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dium between the shell of a pomgranate and the peel of arı orange; softer than the one, and less tough than the other. This coat is remarkably ser round with a variety of fimall regular knobs or excrescences, within which, or rather within the whole coat, is a soft white pulp, sweet and very pleasant, greatly resembling a custard in colour and taste; whence probably it had this name given it by the English. In the middle are a few black stones, or kernels, but no core, the whole inside besides consisting of pulp. The custard-tree is of the size of a quince-tree, with long, flender, and thick-fet branches, spreading all round. AC the extremity of these the fruit grows, upon a stalk ten inches long, fender and tough, hanging down in a beautiful manner with the weight of the fruit. As to the papa, it is found in most of the countries within the tropics; and fo indeed is the custard-apple. It is a fruit of the size of a water-melon, hollow as that, and having a strong resemblance to it in shape and colour, both internally and externally; but, instead of the flat kernels of the melon, the papas have a handful of small blackish feeds like pepper-corns, and, like these, hot and pungent to the tongue, When ripe, the fruit is soft, sweet, and luscious, but hard and unfavoury before it has arrived at full maturity; though even then it supplies, when boiled, the place of turnips, or other vegetables, with beef or pork, and is much esteemed by failors for this purpose. The tree bearing this fruit is about ten or twelve feet high, the trunk at the bottom about two feet in diameter, and leflening gradually to the top. It has no small branches, but leaves Thooting out immediately by a stalk from the body of the tree, amidst which the fruit grows. The leaves are serrated, and of an oval form.
The chief animals bred in this island are cows, horses, affes, mules, deer, hogs, goats, and black-faced monkies with long tails. Of the feathered kind there are found cocks, hens, ducks, Guinea hens, both tame and wild, paroquets, parrots, pigeons, turtle doves, crab-catchers, curlieus, and a variety of others, valuable only for their plumage. Such is the account of these islands given by the authors the reader will find cited in the margin ; to which add what Jarric afirms, that so numerous are horses in the ifland of St. Jago, that upwards of three thousand, fit for a campaign, can be raised there. The fame writer adds, that, in all the Cape de Verd islands, the padres officiate as physicians, furgeons, and apothecaries, uniting in their own persons the cure of foul and
body; but their medical skill consists chiefly in magic, forcery, and'a correspondence with the devil, or rather in fraud, hypocrisy, and impofture".
quence to our readers, whether the Canary islands be the same which the ancients called the Fortunate illands, and are particularly described by Ptolemy and the Elder Pliny, we ihall think it fufficient that we give the reader a just account of them : these are speculative points, for which he may consult our Ancient History, and the Greek and Latin geographers; though we cannot avoid observing, that, if Ptolemy describes the same islands, he has certainly placed them near eleven degrees too near the equinoctial, under the 16th degree ; from which circumstance fome geographers have thought that the Cape de Verd islands bad formerly bore this appellation. We are now well assured by the most accurate observations, that the Canary islands lie between 27 degrees 10 minutes and 29 degrees 50 minutes north latitude, and between the 12th and 17th degrees 50 minutes longitude west from London. Thevet aflirms, that, by the Africans in general, they were called Elbard ; and Gomara afierts, that they had the name Canary given by the Spaniards, on account of the number of large dogs which they found on one of these islands. Hernius, however, and Dr. Harris agree, that the word Canary is not borrowed from the Latin term for that animal, according to Pliny, nor from the number of dogs with which they abound, as Gomara conjectures; but from the Canaanites, or Phoenicians, who, as Scylax Cariandenus obferves, used to fail often from the continent to Carne, which others think is only a contraction of Canary. But there are all conjectures, which serve only to shew the erudition, the ingenuity, and talents of historians for hypotheses, which add nothing to truth, or the improvement of their readers (A).
Navig Holland, A. 1598, 99. Samut. lib. vii. Purch. lib. vii. cap. 12. L nich. cap. 95. Thevet. Com lib. iii. Davity, tom. v. p. 627. La Croix, p. iv. p. 630, & feq. Jarric, lib. v.
(A) It may deserve notice, graphers, have called these that Abulfeda, Ulug Beg, or islands Jazaia Alcha Adal, or Beigh, and other Arabian gco. Happy Iliands."
Nor are writers less divided with respect to their number, than about their situation and name. Gramaye asserts, that fix were only known to Ptolemy and Pliny; and that, even in this number the illand of Madeira was included; whereas modern travellers and geographers reckon no less, than twelve, exclusive of Madeira; but of these seven only have been thought to merit any description. These are Lancerota, Fuerte Ventura, Gran-Canaria, Ferro, Palma, Teneriffe, and Gomara. To these Purchas adds certain small iflands, by the names of Lobos, Roca, Graciosa, Santa Clara, Allegrança, and Inferno; the proper names of which, according to Sanutus, are Vecchio Marino, Sainte Claire, Rocho, Graciosa, and Alegrança; omitting likewise two of the number mentioned by the former compiler.
Whether or not the Canaries were known in the days of Ptolemy and Pliny, certain we are, that, before the year 1402, or, according to some Spanith historians, 1405, the moderns were entirely ignorant of them, though they were peopled by Christians, and even catholics, who must have had some communication with Europe, by their acknowleging the supremacy of the fee of Rome, as it is allowed on all hands they did. By what channel this intercourse was carried on, or how Christianity came to be planted there, history is entirely flent. This, however, is affirmed, that John king of Castile having invested a Frenchman, called de Betancourt, with the property of these islands, which had been seen by some mariners, if he could conquer them; this adventurer immediately set to work in providing for his expedition. He had the good fortune to make himself matter of Lancerota, with its citadel, and Fuerte Ventura, after storming a conve:t of the order of St. Francis. His right he made over, according to Gramaye, five years afterwards to Diego Herrera, by whom it was that Fuerte Ventura was conquered. Sanutus says, that Betancourt undertook this expedition by the permilfion of the queen of Castile ; and that he dying, the property of the two islands was sold by his heirs to Herrera, or rather to the infant Don Henry, who sent Herrera to make farther conqueits, in which he succeeded, by reducing Ferro and Gomara. In process of time, the other illands were conquered in the fame manner; but it would not be worth while to dwell upon a subject fo variously related. This much only is certain, that in the peace between Ferdinand of Caftile and Alphonfo V. of Portugal, after a bloody war in which tlcle monarchs had been en
gaged, it was stipulated, that they should reciprocally renounce all pretensions prior to the date of this treaty; that henceforward the Canary Islands should inseparably belong to the crown of Caftile ; and that, as an equivalent, the commerce and navigation of Guinea should belong to Portugal, exclusive of the Castilians. This was the treaty signed on the 4th of November, 1479, at Alcobazas
The Canary islands lie east from the coast of Biledulgerid, between the 27th deg. 10 min. and the 29th deg. 50 min. north latitude, and between the 12th and 17th, 50 min. longitude west from London. La Croix, however, alters this geography, insisting, that they include all that space between the 26th deg. 30 min. and 29th deg. 30 min. north latitude, opposite to Cape Nun, about seventy or eighty leagues from the Barbary coast, and about nine or ten leagues distant from each other.
If we attend to the nature of these islands, we shall find that, their situation being so near the tropic of Cancer, the climate must neceffarily be hot, as they lie greatly exposed to the strongest heat of the sun, as is sufficiently proved by their early harvests, which happen generally in the months of March and April. The soil, indeed, is every where admirably rich and fruitful, but particularly famous for the production of that grape of which the Canary wine, so much esteemed all over Europe, is made, and exported in such large quantities.
According to Sanutus, there was formerly but one island so remarkably fertile either in corn or wine, though, at present, they all produce every neceffary of life. Here wheat, barley, honey, wax, sugar-canes, oranges, figs, pomgranates, citrons, peaches, pine-apples, with a variety of other fruits, spring up in the utmost abundance and perfection. Here also grows a large quantity of a plant called oriffel, which several botanists affirm to be the phalaris of Dioscorides (B), and which Delechamp, upon Pliny, calls the second genus of the barba, or, more properly, grain of Theophrastus. This plant they cultivate with great care, for the nourishment of those little birds so valuable for their beautiful plumage and sweet voices,
s Purch. Pilg. lib. vii. cap. 12. Cadamost, lib. vii, Sanut. lib. jii. Gramaye Afrique, lib. ix. cap. 3.
(B) This is a genus of the feed contained in the corolla, triandria-dygynia, with a bi- in which it perfectly resembles valve corolla, and only a fingle the orifell,
well known by the name of Canary birds. In these islands there is likewise produced a great quantity of a gum or resin, called ,bre, which is an exsudation from the pine by the means of fire; different, however, from the method practised in Norway, and the northern countries of Europe. Nor are the Canary islands lefs abundantly supplied with cattle, such as cows, sheep, goats, and wild affes, which run about the mountains in droves ; and perhaps their most valuable article of commerce are the kins and hides, in which they deal largely with all the maritime European powers. Their woods are stored with a variety of the feathered kind, and the surrounding seas stocked with shoals of fish, particularly sturgeon, which forms the chief sustenance of the poor. All the illands have ditches and marshes, filled with sea water at spring-tides, and afterwards evaporated by the heat of the sun, till a fine seasalt is formed.
As to the original inhabitants of these islands, there is a variety of opinions ; but what is advanced by the greater number of writers as the most probable, is the following, though it likewise labours under difficulties which are too obvious to require a formal refutation.
They are said to have been exiles from Africa, whom the Romans banished hither, af:er having cut out their tongues, for having blafphemed against their gods, or the Roman divinities; it is, however confessed, by persons perfectly acquainted with their language, that it has not the least resemblance or affinity either to the Latin or Arabic ; nor indeed would it be easy to conceive how parents, deprived of the organ of speech, should be able to transmit the language to posterity; for writing, and the orthography, could never teach the sound of the elements, or be able to annex any certain and fixed ideas to the differa ent characters. Nicols says, that all the descendents of the ancient inhabitants speak the same language; which, however, is diversified into a variety of different diale&ls. They were clothed, says the same author, in hides and skins, without any particular cut or fashion. Amidst caves and rocks, their only dwellings, they lived in the most intimate friendship and happy union. Their language varied but little from what is now spoken by their posterity. Their food was the fies of horned cattle, dogs, and the milk of goats. They made also a kind of pudding, or bread, of milk and ground or triturated corn, which they called goffia, now common in the island under the Mod. VOL. XII.