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high latitude (73° North) he attained, discovered the coast of East Greenland, and thus, though not aware of it, found himself in a portion of the New World. After several other voyages to the islands in the Western Ocean, to England, and the Coast of Guinea, in the course of which he made accurate observations on every thing important in his profession, he became convinced of the* spherical form of the earth, and of the possibility of sailing on a westerly course to the shores of Asia, unless impeded in his progress by the discovery of regions hitherto unknown. After various mortifying repulses from different powers, he sailed under the auspices of Spain, in 1492, and had the exquisite satisfaction of seeing his arduous exertions amply rewarded by arriving in the West Indies : the completion of his undertaking was reserved for the unfortunate Magellan. Hitherto England possessed no Royal Navy ;-her fleets (such as they were) had been provided by the merchants and the Cinque Ports. But in 1488, the Great Harry, the first ship which could properly come under that denomination, was launched, which likewise appears to be the first that carried three masts. Cannon were used in naval actions as early as the thirteenth century, by the Venetians. The English did not employ them in their ships till 1480. The guns were mounted on a kind of platform, and fired over the gunwale of the vessel ; but, in 1515, the Henri Grace de Dieu was built with port-holes. Previous to this, the vessels had, but one decksThe first advantage of the invention of ports was to increase the number of decks to two and three. Still, however, the ships, when compared with those of the present day, were miserably fitted, and exceedingly clumsy.
Had the Court of Spain delayed much longer in acceding to the wishes of Columbus, it is most probable that his first visit to the Western shores would have been under the British flag. Henry VII. who had been too much disturbed by the internal commotions of the kingdom to attend to the first application, invited the great navigator to England, but the invitation was too late, for Columbus had already sailed. The discovery of the continent of America, and, shortly after, the Eastern passage to India, round the Cape of Good Hope, by De Gama, were at
* The spherical form of the earth, and the possibility of circumnavigating the globe, had been asserted by Sir John Mandeville, in the 13th century
† Henry, foiled in his attempt, determined to share in the advantages. He fitted out an expedition, under John Cabot, a Venetian, and his son Sebastian. They, in 1494, discovered Newfoundland, and coasted it thence to Florida : thus acquiring for this country that tract of land now known as the United States.
tended with important advantages to all the nations of Europe. Navigation became less difficult and obscure; commerce was considerably enlarged; industry every where increased, and the arts were cultivated with considerable assiduity. The first settlement of the Spaniards in the New World was at Hispaniola ; and convicts were despatched to people it. These, casting off all restraint, to the great grief of the noble-minded Columbus, committed the most barbarous atrocities on the inoffensive natives. When first discovered, in 1492, it contained nearly two millions of inhabitants; but Benzoni relates, that, in 1545, scarcely 150 remained alive. The massacres of those tyrants, whose delight consisted in witnessing excruciating torture, and who exulted with brutal gratification in the convulsive pangs of their fellow creatures, fade before the recital of the inhuman murders perpetrated by the conquerors of the New World. We have called the natives inoffensive, not upon our own authority but on that of Columbus himself, in a letter addressed to the Spanish Court, after having been unfortunately shipwrecked. He states that the whole of their property was saved and carefully guarded by the Indians, who sympathised in their loss, and rendered them every assistance. By the law of repartimientos the natives were distributed by lots to their future masters, who compelled them to dig in the mines, without rest or intermission, until their sufferings were closed by a welcome death. Those who used resistance, or attempted to escape, were hunted down with dogs, which were fed on their flesh. Neither age nor sex were spared : and, with frantic zeal and impiety, they called in the aid of religion to give a colour of sanctity to their atrocious depravity. Some compelled their miserable captives to wade into the water, where, after administering the baptism, they immediately cut their throats, to prevent apostacy; others bound themselves by oaths to destroy thirteen every morning, in honor of our Saviour and the twelve Apostles.
All this dreadful waste of blood was unattended by the gratification of the avarice which prompted it. Sir Francis Drake visited the island in 1585, and remarks, that the Spaniards had derived so little advantage from their situation as to be under the necessity of converting pieces of leather
In other parts, the immense treasure which had been amassed by such unjustifiable means, exposed them to continual depredations. A mere handful of Spaniards under Cortez had subjugated Mexico, and these in their turn would fly with trembling alarm from a few British seamen.
- Though the English plantations did not produce gold, yet the cultivation of the soil amply repaid the industrious planter; and when we compare the conduct of Penn with that of the Spaniards in their new settlements, every Englishnian
must feel a sentiment of honest pride. But the dark shade, which will ever remain as an indelible mark of disgrace on the New World, is the Slave Trade*.
Piracy had long been practised; and, after the discovery of the New World, which presented such temptations of wealth, assumed something of a systematic form. The origin of the Buccaneers, however, has not been clearly traced. They took their rise from accidental circumstances, when the Spaniards, jealous of their newly-acquired dominion, adopted every method, just or unjust, to prevent a participation. It is true, his Holiness Alexander VI. had drawn the famous line of demarcation from
* We have witnessed the horrors of slavery. We have seen the African on the shores of his home, in his native land. We have accompanied him across the wide waste of waters that divides the two continents. We have observed his pangs at the slave-mart, when sold and separated from the last remnant of his friends (a sister, a brother, or a parent), or when his heart has swelled almost to bursting at parting with the being whom he fondly, affectionately loved. We have beheld him under the hands of a brutal task-master, submitting with patient endurance to his toil, and not unfrequently smarting under the lash of the whip, without deigning to shrink, or betray a symptom of suffering. We have spoken to him with tender commiserationhave soothed his afflictions— have watched the unrestrained tears roll in heavy drops down his agitated face, and one act of sympathetic kindness has implanted a deep impression of gratitude in his breast. This is no romantic tale, no idle story, but plain matter of fact.-It was once the lot of the writer of this article to be on-board a small vessel, containing nearly 100 slaves ; the whole (with the exception of five or six men) were male and female children, from four to thirteen years of age. These were confined in a small space, with scarcely sufficient height to sit upright; many of them labouring under disease, and their flesh (or rather skin, for Aesh they had but little) rubbed into wounds with the motion of the vessel, and by lying close together on the bare deck. The men, observing the constant inebriation of the crew, planned to the schooner from them ; but they were too emaciated and weak by confinement and hunger to attempt it hastily. In a short time, they were observed to be considerably altered in their appearance, and to look much better. One night, when all the crew, but the man at the helm, were asleep, these desperate Negroes rushed on the deck. The sailors and captain were aroused-a scuffle of some minutes ensued, in which both parties were severely wounded, and ultimately the slaves were overcome. The following morning, the captain deliberately loaded his pistols, placed three of the poor wretches in succession outside the gangway, and, in the presence of the others, shot them with his own hand. On inquiring, it was discovered that these little half-famished children had daily supplied the men with some portion of their own scanty provision, to strengthen them for the enterprise.
the Arctic to the Antarctic Pole; but sailors are not exactly the class of characters to be intimidated by a Bull, though issuing from the Vatican; and Pope Alexander and Pope Joan are much upon a par in their estimation. The term Buccaneer was applied to the earliest French settlers at St. Domingo, who employed themselves in hunting wild cattle for the hides and tallow; but, on being driven by the Spaniards from their settlements, they entered into a league with English adventurers, and commenced a system of plunder, by way of retaliation; and, though their principal operations were directed against the Spaniards, yet they were frequently troubled with an imperfection in the organs of vision, which prevented them from distinguishing the flags of different nations. They seized the island of Tortuga, and fortified it, as a shelter and protection to their vessels, which, in the first instance, consisted of canoes and open boats. The numerous small islands (or keys) constantly afforded them a place of refuge in danger, and facilitated their projects; they likewise supplied immense quantities of turtle, which served them for food. The success of a few individuals prompted others to similar pursuits; and that which, by a decisive blow on the part of the Spaniards, might have been easily destroyed, soon spread to such an alarming extent, that the pirates became the sole masters of the sea.
It was not, however, till the taking of Jamaica, in 1655, that they assembled together in large bodies, and framed laws among themselves. This island was discovered by Columbus, in 1494. The court of Spain vested the sole property in him, and his son became the first governor.The Spaniards built several cities; but, losing the spirit of enterprise and industry, they sunk into indolence, and contented themselves with a few plantations for their subsistence, and disposed of the surplus to ships passing the coast. In 1655, the English made a descent on the island, conquered the capital, and settled there. This new colony consisted of part of the puritanical militia who had fought under Cromwell ; but they were soon afterwards joined by a number of royalists, who abandoned the country and cause they could no longer maintain. Here both parties hoped to enjoy tranquillity; but the spirit of discord which had excited so many quarrels in the mother-country, again burst out in their new settlement, and the scenes of blood and slaughter were renewed. After the Restoration, a civil government was formed, and every effort resorted to, that could tend to promote culture and industry, but without effect; for the Buccaneers, making it their principal resort, poured in such vast treasures, that the inhabitants amassed considerable wealth with little difficulty, and despised the more honourable occupations of honest labour. The popu
lation rapidly increased, and in a few years amounted to 20,000, whose only source of subsistence was derived from the plunder of the Spaniards. Here the Buccaneers found a ready market for their ill-got spoils, and obtained such supplies of ammunition and stores as were requisite to ensure success in their hazardous undertakings. The boundless extravagance of these marauders soon reduced them to distress; and, after squandering away, with thoughtless profusion, their hard-earned prize-money, they were compelled to repeat their visits to the Spaniards. Under such circumstances it is not difficult to. decide; the temptations were indeed powerful; and the Spaniards, by their ostentatious display, materially assisted in their own ruin; for instance-the city of Lima, in 1682, (when the viceroy made his entry), actually had the streets paved with ingots of silver, to the amount of seventeen millions sterling. What a pretty prize for a few honest tars! Then the splendour and magnificence of their churches, ornamented with immense gold and silver images, crucifixes, and candlesticks, and not unfrequently large altars of massive silver, became objects of a devout regard.
The governments of both England and France denied all understanding with the freebooters, though they secretly rejoiced at having so powerful a check upon the Spanish colonies. The Buccaneers themselves pretended to hold commissions from the French and Dutch; but the principal part of them possessed only that authority which sailors term" a commission from the Pope." Their first attacks were directed upon
the shipping alone ; till the Spaniards, weary of making so many valuable consignments to the hands of these desperadoes, shut up their ports and dismantled their vessels. This produced a contrary effect from what they designed; for the pirates now ravaged the coasts of the main, making descents upon the cities and towns, and plundering them of all the valuables they could conveniently bring away. In these enterprises they committed many disgraceful and barbarous acts; and, as the Spaniards, in their remorseless cruelty, had endeavoured to disguise their depravity under the cloak of religious zeal, so did these tarpaulin crusaders consider themselves instruments of retributive justice in the hands of Providence, and resorted to nearly similar means. Las Casas, speaking of the conquest of the New World, says—" I once beheld four or five chief Indians roasted alive at a slow fire, and as the miserable victims poured forth their dreadful yells, it disturbed the conimandant in his siesta, and he sent an order that they should be strangled; but the officer on duty would not suffer it; but, causing their mouths to be gagged that their shrieks might not be heard, he stirred up the fire with his own hands, and roasted them deli