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1501 past) the great magazine of all the rich productions of the East,-Spain, with an equal and
unrivalled rapidity, first made herself mistress of the isles, and next the best part of the continent of America, excepting Brasil, discovered and posseffed by Portugal ; in consequence of which, the cities of Seville and Cadiz became the ftorehouses for the riches of the newly difcovered western world. England at length made only some faint and fruitless attempts for the colonizing of North America, towards the latter part of this century, as France had likewise done in Canada, with little better success.
In the mean time, the happy situation of Antwerp soon renders her the great central ftaple of Europe, for the merchandize of both the Indies, as well as for the naval stores and other bulky commodities of the northern parts of Europe, thereby drawing incredible wealth to that city, and to the adjacent country. Which state of commercial matters began gradually to prejudice the Hans-towns, more especially those on the Baltic shores, which, for, the two preceding centuries, had been the great managers of trade for almost all the European nations without the Mediterranean Sea.
A great part of Christendom shakes off the Papal yoke; a circumstance which produced also considerable alterations in Europe. England begins early to establish a permanent navy-royal —and, after much difpute, gets entirely rid of the German Hanseatic merchants of the Steelyard at London-commences a great fishery on the banks of Newfoundland—and also a whale fishery at Spitsbergen or Greenland—and her trade to Russia ; and, by means of her important discovery of a passage by fea to that country round the north cape of Lapland, opens an extenfive field for other new discoveries, and new branches of commerce. --She also commences her Turkey and Guinea traffic-defeats the grand attempt of the renowned Spanish armada—and, in the very last year of this century, incorporates an East India Company. Holland too, nearly about the same time, commenced her trade to the East Indies, and erected a great company for that commerce. France begins and afterwards much improves her broad silk manu; facture. Spain's cruel bigotry, first, by expelling the remaining Moors of Granada, and next the Protestants of the Netherlands, and by the ficge, &c. of Antwerp, dispeoples her country, and thereby supplies England, Holland, and the Hans-towns with great numbers of wealthy and industrious manufacturers and artificers, as well as with an accession of excellent and most beneficial new manufactures.-An inundation of silver flows into Europe from America ; which is soon again, for the most part, exported to the East Indies by the Portuguese, who grow marvelously rich by their importations in that commerce, and also by their importation from Brasil, of gold, &c.
A new and potent maritime and commercial power suddenly starts up, by the revolt of Seven of the Netherland provinces from the dominions of Spain ; which crown, on the other hand, feizes on and adds to their monarchy, the kingdom of Portugal.
So bold and adventurous are the navigators of this age become, (who, in little more than one century preceding this, durst scarce venture out of sight of land) that the ter
Many raqueous globe is four times failed round by men of three different nations ! very hazardous, though unsuccessful attempts, are made also, by several different na
1501 tions, to explore a passage by sea to China and India, as well by the north west as the north
The Turkish empire continues to triumph throughout all this century, not only by its conquests from the state of Venice, and particularly of the famous island of Cyprus, -as also of Rhodes from the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem; but, likewise, by several very important encroachments on the side of Hungary and Poland, -by reducing the Crimca (or Crim Tartary) to its subjection--and by the absolute conquest of all Syria and Egypt; fo vast an increase of territory and dominion within the compass of one century, made all Christendom to tremble.
The Dukes of Ruflia, till this century obscure, and till now often tributary to the Tartars, make likewise such efforts, by their conquests from Poland ;-by their discovery and conquest of the large provinces of Siberia and Sanioieda, till then absolutely Pagan, and before unknown even to Russia itself;-and, lastly, by their conquest of the two Tartar kingdoms of Cazan and Afracan, that they at length conjoined all those very extensive provinces to their dominion, which constitute the very potent modern Russian empire.
Many extremely useful discoveries and improvements are made in this century for the advancement of commerce, navigation, &c. as in Astronomy by the famous Nicholas Copernicus of Thorn in Prussia, and by Tycho Brahe of Denmark; also in the practical part of mercantile business, by the invention of merchants-accounts by double entry, commonly called Italian Book-keeping; by Decimal Arithmetic also, about the close of this century; when likewise. Pocket Watches are first brought into England from Germany :-Knit Stockings come first from Spain, and the more beneficial improvement of the modern Stocking Frame is invented at: Cambridge.
“ In Italy,” says Voltaire, in his General History of Europe, “ the politer arts flourished,
not only at Rome and Florence, but at Venice, Naples, Genoa, &c. and King Francis I. “ transplanted them into France, in whose time there were only two coaches in Paris, ons “ for the Queen, and the other for Diana of Poictiers. In commercial matters, Marseil“ les carried on a great foreign trade; Lyons also and the Netherlands abounded in the finest “ manufactures. The correspondence which the cities of Nurenburg and Augsburg in Ger
many had with Venice, still enabled them to be the first dispensers of the rich commodities “ of Asia.- Industry, however, had not as yet changed those huts of wood and plaister, of “ which the city of Paris was composed, into fumptuous palaces. London was still worse “ built, and its inhabitants lived much harder ; even the first peers of the realm carried their “ wives behind them on horseback when they went into the country. Thus it was, that all “ the princesses travelled, their heads covered with a kind of waxen linen in rainy weather, “ and went in no other habit to the King's palace; and this usage continued till the middle “ of the seventeenth century :” (Here Voltaire is certainly widely mistaken) “ The magni“ ficence of Charles V. Francis I. Henry VIII. and Leo X. was confined to days of thew. “ – As early as the reign of Louis the Twelfth, they had began to introduce filken and
gold stuffs, manufactured in Italy, instead of the costly furs. There were no inanufac"tures as yet at Lyons ; goldsmiths ware was very bad; and Louis XII. having indirA 2
creetly prohibited its inanufacture, the French had their plate from Venice. There were as
yet no plantations of mulberry trees but in Italy and Spain : yet the French fashions began “ already to be copied in Germany, England, and Lombardy.--And the Italian historians “ complain, that since the expedition of Charles VIII. their countrymen affected the French rs dress.”
Emanuel, King of Portugal, (not improperly surnamed the Great, by the historians of that nation) flushed with the success of two discoveries, viz. that of East India, and of the south continent of America, now fent out three ships to East India. In their way they discovered the ille of Ascension, in eighit degrees south of the line, and other isles on the south coast of Africa: on their return from India they discovered the then uninhabited isle of St. Helena, (in south latitude fixteen) which has since been long and most usefully in the possession of the English East India Company, as a refreshing place for their ships returning homeward. It is situated near the mid-way between Africa and America, at the distance of about six hundred leagues north west of the Cape of Good Hope. The Portuguese stored it with hogs, goats, and poultry; and, for many years after this they were wont to stop at it in their homeward-bound East India voyages, to supply themselves with those provisions and fresh water; but it is very difficult to find or come at exactly in their outward-bound voyages, because of the trade winds. The next year Vasco de Gama was sent thither with ten ships, being the first who crossed over directly from Mozambique to India, -and Soderias with fifteen ships. The following year they built a fort at Cochin, subdued the King of Mombaza and others in East Africa, and sent ships to cruize against the Moors at the entrance of the Red Sea, and their greatest enemies in India. In short, they pushed on so numerous and great conquests in commerce to India, that a Viceroy was soon established there; and afterwards, under the conduct of their great General, Albuquerque, they became masters of Ormus in the Persian Gulph ; also of Goa, and many other ports on the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel, and also the coasts of the isle of Ceylon, where the best, and almost the only true cinnamon is produced : they also possessed themselves of the Malacca promontory; and, to compleat the whole, subdued the famous Moluccas, or Spice islands : so that the princes of India began to court their favour.. Thus was Portugal, from a very moderate condition, in a very few years greatly exalted and enriched, by the sole enjoyment of the commerce to India; in which that nation then probably flattered themselves they were never to have a rival.
Here let us stop for a moment, to consider how the East India merchandize was anciently conveyed into the west of Europe, before we knew that a passage thither was practicable
It is now many hundreds of years since the famous city and republic of Venice first adopted thie traffic of fupplying the western and northern parts of Europe with Indian merchandize. The spices, drugs, precious stones, and other merchandize peculiar to those eastern parts of the world were very anciently brought from India, by sea, to the confines of Egypt on the Red Sea, and thence over land to the river Nile, when they were conveyed to its mouth at Alexandria, that famous port of commerce, and from thence to Europe ; possibly long before the Romans had conquered that country, in the time of Augustus, who found that trade already practised by the Egyptians upon his conquest of them. Yet this was but one of the routes or
1501 ways, by which the precious merchandize of the east was conveyed into the west, though pos
fibly the most ancient of any of them. Another route was from the city of Lahor in Indoftan, situated in the thirty-second degree of north latitude, on a branch of the river Indus, about nine hundred miles north of Surat; and whilst that method of conveyance continued, Lahor was esteemed the greatest and most considerable city of India for that commerce,' which the Indians and Armenians carried on from thence through Persia to the city of Aleppo in Syria ; and so on either to the ports of Tripoli or Scanderoon in the Levant lea; and lastly, by sea to Greece and Italy, and possibly to some other more western and northern parts --Another way of conveying the Indian merchandize into the west, which is in use even at this day, was by sea from India up the Gulph of Persia to Ballora, near the disemboguing of the Tigris into that Gulph, and thence up that famous river to Bir, and over land to Aleppo; or else further up the Euphrates, and then over land to Trapezium, (i. e. Trebisond) on the south side of the Euxine Sea, and across that fea to the ancient port of Theodofia, (now Caffa, in the Taurica Chersonesus, or Criin-Tartary); also from Trapezium, along the south shore of the Euxine Sea to Constantinople. There was yet another ancient way of conveying the Indian merchandize to the west, viz. from Lahor to the river Oxus, which runs into the Caspian Sea, the voyage is then continued along the south shores of that sea to the west end of it, thence up the river Cyrus, and by land a little way to the river Phasis, which falls into the Euxine Sea at Colchis, and so as before to Conftantinople or Theodosia : or else across the Caspian Sea to its north fide at Astracan, and up the Volga, (anciently named the Rha) according to the opinion of Monf. Huet, Bishop of Avranches, in his Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients; which last named route is not very probable, considering the barbarous state of the countries of Scythia, on the north side of the Caspian Sea in ancient times. After the Vandals, Goths, Lombards, and Moors had torn in pieces the western empire, and the latter, by the name of Saracens, had greatly weakened the eastern empire, all commerce in the west seemed, in a great degree, to cease between nations. The trade to East India was, however, revived, its merchandize being carried partly by land and partly by water to Caffa, in what is now called Crim-Tartary) then belonging to Genoa. Trebisond was also a mart for Indian goods, and next Samarcand, in Zagatai, where the Indian, Turkish, and Perfian merchants met for bartering their wares; the Turks conveying theirs to Damascus, Baratti, and Aleppo, and from thence to Venice, till the year 1300, when the Soldans of Egypt revived the ancient route to and from India by the Red Sea. Several other routes are occasionally mentioned by both the ancients and moderns to have been practised between Europe and India ; but as those already mentioned were the most known, we shall not dwell any longer on that particular point. What is more certain is, that, after the overthrow of the western empire, and long before the fall of the eastern or Greek empire, the city of Venice (as we have already seen) by means of her commerce to the principal Levantine ports of Aleppo and Alexandria, was, for many centuries, the chief staple or principal mart for the spices, drugs, precious stones, and other rich merchandize of Syria, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, and India, and from Venice they were dispersed over Europe ; and in Germany particularly, the cities of Nurenburg and Augsburg were supplied fom Venice with great store of those Asiatic commodities, so that they acquired great riches in supplying that and other countries with them.—Thus the city and republic of Venice became extremely rich, as well as famous all over Christendom, until the beginning of this sixteenth century, when the trade for Indian merchandize was gradually transferred to
1501 Lisbon, where it flourished exceedingly for about one century, until the Hollanders found the
way to India.
Some have expressed their astonishment, that so prudent a state as Venice has made no attempts to form colonies and make new discoveries without the Straits of Gibraltar, in order to retrieve the loss of their trade in the East Indian merchandize from Alexandria, &c. Yet much may be said in their juftification :-For, first, that republic was, in those times, obliged to be continually on its guard against the growing power of the Turks, who had already robbed it of most of its Levantine ifles, and whose insolence and perfidy, even in time of peace, kept them in perpetual alarm.
Secondly, Their situation so far down the Mediterrancan, and up the Adriatic, rendered such projects inconvenient for them, more especially, as in their passage they must have been perpetually exposed to the corfairs of Barbary.
Lastly, They might possibly entertain some hopes, that sooner or later, the trade for East Indian merchandize might return into its ancient channel.
1502 Whilst such great acquisitions were making by Portugal in the east, Columbus and Bastidas
were making many useful discoveries in the West Indies for the future benefit of Spain.
We should observe also, under this year 1502, that Cabral, the Portuguese adıniral, in his return from the East Indies, settled factories at Melinda, Quiloa, Mombaza, and Quirimba, on the Zanguebar coast. Some modern authors relate, that in the city of Melinda, which is, it seems, neatly built with free-stone, and finely adorned, the Portuguese have eighteen churches. On the coast of Ajan also, the Portuguese reduced most of their Princes to be their tributaries ; so that they foon became masters of the whole south-eastern coast of Africa, even up to the entrance into the Red Sea. Before the Portuguese came thither, the Arabians carried on a great commerce on this coast, upon which they made many settlements, but how long they had been there does not appear. They also had traded from thence to Persia and India ; but the Portuguese ruined that commerce, and got it all into their own hands.
About this time also, the great King Emanuel of Portugal turned his arms against the Moors of Barbary, on which coast he took and garrisoned several ports, such as Magazan, Agadir, called also Santa Cruz by the Europeans, Azamor, &c. most of which places, and those they had before on that shore, they have long since lost or abandoned. Neither did Portugal cver reap much benefit from those port-towns, in point of commerce, any further than they helped to curb the Moorish pirates ; which salutary object, however, neither they nor Spain have ever been able effectually to accomplish. King Alphonso V. had, so far back as the year 1448, taken the port of Alcazar on that coast, as he did Tangier and Arzilla, in the year 1471.
In this same year 1502, was finally concluded the most auspicious marriage of Margaret, eldest daughter of King Henry VII. of England, to King James IV. of Scotland. The lands assigned by James for her dowry of two thousand pounds per annum, in earldoms, lordTips, manors, forests, with the palaces and castles of Linlithgow and Stirling, are, at this time, probably more than ten times their value at that period. Her portion we have mentioned under the year 1500.