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.
mentioned.  For the better understanding this voyage of Juan Ponce, it must be understood that there are three different groups in the archipelago of the Lucayos.  The first is composed of the Bahama islands, giving name to the channel where the currents are most impetuous.  The second is called los Organos; and the third los Martyres, which are next the shore of los Tortugas to the westwards; which last being all sand, cannot be seen at any distance, wherefore many ships have perished on them, and all along the coasts of the Bahama channel and the Tortugas islands.  Havanna in the island of Cuba is to the southwards, and Florida to the northward, and between these are all the before mentioned islands, of Organos, Bahamas, Martyres, and Tortugas.  Between Havanna and los Martyres, there is a channel with a violent current, twenty leagues over at the narrowest; and it is fourteen leagues from los Martyres to Florida.  Between certain islands to the eastwards, and the widest part of this passage to the westwards, is forty leagues, with many shoals and deep channels; but there is no way in this direction for ships or brigantines, only for canoes.  The passage from the Havanna, for Spain is along the Bahama channel, between the Havanna the Martyres, the Lucayos, and Cape Canaveral; and the giving occasion to this discovery was the great merit of Ponce de Leon, for which he was well rewarded in Spain.

[1] The account of this voyage is often contradictory, and almost always
    unintelligible.  In this instance, De Leon is made, with a southern
    course, to increase his latitude almost nine degrees to the north.—­E.

[2] This account of the island of Bimini is perfectly ridiculous, as its
    whole extent does not exceed twenty miles in length, and not exceeding
    one mile broad; it is one of the smallest of the Bahama or Lucayo
    islands, and the largest of them cannot possibly contain any stream of
    water beyond the size of a brook.—­E.

SECTION X.

The Martyrdom of two Dominican Friars on the coast of Venezuela, through the Avarice of the Spaniards.

There happened about this time a very singular and melancholy event, which I find recorded in many Spanish historians, which shews to what a height corruption had grown in so short a time among the Spanish settlements in the West Indies.  Reports had reached Spain of the harsh and cruel manner in which the natives were treated by the Spaniards, being distributed among the proprietors of land as if they had been cattle.  This moved some religious men of the Dominican order to go over to the new world, to try what progress they could make in converting the Indians by spiritual means only.  Three of these fathers landed in the island of Porto Rico, where one of them fell sick and was unable to proceed.  The other two procured a vessel to carry them over to the main, where they

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