Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

wandered across the country to the Portuguese settlements in Brazil, whence, after an absence of nine years, he returned to his native country.”

CHAP. XVII.

VOYAGES TO THE SOUTH SEA.

REMARKS ON DRAKE's voyage Rou ND THE won LD. — Its ceLERITY. – DISCOVERIES. — SARMLIENTO SURV ey's THE STRA its OF MAGELLAN. – PROPOSES TO FORTIFY THEM. – EXPEDITION Fort THAT PURPOSE. – ITS SUFFERINGS. - SAN FELIPE FOUNDED. – ITS SPEEDY RUIN.— EXPEDITION OF SIR THOMAS CANDISHI. – HE PASSES THE STRAIT. - HIS SUCCESS. – CAPTURES THE ST. ANNE. — voyage Hox1F. — HIs observations. – His D EATH. —THE DUTCH TURN THEIR ATTENTION TO THE TRADE witH IN or A. —ExpenITION OF V A N N OORT.-ACCOUNT OF THE MAGELLANIC TRIBEs. THE LA DRON ES. – RETURN OF WAN NookT.—voy Age of vert HAGEN's FLEET.-struggles oF DE WEERT. - REMARKABLE VOYAGE OF QUIROS. - HE DISCOVERs MANY ISLANDS.–SAGITTARIA OR OTA HEITE.-ISLAND OF HANDSOME PEOPLE. – TAUMACO. — INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE NATIVES.–HE DISCOVERS AUSTRALIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO. —HIS EXULTATION.— HE Applies to THE KENG. — HIS DEATH. - Discow ERIES OF TOR RES. - HE COAST's NEW Gu IN E.A. NEW HoH,LAND SEEN. – EXPEDITION OF SPILBERGEN. — AcCOUNT OF THE PATAGONIANS. — HIS SUCCESS. — Woy AGE OF SCHOUTEN AND LE MAIRE. — ITS ORIGIN. DISCOVERY OF CAPE HORN. — TYRANNY OF THE DUTCH EAST INDIA Cox1PAN.Y. – THE NODALS SURVEY TIERRA DEL FUEGo, AND CoMPLETE THE CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF SOUTH AMERICA.

DRAKE was the first Englishman who passed the Straits of Magellan, or who sailed under English colours in the Pacific Ocean. But independent of these strong claims to national celebrity, there are many circumstances in his voyage more intrinsically meritorious, and which demand, in a peculiar degree, the attention of the historian. It is remarkable that he should attempt, with so weak a fleet, to achieve a navigation long since abandoned by the Spaniards on account of its extreme difficulty and danger. He arrived in the tempestuous regions of the Magellanic Straits in the winter season, and yet he effected his passage through them in the short space of seventeen days ; a much less time than was found necessary by any of those who preceded him, or even who followed him in that course.

* Purchas, vol. iv.

It is likewise to be observed, that he advanced much farther towards the south than any of the Spanish discoverers. There is little room to doubt that he actually descried the headland afterwards named Cape Horn. Had he himself written the narrative of his expedition, many proofs would unquestionably remain to us of a sagacious and penetrating spirit, which cannot be supplied from the vague and discordant narratives of his historians. He conjectured that the land to the south of the Straits of Magellan was broken land, or a cluster of islands; an observation repeated by subsequent voyagers, and which modern researches have gone near to verify. It is true that the merit of having first discovered Cape Horn has been claimed by some for a captain of Loyasa's fleet, who, being driven from his course by a tempest, descried to the southward what he called the “ End of the Land.” ” But it seems more probable that the land seen by the Spanish captain was only the south-eastern promontory of Staten Island.

Drake also penetrated farther on the north-western coast of America than any preceding navigator. He sailed as far as the forty-eighth degree of northern latitude, and took possession of the coast for the crown of England, near the port in which he wintered, in latitude 37°. He does not seem to have been aware that Cabrillo, in 1542, had surveyed the whole of that coast as far north as 43°, with all the perseverance and accuracy which the nautical science of that age would admit. But on the line of coast between 43° and 48°, Drake had not been preceded by any of the Spanish navigators. A few years later, in 1582, Francisco Gali, after surveying minutely the islands of Japan, ran to a very high latitude on his return home, and first touched the coast of America in latitude 57° 30'. From that point to Acapulco he observed all the headlands of the continent. Drake's design of returning home by sailing northwards round America is another remarkable proof of the boldness of his mind. The novelty of the route did not seem to him to present any difficulties. Perfect in his seamanship, relying implicitly on his own resources, and possessing that high courage which is unacquainted even with the bodings of fear, he was, in all seasons and latitudes, perfectly at home on the ocean. In the ease and certainty with which he shaped his course through unknown seas he bears a resemblance to his celebrated countryman captain Cook. Notwithstanding the numerous delays incidental to an expedition which had for its chief object the acquisition of wealth by the plunder of the Spaniards, Drake sailed round the globe in a shorter time than any previous navigator. Success and celerity were the consequences of his prudence and resolution. Magellan's voyage of circumnavigation employed three years and thirty-seven days; that of Drake only two years and ten months. There is nothing from which the abilities of a naval commander may be more fairly estimated, than from the ascendancy which he possesses over the minds of his crew. In this Drake was unrivalled ; no murmurs or mutinous discontent destroyed the harmony subsisting between him and his companions. His manliness and generosity of temper are conspicuous in his treatment of the simple natives of New Albion. His humane and fearless deportment towards a weak and inoffensive people forms a striking contrast with the timid barbarity displayed by the Spaniards in his own days, and the Dutch who succeeded him, in their dealings with the South Sea islanders. Sir Francis Drake was the first who broke in upon the repose of the Spaniards in the Pacific Ocean. Little did they expect to encounter foreign and hostile fleets in those sequestered seas, which they deemed peculiarly their own : least of all did they imagine that their enemies would reach them by the Straits of Magellan, which had been so wholly forgotten by their own navigators, as even to be supposed by popular opinion to have been closed up by some dreadful convulsion of nature. * But the expedition of sir Francis Drake formed a new and brilliant epoch in the history of navigation. England was at that time awakening to a sense of its internal strength, and rising rapidly to that maritime superiority which it has since so proudly maintained. The pursuit of fame, and love of chivalrous exploits, suited with the temper of the court in the reign of Elizabeth. Men of fortune and of education hurried into every path of enterprise which promised them honour and distinction. Not a few followed in the track of sir Francis Drake; and such was the ardour resulting from the success of his voyage, that in the course of sixteen years the English sent no fewer than six expeditions to the South Seas. The appearance of the English on the coast of Peru alarmed the Spaniards for the security of their treasures, and called their attention to the means of preventing similar insults. In October, 1579, Pedro Sarmiento sailed from Lima, with two large vessels, to examine more accurately the Straits of Magellan. To the south of Chili, on the western coast of Patagonia, he fell in with a labyrinth of inlets, harbours, and narrow channels, which he supposed would conduct him to the Straits of Magellan. Ascending a lofty eminence in this archipelago, he reckoned no less than eighty-five islands, * Por falta di piloto 6 encubierta Causa quiza importante y no sabuda, Esta secreta senza descubierta Quedà para nosotros escondida; Ora sea yerro de la altura cierta, Ora que alguna Isleta removida Del tempestuoso mary viento airado

* Navarrete, vol. i. p. 360.

Encallando en la boca la ha cerrado.
Araucana, parti, cantol. Oct. 9.

lying close together, within a short space around him. fiaving extricated himself with much difficulty from this intricate navigation, he surveyed the Straits of Magellan, and then proceeded to Spain to report his observations. Sarmiento is said to have made during this voyage observations in longitude by eclipses, and the distances of the fixed stars.” In Spain he represented in such glowing colours the climate and productions of the Magellamic country, and spoke so sanguinely of the possibility of fortifying the straits, so as to prevent intrusion upon the Pacific Ocean, to which he supposed them to afford the only entrance by the west, that the king ordered the equipment of a fleet to carry his scheme of colonisation into effect. Twenty-three ships, with 3500 men on board, set sail from Cadiz in 1581, under the command of Diego Florez Valdes: Sarmiento himself was appointed general of the colony. But misfortunes hung over this expedition, which was furnished with a prodigality proportioned to the ignorance which planned it. Some of the ships were dispersed by gales before they reached the strait; others entered it, but were forced back again by bad weather. Florez, disheartened by adversity, abandoned the enterprise, and returned to Spain: but Sarmiento himself, though thrice obliged to retire to Brazil, still persevered in his attempt, and at length succeeded in founding a city, which he named, from the king of Spain, San Felipe. But the new settlement experienced, in an unusual degree, the hardships of want and malady, which await all colonies in a strange and rigorous climate. Sarmiento lost the favour of the king of Spain by his deceitful description of the strait, which he represented to be in many places so narrow that it could be easily defended by a single fort. Returning to Spain, in hopes of obtaining succours for his infant settlement, the unhappy general was captured by the English, and was not ransomed till the object of his solicitude had ceased to exist. The colony at San Felipe was quickly reduced by famine and dis

* Navarrete, vol. i. p. 371.

« ForrigeFortsett »