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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 03.

A sailor belonging to Port St Mary affirmed, that in a voyage to Ireland he saw a country to the westward, which he imagined to have been Tartary; but which has since turned out to be Bacallaos, being a part of Canada, but could not attain the coast by reason of stormy weather[2].  Peter de Velasco of Galicia declared, that, in a voyage to Ireland, he stood so far to the northward that he saw land west from that island.  Vincent Diaz, a Portuguese pilot of Tavira, said that one morning, on his return from Guinea, he thought he saw an island under the parallel of Madeira.  Diaz discovered the secret to a merchant, who procured the leave of the king of Portugal to fit out a ship for the discovery, and sent advice to his brother Francis de Cazana to fit out one at Seville, and put it under the command of Diaz.  But Francis Cazana refusing, Diaz returned to Tercera, where he procured a ship, with the assistance of Luke de Cazana, and went out two or three times above an hundred leagues to the west, but found nothing.  To these may be added, the attempts made by Caspar and Michael de Cortereal, sons to him who discovered the island of Tenera; but they were lost in searching for this land.  Yet all these particulars contributed to encourage Columbus to undertake the enterprise; for, when Providence has decreed the accomplishment of any thing, it disposes the means, and provides the proper instruments.

[1] This is the person usually called Behain.—­E.

[2] Rather Newfoundland.—­E.

SECTION III.

Columbus proposes his Design to the King and Queen of Spain; which, after many Repulses, is adopted by the Queen[1].

The reason why Columbus gave the name of Indies to those new found countries, was on purpose to excite the princes he had to deal with to fall into his proposals, as he proposed to find gold, silver, and pearls, and those drugs and spices which are not produced in our countries, and therefore he concluded, that his discoveries might vie with the East Indies, give reputation to his design, and add weight to his proposals.  Besides, it was his design to discover the east by way of the west; and as the East Indies lay in the remotest part of the east, going eastwards, which he meant to discover in a western course, it might well be called India.  After the actual discovery, and when both New Spain and Peru were found out, the name was made plural, and the new world was called the West Indies.  These West Indies are the countries comprehended within the limits assigned to the crown of Castile and Leon, consisting of one hemisphere, or half the globe, being 180 degrees of longitude.  These limits commenced at a meridian, 30 or 40 degrees westwards from that of the city of Toledo, and proceeded from thence to the west; so that allowing 17-1/2 leagues to a degree, this allotment contains 3700 Spanish leagues in breadth, between east and west[2].

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