A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.

“Betagh has fully shewn, that the navigation round Cape Horn is no such dangerous or wonderful voyage.  If twenty ships from St Malo could perform it in one year, and not a single vessel either shipwrecked or forced to put back, what shall hinder an English ship or an English fleet from doing the same?  We see from the foregoing account, with how much ease the French carried on a prodigious trade to the South Seas, at a time when the appearance of an English ship there was esteemed a prodigy.  We certainly can send our frigates there, as well as the French can their ships from St Malo; and it might be well worth the while of our merchants to send out ships to the coasts of Chili and Peru, laden with proper goods for that country.”—­Harris.

In the present day, this trade to the coasts of Chili and Peru has been resumed by the citizens of the United States; but the subjects of Britain are debarred from even attempting to take a share, because within the exclusive limits of the East India Company; although their ships never come nearer to the western coast of America than Canton in China, at the enormous distance of 174 degrees of longitude, and 59 degrees of latitude, counting from Canton in China to Conception in Peru, or upwards of twelve thousand English miles.  It is certainly at least extremely desirable, that a trade of such promise should not remain any longer prohibited, merely to satisfy a punctilio, without the most distant shadow of benefit to the India Company, or to the nonentity denominated the South-sea Company.—­Ed.




There was, perhaps, no country in the world where commerce was more profitable, or held more honourable, than in Holland, or where more respect and attention was shewn to it by the government.  As the republic chiefly subsisted by trade, every thing relating to it was considered as an affair of a public nature, in which the welfare of the state was concerned, and highly deserving therefore of the strictest and readiest attention.  The great companies in Holland, as in other countries, were considered as injurious to trade in some lights, yet necessary to its welfare in others.  The West India Company of that country, originally erected in 1621, held, by an exclusive charter, the commerce of the coast of Africa, from the tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope, and that of America, from the southern point of Newfoundland in the N.E. all along the eastern coast to the Straits of Magellan or Le Maire, and thence northwards again along the western coast, to the supposed Straits of Anian, thus including the entire coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  The directors of this company consisted of seventy-two persons, divided into five chambers, of whom eighteen were chosen to administer the affairs of the Company, together with a nineteenth person, nominated by the States-General.

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