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

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.

Various early editions of the voyages of this navigator are mentioned in the Bibliotheque Universelle des Voyages[2], a recent work of much research, published at Paris in 1808.  In the titles of these he is named Americo Vespucio, and Alberico Vespucio.  In the NOVUS ORBIS of Simon Grynaeus, from which our present article is translated, he is called Americus Vesputius.  In another portion of that work, containing some very slight notices of these four voyages, his name is altered to Albericus[3].  A modern author, we know not on what authority, names him Amerigo Vespucci[4].  In all these publications, the authors or editors have used their endeavours to deprive the illustrious Columbus of the well earned glory of being the discoverer of the New World, and to transfer that honour most undeservedly to Americus, whose name has long been indelibly affixed to this new grand division of our globe.  Americus himself pretended to have made the first discovery of the continent of the New World, alleging that his great precursor Columbus was only the discoverer of the large West India islands.  It has been already mentioned, in the introduction to the voyages of Columbus, that in his first voyage Americus sailed under the command of a Spanish officer named Ojeda or Hojeda, who had accompanied Columbus in his second voyage:  But, though it sufficiently appears from his own writings that Americus did not command in chief in any of his four voyages, he anxiously conceals the names of the commanders under whom he sailed.  The actual accomplishment of any of these voyages by Americus has even been doubted[5].  At all events, there are strong reasons for believing that all their dates have been industriously falsified, on purpose to ground a pretension for having discovered the continent or main-land of Paria, prior to the third voyage of Columbus, in 1498, when that country and the islands of Trinidada and Margarita certainly were discovered by Columbus.  The same author here quoted as doubting the reality of the navigations of Americus to the New World, gives the following account of his pretensions as a discoverer.  “Americus Vespucius, by the interest of Bishop Fonseca, the enemy of Columbus, was made chief pilot of Spain, and to him all the journals of discovery were communicated, from which he constructed elegant maps, helping out by his fancy whatever was deficient in his materials, so as to exhibit things in graceful proportions, and the only thing wanting to his cosmographic delineation was a strict regard to truth.  But they answered well his purpose; as, besides securing him a good place and competent salary, they enabled him to impose his own name on the new world, before he had discovered one foot of its coasts[6].”  These are heavy charges; but, as Harris quotes no authorities, it is utterly impossible to determine on their justice at this distance of time.  In another part of his

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