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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 685 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 07.

On the present occasion we are principally guided in our selection by chronological order, owing to which this Chapter may have an anomalous appearance, as containing the early voyages of the English to the Western or Atlantic coast of Africa, while the title of the Book to which it belongs was confined to the Discoveries and Conquests of the Portuguese, and other European Nations, in India; yet the arrangement has been formed on what we have considered as sufficient grounds, more especially as resembling the steps by which the Portuguese were led to their grand discovery of the route by sea to India.  Our collection forms a periodical work, in the conduct of which it would be obviously improper to tie ourselves too rigidly, in these introductory discourses, to any absolute rules of minute arrangement, which might prevent us from availing ourselves of such valuable sources of information as may occur in the course of our researches.  We have derived the principal materials of this and the next succeeding chapter, from Hakluyt’s Collection of the Early Voyages, Travels, and Discoveries of the English Nation, using the late edition published at London in 1810, and availing ourselves of the previous labours of the Editor of Astleys Collection, published in 1745.  Mr John Green, the intelligent editor of that former collection, has combined the substance of the present and succeeding chapters of our work in the second book of his first volume, under the title of The First Voyages of the English to Guinea and the East Indies; and as our present views are almost solely confined to the period which he embraces, we have thought it right to insert his introduction to that book, as containing a clear historical view of the subject[175].  It is proper to mention, however, that, while we follow his steps, we have uniformly had recourse to the originals from which he drew his materials; and, for reasons formerly assigned, wherever any difference may occur between our collection and that of Astley, we shall subjoin our remarks and references, at the place or places to which they belong.—­E.

[Footnote 175:  Astley’s Collection, Vol.  I. p. 138, 140.]

“Although the Portuguese were the first who set on foot discoveries by sea, and carried them on for many years before any other European nation attempted to follow their example; yet, as soon as these voyages appeared to be attended with commercial gain, the English were ready to put in for a share.  The Portuguese discovered Guinea about the year 1471; and only ten years afterwards we find the English making preparations to visit the newly discovered coast[176].  In the year 1481, John Tintam and William Fabian were busy in fitting out a fleet for the coast of Guinea; but whether on their own account in whole or in part, or solely for the Duke of Medina Sidonia in Spain, by whose command they are said to have done this, cannot be now determined.  It is possible, as the Spaniards were excluded by the Papal grant in

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