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.

I, Alvise Da Cada Mosto, after visiting many parts of our Mediterranean Sea, being in our city of Venice in the year 1454, at which time I was about twenty-two years of age, determined to return into Flanders, a country which I had formerly visited as a merchant; for my constant attention was, in the first place to acquire wealth, and secondly to procure fame.  On the 8th of August in that year 1454, I embarked in one of the gallies belonging to the republic, commanded by Marco Zen, a Venetian cavalier.  Contrary winds detained us for some days off Cape St Vincent; during which, I learnt that Don Henry, the infant of Portugal, resided in the adjoining village of Reposera, or Sagres, to which he had retired in order to pursue his studies without interruption from the tumult of the world.  Hearing of our arrival, the prince sent on board of our galley Antonio Gonzales his secretary, accompanied by Patricio de Conti[1], a Venetian, who was consul for the republic in Portugal, as appeared by his commission, and who also received a salary or pension from Don Henry.  These gentlemen brought on board, and exhibited to us samples of Madeira sugar, dragons blood, and other commodities of the countries and islands belonging to the prince, which had been discovered under his patronage.  They asked us many questions, and informed us that the prince had caused some lately discovered and uninhabited islands to be settled and cultivated, as a proof of which, they had shewn us the before-mentioned valuable productions; adding, that all this was next to nothing, in comparison of the great things which Don Henry had performed; as he had discovered seas which had never been navigated before, and the countries of divers strange, and hitherto unknown nations, where many wonderful things were found.  They told us farther, that the Portuguese who had been in these remote parts, had reaped great advantages by trading with the inhabitants; having gained as high as 700 or even 1000 per cent, on the capitals employed.  We were all much astonished at these things; and I Cada Mosto in particular, being inflamed with the desire of visiting these newly discovered regions, inquired if the prince permitted any person who might be so inclined to embark for these places?  To this they answered in the affirmative; and they likewise stated to me the conditions on which any one would be allowed to make the adventure.  These were, either to be at the whole expence of fitting out and freighting a vessel; or at the expence of the freight only, the prince providing a vessel.  In the former case, the adventurer had to allow on his return one quarter of his cargo, as duty to the prince, the rest remaining his own entire propriety; in the latter case, the homeward cargo was to be equally divided between the prince and the adventurer.  In case of no returns, the prince was at the entire expence of the voyage; but that it was hardly possible to make the voyage without great profit.  They added, that the prince would be much pleased to have any Venetian in his service, and would shew him great favour, being of opinion that spices and other rich merchandise might be found in these parts, and knowing that the Venetians understood these commodities better than any other nation.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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