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.
Natural History of the West Indies, as thus quoted by Ramusio.  In the year 1517, an English corsair, under pretence of a voyage of discovery, came with a great ship to the coast of Brazil, whence he crossed over to the island of Hispaniola, and arrived near the mouth of the harbour of St Domingo, where he sent his boat to demand leave of entry for the purpose of traffic.  But Francis de Tapia, the governor of the castle, caused some ordnance to be fired from the castle at the ship, which was bearing in for the port; on which the ship put about, and the people in the boat went again on board.  They then sailed to the island of St John, or Porto Rico, where they went into the harbour of St Germaine, where they required provisions and other necessaries for their ship, and complained against the inhabitants of St Domingo, saying that they came not to do any harm, but to trade for what they wanted, paying in money or merchandize.  In this place they procured provisions, and paid in certain vessels of wrought tin and other things.  They afterwards departed towards Europe, where it was thought they never arrived, as we never heard any more news of them[16].”

From the above hint respecting the riches of Peru finding their way to the Tower of London, and as combined with the former voyage of Cabot to the north-west; in search of a passage to India, it may be inferred, that the object of the present voyage was to discover a passage to India by the south-west, or by what is now called Cape Horn.  The passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope, had been granted exclusively by the Pope to the Portuguese; and Henry VIII. then a good catholic, wished to evade this exclusive privilege by endeavouring to discover a new route.  It was well observed by one of the kings of France, in reference to the Pope having granted all the East to the Portuguese, and all the West to the Spaniards, “I wish my brothers of Spain and Portugal would shew me the testament of our father Adam, by which they claim such ample inheritance.”  The supposition that Cabot had perished on his voyage from Porto Rico to England was unfounded.  He was alive there in 1549, in which year Edward VI. granted a yearly pension for life to him and his assigns, of L.166, 13s. 4d. to be paid quarterly, in consideration of the good and acceptable service done and to be done by him[17].

We have been induced to insert this long digression in this place, because no journals remain of the voyages to which they relate.  The other early voyages of the English to the New World, were all for the purpose of discovering a N.W. passage by sea to India, or for colonizing the provinces of North America, and will fail to be particularly noticed in other divisions of our work.

[1] Novus Orbis, p. 111.

[2] Vol.  I. 262, and Vol.  V. 479.

[3] Nov.  Orb. 87.

[4] Mod.  Geogr.  III. 8.

[5] Harris, Col. of Voy. and Trav.  II. 167.

[6] Harris, Coll. of Voy. and Trav.  II. 62.

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