Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

and the tail of a horse, which it resembled also in its neighing. It was called by the natives Guanaco, whence modern naturalists have named it Camelus Huanacus. The natives wore shoes made of its skin, so inelegantly formed, as to make their feet resemble those of the animal; on which account Magellan called them Patagones, that word signifying in Spanish clumsy-hoofed.

The mutiny being quelled, Magellan left Port St. Julian in October 1520, and in a few days reached that strait which still bears the name of its illustrious discoverer. Nothing could exceed the joy of the seamen on finding an opening leading to the west, with a strong current running in the same direction, and so great a depth of water, as rendered it highly improbable that the channel should be that of a mere inlet instead of a communication between two great oceans. While the ships were passing through the strait, the St. Antonio purposely stayed back, and at last parted company and returned to Spain: the St. Iago had been wrecked not long before. With only three vessels, therefore, remaining of his fleet, Magellan, on the 28th of November, cleared the straits, and entered, with feelings of triumph, that great ocean which was so long the object of research.

The name of South Sea, given to this ocean by Balboa, who viewed only the small portion of it that washes the southern shores of the isthmus of Darien, and that of Pacific Ocean, adopted by the Spaniards who navigated the calm seas of Peru and Chili, are equally inadequate designations of the greatest collection of waters on the surface of the terraqueous globe. Three months and twenty days were employed by Magellan in crossing this ocean, from the strait which bears his name to the Philippine isles, where he arrived on the 16th of March 1521; and it is not a little surprising, that during a voyage of such length, and through seas since found to be thickly studded with well peopled islands, he should have fallen in with only two islands, and these of so lonely and deserted an appearance, that he gave them the name of Desventuradas or Unhappy.

VOL. II.

It is doubtful whether they have been visited again by Europeans since their first discovery.

Arrived at the cluster since called the Philippine Islands, Magellan was well received by the king of Zebu. That prince was so courteous as to acknowledge himself the vassal of the king of Spain, and at the first exhortation consented to embrace Christianity; he was accordingly baptized with a great number of his people. A native of Malacca, who had accompanied the Spanish expedition, acted as interpreter on these occasions, the merchants of this archipelago being acquainted with many Indian languages. The bold spirit of Magellan was so far transported by the enthusiasm which reigned around him, that he imprudently offered to defend his royal proselyte from all his enemies. The proposal was immediately accepted. A chosen body of Spaniards, with Magellan at their head, marched to attack a neighbouring prince, the enemy of the Christian king of Zebu. But they had hardly entered on the hostile territory, when they found themselves surrounded by an immense multitude, who overwhelmed them with stones and other missiles. The Spaniards, animated by the example of their leader, defended themselves during a whole day with undaunted courage.

But their ammunition was all spent, and retreat was become necessary. As they gave way, the enemy redoubled their onsets. At this crisis, a large stone struck Magellan on the head and stunned him, a second broke his thigh, and as he fell a shower of lances deprived him of life. Thus perished, the victim of his rashness, a man eminently qualified by his genius as well as courage to accomplish the grandest undertakings. The navigation completed under his guidance was by far the boldest, both in design and conduct, which had been as yet accomplished. The art of commanding was possessed by him in the highest degree; for the mutinous disposition of his officers, which was grounded in national antipathy, had never infected their crews; and the seamen in general looked up to him with the implicit deference due to one intrinsically superior.

On the death of Magellan, the king of Zebu, forgetting at once his Christianity and his friendship for the Spaniards, treacherously put to death all of them who remained upon the island. Those who were on board, when they learned the wretched fate of their companions and their chief, finding themselves too much reduced in number to manage three vessels, burned the Conception, and with the other two went in search of the Moluccas. They touched at several points on the eastern coast of Borneo, passed north of Celebes, and at length arrived at Tidor, one of the Moluccas, where the king of the island received them with joy on learning that- they were adverse to the Portuguese, who had taken the king of Ternate, his enemy, under their protection. The Trinidad being leaky, remained here to repair, and when refitted, attempted to return by the Pacific Ocean to America ; but being baffled by contrary winds, she was obliged to steer again for the Moluccas, where she arrived in a sinking state, and the crew were made prisoners by the Portuguese. In the mean time the Vittoria, under the command of Sebastian del Cano, returned by the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at San Lucar on the 6th of September 1522, the men being nearly worn out by the fatigues of a voyage which had lasted three years and fourteen days. Thus was achieved, for the first time, the circumnavigation of the globe.

The feeble state of the art of navigation in the age immediately succeeding that of olumbus, may be readily collected from the preceding details of this chapter. Shipwrecks were of frequent occurrence, and many lives were lost in expeditions which were thought eminently successful if they discovered two or three hundred leagues of coast. The progress of the Spaniards in discovering the shores of the New World may be justly called rapid, if estimated by the ardour and perseverance which were requisite to effect it; but it was extremely slow, compared with what might be done in an age when nautical science has arrived at perfection. In the voyage of Magellan, nevertheless, the maritime

art seemed to make a sudden stride towards improvement. The conduct of that great navigator was as skilful as his genius was confident and daring; and he never allowed his own conceptions to be fettered by the routine of ordinary seamen. His determination to winter in Port St. Julian, which gave so much alarm to his officers already disposed to mutiny, is alone sufficient to show the force and originality of his spirit.

The Vittoria was drawn ashore, and long preserved as a monument of the most remarkable voyage ever performed. The pilots were ordered to send their journals to the court, and the seamen were separately examined as to what had occurred to them during the voyage. From these materials, a history of the expedition was written by command of the emperor Charles V.; but the manuscript of this work is supposed to have been destroyed by the flames during the sack of Rome in 1527, and the world would have remained ignorant of the particulars of Magellan's extraordinary voyage, had it not been for the narrative of Antonio Pigafetta, a gentleman of Vicenza, who accompanied that commander. *

Pigafetta was a lively but an extremely credulous observer. His narrative derives great interest from the picture which he draws of the South Sea islanders, who were as yet quite unacquainted with Europeans. We owe to him also the first vocabularies of the languages spoken by the nations which he visited ; those of the Philippine islands and the Moluccas are still of use, and his general accuracy has been confirmed by all subsequent travellers. It is curious to observe that previous to his time, the Arabian language of salutation had been introduced into the Philippine islands. From his vocabulary of the Patagonian language, Shakspeare borrowed the demon Setebos.t

* Pigafetta's history of the first voyage round the world was known only by abridgments and extracts, until the commencement of the present century, when a complete manuscript of the work was found by Amoretti in the Ambrosian library at Milan. It was published at Paris by Jansen in 1801. +

his art is of such power, It would control my dam's god, Setebos. - The Tempest, Act I. Sc. II.

As the course of the Vittoria round the earth was from east to west, or in the same direction as the diurnal motion of the sun, that luminary had of course made, with respect to that vessel, one revolution less than it had performed in relation to any fixed point on the surface of the globe. When Sebastian del Cano, therefore, arrived at San Lucar, he was surprised to find that he had lost a day in his calculation ; reckoning as the fifth what in every calendar of Europe was the sixth of September. This circumstance, which admits of so easy an explanation, perplexed not a little the learned of the day, and gave rise to many a groundless theory.

CHAP. V.

HERNANDO CORTEZ.

EDUCATION OF CORTEZ. ARRIVES AT CUBA. APPOINTED TO

COMMAND THE EXPEDITION AGAINST NEW SPAIN. -THROWS OFF THE AUTHORITY OF VELASQUEZ. -BUILDS VERA CRUZ. COMMENCES HIS MARCH. -DEFEATS THE TLASCALANS. MASSACRE AT CHOLULA. THE SPANIARDS ENTER THE CITY OF MEXICO. DANGER OF THEIR SITUATION. CORTEZ ARRESTS MONTEZUMA. DEFEATS NARVAEZ. - REVOLT OF THE MEXICANS. -DEATH OF MONTEZUMA. -BATTLE OF OTUMBA, AND TRIUMPH OF THE SPANIARDS. MEXICO SURRENDERS. ALVARADO MARCHES TO GUATEMALA. - EXPEDITION OF DE OLID, -CORTEZ CONDUCTS AN ARMY FROM MEXICO TO HONDURAS, - CONVENTION OF BADAJOS. -LOYASA SENT WITH A FLEET TO THE MOLUCCAS. -HIS FATE. - VOYAGE OF THE PATACA. CORTEZ SENDS SAAVEDRA TO ASSIST LOYASA. SURPRISE OF THE PORTUGUESE. SAAVEDRA DISCOVERS NEW GUINEA AND OTHER ISLANDS. HIS FATE. - CORTEZ BECOMES AN OBJECT OF POLITICAL JEALOUSY. REVISITS SPAIN, HOW RECEIVED. RETURNS TO MEXICO WITH DIMINISITED POWER. DISCOVERS CALIFORNIA. CONSUMES HIS FORTUNE IN FRUITLESS EXPEDITIONS. RETURNS TO SPAIN. - HIS AFRICAN CAMPAIGN. -NEGLECTED BY THE COURT. HIS DEATH.

GREAT revolutions in the history of mankind are apt to call forth the energies of individuals in an extraordi

« ForrigeFortsett »