Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

That the Queene of Englandes title to all the West Indies, or at the leaste to as moche as is from Florida to the Circle articke, is more lawfull and righte then the Spaniardes, or any other Christian Princes.

To confute the generall claime and unlawful title of the insatiable Spaniardes to all the West Indies, and to prove the justenes of her Majesties title and of her noble progenitours, if not to all, yet at leaste to that parte of America which is from Florida beyonde the Circle articke, wee are to sett downe in true order, accordinge to the juste observation of tyme, when the West Indyes, with the ilandes and continent of the same, were firste discoured and inhabited, and by what nation, and by whome. Then are wee to answer in generall and particulerly to the moste injurious and unreasonable donation graunted by Pope Alexander the Sixte, a Spaniarde borne, of all the West Indies to the Kinges of Spaine and their successors, to the greate prejudice of all other Christian Princes, but especially to the domage of the Kinges of England.

Ffor the firste pointe, wee of England have to shewe very auncient and auctenticall chronicles, written in the Welshe or Brittishe tongue, wherein wee finde that one Madock ap Owen Guyneth, a Prince of North Wales, beinge wearye of the civill warres and domesticall dissentions in his contrie, made twoo voyadges oute of Wales, and discovered and planted large

contries which he founde in the mayne ocean south westwarde of Ireland, in the yere of our Lorde 1170. This historie is also to be seene in Englishe in printe, in the booke sett furthe this yere of the Princes of Wales, dedicated to Sir Henry Sidney. And this is confirmed by the language of some of those people that dwell upon the continent betwene the Bay of Mexico and the Grande Bay of Newfoundelande, whose language is said to agree with the Welshe in divers wordes and names of places, by experience of some of our nation that have bene in those partes. By this testimonie it appereth, that the West Indies were discovered and inhabited 322. yeres before Columbus made his firste voyadge, which was in the yere 1492.

*

Secondly, the acceptation of Columbus his offer of the West Indies by Kinge Henry the Seaventh, at the very firste, maketh moche for the title of the Kinges of England, althoughe they had no former interest; which I will here putt downe as I finde it in the eleventh chapiter of the historie of Ferdinandus Columbus of the relation of the life and doinges of his father: This practise, saieth he, of the Kinge of Portingale (which was secretly to deprive him of the honour of his enterprise), beinge come to the knowledge of the Admyrall, and havinge lately buried his wife, he conceaved so greate hatred againste the citie of Lysbone and the nation, that he determyned to goe into Castile with a younge sonne that he had by his wife, called Diego Colon, which after his fathers deathe succeded in his state. But fearinge, yf the Kinges of Castile also shoulde not consente unto his enterprise, he shoulde be constrayned to begynne againe to make some newe offer of the same to some other Prince, and so longe tyme shoulde be spente therein, he sente into England a brother of his which he had with him, named Bartholmewe Columbus. Nowe Bartholmewe Columbus beinge departed for England, his fortune was to fall into the handes of pyrates, which robbed him, and his other companions that were in his shippe, of all that they had. By which occasion and meanes of his povertie and sicknes, which cruelly afflicted him in a strange contrie, he deferred for a longe space his embassage, till, havinge gotten upp a little money by makinge of seacardes, he began to practize with Kinge Henry the Seaventhe, the father of Kinge Henry the viijth which nowe reigneth; to whome he presented a general carde, wherein these verses were written, which I will rather here put downe for their antiquitie then for their elegancie:

*To the middle of the next page Hakluyt is quoting from Ferdinand Columbus.

Terrarum quicunque cupis fœliciter oras
Noscere, cuncta decens doctè pictura docebit
Quam Strabo affirmat, Ptolomæus, Plinius atque
Isidorus:
: non vna tamen sententia cuique.
Pingitur hîc etiam nuper sulcata carinis
Hispanis Zona illa, priùs incognita genti,
Torrida, quæ tandem nunc est notissima multis.
And somewhat more beneath he saied:

Pro authore sive pictore.

Janua cui patriæ est nomen, cui Bartholomæus
Columbus, de terra rubra, opus edidit istud
Londonijs, Anno Domini 1480 atque insuper anno
Octauo, decimáque die cùm tertia mensis
Februarij. Laudes Christo cantentur abundè.

But to returne to the Kinge of England; I say that aftcr he had sene the generall carde, and that which the Admyrall Columbus offred unto him, he accepted his offer with a cherefull countenaunce, and sente to call him into England. These thinges beinge so, wee nede not to be our owne judges, but are able to prove, as you see, by a forren testimonie of singuler greate aucthoritie, that Christopher Columbus, beinge in Portingale, before he wente into Castile, sente his brother Bartholmewe into England to practise with Kinge Henry the Seaventh aboute the discoverie of the West Indies, and that his said brother made his generall seacarde of this secrete voyadge in London, in the yere of our Lorde 1488. the xiijth of February, above foure yeres before Christopher was sett oute upon his firste voyadge by the Princes of Spaine, Ferdinando and Isabella, which was the thirde of Auguste, 1492. It appereth also, that the onely cause of his slowe dispatche was his fallinge into the handes of pyrates, which spoiled him and his companie of all that they had; whereby he was inforced a longe tyme to worke in London in makinge instrumentes and seacardes to get somewhat aboute him, that he mighte come in some honest furniture to the Kinges presence. Also, that there was no delaye nor wante of goodd will of the Kinges parte to sett furthe the action, whoe willingly condescended to all Columbus demaundes; as is further to be seene in the 60 chapiter of the same historie, where I reade, that Bortholmewe Columbus, havinge agreed with the Kinge of England upon all capitulations, and returninge into Spaine by France to fetche his brother, when he hearde newes at Paris that he had concluded in the

meane season with the Kinge of Spaine, and was entred into the action for him, was not a little vexed for his brothers abusinge the Kinge of England, which had so curteously graunted all his requestes and accepted of his offer. But Christofer, not receavinge so spedy aunswer as he hoped for from his brother oute of England, by reason of his fallinge into pirates handes, as is aforesaide, and not by reason of any slacknes or unwillingnes of the Kinge, in the meane season, for feare of beinge prevented by the Portingales, which once before in secrete manner had gon aboute to take the honour of the action oute of his handes, was stirred, contrary to honesty, to playe on bothe handes, and to deale with the Princes of Spaine before he had receaved the Kinge of Englandes resolucion.

But leavinge this abuse offered to the Kinge of England either by Christopher Columbus or the Kinges of Spaine, in takinge that enterprise oute of his handes which was firste sente to him, and never refused by him, and to put the case that Columbus firste discovered part of the ilandes of Hispaniola and Cuba, yet wee will prove moste plainely, that a very greate and large parte, as well of the continent as of the ilandes, was firste discovered for the Kinge of England by Sebastian Gabote, an Englishe man, borne in Bristoll, the sonne of John Gabote, a Venesian, in the yere of our Lorde 1496; as an Italian gent, a greate philosopher and mathematitian, witnesseth, which harde the same of his owne mouthe; and there were many then also lyvinge, which wente with him in that voyadge, which coulde have proved him a liar yf it had bene otherwise. These be the very wordes of this gent, which he uttered to certen noblemen of Venice upon the disputation concerninge the voyadges of the spicerye: Knowe ye not (quoth he) to this effecte, to goe to finde the Easte Indies by the north west, that which one of your citie hath done, which is so skilfull in the arte of navigacion and cosmographie, that he hath not his like in Spaine at this day? And his sufficiencie hath so greately advaunced him, that the Kinge hath given him the oversighte of all the pilotts that saile to the West Indies, so that withoute his licence they cannot meddle in this arte, by reason whereof they call him the Graund Pilott. This was Segnior Sebastian Gabote, which I went to see, beinge myselfe in Cyvill certen yeres paste, whome I founde to be a moste curteous and gentle person. After he had made very moche of me, and geven me goodd entertainment, he shewed me many singularities which he had; and

*

*The quotation continues to the bottom of the next page.

amonge the rest, a greate mappe of the worlde, wherein were marked and described all the particuler navigations as well of the Portingales as of the Castilians. And he declared unto me, that, his father beinge departed from Venyce, he wente to dwell in England for trade of marchandize, and caried him with him to the citie of London, thoughe he were very younge; yet for all that not so younge but that he had studied [letters] of humanitie and the sphere; moreover, that his father died aboute the tyme that the newes came that Christopher Colon had discovered the coaste of the West Indies, and there was no other talke but of that in the Courte of Kinge Henry the vijth which reigned then in England. Whereof every man saied, that yt was rather a thinge devine then humaine, to have founde out that way never knowen before, to goe by the west into the easte. This brute of Segnior Columbus did so inflame my harte, that I determyned also to doe some notable thinge. And knowinge by the reason of the sphere, that, in directinge my course righte towarde the north weste, I should shorten the way greately to goe to the Easte Indies, without delaye I gave the Kinges Majestie to understande of myne opinion, which was marveylously well pleased; and he furnished me of twoo shippes, with all thinges necessarie; and this was in the yere 1496. in the begynnynge of somer. And I began to saile towardes the north west, thinckinge to finde no lande savinge that where Cathaio is, and from thence to turne towardes the Indies. But after certaine daies, I discoured lande which ronneth towardes the northe, wherewithall I was excedingly agreved; notwithstandinge I ceassed not to ronne alonge that coaste towardes the northe, to see yf I coulde finde any gulfe which turned towardes the north weste, until I came to the heighte of 56. degrees of our pole. Beinge there, I sawe that the coaste turned towarde the easte, and beinge oute of hope to finde any straite, I turned backe againe to searche out the said coaste towarde the equinoctiall, with intention alwayes to finde some passage to the Indies; and in followinge this coaste I sailed as farr as that parte which at this present they call Florida; and nowe my victualls failinge and fallinge shorte, I sailed no further, but lefte the coaste there and sailed into England, where I was no sooner arryved but I founde greate troubles of the people, that were upp in armes by reason of the warres in Scotland; whereby the voyadge to those partes was laide aside for that time, and had in no further consideration.

« PreviousContinue »