Графични страници
PDF файл

cannot be perfect in the knowledge of it but by experience and practice, as I have had in great measure, and by the solid and true information of worthy and wise men, who have come from those parts to this court of Rome; and from merchants who have traded long in those parts, and are persons of good reputa. tion. So that, when the said yoyage is per, formed, it will be to powerful kingdoms, and to the most noble cities and provinces, rich and abounding in all things we stand in need of, particularly in all sorts of. spice in great quantities, and store of jewels. In

This will, moreover, be grateful to those: kings and princes who are very desirous to converse and trade with Christians of these our countries, whether it be for some of them to become Christians, or else to have commu. nication with the wise and ingenious men of these parts, as well in point of religion as in all sciences, because of the extraordinary ac. count they have of the kingdoms and govern, ment of these parts. For which reasons, and many more that might be alleged, I do not at all admire that you, who have a great heart, and all the Portuguese nation, which has ever had notable men in all undertakings, be eagerly bent upon performing this voyage.

VOL. 1.-U


Though the English did not prosecute the discovery made by the Cabots, nor- avail themselves of the only advantages which it could have afforded them, yet their neighbours of Brittany,* Normandy, and Biscay wisely pursued the track of those adventurers, and took vast quantities of cod on the banks of Newfoundland.

In 1524, John Verazzani,t a Florentine in the service of France, ranged the coast of the new continent from Florida to Newfoundland, and gave it the name of New France. In a subsequent voyage he was cut to pieces and devoured by the savages.

It is remarkable that the three great European kingdoms, Spain, England, and France, made use of three Italians to conduct their discoveries : Columbus, a Genoese ; Cabot, a Venetian ;# and Verazzani, a Florentine. This is a proof that among the Italians there were at that time persons of superior maritime knowledge to the other nations of Europe ; though the penurious spirit of those republics, their mutual jealousy and petty wars, made them overlook the benefits resulting from extensive enterprises, and leave the vast regions of the New World to be occupied by others.

* It is supposed that the island of Cape Breton took its name from the Bretons, the fishermen of Brittany.

+ [For a brief notice of Verazanni, see Chronological Detail. -H.]

ť [Cabot, though of Venetian extraction, was born in Bristol, England.-H.]

The voyages of Verazzani having produced no addition to the revenue of France, all farther attempts to perfect his discoveries were laid aside; but the fishery being found conducive to the commercial interest, it was at length conceived that a plantation in the neighbourhood of the banks might be advantageous. This being represented to King Francis I. by Chabot the admiral, JAMES CARTIER,*f of St. Malo, was commissioned to explore the country, with a view to find a place for a colony. I

On the 20th of April, 1534, he sailed from St. Malo with two ships of sixty tons and 122 men, and on the 10th of May came in sight of Bonavista, on the island of New* His name is sometimes written Quartier. i

+ [The French, of course, write the baptismal name Jacques. He was a native of St. Malo, and an able and experienced pilot. -H.] I Forster's Northern Voyages, p. 437.

foundland. But the ice which lay along the shore obliged him to go southward, and he entered a harbour to which he gave

the name of St. Catharine,* where he waited for fair weather and fitted his boats.

As soon as the season would permit,t he sailed northward, and examined several harbours and islands on the coast of New. foundland, in one of which he found such a quantity of birds that in half an hour two boats were loaded with them, and, after they had eaten as many as they could, five or six barrels full were salted for each ship. This place was called Bird Island.

Having passed Cape de Grat, the northern extremity of the land, he entered the Straits of Bellisle, and visited several harbours on the opposite coast of Labrador, one of which he called Cartier's Sound. The harbour is described as one of the best in the world, but the land is stigmatized as thë place to which Cain was banished, no vegetation be. ing produced among the rocks but'thorns and moss. Yet, bad as it was, there were inhabitants in it, who lived by catching seals, and seemed to be a wandering tribe.!

* Called in some maps Catalina.
+ [May 21st.-— Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 202.-H.]
# Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 201-21)

In circumnavigating the great island of Newfoundland, they found the weather in general cold; but when they had crossed the gulf in a southwesterly direction to the continent, they came into a deep bay, where the climate was so warm that they named it Baye de Chaleur, or the Bay of Heat. Here were several kinds of wild berries, roses, and meadows of grass. In the fresh waters they caught salmon in great plenty.

Having searched in vain for a passage through the bay, they quitted it, and sailed along the coast eastward, till they came to the smaller bay of Gaspe, where they sought shelter from a tempest, and were detained twelve days in the month of July. In this place Cartier performed the ceremony of taking possession for the King of France. A cross of thirty feet high was erected on a point of land. On this cross was suspended a shield, with the arms of France and the words Vive le Roy de France. Before it the people kneeled uncovered, with their hands extended and their eyes lifted towards heav

The natives who were present beheld the ceremony at first with silent admiration, but after a while, an old man, clad in a bear's skin, made signs to them that the land


« ПредишнаНапред »