A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.
the following account is extracted, because the original Portuguese has not come to our knowledge, neither can we say when that was printed; but as the anonymous French translator remarked, that “Don Francisco keeps the original MS. with great care,” it may be concluded, that the Portuguese impression did not long precede the French translation.  The French translator acknowledges that he has altered the style, which was extremely florid and poetical, and has expunged several useless and tedious digressions, etymologies, reflections, and comparisons; but declares that he has strictly presented, the truth and substance of the history, so as not to vary from it in the least, or to omit the smallest material circumstance.

It is remarkable that there is no mention whatever in any of the English histories of Machin, Macham, or Marcham, the supposed author of this discovery; so that Hakluyt was beholden to Antonio Galvano for the imperfect account he gives of that transaction[4].  By the following abstract the complete history becomes our own, and we shall be no longer strangers to an event which has for several ages, rendered an Englishman famous in foreign countries, while wholly unknown in his own.  It must not, however, be omitted to observe, that some objections may be stated against the authenticity of this history, on account of certain circumstances which do not quadrate with the time assigned for Machin’s voyage by the author.  From these it is obvious, either that the relation given by Alcaforado is not genuine, or that it has been interpolated.  How far this objection may be admitted, without prejudice to the authority of the whole story, must be left to the judgment of our readers; we shall only add, that so far as relates to Macham it agrees with the tradition of the inhabitants of Madeira.

According to Alcaforada, Juan Gonsalvo Zarco, a gentleman of the household of Don Henry, being sent out by that prince upon an expedition of discovery to the coast of Africa, made prize, in the year 1420, of a Spanish vessel filled with redeemed captives, on their way from Morocco to Spain.  In this vessel there was one John de Morales, an experienced and able pilot, whom he detained as an acceptable present to his master Don Henry, and set all the rest at liberty.  Morales on being made acquainted with the cause of his detention, entered freely into the service of the prince, and gave an account to Gonsalvo of the adventures of Machin, and the situation and land-marks of the new discovered island, all of which he had learnt from certain English captives in the jails of Morocco, who had accompanied Macham, or Machin, in his expedition.

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