Imágenes de páginas

makes it a real court.Others say, that it was not on account of his magnificent style of living, but of his personal prowess on a particular occasion. Two strangers having appeared at court, and, according to the manners of the times, challenged any of the courtiers to wrestle or combat, Cortereal immediately accepted the challenge, and civilly shook hands with his antagonist before the contest; but so prodigious was the strength of Cortereal (until then called Costa) that he squeezed the stranger's hand until he cried out in the greatest pain, that he could not attempt to contend with a man possessed of such extraordinary strength; on which occasion the king is represented as being so delighted, that he exclaimed, “ Truly, Costa, your presence makes my court a real court."*

* Mém. de Littérat. Portug. vol. viii. Lisbon, 1812.




Aubert and Jacques Cartier-Estevan GomezThe Domi

nus Vobiscum - The Trinitie and the MinionSir Hugh Willoughby-Richard Chancellor and Stephen Burrough -Sir Martin Frobisher -- Edward Fenton-Arthur Pit and Charles Jackman Sir Humphrey Gilbert-John Davis Maldonado - Juan de FucaBarentz-William Adams.


Tue French may almost be said to be the only maritime people of Europe who have seen, with apparent indifference, the exertions made by other nations for the discovery of a passage to India, either by the north-east or the north-west. Yet they very early availed themselves of the discoveries of others : for we find the Normans and Bretons, at the commencement of the sixteenth century, frequenting the banks of Newfoundland for the purpose of fishing ; and one of their navigators, named AUBERT or HUBERT, sailed from. Dieppe in 1508, in a ship called the Pensée, with the view, as it would seem, to examine the shores


of Newfoundland, from whence he brought back to Paris one of the natives; but it does not appear that any further discovery was the object of this voyage. Perhaps, however, the expedition of Jacques Cartier in 1534, under the auspices of Francis I., might be called a voyage of discovery, undertaken with the view of finding a short route to those countries, from which Spain derived so much wealth. The discovery he actually made, or at least claimed, was that of the gulf and river of Saint Lawrence; though there can be little doubt that Cortereal preceded him, and indeed it is gene rally supposed that even Velasco had been before him. The etymology of the word Canada (already noticed*) has even been ascribed to the visit of Velasco, with as little accuracy perhaps as that which had before been assigned by Cortereal. It is stated that the former, disappointed in not finding any of the precious metals, in hastening to return, called out to his people Aca nada, there is nothing here," which words being repeated by the natives to the next Europeans they saw, it was concluded that Canada was the name of the country; but both may probably be thought too forced and fanciful to be real. Cartier, in the narrative of his second voyage up the St. Lawrence in 1535, gives a more probable derivation of the name, when he says that an assemblage of houses or a town is called

* Under Art. “ Coriereal."

[ocr errors]

canada in the language of the natives—ilz appellent une ville, Canada.*

· The subsequent voyages of Roberval and of the Marquis de la Roche had no other object of discovery than that of gold, or of finding out a desirable spot to establish a colony on the coast of America; and though they contain many very curious and interesting transactions with the native Indians, they come not within the scope of the present history, which is meant to be confined to the more northern regions. We hasten, therefore, to those brilliant periods of early English enterprize, so conspicuously displayed in every quarter of the globe ; but in none, probably, to greater advantage, than in those bold and persevering efforts to pierce through frozen seas, in their little slender barks of the most miserable description, ill provided with the means either of comfort or safety, without charts or instruments, or any previous knowledge of the cold and inhospitable regions through which they had to force and to feel their way; their vessels oft beset amidst endless fields of ice, and threatened to be overwhelmed with instant destruction from the rapid whirling and bursting of those huge floating masses, known by the name of ice-bergs : yet, so powerfully infused into the minds of Britons was the spirit of

* In his vocabulary of the language he calls a town “Canada.” -Hektúyt, vol. iii. p. 232.

enterprize, that some of the ablest, the most learned, and most respectable men of the times, not only lent their countenance and support to expeditions fitted out for the discovery of new lands, but strove eagerly, in their own persons, to share in the glory and the danger of every daring adventure.

In point of time, however, there is one solitary voyage on record, though the particulars of it are so little known as almost to induce a suspicion whether any such voyage was ever performed, which takes precedence of any foreign voyage on the part of English navigators; it is that of a Spaniard, or rather perhaps, judging from the name, of a Portugueze, for the discovery of a northern passage to the Moluccas; and still more probably a Portugueze, from the circumstance of his having accompanied Magelhanes on his voyage into the south seas round the southern extremity of the continent of America. The following vague account is all that can now be collected of Estevan or Steven Gomez.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


The attempts which had been made by John and Sebastian Cabota on the part of England, by Cortereal on that of Portugal, and by Aubert or Hubert, who was sent out by the French, to prosecute discoveries in the north, very naturally alarmed the jealousy of the Spaniards, who, on

« AnteriorContinuar »