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by the industry of its subjects, and subdued by BOOK
I. the force of its arms. He intreated him to enjoin all Christian powers, under the highest penalties, not to moleft Portugal while engaged in this laudable enterprise, and to prohibit them from settling in any of the countries which the Portuguese should discover. He promised that, in all their expeditions, it should be the chief object of his countrymen to spread the knowledge of the Christian religion, to establish the authority of the holy fee, and to increase the flock of the universal pastor. As it was by improving with dexterity every favourable conjuncture for acquiring new powers, that the court of Rome had gradually extended its usurpations, Eugene IV. the Pontiff to whom this application was made, eagerly seized the opportunity which now prefented itself. He instantly perceived, that by complying with Prince Henry's request, he inight exercise a prerogative no less flattering in its own nature, than likely to prove beneficial in its consequences. A bull was accordingly issued, in which, after applauding in the strongest terms the past efforts of the Portuguese, and exhorting them to proceed in that laudable career on which they had entered, he granted them an exclusive right to all the countries which they should discover, from Cape Non to the continent of India.
EXTRAVAGANT as this , donation, compre. hending, such a large portion of the habitable globe, would now appear, even in Catholic countries, no person in the fifteenth century doubted that the Pope, in the plenitude of his apostolic power, had a right to confer it. ' Prince Henry was soon sensible of the advantages which he derived from this transaction, His schemes were authorised and fanctified by the bull ap. proving of them. The spirit of discovery was connected with zeal for religion, which, in that age, was a principle of such activity and vigour, as to influence the conduct of nations. All Christian princes were deterred from intruding
to those countries which the Portuguese had discovered, or from interrupting the progress of their navigation and conquests y.
Fame and THE fame of the Portuguese voyages foon progress of furand von
spread over Europe. Men, long accustoined to the Portu. guere dilcc- circumscribe the activity and knowledge of the veries.
human mind within the limits to which they had been hitherto confined, were astonished to behold the sphere of navigation fo suddenly enlarged, and a profpect opened of visiting regions of the globe, the existence of which was unknown in former times. The learned and speculative rea,
Y See NOTE X.
foned and formed theories concerning those un- BOOK expected discoveries. The vulgar inquired and b wondered; while enterprising adventurers crowded from every part of Europe, foliciting Prince Henry to employ thein in this honourable service, Many Venetians and Genoese, in particular, who were, at that time, superior to all other nations in the science of naval aifairs, entered aboard the Portuguese ships, and acquired a :,- ? more perfect and exteníive knowledge of their profession in that new school of navigation. In emulation of these foreigners, the Portuguese exerted their own talents. The nation seconded the designs of the prince. Private merchants formed companies, with a view to search for unknown countries. The Cape de Verd islands, which lie off the promontory of that name, were discovered, and soon after the isles called Azores. As the former of these are above three hundred miles from the African coast, and the latter nine hundred miles from any continent, it is evident, by their venturing fo boldly into the open seas, that the Portuguese had, by this is time, improved greatly in the art of navigation...
WHILE the paflion for engaging in new unDeath dertak
was thus warm and active, it received an unfortunate check by the death of Prince 1453. F4
BOOK Henry, whose superior knowledge had hitherto
directed all the operations of the discoverers, and whose patronage had encouraged and protected them. But notwithstanding all the advantages which they derived from these, the Portuguese, during his life, did not advance, in their utmoit progress towards the south, within five degrees
of the equinoctial line; and, after their conFrom 1412 tinued exertions for half a century, hardly fifteen 1403. hundred miles of the coast of Africa were disco
vered. To an age acquainted with the efforts of navigation in its state of maturity and improvement, those essays of its early years must. necessarily appear feeble and unskilful. But, inconsiderable as they may be deemed, they were fufficient to turn the curiosity of the European nations into a new channel, to excite an enterprising fpirit, and to point the way to future difcoveries.
The paffion for disco. verv Jana quithes for lomne time.
ALPHONSO, who possessed the throne of Portugal at the time of Prince Henry's death, was so much engaged in supporting his own pretensions to the crown of Caftile, or in carrying on his expeditions against the Moors in Barbary, that the force of his kingdom being exerted in other operations, he could not profecute the discoveries in Africa with ardour. He committed the conduct of them to Fernando Gomez, a merchant
in Lisbon, to whom he granted an exclusive B 0,0 K right of commerce with all the countries of which Prince Henry had taken poffeffion. Under the restraint and oppression of a monopoly, the spirit of discovery languished. It ceased to be a national object, and became the concern of a private man, more attentive to his own gain, than to the glory of his country. Some progress, however, was made. The Portuguese ventured 1471. at length to cross the line, and, to their astonishment, found that region of the torrid zone, which was supposed to be fcorched with intolerable heat, to be not only habitable, but populous and fertile.
John II. who succeeded his father Alphonso, 1481.
Revives poffefsed talents capable both of forming and
with addi. executing great designs. As part of his reve
dour. nues, while prince, had arisen from duties on the trade with the newly-discovered countries, this naturally turned his attention towards them, and satisfied him with respect to their utility and importance. In proportion as his knowledge of these countries extended, the possession of them appeared to be of greater consequence. While the Portuguese proceeded along the coast of Africa, from Cape Non to the river of Senegal, they found all that extensive tract to be fandy, barren, and thinly inhabited by a wretched