A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06.

It is not necessary to particularize the various sources from which the different articles to be contained in this Book or division of our work has been collected, as these will be all referred to in the several chapters and sections of which it is composed.  Indeed as the introductions we prefix, on the present and other similar occasions, are necessarily written previous to the composition of the articles to which they refer, contrary to the usual practice, it would be improper to tie ourselves too strictly on such occasions, so as to preclude the availment of any additional materials that may occur during our progress, and therefore we here beg leave to notify that we reserve a power of including the earliest voyages of other European nations to the Atlantic and eastern coasts of Africa, together with Arabia and Persia, among the early voyages to India, if hereafter deemed necessary; which is strictly conformable to what has been already done in PART II.  BOOK I, and what must necessarily be the case on the present occasion.  It may be proper however to mention, that the present chapter, containing a continuation of the early Discoveries, Navigations, and Conquests of the Portuguese in India, is taken from the PORTUGUESE ASIA, of Manuel de Faria y Sousa, taking that author up in 1505, where we had to lay down Castaneda at the end of our Second BOOK. Faria[64], who is designated as a member of the Portuguese military order of Christ, was a celebrated historian among his countrymen, and his work, entitled ASIA PORTUGUEZA, contains an account somewhat in the form of Annals, of the Transactions of his countrymen in India, from their first going there in 1497, to the year 1646.  This work contains all the Portuguese Voyages and Discoveries, from their first attempt to extend along the western coast of Africa, to their final discovery of the farthest parts of China and Japan:  All their battles by sea and land, with their expeditions, sieges, and other memorable actions:  The whole interspersed with descriptions of the places and countries they discovered, visited, or conquered; including accounts of the manners, customs, government, and religion of the natives.  This author is remarkable for a concise and clear narrative, and for judicious reflections on the conduct of the Portuguese kings, ministers, governors, and commanders, as well as for his remarks on many other occasions.  These are always just, and have often an air of freedom that might not have been expected under an arbitrary government:  But in matters regarding religion, he often discovers a surprising reverse of character, full of weak and puerile credulity, the never-failing consequence of education and publication under the influence of that eternal and abominable stain of the peninsula, the Inquisition.

[Footnote 64:  Astley, I. 87.]

This work of De Faria has gone through various impressions in Portugal, where it is esteemed a curious and accurate performance, though on some occasions it is alleged that he has placed too much reliance on Mendez Pinto, a dealer in bare-faced fiction.  The first impression of the Portuguese Asia was printed at Lisbon in 1666, in 3 vols. small folio, and it has been often reprinted, and translated into Spanish, Italian, French, and English.

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