A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 756 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03.

“Most Serene Princes!  I went to sea when very young, and have continued to the present day; and this art of navigation inclines those who follow it to be desirous of discovering the secrets of this world.  It is now forty years[2] that I have been sailing to all those parts of the world which are frequented at present; and I have conversed with many wise and learned men, both clergy and laity, Latins, Greeks, Indians and Moors, and of many other sects and nations.  God has been favourable to my inclination, and has given me the spirit of understanding, so that I have become very skilful in navigation, with a competent knowledge in arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, and both genius and skill to draw maps and charts of this world, with its cities, rivers, islands, and ports, all in their proper places and proportions.  During my whole life, I have endeavoured to see and understand all books of cosmography, history, and philosophy; by which my understanding hath been enlightened so as to enable me to sail from Europe to the Indies, and God hath inclined me to put this design into execution.  Filled with this desire I came to your highnesses; and after all who had heard an account of my proposed undertaking had rejected it with scorn and contempt as visionary and impracticable; in your highnesses alone I found judgment to believe in the practicability of my proposal, and constancy and spirit to put it into execution.”

In another letter, written in January 1495 from Hispaniola, to their Catholic majesties, in illustration of the errors and mistakes common in voyages and the piloting of ships, he thus writes, “I was formerly sent to Tunis by King Renee, whom God hath since taken to himself, to take the galeasse called Fernandina; and, when near the island of St Peter off Sardinia, I was informed that the Fernandina was accompanied by two ships and a carack.  This intelligence dismayed my people, who refused to proceed in the enterprize, and demanded to go back to Marseilles for another ship and more men.  Finding that it was impossible to go on against their inclinations, without a stratagem, I pretended to yield to their desires; but having altered the card of the ships compass, I set sail when it was late, under pretence of making for Marseilles.  But next morning at day-break, when all on board believed we had been sailing for Marseilles, we found ourselves close in with Cape Carthagena[3].”

In a memorandum or observation tending to prove that all the five zones are habitable by the experience of navigation, he thus writes:  “In February 1467, I sailed an hundred leagues beyond Thule, or Iceland, the northern part of which is 73 degrees distant from the equinoctial, and not 63 degrees as some suppose; neither does it lie upon the line where Ptolemy begins the West, but considerably more to the westwards.  To this island, which is as large as England, the English carry on trade, especially from the port of Bristol.  When I was there the

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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