In the year 1484, an inhabitant of the island of Madeira asked permission from the king of Portugal to go upon the discovery of a country, which he declared he saw every year exactly in the same position, agreeable to what had been reported by the people of the Azores. On these accounts, the ancient sea-charts laid down certain islands in these seas, which they called Antilla, and placed them about 200 leagues west from the Canaries and Azores; which the Portuguese believed to be the island of the Seven Cities, the fame of which has occasioned many to commit great folly from covetousness, by spending much money to no purpose. The story is, that this island of the Seven Cities was peopled by those who fled from the persecution of the infidels, when Spain was conquered by the Moors, in the reign of king Roderick; when seven bishops embarked with a great number of people, and arrived in that island, where they burnt their ships to prevent any one from thinking to return, and each of the bishops built a separate city for his flock. It was reported, that in the days of Prince Henry of Portugal, one of his ships was driven by a storm upon that island, where the natives carried the sailors to church, to see whether they were Christians observing the Roman ceremonies; and, finding them to be so, desired them to remain till their lord should come; but, fearing they might burn their ship and detain them, the Portuguese returned well pleased into Portugal; expecting a considerable reward from the prince. He, however, reproved them for bringing so imperfect an account, and ordered them to return; which the master and sailors dared not attempt, but left the kingdom, and were never more heard of. It is added, that these sailors, while in the island of the Seven Cities, gathered some sand for their cookroom, which turned out to be partly gold. Some adventurers from Portugal, allured by this report, went out for the purpose of prosecuting this discovery, one of whom was James de Tiene, and the pilot was James Velasquez of Palos. This man affirmed to Columbus, at the monastery of St Maria de Rabida, that they took a departure from Fyal, and sailed 150 leagues to the south-west, and at their return discovered the island of Flores, following many birds flying in that direction, which they knew were not water-fowl. He next said, that they sailed so far to the north-west, that Cape Clare of Ireland bore east of them; where they found the west wind blowing hard, yet with a smooth sea, which they believed was occasioned by the nearness of some land sheltering the sea from the violence of the wind; but that they dared not to proceed on their voyage, it being then the month of August, and they feared the approach of winter. This is said to have happened forty years before Columbus discovered the West Indies.