proposed by Waldtzemuller increased perpetually.

Some years later, when Waldtzemuller was better informed as to the real discoverer of America and of the value to be placed upon the voyages of Vespucius, he eliminated from his book all that related to the latter, and substituted everywhere the name of Columbus for that of Vespucius, but it was too late, the same error has prevailed ever since.

As to Vespucius himself, it seems very unlikely that he was at all aware of the excitement which prevailed in Europe, nor of what was passing at St. Dié. The testimony that has been unanimously borne to his honourable and upright conduct should surely clear him from the unmerited accusations which have for too long a time clouded his memory.

Three other expeditions left Spain almost at the same time as that of Hojeda. The first of these, consisting of but one vessel, sailed from Barra Saltez in June 1499. Pier Alonzo Nino, who had served under Columbus in his two last voyages, was its commander, and he was accompanied by Christoval Guerra, a merchant of Seville, who probably defrayed the expenses of the expedition. This voyage to the coast of Paria seems to have been dictated more by the hope of lucrative commerce than by the interests of science. No new discoveries were made, but the two voyagers returned to Spain in April, 1500, bringing with them so large a quantity of valuable pearls as to excite the cupidity of their countrymen, who became anxious to try their own fortunes in the same direction.

The second expedition was commanded by Vincent Yañez Pinzon, the younger brother of Alonzo Pinzon who had been captain of the Pinta and had shown so much jealousy of Columbus, even adopting the following mendacious device:—

A Castilla, y a Leon
Nuevo Mundo dio Pinzon
.

Yañez Pinzon, whose devotion to the admiral equalled his brother's jealousy, had advanced an eighth part of the funds required for the expedition of 1492, and had on that occasion been in command of the Nina.

He set out in December, 1499, with four vessels, of which only two returned to Palos at the end of September, 1500. He touched the coast of the newly discovered continent at a point near the shore visited by Hojeda some months before, and explored the coast for some 2400 miles, discovering Cape St. Augustine at 8° 20' south latitude, following the coast-line in a north-westerly direction to Rio Grande, which he named Santa-Maria de la Mar dulce, and continuing in the same direction as far as Cape St. Vincent. Diego de Lepe explored the same coasts with two caravels from January to June, 1500; there is nothing particular to record of this voyage beyond the very important observation that was made on the direction of the coast-line of the continent starting from Cape St. Augustine. Lepe had but just returned to Spain when two vessels left Cadiz, equipped by Rodrigo M. Bastidas, a wealthy and highly respectable man, with the view of making some fresh discoveries, but above all with the object of collecting as large a quantity of gold and pearls as possible, for which were to be bartered glass beads and other worthless trifles. Juan de la Cosa, whose talents as a navigator were proverbial, and who knew these coasts well from having explored them, was really at the head of this expedition. The sailors went on shore and saw the Rio Sinu, the Gulf of Urabia, and reached the Puerto del Retrete or de los Escribanos, in the Isthmus of Panama. This harbour was not visited by Columbus till the 26th of November, 1502; it is situated about seventeen miles from the once celebrated, but now destroyed town of Nombre de Dios. In fact this expedition, which had been organized by a merchant, became, thanks to Juan de la Cosa, one of the voyages the most fertile in discoveries; but alas! it came to a sad termination; the vessels were lost in the Gulf of Xaragua, and Bastidas and La Cosa were obliged to make their way by land to St. Domingo. When they arrived there, Bovadilla, the upright man and model governor, whose infamous conduct to Columbus we have already mentioned, had them arrested, on the plea that they had bought some gold from the Indians of Xaragua; he sent them off to Spain, which was only reached after a fearfully stormy voyage, some of the vessels being lost on the way.

After this expedition, so fruitful in results, voyages of discovery became rather less frequent for some years; the Spaniards being occupied in asserting their supremacy in the countries in which they had already founded colonies.

Indians devoured by Dogs
Indians devoured by Dogs.
From an old print.

The colonization of Hispaniola had commenced in 1493, when the town of Isabella was built. Two years afterwards Christopher Columbus had travelled over the island and had subjugated the poor savages, by means of those terrible dogs which had been trained to hunt Indians, and unaccustomed as the natives were to any hard work, he had forced them to toil in the mines. Both Bovadilla and Ovando treating the Indians as a herd of cattle, had divided them among the colonists as slaves. The cruelty with which this unfortunate people was treated became more and more unbearable. By means of a despicable ambush, Ovando seized the Queen of Xaragua and 300 of her principal subjects, and at a given signal they were all put to the sword without there being any crime adduced against them. "For some years," says Robertson, "the gold brought into the royal treasury of Spain amounted to about 460,000 pesos (2,400,000 livres of the currency of Tours) an enormous sum if we take into consideration the great increase in the value of money since the beginning of the sixteenth century." In 1511 Diego Velasquez conquered Cuba with 300 men, and here again were enacted the terrible scenes of bloodshed and pillage which have rendered the Spanish name so sadly notorious. They cut off the thumbs of the natives, put out their eyes, and poured boiling oil or melted lead into their wounds, even when they did not torture them by burning them over a slow fire to extract from them the secret of the treasures of which they were believed to be the possessors. It was only natural under these circumstances that the population rapidly decreased, and the day was not far off when it would be wholly exterminated. To understand fully the sufferings of this race thus odiously persecuted, the touching and horrible narrative of Las Casas must be read, himself the indefatigable defender of the Indians.

Indians burnt alive
Indians burnt alive.
From an old print.

In Cuba, the Cacique Hattuey was made prisoner and condemned to be burnt. When he was tied to the stake, a Franciscan monk tried to convert him, promising him that if he would only embrace the Christian faith, he would be at once admitted to all the joys of Paradise. "Are there any Spaniards in that land of happiness and joy of which you speak?" asked Hattuey. "Yes," replied the monk, "but only those who have been just and good in their lives." "The very best among them can have neither justice nor mercy!" said the poor cacique, "I do not wish to go to any place where I should meet a single man of that accursed race."

Does not this fact suffice to paint the degree of exasperation to which these unfortunate people had been driven? And these horrors were repeated wherever the Spaniards set foot! We will throw a veil over these atrocities practised by men who thought themselves civilized, and who pretended that they wished to convert to Christianity, the religion pre-eminently of love and mercy, a race who were in reality less savage than themselves.

In 1504 and 1505 four vessels explored the Gulf of Urabia. This was the first voyage in which Juan de la Cosa had the supreme command. This seems, too, to have been about the date of Hojeda's third voyage, when he went to the territory of Coquibacoa, a voyage that certainly was made, as Humboldt says, but of which we have no clear account.

In 1509 Juan Diaz de Solis, in concert with Vincent Yañez Pinzon, discovered a vast province, since known by the name of Yucatan.

"Though this expedition was not a very remarkable one in itself," says Robertson, "it deserves to be noticed as it led to discoveries of the utmost importance." For the same reason we must mention the voyage of Diego d'Ocampo, who being charged to sail round Cuba, was the first to ascertain the fact that it was a large island, Columbus having always regarded it as part of the continent. Two years later Juan Diaz de Solis and Vincent Pinzon sailing southwards towards the equinoctial line, advanced as far as the 40° of south latitude, and found, to their surprise, that the continent extended on their right hand even to this immense distance. They landed several times, and took formal possession of the country, but could not found any colonies there, on account of the small resources they had at their command. The principal result of this voyage was the more exact knowledge which it gave of the extent of this part of the globe.

Alonzo de Hojeda, whose adventures we have narrated above, was the first to think of founding a colony on the mainland; although he had no means of his own, his courage and enterprising spirit soon gained him associates, who furnished him with the funds needed for carrying out his plans.

With the same object Diego de Nicuessa, a rich colonist of Hispaniola, organized an expedition in 1509.

King Ferdinand, who was always lavish of encouragements which cost little, gave both Hojeda and Nicuessa honourable titles and patents of nobility, but not a single maravédis (a Spanish coin). He also divided the newly-discovered continent into two governments, of which one was to extend from Cape La Vela to the Gulf of Darien, and the other from the Gulf of Darien to Cape Gracias a Dios. The first was given to Hojeda, the second to Nicuessa. These two "conquistadores" had to deal with a population far less easy to manage than that of the Antilles. Determined to resist to the utmost the invasion of their country, they adopted means of resistance hitherto unknown to the Spaniards. Thus the strife became deadly. In a single engagement seventy of Hojeda's companions fell under the arrows of the savages, fearful weapons steeped in "curare," so fatal a poison that the slightest wound was followed by death. Nicuessa on his side, had much difficulty in defending himself, and in spite of two considerable reinforcements from Cuba, the greater number of his followers perished during the year from wounds, fatigue, privations, or sickness. The survivors founded the small colony of Santa-Maria el Antigua upon the Gulf of Darien, and placed it under the command of Balboa.

Before we speak of Balboa's wonderful expedition, we must notice the discovery of a country that forms the most northerly side of that arc, cut so deeply into the continent, and which bears the name of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1502 Juan Ponce de Leon, a member of one of the oldest families in Spain, had arrived in Hispaniola with Ovando. He had assisted in its subjugation, and in 1508 had conquered the island of San Juan de Porto Rico. Having learnt from the Indians that there existed a fountain in the island of Bimini which possessed the miraculous power of restoring youth to all who drank of its waters, Ponce de Leon resolved to go in search of it. Infirmities must have been already creeping on him at fifty years of age, or he would scarcely have felt the need of trying this fountain. Ponce de Leon equipped three vessels at his own expense, and set out from St. Germain in Porto Rico on the 1st of March, 1512. He went first to the Lucayan Islands, which he searched in vain, and then to the Bahamas. If he did not succeed in finding the fountain of youth which he sought so credulously, at least he had the satisfaction of discovering an apparently fertile tract of country, which he named Florida, either from his landing there on Palm Sunday, (Pâques-Fleuries), or perhaps from its delightful aspect. Such a discovery would have contented many a traveller, but Ponce de Leon went from one island to another, tasting the water of every stream that he met with, without the satisfaction of seeing his white hair again becoming black or his wrinkles disappearing. After spending six months in this fruitless search, he was tired of playing the dupe, so giving up the business he returned to Porto Rico on the 5th of October, leaving Perez de Ortubia and the pilot Antonio de Alaminos to continue the search. Père Charlevoix says, "He was the object of great ridicule when he returned in much suffering, and looking older than when he set out."

This voyage, so absurd in its motive but so fertile in its results, might well be considered to be simply imaginary, were it not vouched for by historians of such high repute as Peter Martyr, Oviedo, Herrera, and Garcilasso de la Vega.

Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, who was fifteen years younger than Ponce de Leon, had come to America with Bastidas and had settled in Hispaniola. He was only anxious for a safe refuge from his numerous creditors, being, as were so many of his fellow-countrymen, deeply in debt, in spite of the repartimiento of Indians which had been allotted to him. Unfortunately for Balboa a law had been passed forbidding any vessels bound for the mainland taking insolvent debtors on board, but his ingenuity was equal to this emergency, for he had himself rolled in an empty barrel to the vessel which was to carry Encisco to Darien. The chief of the expedition had no choice but to receive the brave adventurer who had joined him in this singular manner, and who never fled except from duns, as he soon proved on landing. The Spaniards, accustomed to find but little resistance from the natives of the Antilles, could not subjugate the fierce inhabitants of the mainland. On account of the dissensions that had arisen among themselves, they were obliged to take refuge at Santa-Maria el Antigua, a settlement which Balboa, now elected commandant in place of Encisco, founded in Darien.

If the personal bravery of Balboa, or the ferocity of Leoncillo his blood-hound—who was more dreaded than twenty armed men and received the same pay as a soldier,—could have awed the Indians, Balboa would have also won their respect by his justice and comparative moderation, for he allowed no unnecessary cruelty. In the course of some years he collected a great mass of most useful information with regard to that El Dorado, that land of gold, which he was destined never to reach himself, but the acquisition of which he did much to facilitate for his successors.

It was in this way that he learnt the existence six suns away (six days' journey), of another sea, the Pacific Ocean, which washed the shores of Peru, a country where gold was found in large quantities. Balboa's character, which was as grand as those of Cortès and Pizarro, but who had not, as they, the time or opportunity to show the extraordinary qualities which he possessed, felt convinced that this information was most valuable, and that if he could carry out such a discovery, it would shed great lustre on his name.

He assembled a body of 190 volunteers, all valiant soldiers, and like himself, accustomed to all the chances of war, as well as acclimatised to the unhealthy effluvia of a marshy country, where fever, dysentery, and complaints of the liver were constantly present.

Though the Isthmus of Darien is only sixty miles in width, it is divided into two parts by a chain of high mountains; at the foot of these the alluvial soil is marvellously fertile, and the vegetation far more luxuriant than any European can imagine. It consists of an inextricable mass of tropical plants, creepers, and ferns, among trees of gigantic size which completely hide the sun, a truly virgin forest, interspersed here and there with patches of stagnant water, where live multitudes of birds, insects, and animals, never disturbed by the foot of man. A warm, moist atmosphere exists here which exhausts the strength and speedily saps the energy of any man, even the most robust.

With all these obstacles which Nature seemed to have rejoiced in placing in Balboa's path, there was yet another no less formidable, and this was the resistance which the savage inhabitants of this inhospitable shore would offer to his progress. Balboa set out without caring for the risk he ran in the event of the guides and native auxiliaries proving faithless; he was escorted by a thousand Indians as porters, and accompanied by a troop of those terrible bloodhounds which had acquired the taste for human flesh in Hispaniola.

Of the tribes that he met with on his route, some fled into the mountains carrying their provisions with them, and others, taking advantage of the difficulties the land presented, tried to fight. Balboa marching in the midst of his men, never sparing himself, sharing in their privations and rousing their courage, which would have failed more than once, was able to inspire them with so much enthusiasm for the object that was before them, that after twenty-five days of marching and fighting, they could see from the top of a mountain that vast Pacific Ocean, of which, four days later, Balboa, his drawn sword in one hand and the banner of Castille in the other, took possession in the name of the King of Spain. The part of the Pacific Ocean which he had reached is situated to the east of Panama, and still bears the name of the Gulf of San Miguel, given to it by Balboa. The information he obtained from the neighbouring caciques, whom he subjugated by force of arms, and from whom he obtained a considerable booty, agreed in every particular with what he had heard before he set out.

A vast empire lay to the south, they said, "so rich in gold, that even the commonest instruments were made of it," where the domestic animals were llamas that had been tamed and trained to carry heavy burdens, and whose appearance in the native drawings resembled that of the camel. These interesting details, and the great quantity of pearls offered to Balboa, confirmed him in his idea, that he must have reached the Asiatic countries described by Marco Polo, and that he could not be far from the empire of Cipango or Japan, of which the Venetian traveller had described the marvellous riches which were perpetually dazzling the eyes of these avaricious adventurers.

Balboa discovering the Pacific Ocean
Balboa discovering the Pacific Ocean.

Balboa several times crossed the Isthmus of Darien, and always in some fresh direction. Humboldt might well say that this country was better known in the beginning of the sixteenth century than in his own day. Beyond this Balboa had launched some vessels built under his orders on the newly-discovered ocean, and he was preparing a formidable armament, with which he hoped to conquer Peru, when he was odiously and judicially murdered by the orders of Pedrarias Davila, the governor of Darien, who was jealous of the reputation Balboa had already gained, and of the glory which would doubtless recompense his bravery if he carried out the expedition which he had arranged. Thus the conquest of Peru was retarded by at least twenty-five years, owing to the culpable jealousy of a man whose name has acquired, by Balboa's assassination, almost as wretched a celebrity as that of Erostratus.

If we owe to Balboa the first authentic documents regarding Peru, another explorer was destined to furnish some not less important touching that vast Mexican Empire, which had extended its sway over almost the whole of Central America. In 1518, Juan de Grijalva had been placed in command of a flotilla, consisting of four vessels, armed by Diego Velasquez, the conqueror of Cuba, which were destined to collect information upon Yucatan, sighted the year before by Hernandez de Cordova. Grijalva, accompanied by the pilot Alaminos, who had made the voyage to Florida with Ponce de Leon, had two hundred men under his command; amongst the volunteers was Bernal Diaz del Castillo, the clever author of a very interesting history of the conquest of Mexico, from which we shall borrow freely.

After thirteen days' sailing, Grijalva reached the Island of Cozumel on the coast of Yucatan, doubled the Cape of Cotoche, and entered the Bay of Campeachy. He disembarked on the 10th of May at Potonchan, of which the inhabitants defended the town and citadel vigorously, in spite of their astonishment at the vessels, which they took for some kind of marine monsters, and their fear of the pale-faced men who hurled thunderbolts. Fifty-seven Spaniards were killed in the engagement, and many were wounded. This warm reception did not encourage Grijalva to make any long stay amongst this warlike people. He set sail again after anchoring for four days, took a westerly course along the coast of Mexico, and on the 19th of May entered a river named by the natives the Tabasco, where he soon found himself surrounded by a fleet of fifty native boats filled with warriors ready for the conflict, but thanks to Grijalva's prudence and the amicable demonstrations which he made, peace was not disturbed.

"We made them understand," writes Bernal Diaz, "that we were the subjects of a powerful emperor called Don Carlos, and that it would be greatly to their advantage if they also would acknowledge him as their master. They replied that they had a sovereign already, and were at a loss to understand why we, who had only just arrived, and who knew so little of them, should offer them another king." This reply was scarcely that of a savage!

In exchange for some worthless European trinkets, the Spaniards obtained some Yucca bread, copal gum, pieces of gold worked into the shape of fishes or birds, and garments made of cotton, which had been woven in the country. As the natives who had been taken on board at Cape Cotoche did not perfectly understand the language spoken by the inhabitants of Tabasco, the stay here was but of short duration, and the ships again put to sea. They passed the mouth of the Rio Guatzacoalco, the snowy peaks of the San Martin mountains being seen in the distance, and they anchored at the mouth of a river which was called Rio de las Banderas, from the number of white banners displayed by the natives to show their friendly feeling towards the new comers.

When Grijalva landed, he was received with the same honour as the Indians paid to their gods; they burnt copal incense before him, and laid at his feet more than 1500 piastres' worth of small gold jewels, as well as green pearls and copper hatchets. After taking formal possession of the country, the Spaniards landed on an island called Los Sacrificios Island, from a sort of altar which they found there placed at the top of several steps, upon which lay the bodies of five Indians sacrificed since the preceding evening; their bodies were cut open, their hearts torn out, and both legs and arms cut off. Leaving this revolting spectacle, they went to another small island, which received the name of San Juan, being discovered on St. John's Day; to this they added the word Culua, which they heard used by the natives of these shores. But Culua was the ancient name for Mexico, and this Island of San-Juan de Culua is now known as St. John d'Ulloa.

Grijalva put all the gold which he had collected on board one of the ships and despatched it to Cuba, while he continued his exploration of the coast, discovered the Sierras of Tusta and Tuspa, and collected a large amount of useful information regarding this populous country; on arriving at the Rio Panuco, he was attacked by a flotilla of native vessels, and had much difficulty in defending himself against their attacks.

This expedition was nearly over, for provisions were running short, and the vessels were in a very bad state, the volunteers were many of them sick and wounded, and even had they been in good health their numbers were too small to make it safe to leave them among these warlike people, even under the shelter of fortifications. Besides, the leaders of the expedition no longer acted in concert, so after repairing the largest of the vessels in the Rio Tonala, where Bernal Diaz boasts of having sown the first orange-pips which were ever brought to Mexico, the Spaniards set out for Santiago in Cuba, where they arrived on the 15th of November, after a cruise of seven months, not forty-five days, as M. Ferdinand Denis asserts in the Biographie Didot, and as M. Ed. Charton repeats in his Voyageurs Anciens et Modernes.

The results obtained from this voyage were considerable. For the first time the long line of coast which forms the peninsula of Yucatan, the Bay of Campeachy, and the base of the Gulf of Mexico, had been explored continuously from cape to cape. Not only had it been proved beyond doubt that Yucatan was not an island as they had believed, but much and reliable information had been collected with regard to the existence of the rich and powerful empire of Mexico. The explorers had been much struck with the marks of a more advanced civilization than that existing in the Antilles, with the superiority of the architecture, the skilful cultivation of the land, the fine texture of the cotton garments, and the delicacy of finish of the golden ornaments worn by the Indians. All this combined to increase the thirst for riches among the Spaniards of Cuba, and to urge them on like modern Argonauts to the conquest of this new golden fleece. Grijalva was not destined to reap the fruits of his perilous and at the same time intelligent voyage, which threw so new a light on Indian civilization. The sic vos, non vobis of the poet was once again to find an exemplification in this circumstance.



II.
THE CONQUERORS OF CENTRAL AMERICA.
Ferdinand Cortès—His character—His appointment—Preparations for the expedition, and attempts of Velasquez to stop it—Landing at Vera-Cruz—Mexico and the Emperor Montezuma—The republic of Tlascala—March upon Mexico—The Emperor is made prisoner—Narvaez defeated—The Noche Triste—Battle of Otumba—The second siege and taking of Mexico—Expedition to Honduras—Voyage to Spain—Expeditions on the Pacific Ocean—Second Voyage of Cortès to Spain—His death.

Velasquez had not waited for Grijalva's return before sending off to Spain the rich products of the countries discovered by the latter, and at the same time soliciting from the council of the Indies, as well as from the Bishop of Burgos, an addition to his authority, that he might attempt the conquest of these countries. At the same time he fitted out a new armament proportioned to the dangers and importance of the undertaking that he proposed. But though it was comparatively easy for Velasquez to collect the necessary material and men, it was far more difficult for him—whom an old writer describes as niggardly, credulous, and suspicious in disposition—to choose a fit leader. He wished indeed, to find one who should combine qualities nearly always incompatible, high courage and great talent, without which there was no chance of success, with at the same time sufficient docility and submissiveness, to do nothing without orders, and to leave to him who incurred no risk, any glory and success which might attend the enterprise. Some who were brave and enterprising would not be treated as mere machines; others who were more docile or more cunning lacked the qualities required to insure the success of so vast an enterprise; among the former were some of Grijalva's companions who wished that he should be made commander, while the latter preferred Augustin Bermudez or Bernardino Velasquez. While this was pending, the governor's secretary, Andrès de Duero, and Amador de Larez, the Controller of Cuba, both favourites of Velasquez, made an arrangement with a Spanish nobleman named Ferdinand Cortès, that if they could obtain the appointment for him, they should be allowed a share in his gains.

Bernal Diaz says, "They praised Cortès so highly, and pointed him out in such flattering terms as the very man fitted to fill the vacant post, adding that he was brave and certainly very faithful to Velasquez (to whom he was son-in-law), that he allowed himself to be persuaded, and Cortès was nominated captain-general. As Andrès de Duero was the governor's secretary, he hastened to formulate the powers in a deed, making them very ample, as Cortès desired, and brought it to him duly signed." Had Velasquez been gifted with the power of looking into the future, Cortès was certainly not the man he would have chosen.

Ferdinand Cortès
Ferdinand Cortès.
From an old print.

Cortès was born at Medellin in Estramadura in 1485, of an ancient, but slenderly-endowed family; after studying at Salamanca for some time, he returned to his native town, but the quiet monotonous life there was little suited to his restless and capricious temper, and he soon started for America, reckoning upon the protection of his relation Ovando, the Governor of Hispaniola.

His expectations were fully realized, and he held several honourable and lucrative posts, without counting that between times he joined in several expeditions against the natives. If he became in this manner initiated into the Indian system of tactics, so also, unfortunately, did he grow familiar with those acts of cruelty which have too often stained the Castilian name. He accompanied Diego de Velasquez in his Cuban expedition in 1511, and here he distinguished himself so highly, that notwithstanding certain disagreements with his chief, a large grant of land as well as of Indians was made to him as a recognition of his services.

Cortès amassed the sum of 3000 castellanos in the course of a few years by his industry and frugality, a large sum for one in his position, but his chief recommendations in the eyes of Andrès de Duero and Amador de Sarès his two patrons, were his activity, his well-known prudence, his decision of character, and the power of gaining the confidence of all with whom he was brought into contact. In addition to all this, he was of imposing stature and appearance, very athletic, and possessed powers of endurance, remarkable even among the hardy adventurers who were accustomed to brave all kinds of hardships.

As soon as Cortès had received his commission, which he did with every mark of respectful gratitude, he set up a banner at the door of his house, made of black velvet embroidered in gold, bearing the device of a red cross in the midst of blue and white flames, and below, this motto in Latin, "Friends, let us follow the Cross, and if we have faith, we shall overcome by this sign." He concentrated the whole force of his powerful mind upon the means to make the enterprise a success; even his most intimate friends were astonished at his enthusiasm in preparing for it. He not only gave the whole of the money which he possessed towards arming the fleet, but he charged part on his estate, and borrowed considerable sums from his friends to purchase vessels, provisions, munitions of war, and horses. In a few days 300 volunteers had enrolled themselves, attracted by the fame of the general, the daring nature of the enterprise, and the profit that would probably accrue from it. Velasquez, always suspicious, and doubtless instigated by some who were jealous of Cortès, tried to put a stop to the expedition at its outset. Cortès being warned by his two patrons that Velasquez would probably try to take the command from him, acted with his customary decision; he collected his men and, in spite of the vessels not being completed and of an insufficient armament, he weighed anchor and sailed during the night. When Velasquez discovered that his plans had been check-mated he concealed his indignation, but at the same time, he made every arrangement to stop the man who could thus throw off all dependence upon him with such consummate coolness. Cortès anchored at Macaca, to complete his stores, and found many of those who had accompanied Grijalva now hasten to serve under his banner: Pedro de Alvarado and his brothers, Christoval de Olid, Alonzo de Avila, Hernandez de Puerto-Carrero, Gonzalo de Sandoval, and Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who was to write a valuable account of these events "quorum pars magna fuit." Trinity Harbour, on the south coast of Cuba was the next resting-place, and here a further supply of provisions was taken on board, but while Cortès lay at anchor for this purpose, Verdugo the governor, received letters from Velasquez, desiring him to arrest the captain-general, the command of the fleet having been just taken from him. This bold step would have endangered the safety of the town, so Verdugo refrained from executing the order. Cortès sailed away to Havana in order to enlist some new adherents, while his lieutenant Alvarado went over land to the port where the last preparations were made. Although Velasquez was unsuccessful in his first attempt, he again sent an order to arrest Cortès, but Pedro Barba the governor, felt the impossibility of executing the order in the midst of soldiers who, as Bernal Diaz says, "would willingly have given their lives to save Cortès."

At length, having recalled the volunteers by beat of drum, and taken on board all that appeared necessary, Cortès set sail on the 18th February, 1519, with eleven ships (the largest being of 100 tons), 110 sailors, 553 soldiers,—13 of whom were arquebusiers,—200 Indians from the island, and some women for domestic work. The real strength of the armament lay in the ten pieces of artillery, the four falconets provided with an ample supply of ammunition, and the sixteen horses which had been obtained at great expense. It was with these almost miserable means, which, however, had given Cortès much trouble to collect, that he prepared to wage war with a sovereign whose dominions were of greater extent than those appertaining to the King of Spain—an enterprise from which he would have turned back if he had foreseen half its difficulties. But long ago a poet said, "Fortune smiles on those who dare."

After encountering a very severe storm, the fleet touched at the island of Cozumel, where they found that the inhabitants had embraced Christianity, either from fear of the Spaniards, or from finding the inability of their gods to help them. Just as the fleet was about to leave the island, Cortès had the good fortune to meet with a Spaniard named Jeronimo d'Aguilar, who had been kept a prisoner by the Indians for eight years. During that time he had learnt the Indian language perfectly; he was as prudent as he was clever, and when he joined the expedition he was of the greatest use as an interpreter.

After doubling Cape Catoche, Cortès sailed down the Bay of Campeachy, passed Potonchan, and entered the Rio Tabasco, hoping to meet with as friendly a reception there as Grijalva had done, and also to collect an equally large quantity of gold; but he found a great change had taken place in the feelings of the natives, and he was obliged to employ force. In spite of the bravery and numerical superiority of the Indians, the Spaniards overcame them in several engagements, thanks to the terror caused by the reports of their fire-arms and the sight of the cavalry, whom the Indians took for supernatural beings. The Indians lost a large number of men in these engagements, while among the Spaniards two were killed, and fourteen men and several horses wounded; the wounds of the latter were dressed with fat taken from the dead bodies of the Indians. At last peace was made, and the natives gave Cortès provisions, some cotton clothing, a small quantity of gold, and twenty female slaves, among whom was the celebrated Marina, who rendered such signal services to the Spaniards as an interpreter, and who is mentioned by all the historians of the conquest of the New World.

Cortès receives provisions, clothing, a little gold, and twenty female slaves
Cortès receives provisions, clothing, a little gold, and twenty female slaves.

Cortès continued on a westerly course, seeking a suitable place for landing, but he could find none until he reached St. John d'Ulloa. The fleet had scarcely cast anchor before a canoe made its way fearlessly to the admiral's vessel, and here Marina (who was of Aztec origin) was of the greatest use, in telling Cortès that the Indians of this part of the country were the subjects of a great empire, and that their province was one recently added to it by conquest. Their monarch, named Moctheuzoma, better known under the name of Montezuma, lived in Tenochtitlan, or Mexico, nearly 210 miles away in the interior. Cortès offered the Indians some presents, assuring them of his pacific intentions, and then disembarked upon the torrid and unhealthy shore of Vera-Cruz. Provisions flowed in immediately, but the day after the landing, Teutile, governor of the province, and ambassador of Montezuma to the Spaniards, had much difficulty in answering Cortès when he asked him to conduct him to his master without delay, knowing as he did all the anxiety and fears which had haunted the mind of the Emperor since the arrival of the Spaniards. However, he caused some cotton stuffs, feather cloaks, and some articles made of gold to be laid at the feet of the general, a sight which simply excited the cupidity of the Europeans. To give these poor Indians an adequate idea of his power, Cortès called out his soldiers, and put them through their drill, he also ordered the discharge of some pieces of artillery, the noise of which froze the hearts of the savages with terror. During the whole time of the interview, some painters had been employed in sketching upon pieces of white cotton, the ships, the troops, and everything which had struck their fancy. These drawings very cleverly executed, were to be sent to Montezuma.

Before beginning the history of the heroic struggles which shortly commenced, it will be useful to give some details as to that Mexican empire which, powerful as it appeared, nevertheless contained within itself numerous elements of decay and dissolution, which fact explains the cause of its conquest by a mere handful of adventurers. That part of America which was under the dominion of Montezuma was called Anahuac and lay between 14° and 20° north latitude. This region presents great varieties of climate on account of its difference of altitude; towards the centre, and rather nearer to the Pacific than to the Atlantic, there is a huge basin at an elevation of 7500 feet above the sea, and about 200 miles in circumference, in the hollow of which there were at that time several lakes; this depression is called the valley of Mexico, taking its name from the capital of the empire. As may be easily supposed, we possess very few authentic details about a people whose written annals were burnt by the ignorant "conquistadores" and by fanatical monks, who jealously suppressed everything which might remind the conquered race of their ancient religious and political traditions.

Arriving from the north in the seventh century the Toltecs had overspread the plateau of Anahuac. They were an intelligent race of people, addicted to agriculture and the mechanical arts, understanding the working in metals, and to whom is due the construction of the greater part of the sumptuous and gigantic edifices of which the ruins are found in every direction in New Spain. After four centuries of power, the Toltecs disappeared from the country as mysteriously as they had come. A century later they were replaced by a savage tribe from the north-west, who were soon followed by more civilized races, speaking apparently the Toltec language. The most celebrated of these tribes were the Aztecs, and the Alcolhuès or Tezcucans, who assimilated themselves easily with the tincture of civilization which remained in the country with the last of the Toltecs. The Aztecs, after a series of migrations and wars, settled themselves in 1326 in the valley of Mexico, where they built their capital Tenochtitlan. A treaty of alliance both offensive and defensive was entered into between the states of Mexico, Tezcuco, and Tlacopan, and was rigorously observed for a whole century; in consequence of this the Aztec civilization, which had been at first bounded by the extent of the valley, spread on all sides, and soon was limited only by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. In a short time these people had reached a higher degree of civilization than any other tribe in the New World. The rights of property were recognized in Mexico, commerce flourished there, and three kinds of coin in circulation provided the ordinary mechanism of exchange. There was a well-organized police, and a system of relays which worked with perfect regularity, and enabled the sovereign to transmit his orders with rapidity from one end of the empire to the other. The number and beauty of the towns, the great size of the palaces, temples, and fortresses indicated an advanced civilization, which presented a singular contrast to the ferocious manners of the Aztecs. Their polytheistic religion was in the highest degree barbarous and sanguinary; the priests formed a very numerous body, and exercised great influence even over political affairs. Side by side with rites similar to those of Christians, such as baptism and confession, the religion presented a tissue of the most absurd and bloody superstitions. The offering up of human sacrifices, adopted at the beginning of the 14th century, and used at first very sparingly, had soon become so frequent, that the number of victims immolated each year, and drawn chiefly from the conquered nations, amounted to 20,000, while under certain circumstances the number was much larger. Thus in 1486, at the inauguration of the temple of Huitzilopchit, 70,000 captives perished in a single day.

The Government of Mexico was monarchical; at first the imperial power had been carefully limited, but it had increased with the various conquests, and had become despotic. The sovereign was always chosen out of the same family, and his accession was marked by the offering up of numerous human sacrifices. The Emperor Montezuma belonged to the sacerdotal caste, and in consequence his power received some unwonted development. The result of his numerous wars had been the extension of his frontiers, and the subjugation of various nations; these latter welcomed the Spaniards with eagerness, thinking that their dominion must surely be less oppressive and less cruel than that of the Aztecs.

It is certain that if Montezuma, with the large force which he had at his disposal, had fallen upon the Spaniards when they were occupying the hot and unhealthy shore of Vera-Cruz, they would have been unable, in spite of the superiority of their arms and discipline, to resist such a shock; they must all have perished, or been obliged to re-embark, and the fate of the New World would have been completely changed. But the decision which formed the most salient point in the character of Cortès, was completely wanting in that of Montezuma, a prince who never could at any time adopt a resolute policy.

Fresh ambassadors from the emperor had arrived at the Spanish camp, bringing to Cortès an order to quit the country, and upon his refusal all intercourse between the natives and the invaders had immediately ceased. The situation was becoming critical, and this Cortès felt. After having overcome some hesitation which had been shown by the troops, he laid the foundations of Vera-Cruz, a fortress designed to serve as a basis of operations, and a shelter in case of a possible re-embarkation. He next organized a kind of civil government, a junta, as it would be called in the present day, to which he resigned the commission which had been revoked by Velasquez, and then he made the junta give him one with new provisions and more extended powers. After this he received the envoys from the town of Zempoalla, who were come to solicit his alliance, and his protection against Montezuma, whose dominion they bore with impatience. Cortès was indeed fortunate in meeting with such allies so soon after landing, and not wishing to allow so golden an opportunity to slip, he welcomed the Totonacs kindly, went with them to their capital, and after having caused a fortress to be constructed at Quiabislan on the sea-shore, he persuaded his new friends to refuse the payment of tribute to Montezuma. He took advantage of his stay at Zempoalla to exhort these people to embrace Christianity, and he threw down their idols, as he had already done at Cozumel, to prove to them the powerlessness of their gods.

Meanwhile a plot had been forming in his own camp, and Cortès, feeling convinced that as long as there remained any way of returning to Cuba, there would be constant lukewarmness and discontent among his soldiers, caused all his ships to be run aground, under the pretext of their being in too shattered a condition to be of any further use. This was an unheard-of act of audacity, and one which forced his companions either to conquer or to die. Having no longer anything to fear from the want of discipline of his troops, Cortès set out for Zempoalla on the 16th of August, with five hundred soldiers, fifteen horses, and six field cannon, and also two hundred Indian porters, who were intended to perform all menial offices. The little army soon reached the frontiers of the small republic of Tlascala, of which the fierce inhabitants, impatient of servitude, had long been engaged in strife with Montezuma. Cortès flattered himself that his oft-proclaimed intention of delivering the Indians from the Mexican yoke would induce the Tlascalans to become his allies and at once to make common cause with him. He therefore asked for leave to cross their territory on his way to Mexico; but his ambassadors were detained, and as he advanced into the interior of the country, he was harassed for fourteen consecutive days and nights by continual attacks from several bodies of Tlascalans, amounting in all to 30,000 men, who displayed a bravery and determination such as the Spaniards had never yet seen equalled in the New World. But the arms possessed by these brave men were very primitive. What could they effect with only arrows and lances tipped with obsidian or fish-bones, stakes hardened in the fire, wooden swords, and above all with an inferior system of tactics? When they found that each encounter cost them the lives of many of their bravest warriors, while not a single Spaniard had been killed, they imagined that these strangers must be of a superior order of beings, while they could not tell what opinion to form of men who sent back to them the spies taken in their camp, with their hands cut off, and who yet after each victory not only did not devour their prisoners, as the Aztecs would have done, but released them, loading them with presents and proposing peace.

Upon this the Tlascalans declared themselves vassals of the Spanish crown, and swore to assist Cortès in all his expeditions, while he on his side promised to protect them against their enemies. It was time that peace should be made, for many of the Spaniards were wounded or ill, and all were worn out with fatigue, but the entry in triumph into Tlascala, where they were welcomed as supernatural beings, quickly made them forget their sufferings.

After twenty days of repose in this town, Cortès resumed his march towards Mexico, having with him an auxiliary army of six thousand Tlascalans. He went first to Cholula, a town regarded as sacred by the Indians, and as the sanctuary and favoured residence of their deities. Montezuma felt much satisfaction in the advance of the Spaniards to this town, either from the hope that the gods would themselves avenge the desecration of their temples, or that he thought a rising, and massacre of the Spaniards might be more easily organized in this populous and fanatical town. Cortès had been warned by the Tlascalans that he must place no trust in the protestations of friendship and devotion made by the Cholulans. However, he took up his quarters in the town, considering that he would lose his prestige if he showed any signs of fear, but upon being informed by the Tlascalans that the women and children were being sent away, and by Marina that a considerable body of troops was massed at the gates of the city, that pitfalls and trenches were dug in the streets, whilst the roofs of the houses were loaded with stones and missiles, Cortès anticipated the designs of his enemies, gave orders to make prisoners of all the principal men of the town, and then organized a general massacre of the population, thus taken by surprise and deprived of their leaders. For two whole days the unhappy Cholulans were subject to all the horrors which could be invented by the rage of the Spaniards, and the vengeance of their allies the Tlascalans. A terrible example was made, six thousand people being put to the sword, temples burned to the ground, and the town half destroyed, a work of destruction well calculated to strike terror into the hearts of Montezuma and his subjects.

Lake of Mexico
Lake of Mexico.

Sixty miles now separated Cortès from the capital, and everywhere as he passed along he was received as a liberator. There was not a cacique who had not some cause of complaint against the imperial despotism, and Cortès felt confirmed in the hope that so divided an empire would prove an easy prey. As the Spaniards descended from the mountains of Chalco, they beheld with astonishment the valley of Mexico, with its enormous lake, deeply sunk and surrounded by large towns, the capital city built upon piles, and the well-cultivated fields of this fertile region.

Cortès did not trouble himself about the continued tergiversations of Montezuma, who could not make up his mind to the last moment whether he would receive the Spaniards as friends or enemies. The Spanish general advanced along the causeway which leads to Mexico across the lake, and was already within a mile of the town, when some Indians, who, from their magnificent costume were evidently of high rank, came to greet him and to announce to him the approach of the emperor. Montezuma soon appeared, borne upon the shoulders of his favourites in a kind of litter adorned with gold and feathers, while a magnificent canopy protected him from the rays of the sun. As he advanced the Indians prostrated themselves before him, with their heads downwards, as though unworthy even to look at their monarch. This first interview was cordial, and Montezuma himself conducted his guests to the abode which he had prepared for them. It was a vast palace, surrounded by a stone wall, and defended by high towers. Cortès immediately took measures of defence, and ordered the cannon to be pointed upon the roads leading to the palace. At the second interview, magnificent presents were offered both to the general and soldiers. Montezuma related that according to an old tradition, the ancestors of the Aztecs had arrived in the country under the leadership of a man of white complexion, and bearded like the Spaniards. After laying the foundations of their power, he had embarked upon the ocean, promising them that one day his descendants would come to visit them and to reform their laws—and if, as Montezuma said, he now received the Spaniards rather as fathers than as foreigners, it was because he felt convinced that in them he beheld the descendants of his people's ancient chief, and he begged them to regard themselves as the masters of his country.

The following days were employed in visiting the town, which appeared to the Spaniards as larger, more populous, and more beautiful than any city which they had hitherto seen in America. Its distinguishing peculiarity consisted in the causeways which formed a means of communication with the land, and which were cut through in various places to allow a free passage to vessels sailing on the waters of the lake. Across these openings were thrown bridges which could be easily destroyed. On the eastern side of the town there was no causeway and no means of communication with the land except by canoes. This arrangement of the town of Mexico caused some anxiety to Cortès, who saw that he might be at any moment blockaded in the town, without being able to find means of egress. He determined, therefore, to prevent any seditious attempt by securing the person of the emperor, and using him as a hostage. The following news which he had just received furnished him with an excellent pretext: Qualpopoca, a Mexican general, had attacked the provinces which had submitted to the Spaniards, and Escalante and seven of his soldiers had been mortally wounded; besides this, a prisoner had been beheaded and the head carried from town to town, thus proving that the invaders could be conquered, and were nothing more than ordinary mortals.

Cortès profited by these events to accuse the emperor of perfidy. He declared that although Montezuma appeared friendly to him and to his soldiers, it was only that he might wait for some favourable opportunity to treat them in the same manner as Escalante, a proceeding quite unworthy of a monarch, and very different from the confidence which Cortès had shown in coming, as he had done, to visit him. He went on to say that if the suspicions of the Spaniards were not justified, the emperor could easily exonerate himself by having Qualpopoca punished, and finally, to prevent the recurrence of aggressions which could but destroy the existing harmony, and to prove to the Mexicans that he harboured no ill-design against the Spaniards, Montezuma could not do otherwise than come to reside amongst them. It may be easily imagined that the emperor was not very ready to decide upon this course, but was at last obliged to give in to the violence and threats of the Spaniards. Upon announcing his resolution to his subjects, he was made to assure them several times over that he put himself into the hands of the Spaniards of his own free will; these words were needed to calm the Mexicans, who threatened to make an attack upon the foreigners.

The success of Cortès in this bold scheme was quite beyond his expectations. Qualpopoca, with his son and five of the chief ringleaders in the revolt, were seized by the Mexicans, and brought before a Spanish tribunal, which was at the same time judge and prosecutor; the Indians were condemned and burnt alive. Not content with having punished men who had committed no crime but that of executing the orders of their emperor, and of opposing an armed resistance to the invasion of their country, Cortès imposed a new humiliation upon Montezuma, in placing fetters upon his feet, under the pretext that the culprits in their last moments had made accusations against him. For six months the "Conquistador" exercised the supreme government in the name of the emperor, now reduced to a puppet-show of authority. Cortès changed the governors who displeased him, collected the taxes, presided over all the details of the administration, and sent Spaniards into the various provinces of the empire with orders to examine their productions, and to take particular notice of the mining districts and the processes in use for collecting gold.

Cortès also turned to account the curiosity evinced by Montezuma to see European ships, to have rigging and other appurtenances brought from Vera-Cruz, and to order the construction of two brigantines destined to ensure his communications with terra-firma by the waters of the lake.

Emboldened by receiving so many proofs of submission and humility, Cortès took another step in advance, and required that Montezuma should declare himself the vassal and tributary of Spain. The act of fidelity and homage was accompanied, as may be easily imagined, with presents both rich and numerous, as well as by a heavy tax which was levied without much difficulty. The opportunity was now taken to gather together everything in gold and silver, which had been extorted from the Indians, and to melt them down, except certain pieces which were kept as they were, on account of the beauty of the workmanship. The whole did not amount to more than 600,000 pesos, or 100,000l. Thus, although the Spaniards had made use of all their power, and Montezuma had exhausted his treasures to satisfy them, the whole product amounted to an absurdly small sum, very little in accordance with the idea which the conquerors had formed of the riches of the country. After reserving one-fifth of the treasure for the king, and one-fifth for Cortès and subtracting enough to reimburse the sums which had been advanced for the expenses of the expedition, the share of each soldier did not amount to 100 pesos, and they considered that it would have been more worth their while to have remained in Hispaniola, than to have experienced such fatigues, encountered such great dangers, and suffered so many privations, all for the reward of 100 pesos! If the promises of Cortès ended in this beggarly result, and if the partition had been made with fairness, of which they did not feel certain, they argued that it was absurd to remain longer in so poor a country, while under a chief less prodigal in promises, but more generous, they might go to countries rich in gold and precious stones, where brave warriors would find an adequate compensation for their toils. So murmured these greedy adventurers; some accepting what fell to their share while fuming over its small amount, others disdainfully refusing it.

Cortès had succeeded in persuading Montezuma to conform to his will in everything which concerned politics, but it was otherwise in regard to religion. He could not persuade him to change his creed, and when Cortès wished to throw down the idols, as he had done at Zempoalla, a tumult arose which would have become very serious, had he not immediately abandoned his project. From that time the Mexicans, who had offered scarcely any resistance to the subjugation and imprisonment of their monarch, resolved to avenge their outraged deities, and they prepared a simultaneous rising against the invaders. It was at this juncture, when the affairs in the interior seemed to be taking a less favourable turn, that Cortès received news from Vera-Cruz, that several ships were cruising off the harbour. At first he thought this must be a fleet sent to his aid by Charles V., in answer to a letter which he had sent to him on the 16th of July, 1519, by Puerto Carrero and Montejo. But he was soon undeceived, and learnt that this expedition was organized by Diego Velasquez, who knew by experience how lightly his lieutenant could shake off all dependence upon him; he had sent this armament with the object of deposing Cortès from his command, of making him a prisoner, and of carrying him off to Cuba, where he would be speedily placed upon his trial. The fleet thus sent was under the command of Pamphilo de Narvaez; it consisted of eighteen vessels, and carried eighty horse-soldiers, and 100 infantry (of whom eighty were musketeers), 120 cross-bowmen, and twelve cannons.

Narvaez disembarked without opposition, near to the fort of San Juan d'Ulloa, but upon summoning the Governor of Vera-Cruz, Sandoval, to give up the town to him, Sandoval seized the men who were charged with the insolent message, and sent them off to Mexico, where Cortès at once released them, and then gained from them circumstantial information as to the forces, and the projects of Narvaez. The personal danger of Cortès at this moment was great; the troops sent by Velasquez were more numerous and better furnished with arms and ammunition than were his own, but his deepest cause of anxiety was not the possibility of his own condemnation and death, it was the fear lest all fruit of his efforts might be lost, and the knowledge of the hurtfulness of these dissensions to his country's cause. The situation was a critical one, but after mature reflection and the careful weighing of arguments for and against the course he meditated, Cortès determined to fight, even at a disadvantage, rather than to sacrifice his conquests and the interests of Spain. Before proceeding to this last extremity, he sent his chaplain Olmedo to Narvaez, but he was very ill-received, and saw all his proposals for an accommodation disdainfully rejected. Olmedo met with more success amongst the soldiers, who most of them knew him, and to whom he distributed a number of chains, gold rings, and other jewels, which were well calculated to give them a high idea of the riches of the conqueror. But when Narvaez heard of what was going on, he determined not to leave his troops any longer exposed to temptation; he set a price upon the heads of Cortès and his principal officers, and advanced to the encounter.

Cortès, however, was too skilful to be enticed into giving battle under unfavourable circumstances. He temporized and succeeded in tiring out Narvaez and his troops, who retired to Zempoalla. Then Cortès, having taken his measures with consummate prudence, and the surprise and terror of a nocturnal attack which he organized compensating for the inferiority of his troops, he made prisoners of his enemy and all his soldiers, his own loss amounting to but two men. The conqueror treated the vanquished well, and gave them the choice between returning to Cuba, or remaining to share his fortune. This latter proposal, backed up as it was by gifts and promises, appeared so seductive to the new arrivals, that Cortès found himself at the head of 1000 soldiers, the day after he had been in danger of falling into the hands of Narvaez. This rapid change of fortune was turned to the greatest advantage by the skilful diplomacy of Cortès, who hastened to return to Mexico. The troops whom he had left there under the command of Alvarado, to guard the emperor and the treasure, were reduced to the last extremity by the natives, who had killed or wounded a great number of soldiers, and who kept the rest in a state of close blockade, while threatening them constantly with a general assault. It must be confessed that the imprudent and criminal conduct of the Spaniards, and notably the massacre of the most distinguished citizens of the empire during a fête, had brought about the rising which they dreaded, and which they had hoped to prevent. After having been joined by 2000 Tlascalans, Cortès pressed forward by forced marches towards the capital, where he arrived in safety, and found that the Indians had not destroyed the bridges belonging to the causeways and dikes which joined Mexico to the land. In spite of the arrival of this reinforcement, the situation did not improve. Each day it was necessary to engage in new combats, and to make sorties to clear the avenues leading to the palace occupied by the Spaniards.

Cortès now saw but too plainly the mistake which he had made in shutting himself up in a town where his position might be stormed at any moment, and from which it was so difficult to extricate himself. In this difficulty he had recourse to Montezuma, who, by virtue of his authority and of the prestige which still clung to him, could appease the tumult, give the Spaniards some respite, and enable them to prepare for their retreat. But when the unfortunate emperor, now become a mere toy in the hands of the Spaniards, appeared upon the walls decked out with regal ornaments, and implored his subjects to cease from hostilities, murmurs of discontent arose, and threats were freely uttered. Hostilities began afresh, and before the soldiers had time to protect him with their shields, Montezuma was pierced with arrows, and hit upon the head by a stone which knocked him down. At this sight the Indians, horrified at the crime which they had just committed, at once ceased fighting, and fled in all directions, while the emperor, understanding but too late all the baseness of the part which Cortès had forced him to play, tore off the bandages which had been applied to his wounds, and refusing all nourishment, he died cursing the Spaniards.

Death of Montezuma
Death of Montezuma.

After so fatal an event, there was no more room to hope for peace with the Mexicans, and it became necessary to retire in haste, and at whatever cost, from a town in which the Spaniards were threatened with blockade and starvation. For this retreat Cortès was preparing in secret. He saw his troops each day more and more closely hemmed in, whilst several times he was forced himself to take his sword in his hand and to fight like a common soldier. Solis even relates, but upon what authority is not known, that during an assault which was made upon one of the edifices commanding the Spanish quarter, two young Mexicans, recognizing Cortès, who was cheering on his soldiers, resolved to sacrifice themselves in the hope of killing the man who had been the author of their country's calamities. They approached him in a suppliant attitude, as though they would ask for quarter, then seizing him round the waist they dragged him towards the battlements, over which they threw themselves, hoping to drag him over with them. But thanks to his exceptional strength and agility Cortès managed to escape from their embrace, and these two brave Mexicans perished in their generous but vain attempt to save their country.

The retreat being determined upon, it was necessary to decide upon whether it should be carried out by night or by day. If in the daytime the enemy would be more easily resisted, any ambuscades which might be prepared would be more easily avoided, while they could better take precautions to repair any bridges broken by the Mexicans. On the other hand, it was known that the Indians will seldom attack an enemy after sunset, but what really decided Cortès in favour of a nocturnal retreat was, that a soldier who dabbled in astrology had declared to his comrades that success was certain if they acted in the night.

They therefore began their march at midnight. Besides the Spanish troops, Cortès had under his orders detachments from Tlascala, Zempoalla, and Cholula, which, notwithstanding the serious losses which had been sustained, still numbered 7000 men. Sandoval commanded the vanguard, and Cortès the centre, where were the cannon, baggage, and prisoners, amongst whom were a son and two daughters of Montezuma; Alvarado and Velasquez de Léon led the rearguard. With the army was carried a flying bridge, which had been constructed to throw over any gaps there might be in the causeway. Scarcely had the Spaniards debouched upon the dike leading to Tacuba, which was the shortest of all, when they were attacked in front, flank, and rear by solid masses of the enemy, whilst from a fleet of numberless canoes, a perfect hailstorm of stones and missiles fell upon them. Blinded and amazed, the allies knew not against whom to defend themselves first. The wooden bridge sank under the weight of the artillery and fighting men. Crowded together upon a narrow causeway where they could not use their fire-arms, deprived of their cavalry who had not room to act, mingled with the Indians in a hand-to-hand combat, not having strength to kill, and surrounded on all sides, the Spaniards and their allies gave way under the ever renewed numbers of the assailants. Officers and soldiers, infantry and cavalry, Spaniards and Tlascalans were confounded together, each defended himself to the best of his ability, without caring about discipline or the common safety.

All seemed lost, when Cortès with one hundred men succeeded in crossing the breach in the dike upon the mass of corpses which filled it up. He drew up his soldiers in order as they arrived, and putting himself at the head of those least severely wounded, plunged wedge-fashion into the mêlée, and succeeded in disengaging from it a portion of his men. Before day dawned all those who had succeeded in escaping from the massacre of the noche triste, as this terrible night was called, found themselves reunited at Tacuba. It was with eyes full of tears that Cortès passed in review his remaining soldiers, all covered with wounds, and took account of the losses which he had sustained; 4000 Indians, Tlascalans, and Cholulans, and nearly all the horses were killed, all the artillery and ammunition, as well as the greatest part of the baggage, were lost, and amongst the dead were several officers of distinction—Velasquez de Léon, Salcedo, Morla, Larès, and many others; one of those most dangerously hurt was Alvarado, but not one man, whether officer or soldier, was without a wound.

The fugitives did not delay at Tacuba, and by accident they took the road to Tlascala, where they did not know what reception might await them. Ever harassed by the Mexicans, the Spaniards were again obliged to give battle upon the plains of Otumba to a number of warriors, whom some historians reckon at two hundred thousand. Thanks to the presence of some cavalry soldiers who still remained to him, Cortès was able to overthrow all who were in front of him, and to reach a troop of persons whose high rank was easily discerned by their gilded plumes and luxurious costumes, amongst whom was the general bearing the standard. Accompanied by some horsemen, Cortès threw himself upon this group and was fortunate enough, or skilful enough, to overturn by a lance-thrust the Mexican general, who was then despatched by the sword by a soldier named Juan de Salamanca. From the moment when the standard disappeared the battle was gained, and the Mexicans, panic-stricken, fled hastily from the field of battle. "Never had the Spaniards incurred greater danger," says Prescott, "and had it not been for the lucky star of Cortès, not one would have survived to transmit to posterity the history of the sanguinary battle of Otumba." The booty was considerable, and sufficed in part, to indemnify the Spaniards for the loss they had sustained in leaving Mexico, for this army which they had just defeated was composed of the principal warriors of the nation, who, having been quite confident of success, had adorned themselves with their richest ornaments.

Cortès at the Battle of Otumba
Cortès at the Battle of Otumba.

The day after the battle the Spaniards entered the territory of Tlascala. Bernal Diaz says, "I shall now call the attention of curious readers to the fact that when we returned to Mexico to the relief of Alvarado, we were in all 1300 men, including in that number ninety-seven horsemen, eighty cross-bowmen, and the same number armed with carbines; besides, we had more than 2000 Tlascalans, and much artillery. Our second entry into Mexico took place on St. John's Day, 1520; our flight from the city was on the 10th day of the month of July following, and we fought the memorable battle of Otumba on the 14th day of this same month of July. And now I would draw attention to the number of men who were killed at Mexico during the passage of the causeways and bridges, in the battle of Otumba, and in the other encounters upon the route. I declare that in the space of five days 860 of our men were massacred, including ten of our soldiers and five Castilian women, who were killed in the village of Rustepèque; we lost besides 1200 Tlascalans during the same time. It is to be noticed also that if the number of dead in the troop of Narvaez were greater than in the troop of Cortès, it was because the former soldiers set out on the march laden with a quantity of gold, the weight of which hindered them from swimming, and from getting out of the trenches."

The troops with Cortès were reduced to four hundred and forty men, with twenty horses, twelve cross-bowmen, and seven carabineers; they had not a single charge of gunpowder, they were all wounded, lame, or maimed in the arms. It was the same number of men that had followed Cortès when he first entered Mexico, but how great a difference was there between that conquering troop, and the vanquished soldiers who now quitted the capital.

As they entered the Tlascalan territory Cortès recommended his men, and especially those of Narvaez, not to do anything which could vex the natives, the common safety depending upon not irritating the only allies which remained to them. Happily the fears which had arisen as to the fidelity of the Tlascalans proved groundless. They gave the Spaniards a most sympathizing welcome, and their thoughts seemed to be wholly bent upon avenging the death of their brothers massacred by the Mexicans. While in their capital Cortès heard of the loss of two more detachments, but these reverses, grave as they were, did not discourage him; he had under his orders troops inured to war and faithful allies, Vera-Cruz was intact, he might once more reckon upon his good fortune. But before undertaking a new campaign or entering upon another siege, help must be sought and preparations made, and with these objects in view the general set to work. He sent four ships to Hispaniola to enrol volunteers and purchase powder and ammunition, and meanwhile he caused trees to be cut down in the mountains of Tlascala, and with the wood thus obtained twelve brigantines were constructed, which were to be carried in pieces to the Lake of Mexico, to be launched there at the moment when needed.

After suppressing some attempts at mutiny amongst the soldiers, in which those who had come with Narvaez were the most to blame, Cortès again marched forwards, and, with the help of the Tlascalans, first attacked the people of Tepeaca and of other neighbouring provinces, a measure which had the advantage of exercising anew his own troops in war, and of training his allies. While this was going on, two brigantines bringing ammunition and reinforcements fell into the hands of Cortès; these ships had been sent to Narvaez by Velasquez, in ignorance of his misadventures; at this time also some Spaniards sent by Francis de Garay, governor of Jamaica, joined the army. In consequence of these reinforcements the troops with Cortès, after he had rid himself of several partisans of Narvaez with whom he was dissatisfied, amounted to five hundred infantry, of whom eighty carried muskets, and forty horse-soldiers. With this small army, and with one thousand Tlascalans, Cortès set out once more for Mexico on the 28th of December, 1520, six months after he had been forced to abandon the city. This campaign had for its theatre countries already described, and must therefore be passed over somewhat rapidly here, notwithstanding the interest attaching to it; to enter fully into the history of the conquest of Mexico would not be in accordance with the primary object of this work.

After the death of Montezuma his brother Quetlavaca was raised to the throne, and he adopted all the measures of precaution compatible with Aztec strategic science. But he died of the smallpox, the sad gift of the Spaniards to the New World, at the very moment when his brilliant qualities of foresight and bravery were the most needed by his country. His successor was Guatimozin, the nephew of Montezuma, a man distinguished by his talents and courage.

Cortès had no sooner entered the Mexican territory than fighting began. He speedily captured the town of Tezcuco, which was situated at twenty miles' distance, upon the edge of the great central lake, that lake upon whose waters the Spaniards were to see an imposing flotilla floating three months later. At this time a fresh conspiracy, which had for its object the assassination of Cortès and his principal officers, was discovered, and the chief culprit executed. At this moment fate seemed in every way to smile upon Cortès; he had just received the news of the arrival of fresh reinforcements at Vera-Cruz, and the greater part of the towns under the dominion of Guatimozin had submitted to the force of his arms. The actual siege of Mexico began in the month of May, 1521, and continued with alternate success and reverse until the day when the brigantines were launched upon the water of the lake. The Mexicans did not hesitate to attack them; from four to five thousand canoes, each bearing two men, covered the lake and advanced to the assault of the Spanish vessels, which carried in all nearly three hundred men. These nine brigantines were provided with cannon, and soon dispersed or sunk the enemy's fleet, who thenceforth left them in undisputed possession of the water. But this success and certain other advantages gained by Cortès had no very marked consequences, and the siege dragged slowly on, until the general made up his mind to capture the town by force. Unfortunately the officer who was charged with protecting the line of retreat by the causeways while the Spaniards were making their way into the town, abandoned his post, thinking it unworthy of his valour, and went to join in the combat. Guatimozin was informed of the fault which had been committed, and at once took advantage of it. His troops attacked the Spaniards on all sides with such fury that numbers of them were killed in a short time, while sixty-two of the soldiers fell alive into the hands of the Mexicans, a fate which Cortès, who was severely wounded in the thigh, narrowly escaped sharing. During the night following, the great temple of the war-god was illuminated in sign of triumph, and the Spaniards listened in profound sadness to the beating of the great drum. From the position they occupied they could witness the end of the prisoners, their unfortunate countrymen, whose breasts were opened and their hearts torn out, and whose dead bodies were hurled down the steps; they were then torn in pieces by the Aztecs, who quarrelled over the pieces with the object of using them for a horrible festival.

This terrible defeat caused the siege to go on slowly, until the day came when three parts of the city having been taken or destroyed, Guatimozin was obliged by his councillors to quit Mexico and to set out for the mainland, where he reckoned upon organizing his resistance, but the boat which carried him being seized he was made prisoner. In his captivity he was destined to display much greater dignity and strength of character than his uncle Montezuma had done. From this time all resistance ceased, and Cortès might take possession of the half-destroyed capital. After a heroic resistance, in which 120,000 Mexicans according to some accounts, but 240,000 according to others, had perished, after a siege which had lasted not less than seventy days, Mexico, and with the city all the rest of the empire, succumbed, less indeed to the blows dealt against it by the Spaniards than to the long-standing hatred and the revolts of the subjugated people, and to the jealousy of the neighbouring states, fated soon to regret the yoke which they had so deliberately shaken off.

Contempt and rage soon succeeded amongst the Spaniards to the intoxication of success; the immense riches upon which they had reckoned either had no existence, or they had been thrown into the lake. Cortès found it impossible to calm the malcontents, and was obliged to allow the emperor and his principal minister to be put to the torture. Some historians, and notably Gomara, report that whilst the Spaniards were stirring the fire which burnt below the gridiron upon which the two victims were extended, the minister turned his head towards his master and apparently begged him to speak, in order to put an end to their tortures; but that Guatimozin reproved this single moment of weakness by these words, "And I, am I assisting at some pleasure, or am I in the bath?" an answer which has been poetically changed into, "And I, do I lie upon roses?"

The Spaniards stir the fire burning below the gridiron
The Spaniards stir the fire burning below the gridiron.

The historians of the conquest of Mexico have usually stopped short at the taking of Mexico, but it remains for us to speak of some other expeditions undertaken by Cortès with different aims, but which resulted in casting quite a new light upon some portions of Central America; besides we could not leave this hero, who played so large a part in the history of the New World and in the development of its civilization, without giving some details of the end of his life.

With the fall of the capital was involved, properly speaking, that of the Mexican empire; if there were still some resistance, as notably there was in the province of Oaxaca, it was of an isolated character, and a few detachments of troops sufficed to reduce to submission the last remaining opponents of the Spaniards, terrified as the Mexicans were by the punishments which had been dealt out to the people of Panuco, who had revolted. At the same time ambassadors were sent by the people of the distant countries of the empire, to convince themselves of the reality of that wonderful event, the taking of Mexico, to behold the ruins of the abhorred town, and to tender their submission to the conquerors.

Cortès was at length confirmed in the position he held after incidents which would take too long to relate, and which caused him to say, "It has been harder for me to fight against my countrymen than against the Aztecs." It now remained to him to organize the conquered country, and he began by establishing the seat of government at Mexico, which he rebuilt. He attracted Spaniards to the city by granting them concessions of lands, and the Indians, by allowing them at first to remain under the authority of their native chiefs, although he speedily reduced them all, except the Tlascalans, to the condition of slaves, by the vicious system of repartimientos, in vogue in the Spanish colonies. But if it is justifiable to reproach Cortès with having held cheaply the political rights of the Indians, it must be conceded that he manifested the most laudable solicitude for their spiritual well-being. To further this object he brought over some Franciscans, who by their zeal and charity in a short time gained the veneration of the natives, and in a space of twenty years brought about the conversion of the whole population.

At the same time Cortès sent some troops into the state of Mechoacan, who penetrated as far as the Pacific Ocean, and as they returned visited some of the rich provinces situated in the north. Cortès founded settlements in all the parts of the country which appeared to him advantageous: at Zacatula upon the shores of the Pacific, at Coliman in Mechoacan, at Santesteban near Tampico, at Medellin near Vera-Cruz, &c.

Immediately after the pacification of the country, Cortès entrusted Christoval de Olid with the command of a considerable force, in order to establish a colony in Honduras, and at the same time Olid was to explore the southern coast of that province, and to seek for a strait which should form a communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. But, carried away by the pride of command, Olid had no sooner reached his destination than he declared himself independent, whereupon Cortès immediately despatched one of his relations to arrest the culprit, and set out himself, accompanied by Guatimozin, at the head of one hundred horsemen and fifty foot-soldiers, on the 12th of October, 1524. After crossing the provinces of Goatzacoalco, Tabasco, and Yucatan, and enduring all kinds of privations in the course of a most trying march over marshy and shifting ground, and across a perfect ocean of undulating forests, the detachment was approaching the province of Aculan, when Cortès was told of the existence of a plot, formed, as was said, by Guatimozin and the principal Indian chiefs. Its aim was to seize the first opportunity to massacre both officers and soldiers, after which the march to Honduras was to be continued, the settlements were to be destroyed, and then there was to be a return to Mexico, where during a general rising there would doubtless be small difficulty experienced in getting rid of the invaders. Guatimozin in vain protested his innocence, in which there is every reason to believe; he was hung, as well as several of the Aztec nobles, upon the branches of a Ceyba tree, which shaded the road. Bernal Diaz del Castillo says, "The execution of Guatimozin was very unjust, and we were all agreed in condemning it." But Prescott says, "If Cortès had consulted but his own interest and his renown, he should have spared him, for he was the living trophy of his victory, as a man keeps gold in the lining of his coat."

At length the Spaniards reached Aculan, a flourishing town, where they refreshed themselves after their journey in excellent quarters; when they set out again, it was in the direction of the Lake of Peten, a part of the country where the population was easily converted to Christianity. We shall not dwell upon the sufferings and misery which tried the expedition in these sparsely-peopled countries, until it arrived at San Gil de Buena-Vista, upon the Golfo Dolce, where Cortès, after receiving the news of the execution of Olid and the re-establishment of the central authority, embarked upon his return to Mexico. At this time he entrusted to Alvarado the command of three hundred infantry, one hundred and sixty cavalry, and four cannon, with a body of Indian auxiliaries, with which he set out for the south of Mexico, to conquer Guatemala. He reduced to submission the provinces of Zacatulan, Tehuantepec, Soconusco, Utlatlan, and laid the foundations of the town of Guatemala la Vieja; when, some time afterwards he made a voyage to Spain, he was named by Charles V. governor of the countries which he had conquered.

Three years had not expired after the conquest, before a territory 1200 miles in length upon the sea-board of the Atlantic, and 1500 miles upon that of the Pacific, had submitted to the Castilian crown, and with but few exceptions, was in a state of perfect tranquillity.

The return of Cortès to Mexico from the useless expedition to Honduras—which had wasted so much time and caused almost as great sufferings to the Spaniards as the conquest of Mexico—had taken place but a few days, when he received the news that he was temporarily replaced by another commander, and was invited to repair to Spain to exculpate himself from certain charges. He was not in any haste to comply with this order, hoping that it might be revoked, but his indefatigable calumniators and his implacable enemies, both in Spain and Mexico, preferred accusations against him after such a manner, that he found himself obliged to go and make his defence, to state his wrongs, and boldly to claim the approval of his conduct. Cortès therefore started accompanied by his friend Sandoval, as well as by Tapia und several Aztec chiefs, amongst whom was a son of Montezuma. He disembarked at Palos, in May, 1528, at the same place where Columbus had landed thirty-five years before, and he was welcomed with the same enthusiasm and rejoicings as the discoverer of America had been; here Cortès met with Pizarro, then at the outset of his career, who was come to solicit the support of the Spanish government. Cortès afterwards set out for Toledo, where the court then was. The mere announcement of his return had produced a complete change in public opinion. His unexpected arrival at once contradicted the idea that he harboured any projects of revolt and independence. Charles V. saw that public feeling would be outraged at the thought of punishing a man who had added its greatest gem to the crown of Castille, and so the journey of Cortès became one continual triumph in the midst of crowds of people greater than had been ever known before. "The houses and streets of the large towns and of the villages," says Prescott, "were filled with spectators impatient to contemplate the hero whose single arm might be said, in some sort, to have conquered an empire for Spain, and who, to borrow the language of an old historian, marched in all the pomp and glory, not of a great vassal, but of an independent monarch."

Charles V., after having granted several audiences to Cortès, and bestowed upon him those particular marks of favour which are termed important by courtiers, deigned to accept from him the empire which he had conquered for him, and the magnificent presents which he brought. But he considered that he had fully recompensed him when he had given Cortès the title of Marquis della Valle de Oajaca, and the post of captain-general of New Spain, without, however, restoring to him the civil government, a power which had been formerly delegated to him by the junta of Vera-Cruz. Cortès, after his marriage with the niece of the Duke de Béjar, who belonged to one of the first families in Spain, accompanied the emperor, who was on his way to Italy, to the port of embarkation; but the general, soon becoming tired of the frivolities of a court, so little in accordance with the active habits of his past life, set out again for Mexico in 1530, and landed at Villa-Rica. After his arrival he underwent some annoyance caused by the Audienza, which had exercised the power in his absence, and which had instituted law-suits against him, and he also found himself in conflict with the new civil junta on the subject of military affairs. The Marquis della Valle withdrew himself to Cuernavaca, where he had immense estates, and busied himself with agriculture. He was the means of introducing the sugar-cane and the mulberry into Mexico, he also encouraged the cultivation of hemp and flax, and the breeding, on a large scale, of merino sheep.

But this peaceable life without adventures could not long satisfy the enterprising spirit of Cortès. In 1532 and 1533, he equipped two squadrons destined to make voyages of discovery in the north-west of the Pacific. The latter expedition reached the southern extremity of the peninsula of California without attaining the object sought, namely the discovery of a strait uniting the Pacific with the Atlantic. Cortès himself met with no better success in 1536 in the Vermilion Sea (Gulf of California). Three years later a concluding expedition, of which Cortès gave the command to Ulloa, penetrated to the farthest extremity of the gulf, and then, sailing along the exterior side of the peninsula, reached the 29° of north latitude. From thence the chief of the expedition sent back one of his ships to Cortès, while the rest proceeded northwards, but from that time nothing more is heard of them. Such was the unhappy result of the expeditions of Cortès, which, while they did not bring him in a single ducat, cost him not less than 300,000 gold castellanos. But they at least had the result of making known the coast of the Pacific Ocean, from the Bay of Panama as far as Colorado. The tour of the Californian Peninsula was made, and it was thus discovered that what had been imagined to be an island, was in reality a part of the continent. The whole of the Vermilion Sea, or Sea of Cortès, as the Spaniards justly named it, was carefully explored, and it was ascertained that, instead of having an outlet as was supposed to the north, it was in reality only a gulf deeply hollowed into the continent.

Cortès had not been able to fit out these expeditions without coming into antagonism with the viceroy Don Antonio de Mendoza, whom the emperor had sent to Mexico, an appointment which had wounded the feelings of the Marquis della Valle. Wearied with these continual, annoyances, and indignant at finding his prerogative as captain-general, if not absolutely ignored, at least perpetually questioned, Cortès left Mexico, and once more set out for Spain. But this journey was not destined at all to resemble the first. Grown old, disgusted with life, and betrayed by fortune, the "conquistador" had no longer anything to expect from government. He had not to wait long before receiving proof of this; one day he pressed through the crowd which surrounded the emperor's coach, and mounted upon the step of the door. Charles V. pretended not to recognize him, and asked who this man was. Cortès answered proudly, "It is the man who has given you more States than your father left you Towns." By this time public interest was diverted from Mexico, which had not yielded as much as had been expected from it, and was centred upon the marvellous riches of Peru. Cortès was, however, received with honour by the supreme council of the Indies, and permitted to state his complaints before it, but the debates upon the subject were endlessly drawn out, and he could obtain no redress. In 1541, during the disastrous expedition of Charles V. against Algiers, Cortès, who was serving in it as a volunteer, but whose counsels had not been listened to, had the misfortune to lose three great carved emeralds, jewels which would have sufficed for the ransom of an empire. Upon his return he renewed his solicitations, but with the same want of success. His grief over this injustice and these repeated disappointments was so deep, that his health suffered severely; he died far from the scene of his exploits, on the 10th of November, 1547, at Castilleja de la Cuesta, at the very moment when he was making preparations to return to America.

"He was a true knight errant," says Prescott; "of all that glorious troop of adventurers which the Spain of the sixteenth century sent forth to a career of discovery and conquest, there was not one more deeply imbued with the spirit of romantic enterprise than Fernando Cortès. Strife was his delight, and he loved to attempt an enterprise by its most difficult side."...

This passion for the romantic might have reduced the conqueror of Mexico to the part of a common adventurer, but Cortès was certainly a profound politician and a great captain, if one is justified in giving this name to a man who accomplished great actions by his own unassisted genius. There is no other example in history of so great an enterprise having been carried to a successful end with such inadequate means. It may be said with truth that Cortès conquered Mexico with his own resources alone. His influence over the minds of his soldiers was the natural result of their confidence in his ability, but it must be attributed also to his popular manners, which rendered him eminently fit to lead a band of adventurers. When he had attained to a higher rank, if Cortès displayed more of pomp, his veterans at least continued on the same terms of intimacy with him as before. In finishing this portrait of the "conquistador," we shall quote the upright and veracious Bernal Diaz, with whose sentiments we fully agree. "He preferred his name of Cortès to all the titles by which he might be addressed, and he had good reasons for it, for the name of Cortès is as famous in our days as that of Cesar amongst the Romans, or Hannibal amongst the Carthaginians." The old chronicler ends by a touch which vividly depicts the religious spirit of the sixteenth century: "Perhaps he was destined to receive his reward only in a better world, and I fully believe it to be so; for he was an honest knight, very sincere in his devotions to the Virgin, to the Apostle St. Peter, and to all the saints."



III.
THE CONQUERORS OF CENTRAL AMERICA.
The triple alliance—Francisco Pizarro and his brothers—Don Diego d'Almagro—First attempts—Peru, its extent, people, and kings—Capture of Atahualpa, his ransom and death—Pedro d'Alvarado—Almagro in Chili—Strife among the conquerors—Trial and execution of Almagro—Expeditions of Gonzalo Pizarro and Orellana—Assassination of Francisco Pizarro—Rebellion and execution of his brother Gonzalo.

The information which had been gained by Balboa as to the riches of the countries situated to the south of Panama had scarcely become known to the Spaniards before several expeditions were organized to attempt the conquest of them. But all had failed, either from the means used being insufficient, or from the commanders not being equal to the greatness of the undertaking. It must be confessed also that the localities explored by these first adventurers—these pioneers, as they would be called now-a-days—did not at all come up to what Spanish greed had expected from them, and for this reason, that all the attempts had been hitherto made upon what was then called "Terra Firma," a country pre-eminently unhealthy, mountainous, marshy, and covered with forests; the inhabitants were few, but of so warlike a disposition that they had added another obstacle to all those which nature had strewn with so prodigal a hand in the path of the invaders. Little by little, therefore, the enthusiasm had cooled, and the wonderful narratives of Balboa were mentioned only to be turned into ridicule.

Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro.
From an old print.

There lived, however, in Panama a man well able to weigh the truth of the reports which had been circulated concerning the richness of the countries bathed by the Pacific; this man was Francisco Pizarro, who had accompanied Muñez de Balboa to the southern sea, and who now associated with himself two other adventurers, Diego de Almagro and Ferdinand de Luque. A few words must be said about the chiefs of the enterprise. Francisco Pizarro, born near Truxillo between the years 1471 and 1478, was the natural son of a certain Captain Gonzalo Pizarro, who had taught the boy nothing but to take care of pigs; he was soon tired of this occupation, and took advantage of his having allowed one of the animals who were in his charge to stray, not to return to the paternal roof, where he was accustomed to be cruelly beaten for the smallest peccadillo. The young Pizarro enlisted, and after passing some years amidst the Italian wars, he followed Christopher Columbus to Hispaniola in 1510. He served there with distinction, and also in Cuba; afterwards he accompanied Hojeda to Darien, discovered, as has been already mentioned, the Pacific, with Balboa, and after the execution of the latter, he assisted Pedrarias Davila, whose favourite he had become, in the conquest of all the country known as Castille d'Or.

While Pizarro was an illegitimate child, Diego de Almagro was a foundling, picked up according to some in 1475 at Aldea del Rey, but according to others at Almagro, from which circumstance, as they maintain, he derived his name. He was educated in the midst of soldiers, and while still young went to America, where he had succeeded in amassing a small fortune.

Ferdinand de Luque was a rich ecclesiastic of Tobago, who exercised the calling of a schoolmaster at Panama. The youngest of these adventurers was by this time more than fifty years of age, and Garcilasso de la Vega relates that upon their project being known, they became the objects of general derision; Ferdinand de Luque was the most laughed at, and was called by no other name than Hernando el Loco, Ferdinand the Fool. The terms of partnership were soon agreed upon between these three men, of whom two at least were without fear, if they were not all three without reproach. Luque furnished money needed for the armament of the vessels and the pay of the soldiers, and Almagro bore an equal part in the expense, but Pizarro, who possessed nothing but his sword, was to pay his contribution in another manner. It was he who took the command of the first attempt, upon which we shall dwell in some detail, because it was then that the perseverance and inflexible obstinacy of the "conquistador" first came fully into sight.

One of the historians of the conquest of Peru, Augustin de Zarate, relates as follows:—"Having then asked and obtained the permission of Pedro Arias d'Avila, Francisco Pizarro after much trouble equipped a vessel upon which he embarked with 140 men. At the distance of 150 miles from Panama he discovered a small and poor province named Peru, which caused the same name to be henceforward improperly bestowed upon all the country which was discovered along that coast for the space of more than 3600 miles in length. Passing onwards he discovered another country, which the Spaniards called the burnt people. The Indians slew so many of his men that he was constrained to retire in great disorder to the country of Chinchama, which is not far distant from the place whence he had started. Almagro, however, who had remained at Panama, fitted out a ship there, upon which he embarked with seventy Spaniards, and descended the coast as far as the River San Juan, 300 miles from Panama. Not having met with Pizarro, he went back northwards as far as the burnt people, where, having ascertained by certain indications that Pizarro had been there, he landed his men. But the Indians, puffed up by the victory which they had gained over Pizarro, resisted bravely, forced the entrenchments with which Almagro had covered his position, and obliged him to re-embark. He returned therefore, still following the coast-line until he arrived at Chinchama, where he found Francisco Pizarro. They were much rejoiced at meeting again, and having added to their followers some fresh soldiers whom they had levied, they found their troops amounted to 200 Spaniards, and once more they descended the coast. They suffered so much from scarcity of provisions and from the attacks of the Indians, that Don Diego returned to Panama to collect more recruits and to obtain provisions. He took back with him eighty men, with whom and with those who remained to them, they went as far as the country called Catamez, a country moderately peopled and where they found abundance of provisions. They noticed that the Indians of these parts who attacked them and made war against them, had their faces studded with nails of gold inserted in holes which they had made expressly for receiving these ornaments. Diego de Almagro returned once again to Panama, whilst his companion waited for him and for the reinforcements which he was to bring with him, in a small island called Cock Island, where he suffered much from the scarcity of all the necessaries of life."

The Indians kill many of the Spaniards
The Indians kill many of the Spaniards.

Upon his arrival in Panama, Almagro could not obtain permission from Los Rios, the successor of Avila, to make new levies, for he had no right, Los Rios said, to allow a greater number of people to go and perish uselessly in a rash enterprise; he even sent a boat to Cock Island to bring away Pizarro and his companions. But such a decision could not be pleasing to Almagro and De Luque. It meant expense thrown away; and it meant the annihilation of the hopes which the sight of the ornaments of gold and silver of the inhabitants of Catamez had caused them to entertain. They sent therefore a trusty person to Pizarro, to recommend him to persevere in his resolution, and to refuse to obey the orders of the Governor of Panama. But Pizarro in vain held out the most seductive promises; the remembrance of the fatigues which had been endured was too recent, and all his companions except twelve abandoned him.

With these intrepid men, whose names have been preserved, and amongst whom was Garcia de Xerès, one of the historians of the expedition, Pizarro retired to an uninhabited island at a greater distance from the coast, to which he gave the name of Gorgona. There the Spaniards lived miserably on mangles, fish, and shell-fish, and awaited for five months the succour that Almagro and De Luque were to send them. At length, vanquished by the unanimous protestations of the whole colony,—who were indignant that people whose only crime was that they had not despaired of success, should be left to perish miserably and as though they were malefactors,—Los Rios sent to Pizarro a small vessel to bring him back. With the object of presenting no temptation to Pizarro to make use of this ship to renew his expedition, not a single soldier was placed on board of her. At the sight of the help which had arrived, and oblivious of all their privations, the thirteen adventurers thought of nothing but persuading the sailors who came to seek them to participate in their own hopes. Whereupon, instead of starting again on the route to Panama, they sailed all together, towards the south-east, in spite of contrary winds and currents, until, after having discovered the Island of St. Clara, they arrived at the port of Tumbez, situated beyond the 3° of south latitude, where they saw a magnificent temple and a palace belonging to the Incas, the sovereigns of the country.

The country was populous and fairly well-cultivated, but what proved beyond all else seductive to the Spaniards, and made them think that they had reached the marvellous countries of which so much had been said, was the sight of so great an abundance of gold and silver, that these metals were employed not only as finery and ornament by the inhabitants, but also for making vases and common utensils.

Pizarro caused the interior of the country to be explored by Pietro de Candia and Alonzo de Molina, who brought back an enthusiastic description of it, and he caused some gold vases to be given up to him, as well as some llamas, a quadruped domesticated by the Peruvians. He took two natives on board his vessel, to whom he proposed to teach the Spanish language, and to use them as interpreters when he should return to the country. He anchored successively at Payta, Saugarata, and in the Bay of Santa-Cruz, of which the sovereign, Capillana, received the strangers with such friendly demonstrations, that several of them were unwilling to re-embark. After having sailed down the coast as far as Porto Santo, Pizarro set out on his return to Panama, where he arrived after three whole years spent in dangerous explorations, which had completely ruined De Luque and Almagro.

Pizarro received by Charles V
Pizarro received by Charles V.

Pizarro resolved to apply to Charles V. before undertaking the conquest of the country which he had discovered, for he could not obtain leave from Los Rios to engage fresh adventurers; so he borrowed the sum required for the voyage, and in 1528 he went to Spain to inform the emperor of the work which he had undertaken. He painted the picture of the countries that were to be conquered in the most pleasing light, and as a reward for his labours the titles of governor, captain-general, and alguazil-major of Peru were bestowed upon him and his heirs in perpetuity. At the same time he was ennobled, and a pension of 1000 crowns was bestowed upon him. His jurisdiction, independent of the governor of Panama, was to extend over a tract of 600 miles along the coast to the south of the Santiago river; it was to be called New Castille, and he was to be the governor; concessions that cost nothing to Spain, for Pizarro had yet to conquer the country. On his side he undertook to raise a body of 250 men, and to provide himself with the necessary ships, arms, and ammunition. Pizarro then repaired to Truxillo, where he persuaded his three brothers Ferdinand, Juan, and Gonzalo to accompany him, as well as one of his half-brothers Martin d'Alcantara. He took advantage of his stay in his native town, and at Caceres, to try to raise recruits, both there and throughout Estramadura; they did not, however, come forward in large numbers, in spite of the title of Caballeros de la Espado dorada which he promised to bestow upon all who would serve under him. Then he returned to Panama, where affairs were not going so smoothly as he had hoped. He had succeeded in getting De Luque named Bishop protector de los Indios; but for Almagro, whose talents he knew, and whose ambition he feared, he had only asked that he should be ennobled and a gratuity of 500 ducats bestowed upon him, with the government of a fortress which was to be built at Tumbez. Almagro refused to take part in this new expedition; he was not pleased with the meagre portion given to him after spending all his money on the earlier expeditions; he wished now to organize one on his own account. It required all Pizarro's address, aided by the promise to give up to Almagro the office of adelantado, to appease him and make him consent to renew the old partnership.

Map of Peru
Map of Peru.

The resources of the three partners were so limited at this time, that they could only get together three small ships and 124 soldiers, of whom thirty-six were horse-soldiers; the expedition set out in February, 1531, under the command of Pizarro and his four brothers, whilst Almagro remained at Panama to organize an expedition of supplies. At the end of thirteen days' sailing, and after having been carried by a storm 300 miles more to the south than he had intended, Pizarro was forced to disembark both men and horses on the shores of the Bay of San Mateo, and to follow the line of the coast on land. This march was a difficult one in a very mountainous country, thinly-peopled, and intersected by rivers which had to be crossed at their mouths. At last a place called Coaqui was reached, where was found a great booty, which decided Pizarro to send back two of his ships. They carried to Panama and Nicaragua spoils to the amount of 30,000 castellanos, as well as a great number of emeralds, a rich booty, which would, according to Pizarro, determine many adventurers to come and join him.

Then the conqueror continued his march southwards as far as Porto-Viejo, where he was joined by Sebastian Benalcazar and Juan Fernandez, who brought him twelve horsemen and thirty foot-soldiers. The effect which had been produced in Mexico by the sight of the horses and the reports of the fire-arms was repeated in Peru, and Pizarro was able to reach the Island of Puna in the Gulf of Guayaquil without encountering any resistance. But the islanders were more numerous and more warlike than their brothers of the mainland, and for six months they valiantly resisted all the attacks of the Spaniards. Although Pizarro had received some aid from Nicaragua, brought by Ferdinand de Soto, and although he had beheaded the cacique Tonalla and sixteen of the principal chiefs, he could not overcome their resistance. He was, therefore, obliged to regain the continent, where the maladies peculiar to the country tried his companions so cruelly, that he was forced to stay three months at Tumbez, exposed to the perpetual attacks of the natives. From Tumbez he went next to the Rio Puira, discovered the harbour of Payta, the best on this coast, and founded the colony of San-Miguel, at the mouth of the Chilo, in order that vessels coming from Panama might find a safe shelter. It was here that Pizarro received some envoys from Huascar, who informed him of the revolt of Atahualpa, the brother of Huascar, and asked his aid.

At the period when the Spaniards landed to conquer Peru, it extended along the shore of the Pacific Ocean for 1500 miles, and stretched into the interior as far as the imposing chain of the Andes. Originally the population was divided into savage and barbarous tribes, having no idea of civilization, and living in a perpetual state of warfare with one another. For many centuries affairs had continued in the same state, and there appeared no presage of the coming of a better era, when, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, there appeared to the Indians a man and woman, who pretended that they were the Children of the Sun. They called themselves Manco-Capac and Mama-Oello, and were of majestic appearance; according to Garcilasso de la Vega, towards the middle of the twelfth century they united together a number of wandering tribes, and laid the foundations of the town of Cuzco. Manco-Capac had taught the men agriculture and mechanical arts, whilst Mama-Oello instructed the women in spinning and weaving. When Manco-Capac had satisfied these first needs of all societies, he framed laws for his subjects, and constituted a regular political state. It was thus that the dominion of the Incas or Lords of Peru was established. At first their empire was limited to the neighbourhood of Cuzco, but under their successors it rapidly increased, and extended from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Pearl Islands, a length of thirty degrees. The power of the incas was as absolute as that of the ancient Asiatic sovereigns. "Also," says Zarate, "there was perhaps no other country in the world where the obedience and submission of the subjects was carried further. The incas were to them quasi-divinities; they had but to place a thread drawn from the royal head-fillet in the hands of any one, and the man so distinguished, was certain to be everywhere respected and obeyed, and to find such absolute deference paid to the king's order which he carried, that he could alone exterminate a whole province without any assistance from soldiers, and cause to be put to death all the inhabitants, both male and female, because at the mere sight of this thread, taken from the royal crown, the people voluntarily and without any resistance, offered themselves up to die." However, the old chroniclers all agree in saying that this unlimited power was always used by the incas for the well-being of their subjects. Out of a series of twelve kings, who in succession sat on the throne of Peru, there was not one who did not leave behind him the memory of a just prince adored by his subjects. Should we not search in vain through the annals of any other country in the world for facts analogous to these? Must it not be regretted that the Spaniards should have brought war with all its attendant horrors, and the maladies and vices of a different climate, along with what they in their pride called civilization, amongst a rich and happy people, whose descendants, impoverished and debased as they are, have not even the recollection of their ancient prosperity to console them in their irremediable decay?

"The Peruvians," says Michelet in his admirable Précis d'Histoire Moderne, "handed down the principal facts to posterity by knots, which they made in ropes. They had obelisks and exact gnomons to mark the equinoxes and solstices. Their year consisted of 365 days. They had erected prodigies of architecture, and they carved statues with amazing art. They formed the most polished and industrious nation of the New World."

The inca Huayna-Capac, father of Atahualpa, under whom this vast empire was destroyed, had done much to increase and embellish it. This inca, who conquered all the country of Quito, had made, by the hands of his soldiers and of the vanquished people, a great road 1500 miles in length from Cuzco to Quito, across precipices which had been filled up and mountains which had been levelled. Relays of men, stationed at intervals of a mile and a half from each other, carried the emperor's orders throughout the empire. Such was their police, and if we wish to judge of Peruvian magnificence, we need only instance the fact that the king when he travelled was carried on a throne of gold which weighed 25,000 ducats, and the golden litter upon which the throne rested was borne by the highest personages of the realm.

In 1526, when the Spaniards appeared on the coast for the first time, the twelfth inca had lately married—in defiance of the ancient law of the kingdom—the daughter of the vanquished king of Quito, and had had a son of this marriage named Atahualpa, to whom he left this kingdom on his death, which happened about 1529. His eldest son Huascar, whose mother was descended from the incas, had the remainder of his states. But this partition, so contrary to the customs established from time immemorial, caused such great discontent at Cuzco, that Huascar, encouraged by his subjects, determined to march against his brother, who would not acknowledge him for his lord and master. Atahualpa, in his turn, had too lately tasted power to be willing to abandon it. He managed by bribes to attach to himself the greater part of the warriors who had accompanied his father during the conquest of Quito, and when the two armies met, fortune favoured the usurper.

Is it not curious to remark how both in Peru and Mexico the Spaniards were aided by entirely exceptional circumstances? In Mexico some of the people who had recently submitted to the Aztec race, being mercilessly trampled upon by their conquerors, welcome the Spaniards as deliverers; in Peru the strife between two brothers, furious against each other, hinders the Indians from turning all their forces against the invaders whom they might easily have crushed.

Pizarro upon receiving the envoys sent by Huascar, to ask his aid against his brother Atahualpa, whom he represented as a rebel and usurper, saw at once all the advantages that might accrue to him from these circumstances. He saw that by espousing the cause of one of the brothers, he could more easily crush them both, therefore he advanced at once into the interior of the country, at the head of a very inconsiderable force, consisting of sixty-two cavalry and one hundred and twenty foot-soldiers, of whom only twenty were armed with arquebuses and muskets; he was obliged to leave part of his troops to guard San-Miguel, in which Pizarro reckoned upon finding a refuge in case of his being unsuccessful, and where in any case all supplies which might arrive could be landed.

Pizarro first made for Caxamalca, a small town situated at about twenty days' march from the coast. To reach it he had to cross a desert of burning sand, without vegetation and without water, which extended for sixty miles in length as far as the province of Motupé, and where the slightest attack of the enemy, joined to the sufferings endured by the little army, would have been sufficient to crush the whole expedition at one blow. Next the troops plunged into the mountains and became entangled in narrow defiles where a small force might have annihilated them. During this march Pizarro received an envoy from Atahualpa bringing him some painted shoes and gold bracelets, which he was requested to wear at his approaching interview with the inca. Naturally Pizarro was lavish in his promises of friendship and devotion, and assured the Indian ambassador that he should be only following the orders given him by the king his master in respecting the lives and property of the inhabitants. From the moment of his arrival at Caxamalca Pizarro prudently lodged his soldiers in a temple and a palace belonging to the inca, where they were sheltered from any surprise. Then he sent one of his brothers with De Soto and twenty horse-soldiers to the camp of Atahualpa, which was distant only three miles, to announce to him his arrival. The envoys of the governor were received with magnificence, and were astonished at the multiplicity of the ornaments and vases made of gold and silver which they saw throughout the Indian camp. They returned, bringing a promise from Atahualpa that he would come on the next day to visit Pizarro, to bid him welcome to his kingdom. At the same time the envoys gave an account of the wonderful riches they had seen, which confirmed Pizarro in the project which he had formed of seizing the unfortunate Atahualpa and his treasures by treachery.

Several Spanish authors, and notably Zarate, disguise these facts, which no doubt appeared to them too odious, and altogether deny the treachery towards Atahualpa. But at the present day there are extant many documents which force the historian to believe, with Robertson and Prescott, in the perfidy of Pizarro. It was very important for him to have the inca in his own hands, and to employ him as a tool, just as Cortès had done with Montezuma. He therefore took advantage of the honesty and simplicity of Atahualpa, who placed entire confidence in Pizarro's protestations of friendship and so was thrown off his guard, to arrange an ambuscade into which Atahualpa was certain to fall. There was not a scruple in the disloyal soul of the conqueror; he was as cool as though he were about to offer battle to enemies who had been forewarned of his approach; this infamous treason must be an eternal dishonour to his memory. Pizarro divided his cavalry into three small squadrons, left all his infantry in one body, hid his arquebusiers on the road by which the inca must pass, and kept twenty of his most determined companions near himself. Atahualpa, wishing to give the Spaniards a great idea of his power, advanced with the whole of his army. He himself was borne upon a kind of bed, decorated with feathers, covered with plates of gold and silver, and ornamented with precious stones. He was accompanied by his principal nobles, carried like himself on the shoulders of their servants, and he was surrounded by dancers and jesters. Such a march was more that of a procession than of an army.

As soon as the inca had nearly reached the Spanish quarters (according to Robertson), Father Vincent Valverde, the chaplain of the expedition, who was afterwards made a bishop as a reward for his conduct, advanced with the crucifix in one hand and his breviary in the other. In an interminable discourse he set forth to the monarch the doctrine of the creation, the fall of the first man, the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the choice made by God of St. Peter to be His vicar upon earth, the power transmitted through him to the Popes, and the gift made by Pope Alexander to the King of Castille of all the regions of the New World. When he had expounded all these doctrines, he called upon Atahualpa to embrace the Christian religion, to recognize the supreme authority of the Pope, and to submit to the King of Castille as his legitimate sovereign. If he submitted immediately, Valverde undertook to promise that the king his master would take Peru under his protection, and allow him to continue to reign there; but he declared war against him and threatened him with fearful vengeance if he refused to obey, and persevered in his impiety.

To say the least of it, this was a singular scene and a very strange harangue, alluding to facts which were utterly unknown to the Peruvians, and of the truth of which a more skilful orator than Valverde would not have succeeded in persuading them. If we add that the interpreter knew so little of the Spanish language that it was almost an impossibility for him to translate what he scarcely understood himself, and that the Peruvian language lacked words to express ideas so foreign to its genius, we shall not be much surprised to learn that Atahualpa understood almost nothing of the Spanish monk's discourse. Some sentences, however, which attacked his own power, filled him with surprise and indignation. But he was none the less moderate in his reply. He said that, as master of his own kingdom by right of succession, he could not see how any one had the power to dispose of it without his consent; he added that he was not at all willing to renounce the religion of his fathers to adopt one of which he had only heard that day for the first time; with regard to the other points touched upon in the discourse he understood nothing, it was a thing entirely new to him, and he would much like to know where Valverde had learnt so many wonderful things. "In this book," replied Valverde, handing him his breviary. Atahualpa received it with eagerness and turned over some of the leaves with much curiosity, then, putting it to his ear, he exclaimed, "What you show me there does not speak to me, and tells me nothing." With this he flung the book upon the ground.

This served as a signal for the combat, or rather for the massacre. Cannon and muskets came into play, the cavalry sprang forward, and the infantry fell sword in hand upon the stupefied Peruvians. In a few moments the confusion was at its height. The Indians fled on all sides, without attempting to defend themselves. As to Atahualpa, although his principal officers tried to make a rampart of their own bodies, while they carried him off, Pizarro sprang upon him, dispersed or overthrew his guards, and seizing him by his long hair, threw him down from the litter in which he was carried. Only the darkness could arrest the carnage. Four thousand Indians were killed, a greater number wounded, and 3000 were taken prisoners. An incontestable proof that there was no real battle is, that of all the Spaniards Pizarro alone was hit, and he received his wound from one of his own soldiers who was too precipitately endeavouring to seize upon the inca.

Atahualpa is made prisoner
Atahualpa is made prisoner.
From an old print.

The booty collected in the camp and from the dead exceeded anything the Spaniards could have imagined, and their enthusiasm was proportioned to the conquest of such riches.

At first Atahualpa bore his captivity with resignation, which may have been partly due to Pizarro's doing all he could to soothe him, at least by words. But the inca, soon understanding the unbridled covetousness of his jailors, made a proposal to Pizarro to pay him ransom, and to have a room of twenty-two feet in length by sixteen in width filled as high as the hand could reach with vases, utensils, and ornaments of gold. Pizarro eagerly agreed to this, and the captive inca despatched the necessary orders at once to all the provinces; these were carried out promptly and unmurmuringly. Beyond this, the Indian troops were disbanded, and Pizarro was able to send Soto and five Spaniards to Cuzco, a town situated more than 600 miles from Caxamalca, while he himself subjugated all the country within a circuit of 300 miles.

In the meantime Almagro landed with 200 soldiers. There had been set aside for him and his men—with what regrets may easily be imagined—100,000 pesos (a Spanish coin); a fifth was reserved for the king, and this left 1,528,500 pesos to be divided between Pizarro and his companions. This product of pillage and massacre was solemnly divided between those entitled to it on the Festival of St. James, the patron saint of Spain, after fervent prayer to God. A deplorable mixture this of religion and profanity, too common unfortunately, in these times of mingled superstition and avarice.

Each horse-soldier received 8000 pesos as his share, and each foot-soldier 4000, which would be equivalent to about 1600l. and 800l. sterling. This was enough to satisfy the most exacting soldier, after a campaign which had been neither long nor difficult. Many of the adventurers wished to enjoy this unexpected good fortune in a peaceable manner in their own country, and eagerly asked for their dismissal. This Pizarro granted without hesitation, for he felt sure that the news of their rapidly-acquired wealth would soon bring him new recruits. With his brother Ferdinand, who went to Spain to give the emperor an account of Pizarro's triumph and some splendid presents, went sixty Spaniards, laden heavily indeed with money, but lightly with remorse.

As soon as Atahualpa's ransom was paid, he claimed his freedom; but Pizarro, who had only saved his life that he might make all the treasures of Peru his own, and shelter himself under the prestige and authority which the inca still exercised over his subjects, was soon wearied by his entreaties. He suspected him also of having for some time secretly given orders to levy troops in the distant provinces of the empire. Besides, Atahualpa having soon discovered that Pizarro was no better educated than one of the lowest of his soldiers, felt in consequence a contempt for the governor which, unfortunately, he could not conceal. Such were the reasons, all trivial as they were, which determined Pizarro to prepare for the trial of the inca.

Nothing could have been more hateful than this trial, in which Almagro and Pizarro were at the same time both suitors and judges. The heads of the accusation were so ridiculous and absurd, that one is in doubt whether to be most surprised by the effrontery or the wickedness of Pizarro, in subjecting the head of a powerful empire, over which he had no jurisdiction, to such an inquiry. Atahualpa, being found guilty, was condemned to be burnt alive; but as he had at length asked to be baptized, that he might rid himself of the importunities of Valverde, his enemies contented themselves with strangling him. A worthy counterpart this, of Guatimozin's execution! These were amongst the most atrocious and odious deeds committed by the Spaniards in America, where, however, they have sullied themselves with every imaginable crime.

Among this herd of adventurers there were still some men who had retained sentiments of honour and self-respect. They protested loudly against this perversion of justice, but their generous pleadings were stifled by the selfish declamations of Pizarro and his worthy assistants.

The governor now raised one of Atahualpa's sons to the throne, under the name of Paul Inca; but the civil war between the two brothers, and the events which had occurred since the arrival of the Spaniards, had done much to loosen the ties which bound the Peruvians to their kings, and this young man, destined soon to die an ignominious death, had scarcely more authority than Manco-Capac, the son of Huascar, who was acknowledged by the inhabitants of Cuzco. Soon after this, some of the principal people in the country even tried to carve for themselves kingdoms out of the empire of Peru. Such was Ruminagui, the commandant of Quito, who caused the brother and the children of Atahualpa to be massacred, and declared himself independent. Discord reigned in the Peruvian camp, and the Spaniards resolved to take advantage of it. Pizarro advanced rapidly upon Cuzco, the small number of his forces having been the only reason which had prevented him from doing so sooner. Now that a crowd of adventurers, attracted by the treasures which had been brought back to Panama, vied with each other in hastening to Peru, now that he could assemble 500 men—after leaving an important garrison at San-Miguel under Benalcazar's command,—Pizarro had no further reason for delay. On the way some skirmishes took place with large bodies of troops, but they ended as always, with severe loss to the natives, and a very insignificant one to the Spaniards. When they entered Cuzco, and took possession of the town, the invaders showed surprise at the small quantity of gold and precious stones which they found there, although it far exceeded Atahualpa's ransom. Was this because they were becoming accustomed to the riches of the country, or because there was a larger number to share in them?

Meanwhile, Benalcazar, being weary of inaction, took advantage of the arrival of a reinforcement from Nicaragua and Panama, to set out for Quito, where according to the Peruvians, Atahualpa had left the greater part of his treasure. He placed himself at the head of eighty horse-soldiers and 120 infantry, defeated on several occasions Ruminagui, who disputed his passage, and thanks to his prudence and cleverness, he entered Quito victorious; but he did not find there what he sought, that is to say, the treasures of Atahualpa.

At the same time, Peter d'Alvarado, who had so signally distinguished himself under Cortès, and who had been made governor of Guatemala, as a reward for his services, pretended to believe that the province of Quito was not included in Pizarro's command, and organized an expedition consisting of 500 men, 200 of whom were cavalry. Landing at Porto-Viejo, he wished to reach Quito without a guide, by going up the Guayaquil River and crossing the Andes. This road has always been one of the worst and most trying that it is possible to choose. Before they had reached the plain of Quito, after horrible sufferings from hunger and thirst, without speaking of the burning cinders hurled from the crater of Chimborazo, a volcano near Quito, and the snow-storms which assailed them, the fifth part of the band of adventurers, and half the horses, had perished; the remainder were completely discouraged and quite unfit for fighting. It was therefore with the greatest surprise, and some uneasiness, that they found themselves face to face, not with a body of Indians as they had expected, but with a party of Spaniards, under the command of Almagro. The latter were preparing to charge, when some of the more moderate among the officers caused an arrangement to be entered into, by virtue of which Alvarado was to withdraw to his own province after receiving 100,000 pesos to defray the expenses of the armament.

Ferdinand Pizarro had set sail for Spain, while these events were happening in Peru, feeling sure that the immense quantity of gold, silver, and precious stones which he took with him, would secure him a warm welcome. He obtained for his brother Francisco the confirmation of his appointment as governor, with more extended powers; he himself was made a knight of the order of St. Iago; as for Almagro, he was confirmed in his title of adelantado, and his jurisdiction was extended 600 miles, without, however, its limits being very strictly defined, which left the door open for many contests and all kinds of arbitrary interpretations.

Ferdinand Pizarro had not reached Peru again, when Almagro, having learnt that a special government had been assigned to him, pretended that Cuzco formed part of it, and made preparations for its conquest. But Juan and Gonzalo Pizarro had no intention of allowing themselves to be robbed, and the parties were on the point of coming to blows when Francisco Pizarro, who is often called the Marquis or the great Marquis, arrived at the capital.

Almagro had never forgiven Francisco Pizarro the duplicity which he had displayed in his negotiations with Charles V., nor the coolness with which he had claimed for himself, at the expense of his two friends, the principal share of authority, and the most extended government. But as Almagro met with great opposition to his designs, and as he was not the stronger, he concealed his vexation, put a good face on the matter, and seemed delighted at a reconciliation. "They renewed their partnership, therefore," says Zarate, "on condition that Don Diego d'Almagro should go and discover the country on the south side, and if he found any that was really good, they should ask his Majesty to make him the governor of it; but that if he found nothing to suit him, they should share Don Francisco's government between them." This arrangement was made very solemnly, and they took their oath upon the consecrated wafer, that for the future they would undertake nothing against one another. Some say that Almagro swore that he would never encroach either upon Cuzco or on the surrounding country within 390 miles, even if his Majesty should give him the government of it. They add that turning towards the holy sacrament, he pronounced these words, "Lord, if I violate the oath that I now take, I pray that Thou wilt confound me, and punish me both in my body and my soul!"

Pizarro and Almagro take an oath upon the Host
Pizarro and Almagro take an oath upon the Host.

After this solemn agreement, which was destined to be observed with as little fidelity as the first, Almagro made his preparations for departure. Thanks to his well-known liberality, as much as to his reputation for courage, he gathered together 570 men, of about equal numbers of cavalry and infantry, with which he set out by land for Chili. The journey was an extremely trying one, and the adventurers suffered severely from intense cold whilst crossing the Andes; they had also to deal with very warlike tribes, unsoftened by any civilization, who assailed them with a furia of which nothing they had seen in Peru had given them any idea. Almagro could make no settlement, for he had scarcely been two months in the country when he heard that the Indians in Peru had revolted, and massacred the greater part of the Spaniards, whereupon he immediately retraced his steps.

After the new partnership had been signed between the conquerors (1534), Pizarro had returned to the provinces bordering on the sea, in which he could establish a regular government, there being no longer anything to dread from resistance. For a man who had never studied legislation, he had drawn up some very wise rules for the administration of justice, for the collection of taxes, the apportionment of the Indians, and the working of the mines. Some parts of the "conquistador's" character were doubtless very open to criticism, but it is only just to recognize that he was not wanting in enlarged ideas, and that he was conscientious in playing his part as the founder of a great empire. This it was which made him hesitate long before choosing the future capital of the Spanish possessions. Cuzco had the recommendation of having been the residence of the incas; but this town, situated more than 400 miles from the sea, was very distant from Quito, of which the importance seemed to Pizarro to be extreme. Before long he was struck with the beauty and fertility of a great valley, watered by a stream called the Rimac, and there in 1536, he established the seat of his dominion. Soon, the City of Kings (de Los Reyes), or Lima, as it is called by a corruption of the name of the river which flows at its feet, assumed the aspect of a great city, owing to the magnificent palace and the sumptuous residences for officers, which Pizarro caused to be built there. While these cares kept Pizarro far from his capital, small bodies of troops, sent in different directions, penetrated into the most distant provinces of the empire, with the object of extinguishing the last smouldering embers of resistance; so many of the soldiers were employed in this way, that there remained in Cuzco itself but a very small body of troops. The inca, who had remained in the hands of the Spaniards, thought this an opportune moment for fomenting a general rising, in which he earnestly hoped that the foreign government might be overthrown. Although closely guarded, he contrived to take his measures with so much skill that he did not arouse the suspicions of his oppressors. He obtained permission even to be present at a grand fête, which was to be held at several miles' distance from Cuzco, and for which the most distinguished persons in the empire had met together. As soon as the inca appeared, the standard of revolt was raised. The country was soon in arms from the confines of the province of Quito as far as Chili, and a number of small detachments of Spaniards were surprised and destroyed. Cuzco, defended by the three brothers Pizarro with but 170 Spaniards, was exposed for eight consecutive months to the incessant attacks of the Peruvians, who had now become expert in the use of the arms which they had taken from their enemies. The conquerors made a most valiant resistance, but experienced some severe losses, especially that of Juan Pizarro. Almagro left Chili in the greatest haste, crossed the stony and sandy desert of Atacama, where he suffered as severely from heat and drought as he had done in the Andes from cold and snow, penetrated into the Peruvian territory, defeated Manco-Capac in a great battle, and succeeded in approaching the town of Cuzco, after having driven away the Indians. He then tried to get the town given up to him, on the pretext that it was not included in Pizarro's government, and violating a truce, during which the followers of the marquis were taking a short rest, he entered Cuzco, seized both Ferdinand and Gonzalo Pizarro, and had himself acknowledged as governor.

While this was going on, a considerable body of Indians invested Lima, intercepted all communications, and annihilated the various small bodies of troops which Pizarro sent at intervals to the aid of the Spaniards at Cuzco. At this time he sent away all his vessels to Panama to compel his companions to make a desperate resistance; he recalled from Truxillo the forces under the command of Alonzo d'Alvarado, and entrusted to the latter a column of 500 men, which advanced to within several miles of the capital without having the slightest suspicion that the town was now in the hands of fellow-countrymen, who were fully determined to bar their passage. But Almagro desired much rather to attract these new adversaries to himself than to destroy them; he arranged therefore, to surprise them and make them prisoners. He had now a fine opportunity in his hands of ending the war, and making himself master of the two governments by a single blow. Several of his officers had observed this to him, and especially Orgoños, who proposed that the two brothers of the "conquistador" should be put to death, and that Almagro should advance by forced marches with his victorious troops against Lima, where Pizarro, taken by surprise, would not be able to resist him. But as a Latin poet says, "Jupiter makes dotards of those whom he means to ruin." Almagro, who in so many other instances had thrown aside all scruples, did not wish to put himself in the wrong by invading Pizarro's dominions as a rebel, and he quietly took the road back to Cuzco.

Looking at it only from the side of Almagro's own interests, he evidently committed in this a gross blunder, of which he was soon to repent; but if we consider, what we should never lose sight of, the interest of the country, he had already committed a capital crime in the acts of aggression of which he had been guilty, and in kindling civil war in face of an enemy quite ready to take advantage of it. His adversaries did not delay to remind him of it. Whereas prompt decision would have been necessary for Almagro to make him master of the situation, Pizarro had everything to expect from time and opportunity. While waiting for the promised reinforcements from Darien, he commenced negotiations with his adversary, lasting for several months, during which time one of his brothers, as well as Alvarado, found means to escape with more than seventy men. Although Almagro had been so often duped, he consented again to receive the licentiate Espinosa, who was ordered to represent to him, that if the emperor knew what was taking place between the two competitors, and learnt the condition to which their contests had reduced affairs, no doubt he would recall them both, and put some one else in their place. At last, after the death of Espinosa, it was decided by the friar Francisco de Bovadilla, to whom Pizarro and Almagro had referred their differences, that Ferdinand Pizarro should be immediately set free, that Cuzco should be given back to the marquis, and that they should send several officers on both sides to Spain, charged with representing the respective rights of the two parties and submitting them to the emperor's decision.

Scarcely had the last of his brothers been set at liberty than Pizarro, rejecting all idea of peace and amicable arrangement, declared that arms alone should decide whether he or Almagro was to be lord of Peru. In a short time he had assembled a body of 700 men, of which he entrusted the command to his two brothers. Finding it impossible to cross the mountains which would have been the most direct road to Cuzco, they followed the line of the sea-coast as far as Nasca, and then penetrated into a branch of the Andes, by which they could reach the capital in a short time. Possibly Almagro ought to have defended the mountain defiles, but he had only 500 men, and he reckoned much on his splendid cavalry, whom he could not deploy in a confined space; he therefore waited for the enemy in the plain of Cuzco. The two parties encountered each other on the 26th of April, 1538, with equal animosity; but the victory was decided by two companies of musketeers which the emperor had sent to Pizarro when he heard of the revolt of the Indians. One hundred and forty soldiers perished in this engagement, which received the name of las salinas. Orgoños and several officers of distinction were killed in cold blood after the battle, and Almagro himself, aged and ill, could not escape from Pizarro.

The Indians who, assembled in arms on the surrounding mountains, had reckoned upon falling on the conqueror, had need instead to fly in all haste. "Nothing," says Robertson, "more entirely proves the ascendancy gained by the Spaniards over the Americans, than seeing that the latter, witnesses of the defeat and dispersion of one of the parties, had not the courage to attack the other, even weakened and fatigued as they were by their victory, and dared not fall upon their oppressors when fortune offered them so favourable an opportunity for attacking them with advantage."

At this period a victory not followed by pillage was incomplete, so the town of Cuzco was sacked, and all the riches that Pizarro's companions found there did not suffice to content them. They had such exalted ideas of their merits and of the services which they had rendered, that each would have desired an appointment as governor. Ferdinand Pizarro therefore dispersed them, and sent them to conquer fresh territories with some of the partisans of Almagro who had rallied, and whom it was important to send to a distance.

As for Almagro himself, Ferdinand Pizarro, feeling convinced that his name constituted a focus of permanent agitation, resolved to get rid of him. He caused him therefore to be put upon his trial, which ended, as it was easy to foresee, in a sentence of death. When Almagro received this news, after giving way for a few moments to a very natural grief, pleading his great age and the different way in which he had behaved with regard to Ferdinand and Gonzalo Pizarro when they were his prisoners, he recovered his calmness and awaited his death with a soldier's courage. He was strangled in his prison, and afterwards publicly beheaded (1538).

After several successful expeditions, Ferdinand Pizarro set out for Spain, to give the Emperor an account of what had taken place. He found most minds there strangely prejudiced against him and his brothers. Their cruelty, their violence, and their disregard of the most sacred engagements had been laid bare without reserve, by some friends of Almagro's. Ferdinand Pizarro needed the utmost cleverness to win the Emperor round. Charles V. had no means of judging fairly on which side the justice of the case lay, for he had only heard of it from the interested parties; he could only discern the deplorable consequences to his own government of the civil war. He decided, therefore, to send a commissioner to the country, to whom he gave most extensive powers, and who, after having inquired into all that had taken place, should establish whatever form of government he thought most advisable. This delicate mission was confided to Christoval de Vaca, a judge of audience at Valladolid, who proved not unequal to his task. One fact is worthy of notice; he was recommended to show the greatest respect towards Francisco Pizarro, at the very time when his brother Ferdinand was arrested and thrown into a prison, where he was destined to remain forgotten for twenty years.

While these events were taking place in Spain, the Marquis portioned out the conquered country, keeping for himself and his trustworthy friends the most fertile and best situated districts, and giving to Almagro's companions, the men of Chili as they were called, only the more sterile and distant territories. Next he confided to Pedro de Valdivia, one of his aides-de-camp the execution of the project which Almagro had only been able to sketch out, the conquest of Chili. Valdivia set out on the 28th of January, 1540, with 150 Spaniards, amongst whom Pedro Gomez, Pedro de Miranda, and Alonzo de Monroy were destined especially to distinguish themselves; he crossed first the desert of Atacama, which even at the present day is considered a most troublesome enterprise, and reached Copiapo, standing in the midst of a beautiful valley. Received at first with great cordiality, he had to sustain, as soon as harvest was over, several combats with the Araucanians, a race of brave, indefatigable warriors, very different from the Indians of Peru. In spite of this, he laid the foundations of the town of Santiago on the 12th of February, 1541. Valdivia spent eight years in Chili, presiding over the conquest and organization of the country. Less greedy than the other "conquistadores" his contemporaries, he only sought for the mineral riches of the country that he might ensure the development of the prosperity of his colony, in which he had taken care first of all to encourage agriculture. "The best mine that I know of, is one of corn and wine with nourishment for livestock. Who has this, has money. As for mines, we do not depend upon them for subsistence. And often that which looks well outwardly is not really worth much." These wise words of Lescarbot, in his Histoire de la Nouvelle France, might have been used by Valdivia, so exactly do they correspond with and express his sentiments. His valour, prudence, and humanity, more especially the latter quality, which shines forth strangely in contrast with the cruelty of Pizarro, ensures for him a distinction all his own among the "conquistadores" of the sixteenth century.

The shores of Rio Napo
The shores of Rio Napo.

At the time that Valdivia set out for Chili, Gonzalo Pizarro crossed the Andes at the head of 340 Spaniards, half of whom were mounted, and 4000 Indians, of whom the greater part of the Indians perished from cold; then he penetrated eastwards into the interior, seeking for a country where spices and cinnamon were said to abound. In these vast Savannahs, intersected by marshes and virgin forests, the Spaniards encountered torrents of rain, which lasted quite two months; they found only a scattered population, who were not industrious and also hostile; in consequence, the invaders often suffered from hunger in a country where there were then neither horses nor oxen, where the largest quadrupeds were tapirs and llamas, and even the latter were seldom met with on this slope of the Andes. In spite of these difficulties, which would have discouraged any less energetic explorers than the descubridores of the sixteenth century, they persevered in their attempt and descended the Rio Napo or Coca, an affluent on the left of the Marañon, as far as its confluence. There, with great difficulty they built a brigantine, which was manned by fifty soldiers under the command of Francisco Orellana. But either the strength of the current carried him away, or else being no longer under the eyes of his chief, he wished in his turn to be the leader of an expedition of discovery; he did not wait for Gonzalo Pizarro at the appointed rendezvous, but continued to descend the river until he reached the ocean. Such a voyage is simply marvellous, through nearly 6000 miles of an unknown region, without guide, without compass, without provisions, with a crew who murmured more than once against the foolish attempt of their leader, and in the midst of populations almost invariably hostile. From the mouth of the river, which he had just descended in his badly built and dilapidated vessel, Orellana succeeded in reaching the Island of Cubagua, whence he set sail for Spain. If the proverb "He who comes from a distance tells many lies" were not of much earlier date, one might have thought it had been coined for Orellana. He invented the most preposterous fables as to the wealth of the countries he had traversed; the inhabitants were so rich that the roofs of the temples were formed of plates of gold; an assertion which gave rise to the legend of El Dorado. Orellana had heard of the existence of a Republic of female warriors who had founded a vast empire, which caused the river Marañon to be called the River of the Amazons. If, however, we strip this narrative of all that is ridiculous and grotesque, and calculated to please the imaginations of his contemporaries, it remains certain that Orellana's expedition is one of the most remarkable of this epoch, so fertile in gigantic enterprises; and it furnishes the first information upon the immense zone of country lying between the Andes and the Atlantic.

But we must return to Gonzalo Pizarro. His embarrassment and consternation had been great, when on arriving at the confluence of the Napo and Marañon, he had not found Orellana, who was to have been awaiting him. Fearing that some accident might have befallen his lieutenant, he had descended the course of the river for 150 miles, until he met with an unfortunate officer, who had been left behind for having addressed some remonstrances to his chief upon his perfidy. The bravest among Pizarro's men were discouraged at the news of the cowardly way in which they had been abandoned, and at the destitute condition in which they were left. Pizarro was obliged to yield to their entreaties and to return to Quito, from which they were more than 1200 miles away. To give an idea of their sufferings on this return journey, it suffices to say that, after having eaten horses, dogs, and reptiles, roots, and wild beasts, and after having devoured every article made of leather in their accoutrements, the unfortunate survivors who reached Quito, lacerated by brambles, emaciated and utterly impoverished, numbered only twenty-four. Four thousand Indians and two hundred and ten Spaniards had perished in this expedition, which had lasted less than two years.

While Gonzalo Pizarro was conducting the unfortunate expedition just related, the old partisans of Almagro, who had never frankly joined Pizarro, gathered round the son of their old leader, and formed a plot for murdering the Marquis. In vain was Francisco Pizarro several times warned of what was threatening him, he would pay no heed to the report. He said "Keep quiet, I shall be safe as long as there is no one in Peru who does not know that I can in a moment take the life of any one who should dare to form the project of attempting mine."

On Sunday, the 26th of June, 1541, at the hour of siesta, Juan de Herrada and eighteen conspirators left the house of Almagro's son with drawn swords in their hands and armed from top to toe. They ran towards the house of Pizarro, crying out, "Death to the tyrant! death to the infamous wretch!" They entered the palace, killed Francisco de Chaves, who had appeared in haste on hearing the noise, and gained the hall, where was Francisco Pizarro, with his brother Francisco-Martin, the doctor Juan Velasquez, and a dozen servants. These jumped out of the windows, with the exception of Martin Pizarro, two other gentlemen, and two tall pages, who were killed while defending the door of the governor's apartment. He himself had not had time to put on his cuirass, but he seized his sword and buckler and defended himself valiantly, killing four of his adversaries and wounding several others. One of his assailants, in a spirit of self-devotion, attracted to himself the blows of Pizarro. Meanwhile the other conspirators made their way in and attacked him with such fury that he could not parry all the blows, being so exhausted that he could scarcely wield his sword. "Thus," says Zarate, "they made an end, and succeeded in killing him by a thrust in the throat. Falling to the ground, he asked in a loud voice that he might be allowed to confess, and then not being able any longer to speak, he made the sign of the cross on the ground, which he kissed, and then yielded up his soul to God." Some negroes carried his body to the church, where Juan Barbazan, his old servant, alone ventured to come and claim it. This faithful servant secretly rendered to it funeral honours, for the conspirators had pillaged the house of Pizarro, not leaving enough even to pay for wax tapers.

Death of Pizarro
Death of Pizarro.
From an old print.

Thus did Francisco Pizarro come to his end, assassinated even in the capital of the vast empire which Spain owed to his valour and indefatigable perseverance, but which he bestowed upon his country, it must be admitted, ravaged, decimated, and drowned in a deluge of blood. Pizarro is often compared with Cortès; the one had as much ambition, courage, and military capacity as the other; but the cruelty and avarice of the Marquis della Valle were carried to an extreme in Pizarro, and united in him to perfidy and duplicity. If we are inclined to excuse certain parts of Cortès' character which are not estimable, by the times in which he lived, we are at least charmed by that grace and nobility of manners, and by that way of a gentleman above prejudices, which made him so much beloved by the soldier. In Pizarro, on the contrary, we find roughness, and a harsh, unsympathizing way of feeling, while his chivalrous qualities disappear entirely behind the rapacity and perfidy which are the salient features of his character.

If Cortès found brave and resolute adversaries among the Mexicans, who opposed almost insurmountable difficulties to his progress, Pizarro had no trouble in vanquishing the Peruvians, who were timid and enervated, and who never made any serious resistance to his arms. Of the conquests of Peru and Mexico, the less difficult produced the greater metallurgic advantage to Spain, and thus it was the more appreciated.

The civil war was on the point of breaking out again after Pizarro's death when the governor arrived, who was delegated by the metropolitan government. As soon as he had collected the needful troops, he marched towards Cuzco. He seized young Almagro without trouble, had him beheaded with forty of his confederates and governed the country with firmness, until the viceroy Blasco Nuñez Vela, arrived. It is not our intention to enter into the detail of the disputes which took place between the latter and Gonzalo Pizarro, who, profiting by the general discontent, caused by the new regulations as to the "repartimientos," revolted against the Emperor's representative. After many changes of fortune, for which we have not space, the struggle ended by the defeat and execution of Gonzalo Pizarro, which took place in 1548. His body was taken to Cuzco and buried fully dressed; "No one," says Garcilasso de la Vega, "being willing to give even a winding-sheet for it." Thus ended the judicial assassin of Almagro. Is not the text appropriate in this case: "They that take the sword shall perish with the sword"?





CHAPTER II.

THE FIRST VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD.
Magellan—His early history—His disappointment—His change of nationality—Preparations for the expedition—Rio de Janeiro—St. Julian's Bay—Revolt of a part of the squadron—Terrible punishment of the guilty—Magellan's Strait—Patagonia—The Pacific—The Ladrone Islands—Zebu and the Philippine Islands—Death of Magellan—Borneo—The Moluccas and their Productions—Separation of the Trinidad and Victoria—Return to Europe by the Cape of Good Hope—Last misadventures.

No one as yet was aware of the immense size of the continent discovered by Christopher Columbus. Still was sought perseveringly on the coast of America—which was thought to be a collection of several islands—the famous strait which should lead at once to the Pacific Ocean and to those Spice Islands the possession of which would have made the fortune of Spain. While Cortereal and Cabot were seeking for it in the Atlantic Ocean, and Cortès in the furthest part of the Gulf of California, while Pizarro was coasting along Peru, and Valdivia was conquering Chili, the solution of this problem was found by a Portuguese in the service of Spain, Ferdinand de Magellan.

The son of a gentleman of Cota e Armas, Ferdinand de Magellan was born either at Oporto, at Lisbon, at Villa de Sabrossa, or at Villa de Figueiro, it is not actually known which; the date of his birth is unknown, but it took place towards the end of the fifteenth century. He had been brought up in the house of King John II., where he received as complete an education as could then be given him. After having made mathematics and navigation his special study—for at this time in Portugal there was an irresistible current which drew the whole country towards maritime expeditions and discoveries—Magellan early embraced a maritime career, and embarked in 1505 with Almeida, who was on his way to the Indies. He took part in the sacking of Quiloa, and in all the events of that campaign. The following year he accompanied Vaz Pereira to Sofala; then, on returning to the Malabar coast, we find him assisting Albuquerque at the taking of Malacca, and bearing himself on that occasion with equal prudence and bravery. He took part in the expedition sent by Albuquerque about 1510, to seek for the famous Spice Islands, under the command of Antonio de Abreu and of Francisco Serrão, which discovered Banda, Amboyna, Ternate, and Tidor. During this time Magellan had landed at the Malaysian Islands, distant 1800 miles from Malacca, and in the Archipelago of the Moluccas he had obtained the circumstantial information which gave birth in his mind to the idea of the voyage which he was destined to accomplish later on.

Magellan on board his caravel
Magellan on board his caravel.
From an old print.

On his return to Portugal, Magellan obtained leave, though not without difficulty, to search through the royal archives. He soon became certain that the Moluccas were situated in the hemisphere which the bull of demarcation adopted at Tordesillas by the kings of Spain and Portugal, and confirmed in 1494 by Pope Alexander VI., had given to Spain.

In virtue of this line of demarcation, which was destined to give rise to so many impassioned debates, all the countries situated at 360 miles west of the meridian of the Cape de Verd Islands were to belong to Spain, and all those lying to the east of the same meridian to Portugal. Magellan was of too active a nature to remain long without again taking service; he went next to fight in Africa at Azamor, a town in Morocco, where he received a slight wound in his knee, but one which by injuring a nerve made him lame for the remainder of his life, and obliged him to return to Portugal. Conscious of the superiority which his theoretical and practical knowledge and his services had earned for him above the herd of courtiers, Magellan naturally felt more keenly than another would have done the unjust treatment he received from Emmanuel with regard to certain complaints laid by the people of Azamor against the Portuguese officers. King Emmanuel's prejudices soon changed to a real dislike. It showed itself by the outrageous imputation that Magellan was pretending to suffer from a wound which was really of no consequence and was completely cured, that he might escape from accusations which he could not refute. Such an assertion was a serious matter for the honour of Magellan, so susceptible and suspicious; he thereupon came to a desperate determination which corresponded moreover with the greatness of the insult which he had received. That no one might be ignorant of it, he caused it to be legally set forth that he renounced his rights as a Portuguese citizen, and changed his nationality, and he then took out letters of naturalization in Spain. This was to proclaim, as solemnly as could possibly be done, that he intended to be looked upon as a subject of the crown of Castille, to which henceforward he would consecrate his services and his whole life. This was a serious determination, as we can see, which no one blamed, and which even the most severe historians, such as Barros and Faria y Sousa, have excused.

At the same time as Magellan, the licentiate Rey Faleiro left Lisbon with his brother Francisco and a merchant named Christovam de Haro; the former was a man deeply versed in cosmographical knowledge, and had equally with Magellan fallen under Emmanuel's displeasure. Faleiro had entered into a treaty of partnership with Magellan to reach the Moluccas by a new way, but one which was not otherwise specified, and which remained Magellan's secret. As soon as they arrived in Spain, (1517), the two partners submitted their project to Charles V., who accepted it in principle; but there remained the always delicate question touching the means for putting it into execution. Happily, Magellan found in Juan de Aranda, the factor of the Chamber of Commerce, an enthusiastic partisan of his theories, and one who promised to exert all his influence to make the enterprise a success. He had an interview accordingly with the high Chancellor, the Cardinal and Bishop of Burgos, Fonseca. He set forth with such skill the great advantage that Spain would derive from the discovery of a route leading to the very centre of the spice production, and the great prejudice which it would cause to the trade of Portugal, that an agreement was signed on the 22nd of March, 1518. The Emperor undertook to pay all the expenses of the expedition on condition that the greater part of the profits should belong to him.

But Magellan had still many obstacles to surmount before taking to the sea. In the first place there were the remonstrances of the Portuguese ambassador, Alvaro de Costa, who, seeing that his endeavours were in vain, even tried to compass the assassination of Magellan, so says Faria y Sousa. Then he encountered the ill-will of the employés of the Casa de contratacion at Seville, who were jealous of a stranger being entrusted with the command of such an important expedition, and envious of the least token of favour which had been accorded to Magellan and Rey Faleiro, who had been named commanders of the order of St. James. But Charles V. had given his consent by a public act, which seemed to be irrevocable. They tried, however, to make the Emperor alter his decision by organizing, on the 22nd of October, 1518, a disturbance paid for with Portuguese gold. It broke out on the pretext that Magellan, who had just had one of his ships drawn on shore for repairs and painting, had decorated it with the Portuguese arms. This last attempt failed miserably, and three statutes of the 30th of March, and 6th and 30th of April, fixed the composition of the crews and named the staff; while a final official document dated from Barcelona the 26th of July, 1519, confided the sole command of the expedition to Magellan.

What had meanwhile been happening to Rey Faleiro? We cannot exactly say. But this man, who had up to this time been treated on the same footing as Magellan, and who had perhaps first conceived the project, now found himself quite excluded from the command of the expedition, after some dissensions of which the cause is unknown. His health, already shaken, received a last shock from this affront, and poor Rey Faleiro, who had become almost childish, having returned to Portugal to see his family, was arrested there, and only released upon the intercession of Charles V. At last, after having sworn fidelity and homage to the crown of Castille, Magellan received in his turn the oath of his officers and sailors, and left the port of San Lucar de Barrameda on the morning of the 10th of August, 1519.

But before entering on the narrative of this memorable campaign, we must give a few particulars of the man who has left us the most complete account of it, Francesco Antonio Pigafetta or Jerome Pigaphète as he is often called in France. Born at Venice about 1491, of a noble family, Pigafetta formed part of the suite of the Ambassador Francesco Chiericalco, sent by Leo X. to Charles V., who was then at Barcelona. His attention was no doubt aroused by the noise which the preparations for the expedition made at that time in Spain, and he obtained permission to take part in the voyage. This volunteer proved an excellent recruit, for he showed himself in every respect as faithful and intelligent an observer as he was a brave and courageous companion. He was wounded at the battle of Zebu, fighting beside Magellan, which prevented him from being present at the banquet during which so many of his companions were destined to lose their lives. As to his narrative, with the exception of some exaggerations of detail according to the taste of that time, it is exact, and the greater part of the descriptions which we owe to him have been verified by modern travellers and learned men, especially by M. Alcide d'Orbigny.

Upon his return to San Lucar on the 6th of September, 1522, after having fulfilled the vow which he had made to go bare-foot to return thanks to Nuesta Señora de la Victoria, the Lombard (as they called him on board the Victoria,) presented to Charles V., then at Valladolid, a complete journal of the voyage. When he returned to Italy, by means of the original as well as of some supplementary notes, he wrote a longer narrative of the expedition, at the request of Pope Clement VII. and of Villiers de l'Isle Adam, grand-master of the Knights of Malta. He sent copies of this work to several distinguished personages, and notably to Louisa of Savoy, mother of Francis I. But she not understanding, so thinks Harrisse, the very learned author of the Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima, the kind of patois used by Pigafetta, and which resembles a mixture of Italian, Venetian, and Spanish, employed a certain Jacques Antoine Fabre to translate it into French. Instead of giving a faithful translation, Fabre made a kind of abridgment of it. Some critics, however, suppose that this narrative must have been written originally in French; they found their opinion upon the existence of three French manuscripts of the sixteenth century, which give very different readings, and of which two are deposited in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris.

Pigafetta died at Venice about 1534, in a house in the Rue de la Lune, which in 1800 was still to be seen, and which bore the well-known device, "No rose without a thorn."

At the same time, not wishing to confine ourselves to Pigafetta's narrative entirely, we have compared and completed it with that of Maximilian Transylvain, secretary to Charles V., of which there is an Italian translation in Ramusio's valuable collection.

The fleet of Magellan consisted of the Trinidad, of 120 tons' burden, which carried the flag of the commander of the expedition; the Sant'-Antonio, also of 120 tons, commanded by Juan de Carthagena, the second in rank, the person joined with Magellan, says the official document; the Concepcion, of 90 tons, commanded by Gaspar de Quesada; the famous Victoria, of 85 tons, commanded by Luis de Mendoza; and lastly the Santiago, of 75 tons, commanded by Joao Serrâo, called by the Spaniards Serrano.

Four of these captains and nearly all the pilots were Portuguese. Barbosa and Gomez on board the Trinidad, Luis Alfonso de Goez and Vasco Gallego on the Victoria, Serrâo, Joao Lopez de Carvalho on the Concepcion, Joao Rodriguez de Moefrapil on the Sant'-Antonio, and Joao Serrâo on the Santiago, with 25 sailors, formed a total of 33 Portuguese out of the whole body of 237 individuals whose names have all been handed down to us, and amongst whom are found a considerable number of Frenchmen.

Of the officers whose names have been mentioned, it is to be remembered that Duarte Barbosa was brother-in-law to Magellan and that Estavam Gomez, who, by returning to Seville on the 6th of May, 1521, did not participate in the conclusion of this memorable voyage, was afterwards sent by Charles V. to seek for the north-west passage, and in 1524 sailed along the coast of America from Florida to Rhode Island, and perhaps as far as Cape Cod.

Nothing could have been better arranged than this expedition, for the equipment of which the whole resources of the nautical science of that epoch had been taxed. At the moment of departure Magellan gave his last orders to his pilots and captains, and the code of signals which were to ensure unanimity in manoeuvres, and prevent a possible separation.

On Monday morning, the 10th of August, 1519, the fleet weighed anchor and sailed down the Guadalquiver as far as San Lucar de Barrameda, which forms the port of Seville, where the victualling of the ships was completed, and it was the 20th of September before they were really off. Six days afterwards the fleet anchored at Teneriffe in the Canary Archipelago, where both wood and water were taken on board. It was on leaving this island that the first symptoms appeared of the misunderstanding between Magellan and Juan de Carthagena which was to prove so fatal to the expedition. The latter claimed to be informed by the commander-in-chief of the route which he intended to take, a claim which was at once rejected by Magellan, who declared that he was not called upon to give any explanation to his subordinate.

After having passed between the Cape de Verd Islands and Africa, the ships reached the shores of Sierra Leone, where contrary winds and dead calms detained the fleet for twenty days.

Juan de Carthagena placed in the stocks
Juan de Carthagena placed in the stocks.

A painful incident now occurred. During a council which was held on board the flag-ship, a sharp dispute arose, and Juan de Carthagena, who affected to treat the Captain-general with contempt, having answered him with pride and insolence, Magellan felt obliged to arrest him with his own hand, and to have him put in the stocks, an instrument made of two pieces of wood placed one upon the other and pierced with holes, in which were placed the legs of the sailor who was to be punished. The other captains remonstrated loudly with Magellan against a punishment which was too degrading for a superior officer, and Carthagena in consequence was simply put under arrest, and guarded by one of the captains. To the calms now succeeded rain, tempests, and heavy squalls, which obliged the vessels to lie-to. During these storms the navigators several times witnessed an electric phenomenon of which the cause was not then known, but which they considered an undoubted sign of the protection of heaven, and which even at the present day is known by the name of St. Elmo's fire. Once past the equinoctial line—a passage which does not at that time seem to have been celebrated by the grotesque ceremony of baptism which is in vogue at the present day—they steered for Brazil, where, on the 13th of December, 1519, the fleet cast anchor in the magnificent port of Santa Lucia, now known under the name of Rio Janeiro. This was not, however, the first time that this bay had been seen by Europeans, as was long believed. Since the year 1511 it had been known under the name of Bahia do Cabo Frio. It had been visited also, four years before Magellan's arrival, by Pero Lopez, and seems to have been frequented since the commencement of the sixteenth century by mariners from Dieppe who, inheritors of the passion for adventurous navigation of their ancestors the North-men, roamed over the world, and founded small establishments or factories in all directions. Here the Spanish expedition procured cheaply, in exchange for looking-glasses, pieces of ribbon, scissors, hawks' bells or fish-hooks, a quantity of provisions, amongst which Pigafetta mentions pine-apples, sugar-canes, sweet potatoes, fowls, and the flesh of the Anta, which is thought to be the tapir.

The account given in the same narrative of the manners of the inhabitants is sufficiently curious to be repeated. "The Brazilians are not Christians," he says, "but no more are they idolaters, for they worship nothing; natural instinct is their only law." This is an interesting fact, and a singular avowal for an Italian of the sixteenth century, deeply imbued with superstition; it offers one more proof that the idea of the Divinity is not innate, as some theologians have imagined. "These natives live to a great age, they go entirely naked, and sleep in cotton nets called hammocks, suspended by the two ends to beams. As to their boats, called canoes, each is hollowed out of the single trunk of a tree and can hold as many as forty men. They are anthropophagi (cannibals), but only on special occasions, and scarcely ever eat any but their enemies taken in battle. Their dress of ceremony is a kind of vest made of paroquets' feathers, woven together, and so arranged that the large wing and tail-feathers form a sort of girdle round their loins, which gives them a whimsical and ridiculous appearance."

We have already said that the feather cloak was in use on the shores of the Pacific, among the Peruvians; it is curious to ascertain that it was worn equally by the Brazilians. Some specimens of this singular garment may be seen at the exhibition of the Ethnographical Museum. This was not however the only ornament of these savages; they suspended little stone cylinders from three holes pierced in the lower lip, a custom which is common among many of the Oceanic people, and which may be compared with our fashion of ear-rings. These people were extremely credulous and of good disposition and thus, as Pigafetta says, they could easily have been converted to Christianity, for they assisted in silence, and with gravity, at the mass which was said on shore, a remark that Alvarez Cabral had already made.

The Coast of Brazil
The Coast of Brazil.

After remaining thirteen days in this place, the squadron continued its route to the south, coasting along the shore, and arrived at 34° 40' of south latitude in a country where flowed a large river of fresh water. It was the La Plata. The natives, called Charruas, were so frightened at the sight of the vessels that they hastily took refuge in the interior of the country, carrying with them all their valuables, and it was impossible to overtake any of them. It was in this country that four years previously, Juan Diaz de Solis had been massacred by a tribe of Charruas, armed with that terrible engine which is still in use at the present day among the gauchos of the Argentine Republic, the bolas, which are metal balls fastened to the two ends of a long leather thong, called a lasso.

A little below the estuary of the La Plata, once thought to be an arm of the sea opening into the Pacific, the flotilla anchored at Port Desire. Here they obtained an ample supply of penguins for the crews of the five vessels—a bird which did not make a very delicious meal. Then they anchored in 49° 30' in a beautiful harbour, where Magellan resolved to winter, and which received the name of St. Julian's Bay. The Spaniards had been two months there, when one day they perceived a man who seemed to them to be of gigantic stature. At sight of them he began dancing and singing and throwing dust upon his head. This was a Patagonian, who allowed himself without resistance to be taken on board the vessels. He showed the greatest surprise at all he saw around him, but nothing astonished him so much as a large steel mirror which was presented to him. "The giant, who had not the least idea of the use of this piece of furniture, and who, no doubt, now saw his own face for the first time, drew back in such terror, that he threw to the ground four of our people who were behind him." He was taken back on shore loaded with presents, and the kind welcome which he had received induced eighteen of his companions, thirteen women and five men, to come on board. They were tall, and had broad faces, painted red except the eyes, which were encircled with yellow; their hair was whitened with lime, they were wrapped in enormous fur cloaks, and wore those large leather boots from which was given to them the name of Large-feet or Patagonians. Their stature was not, however, so gigantic as it appeared to our simple narrator, for it varies from 5ft. 10in. to 5ft. 8in., being somewhat above the middle height among Europeans. For arms they had a short massive bow, and arrows made of reed, of which the point was formed of a sharp pebble.

The captain, to retain two of these savages whom he wished to take to Europe, used a stratagem, which we should characterize as hateful in the present day, but which had nothing revolting about it for the sixteenth century, when Indians and negroes were universally considered to be a kind of brute beasts. Magellan loaded these Indians with presents, and when he saw them embarrassed with the quantity, he offered to each of them one of those iron rings used for chaining captives. They would have desired to carry them away, for they valued iron above everything, but their hands were full. It was then proposed to fasten the rings to their legs, to which they agreed without suspicion. The sailors then closed the rings, so that the savages found themselves in fetters. Nothing can give an idea of their fury when they discovered this stratagem, worthy rather of savages than of civilized men. The capture of others was attempted, but in vain, and in the chase one of the Spaniards was wounded by a poisoned arrow, which caused his death almost instantaneously. Intrepid hunters, these people wander about perpetually in pursuit of guanaquis and other game; they are endowed with such wonderful voracity "that what would suffice for the nourishment of twenty sailors, can scarcely satisfy seven or eight of them." Magellan, foreseeing that the stay here was likely to be prolonged, and perceiving that the country only presented meagre resources, gave orders to economize the provisions, and to put the men on fixed rations, that they might not experience too great privations before the spring, when they might reach a country where there was more game. But the Spaniards, discontented at the sterility of the place, and at the length and rigour of the winter, began to murmur. This land seemed to stretch southwards as far as the Antarctic pole, they said; there did not seem to be any strait; already several had died from the privations they had endured; lastly it was time to return to Spain, if the commander did not wish to see all his men perish in this place.

Magellan, fully resolved to die, or else to bring the enterprise he commanded to a successful issue, replied that the Emperor had assigned him the course which the voyage was to take, and he neither could nor would depart from it under any pretext, and that in consequence, he should go straight forward to the end of this land, or until he met with some strait. As to provisions, if they found them insufficient, his men might add to their rations the produce of their fishing or hunting. Magellan thought that so firm a declaration would impose silence on the malcontents, and that he would hear no more of privations, from which he suffered equally with his crews. He deceived himself completely. Certain of the captains, and Juan de Carthagena in particular, were interested in causing a revolt to break out. These rebels therefore began by reminding the Spaniards of their old animosity against the Portuguese. The captain-general being one of the latter nation, had never, according to them, tendered a whole-hearted allegiance to the Spanish flag. In order to be able to return to his own country and to gain pardon for what he had done wrong, he wished to commit some heinous crime, and nothing could be more advantageous to Portugal than the destruction of this fine fleet. Instead of leading them to the Archipelago of the Moluccas, of the riches of which he had boasted to them, he wished to take them into frozen regions, the dwelling-place of eternal snow, where he could easily manage that they should all perish; then with the help of the Portuguese on board the squadron, he would take back to his own country the vessels which he had seized.

Such were the reports and accusations that the partisans of Juan de Carthagena, Luis de Mendoza, and Gaspar de Quesada had disseminated among the sailors, when on Palm Sunday, the 1st of April, 1520, Magellan summoned the captains, officers, and pilots, to hear mass on board his vessel and to dine with him afterwards. Alvaro de la Mesquita, a cousin of the captain-general, accepted this invitation with Antonio de Coca and his officers, but neither Mendoza nor Quesada, nor Juan de Carthagena, who was Quesada's prisoner, appeared. The next night the malcontents boarded the Sant'-Antonio with thirty of the men of the Concepcion, and desired to have La Mesquita given up to them. The pilot, Juan de Eliorraga, while defending his captain, received four stabs from a poniard in the arm. Quesada cried out at the same time, "You will see that this fool will make our business fail." The three vessels, the Concepcion, Sant'-Antonio, and Santiago, fell without difficulty into the hands of the rebels, who reckoned more than one accomplice among the crews. In spite of this success, the three captains did not dare openly to attack the commander-in-chief, and sent to him some proposals for a reconciliation. Magellan ordered them to come on board the Trinidad to confer with him; but this they stoutly refused to do, whereupon Magellan, having no further need of caution, had the boat seized which had brought him this answer, and choosing six strong and brave men from amongst his crew, he sent them on board the Victoria under the command of the alguazil Espinosa. He carried a letter from Magellan to Mendoza enjoining him to come on board the Trinidad, and when Mendoza smiled in a scornful manner, Espinosa stabbed him in the throat with a poniard, while a sailor struck him on the head with a cutlass. While these events were taking place, another boat, laden with fifteen armed men, came alongside the Victoria, and took possession of her without any resistance from the sailors, surprised by the rapidity of the action. On the next day, the 3rd of April, the two other rebel vessels were taken, not however without bloodshed. Mendoza's body was divided into quarters, while a clerk read in a loud voice the sentence that blasted his memory. Three days afterwards, Quesada was beheaded and cut in pieces by his own servant, who undertook this sad task to save his own life. As to Carthagena, the high rank which the royal edict had conferred upon him in the expedition saved him from death, but with Gomez de la Reina, the chaplain, he was left behind on the shore, where some months afterwards he was found by Estevam Gomez. Forty sailors convicted of rebellion were pardoned because their services were considered indispensable. After this severe lesson Magellan might well hope that the mutinous spirit was really subdued.

When the temperature became milder the anchors were weighed; the squadron put to sea on the 24th of August, following the coast, and carefully exploring all the gulfs to find that strait which had been so persistently sought. At the level of Cape St. Croix, one of the vessels, the Santiago, was lost on the rocks during a violent gale from the east. Happily both the men and merchandise on board were saved, and they succeeded also in taking from the wrecked vessel the rigging and appurtenances of the ship, which they divided among the four remaining vessels.

At last on the 21st of October, according to Pigafetta, the 27th of November according to Maximilian Transylvain, the flotilla penetrated by a narrow entrance into a gulf, at the bottom of which a strait opened, which as they soon saw passed into the sea to the south. First they called this the Strait of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, because this was the day dedicated to them. On each side of the strait rose high land covered with snow, on which they saw numerous fires, especially to the left, but they were unable to obtain any communication with the natives. The details which Pigafetta and Martin Transylvain have given with regard to the topographical and hydrographical dispositions of this strait are rather vague, and as we shall have to mention it again when we speak of De Bougainville's expedition, we shall not dilate upon it now. After sailing for twenty-two days across this succession of narrow inlets and arms of the sea, in some places three miles wide, in some twelve, which extends for a distance of 440 miles and has received the name of Magellan's Strait, the flotilla emerged upon a sea of immense extent and great depth.

The rejoicings were general when at last the sailors found themselves at the long-wished-for end of their efforts. Henceforward the route was open and Magellan's clever conjectures were realized.

Nothing is more extraordinary than the navigation of Magellan upon this ocean, which he called Pacific, because for four months no storm assailed him upon it. The privations endured by the crews during this long space of time were excessive. The biscuit was nothing more than dust mixed with worms, while the water had become bad and gave out an unbearable smell. The sailors were obliged to eat mice and sawdust to prevent themselves from dying of hunger, and to gnaw all the leather that it was possible to find. As it was easy to foresee under these circumstances, the crews were decimated by scurvy. Nineteen men died, and thirty were seized with violent pains in their arms and legs, which caused prolonged sufferings. At last, after having sailed over more than 12,000 miles without meeting with a single island, in a sea where so many and such populous archipelagos were destined to be discovered, the fleet came upon two desert and sterile islands, called for that reason the Unfortunate Islands, but of which the position is indicated in much too contradictory a manner, for it to be possible to recognize them.

In 12° north latitude and 146° longitude, on Wednesday the 6th of March, the navigators discovered successively three islands, at which they greatly desired to stop to recruit, and take in fresh provisions; but the islanders who came on board stole so many things, without the possibility of preventing them, that the sailors were obliged to give up the idea of remaining there. The natives contrived even to carry off a long boat. Magellan, indignant at such daring, made a descent with forty armed men, burned some houses and boats, and killed seven men. These islanders had neither chief, king, nor religion. Their heads were covered with palm-leaf hats, they wore beards, and their hair descended to their waists. Generally of an olive tint, they thought they embellished themselves by colouring their teeth black and red, while their bodies were anointed with cocoa-nut oil, no doubt in order to protect themselves from the heat of the sun. Their canoes of curious construction, carried a very large matting sail, which might have easily capsized the boat if the precaution had not been taken of giving a more stable trim by means of a long piece of wood kept at a certain distance by two poles; this is what is called the "balance." These islanders were very industrious, but had a singular aptitude for stealing, which has gained for their country the name of the Islands of Thieves (Ladrone Islands).

The Ladrone Islands
The Ladrone Islands.
From an old print.

On the 16th of March was seen, at about 900 miles from the Ladrones, some high ground; this was soon discovered to be an island which now goes by the name of Samar Island. There Magellan, resolving to give his exhausted crews some rest, caused two tents to be pitched on land for the use of the sick. The natives quickly brought bananas, palm wine, cocoa-nuts, and fish; for which mirrors, combs, bells, and other similar trifles were offered in exchange. The cocoa-nut, a tree which is valuable beyond all others, supplied these natives with their bread, wine, oil, and vinegar, and besides they obtained from it their clothing and the necessary wood for building and roofing in their huts.

The natives soon became familiar with the Spaniards, and told them that their archipelago produced cloves, cinnamon, pepper, nutmegs, ginger, maize or Indian-corn, and that even gold was found there. Magellan gave this archipelago the name of the St. Lazarus Islands, afterwards changed to that of the Philippines from the name of Philip of Austria, son of Charles V.

This archipelago is formed of a great number of islands which extend in Malaysia, between 5° 32' and 19° 38' north latitude, and 114° 56' and 123° 43' longitude east of the meridian of Paris. The most important are Luzon, Mindoro, Leyte, the Ceylon of Pigafetta, Samar, Panay, Negros, Zebu, Bohol, Palawan, and Mindanao.

When they were a little restored, the Spaniards put to sea again, in order to explore the archipelago. They saw in succession the islands of Cenalo, Huinaugan, Ibusson, and Abarien, as well as another island called Massava, of which the king Colambu could make himself understood by a slave a native of Sumatra, whom Magellan had taken to Europe from India, and who by his knowledge of Malay rendered signal service in several instances. The king came on board with six or eight of his principal subjects. He brought with him presents for the captain-general, and in exchange he received a vest of red and yellow cloth, made in Turkish fashion, and a cap of fine scarlet, while mirrors and knives were given to the members of his suite. The Spaniards showed him all their fire-arms and fired some shots from the cannon in his presence, at which he was much terrified. "Then Magellan caused one of our number to be fully armed," says Pigafetta, "and ordered three men to give him blows with the sword and stiletto, to show the king that nothing could wound a man armed in this manner, which surprised him greatly, and turning to the interpreter he said to the captain through him, 'that a man thus armed, could fight against a hundred.' 'Yes,' replied the interpreter, in the name of the commandant, 'and each of the three vessels carries 200 men armed in this manner.'" The king, astonished by all that he had seen, took leave of the captain, begging him to send two of his men with him, to let them see something of the island. Pigafetta was chosen, and was much satisfied with the welcome that he received. The king told him "that in this island they found pieces of gold as large as nuts, and even eggs, mixed with the earth which they passed through a sieve to find them; all his vessels and even some of the ornaments of his house were of this metal. He was very neatly dressed, according to the custom of the country, and was the finest man that I have seen among these people. His black hair fell upon his shoulders; a silk veil covered his head, and he wore two rings in his ears. From his waist to his knees, he was covered with a cotten cloth embroidered in silk. On each of his teeth there were three spots of gold, arranged in such a manner that one would have said all his teeth were fastened together with this metal. He was perfumed with storax and benzoin. His skin was painted, but its natural tint was olive."

On Easter Day, the Europeans went on shore to celebrate mass in a kind of little church which they had constructed on the sea-shore with sails and branches of trees. An altar had been set up, and during the whole time that the religious ceremony lasted, the king with a large concourse of people, listened in silence and imitated all the motions of the Spaniards. Then a cross having been planted on a hill with great solemnity, they weighed anchor and made for the port of Zebu, as being the best for revictualling the vessels and trading. They arrived there on Sunday, the 7th of April. Magellan sent one of his officers on shore at once with the interpreter, as ambassador to the king of Zebu. The envoy explained that the chief of the squadron was under the orders of the greatest king in the world. The object of the voyage, he added, was the wish to pay him a visit, and at the same time to take in some fresh provisions in exchange for merchandise, and then to go to the Molucca Islands. Such were the motives which caused them to tarry in a country where they came as friends.

"They are welcome," replied the king; "but if they intend to trade they should pay a duty to which all vessels are subject that enter my port, as did, not four days since, a junk from Siam, which came to seek for slaves and gold, to which a Moorish merchant who has remained in this country can testify."

The Spaniard replied that his master was too great a king to submit to such an unreasonable demand. They had come with pacific intentions; but if war were declared, it would be seen with whom they had to deal.

The king of Zebu, warned by the Moorish merchant, of the power of those who stood before him, and whom he took for Portuguese, at length consented to forego his claims. Moreover the king of Massava, who had continued to serve as pilot to the Spaniards, so altered the inclinations of his brother sovereign, that the Spaniards obtained the exclusive privilege of trading in the island, and a loyal friendship was sealed between the king of Zebu and Magellan by an exchange of blood which each drew from his right arm.

From this moment, provisions were brought and cordial relations established. The nephew of the king came with a numerous suite to visit Magellan on board his ship, and the latter took this opportunity to relate to his visitors the wonderful history of the creation of the world, and of the redemption of the human race, and to invite him and his people to become converts to Christianity. They showed no repugnance to being baptized, and on the 14th of April the kings of Zebu and Massava, and the Moorish merchant, with 500 men and as many women received baptism. But what was only a fashion at first, for it cannot be said that the natives knew the religion which they embraced or were persuaded of its truth, became a real frenzy, after a wonderful cure had been effected by Magellan. Having learnt that the father of the king had been ill for two years and was on the point of death, the captain-general promised, that if he consented to be baptized and the natives would burn their idols, he would find himself cured. "He added that he was so convinced of what he said," relates Pigafetta—for it is as well to quote the author verbatim in such a matter—"that he agreed to lose his head if what he promised did not happen immediately. We then made a procession, with all possible pomp, from the place where we were to the sick man's house, whom we found really in a very sad state in that he could neither speak nor move. We baptized him with two of his wives and ten daughters. The captain asked him directly after his baptism how he found himself, and he suddenly replied that thanks to our Lord he was well. We were all witnesses of this miracle. The captain above all rendered thanks to God for it. He gave the prince a refreshing drink, and continued to send him some of it every day till he was quite restored. On the fifth day the invalid found himself quite cured and got up. His first care was to have burned, in the presence of the king and all the people, an idol for which he had great veneration, and which some old women guarded carefully in his house. He also caused some temples which stood on the sea-shore, and in which the people assembled to eat the meat consecrated to their old divinities, to be thrown down. All the inhabitants applauded these acts, and proposed themselves to go and destroy all the idols, even those which were in use in the king's house, crying at the same time 'Vive la Castille!' in honour of the king of Spain."

Near to the Island of Zebu is another island called Matan which had two chiefs, one of whom had recognized the authority of Spain, while the other having energetically resisted it, Magellan resolved to impose it upon him by force. On Friday, the 26th of April, three long boats left for the Island of Matan containing sixty men wearing cuirasses and helmets, and armed with muskets; and thirty balangais bearing the king of Zebu, his son-in-law, and a number of warriors.

The Spaniards waited for day and then to the number of forty-nine leapt into the water, for the boats could not approach the land on account of the rocks and shallow water. More than 1500 natives awaited them, and at once threw themselves upon them, and attacked them in three troops, both in front and flank. The musketeers and the crossbow-men fired on the multitude of warriors from a distance, without doing them much harm, they being protected by their bucklers. The Spaniards, assailed by stones, arrows, javelins, and lances, and overwhelmed by numbers, set fire to some huts to disperse and intimidate the natives. But these, made more furious by the sight of the fire, redoubled their efforts, and pressed the Spaniards on all sides, who had the greatest difficulty in resisting them, when a sad event took place which compromised the issue of the combat. The natives were not slow in remarking that all the blows which they directed towards those parts of their enemies' bodies which were protected by armour, caused no wounds; they set themselves therefore to hurl their arrows and javelins against the lower part of the body, which was undefended. Magellan, wounded in the leg by a poisoned arrow, gave the order for retreat, which, begun in good order, soon changed into such a flight, that seven or eight Spaniards alone remained at his side. With much difficulty they kept moving backwards, fighting as they went, in order to reach the boats. They were already knee-deep in the water when several islanders rushed all together upon Magellan, who, wounded in the arm, was unable to draw his sword; they gave him such a sabre-cut upon his leg that he immediately fell down in the water, where he was speedily despatched. His remaining companions, and among them Pigafetta, every one of whom had been hit, hastily regained the boats. Thus perished the illustrious Magellan on the 27th of April, 1521. "He was adorned with every virtue," says Pigafetta, "and ever exhibited an unshaken constancy in the midst of the greatest adversity. At sea he always condemned himself to greater privations than the rest of his crew. Better versed than any one else in the knowledge of nautical charts, he was perfect in the art of navigation, as he proved by making the tour of the world, which none before him had ventured to do." Pigafetta's funeral eulogy, though a little hyperbolical, is not untrue in the main. Magellan had need of singular constancy and perseverance to penetrate, despite the fears of his companions, into regions peopled by the superstitious spirit of the time with fantastic dangers. Peculiar nautical science was also necessary to achieve the discovery at the extremity of that long coast of the strait which so justly bears his name. He was obliged to give unceasing attention to avoid all untoward accidents while exploring those unknown parts without any exact instruments. That one of the vessels was lost must be imputed to pride and a spirit of revolt in her own captain, more than to any incapacity or want of caution in the captain-general. Let us add with our enthusiastic narrator, "The glory of Magellan will survive his death."

Death of Magellan
Death of Magellan.

Duarte Barbosa, Magellan's brother-in-law, and Juan Serrano were elected commanders by the Spaniards, who were destined to meet with further catastrophes. The slave who had acted as interpreter up to this time had been slightly wounded during the battle. From the time of his master's death he had kept aloof, not rendering any further service to the Spaniards, and remaining extended upon his mat. After some rather sharp reproofs from Barbosa, who told him that his master's death did not make him a free man, he disappeared all at once. He was gone to the newly-baptized king, to whom he declared that if he could allure the Spaniards into some trap and then kill them, he would make himself master of all their provisions and merchandise. Serrano, Barbosa, and twenty-seven Spaniards were accordingly invited to a solemn assembly to receive the presents destined by the king of Zebu for the Emperor; during the banquet they were attacked unexpectedly, and were all massacred except Serrano, who was led bound to the sea-shore, where he besought his companions to ransom him, for if they did not he would be murdered. But Juan de Carvalho and the others, fearing that the insurrection would become general, and that they might be attacked during the negotiations by a numerous fleet which they would not be able to resist, turned a deaf ear to the unfortunate Serrano's supplications. The ships set sail and reached the Island of Bohol, which was not far distant.

When there, thinking that their numbers were too much reduced to navigate three vessels, they burnt the Concepcion, after having transshipped all that was most precious on board the other vessels. Then, after having coasted along the Island of Panilongon they stopped at Butuan, which forms part of Mindanao, a magnificent island, with numerous ports, and rivers abounding in fish, to the north-west of which lies the Island of Luzon, the most considerable of the Archipelago. The ships touched also at Paloan, where they found pigs, goats, fowls, different kinds of bananas, cocoa-nuts, sugar-canes, and rice, with which they provisioned the ships. This was for them, as Pigafetta expresses it, "a promised land." Among the things which he thought worthy of notice, the Italian traveller mentions the cocks kept by the natives for fighting; a passion which after so many years is still deeply-rooted amongst the population of the whole Philippine Archipelago. From Paloan, the Spaniards next went to the Island of Borneo, the centre of Malay civilization. From that time they had no longer to deal with poverty-stricken people, but with a rich population, who received them with magnificence. Their reception by the rajah is sufficiently curious to warrant a few words being devoted to it. At the landing-place they found two elephants with silk trappings, who bore the strangers to the house of the governor of the town, while twelve men carried the presents which were to be offered to the rajah. From the governor's house where they slept, to the palace of the king, the streets were kept by armed men. Upon descending from their elephants the Spaniards were admitted to a room filled with courtiers. At the end of this room opened another smaller room, hung with cloth of gold, in which were 300 men of the king's guard armed with poniards. Through a door they could then see the rajah, sitting by a table with a little child, chewing betel-nut. Behind him there were only some women.

Etiquette required that the petition to be made must pass in succession through the mouths of three nobles, each of higher rank than the last, before being transmitted, by means of a hollow cane placed in a hole in the wall, to one of the principal officers, who submitted it to the king. Then there was an exchange of presents, after which the Spanish Ambassadors were conducted back to their vessels with the same ceremony as on their arrival. The capital is built on piles in the sea; so that when the tide rises, the women who sell provisions go about the town in boats. On the 29th of July more than 100 canoes surrounded the two vessels, whilst at the same time some junks weighed anchor to approach them more nearly. The Spaniards, fearing to be treacherously attacked, took the initiative and fired off their artillery, which killed a number of people in the canoes, upon which the king excused himself, saying that his fleet had not been directed against them, but against the Gentiles with whom the Mussulmen had daily combats. This island produces arrack (the alcohol of rice), camphor, cinnamon, ginger, oranges, citrons, sugar-canes, melons, radishes, onions, &c. The articles of exchange are copper, quicksilver, cinnabar, glass, woollen cloths, and canvas, and above all iron and spectacles, without mentioning porcelain, and diamonds, some of which were of extraordinary size and value. The fauna comprises elephants, horses, buffaloes, pigs, goats, and domestic poultry. The money in use is of bronze, it is called sapèque and consists of small coins which are perforated with holes, that they may be strung together.

On leaving Borneo the travellers sought for a suitable spot in which to repair their vessels, which were in such great need of it that the men were not less than forty-two days over the work. "The oddest things which I have found in this island," says Pigafetta, "are the trees of which all the leaves are animated. These leaves resemble those of the mulberry, but are not so long; the stalk is short and pointed, and near the stalk on both sides there are two feet. If you touch the leaves, they escape; but when crushed no blood comes from them. I have kept one of them in a box for nine days; when I opened the box, the leaf was walking about in it; I believe they must live upon air." These very curious animals are well known at the present day, and are commonly called leaf-flies (mouches-feuille); they are of a grey-brown, which makes them more easily mistaken for dead leaves, which they exactly resemble in appearance.

It was while in these parts that the Spanish expedition, which, during Magellan's life had preserved its scientific character, began perceptibly to become piratical. Thus, on several occasions, junks were seized upon, and their crews forced by their Spanish captors to pay large ransoms.

The ships next passed by the Archipelago of the Sooloo Islands, the haunt of Malay pirates, who have even now only lately submitted to the Spanish arms; then by Mindanao, which had been already visited, for it was known that the eagerly sought-for Moluccas must be in its neighbourhood, whether more or less remote. At last, after having seen a number of islands, of which the names would not convey much idea to us, on Wednesday, the 6th of November the Spaniards discovered the Archipelago, about which the Portuguese had related such terrifying fables, and two days later they landed at Tidor. Thus the object of the voyage was attained.

The king came to meet the Spaniards, and invited them to go on board his canoe. "He was seated under a silk parasol which covered him entirely. In front of him were placed one of his sons who carried the royal sceptre, two men who had each a golden vase full of water for washing the king's hands, and two others holding small gilt boxes filled with betel." Then the Spaniards made the king come on board the vessels, where they showed him much respect, at the same time loading him and those who accompanied him with presents, which seemed to them very precious. "This king is a Moor, that is to say, an Arab," Pigafetta affirms; "he is nearly forty-five years of age, tolerably well made, and with a fine physiognomy. His clothing consisted of a very fine shirt, the cuffs of which were embroidered in gold; drapery descended from his waist to his feet; a silk veil (no doubt a turban) covered his head, and upon this veil there was a garland of flowers. His name is Rajah-sultan Manzor."

The next day, in a long interview which he had with the Spaniards, Manzor declared his intention of placing himself with the Islands of Ternate and Tidor under the protection of the king of Spain.

The Sultan Manzor
The Sultan Manzor.

This is the place to give some details about the Archipelago of the Moluccas, drawn from Pigafetta's narrative, which we are following step by step in the version that M. Ed. Charton has given, and to which he has added such valuable notes.

This Archipelago properly speaking, comprises the Islands of Gilolo, Ternate, Tidor, Mornay, Batchian, and Misal; but the Banda and Amboyna groups are also often comprehended under the general name of Molucca. Formerly convulsed by repeated volcanic commotions, this Archipelago contains a great number of craters almost all extinct, or in repose during a long succession of years. The air there is burning, and would be almost unfit to breathe, if frequent rains did not fall and refresh the atmosphere. The natural productions are extremely valuable. In the first rank must be placed the sago-tree, of which the pith called sago takes, with yams, the place of cereals throughout Malacca. As soon as the tree is cut down, the pith is extracted, which is then grated, passed through a sieve, and afterwards cut up in the form of small rolls, which are dried in the shade. There are also the mulberry, the clove, the nutmeg, the camphor, and pepper-trees; in fact all the spice-trees and all the tropical fruits. The forests contain some valuable kinds of wood, ebony, iron-wood, teak, famous for its strength and employed from the most ancient times in costly buildings, and the Calilaban laurel, which yields an aromatic essential oil that is highly prized. At this period domestic animals were not numerous in the Moluccas, but among the wild animals the most curious were the babiroussa, an enormous wild boar with long tusks bent backwards; the opossum, a kind of didelphis a little larger than our squirrel; the phalanger, a marsupial which lives in thick, dark forests, where it feeds upon leaves and fruit; and the tarsier, a kind of jerboa, a very harmless, inoffensive little animal with reddish-coloured hair, about the size of a rat, but whose body bears some resemblance to that of an ape. Among the birds, the most remarkable were the parroquets and cockatoos, the birds of Paradise of which so many fabulous accounts were given, and which until then had been believed to be without legs, the king-fishers, and the cassowaries, great wading-birds almost as large as ostriches.

A Portuguese named Lorosa had been long settled in the Moluccas, and to him the Spaniards forwarded a letter, in the hope that he would betray his country and attach himself to Spain. They obtained the most curious information from him with regard to the expeditions which the king of Portugal had despatched to the Cape of Good Hope, to the Rio de la Plata and to the Moluccas; but from various circumstances these latter expeditions had not been able to take place. He himself had been sixteen years in this Archipelago; the Portuguese had been installed there for ten years, but upon this fact they preserved the most complete silence. When Lorosa saw the Spaniards making their preparations for departure, he came on board with his wife and his goods to return to Europe. On the 12th of November all the merchandise destined for barter was landed, it being chiefly derived from the four junks which had been seized in Borneo. Certainly the Spaniards traded to great advantage, but nevertheless not to so great an extent as they might have done, for they were in haste to return to Spain. Some vessels from Gilolo and Batchian came also to trade with them, and a few days later they received a considerable stock of cloves from the king of Tidor. This king invited them to a great banquet which he said it was his custom to give when a vessel or junk was loaded with the first cloves. But the Spaniards, remembering what had happened to them in the Philippines, refused the invitation while presenting compliments and excuses to the king. When their cargo was completed, they set sail. Scarcely had the Trinidad put to sea before it was perceived that she had a serious leak, and the return to Tidor as fast as possible was unavoidable. The skilful divers whom the king placed at the disposal of the Spaniards, were unable to discover the hole, and it became necessary to partly unload the ship to make the necessary repairs. The sailors who were on board the Victoria would not wait for their companions, and the ship's officers seeing clearly that the Trinidad would not be fit for the voyage to Spain, decided that she should go to Darien, where her valuable cargo would be discharged and transported across the Isthmus to the Atlantic, where a vessel would be sent to fetch it. But neither the unfortunate vessel nor her crew was destined ever to return to Spain.

The Trinidad, commanded by the alguazil Gonzalo Gomez de Espinosa, who had Juan de Carvalho as pilot, was in so bad a state that after leaving Tidor, she was obliged to anchor at Ternate, in the port of Talangomi, where her crew consisting of seventeen men was immediately imprisoned by the Portuguese. The only reply given to Espinosa's remonstrances was a threat to hang him to the yard of a vessel; and the unfortunate alguazil, after having been transferred to Cochin, was sent to Lisbon, where for seven months he remained shut up in the prison of the Limoeiro with two Spaniards, the sole survivors of the crew of the Trinidad.

As to the Victoria, she left Tidor richly laden under the command of Juan Sebastian del Cano, who, after having been simply a pilot on board one of Magellan's ships, had taken the command of the Concepcion on the 27th of April, 1521, and who succeeded to Juan Lopez de Carvalho, when the latter was superseded in his command for incapacity. The crew of the Victoria was composed of only fifty-three Europeans and thirteen Indians. Fifty-four Europeans remained at Tidor on board the Trinidad.

After passing amidst the islands of Caioan, Laigoma, Sico, Giofi, Cafi, Laboan, Toliman, Batchian, Mata, and Batu, the Victoria left this latter island to the west, and steering west-south-west, stopped during the night at the island of Xulla or Zulla. At thirty miles from thence the Spaniards anchored at Booro, (the Boero of Bougainville), where the ship was revictualled. They stopped 105 miles further on, at Banda, where mace and nutmegs are found, then at Solor, where a great trade in white sandal-wood is carried on. They spent a fortnight there to repair their ship, which had suffered much, and there they laid in an ample provision of wax and pepper; then they anchored at Timor, where they could only obtain provisions by retaining by stratagem the chief of the village and his son, who had come on board the ship. This island was frequented by junks from Luzon, and by the "praos," from Malacca and Java, which traded largely there in sandal-wood and pepper. A little further on the Spaniards touched at Java, where, as it appears, suttee was practised at this time, as it has been in India until quite recently.

Among the stories which Pigafetta relates, without entirely believing them, is one which is most curious. It concerns a gigantic bird the Epyornis, of which the bones and the enormous eggs were discovered in Madagascar about the year 1850. It is an instance proving the caution needed before rejecting as fictitious many apparently fabulous legends, but which on examination may prove to possess a substratum of truth. "To the north of Greater Java," says Pigafetta, "in the gulf of China, there is a very large tree called campanganghi inhabited by certain birds called garula, which are so large and strong that they can bear away a buffalo and even an elephant, and carry it as they fly to the place where the tree puzathaer is." This legend has been current ever since the ninth century, among the Persians and Arabs, and this bird plays a wonderful part in Arabian tales under the name of the roc. It is not surprising, therefore, that Pigafetta found an analogous tradition among the Malays.

After leaving greater Java, the Victoria rounded the peninsula of Malacca, which had been subjugated to Portugal by the great Albuquerque ten years before. In the immediate neighbourhood are Siam and Cambodia, and Tchiampa, where rhubarb grows. This substance is discovered in the following manner. "A company of from twenty to five-and-twenty men go into the wood, where they pass the night in the trees, to protect themselves from lions (note here, that there are no lions in this country), and other ferocious beasts, and also that they may better perceive the odour of the rhubarb, which the wind wafts towards them. In the morning they go towards the place whence came the odour, and search there for the rhubarb until they find it. Rhubarb is the putrefied wood of a great tree, and acquires its odour even from its putrefaction, the best part of the tree is the root, nevertheless the trunk, which they call calama, has the same medicinal virtue."

Decidedly it is not from Pigafetta that we should seek to acquire botanical knowledge; we should run a great risk of deceiving ourselves if we took in earnest the nonsense that the Moor told him from whom he drew his information. The Lombard traveller gives us also fantastic details about China with the greatest seriousness, and falls into the grave errors, which his contemporary Duarte Barbosa had avoided. It is to the latter we owe the information that the trade in anfiam or opium has existed from this period. When once the Victoria had left the shores of Malacca, Sebastian del Cano took great care to avoid the coast of Zanguebar, where the Portuguese had been established since the beginning of the century. He kept to the open sea as far as 42° south latitude, and for nine weeks he was obliged to keep the sails furled, on account of the constant west and north-west winds, which ended in a fearful storm. To keep to this course required great perseverance on the part of the captain, with a settled desire on his part to carry his enterprise to a successful issue. The vessel had several leaks, and a number of the sailors demanded an anchorage at Mozambique, for the provisions which were not salted having become bad, the crew had only rice and water for food and drink. At last on the 6th of May, the Cape of Tempests was doubled and a favourable issue to the voyage might be hoped for. Nevertheless, many vexatious accidents still awaited the navigator. In two months, twenty-one men, Europeans and Indians, died from privations, and if on the 9th July they had not landed at Santiago, one of the Cape de Verd Islands, the whole crew would have died of hunger. As this archipelago belonged to Portugal, the sailors took care to say that they came from America, and carefully concealed the route which they had discovered. But one of the sailors having had the imprudence to say that the Victoria was the only vessel of Magellan's squadron which had returned to Europe, the Portuguese immediately seized the crew of a long-boat, and prepared to attack the Spanish vessel. However, Del Cano on board his vessel was watching all the movements of the Portuguese, and suspecting, by the preparations which he saw, that there was an intention of seizing the Victoria, he set sail, leaving thirteen men of his crew in the hands of the Portuguese. Maximilian Transylvain assigns a different motive from the one given by Pigafetta, for the anchorage at the Cape de Verd Islands. He asserts that the fatigued state of the crew, who were reduced by privations, and who in spite of everything had not ceased to work the pumps, had decided the captain to stop and buy some slaves to aid them in this work. Having no money the Spaniards would have paid with some of their spices, which would have opened the eyes of the Portuguese.

"To see if our journals were correctly kept," says Pigafetta, "we inquired on shore what day of the week it was. They replied that it was Thursday, which surprised us, because according to our journals it was as yet only Wednesday. We could not be persuaded that we had made the mistake of a day; I was more astonished myself than the others were, because having always been sufficiently well to keep my journal, I had uninterruptedly marked the days of the week, and the course of the months. We learnt afterwards, that there was no error in our calculation, for having always travelled towards the west, following the course of the sun, and having returned to the same point, we must have gained twenty-four hours upon those who had remained stationary; one has only need of reflection to be convinced of this fact."

Sebastian del Cano rapidly made the coast of Africa, and on the 6th of September entered the Bay of San Lucar de Barrameda, with a crew of seventeen men, almost all of whom were ill. Two days later he anchored before the mole at Seville, after having accomplished a complete circuit of the world.

As soon as he arrived, Sebastian del Cano went to Valladolid, where the court was, and received from Charles V. the welcome which was merited after so many difficulties had been courageously overcome. The bold mariner received permission to take as his armorial bearings, a globe with this motto, Primus circumdedisti me, and he also received a pension of 500 ducats.

The rich freight of the Victoria, decided the Emperor to send a second fleet to the Moluccas. The supreme command of it was not, however, given to Sebastian del Cano; it was reserved for the commander Garcia de Loaisa, whose only claim to it was his grand name. However, after the death of the chief of the expedition, which happened as soon as the fleet had passed the Strait of Magellan, Del Cano found himself invested with the command, but he did not hold it long, for he died six days afterwards. As for the ship Victoria, she was long preserved in the port of Seville, but in spite of all the care that was taken of her, she at length fell to pieces from old age.





CHAPTER III.

THE POLAR EXPEDITIONS AND THE SEARCH FOR THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE.

I.
The Northmen—Eric the Red—The Zenos—John Cabot—Cortereal—Sebastian Cabot—Willoughby—Chancellor.

Pytheas had opened up the road to the north to the Scandinavians by discovering Iceland (the famous Thule) and the Cronian Ocean, of which the mud, the shallow-water, and the ice render the navigation dangerous, and where the nights are as light as twilight. The traditions of the voyages undertaken by the ancients to the Orkneys, the Faröe Islands, and even to Iceland, were treasured up among the Irish monks, who were learned men, and themselves bold mariners, as their successive establishments in these archipelagos clearly prove. They were also the pilots of the Northmen, a name given generally to the Scandinavian pirates, both Danish and Norwegian, who rendered themselves so formidable to the whole of Europe during the Middle Ages. But if all the information that we owe to the ancients, both Greeks and Romans, with regard to these hyperborean countries be extremely vague and so to speak fabulous, it is not so with that which concerns the adventurous enterprises of the "Men of the North." The Sagas, as the Icelandic and Danish songs are called, are extremely precise, and the numerous data which we owe to them are daily confirmed by the archæological discoveries made in America, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark. This is a source of valuable information which was long unknown and unexplored, and of which we owe the revelation to the learned Dane, C. C. Rafn, who has furnished us with authentic facts of the greatest interest bearing on the pre-Columbian discovery of America.

Norway was poor and encumbered with population. Hence arose the necessity for a permanent emigration, which should allow a considerable portion of the inhabitants to seek in more favoured regions the nourishment which a frozen soil denied them. When they had found some country rich enough to yield them an abundant spoil, they then returned to their own land, and set out the following spring accompanied by all those who could be enticed either by the love of lucre, the desire for an easy life, or by the thirst for strife. Intrepid hunters and fishermen, accustomed to a dangerous navigation between the continent and the mass of islands which border it and appear to defend it against the assaults of the ocean, and across the narrow, deep fiords, which seem as though they were cut into the soil itself by some gigantic sword, they set out in those oak vessels, the sight of which made the people tremble who lived on the shores of the North Sea and British Channel. Sometimes decked, these vessels, long or short, large or small, were usually terminated in front by a spur of enormous size, above which the prow sometimes rose to a great height, taking the form of an S. The hällristningar, for so they call the graphic representations so often met with on the rocks of Sweden and Norway, enable us to picture to ourselves these swift vessels, which could carry a considerable crew. Such was the Long-serpent of Olaf Tryggvason, which had thirty-two benches of rowers and held ninety men, Canute's vessel, which carried sixty, and the two vessels of Olaf the Saint, which carried sometimes 200 men. The Sea-kings, as they often called these adventurers, lived on the ocean, never settling on shore, passing from the pillage of a castle to the burning of an abbey, devastating the coasts of France, ascending rivers, especially the Seine, as far as Paris, sailing over the Mediterranean as far as Constantinople, establishing themselves later in Sicily, and leaving traces of their incursions or their sojourn in all the regions of the known world.

Norman Ships
Norman Ships.

Piracy, far from being, as at the present day, an act falling under the ban of the law, was not only encouraged in that barbarous or half-civilized society, but was celebrated in the songs of the Skalds, who reserved their most enthusiastic eulogies for celebrating chivalrous struggles, adventurous privateering, and all exhibitions of strength. From the eighth century, these formidable sea-rovers frequented the groups of the Orkney, the Hebrides, the Shetland, and Faröe Islands, where they met with the Irish monks, who had settled themselves there nearly a century earlier, to instruct the idolatrous population.

In 861 a Norwegian pirate, named Naddod, was carried by a storm towards an island covered with snow, which he named Snoland (land of snow), a name changed later to that of Iceland (land of ice). There again the Northmen found the Irish monks under the name of Papis, in the cantons of Papeya and Papili.

Ingolf installed himself some years afterwards in the country, and founded Reijkiavik. In 885 the triumph of Harold Haarfager, who had just subjugated the whole of Norway by force of arms, brought a considerable number of malcontents to Iceland. They established there the republican form of government, which had just been overthrown in their own country, and which subsisted till 1261, the epoch when Iceland passed under the dominion of the kings of Norway.

When established in Iceland, these bold fellows, lovers of adventure and of long hunts in pursuit of seals and walrus, retained their wandering habits and pursued their bold plans in the west, where only three years after the arrival of Ingolf, Guunbjorn discovered the snowy peaks of the mountains of Greenland. Five years later, Eric the Red, banished from Iceland for murder, rediscovered the land in latitude 64° north, of which Guunbjorn had caught a glimpse. The sterility of this ice-bound coast made him decide to seek a milder climate with a more open country, and one producing more game, in the south. So he rounded Cape Farewell at the extremity of Greenland, established himself on the west coast, and built some vast dwellings for himself and his companions, of which M. Jorgensen has discovered the ruins. This country was worthy at that period of the name of Green-Land (Groenland) which the Northmen gave to it, but the annual and great increase of the glaciers, has rendered it since that epoch a land of desolation.

Eric returned to Iceland to seek his friends, and in the same year that he returned to Brattahalida (for so he called his settlement), fourteen vessels laden with emigrants came to join him. It was a veritable exodus. These events took place in the year 1000. As quickly as the resources of the country allowed of it, the population of Greenland increased, and in 1121, Gardar, the capital of the country, became the seat of a bishopric, which existed until after the discovery of the Antilles by Christopher Columbus.

In 986 Bjarn Heriulfson, who had come from Norway to Iceland to spend the winter with his father, learnt that the latter had joined Eric the Red in Greenland. Without hesitation, the young man again put to sea, seeking at haphazard for a country of which he did not even know the exact situation, and was cast by currents on coasts which we think must have been those of New Scotland, Newfoundland, and Maine. He ended, however, by reaching Greenland, where Eric, the powerful Norwegian jarl, reproached him for not having examined with more care countries of which he owed his knowledge to a happy accident of the sea.

Eric had sent his son Leif to the Norwegian court, so close at this time was the connexion between the metropolis and the colonies. The king, who had been converted to Christianity, had just despatched a mission to Iceland charged to overthrow the worship of Odin. He committed to Leif's care some priests who were to instruct the Greenlanders; but scarcely had the young adventurer returned to his own country, when he left the holy men to work out the accomplishment of their difficult task and hearing of the discovery made by Bjarn, he fitted out his vessels and went to seek for the lands which had been only imperfectly seen. He landed first on a desolate and stony plain, to which he gave the name of Helluland, and which we have no hesitation in recognizing as Newfoundland, and afterwards on a flat sandy shore behind which rose an immense screen of dark forests, cheered by the songs of innumerable birds. A third time he put to sea and steering towards the south he arrived at the Bay of Rhode Island, where the mild climate and the river teeming with salmon induced him to settle, and where he constructed vast buildings of planks, which he called Leifsbudir (Leif's house). Then he sent some of his companions to explore the country, and they returned with the good news that the wild vine grows in the country, to which it owes the name of Vinland. In the spring of the year 1001, Leif, having laded his ship with skins, grapes, wood, and other productions of the country, set out for Greenland; he had made the valuable observation that the shortest day in Vinland lasted nine hours, which places the site of Leifsbudir at 41° 24' 10". This fortunate voyage and the salvage of a Norwegian vessel carrying fifteen men, gained for Leif the surname of the Fortunate.

This expedition made a great stir, and the account of the wonders of the country in which Leif had settled, induced his brother Thorvald, to set out with thirty men. After passing the winter at Leifsbudir, Thorvald explored the coasts to the south, returning in the autumn to Vinland, and in the following year 1004, he sailed along the coast to the north of Leifsbudir. During this return voyage, the Northmen met with the Esquimaux for the first time, and without any provocation, slaughtered them without mercy. The following night they found themselves all at once surrounded by a numerous flotilla of Kayacs, from which came a cloud of arrows. Thorvald alone, the chief of the expedition, was mortally wounded; he was buried by his companions on a promontory, to which they gave the name of the promontory of the Cross.

Now, in the Gulf of Boston in the eighteenth century, a tomb of masonry was discovered, in which, with the bones, was found a sword-hilt of iron. The Indians not being acquainted with this metal, it could not be one of their skeletons; it was not either, the remains of one of the Europeans who had landed after the fifteenth century, for their swords had not this very characteristic form. This tomb has been thought to be that of a Scandinavian, and we venture to say, that of Thorvald, son of Eric the Red.

In the spring of 1007, three vessels carrying 160 men and some cattle, left Eriksfjord; the object in view was the foundation of a permanent colony. The emigrants after sighting Helluland, Markland, and Vinland, landed in an island, upon which they constructed some barracks and began the work of cultivation. But they must either have laid their plans badly, or have been wanting in foresight, for the winter found them without provisions, and they suffered cruelly from hunger. They had, however, the good sense to regain the continent, where in comparative ease, they could await the end of the winter.

At the beginning of 1008, they set out to seek for Leifsbudir, and settled themselves at Mount-Hope Bay, on the opposite shore to the old settlement of Leif. There, for the first time, some intercourse was held with the natives, called Skrellings in the sagas, and whom, from the manner in which they are portrayed, it is easy to recognize as Esquimaux. The first meeting was peaceable, and barter was carried on with them until the day when the desire of the Esquimaux to acquire iron hatchets, always prudently refused them by the Northmen, drove them to acts of aggression, which decided the new-comers, after three years of residence, to return to their own country, which they did without leaving behind them any lasting trace of their stay in the country.

It will be easily understood that we cannot give any detailed account of all the expeditions, which set out from Greenland, and succeeded each other on the coasts of Labrador and the United States. Those of our readers who wish for circumstantial details, should refer to M. Gabriel Gravier's interesting publication, the most complete work on the subject, and from which we have borrowed all that relates to the Norman expeditions.

The same year as Erik the Red landed in Greenland (983), a certain Hari Marson, being driven out of the ordinary course by storms, was cast upon the shores of a country known by the name of "White man's land," which extended according to Rafn from Chesapeake Bay to Florida.

What is the meaning of this name "White man's land"? Had some compatriots of Marson's already settled there? There is some reason to suppose so even from the words used in the chronicle. We can understand how interesting it would be, to be able to determine the nationality of these first colonists. However, the Sagas have not as yet revealed all their secrets. There are probably, some of them still unknown, and as those which have been successively discovered, have confirmed facts already admitted, there is every reason to hope that our knowledge of Icelandic navigation may become more precise.

Another legend, of which great part is mere romance, but which nevertheless, contains a foundation of truth, relates that a certain Bjorn, who was obliged to quit Iceland in consequence of an unfortunate passion, took refuge in the countries beyond Vinland, where in 1027, he was found by some of his countrymen.

In 1051, during another expedition, an Icelandic woman was killed by some Skrellings, and in 1867, a tomb was exhumed, bearing a runic inscription, and containing bones, and some articles of the toilet, which are now preserved in the museum at Washington. This discovery was made at the exact spot indicated in the Saga which related these events, and which was not itself discovered until 1863.

But the Northmen, established in Iceland and Greenland, were not the only people who frequented the coast of America about the year 1000, which is proved by the name of "Great Ireland," which was given to White man's land. As the history of Madoc-op-Owen proves, the Irish and Welsh founded colonies there, regarding which we have but little information, but vague and uncertain as it is, MM. d'Avezac and Gaffarel agree in recognizing its probability.

Having now said a few words upon the travels and settlements of the Northmen in Labrador, Vinland, and the more southern countries, we must return to the north. The colonies first founded in the neighbourhood of Cape Farewell, had not been slow in stretching along the western coast, which at this period was infinitely less desolate than it is at the present day, as far as northern latitudes, which were not again reached until our own day. Thus at this time they caught seals, walrus, and whales in the bay of Disco; there were 190 towns counted then in Westerbygd and eighty-six in Esterbygd, while at the present day, there are far fewer Danish settlements on these icy shores. These towns were probably only inconsiderable groups of those houses in stone and wood, of which so many ruins have been found from Cape Farewell, as far as Upernavik in about 72° 50'. At the same time numerous runic inscriptions, which have now been deciphered, have given a degree of absolute certainty to facts so long unknown. But how many of these vestiges of the past still remain to be discovered! how many of these valuable evidences of the bravery and spirit of enterprise of the Scandinavian race are for ever buried under the glaciers!

The Glaciers of Greenland
The Glaciers of Greenland.

We have also obtained evidence that Christianity had been brought into America, and especially into Greenland. To this country, according to the instructions of Pope Gregory IV., there were pastoral visits made to strengthen the newly-converted Northmen in the faith, and to evangelize the Esquimaux and the Indian tribes. Besides this, M. Riant in 1865, has proved incontrovertibly that the Crusades were preached in Greenland in the bishopric of Gardar, as well as in the islands and neighbouring lands, and that up to 1418, Greenland paid to the Holy See tithes and St. Peter's pence, which for that year consisted of 2600 lbs. of walrus tusks.

The Norwegian colonies owe their downfall and ruin to various causes: to the very rapid extension of the glaciers,—Hayes has proved that the glacier of Friar John moves at the rate of about thirty-three yards annually;—to the bad policy of the mother country, which prevented the recruiting of the colonies; to the black plague, which decimated the population of Greenland from 1347 to 1351; lastly, to the depredations of the pirates, who ravaged these already enfeebled countries in 1418, and in whom some have thought they recognized certain inhabitants of the Orkney and Faröe Islands, of which we are now about to speak.

One of the companions of William the Conqueror, named Saint-Clair or Sinclair, not thinking that the portion of the conquered country allotted to him was proportioned to his merits, went to try his luck in Scotland, where he was not long in rising to fortune and honours. In the latter half of the fourteenth century, the Orkney Islands passed into the hands of his descendants.

About 1390, a certain Nicolo Zeno, a member of one of the most ancient and noble Venetian families, who had fitted out a vessel at his own expense, to visit England and Flanders as a matter of curiosity, was wrecked in the archipelago of the Orkneys whither he had been driven by a storm. He was about to be massacred by the inhabitants, when the Earl, Henry Sinclair took him under his protection. The history of this wreck, and the adventures and discoveries which followed it, published in the collection of Ramusio had been written by Antonio Zeno, says Clements Markham, the learned geographer, in his "Threshold of the Unknown Region." Unfortunately one of his descendants named Nicolo Zeno, born in 1515, when a boy, not knowing the value of these papers, tore them up, "but some of the letters surviving, he was able from them subsequently to compile the narrative as we now have it, and which was printed in Venice in 1558. There was also found in the palace an old map, rotten with age, illustrative of his voyages. Of this he made a copy, unluckily supplying from his own reading of the narrative what he thought was requisite for its illustration. By doing this in a blundering way, unaided by the geographical knowledge which enables us to see where he goes astray, he threw the whole of the geography which he derived from the narrative into the most lamentable confusion, while those parts of the map which are not thus sophisticated, and which are consequently original, present an accuracy far in advance by many generations of the geography even of Nicolo Zeno's time, and confirm in a notable manner the site of the old Greenland colony. In these facts we have not only the solution of all the discussions which have arisen on the subject, but the most indisputable proof of the authenticity of the narrative; for it is clear that Nicolo Zeno, junior, could not himself have been the ingenious concocter of a story the straightforward truth of which he could thus ignorantly distort upon the face of the map."

The name of Zichmni, in which writers of the present day, and chief among them Mr. H. Major, who has rescued these facts from the domain of fable, recognize the name of Sinclair—appears to be in fact only applicable to this earl of the Orkneys.

At this time the seas of the north of Europe were infected by Scandinavian pirates. Sinclair, who had recognized in Zeno a clever mariner, attached him to himself, and with him conquered the country of Frisland, the haunt of pirates, who ravaged all the north of Scotland. In the maps at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century this name is applied to the archipelago of the Faröe Islands, a reasonable indication, for Buache has recognized in the present names of the harbours and islands of this archipelago a considerable number of those given by Zeno; finally the facts which we owe to the Venetian navigator about the waters,—abounding in fish and dangerous from shallows,—which divide this archipelago, are still true at the present day.

Satisfied with his position, Zeno wrote to his brother Antonio to come and join him. While Sinclair was conquering the Faröe Islands, the Norwegian pirates desolated the Shetland Islands, then called Eastland. Nicolo set sail to give them battle, but was himself obliged to fly before their fleet, much more numerous than his own, and to take refuge on a small island on the coast of Iceland.

After wintering in this place Zeno must have landed the following year on the eastern coast of Greenland at 69° north latitude, in a place "where was a monastery of the order of preaching friars, and a church dedicated to St. Thomas. The cells were warmed by a natural spring of hot water, which the monks used to prepare their food and to bake their bread. The monks had also gardens covered over in the winter season, and warmed by the same means, so that they were able to produce flowers, fruits, and herbs as well as if they had lived in a mild climate." There would seem to be some confirmation of these narratives in the fact that between the years 1828-1830 a captain of the Danish navy met with a population of 600 individuals at 69° north latitude, of a purely European type.

But these adventurous travels in countries of which the climate was so different from that of Venice, proved fatal to Zeno, who died a short time after his return to Frisland.

An old sailor, who had returned with the Venetian, and who said he had been for many long years a prisoner in the countries of the extreme west, gave to Sinclair such precise and tempting details of the fertility and extent of these regions, that the latter resolved to attempt their conquest with Antonio Zeno who had rejoined his brother. But the inhabitants showed themselves everywhere so hostile, and opposed such resistance to the strangers landing, that Sinclair after a long and dangerous voyage was obliged to return to Frisland.

These are all the details that have been left to us, and they make us deeply regret the loss of those that Antonio should have furnished in his letters to his father Carlo, on the subject of the countries which Forster and Malto-Brun have thought may be identified with Newfoundland.

Who knows, if in his voyage to England and during his wanderings as far as Thule, Christopher Columbus may not have heard mentioned the ancient expeditions of the Northmen and the Zeni, and if this information may not have appeared to him a strange confirmation of the theories which he held, and of the ideas for whose realization he came to claim the protection of the King of England?

From the collection of facts which have been here briefly given, it follows that America was known to Europeans and had been colonized before the time of Columbus. But in consequence of various circumstances, and foremost among these must be placed the rarity of communication between the people in the north of Europe and those in the south, the discoveries made by the Northmen were only vaguely known in Spain and Portugal. Judging by appearances, we of the present day know much more on this subject than did the fellow-countrymen and contemporaries of Columbus. If the Genoese mariner had been informed of the existence of some rumours, he classed them with the information he had collected in the Cape de Verd Islands and with his classical recollections of the famous Island of Antilia and the Atlantides of Plato. From this information, which came from so many different sides, the certainty awoke within him that the east could be reached by the western route. However it may be, his glory remains whole and entire; he is really the discoverer of America, and not those who were carried thither in spite of themselves by chances of wind and storm, without their having any intention of reaching the shores of Asia, which Christopher Columbus would have done, had not the way been barred by America.

The information that we are about to give on the family of Cortereal, although it may be much more complete than that which can be met with in biographical Dictionaries, is still extremely vague. Nevertheless we must content ourselves with it, for up to this time history has not collected further details concerning this race of intrepid navigators.

Joao Vaz Cortereal was the natural son of a gentleman named Vasco Annes da Costa, who had received the soubriquet of Cortereal from the King of Portugal, on account of the magnificence of his house and followers. Devoted like so many other gentlemen of this period to sea-faring adventure, Joao Vaz had carried off in Gallicia a young girl named Maria de Abarca, who became his wife. After having been gentleman-usher to the Infante don Fernando, he was sent by the king to the North Atlantic, with Alvaro Martins Homem. The two navigators saw an island known from this time by the name of Terra dos Bacalhaos—the land of cod-fish—which must really have been Newfoundland. The date of this discovery is approximately fixed by the fact that on their return, they landed at Terceira and finding the captainship vacant by the death of Jacome de Bruges, they went to ask for it from the Infanta Doña Brites, the widow of the Infante Don Fernando; she bestowed it upon them on condition that they would divide it between them, a fact which is confirmed by a deed of gift dated from Evora the 2nd of April, 1464. Though one cannot guarantee the authenticity of this discovery of America, it is nevertheless an ascertained fact that Cortereal's voyage must have been signalized by some extraordinary event; donations of such importance as this were only made to those who had rendered some great service to the crown.

When Vaz Cortereal was settled at Terceira from 1490 to 1497, he caused a fine palace to be built in the town of Angra, where he lived with his three children. His third son, Gaspard, after having been in the service of King Emmanuel, when the latter was only Duke de Beja had felt himself attracted while still young to the enterprises of discovery which had rendered his father illustrious. By an act dated from Cintra the 12th of March, 1500, King Emmanuel made a gift to Gaspard Cortereal of any islands or terra firma which he might discover, and the king added this valuable information, that "already and at other times he had sought for them on his own account and at his own expense."

For Gaspard Cortereal this was not his first essay. Probably, his researches may have been directed to the parts where his father had discovered the Island of Cod. At his own expense, although with the assistance of the king, Gaspard Cortereal fitted out two vessels at the commencement of the summer of 1500, and after having touched at Terceira, he sailed towards the north-west. His first discovery was of a land of which the fertile and verdant aspect seems to have charmed him. This was Canada. He saw there a great river bearing ice along with it on its course—the St. Lawrence—which some of his companions mistook for an arm of the sea, and to which he gave the name of Rio Nevado. "Its volume is so considerable that it is not probable that this country is an island, besides, it must be completely covered with a very thick coating of snow to produce such a stream of water."

The houses in this country were of wood and covered with skins and furs. The inhabitants were unacquainted with iron, but used swords made of sharpened stones, and their arrows were tipped with fish-bones or stones. Tall and well-made, their faces and bodies were painted in different colours according to taste, they wore golden and copper bracelets, and dressed themselves in garments of fur. Cortereal pursued his voyage and arrived at the Cape of Bacalhaos, "fishes which are found in such great quantities upon this coast that they hinder the advance of the caravels." Then he followed the shore for a stretch of 600 miles, from 56° to 60°, or even more, naming the islands, the rivers, and the gulfs that he met with, as is proved by Terra do Labrador, Bahia de Conceiçao, &c., and landing and holding intercourse with the natives. Severe cold, and a veritable river of gigantic blocks of ice prevented the expedition from going farther north, and it returned to Portugal bringing back with it fifty-seven natives. The very year of his return, on the 15th of May, 1501, Gaspard Cortereal, in pursuance of an order of the 15th of April, received provisions, and left Lisbon in the hope of extending the field of his discoveries. But from this time he is never again mentioned. Michael Cortereal, his brother, who was the first gentleman-usher to the king, then requested and obtained permission to go and seek his brother, and to pursue his enterprise. By an act of the 15th of January, 1502, a deed of gift conveyed to him the half of the terra firma and islands which his brother might have discovered. Setting out on the 10th of May of this year with three vessels, Michael Cortereal reached Newfoundland, where he divided his little squadron, so that each of the vessels might explore the coasts separately, while he fixed the place of rendezvous. But at the time fixed, he did not reappear, and the two other vessels, after waiting for him till the 20th of August, set out on their return to Portugal.

In 1503, the king sent two caravels to try to obtain news of the two brothers, but the search was in vain, and they returned without having acquired any information. When Vasco Annes, the last of the brothers Cortereal, who was captain and governor of the Islands of St. George and Terceira, and alcaide mõr of the town of Tavilla, became acquainted with these sad events, he resolved to fit out a vessel at his own cost, and to go and search for his brothers. The king, however, would not allow him to go, fearing to lose the last of this race of good servants.

Upon the maps of this period, Canada is often indicated by the name of Terra dos Cortereales, a name which is sometimes extended much further south, embracing a great part of North America.


All that concerns John and Sebastian Cabot has been until recently shrouded by a mist which is not even now completely dissipated, notwithstanding the conscientious labours of Biddle the American in 1831, and of our compatriot M. d'Avezac; as also those of Mr. Nicholls the Englishman, who taking advantage of the discoveries made among the English, Spanish, and Venetian archives, has built up an imposing monument, of which some parts, however, are open to discussion. It is from the two last-named works that we shall draw the materials for this rapid sketch, but principally from Mr. Nicholls' book, which has this advantage over the smaller volume of M. d'Avezac, that it relates the whole life of Sebastian Cabot.

Sebastian Cabot
Sebastian Cabot.
From an old print.

It has been found impossible to determine with certainty either the name or the nationality of John Cabot, and still less to settle the period of his birth. John Cabota, Caboto or Cabot must have been born, if not in Genoa itself, as M. d'Avezac asserts, at least in the neighbourhood of that town, possibly at Castiglione, about the first quarter of the fifteenth century. Some historians have considered that he was an Englishman, and perhaps Mr. Nicholls from national considerations is inclined to adopt this opinion; at least this seems to be the meaning of the expressions used by him. What we do know without room for doubt, is that John Cabot came to London to occupy himself with commerce, and that he soon settled at Bristol, then the second town in the kingdom, in one of the suburbs which had received the name of Cathay, probably from the number of Venetians who resided there, and the trade carried on by them with the countries of the extreme East. It was at Bristol that Cabot's two youngest children were born, Sebastian and Sancho, if we may rely upon the following account given by the old chronicler Eden. "Sebastian Cabot told me that he was born at Bristol, and that at four years of age he went with his father to Venice, returning with him to England some years later; this made people imagine that he was born at Venice." In 1476, John Cabot was at Venice, and there on the 29th of March, he received letters of naturalization, which prove that he was not a native of this city, and that he must have merited the honour by some service rendered to the Republic. M. d'Avezac is inclined to think that he devoted himself to the study of cosmography and navigation, perhaps even in company with the celebrated Florentine, Paul Toscanelli, with whose theories upon the distribution of land and sea on the surface of the globe, he would certainly be acquainted at this time. He may also have heard mention made of the islands situated in the Atlantic, and known by the names of Antilia, the Land of the Seven Cities, or Brazil. What seems more certain is, that his business affairs took him to the Levant, and, it is said, to Mecca, and that while there he would learn from what country came the spices, which then constituted the most important branch of Venetian commerce.

Whatever value we may attach to these speculative theories, it is at least certain that John Cabot founded an important mercantile house at Bristol. His son Sebastian, who in these first voyages had acquired an inclination for the sea, studied navigation, as far as it was then known, and made some excursions on the sea, to render himself as familiar with the practice of this art, as he already was with its theory. "For seven years past," says the Spanish Ambassador in a despatch of the 25th of July, 1498, speaking of an expedition commanded by Cabot, "the people of Bristol have fitted out two, three, or four caravels every year, to go in search of the Island of Brazil, and of the Seven Cities, according to the ideas of the Genoese." At this time the whole of Europe resounded with the fame of the discoveries of Columbus. "It awoke in me," says Sebastian Cabot, in a narrative preserved by Ramusio, "a great desire and a kind of ardour in my heart to do myself also something famous, and knowing by examining the globe, that if I sailed by the west wind I should reach India more rapidly, I at once made my project known to His Majesty, who was much satisfied with it." The king to whom Cabot addressed himself was the same Henry VII. who some years before had refused all support to Christopher Columbus. It is evident that he received with favour the project which John and Sebastian Cabot had just submitted to him; and though Sebastian, in the fragment which we have just quoted, attributes to himself alone all the honour of the project, it is not less true that his father was the promoter of the enterprise, as the following charter shows, which we translate in an abridged form.

"We Henry ... permit our well-beloved Jehan Cabot, citizen of Venice, and Louis, Sebastian, and Sancho, his sons, under our flag and with five vessels of the tonnage and crew which they shall judge suitable, to discover at their own expense and charge ... we grant to them as well as to their heirs and assigns, licence to occupy, possess ... at the charge of, by them, upon the profits, benefits, and advantages, accruing from this navigation, to pay us in merchandise or in money the fifth part of the profit thus obtained, for each of their voyages, every time that they shall return to the port of Bristol (at which port they shall be compelled to land).... We promise and guarantee to them, their heirs and assigns, that they shall be exempt from all custom-house duties on the merchandise which they shall bring from the countries thus discovered.... We command and direct all our subjects, as well on land as on the sea, to render assistance to the said Jehan, and to his sons.... Given at ... the 5th day of March, 1495."

Such was the charter that was granted to John Cabot and his sons upon their return from the American continent, and not as certain authors have pretended, anterior to this voyage. From the time that the news of the discovery made by Columbus had reached England, that is to say, probably in 1493, John and Sebastian Cabot prepared the expedition at their own expense, and set out at the beginning of the year 1494, with the idea of reaching Cathay, and finally the Indies. There can be no doubt upon this point, for in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris is preserved an unique copy of the map engraved in 1544, that is to say, in the lifetime of Sebastian Cabot, which mentions this voyage, and the precise and exact date of the discovery of Cape Breton.

It is probable that we must attribute to the intrigues of the Spanish Ambassador, the delay which occurred in Cabot's expedition, for the whole of the year 1496 passed without the voyage being accomplished.

The following year he set out at the beginning of summer. After having again sighted the Terra Bona-vista, he followed the coast, and was not long in perceiving to his great disappointment that it trended towards the north. "Then, sailing along it to make sure if I could not find some passage, I could not perceive any, and having advanced as far as 56°, and seeing that at this point the land turned towards the east, I despaired of finding any passage, and I put about to examine the coast in this direction towards the equinoctial line, always with the same object of finding a passage to the Indies, and in the end, I reached the country now called Florida, where as provisions were beginning to run short, I resolved to return to England." This narrative, of which we have given the commencement above, was related by Cabot to Fracastor, forty or fifty years after the event. Also, is it not astonishing that Cabot mixes up in it two perfectly distinct voyages, that of 1494, and that of 1497? Let us add some reflections on this narrative. The first land seen was, without doubt, the North Cape, the northern extremity of the island of Cape Breton, and the island which is opposite to it is that of Prince Edward, long known by the name of St. John's Island. Cabot, probably penetrated into the estuary of the St. Lawrence, which he took for an arm of the sea, near to the place where Quebec now stands, and coasted along the northern shore of the gulf, so that he did not see the coast of Labrador stretching away in the east. He took Newfoundland for an archipelago, and continued his course to the south, not doubtless, as far as Florida as he states himself, the time occupied by the voyage making it impossible that he can have descended so low, but as far as Chesapeake Bay. These were the countries which the Spaniards afterwards called "Terra de Estevam Gomez."

On the 3rd of February, 1498, King Henry VII. signed at Westminster some new letters patent. He empowered John Cabot or his representative,—being duly authorized—to take in English ports six vessels of 200 tons' burden, and to procure all that should be required for their equipment, at the same price as if it were for the crown. He was allowed to take on board such master-mariners, pages, and other subjects as might of their own accord wish to go, and pass with him to the recently discovered land and islands. John Cabot bore the expense of the equipment of two vessels, and three others were fitted out at the cost of the merchants of Bristol.

In all probability it was death—a sudden and unexpected death—which prevented John Cabot from taking the command of this expedition. His son Sebastian then assumed the direction of the fleet, which carried 300 men and provisions for a year. After having sighted land at 45°, Sebastian Cabot followed the coast as far as 58°, perhaps even higher, but then it became so cold, and although it was the month of July, there was so much floating ice about, that, it would have been impossible to go further northwards. The days were very long, and the nights excessively light, an interesting detail by which to fix the latitude reached, for we know that below the 60th parallel of latitude the longest days are eighteen hours. These various reasons made Sebastian Cabot decide to put about, and he touched at the Bacalhaos Islands, of which the inhabitants, who were clothed in the skins of animals, were armed with bow and arrows, lance, javelin, and wooden sword. The navigators here caught a great number of cod-fish; they were even so numerous, says an old narrative, that they hindered ships from advancing. After having sailed along the coast of America as far as 38°, Cabot set out for England, where he arrived at the beginning of autumn. This voyage had indeed a threefold object, that of discovery, commerce, and colonization, as is shown by the number of vessels which took part in it and the strength of the crews. Nevertheless it does not appear that Cabot landed any one, or that he made any attempts at forming a settlement, either in Labrador, or in Hudson's Bay—which he was destined to explore more completely in 1517, in the reign of Henry VIII.—or even to the south of the Bacalhaos, known by the general name of Newfoundland. At the close of this expedition, which was almost entirely unproductive, we lose sight of Sebastian Cabot, if not completely, at least so as to be insufficiently informed about his deeds and voyages until 1517. The traveller Hojeda, whose various enterprises we have related above, had left Spain in the month of May, 1499. We know that in this voyage he met with an Englishman at Caquibaco, on the coast of America. Can this have been Cabot? Nothing has come to light to enable us to settle this point; but we may believe that Cabot did not remain idle, and that he would be likely to undertake some fresh expedition: what we do know is, that in spite of the solemn engagements that he had made with Cabot, the King of England granted certain privileges of trading in the countries which he had discovered, to the Portuguese and to the merchants of Bristol. This ungenerous manner of recognizing his services wounded the navigator, and decided him to accept the offers which had been made to him on different occasions, to enter the Spanish service. From the death of Vespucius, which happened in 1512, Cabot was the navigator held in most renown. To attach him to himself, Ferdinand wrote on the 13th of September, 1512, to Lord Willoughby, commander in chief of the troops which had been transported to Italy, to treat with the Venetian navigator.

Discoveries of John and Sebastian Cabot
Discoveries of John and Sebastian Cabot.

As soon as he arrived in Castille, Cabot received the rank of captain, by an edict dated the 20th of October, 1512, with a salary of 5000 maravédis. Seville was fixed upon for his residence, until an opportunity might arise of turning his talents and experience to account. There was a plan on foot for his taking the command of a very important expedition, when Ferdinand the Catholic died, on the 23rd of January, 1516. Cabot returned at once to England, having probably obtained leave of absence. Eden tells us that the following year Cabot was appointed with Sir Thomas Pert to the command of a fleet which was to reach China by the north-west. On the 11th of June, he was in Hudson's Bay at 67½° of latitude; the sea free from ice spread itself out before him so far that he reckoned upon success in his enterprise, when the faintheartedness of his companion, together with the cowardice and mutinous spirit of the crews, who refused to go any further, obliged him to return to England. In his Theatrum orbis terrarum, Ortelius traces the shape of Hudson's Bay as it really is; he even indicates at its northern extremity a strait leading northwards. How can the geographer have attained to such exactness? "Who," says Mr. Nicholls, "can have given him the information set forth in his map, if not Cabot?"

On his return to England, Cabot found the country ravaged by a horrible plague, which put a stop even to commercial transactions. Soon, either because the time of his leave had expired, or that he wished to escape from the pestilence, or that he was recalled to Spain, the Venetian navigator returned to that country. In 1518, on the 5th of February, Cabot was made pilot-major, with a salary which, added to that which he already had, made a total of 125,000 maravédis, say, 300 ducats. He did not actually exercise the functions of his office till Charles V. returned from England. His principal duty consisted in examining pilots, who were not allowed to go to the Indies until after having passed this examination.

This epoch was by no means favourable to great maritime expeditions. The struggle between France and Spain absorbed all the resources both in men and money, of these two countries—Cabot too, who seems to have adopted science for his fatherland, much more than any particular country, made some overtures to Contarini, the Ambassador of Venice, to take service on board the fleets of the Republic; but when the favourable answer of the Council of Ten arrived, he had other projects in his head, and did not carry his attempt any further.

Cabot presides over a Conference of Cosmographers
Cabot presides over a Conference of Cosmographers.

In the month of April, 1524, Cabot presided at a conference of mariners and cosmographers, which met at Badajoz, to discuss the question whether the Moluccas belonged, according to the celebrated treaty of Tordesillas, to Spain or Portugal. On the 31st of May, it was decided that the Moluccas were within the Spanish waters, by 20°. Perhaps this resolution of the junta of which Cabot was president, and which again placed in the hands of Spain a great part of the spice trade, was not without its influence upon the resolutions of the council of the Indies. However this may be, in the month of September of the same year Cabot was authorized to take the command of three vessels of 100 tons, and a small caravel, carrying together 150 men, with the title of captain-general.

The declared aim of this voyage was to pass through the Strait of Magellan, carefully to explore the western coast of America, and to reach the Moluccas, where they would take in on their return a cargo of spices. The month of August, 1525, had been fixed upon as the date of departure, but the intrigues of Portugal succeeded in delaying it until April, 1526.

Different circumstances seem from this moment to have augured ill for the voyage. Cabot had only a nominal authority, and the association of merchants who had defrayed the expenses of the equipment not accepting him willingly as chief, had found means to oppose all the plans of the Venetian sailor. Thus it was that in place of the man whom he had appointed as second in command, another was imposed upon him, and that instructions destined to be unsealed when at sea were delivered to each captain. They contained this absurd arrangement, that in case of the death of the captain-general, eleven individuals were to succeed him each in his turn. Was not this an encouragement given to assassination?

Scarcely was the fleet out of sight of land, when discontent appeared. The rumour spread that the captain-general was not equal to his task; then as they saw that these calumnies did not affect him, they pretended that the flotilla was already short of provisions. The mutiny broke out as soon as land was reached, but Cabot was not the man to allow himself to be annihilated by it; he had suffered too much from Sir Thomas Pert's cowardice to bear such an insult. In order to nip the evil in the bud, he had the mutinous captains seized, and notwithstanding their reputation and the brilliancy of their past services, he made them get into a boat, and abandoned them on the shore. Four months afterwards they had the good luck to be picked up by a Portuguese expedition, which seems to have had orders to thwart the plans of Cabot.

The Venetian navigator then penetrated into the Rio de la Plata, the exploration of which had been commenced by his predecessor the Pilot-major de Solis. The expedition was not then composed of more than two vessels, one having been lost during the voyage. Cabot sailed up the Argent River, and discovered an island which he called Francis Gabriel, and upon which he built the fort of San Salvador, entrusting the command of it to Antonio de Grajeda. Cabot had the keel removed from one of his caravels, and with it, being towed by his small boats, entered the Parana, built a new fort at the confluence of the Carcarama and Terceiro, and after having thus secured his line of retreat he pursued the course of these rivers farther into the interior. Arriving at the confluence of the Parana and Paraguay, he followed the second, the direction of which agreed best with his project of reaching the region of the west where silver was to be obtained. But it was not long before the aspect of the country changed, and the attitude of the inhabitants altered also. Until now, they had collected in crowds, astonished at the sight of the vessels; but upon the cultivated shores of the Paraguay they courageously opposed the strangers' landing, and three Spaniards having tried to knock down the fruit from a palm-tree, a struggle took place, in which 300 natives lost their lives. This victory had disabled twenty-five Spaniards. It was too much for Cabot, who rapidly removed his wounded to the fort San Spirito and retired, still presenting a bold front to the enemy.

Cabot had already sent two of his companions to the Emperor, to acquaint him with the attempt at revolt of the captains, to explain to him the motives which obliged him to modify the course marked out for his voyage, and to request aid from him, both in men and provisions. The answer arrived at last. The Emperor approved of what Cabot had done, and ordered him to colonize the country in which he had just made a settlement, but did not send him either one man or a single maravédi. Cabot tried to procure the resources which he needed in the country, and caused some attempts at cultivation to be commenced. At the same time, to keep his troops in exercise, he reduced the neighbouring nations to obedience, had some forts built, and again sailing up the Paraguay he reached Potosi, and the water-courses of the Andes which feed the basin of the Atlantic. At last he prepared to enter Peru, from whence came the gold and silver which he had seen in the possession of the natives; but it needed more troops than he could muster, to attempt the conquest of this vast region. The Emperor, however, was quite unable to send him any. His European wars absorbed all his resources, the Cortez refused to vote new subsidies and the Moluccas had just been pledged to Portugal. In this state of affairs, after having occupied the country for five years, and waited all this time for the assistance which never came, Cabot decided to evacuate a part of his settlements, and he returned with some of his people to Spain. The rest, amounting to 120, men who were left to guard the fort of San Spirito, after many vicissitudes which cannot be related here, perished by the hands of the Indians, or were obliged to take refuge in the Portuguese settlements on the coast of Brazil. It is to the horses imported by Cabot that is due the wonderful race of wild horses which may be seen in large troops on the pampas of La Plata at the present day; this was the only result of the expedition.

Some time after his return to Spain, Cabot resigned his office, and went to Bristol, where he settled about 1548, that is to say at the beginning of the reign of Edward VI. What were the motives of this fresh change? Was Cabot discontented at having been left to his own resources during his expedition? Was he hurt at the manner in which his services were recompensed? It is impossible to say. But Charles V. took advantage of Cabot's departure to deprive him of his pension, which Edward VI. hastened to replace, causing him to receive 250 marks annually, about 116l. and a fraction, which was a considerable sum for that period.

The post which Cabot occupied in England seems to be best expressed by the name of Intendant of the Navy; under the authority of the king and council, he appears to have superintended all maritime affairs. He issues licences, he examines pilots, he frames instructions, he draws maps, a varied and complicated function for which he possessed the rare gift of both practical and theoretical knowledge. At the same time he instructed the young king in cosmography, explained to him the variation of the compass, and was successful in interesting him in nautical matters, and in the glory resulting from maritime discoveries. It was a high and almost unique situation. Cabot used it to put into execution a project which he had long cherished.

At this period, we may almost say there was no trade in England. All commerce was in the hands of the Hanseatic towns, Antwerp, Hamburg, Bremen, &c. These companies of merchants had, on various occasions, obtained considerable reductions in import duties, and had ended by monopolizing the English trade. Cabot held that Englishmen possessed as good qualifications as these merchants for becoming manufacturers, and that the already powerful navy which England possessed might assist marvellously in the export of the products of the soil and of the manufactures. What was the use of having recourse to strangers when people could do their own business? If they had been unable up to this time to reach Cathay and India by the north-west, might they not endeavour to reach it by the north-east. And if they did not succeed, would they not find in this direction more commercial, and more civilized people than the miserable Esquimaux on the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland?

Cabot assembled some leading London merchants, laid his projects before them, and formed them into an association, of which on the 14th of December, 1551, he was named president for life. At the same time he exerted himself most vigorously with the king, and having made him understand the wrong which the monopoly enjoyed by strangers did to his own subjects, he obtained its abolition on the 23rd of February, 1551, and inaugurated the practice of free trade.

The Association of English Merchants, under the name of "Merchant Adventurers," hastened to have some vessels built, adapted to the difficulties to be encountered in the navigation of the Arctic regions. The first improvement which the English marine owed to Cabot was the sheathing of the keels, which he had seen done in Spain, but which had not hitherto been practised in England.

A flotilla of three vessels was assembled at Deptford. They were the Buona-Speranza, of which the command was given to Sir Hugh Willoughby, a brave gentleman who had earned a high reputation in war; the Buona-Confidencia, Captain Cornil Durforth; and the Bonaventure, Captain Richard Chancellor, a clever sailor, and a particular friend of Cabot's; he received the title of pilot-major. The sailing-master of the Bonaventure was Stephen Burrough, an accomplished mariner, who was destined to make numerous voyages in the North seas, and later to become pilot in chief for England.

Although age and his important duties prevented Cabot from placing himself at the head of the expedition, he wished at least, to preside over all the details of the equipment. He himself wrote out the instructions, which have been preserved, and which prove the prudence and skill of this distinguished navigator. He there recommends the use of the log-line, an instrument intended to measure the speed of the vessel, and he desires that the journal of the events happening at sea may be kept with regularity, and that all information as to the character, manners, habits, and resources of the people visited, and the productions of the country, may be recorded in writing. The sailors were to offer no violence to the natives, but to act towards them with courtesy. All blasphemy and swearing was to be punished with severity, and also drunkenness. The religious exercises are prescribed, prayers are to be said morning and evening, and the Holy Scriptures are to be read once in the day. Cabot ends by recommending union and concord above all, and reminds the captains of the greatness of their enterprise, and the honour which they might hope to gain; finally he promises them to add his prayers to theirs for the success of their common work.

The squadron set sail on the 20th of May, 1558, in presence of the court assembled at Greenwich, amid an immense concourse of people, after fêtes and rejoicings, at which the king, who was ill, could not be present. Near the Loffoden Islands, on the coast of Norway at the bearing of Wardhous, the squadron was separated from the Bonaventure. Carried away by the storm, Willoughby's two vessels touched, without doubt, at Nova Zembla, and were forced by the ice to return southwards. On the 18th of September, they entered the port formed by the mouth of the River Arzina in East Lapland. Some time afterwards, the Buona-Confidencia, separated from Willoughby by a fresh tempest, returned to England. As to the latter, some Russian fishermen found his vessel the following year, in the midst of the ice. The whole crew had died of cold. This, at least, is what we are led to suppose from the journal kept by the unfortunate Willoughby up to the month of January, 1554.

Chancellor, after having waited in vain for his two consorts at the rendezvous which had been agreed upon in case of separation, thought they must have outsailed him, and rounding the North Cape, he entered a vast gulf which was none other than the White Sea; he then landed at the mouth of the Dwina, near the monastery of St. Nicholas, on the spot upon which the town of Archangel was soon to stand. The inhabitants of these desolate places told him that the country was under the dominion of the Grand Duke of Russia. Chancellor resolved at once to go to Moscow, in spite of the enormous distance which separated him from it. The Czar then on the throne was Ivan IV. Wassiliewitch, called the Terrible. For some time before this, the Russians had shaken off the Tartar yoke, and Ivan had united all the petty rival principalities in one body politic, of which the power was already becoming considerable. The situation of Russia, exclusively continental, far from any frequented sea, isolated from the rest of Europe, of which it did not yet form part, so much were its habits and manners still Asiatic, promised success to Chancellor.

Chancellor received by the Czar
Chancellor received by the Czar.

The Czar, who up to this time, had not been able to procure European merchandise, except by way of Poland, and who wished to gain access to the German seas, saw with pleasure the attempts of the English to establish a trade which would be beneficial to both parties. He not only received Chancellor courteously, but he made him most advantageous offers, granted him great privileges and encouraged him, by the kindness of his reception, to repeat his voyage. Chancellor sold his merchandise to great advantage, and after taking on board another cargo of furs, of seal and whale oils, copper, and other products, returned to England, carrying a letter from the Czar. The advantages which the Company of Merchant Adventurers had derived from this first voyage, encouraged them to attempt a second. So Chancellor the following year, made a fresh voyage to Archangel, and took two of the Company's agents to Russia, who concluded an advantageous treaty with the Czar. Then he set out again for England with an ambassador and his suite, sent by Ivan to Great Britain. Of the four vessels which composed the flotilla, one was lost on the coast of Norway, another as it left Drontheim, and the Bonaventure, on board of which were Chancellor and the ambassador, foundered in the Bay of Pitsligo, on the east coast of Scotland on the 10th of November, 1556. Chancellor was drowned in the wreck, being less fortunate than the Muscovite ambassador, who had the good luck to escape; but the presents and merchandise which he was carrying to England were lost.

Wreck of the Bonaventure
Wreck of the Bonaventure.

Such was the commencement of the Anglo-Russian Company. A goodly number of expeditions succeeded each other in those parts, but it would be beside our purpose to give an account of them. Let us now return to Cabot.

It was in 1554 that Queen Mary of England was married to Philip II., King of Spain. When the latter came to England he showed himself very ill-disposed towards Cabot, who had abandoned the service of Spain, and who, at this very moment was procuring for England a commerce which would soon immensely increase the maritime power of an already formidable country. Thus we are not surprised to learn that eight days after the landing of the King of Spain, Cabot was forced to resign his office and his pension, both of which had been bestowed upon him for life by Edward VI. Worthington was nominated in his place. Mr. Nicholls thinks that this dishonourable man, who had had some quarrels with the law, had a secret mission to seize among Cabot's plans, maps, instructions, and projects, those which could be of use to Spain. The fact is that all these documents are now lost, at least unless they may yet be discovered among the archives of Simancas.

At the end of this period, history completely loses sight of the old mariner. The same mystery which hangs over his birth, also envelopes the place and date of his death. His immense discoveries, his cosmographical works, his study of the variations of the magnetic needle, his wisdom, his humane disposition, and his honourable conduct, place Sebastian Cabot in the foremost rank among discoverers. A figure lost in the shadow and vagueness of legends until our own day, Cabot owes it to his biographers, to Biddle, D'Avezac, and Nicholls, that he is now better known, more highly appreciated, and for the first time really placed in the light.



II.
POLAR EXPEDITIONS.
John Verrazzano—Jacques Cartier and his three voyages to Canada—The town of Hochelaga—Tobacco—The scurvy—Voyage of Roberval—Martin Frobisher and his voyages—John Davis—Barentz and Heemskerke—Spitzbergen—Winter season at Nova Zembla—Return to Europe—Relics of the Expedition.

From 1492 to 1524, France had stood aloof, officially at least, from enterprises of discovery and colonization. But Francis I. could not look on quietly while the power of his rival Charles V. received a large addition by the conquest of Mexico. He therefore ordered John Verrazzano, a Venetian who was in his service, to make a voyage of exploration. We will pause here for a short time, although the various places may have already been visited on several occasions, because for the first time the banner of France floats over the shores of the New World. This exploration besides, was to prepare the way for those of Jacques Cartier and of Champlain in Canada, as well as for the unlucky experiments in colonization of Jean Ribaut, and of Laudonnière, the sanguinary voyage of reprisals of Gourgues, and Villegagnon's attempt at a settlement in Brazil.

We possess no biographical details with regard to Verrazzano. Under what circumstances did he enter the service of France? What was his title to the command of such an expedition? Nothing is known of the Venetian traveller, for all we possess of his writings is the Italian translation of his report to Francis I. published in the collection of Ramusio. The French translation of this Italian translation exists in an abridged form in Lescarbot's work on New France and in the Histoire des Voyages. For our very rapid epitome we shall make use of the Italian text of Ramusio, except in some passages where Lescarbot's translation has appeared to give an idea of the rich, original, and marvellously modulated language of the sixteenth century.

Map of Newfoundland and of the Mouth of the St. Lawrence

Having set out with four vessels to make discoveries in the ocean, says Verrazzano in a letter written from Dieppe to Francis I. on the 8th July, 1524, he was forced by a storm to take refuge in Brittany with two of his vessels, the Dauphine and the Normande, there to repair damages. Thence he set sail for the coast of Spain, where he seems to have given chase to some Spanish vessels. We see him leave with the Dauphine alone on the 17th of January, 1524, a small inhabited island in the neighbourhood of Madeira, and launch himself upon the ocean with a crew of fifty men, well furnished with provisions and ammunition for an eight months' voyage.

Twenty-five days later he has made 1500 miles to the west, when he is assailed by a fearful storm; and twenty-five days afterwards, that is to say on the 8th or 9th of March, having made about 1200 miles, he discovers land at 30° north latitude, which he thought had never been previously explored. "When we arrived, it seemed to us to be very low, but on approaching within a quarter of a league we saw by the great fires which were lighted along the harbours and borders of the sea, that it was inhabited, and in taking trouble to find a harbour in which to land and make acquaintance with the country, we sailed more than 150 miles in vain, so that seeing the coast trended ever southwards, we decided to turn back again." The Frenchmen finding a favourable landing-place, perceived a number of natives who came towards them, but who fled away when they saw them land. Soon recalled by the friendly signs and demonstrations of the French, they showed great surprise at their clothes, their faces, and the whiteness of their skin. The natives were entirely naked, except that the middle of the body was covered with sable-skins, hung from a narrow girdle of prettily woven grasses, and ornamented with tails of other animals, which fell to their knees. Some wore crowns of birds' feathers. "They have brown skins," says the narrative, "and are exactly like the Saracens; their hair is black, not very long, and tied at the back of the head in the form of a small tail. Their limbs are well proportioned, they are of middle height, although a little taller than ourselves, and have no other defect beyond their faces being rather broad; they are not strong, but they are agile, and some of the greatest and quickest runners in the world." It was impossible for Verrazzano to collect any details about the manners and mode of life of these people, on account of the short time that he remained among them. The shore at this place was composed of fine sand interspersed here and there with little sandy hillocks, behind which were scattered "groves and very thick forests which were wonderfully pleasant to look upon." There were in this country, as far as we could judge, abundance of stags, fallow deer and hares, numerous lakes, and streams of sparkling water, as well as a quantity of birds.

This land lies at 34°. It is therefore the part of the United States which now goes by the name of Carolina. The air there is pure and salubrious, the climate temperate, the sea is entirely without rocks, and in spite of the want of harbours it is not unfavourable for navigators.

During the whole month of March the French sailed along the coast, which seemed to them to be inhabited by a numerous population. The want of water forced them to land several times, and they perceived that the savages were most pleased with mirrors, bells, knives, and sheets of paper. One day they sent a long-boat ashore with twenty-five men in it. A young sailor jumped into the water "because he could not land on account of the waves and currents, in order to give some small articles to these people, and having thrown them to them from a distance because he was distrustful of the natives, he was cast violently on shore by the waves. The Indians seeing him in this condition, take him and carry him far away from the sea, to the great dismay of the poor sailor, who expected they were about to sacrifice him. Having placed him at the foot of a little hill, in the full blaze of the sun, they stripped him quite naked and wondered at the whiteness of his skin; then lighting a large fire they made him come to it and recover his strength, and it was then that the poor young man as well as those who were in the boat, thought that the Indians were about to massacre and immolate him, roasting his flesh in this large brazier and then eating their victim, as do the cannibals. But it happened quite differently; for having shown a desire to return to the boat they reconducted him to the edge of the sea, and having kissed him very lovingly, they retired to a hill to see him re-enter the boat."

Continuing to follow the shore northwards for more than 150 miles, the Frenchmen reached a land which seemed to them more beautiful, being covered with thick woods. Into these forests, twenty men penetrated for more than six miles and only returned to the shore from the fear of losing themselves. In this walk, having met two women, one young and the other old, with some children, they seized one of the latter who might be about eight years old, with the idea of taking him away to France; but they could not do the same with the young woman, who began to cry with all her might, calling for aid from her compatriots, who were hidden in the wood. In this place the savages were whiter than any of those hitherto met with; they snared birds and used a bow of very hard wood, and arrows tipped with fish-bones. Their canoes, twenty feet long and four feet wide, were hollowed by fire out of a trunk of a tree. Wild vines abounded and climbed over the trees in long festoons as they do in Lombardy. With a little cultivation they would no doubt produce excellent wine—"for the fruit is sweet and pleasant like ours, and we thought that the natives were not insensible to it, for in all directions where these vines grew, they had taken care to cut away the branches of the surrounding trees so that the fruit might ripen." Wild roses, lilies, violets, and all kinds of odoriferous plants and flowers, new to the Europeans, carpeted the ground everywhere, and filled the air with sweet perfumes.

Canadian Landscape
Canadian Landscape.

After remaining for three days in this enchanting place, the Frenchmen continued to follow the coast northwards, sailing by day and casting anchor at night. As the land trended towards the east, they went 150 miles further in that direction, and discovered an island of triangular shape about thirty miles distant from the continent, similar in size to the Island of Rhodes, and upon which they bestowed the name of the mother of Francis I., Louisa of Savoy. Then they reached another island forty-five miles off, which possessed a magnificent harbour and of which the inhabitants came in crowds to visit the strange vessels. Two kings, especially, were of fine stature and great beauty. They were dressed in deer-skins, with the head bare, the hair carried back and tied in a tuft, and they wore on the neck a large chain ornamented with coloured stones. This was the most remarkable nation which they had until now met with. "The women are graceful," says the narrative published by Ramusio. "Some wore the skins of the lynx on their arms; their head was ornamented with their plaited hair and long plaits hung down on both sides of the chest; others had headdresses which recalled those of the Egyptian and Syrian women; only the elderly women, and those who were married, wore pendants in their ears of worked copper." This land is situated on the same parallel as Rome, in 41° 40', but its climate is much colder.

Two Canadian Kings
Two Canadian Kings.

On the 5th of May, Verrazzano left this port and sailed along the sea-shore for 450 miles. At last he reached a country of which the inhabitants resembled but little any of those whom he had hitherto met with. They were so wild that it was impossible to carry on any trade with them, or any sustained intercourse. What they appeared to esteem above everything else were fish-hooks, knives, and all articles in metal, attaching no value to all the trifling baubles which up to this time had served for barter. Twenty-five armed men landed and advanced from four to six miles into the interior of the country. They were received by the natives with flights of arrows, after which the latter retired into the immense forests which appeared to cover the whole country.

One hundred and fifty miles further on spreads out a vast archipelago composed of thirty-two islands, all near the land, separated by narrow canals, which reminded the Venetian navigator of the archipelagos which in the Adriatic border the coasts of Sclavonia and Dalmatia. At length, 450 miles further on, in latitude 50°, the French came to lands which had been previously discovered by the Bretons. Finding themselves then short of provisions, and having reconnoitred the coast of America for a distance of 2100 miles, they returned to France, and disembarked safely at Dieppe in the month of July, 1524.

Some historians relate that Verrazzano was made prisoner by the savages who inhabit the coast of Labrador, and was eaten by them. A fact which is simply impossible, since he addressed from Dieppe to Francis I. the account of his voyage which we have just abridged. Besides, the Indians of these regions were not anthropophagi. Certain authors, but we have not been able to discover on the authority of what documents, nor under what circumstances this happened, relate that Verrazzano having fallen into the power of the Spaniards, had been taken to Spain and there hanged. It is wiser to admit that we know nothing certain about Verrazzano, and that we are totally ignorant what rewards his long voyage procured for him. Perhaps when some learned man shall have looked through our archives (of which the abstract and inventory are far from being finished), he may recover some new documents; but for the present we must confine ourselves to the narrative of Ramusio.

Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier.
From an old print.

Ten years later a captain of St. Malo, named Jacques Cartier, born on the 21st of December, 1484, conceived the project of establishing a colony in the northern part of America. Being favourably received by Admiral Philippe de Chabot, and by Francis I., who asked to see the clause in Adam's will which disinherited him of the New World in favour of the kings of Spain and Portugal, Cartier left St. Malo with two vessels on the 20th of April, 1534. The vessel which carried him weighed only sixty tons and carried a crew of sixty-one men. At the end of only twenty days, so favourable was the voyage, Cartier discovered Newfoundland at Cape Bonavista. He then went northwards as far as Bird Island, which he found surrounded by ice, all broken up and melting, but on which he was able, nevertheless, to lay in a stock of five or six tons of guillemots, puffins, and penguins, without reckoning those which were eaten fresh. He then explored all the coast of the island, which at this time bore a number of Breton names, thus proving the assiduous manner in which the French frequented these shores. Then penetrating into the Strait of Belle-Isle, which separates the continent from the Island of Newfoundland, Cartier arrived at the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Along the whole of this coast the harbours are excellent: "If the land only corresponded to the goodness of the harbours," says the St. Malo sailor, "it would be a great blessing; but one ought not to call it land; it is rather pebbles and savage rocks and places fit for wild beasts: as for all the land towards the north, I never saw as much earth there as would fill a tumbrel." After having coasted along the continent, Cartier was cast by a tempest upon the west coast of Newfoundland, where he explored Cape Royal and Cape Milk, the Columba Islands, Cape St. John, the Magdalen Islands, and the Bay of Miramichi on the continent. In this place he had some intercourse with the savages, who showed "a great and marvellous eagerness in the acquisition of iron tools and other things, always dancing and performing various ceremonies, among others throwing sea-water on their heads with their hands; so well did they receive us that they gave us all that they had, keeping back nothing." The next day the number of the savages was even greater, and our French sailors made an ample harvest of furs and skins of animals.

After having explored the Bay of Chaleurs, Cartier arrived at the entrance of the estuary of the St. Lawrence, where he saw some natives, who possessed neither the appearance nor the language of the first. "The latter may truly be called savages, for no poorer people can be found in the world, and I think that all put together, excepting their boats and their nets, they could not have had the value of two pence half-penny. They have the head entirely shaved, with the exception of a lock of hair on the very top, which they allow to grow as long as a horse's tail, and which they fasten upon the head with some small copper needles. Their only dwelling is underneath their boats, which they overturn and then stretch themselves on the ground beneath them without any covering."

After having planted a large cross in this place, Jacques Cartier obtained the chief's permission to take away with him two of his children, whom he was to bring back again on his next voyage. Then he set out again for France, and landed at St. Malo on the 5th of September, 1534.

The following year, on the 19th of May, Cartier left St. Malo at the head of a fleet composed of three vessels called the Grande and the Petite Hermine and the Emerillon on board of which some gentlemen of high rank had taken passages, among whom may be named Charles de la Pommeraye, and Claude de Pont-Briant, son of the Sieur de Moncevelles and cup-bearer to the Dauphin.

Very soon the squadron was dispersed by the storm, and could not be brought together again until it reached Newfoundland. After having landed at Bird Island, in Whitesand harbour, which is in Castle Bay, Cartier penetrated into the Bay of St. Lawrence. He discovered there the Island of Natiscotec which we call Anticosti, and entered a great river called Hochelaga, which leads to Canada. On the banks of this river lies the country called Saguenay, whence comes the red copper, to which the two savages whom he had taken on his first voyage gave the name of caquetdazé. But before entering the St. Lawrence, Cartier wished to explore the whole gulf, to see if no passage existed to the north. He afterwards returned to the Bay of the Seven Islands, went up the river, and soon reached the river Saguenay, which falls into the St. Lawrence on its northern bank. A little further on, after passing by fourteen islands, he entered the Canadian territories, which no traveller before him had ever visited.

"The next day the lord of Canada, called Donnacona, with twelve boats and accompanied by sixteen men, approached the ships. When abreast of the smallest of our vessels he began to make a palaver or preachment in their fashion, while moving his body and limbs in a marvellous manner, which is a sign of joy and confidence, and when he arrived at the flag-ship where were the two Indians who had been brought back from France, the said chief spoke to them and they to him. And they began to relate to him what they had seen in France and the good treatment which they had received, at which the said chief was very joyful, and begged the captain to give him his arms that he might kiss and embrace them, which is their mode of welcome in this country. The country of Stadaconé, or St. Charles, is fertile and full of very fine trees of the same nature and kind as in France, such as oaks, elms, plum-trees, yews, cedars, vines, hawthorns—which bear fruit as large as damsons—and other trees; beneath them grows hemp as good as that of France." Cartier succeeded afterwards in reaching with his boats and his galleon a place which is the Richelieu of the present day, next, a great lake formed by the river—St. Peter's Lake—and at last he arrived at Hochelaga or Montreal, which is 630 miles from the mouth of the St. Lawrence. In this place are "ploughed lands and large and beautiful plains full of the corn of the country, which is like the millet of Brazil, as large or larger than peas, on which they live as we do on wheat. And among these plains is placed and seated the said town of Hochelaga near to and joining on to some high ground which is around the town; and which is well cultivated and quite small; from the top of it one can see very far. We named this mountain the Mount Royal."

The welcome given to Jacques Cartier could not have been more cordial. The chief or Agouhanna, who was crippled in all his limbs, begged the captain to touch them, as if he had asked him for a cure. Then the blind, and those who were blind in one eye, the lame, and the impotent came and sat down near Jacques Cartier, that he might touch them, so thoroughly were they persuaded that he was a god descended to heal them. "The said captain, seeing the faith and piety of this people, recited the Gospel of St. John, namely: In principio, making the sign of the cross over the poor sick people, praying GOD that he would give them the knowledge of our holy faith and grace to accept Christianity and baptism. Then the said captain took a book of Hours and read aloud the Passion of our Saviour, so well that all those present could hear it, all the poor people being quite silent, looking up to heaven and using the same ceremonies as they saw us use." After making themselves acquainted with the country, which could be seen for ninety miles around from the top of Mount Royal, and having collected some information about the water-falls and rapids of the St. Lawrence, Jacques Cartier returned towards Canada, where he did not delay to rejoin his ships. We owe to him the first information on tobacco for smoking, which does not seem to have been in use throughout the whole extent of the New World. "They have a herb," he says, "of which they collect great quantities during the summer for the winter; they esteem it highly, and the men alone use it in the following manner: they dry it in the sun and carry it on their necks in a small skin of an animal in the shape of a bag, with a horn of stone or of wood, then constantly they make the said herb into powder, and put it into one of the ends of the said horn; they then place a live coal upon it and blow through the other end, and so fill their body with smoke that it issues from the mouth and nostrils, as if from the shaft of a chimney. We have tried the said smoke, but after having put it into our mouths, it seemed as if there were ground pepper in them, so hot is it." In the month of December the inhabitants of Stadaconé were attacked by an infectious disease which proved to be the scurvy. "This malady spread so rapidly in our vessels that by the middle of February out of our 110 men there were but ten in good health." Neither prayers, nor orisons, nor vows to our Lady of Roquamadour brought any relief. Twenty-five Frenchmen perished up to the 18th of April, and there were not four amongst them who were not attacked by the malady. But at this time a savage chief informed Jacques Cartier that a decoction of the leaves and sap of a certain tree, probably either the Canadian fir-tree or the barberry, was very salutary. As soon as two or three had experienced its beneficial effects "there was a crowding as if they would have killed each other to be the first to get the medicine; and one of the tallest and largest trees I ever saw was used in less than eight days, which had such an effect that if all the doctors of Louvain and Montpellier had been there with all the drugs of Alexandria, they had not done as much in a year as the said tree accomplished in eight days."

Some time after, Cartier, having noticed that Donnacona was trying to excite sedition against the French, caused him to be seized, as well as nine other savages, that he might take them to France, where they died. He set sail from the harbour of St. Croix on the 6th of May, descended the St. Lawrence, and after a voyage which was not marked by any incident, he landed at St. Malo on the 16th of July, 1536.

Francis I., in consequence of the report of this voyage which the St. Malo captain made to him, resolved to take effective possession of the country. After having appointed François de la Roque, Sieur de Roberval, viceroy of Canada, he caused five vessels to be fitted out, which being laden with provisions and ammunition for two years, were to transport Roberval and a certain number of soldiers, artizans, and gentlemen to the new colony, which they were about to establish. The five vessels set sail on the 23rd of May, 1541. They met with such contrary winds that it took them three months to reach Newfoundland. Cartier did not arrive at the harbour of St. Croix till the 23rd of August. As soon as he had landed his provisions, he sent back two of his vessels to France with letters for the king, telling him what had been done, also that the Sieur de Roberval had not yet appeared, and that they did not know what had happened to him. Then he had works commenced to clear the land, to build a fort, and to lay the first foundations of the town of Quebec. He next set out for Hochelaga, taking with him Martin de Paimpont and other gentlemen, and went to examine the three waterfalls of Sainte Marie, La Chine, and St. Louis; on his return to St. Croix, he found Roberval had just arrived. Cartier returned to St. Malo in the month of October, 1542, where, probably ten years later, he died. As to the new colony, Roberval having perished in a second voyage, it vegetated, and was nothing more than a factory until 1608, the date of the foundation of Quebec by M. de Champlain, of whom we shall relate the services and discoveries a little further on.

We have just seen how Cartier, who had set out first to seek for the north-west passage, had been led to take possession of the country and to lay the foundations of the colony of Canada. In England a similar movement had begun, set on foot by the writings of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and of Richard Wills. They ended by carrying public opinion with them, and demonstrating that it was not more difficult to find this passage than it had been to discover the Strait of Magellan. One of the most ardent partizans of this search was a bold sailor, called Martin Frobisher, who after having many times applied to rich ship-owners, at last found in Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth, a patron, whose pecuniary help enabled him to equip a pinnace and two poor barks of from twenty to twenty-five tons' burden. It was with means thus feeble, that the intrepid navigator went to encounter the ice in localities which had never been visited since the time of the Northmen. Setting out from Deptford on the 8th of June, 1576, he sighted the south of Greenland, which he took for the Frisland of Zeno. Soon stopped by the ice, he was obliged to return to Labrador without being able to land there, and he entered Hudson's Straits. After having coasted along Savage and Resolution Islands, he entered a strait which has received his name, but which is also called by some geographers, Lunley's inlet. He landed at Cumberland, took possession of the country in the name of Queen Elizabeth, and entered into some relations with the natives. The cold increased rapidly, and he was obliged to return to England. Frobisher only brought back some rather vague scientific and geographical details about the countries which he had visited; he received, however, a most flattering welcome when he showed a heavy black stone in which a little gold was found. At once all imaginations were on fire. Several lords and the Queen herself contributed to the expense of a new armament, consisting of a vessel of 200 tons, with a crew of 100 men, and two smaller barks, which carried six months' provision both for war and for nourishment. Frobisher had some experienced sailors—Fenton, York, George Best, and C. Hall, under his command. On the 31st of May, 1577, the expedition set sail, and soon sighted Greenland, of which the mountains were covered with snow, and the shores defended by a rampart of ice. The weather was bad. Exceedingly dense fogs,—as thick as pease-soup, said the English sailors,—islands of ice a mile and a half in circumferance, floating mountains which were sunk seventy or eighty fathoms in the sea, such were the obstacles which prevented Frobisher from reaching before the 9th of August, the strait which he had discovered during his previous campaign. The English took possession of the country, and pursued both upon land and sea some poor Esquimaux, who, wounded "in this encounter, jumped in despair from the top of the rocks into the sea," says Forster in his Voyages in the North, "which would not have happened if they had shown themselves more submissive, or if we could have made them understand that we were not their enemies." A great quantity of stones similar to that which had been brought to England were soon discovered. They were of gold marcasite, and 200 tons of this substance was soon collected. In their delight, the English sailors set up a memorial column on a peak to which they gave the name of Warwick Mount, and performed solemn acts of thanksgiving. Frobisher afterwards went ninety miles further on in the same strait, as far as a small island, which received the name of Smith's Island. There the English found two women, of whom they took one with her child, but left the other on account of her extreme ugliness. Suspecting, so much did superstition and ignorance flourish at this time, that this woman had cloven feet, they made her take the coverings off her feet, to satisfy themselves that they really were made like their own. Frobisher, now perceiving that the cold was increasing, and wishing to place the treasures which he thought he had collected, in a place of safety, resolved to give up for the present any farther search for the north-west passage. He then set sail for England, where he arrived at the end of September, after weathering a storm which dispersed his fleet. The man, woman, and child who had been carried off were presented to the Queen. It is said with regard to them, that the man, seeing at Bristol Frobisher's trumpeter on horseback wished to imitate him, and mounted with his face turned towards the tail of the animal. These savages were the objects of much curiosity, and obtained permission from the Queen to shoot all kinds of birds, even swans, on the Thames, a thing which was forbidden to every one else under the most severe penalties. They did not long survive, and died before the child was fifteen months old.

People were not slow in discovering that the stones brought back by Frobisher really contained gold. The nation, but above all the higher classes, were immediately seized with a fever bordering on delirium. They had found a Peru, an Eldorado. Queen Elizabeth, in spite of her practical good sense, yielded to the current. She resolved to build a fort in the newly discovered country, to which she gave the name of Meta incognita, (unknown boundary) and to leave there, with 100 men as garrison, under the command of Captains Fenton, Best, and Philpot, three vessels which should take in a cargo of the auriferous stones. These 100 men were carefully chosen; there were bakers, carpenters, masons, gold-refiners, and others belonging to all the various handicrafts. The fleet was composed of fifteen vessels, which set sail from Harwich on the 31st of May, 1578. Twenty days later the western coasts of Frisland were discovered. Whales played round the vessels in innumerable troops. It is related even that one of the vessels propelled by a favourable wind, struck against a whale with such force that the violence of the shock stopped the ship at once, and that the whale after uttering a loud cry, made a spring out of the water and then was suddenly swallowed up. Two days later, the fleet met with a dead whale which they thought must be the one struck by the Salamander. When Frobisher came to the entrance of the strait which has received his name, he found it blocked up with floating ice. "The barque Dennis, 100 tons," says the old account of George Best, "received such a shock from an iceberg that she sank in sight of the whole fleet. Following upon this catastrophe, a sudden and horrible tempest arose from the south-east, the vessels were surrounded on all sides by the ice; they left much of it, between which they could pass, behind them, and found still more before them through which it was impossible for them to penetrate. Certain ships, either having found a place less blocked with ice, or one where it was possible to proceed, furled sails and drifted; of the others, several stopped and cast their anchors upon a great island of ice. The latter were so rapidly enclosed by an infinite number of islets of ice and fragments of icebergs, that the English were obliged to resign themselves and their ships to the mercy of the ice, and to protect the ships with cables, cushions, mats, boards, and all kinds of articles which were suspended to the sides, in order to defend them from the fearful shocks and blows of the ice." Frobisher himself was thrown out of his course. Finding the impossibility of rallying his squadron, he sailed along the west coast of Greenland, as far as the strait which was soon to be called Davis' Strait, and penetrated as far as the Countess of Warwick Bay. When he had repaired his vessels with the wood which was to have been used in the building of a dwelling, he loaded the ships with 500 tons of stones similar to those which he had already brought home. Judging the season to be then too far advanced, and considering also that the provisions had been either consumed, or lost in the Dennis, that the wood for building had been used for repairing the vessels, and having lost 40 men, he set out on his return to England on the 31st of August. Tempests and storms accompanied him to the shores of his own country. As to the results of his expedition they were almost none as to discoveries, and the stones, which he had put on board in the midst of so many dangers, were valueless.

This was the last Arctic voyage in which Frobisher took part. In 1585 we meet with him again as vice-admiral, under Drake; in 1588 he distinguished himself against the Invincible Armada; in 1590 he was with Sir Walter Raleigh's fleet on the coast of Spain; finally in a descent on the coast of France, he was so seriously wounded that he had only time to bring his squadron back to Portsmouth before he died. If Frobisher's voyages had only gain for their motive, we must put this down not to the navigator himself, but to the passions of the period, and it is not the less true that in difficult circumstances, and with means the insufficiency of which makes us smile, he gave proof of courage, talent, and perseverance. To Frobisher is due, in one word, the glory of having shown the route to his countrymen, and of having made the first discoveries in the localities where the English name was destined to render itself illustrious.

If it became necessary to abandon the hope of finding in these circumpolar regions countries in which gold abounded as it did in Peru, this was no ground for not continuing to seek there for a passage to China; an opinion supported by very skilful sailors, and one which found many adherents among the merchants of London. By the aid of several high personages, two ships were equipped; the Sunshine, of fifty tons' burden and carrying a crew of twenty-three in number, and the Moonshine, of thirty-five tons. They quitted Portsmouth on the 7th of June, 1585, under the command of John Davis.

Davis discovered the entrance of the strait which received his name, and was obliged to cross immense fields of drifting ice, after having reassured his crew, who were frightened while in the midst of a dense fog, by the dash of the icebergs, and the splitting of the blocks of ice. On the 20th July, Davis discovered the Land of Desolation, but without being able to disembark upon it. Nine days later he entered Gilbert Bay, where he found a peaceable population, who gave him sealskins and furs in exchange for some trifling articles. These natives, some days afterwards, arrived in such numbers, that there were not less than thirty-seven canoes around Davis' vessels. In this place, the navigator perceived an enormous quantity of drift wood, amongst which he mentions an entire tree, which could not have been less than sixty feet in length. On the 6th of August, he cast anchor in a fine bay called Tottness; near a mountain of the colour of gold, which received the name of Raleigh, at the same time, he gave the names of Dyer and Walsingham to two capes of that land of Cumberland.

During eleven days, Davis still sailed northwards on a very open sea, free from ice, and of which the water had the colour of the Ocean. Already he believed himself at the entrance of the sea, which communicated with the Pacific, when all at once the weather changed, and became so foggy, that he was forced to return to Yarmouth, where he landed on the 30th of September.

Davis had the skill to make the owners of his ships partake in the hope which he had conceived. Thus on the 7th of May (1586), he set out again with the two ships which had made the previous voyage. To them were added the Mermaid of 120 tons, and the pinnace North Star. When, on the 25th of June, he arrived at the southern point of Greenland, Davis despatched the Sunshine and the North Star towards the north, in order to search for a passage upon the eastern coast, whilst he pursued the same route as in the preceding year, and penetrated into the strait which bears his name as far as 69°. But there was a much greater quantity of ice this year, and on the 17th of July, the expedition fell in with an "icefield" of such extent that it took thirteen days to coast along it. The wind after passing over this icy plain was so cold, that the rigging and sails were frozen, and the sailors refused to go any further. It was needful, therefore, to descend again to the east-south-east. There Davis explored the land of Cumberland, without finding the strait he was seeking, and after a skirmish with the Esquimaux, in which three of his men were killed, and two wounded, he set out on the 19th of September, on his return to England.

Although once more his researches had not been crowned with success, Davis still had good hope, as is witnessed by a letter, which he wrote to the Company, in which he said that he had reduced the existence of the passage to a species of certainty. Foreseeing, however, that he would have more trouble in obtaining the despatch of a new expedition, he added that the expenses of the enterprise would be fully covered by the profit arising from the fishery of walrus, seals, and whales, which were so numerous in those parts, that they appeared to have there established their head-quarters. On the 15th of May, 1587, he set sail with the Sunshine, the Elizabeth of Dartmouth, and the Helen of London. This time he went farther north than he had ever done before, and reached 72° 12', that is to say, nearly the latitude of Upernavik, and he descried Cape Henderson's Hope. Stopped by the ice, and forced to retrace his way, he sailed in Frobisher's Strait, and after having crossed a large gulf, he arrived, in 61° 10' latitude, in sight of a cape to which he gave the name of Chudleigh. This cape is a part of the Labrador coast, and forms the southern entrance to Hudson's Bay. After coasting along the American shores as far as 52°, Davis set out for England, which he reached on the 15th of September.

Although the solution of the problem had not been found, yet nevertheless, precious results had been obtained, but results to which people at that period did not attach any great value. Nearly the half of Baffin's Bay had been explored, and clear ideas had been obtained of its shores, and of the people inhabiting them. These were considerable acquisitions, from a geographical point of view, but they were scarcely those which would greatly affect the merchants of the city. In consequence, the attempts at finding a north-west passage were abandoned by the English for a somewhat long period.

A new nation was just come into existence. The Dutch—while scarcely delivered from the Spanish yoke,—inaugurated that commercial policy, which was destined to make the greatness and prosperity of their country, by the successive despatch of several expeditions to seek for a way to China by the north-east; the same project formerly conceived by Sebastian Cabot, and which had given to England the Russian trade. With their practical instinct, the Dutch had acquainted themselves with English navigation. They had even established factories at Kola, and at Archangel, but they wished to proceed further in their search for new markets. The Sea of Kara appearing to them too difficult, they resolved, acting on the advice of the cosmographer Plancius, to try a new way by the north of Nova Zembla. The merchants of Amsterdam applied therefore, to an experienced sailor, William Barentz, born in the island of Terschelling, near the Texel. This navigator set out from the Texel in 1594, on board the Mercure, doubled the North Cape, saw the island of Waigatz, and found himself, on the 4th of July, in sight of the coast of Nova Zembla, in latitude 73° 25'. He sailed along the coast, doubled Cape Nassau on the 10th of July, and three days later he came in contact with the ice. Until the 3rd of August, he attempted to open a passage through the pack, testing the mass of ice on various sides, going up as far as the Orange Islands at the north-western extremity of Nova Zembla, sailing over 1700 miles of ground, and putting his ship about no less than eighty-one times. We do not imagine that any navigator had hitherto displayed such perseverance. Let us add that he turned this long cruise to account, to fix astronomically, and with remarkable accuracy, the latitude of various points. At last, wearied with the fruitless boxing about along the edge of the pack, the crew cried for mercy, and it became necessary to return to the Texel.

The results obtained were judged so important, that the following year, the Dutch States-General entrusted to Jacob van Heemskerke, the command of a fleet of seven vessels, of which Barentz was named chief pilot. After touching at various points upon the coasts of Nova Zembla and of Asia, this squadron was forced by the pack to go back without having made any important discovery, and it returned to Holland on the 18th of September.

As a general rule governments do not possess as much perseverance as do private individuals. The large fleet of the year 1595, had cost a great sum of money, and had produced no results; this was sufficient to discourage the States-General. The merchants of Amsterdam therefore, substituting private enterprise for the action of the government, which merely promised a reward to the man who should first discover the north-east passage—fitted out two vessels, of which the command was given to Heemskerke and to Jan Corneliszoon Rijp, while Barentz, who had only the title of pilot, was virtually the leader of the expedition. The historian of the voyage, Gerrit de Veer, was also on board as second mate.

The Dutchmen sailed from Amsterdam on the 10th of May, 1596, passed by the Shetland and Faröe Islands, and on the 5th of June, saw the first masses of ice, "whereat we were much amazed, believing at first that they were white swans." They soon arrived to the south of Spitzbergen, at Bear Island, upon which they landed on the 11th of June. They collected there a great number of sea-gulls' eggs, and after much trouble killed at some distance inland a white bear, destined to give its name to the land which Barentz had just discovered. On the 19th of June, they disembarked upon some far-spreading land, which they took to be a part of Greenland, and to which on account of the sharp-pointed mountains, they gave the name of Spitzbergen; of this they explored a considerable portion of the western coast. Forced by the Polar pack to go southwards again to Bear Island, they separated there from Rijp, who was once more to endeavour to find a way by the north. On the 11th of July, Heemskerke and Barentz were in the parts of Cape Kanin, and five days later they had reached the western coast of Nova Zembla, which was called Willoughby's Land. They then altered their course, and again going northwards, they arrived on the 19th at the Island of Crosses, where the ice which was still attached to the shore, barred their passage. They remained in this place until the 4th of August, and two days later they doubled Cape Nassau. After several changes of course, which it would take too long to relate, they reached the Orange Islands at the northern extremity of Nova Zembla. They began to descend the eastern coast, but were soon obliged to enter a harbour, where they found themselves completely blocked in by the pack-ice, and in which "they were forced in great cold, poverty, misery, and grief, to stay all the winter." This was on the 26th of August. "On the 30th the masses of ice began to pile themselves one upon another against the ship, with snow falling. The ship was lifted up and surrounded in such a manner, that all that was about her and around her began to crack and split. It seemed as if the ship must break into a thousand pieces, a thing most terrible to see and to hear, and fit to make one's hair stand on end. The ship was afterwards in equal danger, when the ice formed beneath, raising her and bearing her up as though she had been lifted by some instrument." Soon the ship cracked to such a degree, that prudence dictated the debarkation of some of the provisions, sails, gunpowder, lead, the arquebuses as well as other arms, and the erection of a tent or hut, in which the men might be sheltered from the snow and from any attacks by bears. Some days later, some sailors who had advanced from four to six miles inland, found near a river of fresh water, a quantity of drift-wood; they discovered there also the traces of wild goats and of reindeer. On the 11th of September, seeing that the bay was filled with enormous blocks of ice piled one upon the other, and welded together, the Dutchmen perceived that they would be obliged to winter in this place, and resolved, "in order to be better defended against the cold, and armed against the wild beasts," to build a house there, which might be able to contain them all, while they would leave to itself the ship, which became each day less safe and comfortable. Fortunately, they found upon the shore whole trees, coming doubtless from Siberia, and driven here by the current, and in such quantity that they sufficed not only for the construction of their habitation, but also for firewood throughout the winter.

Barentz's Ship
Barentz's Ship.
From an old print.

Never yet had any European wintered in these regions, in the midst of that slothful and immovable sea, which according to the very false expressions used by Tacitus, forms the girdle of the world, and in which is heard the uproar caused by the rising of the sun. The Dutchmen, therefore, were unable to picture to themselves the sufferings which threatened them. They bore them, however, with admirable patience, without a single murmur, and without the least want of discipline or attempt at mutiny. The conduct of these brave seamen, quite ignorant of what so apparently dark a future might have in reserve for them, but who with wonderful faith had "placed their affairs in the hands of God," may be always proposed as an example even to the sailors of the present day. It may well be said that they had really in their heart the æs triplex of which Horace speaks. It was owing to the skill, knowledge, and foresight of their leader Barentz, as much as to their own spirit of obedience, that the Dutch sailors ever came forth from Nova Zembla, which threatened to be their tomb, and again saw the shores of their own country.

Interior view of the house
Interior view of the house.
From an old print.

The bears, which were extremely numerous at that period of the year, made frequent visits to the crew. More than one was killed, but the Dutchmen contented themselves with skinning them for the sake of their fur, and did not eat them, probably because they believed the flesh to be unwholesome. It would have been, however, a considerable addition to their food, and would have saved them from using their salted meat, and thus they might longer have escaped the attacks of scurvy. But that we may not anticipate, let us continue to follow the journal of Gerrit de Veer.

On the 23rd September, the carpenter died, and was interred the next day in the cleft of a mountain, it being impossible to put a spade into the ground, on account of the severity of the frost. The following days were devoted to the transport of driftwood and the building of the house. To cover it in, it was necessary to demolish the fore and aft cabins of the ship; the roof was put on, on the 2nd October, and a piece of frozen snow was set up like a May pole. On the 31st September, there was a strong wind from the north-west, and as far as the eye could reach, the sea was entirely open and without ice. "But we remained as though taken and arrested in the ice, and the ship was raised full two or three feet upon the ice, and we could imagine nothing else but that the water must be frozen quite to the bottom, although it was three fathoms and a half in depth."

On the 12th October, they began to sleep in the house, although it was not completed. On the 21st, the greater part of the provisions, furniture, and everything which might be wanted was withdrawn from the ship, for they felt certain that the sun was about to disappear. A chimney was fixed in the centre of the roof, inside a Dutch clock was hung up, bed-places were formed along the walls, and a wine-cask was converted into a bath, for the surgeon had wisely prescribed to the men frequent bathing as a preservative of health. The quantity of snow which fell during this winter, was really marvellous. The house disappeared entirely beneath this thick covering, which, however, sensibly raised the temperature within. Every time that they wished to go forth, the Dutchmen were obliged to hollow out a long corridor beneath the snow. Each night they first heard the bears, and then the foxes, which walked upon the top of the dwelling, and tried to tear off some planks from the roof, that they might get into the house. So the sailors were accustomed to climb into the chimney, whence, as from a watch-tower they could shoot the animals and drive them off. They had manufactured a great number of snares, into which fell numbers of blue foxes, the valuable fur of which served as a protection against cold, while their flesh enabled the sailors to economize their provisions. Always cheerful and good tempered, they bore equally well the ennui of the long polar night, and the severity of the cold, which was so extreme, that during two of three days, when they had not been able to keep so large a fire as usual, on account of the smoke being driven back again by the wind, it froze so hard in the house, that the walls and the floor were covered with ice to the depth of two fingers, even in the cots where these poor people were sleeping. It was necessary to thaw the sherry, when it was served out, as was done every two days, at the rate of half a pint.

"On the 7th of December, the rough weather continued, with a violent storm coming from the north-east, which produced horrible cold. We knew no means of guarding ourselves against it, and while we were consulting together, what we could do for the best, one of our men in this extreme necessity proposed to make use of the coal which we had brought from the ship into our house, and to make a fire of it, because it burns with great heat and lasts a long time. In the evening we lighted a large fire of this coal, which threw out a great heat, but we did not provide against what might happen, for as the heat revived us completely, we tried to retain it for a long time. To this end we thought it well to stop up all the doors and the chimney, to keep in the delightful warmth. And thus, each went to repose in his cot, and animated by the acquired warmth, we discoursed long together. But in the end, we were seized with a giddiness in the head, some however, more than others; this was first perceived to be the case with one of our men who was ill, and who for this reason, had less power of resistance. And we also ourselves were sensible of a great pain which attacked us, so that several of the bravest came out of their cots and began by unstopping the chimney, and afterwards opening the door. But the man who opened the door fainted, and fell senseless upon the snow, on perceiving which, I ran to him and found him lying on the ground in a fainting fit. I went in haste to seek for some vinegar, and with it I rubbed his face until he recovered from his swoon. Afterwards, when we were somewhat restored, the captain gave to each a little wine, in order to comfort our hearts...."

"On the 11th, the weather continued fine, but so extremely cold, that no one who had not felt it could imagine it; even our shoes, frozen to our feet, were as hard as horn, and inside they were covered with ice in such a manner that we could no longer use them. The garments which we wore were quite white with frost and ice."

On Christmas Day, the 25th December, the weather was as rough as on the preceding days. The foxes made havoc upon the house, which one of the sailors declared to be a bad omen, and upon being asked why he said so, answered, "Because we cannot put them in a pot, or on the spit, which would have been a good omen."

If the year 1596, had closed with excessive cold, the commencement of 1597 was not more agreeable. Most violent storms of snow, and hard frost prevented the Dutchmen from leaving the house. They celebrated Twelfth Night with gaiety, as is related in the simple and touching narrative of Gerrit de Veer. "For this purpose, we besought the captain to allow us a little diversion in the midst of our sufferings, and to let us use a part of the wine which was destined to be served out to us every other day. Having two pounds of flour we made some pancakes with oil, and each one brought a white biscuit, which we soaked in the wine and eat. And it seemed to us that we were in our own country, and amongst our relations and friends; and we were as much diverted as if a banquet had been given in our honour, so much did we relish our entertainment. We also made a Twelfth-Night king, by means of paper, and our master gunner was king of Nova Zembla, which is a country enclosed between two seas, and of the great length of six hundred miles."

After the 21st January, the foxes became less numerous, the bears reappeared, and daylight began to increase, which enabled the Dutchmen, who had been so long confined to the house, to go out a little. On the 24th, one of the sailors, who had been long ill, died, and was buried in the snow at some distance from the house. On the 28th, the weather being very fine, the men all went out, walking about, running for exercise, and playing at bowls, to take off the stiffness of their limbs, for they were extremely weak, and nearly all suffering from scurvy. They were so much enfeebled that they were obliged to go to work several times before they could carry to their house the wood which was needful. At length in the first days of March, after several tempests and driving snowstorms, they were able to verify the fact that there was no ice in the sea. Nevertheless, the weather was still rough and the cold glacial. It was not feasible as yet to put to sea again, the rather because the ship was still embedded in the ice. On the 15th of April, the sailors paid a visit to her and found her in fairly good condition.

Exterior view of the house
Exterior view of the house.
From an old print.

At the beginning of May the men became somewhat impatient, and asked Barentz if he were not soon intending to make the necessary preparations for departure. But Barentz answered that he must wait until the end of the month, and then, if it should be impossible to set the ship free, he would take measures to prepare the long-boats and the launch, and to render them fit for a sea voyage. On the 20th of the month the preparations for departure commenced; with what joy and ardour it is easy to imagine. The launch was repaired, the sails were mended, and both boats were dragged to the sea, and provisions put on board. Then, seeing that the water was free, and that a strong wind was blowing, Heemskerke went to seek Barentz, who had been long ill, and declared to him "that it seemed good to him to set out from thence, and in God's name to commence the voyage and abandon Nova Zembla."

"William Barentz had before this written a paper setting forth how we had started from Holland to go towards the kingdom of China, and all that had happened, in order that, if by chance, some one should come after us, it might be known what had befallen us. This note he enclosed in the case of a musket which he hung up in the chimney."

On the 13th June, 1597, the Dutchmen abandoned the ship, which had not stirred from her icy prison, and commending themselves to the protection of God, the two open boats put to sea. They reached the Orange Islands, and again descended the western coast of Nova Zembla in the midst of ceaselessly recurring dangers.

"On the 20th of June Nicholas Andrieu became very weak, and we saw clearly that he would soon expire. The lieutenant of the governor came on board our launch, and told us that Nicholas Andrieu was very much indisposed, and that it was very evident that his days would soon end. Upon which, William Barentz said, 'It appears to me that my life also will be very short.' We did not imagine that Barentz was so ill, for we were chatting together, and William Barentz was looking at the little chart which I had made of our voyage, and we had various discourses together. Finally, he laid down the chart, and said to me, 'Gerard, give me something to drink.' After he had drunk, such weakness supervened that his eyes turned in his head, and he died so suddenly that we had not time to call the captain, who was in the other boat. This death of William Barentz saddened us greatly, seeing that he was our principal leader, and our sole pilot, in whom we had placed our whole trust. But we could not oppose the will of God, and this thought quieted us a little." Thus died the illustrious Barentz, like his successors Franklin and Hall, in the midst of his discoveries. In the measured and sober words of the short funeral oration of Gerrit de Veer may be perceived the affection, sympathy, and confidence which this brave sailor had been able to inspire in his unfortunate companions. Barentz is one of the glories of Holland, so prolific in brave and skilful navigators. We shall mention presently what has been done to honour his memory.

Map of Nova Zembla

After having been forced several times to haul the boats out of the water when they were on the point of being crushed between the blocks of ice; after having seen on various occasions the sea open, and again close before them; after having suffered both from thirst and hunger, the Dutchmen reached Cape Nassau. One day, being obliged to draw up the long-boat, which was in danger of being stove in upon an iceberg, the sailors lost a part of their provisions and were all deluged with water, for the ice broke away under their feet. In the midst of so much misery they sometimes met with good windfalls. Thus, when they were upon the ice on the Island of Crosses they found there seventy eggs of the mountain-duck. "But they did not know what they should put them in to carry them. At length one man took off his breeches, tying them together by the ends, and having put the eggs into them, they carried them on a pike between two, while the third man carried the musket. The eggs were very welcome, and we eat them like lords." From the 19th July, the Dutchmen sailed over a sea, which, if not altogether free from ice, was at least clear of those great fields of ice which had given them so much trouble to avoid. On the 28th July, when entering the Gulf of St. Lawrence, they met with two Russian vessels, which at first they dared not approach. But when they saw the sailors come to them unarmed and with friendly demonstrations, they put aside all fear, the rather as they recognized in the Russians some people whom they had met with the year before in the neighbourhood of Waigatz. The Dutchmen received some assistance from them, and then continued their voyage, still keeping along the coast of Nova Zembla, and as close in shore as the ice would allow. Upon one occasion when they landed, they discovered the cochlearia (scurvy-grass), a plant of which the leaves and seeds form one of the most powerful of known anti-scorbutics. They eat them, therefore, by handfuls, and immediately experienced great relief. Their provisions were, however, nearly exhausted; they had only a little bread remaining and scarcely any meat. They decided therefore to take to the open sea, in order to shorten the distance which separated them from the coast of Russia, where they hoped to fall in with some fishermen's boats, from which they might obtain assistance. In this hope they were not deceived, although they had still many trials to undergo. The Russians were much touched by their misfortunes, and consented on several occasions to bestow provisions upon them, which prevented the Dutch sailors from dying of hunger. In consequence of a thick fog the two boats were separated from each other, and did not come together again until some distance beyond Cape Kanin on the further side of the White Sea, at Kildyn Island, where some fishermen informed the Dutchmen that at Kola there were three ships belonging to their nation, which were ready to put to sea on their return to their own country. They therefore despatched thither one of their men accompanied by a Laplander, who returned three days afterwards with a letter signed Jan Rijp. Great was the astonishment of the Dutch at the sight of this signature. It was only on comparing the letter just received with several others which Heemskerke had in his possession, that they were convinced that it really came from the captain who had accompanied them the preceding year. Some days later, on the 30th September, Rijp himself arrived with a boat laden with provisions, to seek them out and take them to the Kola River, in which his ship was at anchor.

Rijp was greatly astonished at all that they related to him, and at the terrible voyage of nearly 1200 miles which they had made, and which had not taken less than 104 days—namely, from the 13th June to the 25th September. Some days of repose accompanied by wholesome and abundant food sufficed to clear off the last remains of scurvy, and to refresh the sailors after their fatigues. On the 17th September, Jan Rijp left the Kola River, and on the 1st November the Dutch crew arrived at Amsterdam. "We had on," says Gerrit de Veer, "the same garments which we wore in Nova Zembla, having on our heads caps of white fox-skin, and we repaired to the house of Peter Hasselaer, who had been one of the guardians of the town of Amsterdam charged with presiding over the fitting out of the two ships of Jan Rijp and of our own captain. Arrived at this house, in the midst of general astonishment, because that we had been long thought to be dead, and this report had been spread throughout the town, the news of our arrival reached the palace of the prince, where there were then at table the Chancellor, and the Ambassador of the high and mighty King of Denmark and Norway, of the Goths and the Vandals. We were then brought before them by M. l'Écoutets and two lords of the town, and we gave to the said lord Ambassador, and to their lordships the burgomasters, a narrative of our voyage. Afterwards each of us retired to his own house. Those who had not dwellings in the town, were lodged in an inn until such time as we had received our money, when each went his own way. These are the names of the men who returned from this voyage: Jacob Heemskerke, clerk and captain, Peter Peterson Vos, Gerrit de Veer, mate, Jan Vos, surgeon, Jacob Jansen Sterrenburg, Leonard Henry, Laurence William, Jan Hillebrants, Jacob Jansen Hoochwout, Peter Corneille, Jacob de Buisen, and Jacob Everts."

Of all these brave sailors we have nothing further to record except that De Veer published the following year the narrative of his voyage, and that Heemskerke after having made several cruises to India, received in 1607 the command of a fleet of twenty-six vessels, at the head of which, on the 25th of April, he had a severe battle with the Spaniards under the guns of Gibraltar, in which battle, although the Dutch were the conquerers, Heemskerke lost his life.

The spot where the unfortunate Barentz and his companions had wintered was not revisited until 1871, nearly three hundred years after their time. The first to double the northern point of Nova Zembla, Barentz had remained alone in the achievement until this period. On the 7th September, 1871, the Norwegian Captain, Elling Carlsen, well known by his numerous voyages in the North Sea and the Frozen Ocean, arrived at the ice haven of Barentz, and on the 9th he discovered the house which had sheltered the Dutchmen. It was in such a wonderful state of preservation that it seemed to have been built but a day, and everything was found in the same position as at the departure of the shipwrecked crew. Bears, foxes, and other creatures inhabiting these inhospitable regions had alone visited the spot. Around the house were standing some large puncheons and there were heaps of seal, bear, and walrus bones. Inside, everything was in its place. It was the faithful reproduction of the curious engraving of Gerrit de Veer. The bed-places were arranged along the partition as they are shown in the drawing, as well as the clock, the muskets, and the halberd. Amongst the household utensils, the arms, and the various objects brought away by Captain Carlsen, we may mention two copper cooking-pans, some goblets, gun-barrels, augers and chisels, a pair of boots, nineteen cartridge-cases, of which some were still filled with powder, the clock, a flute, some locks and padlocks, twenty-six pewter candlesticks, some fragments of engravings, and three books in Dutch, one of which, the last edition of Mendoza's "History of China" shows the goal which Barentz sought in this expedition, and a "Manual of Navigation" proves the care taken by the pilot to keep himself well up in all professional matters.

Upon his return to the port of Hammerfest, Captain Carlsen met with a Dutchman, Mr. Lister Kay, who purchased the Barentz relics, and forwarded them to the authorities of the Netherlands. These objects have been placed in the Naval Museum at the Hague, where a house, open in front, has been constructed precisely similar to the one represented in the drawing of Gerrit de Veer, and each object or instrument brought back has been placed in the very position which it occupied in the house in Nova Zembla. Surrounded by all the respect and affection which they merit, these precious witnesses of a maritime event so important as the first wintering in the Arctic regions, these touching reminiscences of Barentz, Heemskerke, and their rough companions, constitute one of the most interesting monuments in the Museum. Beside the clock is placed a copper dial, through the middle of which a meridian is drawn. This curious dial, invented by Plancius, which served without doubt to determine the variations of the compass, is now the only example extant of a nautical instrument which has never been in very general use. For this reason it is as precious as, from another point of view, are the flute used by Barentz, and the shoes of the poor sailor who died during the winter sojourn. It is impossible to behold this curious collection without experiencing poignant emotion.





CHAPTER IV.

VOYAGES OF ADVENTURE AND PRIVATEERING WARFARE.
Drake—Cavendish—De Noort—Walter Raleigh.

A very poor cottage at Tavistock in Devonshire was the birthplace in 1540, of Francis Drake, who was destined to gain millions by his indomitable courage, which however, he lost with as much facility as he had obtained them. Edmund Drake his father, was one of those clergy who devote themselves to the education of the people. His poverty was only equalled by the respect which was felt for his character. Burdened with a family as he was, the father of Francis Drake found himself obliged from necessity to allow his son to embrace the maritime profession, for which he had an ardent longing, and to serve as cabin-boy on board a coasting vessel which traded with Holland. Industrious, active, self-reliant, and saving, the young Francis Drake had soon acquired all the theoretical knowledge needed for the direction of a vessel. When he had realized a small sum, which was increased by the sale of a vessel bequeathed to him by his first master, he made more extended voyages; he visited the Bay of Biscay and the Gulf of Guinea, and laid out all his capital in purchasing a cargo which he hoped to sell in the West Indies. But no sooner had he arrived at Rio de la Hacha, than both ship and cargo were confiscated, we know not under what frivolous pretext. All the remonstrances of Drake, who thus saw himself ruined, were useless. He vowed to avenge himself for such a piece of injustice, and he kept his word.

In 1567, two years after this adventure, a small fleet of six vessels, of which the largest was of 700 tons' burden, left Plymouth with the sanction of the Queen, to make an expedition to the Coasts of Mexico. Drake was in command of a ship of fifty tons. At first starting they captured some negroes on the Cape de Verd Islands, a sort of rehearsal of what was destined to take place in Mexico. Then they besieged La Mina, where some more negroes were taken, which they sold at the Antilles. Hawkins, doubtless by the advice of Drake, captured the town of Rio de la Hacha; after which he reached St. Jean d'Ulloa, having encountered a fearful storm. But the harbour contained a numerous fleet, and was defended by formidable artillery. The English fleet was defeated, and Drake had much difficulty in regaining the English coast in January, 1568.

Drake afterwards made two expeditions to the West Indies for the purpose of studying the country. When he considered himself to have acquired the necessary information, he fitted out two vessels at his own expense: the Swan, of twenty-five tons, commanded by his brother John, and the Pasha of Plymouth, of seventy tons. The two vessels had as crew seventy-three jack-tars, who could be thoroughly depended on. From July, 1572, to August, 1573, sometimes alone, sometimes in concert with a certain Captain Rawse, Drake made a lucrative cruise upon the coasts of the Gulf of Darien, attacked the towns of Vera Cruz and of Nombre de Dios, and obtained considerable spoil. Unfortunately these enterprises were not carried out without much cruelty and many acts of violence which would make men of the present day blush. But we will not dwell upon the scenes of piracy and barbarity which are only too frequently met with in the sixteenth century.

After assisting in the suppression of the rebellion in Ireland, Drake, whose name was beginning to be well known, was presented to Queen Elizabeth. He laid before her his project of going to ravage the western coasts of South America, by passing through the Strait of Magellan, and he obtained, with the title of admiral, a fleet of six vessels, on board of which were 160 picked sailors.

Francis Drake started from Plymouth on the 15th November, 1577. He had some intercourse with the Moors of Mogador, of which he had no reason to boast, made some captures of small importance before arriving at the Cape de Verd Islands, where he took in fresh provisions, and then was fifty-six days in crossing the Atlantic and reaching the coast of Brazil, which he followed as far as the estuary of La Plata, where he laid in a supply of water. He afterwards arrived at Seal Bay in Patagonia, where he traded with the natives, and killed a great number of penguins and sea-wolves for the nourishment of his crew. "Some of the Patagonians who were seen on the 13th May a little below Seal Bay," says the original narrative, "wore on the head a kind of horn, and nearly all had many beautiful birds' feathers by way of hats. They also had the face painted and diversified by several kinds of colours, and they each held a bow in the hand, from which every-time they drew it, they discharged two arrows. They were very agile, and as far as we could see, well instructed in the art of making war, for they kept good order in marching and advancing, and for so few men as they were, they made themselves appear a large number." M. Charton, in his Voyageurs Anciens et Modernes, notices that Drake does not mention the extraordinary stature which Magellan had attributed to the Patagonians. For this there is more than one good reason. There exists in Patagonia more than one tribe, and the description here given by Drake of the savages whom he met, does not at all resemble that given by Pigafetta of the Patagonians of Port St. Julian. If there exist, as seems now to be proved, a race of men of great stature, their habitat appears fixed upon the shores of the Strait at the southern extremity of Patagonia, and not at fifteen days' sail from Port Desire, at which Drake arrived on the 2nd June. On the following day he reached the harbour of St. Julian, where he found a gibbet erected of yore by Magellan for the punishment of some rebellious members of his crew. Drake in his turn, chose this spot to rid himself of one of his captains, named Doughty, who had been long accused of treason and underhand dealing, and who on several occasions had separated himself from the fleet. Some sailors having confessed that he had solicited them to join with him in frustrating the voyage, Doughty was convicted of the crimes of rebellion, and of tampering with the sailors, and according to the laws of England, he was condemned by a court martial to be beheaded. This sentence was immediately executed, although Doughty until the last moment vehemently declared his innocence. Was his guilt thoroughly proved? If Drake were accused upon his return to England—in spite of the moderation which he always evinced towards his men,—of having taken advantage of the opportunity to get rid of a rival whom he dreaded, it is difficult to conceive that the forty judges who pronounced the sentence should have concerted together to further the secret designs of their admiral and condemn an innocent man.

On the 20th of August, the fleet, now reduced to three vessels—two of the ships having been so much damaged that they were at once destroyed by the admiral—entered the strait, which had not been traversed since the time of Magellan. Although he met with fine harbours, Drake found that it was difficult to anchor in them, on account both of the depth of the water close to the shore, and of the violence of the wind, which, blowing as it did in sudden squalls, rendered navigation dangerous. During a storm which was encountered at the point where the strait opens into the Pacific, Drake beheld one of his ships founder, while his last companion was separated from him a few days afterwards, nor did he see her again until the end of the campaign. Driven by the currents to the south of the strait as far as 55° 40', Drake had now only his own vessel; but by the injury which he did to the Spaniards, he showed what ravages he would have committed if he had had still under his command the fleet with which he left England. During a descent upon the island of Mocha, the English had two men killed and several wounded, while Drake himself, hit by two arrows on the head, found himself utterly unable to punish the Indians for their perfidy. In the harbour of Valparaiso he captured a vessel richly laden with the wines of Chili, and with ingots of gold valued at 37,000 ducats; afterwards he pillaged the town, which had been precipitately abandoned by its inhabitants. At Coquimbo, the people were forewarned of his approach, so that he found there a strong force, which obliged him to re-embark. At Arica he plundered three small vessels, in one of which he found fifty-seven bars of silver valued at 2006l. In the harbour of Lima, where were moored twelve ships or barks, the booty was considerable. But what most rejoiced the heart of Drake was to learn that a galleon named the Cagafuego, very richly laden, was sailing towards Paraca. He immediately went in pursuit, capturing on the way a bark carrying 80 lbs. of gold, which would be worth 14,080 French crowns, and in the latitude of San Francisco he seized without any difficulty the Cagafuego, in which he found 80 lbs. weight of gold. This caused the Spanish pilot to say, laughing, "Captain, our ship ought no longer to be called Cagafuego (spit-fire), but rather Caga-Plata (spit money), it is yours which should be named Caga-Fuego." After making some other captures more or less valuable, upon the Peruvian coast, Drake, learning that a considerable fleet was being prepared to oppose him, thought it time to return to England. For this, there were three different routes open to him: he might again pass the Strait of Magellan, or he might cross the Southern Sea, and doubling the Cape of Good Hope might so return to the Atlantic Ocean, or he could sail up the coast of China and return by the Frozen Sea and the North Cape. It was this last alternative, as being the safest of the three, which was adopted by Drake. He therefore put out to sea, reached the 38° of north latitude, and landed on the shore of the Bay of San Francisco, which had been discovered three years previously by Bodega. It was now the month of June, the temperature was very low, and the ground covered with snow. The details given by Drake of his reception by the natives, are curious enough: "When we arrived, the savages manifested great admiration at the sight of us, and thinking that we were gods, they received us with great humanity and reverence."

"As long as we remained, they continued to come and visit us, sometimes bringing us beautiful plumes made of feathers of divers colours, and sometimes petun (tobacco) which is a herb in general use among the Indians. But before presenting these things to us, they stopped at a little distance, in a spot where we had pitched our tents. Then they made a long discourse after the manner of a harangue, and when they had finished, they laid aside their bows and arrows in that place, and approached us to offer their presents."

"The first time they came their women remained in the same place, and scratched and tore the skin and flesh of their cheeks, lamenting themselves in a wonderful manner, whereat we were much astonished. But we have since learnt that it was a kind of sacrifice which they offered to us."

The facts given by Drake with regard to the Indians of California are almost the only ones which he furnishes upon the manners and customs of the nations which he visited. We would draw the reader's attention here, to that custom of long harangues which the traveller especially remarks, just as Cartier had observed upon it forty years earlier, and which is so noticeable amongst the Canadian Indians at the present day. Drake did not advance farther north and gave up his project of returning by the Frozen Sea. When he again set sail, it was to descend towards the Line, to reach the Moluccas, and to return to England by the Cape of Good Hope. As this part of the voyage deals with countries already known, and as the observations made by Drake are neither numerous nor novel, our narrative here shall be brief.

On the 13th of October, 1579, Drake arrived in latitude 8° north, at a group of islands of which the inhabitants had their ears much lengthened by the weight of the ornaments suspended to them; their nails were allowed to grow, and appeared to serve as defensive weapons, while their teeth, "black as ship's pitch," contracted this colour from the use of the betel-nut. After resting for a time, Drake passed by the Philippines, and on the 14th of November arrived at Ternate. The king of this island came alongside, with four canoes bearing his principal officers dressed in their state costumes. After an interchange of civilities and presents, the English received some rice, sugar-canes, fowls, figo, cloves, and sago. On the morrow, some of the sailors who had landed, were present at a council. "When the king arrived, a rich umbrella or parasol all embroidered in gold was borne before him. He was dressed after the fashion of his country, but with extreme magnificence, for he was enveloped from the shoulders with a long cloak of cloth of gold reaching to the ground. He wore as an ornament upon the head, a kind of turban made of the same stuff, all worked in fine gold and enriched with jewels and tufts. On his neck there hung a fine gold chain many times doubled, and formed of broad links. On his fingers, he had six rings of very valuable stones, and his feet were encased in shoes of morocco leather."

After remaining some time in the country to refresh his crew, Drake again put to sea, but his ship on the 9th of January, 1580, struck on a rock, and to float her off it was necessary to throw overboard eight pieces of ordnance and a large quantity of provisions. A month later, Drake arrived at Baratena Island where he repaired his ship. This island afforded much silver, gold, copper, sulphur, spices, lemons, cucumbers, cocoa-nuts, and other delicious fruits. "We loaded our vessels abundantly with these, being able to certify that since our departure from England we have not visited any place where we have found more comforts in the way of food and fresh provisions than in this island and that of Ternate."

After quitting this richly endowed island, Drake landed at Greater Java, where he was very warmly welcomed by the five kings amongst whom the island was partitioned, and by the inhabitants. "These people are of a fine degree of corpulence, they are great connoisseurs in arms, with which they are well provided, such as swords, daggers, and bucklers, and all these arms are made with much art." Drake had been some little time at Java when he learnt that not far distant there was a powerful fleet at anchor, which he suspected must belong to Spain; to avoid it he put to sea in all haste. He doubled the Cape of Good Hope during the first days of June, and after stopping at Sierra Leone to take in water, he entered Plymouth harbour on the 3rd November, 1580, after an absence of three years all but a few days.

The reception which awaited him in England was at first extremely cold. His having fallen by surprise both upon Spanish towns and ships, at a time when the two nations were at peace, rightly caused him to be regarded by a portion of society as a pirate, who tramples under foot the rights of nations. For five months the Queen herself, under the pressure of diplomatic proprieties, pretended to be ignorant of his return. But at the end of that time, either because circumstances had altered, or because she did not wish to show herself any longer severe towards the skilful sailor, she repaired to Deptford where Drake's ship was moored, went on board, and conferred the honour of knighthood upon the navigator.

Elizabeth knighting Drake
Elizabeth knighting Drake.

From this period Drake's part as a discoverer is ended, and his after-life as a warrior and as the implacable enemy of the Spaniards does not concern us. Loaded with honours, and invested with important commands, Drake died at sea on the 28th January, 1596, during an expedition against the Spaniards.

To him pertains the honour of having been the second to pass through the Strait of Magellan, and to have visited Tierra del Fuego as far as the parts about Cape Horn. He also ascended the coast of North America to a point higher than any his predecessors had attained, and he discovered several islands and archipelagos. Being a very clever navigator, he made the transit through the Strait of Magellan with great rapidity. If there are but very few discoveries due to him, this is probably either because he neglected to record them in his journal, or because he often mentions them in so inaccurate a manner that it is scarcely possible to recognize the places. It was he who inaugurated that privateering warfare by which the English, and later on the Dutch, were destined to inflict much injury upon the Spaniards. And the large profits accruing to him from it, encouraged his contemporaries, and gave birth in their minds to the love for long and hazardous voyages.

Among all those who took example by Drake, the most illustrious was undoubtedly Thomas Cavendish or Candish. Cavendish joined the English marine service at a very early age; and passed a most stormy youth, during which he rapidly dissipated his modest fortune. That which play had robbed him of, he resolved to recover from the Spaniards. Having in 1585 obtained letters of mark, he made a cruise to the East Indies and returned with considerable booty. Encouraged by his easy success as a highwayman on the great maritime roads, he thought that if he could acquire some honour and glory while engaged in making his fortune, so much the better would it be for him. With this idea he bought three ships, the Desire, of twenty tons, the Content, of sixty tons, and the Hugh Gallant, of forty tons, upon which he embarked one hundred and twenty-three soldiers and sailors. Setting sail on the 22nd July, 1586, he passed by the Canaries, and landed at Sierra Leone, which town he attacked and plundered; then, sailing again, he crossed the Atlantic, sighted Cape Sebastian in Brazil, sailed along the coast of Patagonia, and arrived on the 27th November at Port Desire. He found there an immense quantity of dog-fish, very large, and so strong that four men could with difficulty kill them, and numbers of birds, which, having no wings, could not fly, and which fed upon fish. They are classed under the general names of auks and penguins. In this very secure harbour, the ships were drawn up on shore to be repaired. During his stay at this place Cavendish had some skirmishes with the Patagonians,—"men of gigantic size, and having feet eighteen inches long"—who wounded two of the sailors with arrows tipped with sharpened flints.

On the 7th January, 1587, Cavendish entered the Strait of Magellan, and in the narrowest part of it received on board his ships one-and-twenty Spaniards and two women, the sole survivors of the colony founded three years previously, under the name of Philippeville, by Captain Sarmiento. This town, which had been built to bar the passage through the strait, had possessed no fewer than four forts as well as several churches. Cavendish could discern the fortress, then deserted and already falling into ruins. Its inhabitants, who had been completely prevented by the continual attacks of the savages from gathering in their harvests, had died of hunger, or had perished in endeavouring to reach the Spanish settlements in Chili. The Admiral, upon hearing this lamentable tale, changed the name of Philippeville into that of Port Famine, under which appellation the place is known at the present day. On the 21st the ships entered a beautiful bay, which received the name of Elizabeth, and in which was buried the carpenter of the Hugh Gallant. Not far from thence a fine river fell into the sea, on the banks of which dwelt the anthropophagi who had fought so fiercely with the Spaniards, and who endeavoured, but in vain, to entice the Englishmen into the interior of the country.

On the 24th February, as the little squadron came forth from the strait, it encountered a violent storm, which dispersed it. The Hugh Gallant, left alone, and letting in water in all directions, was only kept afloat with the greatest trouble. Rejoined on the 15th by his consorts, Cavendish tried in vain to land on Mocha Island, where Drake had been so maltreated by the Araucanians. This country, rich in gold and silver, had hitherto successfully resisted all Spanish attempts to subjugate it, and its inhabitants, fully determined to maintain their liberty, repulsed by force of arms every attempt to land. It was necessary therefore to go to the island of St. Maria, where the Indians, who took the Englishmen for Spaniards, furnished them with abundance of maize, fowls, sweet potatoes, pigs, and other provisions.

On the 30th March, Cavendish dropped anchor in 32° 50' in the Bay of Quintero. A party of thirty musketeers advanced into the country and met with oxen, cows, wild horses, hares, and partridges in abundance. The little troop was attacked by the Spaniards, and Cavendish was obliged to return to his ships after losing twelve of his men. He afterwards ravaged, plundered, or burnt the towns of Paraca, Cincha, Pisca, and Païta, and devastated the island of Puna, where he obtained a booty in coined money of the value of 25,760l. After having scuttled the Hugh Gallant, which was totally unfit any longer to keep the water, Cavendish continued his profitable cruising, burnt, in the latitude of New Spain, a ship of 120 tons, plundered and burnt Aguatulio, and captured, after six hours of fighting, a vessel of 708 tons, laden with rich stuffs, and with 122,000 gold pesos. Then, "victorious and contented," Cavendish wished to secure the great spoils which he was conveying against any chance of danger. He touched at the Ladrones, the Philippines, and Greater Java, doubled the Cape of Good Hope, recruited himself at St. Helena, and on the 9th September, 1588, anchored at Plymouth, after two years of sailing, privateering, and fighting. At the end of two years after his return, of all the great fortune which he had brought back with him, there remained only a sum sufficient for the fitting out of a third, and as it proved, a last expedition.

Cavendish started on the 6th August, 1591, with five vessels, but a storm on the coast of Patagonia scattered the flotilla, which could not be collected again until the arrival at Port Desire. Assailed by fearful hurricanes in the Strait of Magellan, Cavendish was obliged to go back, after having seen himself deserted by three of his ships. The want of fresh provisions, the cold, and the privations of all kinds which he underwent, and which had decimated his crew, forced him to return northwards along the coast of Brazil, where the Portuguese opposed every attempt at landing. He was therefore obliged to put to sea again without having been able to revictual. Cavendish died, from grief perhaps as much as from hardships, before he reached the English coast.

One year after the return of the companions of Barentz, two ships, the Mauritius and the Hendrik Fredrik, with two yachts, the Eendracht and Espérance, having on board a crew of 248 men, quitted Amsterdam on the 2nd July, 1598. The commander-in-chief of this squadron was Oliver de Noort, a man at that time about thirty or thereabouts, and well known as having made several long cruising voyages. His second in command and vice-admiral was Jacob Claaz d'Ulpenda, and as pilot there was a certain Melis, a skilful sailor of English origin. This expedition, fitted out by the merchants of Amsterdam with the concurrence and aid of the States-General of Holland, had a double purpose; at once commercial and military. Formerly the Dutch had contented themselves with fetching from Portugal the merchandise which they distributed by means of their coasting vessels throughout Europe; but now they were reduced to the necessity of going to seek the commodities in the scene of their production. For this object, De Noort was to show his countrymen the route inaugurated by Magellan, and on the way to inflict as much injury as he could upon the Spaniards and Portuguese. At this period Philip II., whose yoke the Dutch had shaken off, and who had just added Portugal to his possessions, had forbidden his subjects to have any commercial intercourse with the rebels of the Low Countries. It was thus a necessity for Holland if she did not wish to be ruined, and as a consequence, to fall anew under Spanish rule, to open up for herself a road to the Spice Islands. The route which was the least frequented by the enemy's ships was that by the Strait of Magellan, and this was the one which De Noort was ordered to follow.

After touching at Goree, the Dutch anchored in the Gulf of Guinea, at the Island do Principe. Here the Portuguese pretended to give a friendly welcome to the men who went on shore, but they took advantage of a favourable opportunity, to fall upon and massacre them without mercy. Among the dead were Cornille de Noort, brother of the admiral, Melis, Daniel Goerrits, and John de Bremen—the captain, Peter Esias, being the only man who escaped. It was a sorrowful commencement for a campaign, a sad presage which was destined not to remain unfulfilled. De Noort, who was furious over this foul play, landed from his ships 120 men; but he found the Portuguese so well entrenched, that after a brisk skirmish in which seventeen more of his men were either killed or wounded, he was obliged to weigh anchor without having been able to avenge the wicked and cowardly perfidy to which his brother and twelve of his companions had fallen victims. On the 25th December, one of the pilots named Jan Volkers, was abandoned on the African coast as a punishment for his disloyal intrigues, for endeavouring to foment a spirit of despondency amongst the crews, and for his well-proved rebellion. On the 5th January, the island of Annobon, situated in the Gulf of Guinea, a little below the Line, was sighted, and the course of the ships was changed for crossing the Atlantic. De Noort had scarcely cast anchor in the Bay of Rio Janeiro before he sent some sailors on shore to obtain water and buy provisions from the natives; but the Portuguese opposed the landing, and killed eleven men. Afterwards, repulsed from the coast of Brazil by the Portuguese and the natives, driven back by contrary winds, having made vain efforts to reach the island of St. Helena, where they had hoped to obtain the provisions of which they were in the most pressing want, the Dutchmen, deprived of their pilot, toss at random upon the ocean. They land upon the desert islands of Martin Vaz, again reach the coast of Brazil at Rio Doce, which they mistake for Ascension Island, and are finally obliged to winter in the desert island of Santa Clara. The putting into port at this place was marked by several disagreeable events. The flag-ship struck upon a rock with so much violence that had the sea been a little rougher, she must have been lost. There were also some bloody and barbarous executions of mutinous sailors, notably that of a poor man, who having wounded a pilot with a knife thrust, was condemned to have his hand nailed to the mainmast. The invalids, of whom there were many on board the fleet, were brought on shore, and nearly all were cured by the end of a fortnight. From the 2nd to the 21st of June, De Noort remained in this island, which was not more than three miles from the mainland. But before putting to sea he was obliged to burn the Eendracht, as he had not sufficient men to work her. It was not until the 20th December, after having been tried by many storms, that he was able to cast anchor in Port Desire, where the crew killed in a few days a quantity of dog-fish and sea-lions, as well as more than five thousand penguins. "The general landed," says the French translation of De Noort's narrative, published by De Bry, "with a party of armed men, but they saw nobody, only some graves placed on high situations among the rocks, in which the people bury their dead, putting upon the grave a great quantity of stones, all painted red, having besides adorned the graves with darts, plumes of feathers, and other singular articles which they use as arms."

A Sea-lion Hunt
A Sea-lion Hunt.
From an old print.

The Dutch saw also, but at too great a distance to shoot them, buffalos, stags, and ostriches, and from a single nest they obtained ten ostrich eggs. Captain Jacob Jansz Huy de Cooper, died during the stay at this place, and was interred at Port Desire. On the 23rd November, the fleet entered the Strait of Magellan. During a visit to the shore three Dutchmen were killed by some Patagonians, and their death was avenged by the massacre of a whole tribe of Enoos. The long navigation through the narrows and the lakes of the Strait of Magellan was signalized by the meeting with two Dutch ships, under the command of Sebald de Weerdt, who had wintered not far from the Bay of Mauritius, and by the abandoning of Vice-admiral Claaz, who, as it would appear, had been several times guilty of insubordination. Are not these acts, which we see so frequently committed by English, Dutch, and Spanish navigators, a true sign of the times? A deed which we should regard now-a-days as one of terrible barbarity seemed, doubtless, a relatively mild punishment in the eyes of men so accustomed to set but little value upon human life. Nevertheless, could anything be more cruel than to abandon a man in a desert country, without arms and without provisions, to put him on shore in a country peopled by ferocious cannibals, prepared to make a repast on his flesh; what was it but condemning him to a horrible death?

On the 29th of February, 1600, De Noort, after having been ninety-nine days in passing through the strait, came out on to the Pacific Ocean. A fortnight later, a storm separated him from the Hendrik Fredrik, which was never again heard of. As for De Noort, who had now with him only one yacht besides his own vessel, he cast anchor at the island of Mocha, and, unlike the experience of his predecessors, he was very well received by the natives. Afterwards he sailed along the coast of Chili, where he was able to obtain provisions in abundance in exchange for Nuremberg knives, hatchets, shirts, hats, and other articles of no great value. After ravaging, plundering, and burning several towns on the Peruvian coast, after sinking all the vessels that he met with, and amassing a considerable booty, De Noort, hearing that a squadron commanded by the brother of the viceroy, Don Luis de Velasco, had been sent in pursuit of him, judged it time to make for the Ladrone Islands, where he anchored on the 16th of September. "The inhabitants came around our ship with more than 200 canoes, there being three, four, or five men in each canoe, crying out all together: 'Hierro, hierro' (iron, iron), which is greatly in request amongst them. They are as much at home in the water as upon land, and are very clever divers, as we perceived when we threw five pieces of iron into the sea, which a single man went to search for." De Noort could testify unfortunately, that these islands well deserved their name. The islanders tried even to drag the nails out of the ship, and carried off everything upon which they could lay their hands. One of them, having succeeded in climbing along a part of the rigging, had the audacity to enter a cabin and seize upon a sword, with which he threw himself into the sea.

On the 14th October following, De Noort traversed the Philippine Archipelago, where he made several descents, and burnt, plundered, or sunk a number of Spanish or Portuguese vessels, and some Chinese junks. While cruising in the Strait of Manilla he was attacked by two large Spanish vessels, and in the battle which followed the Dutch had five men killed, and twenty-five wounded and lost their brigantine, which was captured with her crew of twenty-five men. The Spaniards lost more than 200 men, for their flag-ship caught fire and sank. Far from picking up the wounded and the able-bodied men, who were trying to save themselves by swimming, the Dutch, "making way with sails set on the foremast, across the heads which were to be seen in the water, pierced some with lances, and also discharged their cannon over them." After this bloody and fruitless victory, De Noort went to recruit at Borneo, captured a rich cargo of spices at Java, and having doubled the Cape of Good Hope, landed at Rotterdam on the 26th of August, having only one ship and forty-eight men remaining. If the merchants who had defrayed the expenses of the expedition approved of the conduct of De Noort, who brought back a cargo which more than reimbursed them for their expenditure, and who had taught his countrymen the way to the Indies, it behoves us, while extolling his qualities as a sailor, to take great exception to the manner in which he exercised the command, and to mete out severe blame for the barbarity which has left a stain of blood upon the first Dutch voyage of circumnavigation.

Battle of Manilla
Battle of Manilla.
From an old print.

We have now to speak of a man who, endowed with eminent qualities and with at least equal defects, carried on his life's work in divers, sometimes even in opposing directions, and who after having reached the highest summit of honour to which a gentleman could aspire, at last laid his head upon a scaffold, accused of treason and felony. This man is Sir Walter Raleigh. If he have any claim to a place in this portrait gallery of great sailors, it is neither as founder of any English colony nor as a sailor; it is as a discoverer, and what we have to say of him is not to his credit. Walter Raleigh passed five years in France fighting against the League, in the midst of all those Gascons who formed the basis of the armies of Henry of Navarre, and in such society he perfected the habits of boasting and falsehood which belonged to his character. In 1577, after a campaign in the Low Countries against the Spaniards, he returns to England and takes a deep interest in the questions so passionately debated among his three brothers by the mother's side, John, Humphrey, and Adrian Gilbert. At this period England was passing through a very grave economic crisis. The practice of agriculture was undergoing a transformation; in all directions grazing was being substituted for tillage, and the number of agricultural labourers was greatly reduced by the change. From thence arose general distress, and also such a surplussage of population as was fast becoming a matter of anxious concern. At the same time, to long wars succeeds a peace, destined to endure throughout the reign of Elizabeth, so that a great number of adventurers know not how to find indulgence for their love of violent emotions. At this moment, therefore, arises the necessity for such an emigration as may relieve the country of its population, may permit all the miserable people dying of hunger to provide for their own wants in a new country, and by that means may increase the influence and prosperity of the mother country. All the more thoughtful minds in England, who follow the course of public opinion—Hakluyt, Thomas Hariot, Carlyle, Peckham, and the brothers Gilbert—are struck with this need. But it is to the last named that belongs the credit of indicating the locality suitable for the establishing of colonies. Raleigh only joined with his brothers in the scheme, following their lead, but he neither conceived nor began the carrying into execution—as he has been too often credited with doing—of this fruitful project, the colonization of the American shores of the Atlantic. If Raleigh, all-powerful with Queen Elizabeth, fickle and nevertheless jealous in her affections as she was, encourage his brothers; if he expend himself 40,000l. sterling in his attempts at colonization, he still takes good care not to quit England, for the life of patience and self-devotion of the founder of a colony would have no attractions for him. He gives up and sells his patent as soon as he perceives the inutility of his efforts, while he does not forget to reserve for himself the fifth part of any profit arising eventually from the colony.

Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh.
From an old print.

At the same time Raleigh fits out some vessels against the Spanish possessions; and himself soon takes part in the strife and the battles which saved England from the Invincible Armada, afterwards proceeding to support the claims of the Prior de Crato, to the throne of Portugal. It is a short time after his return to England that he falls into disgrace with his royal mistress, and after his release from prison, while he is confined to his princely mansion of Sherborne, he conceives the project of his voyage to Guiana. To his mind, this is a gigantic enterprise of which the marvellous results are destined to draw upon him the attention of the whole world, and to restore to him the favour of his sovereign. Would not the discovery and conquest of El Dorado, of the country in which according to Orellana, the temples are roofed with plates of gold, where all the tools, even those for the meanest purposes, are made of gold, where one walks upon precious stones, "procure for him greater glory," these are the very words which Raleigh employs in his account, "than Cortès had gained in Mexico, or Pizarro in Peru. He will have under him more golden towns and nations than the King of Spain, the Sultan of the Turks, and no matter what Emperor!" We have already spoken of the fables which Orellana had invented in 1539, and which had been the fruitful source of more than one legend. Humboldt discloses what had given them birth when he describes to us the nature of the soil and the rocks which surround Lake Parima, between the Essequibo and the Branco. "They are," says this great traveller, "rocks of micaceous slate, and of sparkling talc, which are resplendent in the midst of a sheet of water, which acts as a reflector beneath the burning tropical sun." So are explained those massive domes of gold, those obelisks of silver, and all those marvels of which the boastful and enthusiastic minds of the Spaniards afforded them a glimpse. Did Raleigh believe really in the existence of this city of gold, for the conquest of which he was about to sacrifice so many lives? Was he thoroughly convinced himself, or did he not yield to the illusions of a mind eager for glory? It is impossible to say, but this at least is indisputable, that, to borrow the just expressions of M. Philarète Chasles, "at the moment even of his embarkation men did not believe in his promises, they were suspicious of his exaggerations, and dreaded the results of an expedition directed by a man so fool-hardy, and of a morality so equivocal."

Raleigh seizes Berreo
Raleigh seizes Berreo.
From an old print.

Nevertheless, it seemed that Raleigh had foreseen everything needful for this undertaking, and that he had made the necessary studies. Not only did he speak of the nature of the soil of Guiana, of its productions, and its inhabitants with imperturbable assurance, but he had taken care to send, at his own expense, a ship commanded by Captain Whiddon, to prepare the way for the fleet which he intended to conduct in person to the banks of the Orinoco. What he took good care, however, not to confide to the public, was that all the information he received from his emissary was unfavourable to the enterprise. Raleigh himself started from Plymouth on the 9th February, 1595, with a small fleet of five vessels, and 100 soldiers, without reckoning marines, officers, and volunteers. After stopping four days at Fortaventura, one of the Canaries, to take in wood and water there, he reached Teneriffe, where Captain Brereton ought to have rejoined him. Having waited for him in vain for eighty days, Raleigh sailed for Trinidad, where he met Whiddon. The island of Trinidad was at that time governed by Don Antonio de Berreo, who, it is said, had obtained accurate information concerning Guiana. The arrival of the English did not please him, and he immediately despatched emissaries to Cumana and to Margarita, with orders to gather together the troops to attack the Englishmen, while at the same time he forbade any Indians or Spaniards to hold intercourse with them under pain of death. Raleigh, forewarned, determined to be beforehand with him. At nightfall he landed in secret with 100 men, captured the town of St. Joseph, to which the Indians set fire, without a blow, and carried off Berreo and the principal personages to the ships. At the same time arrived Captains Gifford and Knynin, from whom he had been separated upon the Spanish Coasts. Raleigh at once sailed for the Orinoco, entered Capuri Bay with a large galley and three boats carrying 100 sailors and soldiers, became entangled in the inextricable labyrinth of islands and canals which form the mouth of the river, and ascended the Orinoco for a distance of 330 miles. The account which Raleigh gives of his campaign is so fabulous, with the coolness of a Gascon transported to the banks of the Thames, he so heaps one falsehood upon the top of another, that one is almost tempted to class his narrative amongst the number of imaginary voyages. He says that some Spaniards who had seen the town of Manoa, called El Dorado, told him that this town exceeds in size and wealth all the towns in the world, and everything which the "conquistadores" had seen in America. "There is no winter there," he says; "a soil dry and fertile, with game, and birds of every species in great abundance, who filled the air with hitherto unknown notes; it was a real concert for us. My captain, sent to search for mines, perceived veins both of gold and silver; but as he had no tool but his sword, he was unable to detach these metals to examine them in detail; however, he carried away several bits of them which he reserved for future examination. A Spaniard of Caracas called this mine Madre del Oro (mother of gold)." Then, as Raleigh well knows that the public is on its guard against his exaggerations, he adds, "It will be thought perchance, that I am the sport of a false and cheating delusion, but why should I have undertaken a voyage thus laborious, if I had not entertained the conviction that there is not a country upon earth which is richer in gold than Guiana? Whiddon and Milechappe, our surgeon, brought back several stones which resembled sapphires. I showed these stones to several inhabitants of Orinoco, who have assured me that there exists an entire mountain of them." An old cacique of the age of 110, who nevertheless could still walk ten miles without fatigue, came to see Raleigh, boasted to him of the formidable power of the Emperor of Manoa, and proved to him that his forces were insufficient. He depicted these people as much civilized, as wearing clothes, and possessing great riches, especially in plates of gold; finally, he spoke to him of a mountain of pure gold. Raleigh relates that he wished to approach this mountain, but, sad mischance, it was at that moment half submerged. "It had the form of a tower, and appeared to me rather white than yellow. A torrent which precipitated itself from the mountain, swollen by the rains, made a tremendous noise, which could be heard at the distance of many miles, and which deafened our people. I recollected the description which Berreo had given of the brilliancy of the diamonds and of the other precious stones scattered over the various parts of the country. I had, however, some doubt as to the value of these stones; their extraordinary whiteness, nevertheless surprised me. After a short time of repose on the banks of the Vinicapara, and a visit to the village of the cacique, the latter promised to conduct me to the foot of the mountain by a circuitous route; but at the sight of the numerous difficulties which presented themselves, I preferred to return to the mouth of the Cumana, where the caciques of the neighbourhood came to bring various presents, consisting of the rare productions of the country." We will spare the reader the description of people three times taller than ordinary men, of cyclops, of natives who had their eyes upon the shoulders, their mouth in the chest, and the hair growing from the middle of the back—all affirmations seriously related, but which give to Raleigh's narrative a singular resemblance to a fairy tale. One fancies while reading it that it must be a page taken out of the Thousand and one Nights.

If we put on one side all these figments of an imagination run mad, what gain has been derived for geography? There was certainly no pains spared in announcing with much noise, and very great puffing, this fantastic expedition, and we may well say with the fable-writer,—

"In fancy free I an author see,
 Who says, 'The awful war I'll sing
 Of Titans with the Thunder-King:'
 Of this grand promise the result, we find,
                         Is often wind."





CHAPTER V.

MISSIONARIES AND SETTLERS. MERCHANTS AND TOURISTS.

I.
Distinguishing characteristics of the Seventeenth Century—The more thorough exploration of regions previously discovered—To the thirst for gold succeeds Apostolic zeal—Italian missionaries in Congo—Portuguese missionaries in Abyssinia—Brue in Senegal and Flacourt in Madagascar—The Apostles of India, of Indo-China, and of Japan.

The seventeenth century has a distinctive character of its own, differing from that of the preceding century in the fact that nearly all the great discoveries have been already made, and that the work of this whole period consists almost exclusively in perfecting the information already acquired. It contrasts equally with the century which is to succeed it, because scientific methods are not yet applied by astronomers and sailors, as they are to be 100 years later. It appears in fact, that the narratives of the first explorers—who were only able, so to speak, to obtain a glimpse of the regions which they traversed while waging their wars,—may have in some degree exercised a baneful influence upon the public mind. Curiosity, in the narrowest sense of the word, is carried to an extreme. Men travel over the world to gain an idea of the manners and customs of each nation, of the productions and manufactures of each country, but there is no real study. They do not seek to trace what they see to its source, and to reason scientifically upon the why and wherefore of facts. They behold, curiosity is satisfied, and they pass on. The observations made do not penetrate beneath the surface, and the great object appears to be to visit, as rapidly as may be, all the regions which the sixteenth century has brought to light.

Besides, the abundance of the wealth diffused on a sudden over the whole of Europe has caused an economic crisis. Commerce, like industry, is transformed and altered. New ways are opened, new mediums arise, new wants are created, luxury increases, and the eagerness to make a fortune rapidly by speculation, turns the heads of many. If Venice from a commercial point of view be dead, the Dutch are about to constitute themselves, to use a happy expression of M. Leroy-Beaulieu, "the carriers and agents of Europe," and the English are preparing to lay the foundations of their vast colonial empire.

To the merchants succeed the missionaries. They alight in large numbers upon the newly-discovered countries, preaching the Gospel, civilizing the barbarous nations, studying and describing the country. The development of Apostolic zeal is one of the dominant features of the seventeenth century, and it behoves us to recognize all that geography and historic science owe to these devoted, learned, and unassuming men. The traveller only passes through a country, the missionary dwells in it. The latter has evidently much greater facilities for acquiring an intimate knowledge of the history and civilization of the nations which he studies. It is therefore very natural that we should owe to them narratives of journeys, descriptions, and histories, which are still consulted with advantage, and which have served as a basis for later works.

If there be any country to which these reflections more particularly apply, it is to Africa, and especially to Abyssinia. How much of this vast triangular continent of Africa was known in the seventeenth century? Nothing but the coasts, it will be said. A mistake. From the earliest times the two branches of the Nile, the Astapus and the Bahr-el-Abiad, had been known to the ancients. They had even advanced—if the lists of countries and nations discovered at Karnak by M. Mariette may be believed—as far as the great Lakes of the interior. In the twelfth century, the Arab geographer Edrisi writes an excellent description of Africa for Roger II. of Sicily, and confirms these data. Later on, Cadamosto and Ibn Batuta travel over Africa, and the latter goes as far as Timbuctoo. Marco Polo affirms that Africa is only united to Asia by the Isthmus of Suez, and he visits Madagascar. Lastly, when the Portuguese, led by Vasco da Gama, have completed the circumnavigation of Africa, some of them remain in Abyssinia, and in a short time diplomatic relations are established between that country and Portugal. We have already said something of Francesco Alvarez; in his train several Portuguese missionaries settle in the country, amongst whom must be named Fathers Paez and Lobo.

Father Paez left Goa in 1588 to preach Christianity upon the eastern coast of North Africa. After long and sad mishaps, he landed at Massowah in Abyssinia, traversed the country, and in 1618 pushed on as far as the sources of the Blue Nile,—a discovery the authenticity of which Bruce was hereafter to dispute, but of which the narrative differs only in some unimportant particulars from that of the Scotch traveller. In 1604, Paez, arrived at the court of the king Za Denghel, had preached with such success that he had converted the king and all his court. He had even soon acquired so great an influence over the Abyssinian monarch, that the latter, in writing to the Pope and to the King of Spain to offer them his friendship, asked them to send him men fitted to teach his people.

Father Geronimo Lobo landed in Abyssinia with Alfonzo Meneses, patriarch of Ethiopia, in 1625. But times were greatly changed. The king converted by Paez had been murdered, and his successor, who had summoned the Portuguese missionaries, died after a short time. A violent revulsion of feeling ensued against the Christians, and the missionaries were driven away, imprisoned, or given up to the Turks. Lobo was charged with the mission of obtaining the sum necessary for the ransom of his companions. After many wanderings, which led him to Brazil, Carthagena, Cadiz, and Seville, to Lisbon and to Rome, where he gave the Pope and the King of Spain numerous and accurate details upon the Church of Ethiopia and the manners of the inhabitants, he made a last journey in India, and returned to Lisbon to die, in 1678.

Christianity had been introduced into Congo, upon the Atlantic coast, in 1489, the year of its discovery by the Portuguese. At first Dominicans were sent; but as they made scarce any progress, the Pope, with the consent of the King of Portugal, despatched thither some Italian Capuchins. These were Carli de Placenza in 1667, Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi, from 1654 to 1668, afterwards Antonio Zucchelli and Gradisca, from 1696 to 1704. We shall mention these missionaries only, because they have published accounts of their journeys. Cavazzi explored in succession Angola, the country of Matumba, and the islands of Coanza and Loana. In the ardour of his apostolic zeal, he could devise no better means of converting the blacks than by burning their idols, rebuking the kings for the time-honoured custom of polygamy, and subjecting to torture, or to being torn with whips, those who relapsed into idolatry. Notwithstanding all this, he gained considerable ascendancy over the natives, which, if it had been well directed, might have produced very useful results in the development of civilization and the progress of religion. The same reproach is due also to Father Zucchelli and to the other Missionaries in Congo. The narrative of Cavazzi, published at Rome in 1687, asserted that Portuguese influence extended from 200 to 300 miles from the coast, and that in the interior there existed a very important town, known by the name of San Salvador, which possessed twelve churches, a Jesuit college, and a population of 50,000 souls.

At the close of the fourteenth century Pigafetta published the account of the journey of Duarte Lopez, ambassador from the King of Congo to the Courts of Rome and Lisbon. A map which accompanies this narrative presents to us a Lake Zambré, in the very place occupied by Lake Tanganyika, and more to the west, Lake Acque Lunda, from whence issued the Congo River; south of the equator two lakes are indicated, one the Lake of the Nile, the other, more to the east, bears the name of Colué; they appear to be the Albert and the Victoria Nyanza. This most curious information was rejected by the geographers of the nineteenth century, who left blank the whole interior of Africa.

Upon the West Coast of Africa at the mouth of the Senegal, the French had established settlements which, under the skilful administration of Andrew Brue, speedily received considerable extension. Brue, Commandant for the King and Director-general of the Royal French Company upon the Senegal Coast and in other parts of Africa—so ran his official title—although he may be little known, and the article which treats of him may be one of the most curtailed in the great collections of biography, deserves to occupy one of the most prominent positions among colonizers and explorers. Not content with extending the colony as far as its present limits, he explored countries which have been only lately revisited by Lieutenant Mage, or which have not been visited at all since Brue's time. He carried the French outposts eastwards above the junction of the Senegal and the Faleme, northwards as far as Arguin, which we have since abandoned, although reserving our rights, and southwards as far as the island of Bissao. He explored in the interior Galam and Bambouk, so rich in gold, and collected the earliest documents concerning the Pouls, Peuls or Fouls, the Yoloffs and the Mussulmen, who coming from the north, attempted the religious conquest of all the black nations of the country. The information thus collected by Brue about the history and migrations of these various people, is of the greatest value, affording clear light, even in the present day, to the geographer and the historian. Not only has Brue left us the narrative of deeds of which he was witness and the description of the places which he visited, but we also owe to him much information about the productions of the countries, the plants, the animals, and all the objects which would give occasion for commercial or industrial enterprise. These most curious documents, put together very maladroitly it must be confessed, by Father Labat, formed the subject, a few years ago, of a very interesting work by M. Berlioux.

To the south-east of Africa, during the first half of the seventeenth century, the French founded some commercial settlements in Madagascar, an island long known under the name of St. Lawrence. They build Fort Dauphin under the administration of M. de Flacourt; several unknown districts of the island are explored as well as the neighbouring islands upon the coast; the Mascarene Islands are occupied in 1649. Although firm and moderate towards his countrymen, De Flacourt did not use the same self-control towards the natives; he even brought about a general revolt, as a consequence of which he was recalled. Expeditions into the interior of Madagascar were henceforth very rare, and it is not until the present day that we find a thorough exploration carried out.

Of Indo-China and Thibet the only information which reached Europe during the whole of the seventeenth century was due to the missionaries. Such names as Father Alexandre de Rhodes, Ant. d'Andrada, Avril, Benedict Goes, may not be passed over in silence. In their Annual Letters is to be found a quantity of information, which even in the present day retains a real interest, as concerning regions so long closed against Europeans. In Cochin China and Tonkin, Father Tachard devoted himself to astronomical observations, of which the result was to prove by the most conclusive evidence the great errors in the longitudes given by Ptolemy. This called the attention of the learned world to the necessity of a reform in the graphic representation of the countries of the extreme east, and for attaining this end, to the absolute need of close observations made by specially qualified scientific men, or by navigators familiar with astronomical calculations. The country which especially attracted the missionaries was China, that enormous and populous empire, which ever since the arrival of Europeans in India, had persevered with the greatest strictness in the absurd policy of abstention from any intercourse whatsoever with foreigners. It was not until the close of the sixteenth century that the missionaries obtained the permission, so often demanded before in vain, to penetrate into the Middle Empire. Their knowledge of mathematics and astronomy facilitated their settlement and enabled them to gather, as well from the ancient annals of the country, as during their journies, a prodigious quantity of most valuable information concerning the history, ethnography, and geography of the Celestial Empire. Fathers Mendoza, Ricci, Trigault, Visdelou, Lecomte, Verbiest, Navarrete, Schall, and Martini, deserve especial mention for having carried to China the arts and sciences of Europe, while they diffused in the west the first accurate and precise information upon the unprogressive civilization of the Flowery Land.



II.
MISSIONARIES AND SETTLERS. MERCHANTS AND TOURISTS.
The Dutch in the Spice Islands—Lemaire and Schouten—Tasman—Mendana—Queiros and Torrès—Pyrard de Laval—Pietro della Valle—Tavernier—Thévenot—Bernier—Robert Knox—Chardin—De Bruyn—Kæmpfer.

The Dutch were not slow in perceiving the weakness and decadence of the Portuguese power in Asia. They felt with how much ease a clever and prudent nation might in a short time become possessed of the whole commerce of the extreme East. After a considerable number of private expeditions and voyages of reconnaissance they had founded in 1602 that celebrated Company of the Indies which was destined to raise to so high a pitch the wealth and prosperity of the metropolis. Equally in its strife with the Portuguese as in its dealing with the natives, the Company pursued a very skilful policy of moderation. Far from founding colonies, or repairing and occupying the fortresses which they took from the Portuguese, the Dutch bore themselves as simple traders, exclusively occupied with their commerce. They avoided building any fortified factory, except at the intersection of the great commercial roads. Thus they were able in a short time to seize all the carrying trade between India, China, Japan, and Oceania. The one fault committed by the all-powerful Company was the concentrating in its own hands a monopoly of the trade in spices. It drove away the foreigners who had settled in the Moluccas or in the Islands of Sunda, or who came thither to obtain a cargo of spices; it even went the length, in order to raise the price of this valuable commodity, of proscribing the cultivation of certain species in a large number of islands, and of forbidding, under pain of death, the exportation and sale of seeds and cuttings of the spice-producing trees. In a few years the Dutch were established in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, the Moluccas, and at the Cape of Good Hope, harbours the best placed for ships returning to Europe.

It was at this time that a rich merchant of Amsterdam, Jacob Lemaire, in concert with a skilful mariner, named Wilhem Cornelis Schouten, conceived a project for reaching the Indies by a new route. The Dutch States-General had in fact forbidden any subject of the United Provinces, not in the pay of the Company of the Indies, from going to the Spice Islands by way of the Cape of Good Hope or of the Strait of Magellan. Schouten, according to some, Lemaire, according to others, had formed the idea of eluding this interdict by seeking a passage to the south of Magellan's Strait. This much is certain, that Lemaire bore one half of the expense of the expedition, while Schouten, by the aid of several merchants whose names have been handed down to us, and who filled the chief offices in the town of Hoorn, provided the other half. They fitted out the Concorde, a vessel of 360 tons, and a yacht, carrying together a crew of sixty-five men, and twenty-nine cannon. This was certainly an equipment but little in accordance with the magnitude of the enterprise. But Schouten was a skilful mariner, the crew had been carefully chosen, and the vessels were abundantly furnished with provisions and spare rigging. Lemaire was commissioner, and Schouten the captain of the ship. The destination was kept secret, and officers and crew entered into an unlimited engagement to go wherever they might be led. On the 25th June, 1615, eleven days after quitting the Texel, and when there was no longer anything to be feared from indiscretion, the crews were assembled to listen to the reading of an order which ran as follows: "The two vessels would seek another passage than that of Magellan, by which to enter the South Sea, and to discover there certain southern countries, in the hope of obtaining enormous profits from them, and if heaven should not favour this design, they would repair by means of the same sea to the East Indies." This declaration was received with enthusiasm by the whole crew, who were animated, like all Dutchmen of that period, with a love for great discoveries.

The route then usually pursued for reaching South America—as may perhaps have been already observed—followed the African coasts as far as below the equator. The Concorde did not try to deviate from it; she reached the shores of Brazil, Patagonia, and Port Desire, at 300 miles to the north of the Strait of Magellan, but was for several days hindered by storms from entering the harbour. The yacht even remained for the space of one whole tide, aground and lying on her side, but high water set her afloat again; only for a short time however, for whilst some repairs were being done to her keel, her rigging took fire, and she was consumed in spite of the energetic efforts of the two crews. On the 13th January, 1616, Lemaire and Schouten arrived at the Sebaldine Islands, discovered by Sebald de Weerdt, and followed the coast of Tierra del Fuego at a short distance from land. The coast ran east-quarter-south-east, and was skirted by high mountains covered with snow. On the 24th of January at mid-day, they sighted its extreme point, but eastward stretched some more land, which also appeared to be of great elevation. The distance between these two islands, according to the general opinion, appeared to be about twenty-four miles, and Schouten entered the strait which divided them. It was so encumbered with whales that the ship was obliged to tack more than once to avoid them. The island to the east received the name of Staten Island, and that to the west the name of Maurice of Nassau.

The sea was so encumbered with whales
The sea was so encumbered with whales.

Twenty-four hours after entering this strait, which received the name of Lemaire, the ship emerged from it, and to an archipelago of small islands situated to starboard was given the name of Barneveldt, in honour of the Grand Pensionary of Holland. In 58° Lemaire doubled Cape Horn—so named in remembrance of the town where the expedition had been fitted out—and entered the South Sea. Lemaire afterwards went northwards as far as the parallel of the Juan Fernandez Islands, where he judged it wise to stop, in order to recruit his men who were suffering from scurvy. As Magellan had done, Lemaire and Schouten passed without perceiving them amongst the principal Polynesian archipelagos, and cast anchor on the 10th April, at the Island of Dogs, where it was only possible to procure a little fresh water and some herbs. They hoped to reach the Solomon Islands, but in the north the Dangerous Archipelago was entered, in which were discovered Waterland Island—so named on account of its containing a great lake—and Fly Island, because a cloud of these insects settled upon the vessel, and it was impossible to get rid of them until at the end of four days there was a change of wind. Afterwards Lemaire crossed the Friendly Archipelago, and entered that of the Navigators, or of Samoa, of which four small islands still retain the names which were then given to them: Goed Hoep, Cocoa, Horn, and Traitors' Islands. The inhabitants of these parts showed themselves extremely addicted to stealing; they tried to draw out the bolts from the ship and to break the chains. Scurvy continued to prevail among the crew, and it was therefore a great boon to receive from the king a present of a black boar and some fruits. The sovereign, who was named Latou, speedily arrived in a large canoe with sails, in shape like the Dutch sledges (trainaux), escorted by a flotilla of five and twenty boats. The king did not venture himself to go on board the Concorde, but his son was of a bolder spirit, and inquired the reason of everything he saw with the most lively curiosity. The next day the number of canoes was greatly augmented, and the Dutch perceived by certain indications that an attack was impending. Accordingly, a shower of stones falls on a sudden upon the ship, the canoes approach nearer, become annoying, and the Dutch to free themselves from them are forced to resort to a discharge of musketry. This island was rightly named Traitors' Island.

It was now the 18th of May, and Lemaire ordered the course to be changed, that the Moluccas might be reached by the north of New Guinea. He probably passed within sight of the Solomon Archipelago, the Admiralty Islands, and the Thousand Islands (Mille Iles), coasting afterwards along New Guinea from 143° to Geelwink Bay. He frequently landed, and gave names to a number of points: the twenty-five islands which form a part of the Admiralty Archipelago, the High Corner, the High Mountain (Hoogberg)—which seems to correspond to a portion of the neighbouring coast of Kornelis-Kinerz Bay—Moa and Arimoa, two islands again seen later on by Tasman, the island to which was given the name of Schouten, but which is now called Mysore and which must not be confounded with some other Schouten Islands situated upon the Coast of Guinea but much farther to the west, and finally the Cape Goede-Hoep, which appears to be Cape Saavedra at the western extremity of Mysore. After sighting the country of Papua, Schouten and Lemaire reached Gilolo, one of the Moluccas, where they received an eager welcome from their compatriots.

When they were thoroughly rested from their fatigues and cured of scurvy, the Dutch went to Batavia, arriving there on the 23rd October, 1616, only thirteen months after quitting the Texel, and having lost only thirteen men during the long voyage. But the Company of the Indies did not at all understand their privileges being infringed upon, and a possibility discovered of reaching the colonies by a way not foreseen in the letters patent which had been granted to the Company at the time of its establishment. The Governor caused the Concorde to be seized, and arrested her officers and sailors, whom he sent off to Holland, there to be tried. Poor Lemaire, who had expected a totally different recompense for his toils and fatigues, and for the discoveries which he had made, could not bear up under the blow which had fallen so unexpectedly upon him; he fell ill of grief and died in the latitude of the island of Mauritius. As for Schouten, he appears not to have been molested upon his return to his own country, and to have made several voyages to the Indies, which were not distinguished by any fresh discovery. He was returning to Europe in 1625, when he was forced by bad weather to enter Antongil Bay, upon the east coast of Madagascar, where he died.

Such was the history of this important expedition, which by means of Strait Lemaire opened up a shorter and less dangerous route than that by Magellan's Strait, an expedition signalized by several discoveries in Oceania, and by a more attentive exploration of points already seen by Spanish or Portuguese navigators. But it is often a matter of difficulty to settle with accuracy to which of these nations the discovery of certain islands, countries, or archipelagos in the neighbourhood of Australia, may be due.

Since we are speaking of the Dutch, we shall put the chronological order of discoveries a little on one side, that we may relate as well as those of Mendana and Quiros, the expeditions of Jan Abel Tasman.

What was the early history of Tasman, by what concurrence of circumstances did he embrace the profession of a sailor, by what means did he acquire the nautical skill and science of which he gave so many proofs, and which conducted him to his important discoveries? From ignorance we cannot answer these questions, all we know of his biography commences with his departure from Batavia on 2nd June, 1639. After passing the Philippines, he would seem during this first voyage to have visited in company with Matthew Quast the Bonin Islands, then known by the fantastic title of "the Gold and Silver Islands."

In a second expedition, composed of two vessels of which he had the chief command, and which sailed from Batavia on the 14th of August, 1642, he reached the Mauritius on the 5th September, and afterwards sailed to the south-east, seeking for the Australian Continent. On the 24th November in latitude 42° 25' south, he discovered land, to which he gave the name of Van-Diemen, after the Governor of the Sunda Islands, but which is now with much greater justice called Tasmania. He anchored there in Fredrik Hendrik Bay, and ascertained that the country was inhabited, although he could not see a single native.

After following this coast for a certain time, he sailed eastwards, with the intention of afterwards making once more for the north, to reach the Solomon Archipelago. On the 13th December, in latitude 42° 10', he came in sight of a mountainous country which he followed towards the north, until the 18th December, when he cast anchor in a bay; but even the boldest of the savages whom he met with there, did not approach the ship within a stone's throw. Their voices were rough, their stature tall, their colour brown inclining to yellow, and their black hair, which was nearly as long as that of the Japanese, was worn drawn up to the crown of the head. On the morrow they summoned courage to go on board one of the vessels and carry on traffic by means of barter. Tasman, upon seeing these pacific dispositions, despatched a boat for the purpose of obtaining a more accurate knowledge of the shore. Of the sailors who manned it, three were killed without provocation by the natives, while the others escaped by swimming, and were picked up by the ships' boats, but by the time they were in readiness to fire upon the assailants, these had disappeared. The spot where this sad event happened, received the name of Assassins' (Moordenaars) Bay. Tasman, who felt convinced that he could not carry on any intercourse with such fierce people, weighed anchor and sailed up the coast as far as its extreme point, which he named Cape Maria Van-Diemen, in honour of his "lady," for a legend states that having had the audacity to pretend to the hand of the daughter of the governor of the East Indies, the latter had sent him to sea with two dilapidated ships, the Heemskerke and the Zeechen.

Three were killed by the natives without provocation
Three were killed by the natives without provocation.

The land thus discovered received the name of Staaten Land, soon changed into that of New Zealand. On the 21st January, 1643, Tasman discovered the islands of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, upon which he found a great quantity of pigs, fowls, and fruit. On the 6th February, the ships entered an archipelago, consisting of a score of islands, which were called Prince William Islands, and after sighting Anthong-Java, Tasman followed the coast of New Guinea from Cape Santa Maria, passed by the various points previously discovered by Lemaire and Schouten, and anchored off Batavia on the 15th June following, after a ten months' voyage.

In a second expedition, Tasman, in obedience to his orders dated 1664, was to visit Van Diemen's Land, and to make a careful examination of the western coast of New Guinea, as far as 17° south latitude, in order to ascertain whether that island belonged to the Australian Continent. It does not appear that Tasman carried out this programme, but the loss of his journals causes complete uncertainty as to the route which he followed, and the discoveries which he may have made. From this time there is no record of the events which marked the close of his career, nor of the place and date of his death.

From the period of the taking of Malacca by Albuquerque, the Portuguese conceived that a new world extended to the south of Asia. Their ideas were soon shared by the Spaniards, and henceforward a series of voyages were made on the Pacific Ocean, to search for a southern continent, of which the existence appeared geographically necessary to counterbalance the immense extent of the lands already known. Java the Great, designated later by the names of New Holland and Australia, had been seen by the French perhaps, or as is more probable by Saavedra, from 1530 to 1540, and it was sought for by a crowd of navigators, amongst whom we may mention the Portuguese, Serrao and Meneses, and the Spaniards, Saavedra, Hernando de Grijalva, Alvarado, and Inigo Ortiz de Retes, who explored the greater part of the islands to the north of New Guinea, as well as that great island itself. Afterwards come Mendana, Torrès, and Quiros, upon whose deeds we shall pause a little, on account of the importance and authenticity of the discoveries which we owe to them.

Alvaro Mendana de Neyra was nephew to the Governor of Lima, Don Pedro de Castro, who warmly advocated with the home government his nephew's project of searching for new countries in the Pacific Ocean. Mendana was one-and-twenty when he took the command of two ships and one hundred and twenty-five soldiers and sailors. He sailed from Callao, the port of Lima, on the 19th November, 1567. After sighting the small Island of Jesus, he discovered on the 7th February between 7° and 8° south latitude, the Island of Santa Isabella, where the Spaniards built a brigantine, with which they explored the archipelago of which this island was a part. "The inhabitants," says the narrative of a companion of Mendana, "are anthropophagi, they devour those whom they can make their prisoners in war, and even without being in open hostility, those whom they can succeed in taking by treachery." One of the chiefs in the island sent to Mendana as a delicacy, a quarter of a child, but the Spanish commander caused it to be buried in the presence of the natives, who appeared much hurt by an act which they could not understand. The Spaniards explored the Island las Palmas (Palm Island), los Ramos—so named because it was discovered on Palm Sunday—Galley Island, and Buena-Vista, of which the inhabitants, under the appearance of friendship concealed hostile intentions, which were not long in displaying themselves. The same reception awaited the Spaniards at the Island San Dimas, at Sesarga, and at Guadalcanar, upon which ginger was found for the first time. In the return voyage to Santa Isabella, the Spaniards pursued a course which enabled them to discover St. George Island, where they found bats as large as kites. Scarcely had the crew of the brigantine cast anchor in the harbour of Santa Isabella, than they were obliged again to weigh it, for the place was so unhealthy that five soldiers died and a great number of others were taken ill. Mendana stopped at the Island of Guadalcanar, where out of ten men who had landed to fetch water, one negro alone escaped from the attacks of the natives, who were extremely angry at one of their fellows having been carried off by the Spaniards. The punishment was terrible; twenty men were killed and a number of houses burnt. Mendana afterwards visited several islands of the Solomon archipelago, amongst others the Three Maries and San Juan. Upon the latter island, whilst the ships were being repaired and calked, several affrays with the natives occurred, in which some prisoners were made. After this checkered rest, Mendana again put to sea, and visited the islands of San Christoval, Santa Catalina, and Santa Anna. But as by this time the number of invalids was considerable, the provisions and ammunition nearly exhausted, and the rigging become rotten, the flotilla now set out to return to Peru. The separation of the flagship, the discovery of certain islands which it is difficult to identify, and probably of the Sandwich Islands; violent storms, during which the sails were carried away; the sickness caused by the insufficiency and putrefaction of the water and biscuit on board, were all incidents signalizing this long and trying return voyage, which was ended by the arrival of the ships at the port of Colima in California after five months of navigation.

The narrative of Mendana excited no enthusiasm, in spite of the name of Solomon which he gave to the archipelago discovered by him, to make it believed that from thence came the treasures of the Jewish King. Marvellous recitals had no longer any fascination for men glutted with the riches of Peru. Proofs were what they demanded; the smallest nugget of gold, or the least grain of silver would have been more satisfactory to them.

Mendana had twenty-seven years to wait before he was able to organize another expedition, but then his fleet was a large one, it being proposed to found a colony in the island of San Christoval which Alvaro de Mendana had seen during his first voyage. Thus four ships carrying nearly four hundred people sailed from the port of Lima on the 11th April, 1595. Amongst those on board may be named Doña Isabella, wife of Mendana, the three brothers-in-law of the general, and the pilot Pedro Fernandez Quiros, who later on distinguished himself as commander-in-chief of another expedition. The fleet did not finally leave the Peruvian coast, where its equipment had been completed, until the 16th April. At the end of a month's navigation, not distinguished by any remarkable incident, an island was discovered, which according to custom received the name of the saint whose day it was, and was called Magdalena. Immediately the fleet was surrounded by a crowd of canoes bearing more than four hundred Indians, of fine stature and nearly white, and who while presenting cocoa-nuts and other fruits to the sailors, appeared to entreat them to disembark. The natives no sooner came on board than they began to pilfer, and it was necessary to fire a cannon to get rid of them; a wound which one of the natives received in the fray soon changed their disposition, and a discharge of musketry was the reply to the shower of arrows which they let fly from their boats. Not far from this island three others were discovered, San Pedro, Dominica, and Santa Christina, and the name of las Marquezas de Mendoça was given to the group, in honour of the governor of Peru. So friendly had been the intercourse at the beginning, that an Indian woman upon seeing the beautiful fair hair of Doña Isabella de Mendana had begged her by signs to give her a curl of it; but by the fault of the Spaniards the mutual relations speedily became hostile, and so continued until the day when the natives, becoming conscious of the great inferiority of their arms, begged for peace.

On the 5th August the Spanish flotilla again put to sea and made 1200 miles west-north-west. On the 20th August were discovered the St. Bernard, since called Dangerous Islands, and afterwards Queen Charlotte's Islands, upon which notwithstanding the scarcity of provisions, no landing was made. After Solitary Island—a name which explains its situation—the Santa Cruz archipelago was reached. But at this time, during a storm, the flagship became separated from the fleet, and although search was made several times, no tidings of her were obtained. Fifty canoes, carrying a crowd of natives of a tawny complexion, or of a lustrous black, immediately approached the ships. "All had frizzled hair, black, red, or some other colour (for it was dyed); their teeth also were dyed red; the head was half shaven, the body was naked, except a small veil of fine linen, the face and the arms painted black, glittering and striped with various colours; the neck and limbs loaded with several strings of small beads, of gold, or of black wood, of fishes' teeth, or of a species of medals made of mother of pearl, or of pearls." For arms they carried bows, poisoned arrows with sharp points hardened in the fire, or tipped with bone and steeped in the juice of a herb, great stones, heavy wooden swords made of stiff wood, with three harpoon points, each more than a handbreadth long. Slung over their shoulders they had haversacks exceedingly well made out of palm leaves, and filled with biscuits made from certain roots which serve them for food.

Doña Isabella consults the officers
Doña Isabella consults the officers.

At first Mendana thought he recognized in these natives the inhabitants of the islands he was seeking, but he was quickly undeceived. The vessels were received with a shower of arrows, which was the more vexatious because Mendana, seeing that he could not find the Solomon Islands, had determined to establish his colony in this archipelago. At this juncture, discord reigned among the Spaniards; a revolt fomented against the general was almost immediately suppressed, and the guilty were executed. But these sorrowful events and the fatigues of the voyage had so completely undermined the health of the head of the expedition, that he died on the 17th October, after having had time to indicate his wife as his successor in the conduct of the enterprise. After the death of Mendana the hostilities with the natives redoubled, and many of the Spaniards were so exhausted by sickness and hardships, that a score of thoroughly determined natives might easily have gained the mastery over them. To persist in the intention of founding a settlement under such conditions would have been folly; all agreed in this, and the anchor was raised on the 18th November. Doña Isabella de Mendana's project was to go to Manilla, and there to obtain recruits from amongst the colonists, with whom she would return to found a settlement. She consulted the officers, who all gave their approval in writing; and she found in Quiros a devotion and skill which were speedily to be put to a severe proof. They at once steered away from New Guinea, in order to avoid being entangled amongst the numerous archipelagos surrounding it, and also to enable them sooner to reach the Philippines, which the dilapidated state of the ships rendered necessary. After passing within sight of several islands surrounded by reefs of madrepore, upon which the crews wished to land, a permission which Quiros with great prudence always refused, after having been separated from one of the ships of the squadron, which could not or would not follow, the flotilla arrived at the Ladrone—soon to be called the Marianne—Islands. The Spaniards went on shore several times to buy some provisions; the natives did not desire either their silver or gold, but set the highest value upon iron and all tools made of that metal. The narrative contains here some details upon the veneration shown by the natives towards their ancestors, which are curious enough to warrant our reproducing them verbatim: "They take out the bones from the bodies of their relations, burn the flesh, and mixing the ashes with tuba, a wine made from the cocoa palm, swallow them. They weep for the dead every year for a whole week; there are a great number of female mourners, who are to be hired for the purpose. Besides that, all the neighbours come to weep in the house of the deceased; the compliment being returned to them when the turn comes for the feast to take place at their house. These anniversaries are much frequented, all those assisting at them being liberally regaled. They weep all day and drink to intoxication all night. They recite in the midst of tears, the life and deeds of the dead, beginning with the moment of his birth, and dealing with the whole course of his life, recounting his strength, his height, his beauty, in a word, all that can in any way do him honour. If some amusing action occur in the recital, the company begin to laugh as if they would split their sides; then on a sudden they drink and are again drowned in tears. There are sometimes two hundred persons present at these absurd anniversaries." When the Spanish crew arrived at the Philippines, it was scarcely more than a company of skeletons, emaciated and half dead with hunger. Doña Isabella landed at Manilla on the 11th February, 1596, under a salute from the guns, and was solemnly received in the midst of the troops drawn up under arms. The rest of the crew, fifty having died since the departure from Santa Cruz, were housed and fed at the public expense, and the women all found husbands in Manilla, except four or five who embraced the religious life. As for Doña Isabella, she was escorted back to Peru some time afterwards by Quiros, who lost no time in submitting to the viceroy a project for a fresh voyage. But Luis de Velasco, who had succeeded Mendoza, referred the navigator to the King of Spain and the Council of the Indies, under the pretext that such a decision would overstep the limits of his authority. Quiros therefore went to Spain and thence to Rome, where he received a kindly welcome from the Pope, who recommended him warmly to Philip III. At length in 1605, after numberless applications and solicitations, he was empowered to fit out at Lima the two vessels which he should judge the most suitable for the investigation of the Australian continent and for continuing the discoveries of Mendana. With two ships and one light vessel, Quiros set out from Callao on the 21st December, 1605. At 3000 miles from Peru he had as yet discovered no land. In latitude 25° south he observed a group of small islands belonging to the Dangerous archipelago. These were the Convercion de San Pablo, the Osnabrugh of Wallis, and Decena, so named because it was the tenth island seen. Although this island was defended by rocks, intercourse was carried on with the natives, whose dwellings were scattered about amongst palm-trees on the sea shore. The natives were strong and well proportioned, and their chief wore on his head a kind of crown made of small black feathers so fine and supple that they might have been taken for silk. His fair hair, which descended to the waist, excited the wonder of the Spaniards, who, not being able to understand how a man with so tawny coloured a face could have such light yellow hair, "chose to think that he was married, and that he wore his wife's hair." This singular colour was only due to the habitual use of powdered lime, which burns the hair and causes it to turn yellow.

This island to which Quiros gave the name of Sagittaria, is, according to Fleurieu, Tahiti, one of the principal of the group of Society Islands. On the succeeding days Quiros sighted several other islands, upon which he did not land, and to which he gave names taken from the Calendar, according to a practice which has changed all the native nomenclature of Oceania into a veritable litany. One island visited may be especially noticed; it was named the island of la Gente Hermosa on account of the beauty of its inhabitants, and of the fair colour and coquetry of its women, who, as the Spaniards declared, even bore away the palm for grace and attractiveness from their own fellow-countrywomen of Lima, whose beauty is proverbial. This island, according to Quiros, was situated upon the same parallel as Santa Cruz, to which he intended to go. He therefore sailed westward and reached an island called by the natives Taumaco, in 10° south latitude and 240 miles east of Santa Cruz. This must have been one of the Duff Islands, and here Quiros was told that if he directed his course southwards, he would discover a great land, of which the inhabitants were whiter than those whom he had hitherto seen. This information determined him to abandon his scheme of going to Santa Cruz. He steered in a south-westerly direction, and after having sighted several small islands, he arrived on the 1st May, 1606, in a bay more than twenty-four miles broad. He gave to this island the name which it still bears, of Espiritu Santo. It was one of the New Hebrides group. What events happened during the stay of the ships here? The narrative is silent upon this subject, but we know from other sources that the crew mutinied, made Quiros prisoner, and abandoning the second ship and the brigantine, set out on the 11th June to return to America, where they arrived on the 3rd October, 1606, after a nine months' voyage. M. Ed. Charton throws no light upon this incident. He is silent upon the mutiny of the crew, and even throws all the blame of the separation upon the commander of the second vessel, Luis Vaes de Torrès, who abandoned his chief in quitting Espiritu Santo. Now it is known by a letter from Torrès himself to the King of Spain—published by Lord Stanley at the end of his English edition of Antoine de Morga's History of the Philippines—that he remained "fifteen" days waiting for Quiros in the Bay of Saint Philip and Saint James. The officers met in council, resolved to weigh anchor on the 26th June, and to continue the search for the Australian continent. Hindered by bad weather, which prevents him from sailing round Espiritu Santo Island, assailed by the demands of a crew over whom prevails a slight breath of mutiny, Torrès decides to steer to the north-east to reach the Spanish Islands. In 11° 30' he discovers land, which he imagines must be the commencement of New Guinea. "All this land is part of New Guinea," says Torrès, "it is peopled by Indians who are not very white, and who go naked, although their middles are covered with the bark of trees.... They fight with javelins, bucklers, and certain clubs of stone, the whole adorned with beautiful feathers. All along this land there are other inhabited islands. Upon the whole of this coast there are numerous and vast harbours, with very broad rivers and great plains. Outside these islands stretch reefs and shallows; the islands are between these dangers and the mainland, and a channel runs between. We took possession of these harbours in your Majesty's name. Having pursued this coast for 900 miles, and seen our latitude decrease from 2½° until we found ourselves in 9°, at this point commenced a shoal of from three to nine fathoms deep, which stretched along the coast to 7½°. Not being able to proceed farther on account of the numerous shallows and powerful currents which we encountered, we decided to alter our course to the south-west, by the deep channel which has been mentioned, as far as about 11°. There is there, from one end to the other, an archipelago of innumerable islands, by which I passed. At the end of the eleventh degree the bottom became deeper. There were some very large islands there, and there appeared to be more of them towards the south; they were inhabited by a black population, very robust and quite naked, bearing for arms, strong and long spears, arrows, and stone clubs roughly fashioned."

Modern geographers are agreed in recognizing in the localities thus described, that portion of the Australian Coast which ends in York Peninsula, and the extremity of New Guinea recently visited by Captain Moresby. It was known that Torrès had entered the strait which has been named after him, and which divides New Guinea from Cape York; but the very recent exploration of the south-eastern portion of New Guinea, of which the population has been discovered to be of a comparatively light colour and differing much from the Papous, has just furnished an unexpected confirmation of the discoveries of Quiros. It is for this reason that we have dwelt at some length upon them, referring for the purpose to a very learned work of M. E. T. Hamy, which appeared in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie.

It behoves us now to say a few words about some travellers who explored some unfrequented countries, and furnished their contemporaries with more exact knowledge of a world until then almost unknown. The first of these travellers is François Pyrard, of Laval. Having embarked in 1601 on board a St. Malo ship to go to the Indies to trade, he was wrecked in the Maldive Archipelago. These islets or atolls (detached coral reefs,) to the number of at least 12,000, descend into the Indian Ocean from Cape Comorin as far as the equator. The worthy Pyrard relates his shipwreck, the flight of a portion of his companions in captivity in the archipelago, and his long sojourn of seven years upon the Maldive Islands, a stay rendered almost agreeable by the pains which he took to acquire the native language. He had plenty of time to learn the manners, customs, religion, and industries of the inhabitants, as well as to study the productions and climate of the country. Thus his narrative is filled with details of all kinds, and had retained its attractions until recent years, because travellers do not voluntarily frequent this unhealthy archipelago, the isolated situation of which had kept away foreigners and conquerors. Pyrard's narrative therefore, is still instructive and agreeable reading.

In 1607, a fleet was sent to the Maldives by the King of Bengal, in order to carry off the 100 or 120 cannon which the Maldive sovereign owed to the wreck of numerous Portuguese vessels. Pyrard, notwithstanding all the liberty allowed him, and that he had become a landholder, was desirous to behold his beloved Brittany once more. He therefore eagerly embraced this opportunity of quitting the Archipelago with the three companions who out of the whole crew alone remained with him. But the eventful travels of Pyrard were not yet concluded. Taken first to Ceylon, he was carried afterwards to Bengal, and endeavoured to reach Cochin. Before reaching this town he was captured by the Portuguese and carried prisoner to Cochin; he afterwards fell ill and was nursed in the Hospital of Goa which he only quitted to serve for two years as a soldier, at the end of which time he was again thrown into prison, and it was not until 1611, that he was able to revisit the good town of Laval. After so many trials, Pyrard must doubtless have felt the need of repose, and we are justified in imagining, from the silence of history as to the close of his life, that he was privileged at length to find happiness.

While the honest burgess François Pyrard, was, so to speak, in spite of himself, and from having indulged the desire of making a fortune too rapidly, launched into adventures in which he had to pass much of his life, circumstances of a different and romantic kind caused Pietro della Valle to determine upon travelling. Descendant of an ancient and noble family, he is by turns a soldier of the Pope, and a sailor chasing Barbary corsairs. Upon his return to Rome he finds that a rival, profiting by his absence, has taken his place with a young girl whom he was to have married. So great a misfortune demands an heroic remedy, and Della Valle makes a vow of pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre. But if, as saith the proverb, there is no road which does not lead to Rome, so there is no circuit so long as not to lead to Jerusalem, and of this Della Valle was to make proof. He embarks at Venice in 1614, passes thirteen months at Constantinople, reaches Alexandria by sea, afterwards Cairo, and joins a caravan which at length brings him to Jerusalem. But while en route, Delia Valle had no doubt imbibed a taste for a traveller's life, for he visits in succession Baghdad, Damascus, Aleppo, and even pushes on as far as the ruins of Babylon. We must believe that Della Valle was marked out as an easy prey to love, for upon his return he becomes enamoured of a young Christian woman of Mardin, of wondrous beauty, whom he marries. One would imagine that here at length is fixed the destiny of this indefatigable traveller. Nothing of the kind. Della Valle contrives to accompany the Shah in his war against the Turks, and to traverse during four consecutive years the provinces of Iran. He quits Ispahan in 1621, loses his wife in the month of December of the same year, causes her to be embalmed, and has her coffin carried about in his train for four years longer, which he devotes to exploring Ormuz, the western coasts of India, the Persian Gulf, Aleppo, and Syria, landing at length at Naples in 1626.

The countries which this singular character visited, urged on as he was by an extraordinary enthusiasm, are described by him in a shrewd, gay, and natural style, and even with some degree of fidelity. But he inaugurates the pleiad of amateur, curious, and commercial travellers. He is the first of that prolific race of tourists who each year encumber geographical literature with numerous volumes, from which the savant finds nothing to glean beyond meagre details.

Tavernier is a specimen of insatiable curiosity. At two-and-twenty he has traversed France, England, the Low Countries, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, and Italy. Then when Europe no longer offers any food for his curiosity, he starts for Constantinople, where he remains for a year, and then arrives in Persia, where the opportunity and

Quelque diable, aussi, le poussant,

he sets to work to purchase carpets, stuffs, precious stones, and those thousand trifles of which lovers of curiosities soon became passionately fond, and for which they were ready to pay fabulous sums. The profit which Tavernier realized from his cargo induced him to resume his travels. But like a wise and prudent man, before starting he learnt from a jeweller the art of knowing precious stones. During four successive journeys from 1638 to 1663, he travelled over Persia, the Mogul Empire, the Indies as far as the frontier of China, and the Islands of Sunda. Dazzled by the immense fortune which his traffic had obtained for him, Tavernier would play the lord, and soon saw himself on the verge of ruin, which he hoped to avert by sending one of his nephews to the east with a considerable venture, but instead, his ruin was consummated by this young man, who, judging it best to appropriate the goods which had been confided to him, settled down at Ispahan. Tavernier, who was a well-educated man, made a number of interesting observations upon the history, manners and customs, of the countries which he visited. His narrative certainly contributed to give his contemporaries a much more correct idea of the countries of the east than they previously possessed.

All travellers during the reign of Louis XIV. take the route to the East Indies, whatever may be the end they have in view. Africa is entirely deserted, and if America be the theatre of any real exploration, it is carried out without aid from government.

Whilst Tavernier was accomplishing his last and distant excursions, a distinguished archæologist, Jean de Thévenot, nephew of Melchisedec Thévenot—a learned man to whom we owe an interesting series of travels—journeyed through Europe, and visited Malta, Constantinople, Egypt, Tunis, and Italy. He brought back in 1661 an important collection of medals and monumental inscriptions, recognized nowadays as so important a help to the historian and the philologist. In 1664, he set out anew for the Levant, and visited Persia, Bassorah, Surat, and India, where he saw Masulipatam, Burhampur, Aurungabad, and Golconda. But the fatigues which he had experienced prevented his return to Europe, and he died in Armenia in 1667. The success of his narratives was considerable, and was well deserved by the care and exactitude of a traveller whose scientific attainments in history, geography, and mathematics, far surpassed the average level of his contemporaries.

We must now speak of the amiable Bernier, the "pretty philosopher," as he was entitled in his polite circle, in which were found Ninon and La Fontaine, Madame de la Sablière, St. Evremont, and Chapelle, without reckoning many other good and gay spirits, refractories from the stiff solemnity which then weighed upon the entourage of Louis XIV. Bernier could not escape from the fashion of travelling. After having taken a rapid survey of Syria and Egypt, he resided for twelve years in India, where his good knowledge of medicine conciliated the favour of Aurung-Zebe, and gave him the opportunity of beholding in detail, and with profit, an empire then in the full bloom of its prosperity.

To the south of Hindostan, Ceylon had more than one surprise in reserve for its explorers. Robert Knox, taken prisoner by the natives, owed to this sad circumstance his long residence in the country and the collection of the first authentic documents relating to the forests and the savage natives of Ceylon, the Dutch, with a commercial jealousy which they were not singular in evincing, having until now kept secret all the information which had come to light concerning an island of which they were endeavouring to make a colony.

Jean Chardin
Jean Chardin.
From an old print.

Another merchant, Jean Chardin, the son of a rich Parisian jeweller, jealous of the successes of Tavernier, desired, like him, to make his fortune by trading in diamonds. The countries which attract these merchants are those of which the fame for wealth and prosperity is become proverbial; these are Persia and India, where rich costumes sparkle with jewels and gold, and where there are mines of diamonds of a fabulous size. The moment is well chosen for visiting these countries. Thanks to the Mogul Emperors, civilization and art have been developed; mosques, palaces, temples have been built, and towns have risen suddenly. Their taste—that curious taste, so distinctly characterized, so different from our own,—is displayed in the construction of gigantic edifices, quite as much as in jewellery and goldsmith's work, and in the manufacture of those costly trifles of which the east was beginning to be passionately fond. Like a wise man, Chardin takes a partner, as good a connoisseur as himself. At first Chardin only traversed Persia in order to reach Ormuz and to embark for the Indies. The following year he returns to Ispahan, and applies himself to learn the language of the country, in order to be able to transact business directly and without any intermediary agent. He has the good fortune to please the Shah, Abbas II. From that time his fortune is made, for it is at once genteel and also the part of a prudent courtier to employ the same purveyor as his sovereign. But Chardin had another merit besides that of making a fortune. He was able to collect so considerable a mass of information concerning the government, manners, creeds, customs, towns, and populations of Persia, that his narrative has remained to our own days the vade-mecum of the traveller. This guide is so much the more precious because Chardin took care to engage at Constantinople a clever draughtsman named Grelot, by whom were reproduced the monuments, cities, scenes, costumes, and ceremonies which so well portray what Chardin called, "the every day of a people."

When Chardin returned to France in 1670, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, with the barbarous persecutions which resulted from it, had chased from their country great numbers of artisans, who, taking refuge in foreign countries enriched them with our arts and manufactures. Chardin, being a protestant, clearly perceived that his religion would hinder him from attaining "to what are termed honours and advancement." As, to use his own words, "one is not free to believe what one will," he resolved to return to the Indies "where, without being urged to a change of religion," he could not fail of attaining an honourable position. Thus liberty of conscience was at that period greater in Persia than in France. Such an assertion on the part of a man who had made the comparison, is but little flattering to the grandson of Henry IV.

This time, however, Chardin did not follow the same route as before. He passed by Smyrna and Constantinople, and from thence, crossing the Black Sea, he landed in the Crimea, in the garb of a religious. Whilst passing through the region of the Caucasus he had the opportunity of studying the Abkasians and Circassians. He afterwards penetrated into Mingrelia, where he was robbed of his goods and papers, and of a portion of the jewels which he was taking back to Europe. He could not have escaped himself had it not been for the devotion to him of the theatines, from whom he had received hospitality, but he escaped only to fall into the hands of the Turks, who, in their turn, accepted a ransom for him. After further misadventures he arrived at Tiflis on the 17th of December, 1672, and as Georgia was then governed by a prince who was a tributary of the Shah of Persia, it was easy for Chardin to reach Erivan, Tauriz, and finally Ispahan.

After a stay of four years in Persia, and a concluding journey to India, during which he realized a considerable fortune, Chardin returned to Europe and settled in England, his own country on account of his religion, being forbidden ground to him.

The journal of his travels forms a large work, in which everything that concerns Persia is especially developed. The long stay he made in the country and his intimate acquaintance with the highest personages of the state enabled him to collect numerous and authentic documents. It may fairly be said that in this way Persia was better known in the seventeenth century than it was 100 years later.

The countries which Chardin had just explored were visited again some years later by a Dutch painter, Cornelius de Bruyn, or Le Brun. The great value of his work consists in the beauty and accuracy of the drawings which illustrate it, for as far as the text is concerned, it contains nothing which was not known before, except in what relates to the Samoyedes, whom he was the first to visit.

Japanese Warrior
Japanese Warrior.
From an old print.

We must now speak of the Westphalian, Kæmpfer, almost a naturalized Swede in consequence of his long sojourn in Scandinavian countries. He refused the brilliant position which was there offered him in order to accompany as secretary, an ambassador who was going to Moscow. He was thus enabled to see the principal cities of Russia, a country which at that period had scarcely entered upon the path of western civilization; afterwards he went to Persia, where he quitted the Ambassador Fabricius, in order to enter the service of the Dutch Company of the Indies, and to continue his travels. He thus visited in the first place Persepolis, Shiraz, Ormuz upon the Persian Gulf, where he was extremely ill, and whence he embarked in 1688 for the East Indies. Arabia Felix, India, the Malabar Coast, Ceylon, Java, Sumatra, and Japan were afterwards all visited by him. The object of these journeys was exclusively scientific. Kæmpfer was a physician, but was more especially devoted to the various branches of Natural History, and collected, described, drew, or dried, a considerable number of plants then unknown in Europe, gave new information upon their use in medicine or manufactures, and collected an immense herbarium, which is now preserved with the greater part of his manuscripts in the British Museum in London. But the most interesting portion of his narrative, now-a-days indeed quite obsolete and very incomplete since the country has been opened up to our scientific men,—was for a long time that relating to Japan. He had contrived to procure books treating of the history, literature, and learning of the country, when he had failed in obtaining from certain personages to whom he had rendered himself very acceptable, information which was not usually imparted to foreigners.

To conclude, if all the travellers of whom we have just spoken are not strictly speaking discoverers, if they do not explore countries unknown before, they all have, in various degrees and according to their ability or their studies, the merit of having rendered the countries which they visited better known. Besides they were able to banish to the domain of fable, many of the tales which others less learned had naïvely accepted, and which had for long become so completely public property that nobody dreamed of disputing them.

Thanks to these travellers, something is known of the history of the east, the migrations of nations began to be dimly suspected, and accounts to be given of the changes in those great empires of which the very existence had been long problematical.





CHAPTER VI.

I.
THE GREAT CORSAIR.
William Dampier; or a Sea-King of the Seventeenth Century.

William Dampier was born in 1612 at East Coker, and by the death of his parents was from his childhood left to his own control. Not possessing any great taste for study, he preferred running wild in the woods, and fighting with his companions, to remaining in his place on the school benches. While still young he was sent to sea as cabin-boy on board merchant ships. After a voyage to Newfoundland and a campaign in the East Indies, he took service in the Naval Marine, and being wounded in a battle, returned to Greenwich to be nursed. Free from any prejudices, Dampier forgot his engagement when he left the Military Hospital, and started for Jamaica in the position of manager of a plantation. It did not require a long trial to discover that this occupation was not to his taste. So he abandoned his negroes at the end of six months, and went on board a ship bound for the Bay of Campeachy, where he worked for three years at gathering in woods for dyeing.

At the end of that period he is again found in London, but the laws and the officers charged with compelling their observance are too strict for his comfort. He goes back to Jamaica, where he speedily puts himself into communication with those famous buccaneers and corsairs, who at that time did so much harm to the Spaniards.

These English or French adventurers, established in the Island of Tortuga, off the coast of San Domingo, had sworn implacable hatred to Spain. Their ravages were not confined to the Gulf of Mexico: they crossed the Isthmus of Panama and devastated the coast of the Pacific Ocean from the Strait of Magellan to California. Terror exaggerated the exploits of these pirates, which however presented something of the marvellous.

It was amongst these adventurers, then commanded by Harris, Sawkins, and Shays, that Dampier enrolled himself. In 1680 we find him in Darien, where he pillages Santa Maria, endeavours in vain to surprise Panama, and with his companions, on board of some wretched canoes stolen from the Indians, captures eight vessels well armed, which were at anchor not far from the town. In this affair the losses of the corsairs are so great in the fight, and the spoil is so poor, that they separate from each other. Some go back to the Gulf of Mexico, while others establish themselves upon the island of Juan Fernandez, whence shortly after they attack Arica. But here again they were so roughly handled that a new secession takes place, and Dampier is sent to Virginia, where his captain hoped to make some recruits. There Captain Cook was fitting out a vessel, with the intention of reaching the Pacific by the Strait of Magellan, and Dampier joins the expedition. It begins by privateering upon the African coast, in the Cape de Verd Islands, at Sierra Leone, and in the River Scherborough, for this is the route habitually taken by the ships going to South America. In 36° south latitude, Dampier, who notes in his journal every interesting fact, remarks that the sea is become white or rather pale, but of this he cannot explain the reason, which he might easily have done had he made use of the microscope. The Sebaldine Islands are passed without incident, the Strait of Le Maire is traversed, Cape Horn is doubled on the 6th February, 1684, and as soon as he can escape from the storms which usually assail ships entering the Pacific, Captain Cook arrives at the island of Juan Fernandez, where he hopes to revictual. Dampier wondered if he would find a Nicaraguan Indian there, who had been left behind in 1680 by Captain Sharp. "This Indian had remained alone upon the island for more than three years. He had been in the woods hunting goats when the English captain had ordered his men to re-embark, and they had set sail without perceiving his absence. He had only his gun and his knife, with a small horn of powder and a little lead; when his powder and lead were exhausted he had contrived to saw the barrel of his gun into small pieces with his knife, and out of them to make harpoons, spears, fish hooks and a long knife. With these instruments he obtained all the supplies which the island afforded: goats and fish. At the distance of half a mile from the sea, he had a small hut covered with goat skins. He had no clothes left, but an animal's skin covered his loins." We have dwelt at some length upon this involuntary hermit because he served Daniel de Foe as the original of his "Robinson Crusoe," a romance which has formed the delight of every child.

We shall not relate minutely all the expeditions in which Dampier participated. Suffice it to mention that in this campaign he visited the Gallapagos Islands. In 1686, Dampier was serving on board of Captain Swan's ship, who, seeing that the greater part of his enterprises failed, went to the East Indies, where the Spaniards were less upon their guard, and where the corsairs reckoned upon seizing the Manilla galleon. But when our adventurers arrived at Guaham, they had only three days' provisions, and the sailors had plotted if the voyage should be prolonged, to eat in turn all those who had declared themselves in favour of the voyage, and to begin with the captain who had proposed it. Dampier's turn would have come next. "Thus it came to pass," says he very humourously, "that after having cast anchor at Guaham, Swan embraced him and said: 'Ah Dampier, you would have made them but a sorry meal.' He was right," he adds, "for I was as thin and lean, as he was fat and plump." Mindanao, Manilla, certain parts of the Chinese coasts, the Moluccas, New Holland, and the Nicobar Islands, were the places visited and plundered by Dampier in this campaign. In the last-named archipelago he became separated from his companions, and was discovered half dead upon the coast of Sumatra.

'Ah! Dampier, you would have afforded them but a sorry meal.'
"Ah! Dampier, you would have afforded them but a sorry meal."

During this voyage, Dampier had discovered several hitherto unknown islands, and especially the Baschi group. Like the thorough adventurer he was, immediately he recovered his health he travelled over the south of Asia, Malacca, Tonkin, Madras, and Bencoolen, where he enrolled himself as an artilleryman in the English service. Five months afterwards he deserted and returned to London. The narrative of his adventures and his privateering obtained for him a certain amount of sympathy amongst the higher classes, and he was presented to the Earl of Oxford, Lord High Admiral. He speedily received the command of the ship Roebuck to attempt a voyage of discovery in the seas which he had already explored. He left England on the 14th January, 1699, with the intention of passing through the Strait of Magellan, or of making the tour of Tierra del Fuego, so as to commence his discoveries on the coasts of the Pacific, which had hitherto received the visits of a comparatively small number of travellers. After crossing the line on the 10th March, he sailed for Brazil, where the ship was revictualled. Far from being able again to descend the coast of Patagonia, he beheld himself driven by the wind to forty-eight miles south of the Cape of Good Hope, whence he steered east-south-east towards New Holland, a long passage which was not signalized by any adventure. On the 1st August, Dampier saw land, and at once sought for a harbour in which to land. Five days later he entered the Bay of Sea-Dogs upon the western coast of Australia; but he only found there a sterile soil, and met with neither water nor vegetation. Until the 31st August, he sailed along this coast without discovering what he sought. Once when he landed, he had a slight skirmish with some of the inhabitants, who seemed to be very thinly scattered over the country. Their chief was a young man of middle height, but quick and vigilant; his eyes were surrounded by a single ring of white paint, while a stripe of the same colour descended from the top of his forehead to the end of his nose; his chest and arms were likewise striped with white. His companions were black, fierce in aspect, their hair woolly, and in shape they were tall and slender.

For five weeks Dampier hovered near land, and found neither water nor provisions; however, he would not give in, and intended to continue to ascend the coast northwards, but the shallows which he incessantly encountered, and the monsoon from the north-west which was soon due, obliged him to give up the enterprise, after having discovered more than 900 miles of the Australian continent. He afterwards steered towards Timor, where he intended to repose and recruit his crew, exhausted by the long voyage. But he knew little of these parts, and his charts were quite insufficient. He was therefore obliged to make a reconnaissance of it, as if the Dutch had not already been long settled there. Thus he discovered a passage between Timor and Anamabao, in a locality in which his map only indicated a bay. The arrival of Dampier in a port known only to themselves, astonished and greatly displeased the Dutch. They imagined that the English could only have reached it by means of charts taken on board a ship of their own. However, in the end they recovered from their fright and received the strangers with kindness.

Although the precursors of the monsoon were making themselves felt, Dampier again put to sea, and steered towards the western coast of New Gui