De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 385 pages of information about De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2).

[Note 8:  This refers to the fourth voyage of Columbus; consult Storia del Fernando Columbo; Navarrete, i., 314, 329, 332; ii., 277, 296; iii., 555, 558.  Also the Lettera rarissima, written by Columbus from Jamaica, July 7, 1503, to the Catholic sovereigns; Washington Irving, Columbus and his Companions.]

[Note 9:  Consult Gaffarel, Les Contemporains de Colomb; Vespucci, Quatuor Navigationes.]

The Second Decade

BOOK I

PETER MARTYR, OF MILAN, APOSTOLIC PROTONOTARY AND ROYAL COUNSELLOR TO THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF LEO X

Most Holy Father,[1] Since the arrival at the Spanish Court of Galeazzo Butrigario of Bologna sent by Your Holiness, and Giovanni Accursi of Florence, sent by that glorious Republic, I have unceasingly frequented their company and studied to please them, because of their virtues and their wisdom.  Both take pleasure in reading various authors and certain books which have fallen by chance into their hands, works treating of the vast regions hitherto unknown to the world, and of the Occidental lands lying almost at the Antipodes which the Spaniards recently discovered.  Despite its unpolished style, the novelty of the narrative charmed them, and they besought me, as well on their own behalf as in the name of Your Holiness, to complete my writings by continuing the narrative of all that has since happened, and to send a copy to Your Beatitude so that you might understand to what degree, thanks to the encouragement of the Spanish sovereigns, the human race has been rendered illustrious and the Church Militant extended.  For these new nations are as a tabula rasa; they easily accept the beliefs of our religion and discard their barbarous and primitive rusticity after contact with our compatriots.  I have deemed it well to yield to the insistence of wise men who enjoyed the favour of Your Holiness; indeed, had I not immediately obeyed an invitation in the name of Your Beatitude, I should have committed an inexpiable crime.  I shall now summarise in a few words the discoveries by the Spaniards of unknown coasts, the authors of the chief expeditions, the places they landed, the hopes raised, and the promises held out by these new countries.

[Note 1:  Giovanni de’ Medici, elected in 1513, assumed the title of Leo X. He was keenly interested in the exploration and discoveries in America, and unceasingly urged his nuncios to keep him supplied with everything written on these subjects.]

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