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a practical knowledge of the globe has since been established.
The progress of the Romans in the science of navigation was still more tardy, and their attainments in naval enterprize were less extensive than those of Greece, while their views of its importance and advantages were more darkened and illiberal. Most of their knowledge of the earth was derived from discoveries made on land, and they were so little acquainted with its geography that they supposed the temperate to be the only habitable of its zones. They regarded those parts of it which modern discovery has proved to be the fairest and most exuberant portions of its surface, as the abodes of perpetual silence, sterility, and gloom, either too hot or too cold to support animal, and alike fatal to the production of vegetable life. Besides the barrier which these opinions may be supposed to have set to the progress of discovery, the military genius of the nation operated to restrain them from the pursuits of commerce and naval enterprize. These were regarded as subordinate institutions, and were looked upon as unbecoming a nation of soldiers, fit only for the patronage of her slaves or her freedmen. The love of glory indeed stimulated her to aim at the mastery over the neighbouring seas, but it was long after her conquests over the countries of Carthage, Greece, and Egypt, before Rome sought to avail herself of the commercial resources which were opened to her. The introduction of a taste for the luxuries and the splendors of the East, with the love of imperial grandeur inspired by the increase of her dominions, at length induced her to send her mariners across the sea for the purposes of commerce, and rapidly promoted the growth of naval enterprize. The subsequent irruption of the fierce
hordes of barbarian tribes from the North, although ultimately productive of good to mankind, checked for a while the progress of human improvement, and centuries passed away before commerce and the arts again actively revived in Europe.
The invention of the mariner's compass in the year 1322 gave a new impulse to the enterprize of nations, and must be regarded as the most important æra in the whole history of navigation. It revealed to man a fuller comprehension of the powers with which he was endowed by his Creator, while at the same time it served to develope the ample resources with which the same munificent hand had overspread the globe he inhabited. It taught him that he was not only lord of but that even the great
and wide sea” was a theatre where his superior intelligence might be illustrated. It opened to him a safe and a sure pathway over the trackless waters of the ocean, which could be traversed with equal accuracy in all climes, and at all seasons, whether in sunshine or in shade, in breeze or in storm, by day or by night, in summer or in winter, and inspired him with a higher and a prouder confidence in daring and defying its tempests and its perils.
The Spaniards were the first to avail themselves of the advantages of this wonderful invention ; but their adventures were limited for the most part to islands which were known and not far distant; nor does it appear that their early expeditions were made for any other than the purposes of plunder: The first regular and authentic voyages for discovery were made subsequent to the year 1364, by the Portuguese navigators. Portugal was then the smallest and least powerful of the European kingdoms, but the courage and intrepidity of her seamen and adventurers had gained for her an envious celebrity. By their daring enterprize her dominions became more widely extended, till under the auspicious reign of John I. they spread from the Tagus to China. Don Henry, the third son of John I. gave a still prouder and more vigorous impulse to the progress of improvement in naval science, by founding an academy for its study and promotion. He also erected an excellent observatory, and large numbers of his subjects were yearly instructed in astronomy, cosmography, and the art of navigation. The pupils from these schools became intelligent and practical seamen, by whose exploits in naval enterprize nations long unknown to civilized Europe were discovered to mankind, while the boundaries of human knowledge were extended and enlarged. Don Henry died in the year 1463; but the enterprizes for discovery which were projected during his reign were fostered with equal ardour, and prosecuted with great success, under John II. who is reputed to have been "a prince of profound sagacity and enlightened sentiments." The course of these explorations extended along the coast of Africa, where forts were erected for the establishment of commerce, till at length they passed its southernmost point which the prophetic spirit of the enthusiastic monarch called the CAPE OF GOOD HOPE. They thence passed on to the INDIAN OCEAN.
ds The progress of navigation was now more rapid in a it brief century than it had been during all the centuries ny which had preceded. The geography of the globe bear came better known, and the actual character and condise- tion of its inhabitants more perfectly understood. The rs. vague and superstitious theories of the ancients were of dissipated by the narratives of men who had penetrated ty the very regions which had for so many ages been an regarded as the abodes of perpetual solitude, cursed by 10- the Creator, uninhabitable by any human being, and he uncheered even by the existence of vegetable life.
At this period in the world's history, so bright with a promise and so fruitful of hope, we turn aside from the ss general developements of science, and the enterprize of d. nations, to mark the career of a single individual, whose an
name must ever be cherished among the most illusts trious benefactors of our species. The brilliant enterd! prizes of the Portuguese navigators had already attracted is the wonder and admiration of all Europe. Among
those who were thereby lured into their service was Christopher Columbus, a native of Genoa.
He was descended of an honored ancestry, although his own parents had been reduced by misfortune from their original position to a more humble rank in life. They
possessed, however, the means of giving him as liberal d
advantages of education as were thought useful or necessary in those times, and he applied himself with a zealous ambition and industry to the improvement of the opportunities which were afforded him. There is one part of the character of Columbus which we feel bound to notice, as historians have not given to it that prominence which its importance demands. It was the strong religious feeling which always pervaded his spirit, and, from his earliest years, gave a complex
ion and a shape to all his purposes. It is a conceited, a cheerless, and a frail philosophy, which would exclude the operation of our religious feelings from among those causes which produce the amelioration of the condition of mankind, and overlooks the part they have in advancing the interests of society. In all ages they have had their peculiar influence, and the results which have followed their action have marked the condition of our race, accordingly as they have been freed from, or intermingled with error, ignorance, superstition, or bigotry. Their effect upon the mind of Columbus was, to inspire him with the belief that he was destined to an instrumentality which should extend the dominions of the church, and spread the beneficent influences of the religion of the cross throughout the world. This presentiment, if we may so express it, seems to have accompanied him through all his early life, to have “grown with his growth, and strengthened with his strength," and at all times to have regulated his desires and his aims, in his riper years.
At the time when Columbus was training his youthful mind, the course of education pursued in the schools included geometry, cosmography, astronomy, and the art of drawing; which were taught chiefly in the Latin tongue. At the age of fourteen, so industriously had