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would be stagnated; Riches whould be of no Advantage to the Great; and Labour of no Service to the Poor.
The Romans, as Historians all allow,
I N TRODUCTION
WORLD DISPLAY E D.
AVIGATION, like other Arts, has been
perfected by.Degrees. It is not easy to conceive that any Age or Nation was without some Veffel, in which Rivers might be paffed by Travellers, or Lakes frequented by Fishermen ; but we have no Knowledge of any Ship that could endure the Vio lence of the Ocean, before the Ark of Noah. í As the Tradition of the Deluge has been transmitted to almost all the Nations of the Earth ; it must be supposed that the Memory of the Means by which Noah and his Family were preserved, would be continued long among their Descendants, and that the possibility of pasting the Seas could never be doubted.
What Men know to be practicable, a thousand Motives will incite them to try ; and there is Reason to believe, that from the Tinie that the Generations of the poitdiluvian Race spread to the Sea Shores, there were always Navigators that ventured upon the Sea, though, perhaps, not willingly beyond the Sight of Land.
Of the ancient Voyages little certain is known, and it is not necessary to lay before the Reader such Conjectures as learned Men have offered to the World. The Romans by conquering Carthage, put a Stop to a great Part of the Trade of diftant Na. tions with one another, and because they thought only on War and Conquest, as their Empire en
993 by John Gola
creased, Commerce was discouraged; till under the latter Emperors, Ships seem to have been of little other Use than to transport Soldiers.
Navigation could not be carried to any great l'egree of Certainty, without the Compass ;' which was unknown to the Ancients. The wonderful Quality by which a Needle, or small Bar of Steel; touched with a Loadstone or Magnet, and turning freely by Equilibration on a Point, always preferves the Meridian, and directs its two Ends North and South, iwas discovered according to the common Opinion in 1999; by John Gola of Amalphi, a Town in Italy.
From this Time' it is reasonable to suppose that Navigation made cominual, though flow, Improvements, which the Confufion and Barbarity of the Times, and the. Want of Communication between Orders of Men fo distant'as Sailors and Monks, hindered from being diftinctly and fucceffively recorded. <: It seems, however, that the Sailors Aill wanted either Knowledge or Courage, for they continued for two Centuries to creep along the Coast, and considered every Headland as unpaffable, which ran far into the Sea, and against which the Waves broke with uncommon Agitation.
The First who is known to have formed the Defign of new Discoveries, or the Firft who had Power to execute his Purposes, was Don Henry the Fifth, Son of John the First, King of Portugal, and Phi. lippina, Sister of Henry the Fourth of England. Don Henry having attended his Father to the Conquest of Ceuta, obtained by Conversation with the Inhabitants of the Continent, fome Accounts of the interior Kingdoms and southern Coast of Africa; which, though rude and indistinct, were fufficient to raise his Curiosity, and convince him that there were Countries yet unknown and worthy of Discovery.
He therefore equipped fome small Veffels, and commanded that they fhould pass as far as they could along that Coast of Africa, which looked upon the great Atlantick Ocean, the Immensity of which struck the grass and unskilful Navigators of these Times, with Terror and Amazément. He was not able to communicate his own Ardour to his Seamen, who proceeded very slowly in the new Attempt; each was afraid to venture much further than he that went before him, and ten Years were spent before they had advanced beyond Cape Bajador, so called from its long Progression into the Ocean, and the Circuit by which it must be doubled. The Oppofition of this Promontory to the Course of the Sea, produced a violent Current and high Waves, into which they durst not venture, and which they had not yet Knowledge enough to avoid by standing off from the Land into the open Sea.
The Prince was desirous to know something of the Countries that lay beyond this formidable Cape, and sent twoCommanders, named John Gonzales Zarco, and Tristran Vaz, (1418) to pass beyond Bajador, and survey the Coast behind it. They were caught by a Tempest, which drove them out into the unknown Ocean, where they expected to perish by the Violence of the Wind, or perhaps to wander for ever in the boundless Deep. At last, in the Midst of their Despair, they found a small Illand, where they sheltered themselves, and which the Sense of their Deliverance disposed them to call Puerto Santo, or the Holy Haven.
When they returned with an Account of this new Iland, Henry performed a publick Act of Thanksgiving, and sent them again with Seeds and Cattle; and we are told by the Spanish Historian, that they set two Rabbits on Shore, which encreased so much in a few Years, that they drove away the Inhabi
tants, by destroying their Corn and Plants, and were suffered to enjoy the Illand without Opposition.
In the second or third Voyage to Puerto Santo, for Authours do not well agree, a third Captain called Perello, was joined to the two former. As they looked round the Isand upon the Ocean, they faw at a Distance something which they took for a Cloud, till they perceived that it did not change its Place. They directed their Course towards it, and (1419) discovered another Island covered with Trees, which they therefore called Madera, or the Ise of Wood.
Madera was given to Vaz or Zarco, who set Fire to the Woods, which are reported by Souza, to have burnt for seven Years together, and to have been wasted, till Want of Wood was the greatest Inconvenience of the Place. But green Wood is not very apt to burn, and the heavy Rains which fall in these Countries must surely have extinguished the Confla: gration, were it ever so violent.
There was yet little Progress made upon the Southern Coast, and Henry's Project was treated as chimerical by many of his Countrymen. At last Gilianes (1433) passed the dreadful Cape, to which he gave the Name of Bajador, and came back, to the Wonder of the Nation.
In two Voyages more, made in the two following Years, they paffed forty-two Leagues further, and in the latter, two Men with Horfes being set on Shore, wandered over the Country, and found nineteen Men, whom according to the savage Manners of that Age they attacked, the Natives having Javelins, wounded one of the Portuguese, and received fome Wounds from them. At the Mouth of a River they found Sea-wolves in great Numbers, and brought home many of their Skins, which were much esteemed.