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THE

YOUTH'S INSTRUCTER

AND

GUARDIAN.

APRIL, 1852.

FERNANDO DE MAGALHAENS.

(With a Portrait.) COLUMBUS, after he had discovered a part of America, went again for further discoveries, sailed from island to island of the Caribbean Archipelago, and traced new lines of continental coast. But the great continent of the West did not afford precious cargoes like those brought home from the East; and the true India, source of wealth for ages, and newly-opening field for maritime commerce, was not there. Still he followed the trending of the eastern coasts of South America, hoping that, as Vasco de Gama found a passage to India, eastward, by the Cape of Good Hope, he might meet the fleets of Portugal in China by a western passage. The Gulf of Mexico seemed, at first, to be part of a continued ocean, and he went into it, hoping to sail away, without obstruction, to lands of aromatic drugs, and pearls, and gold, and slaves. But the Isthmus of Darien stopped him, and he returned to the Atlantic, not imagining that the Pacific lay so near on the other side. It was not until seven years after the death of Columbus that Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, daring to climb the elevated lands, and traverse the wilderness, first saw the horizon on the Pacific Ocean on the 15th day of September, 1513. This discovery having quickened the zeal of Spain, Ferdinand " the Catholic” equipped two ships, and placed them under the command of an experienced seaman, Juan Diaz de Solís,

Vol. XVI. Second Series.

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with instructions to seek a passage southward, by a strait, or at the termination of the continent. De Solís prosecuted the search with great diligence, and, on reaching the mouth of the river Plate, thought that that sea-like river could be none other than the strait desired, and was making his way along one of the banks, frequently landing to examine the country, when he fell into the hands of savages, who killed and ate him. His companions were so terrified that they hastened on board, hoisted sail, and returned to Spain without setting foot on land again in America.

In the fleet of the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, Francisco de Almeyda, was a daring young sailor, whom no disappointment had disheartened, nor any peril deterred from enterprise. This was Fernando de Magalhaens, whose name was already associated with the chief events of the naval history of Portugal, wherein members of his family had taken a conspicuous part. Fernando himself became known by many acts of courage and generosity. For example : amidst the confusion and dangers of a wreck, when the ship was going to pieces on a sand-bank, he refused to leave her, until a friend of his, whom no one regarded as of sufficient importance to make any great effort to save, had been rescued by a boat. And, already, for many days and nights, he had kept a large crew in order, until a vessel discovered them, and came to their deliverance. He was in many fights, by sea and land, always foremost; and at length, having received a severe wound in a battle with the Moors, in consequence of which he went lame all the rest of his life, he returned to Lisbon, bringing with him eight hundred prisoners of war, and two thousand head of cattle from Azamor, on the coast of Fez.

In compensation for many years' hard service, he only asked an additional half-cruzade to his monthly pay; but instead of granting it, or any other mark of consideration, King Manuel sent him back to Azamor again, to obtain justificatory evidence against a charge of malversation of some money on account of booty taken from the Moors. He obeyed. But after bringing back proof of his integrity, he renounced, juridically, his privileges as a subject of Portugal, left his country in disgust, and, joining with another mariner of reputation, offered himself at the Court of Madrid, to undertake the discovery of a western passage to the Indies. The Emperor Charles V., King of Spain, was then away in Flanders, Cardinal Cisneros being Regent in his absence; and although the Cardinal received Magalhaens kindly, he could not offer him immediate encouragement. As for a western passage, it seemed less desirable, since ships might be built on the western shore of Darien, or Peru, to traverse the newly-discovered ocean; and the report that there were precious metals in that part of the new continent so invited the cupidity of the Spaniards, that they thought more of sinking mines than of making voyages of discovery on a remote sea: and when Magalhaens and his friends tried to arouse a favourable feeling in the courtiers, they were coldly reminded that Solís had been killed and eaten by savages, perhaps at the entrance of the strait that they fain would navigate.

Yet this noble sailor persevered. Carrying on an active correspondence with men of enterprise in India, he constantly received letters full of wonders, and suggesting speculations concerning regions that were thought to lie within reach, and calculations concerning the relative positions of lands that were, as yet, but rudely marked in imperfect chorographies, constructed half on observation, and half on conjecture. At length a fresh enthusiasm sprang up at Court, the Council of Castile reported favourably on his project, and the Emperor bestowed on Magalhaens and his intended companion in enterprise, Ruy Farelo, the habit of St. James, and the title of Captains, entered into a stipulation with them as to the fruit of such discoveries as might be made, and commanded five vessels to be built at Seville for their expedition.

Success now seemed to be all but accomplished. He had honour, title, commission, and means. Yet three years elapsed before the ships could be floated down the Guadalquivir; and, meanwhile, Ruy Farelo, overpowered by excesses of anxiety, lost his reason, and Magalhaens remained alone in an undertaking which had been marked, at every stage, with signal disappointment or astounding calamity. However, he steadily pursued the object, waited the day of embarkation with patience, and, the interval, married a Portuguese lady in Seville. On the 27th day of September, 1519, the five ships, two of one hundred and thirty tons, two of ninety, and one of sixty, (even the largest being but small,) carrying, in all, two hundred and thirty-seven persons, weighed anchor off St. Lucar, dropped down the river, and soon rode on the billows of the Atlantic. The little fleet completed their stock of provisions at the island of Teneriffe, at the foot of that sublime peak that soars above the winds: thence the Admiral laid down their course for Cape Verde, and made it on October 3d ; and after lingering on the coast of Guinea for many days, admiring strange birds and strange fish, left that headland astern, steered westward, and, on the 9th of December, dropped anchor in the Bay of Sta. Lucia; whence, after making acquaintance with the natives for nearly three weeks, they sailed along the coast southward, visiting bays and rivers, in hope of finding the desired passage. Leaving two of the vessels to cruise off the coast, Magalhaens proceeded on the voyage, and on the 2d of March reached the Bay of St. Julian, in latitude S. 49° 10', and first saw the Patagonians, a few of whom they took on board, but they soon died. There, during the winter, the Captains of the three ships formed a conspiracy against the Admiral, with whom they had quarreled; but he detected the plot, put them to death, and quelled a mutiny. The severity of winter being over, they put out to sea again, on the 24th of August, the two other ships having joined company; but the smallest of them, the St. James, was driven ashore in a heavy gale from the east, and utterly wrecked, the cargo and crew being saved, and distributed in the remaining four. After this disaster, the expedition waited at Sta. Cruz until October 18th, and then resumed its course; and on the day of “the eleven thousand virgins" discovered a cape, to which they gave a name accordingly. Soon afterwards the ship“ Victory” discovered an opening in the land ; and, by orders of Magalhaens, they all proceeded to explore, but encountered a strong current, which so much alarmed one of the crews, that they put their Captain in irons, and steered

oceans.

away for Spain. One of the other vessels returned to Magalhaens, with the report that they had only found a bay, full of shoals and rocks; but the Captain of another brought intelligence that he had sailed a long way in deep water, between land on either side, with high mountains, and believed that they must have found a strait communicating with both

After much consultation, and some delay, Magalhaens entered, on the 6th of November, 1520, the Strait that bears his name; (or, as we say, the Strait of Magellan;) the three ships navigated its length, with great caution, in twenty-two days, but no natives were visible. A few fires, (fuegos,) however, were seen at night; and therefore the land on the southern side received the name of Tierra del Fuego. And when the broad sea opened before the Spanish mariners under a serene sky, it looked so beautiful, that they called it el Mar Pacifico; and we still know it as the Pacific Ocean. We will not trace their course as they proceeded northward, giving names to lands hitherto unseen by the eye of European, but merely note that the natives of a group of islands were so addicted to thieving, that Magalhaens and his companions called the islands, Isles of Thieves, Ladrones; and the Spanish name, as well as the original character of the natives, yet remains.

Among the Philippine Islands they navigated for about seven weeks, obtained canoes, manned them with Indians, entered into a sort of alliance with Chiefs, of whom some were said to embrace the Christian religion, and render obedience to the Emperor. The conversion and the homage were equally unreal in the islands that the Spaniards fancied themselves to have attached to the empire and to the Church; but others openly resisted. The inhabitants of the isle of Matan had refused to pay homage to the foreigners; and Magalhaens took a party of forty men, in order to reduce tbem to submission. But bis forty were met by three thousand, who killed several of them : Magalhaens himself fell beneath their missiles, and thus sacrificed his life to the prevailing folly of compelling the Heathen to profess Christianity without any knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of exacting submission, at the same time, to the Sovereign of

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