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some reparation to their country for their own error. With this view, Emmanuel, who inherited the enterprising genius of his predeceffors, persisted in their grand scheme of opening a pafiage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope; and soon after his accession to the throne, equipped a squadron for that important voyage. He gave the command of it to Vasco de Gama, a man of noble birth, poffeffed of virtue, prudence and courage, equal to the station. The squadron, like all those fitted out for discovery in the infancy of navigation, was extremely feeble, consisting only of three vefsels, of neither burden nor force adequate to the service. As the Europeans were at that time little acquainted with the course of the trade-winds and periodical monsoons, which render navigation in the Atlantic ocean, as well as in the sea that separates Africa from India, at fome feasons easy, and at others not only dangerous, but almoft in practicable, the time chosen for Gama's d2parture was the most improper during the whole year. (1497) He fet fail from Lisbon on the ninth of July, and landing towards the fouth, had to struggle for four months with contrary winds, before he could reach the Cape of Good Hope. (Nov. 20.) Here their violence began to abate; and during an interval of calm weather, Gama doubled that formidable promontory, which had so long been the boundary of navigation, and directed his course towards the north-ea?.
along along the African coast. He touched at several ports; and after various adventures, which the Portuguese historians relate with high but just encomiums upon his conduct and intrepidity, he came to anchor before the city of Melinda. Throughout all the vast countries which extend along the coast of Africa, from the river Senegal to the confines of Zanguebar, the Portuguese had found a race of men rude and uncultivated, strangers to letters, to arts and commerce, and differing from the inhabitants of Europe, no less in their features and complexion, than in their manners and institutions. As they advanced from this, they observed , to their inexpressible joy, that the human form gradually altered and improved, the Asiatic features began to predominate, marks of civilization appeared, letters were known, the Mahometan religion was established, and a commerce, far from being inconsiderable, was carried on. At that time several vessels from India were in the port of Melinda. Gama now pursued his voyage. with almost absolute certainty of success, and, under the conduct of a Mahometan pilot, arrived at Calecut, upon the coast of Malabar, on the twenty-second of May one thousand four hundred and ninety eight. What he beheld of the wealth, the populousness, the cultivation, the industry and arts of this highly civilized country, far surpassed any idea that he had formed, from the imperfect accounts which the Euro
peans had hitherto received of it. But as he poffefred neither sufficient force to attempt a fettlement, nor proper commodities with which he could carry on commerce of any consequence, he haftened back to Portugal, with an account of his success in performing a voyage the lonceft, as well as most difficult, that had ever heen made since the first invention of navigation. He landed at Lisbon on the fourteenth of September one thousand four hundred and ninetynine, two years two months and five days from the time he left that port a).
Thus, during the course of the fifteenth century, mankind made greater progress in exploring the state of the habitable globe, than in all the ages which had elapsed previous to that period. The spirit of discovery, feeble at first .and cautious, moved, within a very narrow fphere, and made its efforts with hesitation and timidity. Encouraged by success, it became adventurous, and boldly extended its operations. In the course of its progression, it continued to acquire vigour, and atvanced at length with a rapidity and force which burst through all the limits within which ignorance and fear had hitherto circumscribed the activity or the human race. Almost fifty years were employed by the Portuguese in creeping along the coast of Africa from Cape Non to Cape de Verd, the latter of which lies only twelve degrees to the south of
a) Ramulio, yol, i. 119. D.
the former. In less than thirty years they ventured beyond the equinoctial line into another hemisphere, and penetrated to the southern extremity of Africa, at the distance of fourty-nine degrees from Cape de Verd. During the last seven years of the century, a New World was discovered in the west, not inferior in extent to all the parts of the earth with which mankind were at that time acquainted. In the east, unknown seas and countries were found out, and a communication, long desired, but hitherto concealed, was opened between Europe and the opulent regions of India. In comparison with events so wonderful and unexpected, all that had hitherto been deemed great or fplendid, faded away and disappeared. Vast objects now presented themselves. The human mind, rouzed and interested by the prospect, engaged with ardour in pursuit of them, and exerted its active powers in a new direction.
Discoveries carried on in Spain by private adventurers.
This spirit of enterprise, though but newly a wakened in Spain, began soon to operate extensively. All the attempts towards discovery made in that kingdom, had hitherto been carried on by Columbus alone, and at the expence of the sovereign. But now private adventurers, allured by the magnificent defcriptions he gave of the regions which he had visited, as well as by the specimens of their wealth which he pro
duced , offered to fit out squadrons at their own risk, and to go in quest of new countries. The Spanish court, whose scanty revenues were exhauited by the charge of its expeditions to the New World, which , though they opened vast profpects of future benefit, yielded a very sparing return of present profit, was extremely willing to devolve the burden of discovery upon its subjects. It seized with joy an opportunity of rendering the avarice, the ingenuity and efforts of projectors, instrumental in promoting designs of certain advantage to the public, though of doubtful success with respect to themselves.
Ojeda the first of these. One of the first propositions of this kind was made by Alonso de Ojeda, a gallant and active officer, who had accompanied Columbus in his second voyage. His rank and character procured him such credit with the merchants of Seville, that they undertook to equip four ships, provided he could obtain the royal licence, authorising the voyage. The powerful patronage of the bishop of Badajos easily secured success in a suit so agreable to the court. Without consulting Columbus, or regarding the rights and jurisdiction which he had acquired by the capitulation in one thousand four hundred and ninety-two, Ojeda was permitted to set out for the New World. In order to direct his course, the bishop communicated to him the Admiral's