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and jurisdiction of the same, to be holden on condition of paying 1496. to the king one fifth part of all their gains.?
JOHN Cabot, in virtue of his commission from Henry VII, 1497. undertook a voyage of discovery, with the hope of finding a
Voyage of northwest passage to India. Early in May, he and his son Se- the Cabots. bastian, and three hundred men, with two caravels, freighted by the merchants of London and Bristol, commenced the voyage. On the 24th of June, they were surprised by the sight of land, June 24.
They diswhich, being the first they had seen, they called Prima Vista.
cover laad: This is generally supposed to be some part of the island of Newfoundland. A few days afterward they discovered a smaller island, to which, on account probably of its being discovered on the day of Jolin the Baptist, they gave the name of St. John., Continuing their course westwardly, they soon reached the continent, and then sailed along the coast northwardly to the latitude Coast along of 67 and a half degrees. Finding that the coast stretched the contitoward the east, and despairing of making the desired discovery the New here, they turned back, and sailed along the coast toward the World. equator, ever with intent to find the passage to India,” till they came to the southernmost part of that tract of the continent, which has since been called Florida. Their provisions now failing, and a mutiny breaking out among the mariners, they returned to England, without attempting either settlement or con- Return to quest in any part of the New World.2
England. Through a singular succession of causes, more than sixty years elapsed from the time of this discovery of the northern division
1 The style of the commission is, “ Johanni Cabotto, Civi Venetiarum, ac Ludovico, Sebastiano, et Sancto, Filiis dicti Johannis” &c. It is dated the 5th of March in the eleventh year of the reign of Henry VII. Henry was crowned Oct. 30, 1485. The commission was given, therefore, in 1495, 0. S. but 1496, N. S. where I accordingly place it. In Memoires de l'Amerique, iv. 472, the Letters patent, produced by the French commissioners A. D. 1751, have the date “ du 5 mars 1495-6.” Hakluyt, Robertson, and other historians, following the Old Style, have placed this commission in 1495 ; Rymer, Chalmers, and others, adjusting it, doubtless, to the New, have placed it in 1496. The Letters patent are in Hakluyt's Voyages, iii. 4–7; in Rymer's Fodera, xii. 595 ; and in Chalmers' Annals, b. 1. c. 1. Chalmers says, it is the oldest American State Paper in England. See Purchas, i. 718. Life of Columbus, c. 63. P. Martyr, 46. Belknap, Biog. Art. Cabot. Robertson's America, b. 9. Forster's Voyages, 266. Anderson, Hist. of Commerce, A. D. 1496.
2 P. Martyr, 232. Hakluyt, i. 513; ii. 6–9. Bacon's Hist. Henry VII. Smith, Hist. Virginia, 1. Purchas, i. 737, 738 : iv. 1603. Josselyn's Voyages, 230. Harris' Voyages, i. 860. Robertson's America, b. 9. Forster, Voy. 266, 431. Belknap, Biog. Art. CABOT. Mather, Magnalia, b. 1. c. 1. Prince, N. Eng. Introd. Biog. Britan. Art. GILBERT. Anderson, Hist. Commerce, A. D. 1496. See NOTE VI.
Fabian says, that in the 13th year of Henry VII, a ship at Bristol was manned and victualled at the king's cost; that divers merchants of London ventured in her small stocks; and that in the company of the said ship sailed also out of Bristol three or four small ships, “ fraught with sleight and grosse merchandizes.” Hakl. i. 515. This voyage was “ to search for an island,” which J. Cabot had indicated.
sent to the
1497. of the Continent by the English, during which their monarchs
gave but little attention to this country, which was destined to be annexed to their crown, and to be a chief source of British opulence and power, till, in process of time, it should become an independent empire. This remarkable neglect of navigating the coast, and of attempting colonization, is in some measure accounted for by the frugal maxims of Henry VII, and the unpropitious circumstances of the reign of Henry VIII, of Edward VI, and of the bigoted Mary; reigns peculiarly adverse to the
extension of industry, trade, and navigation." 1498. While the testimonies of fidelity and good conduct, carried February
by Columbus to Spain, silenced the personal calumnies of his Supplies enemies, the large specimens of gold and pearl which he pronew colony.
duced, proved the falsity of their representation of the poverty of the Indies. The court became fully convinced of the importance of the new colony, the merit of its governor, and the necessity of a speedy supply. Two ships were sent out in February with succours, under the command of Peter Fernandez Coronel. The admiral staid to negotiate for a fleet, adequate to his enlarged views and purposes. But his enemies, though silenced, were not idle. All the obstructions, which they could raise, were thrown in his way; and it was not till after a thousand delays and disappointments, that he was enabled to set out again in prosecution of his discoveries. He at length received commission to carry, if he should think fit, five hundred men, provided that all above three hundred and thirty should be paid otherwise than out of the king's revenue; and was allowed for the expedition six millions of maravedies; four, for the provisions to be put on board the fleet, and two, for the pay
of the men. It was now also provided, that none of any nation but the Cas
tilian should go over to the West Indies.? May.
On the 30th of May he sailed from Spain, on his third voyage, Third voy with six ships, loaded with provisions and other necessaries, for
the relief and population of Hispaniola. On the 31st of July, in the ninth degree of north latitude, he discovered an island,
which he called Trinidad. On the 1st of August he discovered He discov- the continent at Terra Firma. Sailing along the coast westward, ers the cone with the continent on the left, he discovered Margarita. The tinent of
Spaniards, finding that the oysters, brought by the inhabitants of
1 Robertson, b. 9. Univ. Hist. xxxix. 235, 406. Brit. Emp. Introd. Robertson says, 61 years elapsed—referring, doubtless, to the accession of queen Elizabeth in 1558 ; but I find no enterprise, by her authority, before Frobisher's in 1576,
2 Herrera, d. 1. lib. 3. c. 2. By advice of Columbus it was resolved, that 330 men should be kept always on the island of Hispaniola, in the royal pay.
3 P. Martyr, 58. Europ. Settlements, i. 38, 39. Harris' Voyages, i. 270.
this island on board of the ship of Columbus, contained pearls, 1498. were inexpressibly delighted ; and, hastening to the shore, found all the natives decked in these rich ornaments, which they disposed of to the Spaniards for mere trifles.
Columbus, having discovered many other islands for two hundred leagues to Cape Vela, anchored on the 20th off Hispaniola. On the 30th he entered the harbour at that island, where the lieutenant, agreeably to his brother's advice, had appointed a new city to be built. Until this year, Isabella had been the chief place of the residence and government of the Spanish colony ; but the capital was now transferred to this new city; which was
go becomes long the most considerable European settlement in the New the capital. World.?
In the absence of the admiral, Roldan, a man of obscure birth and of base character, though now high in office, had separated himself from Bartholomew Columbus, and formed a faction. He had virulently aspersed the characters, and misrepresented the designs, of the two brothers; and had sent his scandalous charges in writing to the court of Spain, intending to prevent, if possible, the return of Christopher Columbus, and to destroy the authority of both. He had been chosen the Roldan's leader of a considerable number of the Spaniards, whom he mutiny. had excited to mutiny; and, taking arms, had seized the king's magazine of provisions, and endeavoured to surprise the fort at St. Domingo. It required all the address and vigour of Columbus to subdue this faction. He at length succeeded; and in November articles of agreement were made between him and Roldan, with his insurgents.”
COLUMBUS, accompanied by his brother the lieutenant, having 1499. set out in February to pass through the island of Hispaniola, came in March to Isabella, and in April to the Conception. It was his intention to go early the next year to St. Domingo, to
1 Univ. Hist. xli. 527. Muños, b. 6. 26. Columbus called this island Isla Santa.
2 Life of Columbus, c. 15—73. Purchas, i. 731, 823, 827. Robertson, b. 2. Alcedo y Aviso Historico, 5. Prince, Chron. Introd. 80. Europ. Settlements, i. 140. Though Isabella was chosen in 1493, as a situation more healthful and commodious than that of Navidad, yet its abandonment is ascribed to the unhealthiness of the air, and the badness of the soil : “ Ce qui a fait abandonner cette ville, c'est que l'air en étoit malsain et les terres mauvaises.” Encyc. Methodique, Geog. Art. IsABELLE.
3 P. Martyr, 56, 67. Purchas, i. 731. Robertson, b. 2. Life of Columbus, c. 81. By this agreement, the mutineers were to have two ships, with provisions, to carry them to Spain, and each of them might take a slave with him. Herrera, (d. 1. lib. 3. c. 15.) adds, “y las mancebas que tenian prenades y paridas.” Martyr thus describes Roldan: “Roldanum quendam-quem fossorum et calonum ductorem ex famulo suo, deinde justitiæ præsidem, Præfoctus erexerat."
He is ac
1499. make preparation for his return to Spain, to give their Catholic
majesties an account of all transactions.
The spirit of discovery beginning to spread itself widely, private adventurers in Spain and Portugal, stimulated by the gold
remitted to Europe by Columbus, made equipments at their own Ojeda's
expense. Among the earliest of these adventurers was Alonso de Ojeda, a gallant and active officer, who had accompanied Columbus in his first voyage. Aided by the patronage of the bishop of Badajos, he obtained the royal license for the enterprise; the bishop, at the same time, communicating to him the admiral's journal of his last voyage, and his charts of the countries, which he had discovered. Such was Ojeda's credit with the merchants of Seville, that they equipped him with four ships, with which he sailed from St. Mary's in Spain on the 20th of
May. Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine gentleman, eminently companied skilful in all the sciences subservient to navigation, accompanied Vespuccio Ojeda in this voyage. Pursuing the course of the great navi
gator for the New World, they in 27 days discovered land in about five degrees north latitude, on the coast of Paria. Having traded here with the natives, they stood to the west, proceeded as far as Cape Vela, and ranged a considerable extent of coast beyond that on which Columbus had touched. After ascertaining the truth of the opinion of Columbus, that this country was part of the continent, they sailed to Hispaniola, where they ar
rived on the 5th of September, and soon after returned to Spain. who gives. The country, of which Amerigo was erroneously supposed to be New World, the discoverer, not long after unjustly obtained his name; and,
by universal consent, this new quarter of the globe has ever since
been called America.2 Voyage of Another voyage of discovery was undertaken by Alonso Niño,
who had served under the admiral in his last voyage. Having fitted out a single ship, in conjunction with Christopher Guerra, a merchant of Seville, they both sailed to the coast of Paria. Though their discoveries were unimportant; yet they carried home such a quantity of gold and pearls, as inflamed their countrymen with desire of engaging in similar enterprises.
The mutineers at Hispaniola not daring to go to Spain, a new
1 Life of Columbus, c. 84.
2 Robertson, b. 2. Herrera, d. 1. lib. 4. c. 2. Prince, Chron. Introd. European Settlements America, i. c. 6. Belknap's Discourse on the Discovery of America. This name is supposed to have been given to the New World by the pub. lication of Amerigo's account of his Voyage ; but at what time, is uncertain. The claim of Arnerigo Vespucci to the honour of discovering the continent of the New World is discussed and rejected by Robertson, in Hist. America, v. i. Note xxii. Herrera and all the earliest and best Spanish historians uniformly ascribe this honour to Columbus. But English historians remember, and it ought not to be forgotten, that the CABOTS were the first discoverers of the continent of America. See NOTE VII.
contract was made with Roldan, by virtue of which he was rein- 1499. stated in his former office; and his followers, amounting to one hundred and two, were restored to whatever they had enjoyed before their revolt. In consequence of this agreement, lands were allotted to the mutineers in different parts of the island ; and the Indians, settled in each district, were appointed to cultivate a prescribed portion of ground for their new masters. This service was substituted for the tribute, formerly imposed ; and it
Repartimiintroduced among the Spaniards the Repartimientos, or distribu- entos introtions of Indians in all their settlements, which subjected that duced into
Hispaniola. wretched people to the most grievous oppression.
VINCENT Yañez Pinzon, having, in connexion with Ariez Pin- 1500. zon, built four caravels, sailed in December of the preceding year Voyage of from Palos for America. Leaving the Cape Verd islands on the the Pin13th of January, he stood boldly toward the south, and was the zons. first Spaniard who ventured to cross the equinoctial line. In February, he discovered a cape, in 8° north latitude, and called it Cabo de Consolacion ; but it has since been called Cape Augustine. Here his men landed, who cut the names of the ships, and the date of the year and day upon the trees and rocks, and took possession of the country for the crown of Castile. They saw no natives, but they perceived footsteps upon the shore. During the following night, they saw many fires. In the morning, they sent 40 armed men to treat with the natives, 32 of whom, armed with bows and arrows, advanced to meet them, followed by others, armed in the same manner. The Spaniards endeavoured to allure them by gifts, but in vain; for, in the dead of night, they fled from the places which they had occupied.2 Sailing northwestward, they discovered and named the river of the Amazons. At the mouth of this great river, they found many The river islands, the inhabitants of which received them hospitably and Amazon. unsuspiciously; but Pinzon, with barbarian cruelty, seized 'about 30 of them, and carried them away to sell for slaves. At the mouth of one of the rivers, Pinzon and his squadron were endangered; but, escaping thence, crossing the line, and continuing his course till he came to Orinoco and Trinidad, he then made for the islands, sailed homewards, and, losing two of his three ships by the way, returned to Spain.3
1 Herrera, d. 1. lib. 4. c. 5. Robertson, b. 2.'
2 The vivid, yet condensed account of this occurrence by P. Martyr, is worthy of the pen of Sallust: “Omnem sermonem rejiciunt, parati semper ad pugnam. Nocte intempestiva confugiunt."
3 P. Martyr, 81-83. Herrera, d. 1. lib. 4. c. 5, 6. Purchas, i. 818. Robertson, b. 2. Prince, Chron. apud A. D. 1500. Collection of Voyages, i. 298. Grynæus, c. 112, 113. Southey's Brazil, c. 1. Vega (339) says, the Pinzons gave the great river the name of the Amazons, “ because they observed that the VOL. I.