Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

to the cluster once called Porland. If these conclusions be admitted, there can be no suspicion of fiction in the story of Zeno, as far it respects Prince Zichmni and his expeditions. Shetland may then well enough agree with Estland, which is described by Hakluyt as lying “ between Frisland and Norway."*

The only place which in Zeno's relation is called by the same name by which it is now known, is Iceland; though there can be no doubt that Engroenland, or Engroneland, is the same with Greenland, where, according to Crantz, there was once a church dedicated to St. Thomas, and situate near a volcano and a hot spring.+

But the question is, Where shall we find Estotiland ? Dr. Forster is positive that it cannot be any other country than Winland (discovered in 1001), where the Normans made a settlement." The Latin books seen there by the fisherman he supposes to have been the library of Eric, bishop of Greenland, who went thither in the twelfth century to convert his countrymen. He is also of opinion that this fisherman had the use of the

* Vol. iii., p. 122.

+ Crantz's History of Greenland, vol. ii., p. 265. Parchas, vol. iv., p. 651.

magnetic needle, which began to be known in Europe about the year 1302, before the time of the Zenos. He also thinks that the country called Drogio is the same with Florida.

In some of the old maps, particularly in Sanson's French Atlas, the name Estotiland is marked on the country of Labrador; but the pompous description of it by the fisherman, whether it be Labrador or New-Foundland, exceeds all the bounds of credibility, and abuses even the license of a traveller. The utmost extent of Zichmni's expedition, in consequence of the fisherman's report, could not be any farther westward than Greenland, to which his description well agrees. The original inhabitants were short of stature, half wild, and lived in caverns; and between the years 1380 and 1384 they had extirpated the Normans and the monks of St. Thomas.

The discovery of Estotiland must therefore rest on the report of the fisherman ; but the description of it; of Drogio, and the country S.W. of Drogio, must be ranked in the fabulous history of America, and would probably have been long since forgotten if Christopher Columbus had not made his grand discovery, from the merit of which his rivals and the enemies of the Spanish nation have uniformly endeavoured to detract.

IV. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS,*

one

The adventures which have been already spoken of were more the result of accident than design; we are now entering on founded in science and conducted by judg, ment; an adventure which, whether we regard its conception, its execution, or its consequences, will always reflect the highest honour on him who projected it.

[* Since the life of Columbus was written by Dr. Belknap, the subject has been investigated with much ardour and research, and new documents and sources of evidence have been brought to light. Many particulars of the history of that renowned navigator which were then doubtful have been rendered certain, many that were obscure have been made plain ; and though, in some respects, we may still look for farther and more precise information, we have yet enough to enable us to do ample justice to his merits, and to furnish us with a satisfactory conception of his character and achievements.

Of the works which have been written to illustrate his history, and to which the reader is referred for more minute or extended information, the History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, by Washington Irving, is deserving of special notice. It is in two volumes 8vo, with an additional volume relating to the Companions of Columbus. We are indebted to this work mainly for the corrections and additions we have made to the sketch by Dr. Belknap, which we have made more few and brief, because that work is within the reach of almost every one. H.]

- About the middle of the fifteenth century, when the Portuguese, under the conduct of Prince Henry, and afterward of King John II., were pushing their discoveries along the western shore of Africa, to find a passage by the south to India, a genius arose, whose memory has been preserved with veneration in the pages of history, as the instrument of enlarging the region of science and commerce beyond any of his predecessors. CHRIS. TOPHER COLUMBUS, a native of the republic of Genoa, was born in the year 1447,* and at the age of fourteen entered on a seafaring life,t as the proper sphere in which

* [Mr. Irving, with greater probability, places the birth of Columbus in the year 1435 or 1436. The family name is Co. lombo, Latinized by the discoverer into Columbus, and in Spanish Colon. His father was a wool-comber. Christopher was the eldest of four children. He was educated as well as the scanty means of his father would allow, and sent for a while to the University of Pavia, where he learned the elements of those sciences which are useful in navigation, to which he early show. ed a strong inclination.-H.]

+ [Probably under Colombo, an experienced sea-captain and a distant relation. The navigation of the Mediterranean was then perilous, from the number of piratical cruisers who roved over it, and the perpetual feuds of the nations on its banks, and involved the mariner in constant hardships, while it required and created in him great vigilance, daring, and address. Columbus was probably engaged in the various maritime services then common and accounted lawful among those who sailed in that

Vor. Lo

his vigorous mind was destined to perforin ex. ploits which should astonish mankind.* He was educated in the sciences of geometry and astronomy, which form the basis of navigation; and he was well versed in cosmog. raphy, history, and philosophy. His active and enterprising genius, though it enabled him to comprehend the old systems, yet would not suffer him to rest in their decisions, however sanctified by time or by venerable names; but, determined to examine them by actual experiment, he visited the seas within the polar circle,f and afterward those parts of Africa which the Portuguese had discovered, as far as the coast of Guinea; and by the time that he had attained the age of thirtyseven, he had, from his own experience, resea; not less in piratical expeditions or attacks upon the infidels, than in the regular operations of commerce. We have few clear traces of his conduct in these scenes, but in those few are manifested the elements of that skill, hardihood, and self-reliance which were so conspicuous in his later life.-H.]

* Life of Columbus by his son Ferdinand, chap. iv. See vol. ii. of Churchill's Collection of Voyages. Herrera's Hist. Amer., vol. i.

+ [In a letter, a part of which his son has preserved, he says, “In the year 1477, in February, I navigated one hundred leagues beyond Thule, which is seventy-three degrees distant from the equator.” To what extent he followed the track of the Portuguese discoverers on the coast of Africa I have not been able to learn.-H.]

« ПредишнаНапред »