« AnteriorContinuar »
respectable historians, it is proper to give particular reasons for discrediting it. Fernando expressly says, that it was in an action mentioned by Marco Antonio Sabelico, in the eighth book of his tenth Decade; that the squadron in which Columbus served was commanded by a famous corsair, called Columbus the younger (Colombo el Mozo), and that an embassy was sent from Venice to thank the King of Portugal for the succor he afforded to the Venetian captains and crews. All this is certainly recorded in Sabellicus, but the battle took place in 1485, after Columbus had leff Portugal. Zurita, in his 21mmals of Arragon, under the date of 1685, mentions this same action. He says: “At this time four Venetian galleys sailed from the island of Cadiz, and took the route for Flanders; they were laden with merchandise from the Levant, especially from the island of Sicily, and passing by Cape St. Vincent they were attacked by a French corsair, son of Captain Colon (Colombo), who had seven vessels in his armada, and the galleys were captured the twentyfirst of August.” A much fuller account is given in the life of King John II. of Portugal, by Garcia de Resende, who likewise records it as happening in 1485. He says the Venetian galleys were taken and robbed by the French, and the captains and crews, wounded, plundered, and maltreated, were turned on shore at Cascoes. Here they were succored by Doña Maria de Meneses, Countess of Monsanto. When King John II. heard of the circumstance, being much grieved that such an event should have happened on his coast, and being disposed to show his friendship for the republic of Venice, he ordered that the Venetian captains should be furnished with rich raiment of silks and costly cloths, and provided with horses and mules, that they might make their appearance before him in a style befitting themselves and their country. He received them with great kindness and distinction, expressing himself with princely courtesy, both as to themselves and the republic of Venice; and having heard their account of the battle, and of their destitute situation, he assisted them with a large sum of money to ransom their galleys from the French cruisers. The latter took all the merchandise on board of their ships, but King John prohibited any of the spoil from being purchased within his dominions. Having thus generously relieved and assisted the captains, and administered to the necessities of their crews, he enabled them all to return in their own galleys to Venice. The dignitaries of the republic were so highly sensible of this munificence on the part of King John, that they sent a stately embassy to that monarch, with rich presents and warm expressions of gratitude. Geronimo Donate was charged with the mission, a man eminent for learning and eloquence; he was honorably received and entertained by King John, and dismissed with royal presents, among which were jenets, and mules with sumptuous trappings and caparisons, and many negro slaves richly clad.* The following is the account of this action given by Sabellicus, in his History of I e nicef: “ Erano andate quattro Galee delle quali Bartolommeo Minio era capitano. Queste navigando per l' Iberico mare, Colombo il più giovane, nipote di quel Colombo famoso corsale, fecesi incontro a Veniziani di notte, appresso il sacro Promontorio, che chiamasi ora capo di san Vincenzo, con sette navi guernite da combattere. Egli quantunque nel primo incontro avesse seco disposto d'opprimere le navi Veniziane, si ritenne però dal combattere sin al giorno: tuttavia per esser alla battaglia più acconcio così le seguia, che le prode del corsale toccavano le poppe de Veniziani. Venuto il giorno incontamente i Barbari diedero '1 assalto. Sostennero i Veniziani allora l'empito del nemico, per numero di navi e di combattenti superiore, e durò il conflitto atroce per molte ore. Rare fiate fu combattuto contro simili nemici con tanta uccisione, perchè a pena si costuma d'attaccarsi contro di loro, se non per occasione. Affermano alcuni, che vi furono presenti, esser morte delle ciurme Veniziane da trecento uomini. Altri dicono che fu meno: morì in quella zuffa Lorenzo Michele capitano d'una galera e Giovanni Delfino, d'altro capitano fratello. Era durata la zuffa dal fare del giorno fino ad ore venti, e erano le genti Veniziane mal trattate. Era gia la nave Delfina in potere de' nemici quando le altre ad una ad una si renderono. Narrano alcuni, che furono di quel aspro conflitto partecipi, aver numerato nelle loro navi da prode a poppe ottanta valorosi uomini estinti, i quali dal nemico veduti lo mossero a gemere e dire con sdegno, che così avevano voluto, i Veniziani. I corpi morti furono gettati nel mare, i feriti posti nel lido. Quei che rimasero vivi seguirono con e navi il capitan vittorioso sino a Lisbona e ivi furono tutti licenziati . . . Quivi furono i Veniziani benigna mente ricevuti dal Re, gli infermi furono medicati, gli altri ebbero abitie denari secondo laloro condizione. . . . Oltre ciò vietò in tutto il Regno, che alcuno non comprafse della preda Veniziana, portata dai corsali. La nuova dell' avuta rovina non poco afflisse la città, erano perduti in quella mercatanzia da ducento mila ducati; mail danno particolare degli uomini uccisi diede maggior afflizone.” Marc. Amt. Sabelico. Hist. Venet., decad. iv., lib. iii.
* Zurita, 4 males de Aragon, lib. xx., cap. 64.
Oh, as de Garcia de Resende, cap. 58, Avora, 1554.
t Marco Antonio Coccio, better known under the name of Sabellicus, a cognomen which he adopted on being crowned poet in tre pedantic academy of Pomponius Laetus. He was a contemporary of Columbus and makes brief mention of his discoveries in the eighth book of the tenth Ennead of his universal history By some writers he is called the Livy of his time; others accuse him of being full of misrepresentations in favor of Venice. The older Scaliger charges him with venality, and with being swayed by Venetian gold.
AMoNG the earliest and most intelligent of the voyagers who followed the track of Columbus, was Amerigo Vespucci. He has been considered by many as the first discoverer of the southern continent, and by a singular caprice of fortune, his name has been given to the whole of the New World. It has been strenuously insisted, however, that he had no claim to the title of a discoverer; that he merely sailed in a subordinate capacity in a squadron commanded by others; that the account of his first voyage is a fabrication; and that he did not visit the mainland until after it had been discovered and coasted by Columbus. As this question has been made a matter of warm and voluminous controversy, it is proper to take a summary view of it in the present work.
Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, March 9, 1451, of a noble, but not at that time a wealthy family; his father's name was Anastatio ; his mother's was Elizabetta Mini. He was the third of their sons, and received an excellent education under his uncle, Georgio Antonio Vespucci, a learned friar of the Fra