« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
G. BROW GODE COLLECTION
which was comprehended in a very small space. There appears no reason to doubt of the discovery; but as the land was never colonized, nor any advantages made of it, it may fairly be conjectured, that they reached no farther than the barren country of Labrador. In short, it is from a much later period that we must date the real discovery of America *.
Towards the close of the 14th century, the navigation of Europe was scarcely extended beyond the limits of the Mediterranean. The mariner's compass had been invented and in common use for more than a century; yet with the help of this sure guide, prompted by the most ardent spirit of discovery, and encouraged by the patronage of princes, the mariners of those days rarely ventured from the fight of land. They acquired great applause by failing along the coast of Africa and discovering some of the neighbouring illands; and after pushing thcir researches with the greatest industry and perseverance for more than half a century, the Portuguese, who were the most fortunate and enterprising, extended their discoveries Southward no farther than the equator,
The rich commodities of the Eat, had for several ages been brought into Europe by the way of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean; and it had now become the object of the Portuguese to find a passage to India, by failing ropnd the Southern extremity of Africa and then taking an Eastern couyse. This great object engaged the general attention of mankind, and drew into the Portuguese service adventurers from every maritime nation in Europe. Every year added to their experience in navigation, and seemed to promise a reward to their industry. The prospect, however, cf arriving at the Indies was extremely distant ; fifty years perseverance in the fame track, had brought them only to the equator, and it was propable that as many more would elapse before they . could accomplish their purpose, had not COLUMBUS, by an uncommon exertion of genius, formed a design no less aftonishing to the age
in which he lived, than beneficial to pofterity.
Among the foreigners whom the fame of the discoveries made by the Portuguese had allured into their service, was Christopher Colon or Columnbus, a subject of the republic of Genoa. Neither the time nor
* In the ed Vol. of the Transactions of the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, Mr. Otto, in a Memoir on the Discovery of America, strenuously contends, that one BIHIM, a German, discovered the American Continent prior to its being discovered by Columbus. For the ingenious arguments in support of this opinion, the reader is referred to the Memoir. .В