MISSIONARIES AND SETTLERS. MERCHANTS AND TOURISTS.
Distinguishing characteristics of the Seventeenth Century--The more thorough exploration of regions previously discovered--To the thirst for gold succeeds Apostolic zeal--Italian missionaries in Congo-- Portuguese missionaries in Abyssinia--Brue in Senegal and Flacourt in Madagascar--The Apostles of India, of Indo-China, and of Japan.
The seventeenth century has a distinctive character of its own, differing from that of the preceding century in the fact that nearly all the great discoveries have been already made, and that the work of this whole period consists almost exclusively in perfecting the information already acquired. It contrasts equally with the century which is to succeed it, because scientific methods are not yet applied by astronomers and sailors, as they are to be 100 years later. It appears in fact, that the narratives of the first explorers--who were only able, so to speak, to obtain a glimpse of the regions which they traversed while waging their wars,--may have in some degree exercised a baneful influence upon the public mind. Curiosity, in the narrowest sense of the word, is carried to an extreme. Men travel over the world to gain an idea of the manners and customs of each nation, of the productions and manufactures of each country, but there is no real study. They do not seek to trace what they see to its source, and to reason scientifically upon the why and wherefore of facts. They behold, curiosity is satisfied, and they pass on. The observations made do not penetrate beneath the surface, and the great object appears to be to visit, as rapidly as may be, all the regions which the sixteenth century has brought to light.
Besides, the abundance of the wealth diffused on a sudden over the whole of Europe has caused an economic crisis. Commerce, like industry, is transformed and altered. New ways are opened, new mediums arise, new wants are created, luxury increases, and the eagerness to make a fortune rapidly by speculation, turns the heads of many. If Venice from a commercial point of view be dead, the Dutch are about to constitute themselves, to use a happy expression of M. Leroy-Beaulieu, "the carriers and agents of Europe," and the English are preparing to lay the foundations of their vast colonial empire.
To the merchants succeed the missionaries. They alight in large numbers upon the newly-discovered countries, preaching the Gospel, civilizing the barbarous nations, studying and describing the country. The development of Apostolic zeal is one of the dominant features of the seventeenth century, and it behoves us to recognize all that geography and historic science owe to these devoted, learned, and unassuming men. The traveller only passes through a country, the missionary dwells in it. The latter has evidently much greater facilities for acquiring an intimate knowledge of the history and civilization of the nations which he studies. It is therefore very natural that we should owe to them narratives of journeys, descriptions, and histories, which are still consulted with advantage, and which have served as a basis for later works.
If there be any country to which these reflections more particularly apply, it is to Africa, and especially to Abyssinia. How much of this vast triangular continent of Africa was known in the seventeenth century? Nothing but the coasts, it will be said. A mistake. From the earliest times the two branches of the Nile, the Astapus and the Bahr-el-Abiad, had been known to the ancients. They had even advanced--if the lists of countries and nations discovered at Karnak by M. Mariette may be believed--as far as the great Lakes of the interior. In the twelfth century, the Arab geographer Edrisi writes an excellent description of Africa for Roger II. of Sicily, and confirms these data. Later on, Cadamosto and Ibn Batuta travel over Africa, and the latter goes as far as Timbuctoo. Marco Polo affirms that Africa is only united to Asia by the Isthmus of Suez, and he visits Madagascar. Lastly, when the Portuguese, led by Vasco da Gama, have completed the circumnavigation of Africa, some of them remain in Abyssinia, and in a short time diplomatic relations are established between that country and Portugal. We have already said something of Francesco Alvarez; in his train several Portuguese missionaries settle in the country, amongst whom must be named Fathers Paez and Lobo.
Father Paez left Goa in 1588 to preach Christianity upon the eastern coast of North Africa. After long and sad mishaps, he landed at Massowah in Abyssinia, traversed the country, and in 1618 pushed on as far as the sources of the Blue Nile,--a discovery the authenticity of which Bruce was hereafter to dispute, but of which the narrative differs only in some unimportant particulars from that of the Scotch traveller. In 1604, Paez, arrived at the court of the king Za Denghel, had preached with such success that he had converted the king and all his court. He had even soon acquired so great an influence over the Abyssinian monarch, that the latter, in writing to the Pope and to the King of Spain to offer them his friendship, asked them to send him men fitted to teach his people.
Father Geronimo Lobo landed in Abyssinia with Alfonzo Meneses, patriarch of Ethiopia, in 1625. But times were greatly changed. The king converted by Paez had been murdered, and his successor, who had summoned the Portuguese missionaries, died after a short time. A violent revulsion of feeling ensued against the Christians, and the missionaries were driven away, imprisoned, or given up to the Turks. Lobo was charged with the mission of obtaining the sum necessary for the ransom of his companions. After many wanderings, which led him to Brazil, Carthagena, Cadiz, and Seville, to Lisbon and to Rome, where he gave the Pope and the King of Spain numerous and accurate details upon the Church of Ethiopia and the manners of the inhabitants, he made a last journey in India, and returned to Lisbon to die, in 1678.
Christianity had been introduced into Congo, upon the Atlantic coast, in 1489, the year of its discovery by the Portuguese. At first Dominicans were sent; but as they made scarce any progress, the Pope, with the consent of the King of Portugal, despatched thither some Italian Capuchins. These were Carli de Placenza in 1667, Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi, from 1654 to 1668, afterwards Antonio Zucchelli and Gradisca, from 1696 to 1704. We shall mention these missionaries only, because they have published accounts of their journeys. Cavazzi explored in succession Angola, the country of Matumba, and the islands of Coanza and Loana. In the ardour of his apostolic zeal, he could devise no better means of converting the blacks than by burning their idols, rebuking the kings for the time-honoured custom of polygamy, and subjecting to torture, or to being torn with whips, those who relapsed into idolatry. Notwithstanding all this, he gained considerable ascendancy over the natives, which, if it had been well directed, might have produced very useful results in the development of civilization and the progress of religion. The same reproach is due also to Father Zucchelli and to the other Missionaries in Congo. The narrative of Cavazzi, published at Rome in 1687, asserted that Portuguese influence extended from 200 to 300 miles from the coast, and that in the interior there existed a very important town, known by the name of San Salvador, which possessed twelve churches, a Jesuit college, and a population of 50,000 souls.
At the close of the fourteenth century Pigafetta published the account of the journey of Duarte Lopez, ambassador from the King of Congo to the Courts of Rome and Lisbon. A map which accompanies this narrative presents to us a Lake Zambré, in the very place occupied by Lake Tanganyika, and more to the west, Lake Acque Lunda, from whence issued the Congo River; south of the equator two lakes are indicated, one the Lake of the Nile, the other, more to the east, bears the name of Colué; they appear to be the Albert and the Victoria Nyanza. This most curious information was rejected by the geographers of the nineteenth century, who left blank the whole interior of Africa.
Upon the West Coast of Africa at the mouth of the Senegal, the French had established settlements which, under the skilful administration of Andrew Brue, speedily received considerable extension. Brue, Commandant for the King and Director-general of the Royal French Company upon the Senegal Coast and in other parts of Africa--so ran his official title--although he may be little known, and the article which treats of him may be one of the most curtailed in the great collections of biography, deserves to occupy one of the most prominent positions among colonizers and explorers. Not content with extending the colony as far as its present limits, he explored countries which have been only lately revisited by Lieutenant Mage, or which have not been visited at all since Brue's time. He carried the French outposts eastwards above the junction of the Senegal and the Faleme, northwards as far as Arguin, which we have since abandoned, although reserving our rights, and southwards as far as the island of Bissao. He explored in the interior Galam and Bambouk, so rich in gold, and collected the earliest documents concerning the Pouls, Peuls or Fouls, the Yoloffs and the Mussulmen, who coming from the north, attempted the religious conquest of all the black nations of the country. The information thus collected by Brue about the history and migrations of these various people, is of the greatest value, affording clear light, even in the present day, to the geographer and the historian. Not only has Brue left us the narrative of deeds of which he was witness and the description of the places which he visited, but we also owe to him much information about the productions of the countries, the plants, the animals, and all the objects which would give occasion for commercial or industrial enterprise. These most curious documents, put together very maladroitly it must be confessed, by Father Labat, formed the subject, a few years ago, of a very interesting work by M. Berlioux.
To the south-east of Africa, during the first half of the seventeenth century, the French founded some commercial settlements in Madagascar, an island long known under the name of St. Lawrence. They build Fort Dauphin under the administration of M. de Flacourt; several unknown districts of the island are explored as well as the neighbouring islands upon the coast; the Mascarene Islands are occupied in 1649. Although firm and moderate towards his countrymen, De Flacourt did not use the same self-control towards the natives; he even brought about a general revolt, as a consequence of which he was recalled. Expeditions into the interior of Madagascar were henceforth very rare, and it is not until the present day that we find a thorough exploration carried out.
Of Indo-China and Thibet the only information which reached Europe during the whole of the seventeenth century was due to the missionaries. Such names as Father Alexandre de Rhodes, Ant. d'Andrada, Avril, Benedict Goes, may not be passed over in silence. In their Annual Letters is to be found a quantity of information, which even in the present day retains a real interest, as concerning regions so long closed against Europeans. In Cochin China and Tonkin, Father Tachard devoted himself to astronomical observations, of which the result was to prove by the most conclusive evidence the great errors in the longitudes given by Ptolemy. This called the attention of the learned world to the necessity of a reform in the graphic representation of the countries of the extreme east, and for attaining this end, to the absolute need of close observations made by specially qualified scientific men, or by navigators familiar with astronomical calculations. The country which especially attracted the missionaries was China, that enormous and populous empire, which ever since the arrival of Europeans in India, had persevered with the greatest strictness in the absurd policy of abstention from any intercourse whatsoever with foreigners. It was not until the close of the sixteenth century that the missionaries obtained the permission, so often demanded before in vain, to penetrate into the Middle Empire. Their knowledge of mathematics and astronomy facilitated their settlement and enabled them to gather, as well from the ancient annals of the country, as during their journies, a prodigious quantity of most valuable information concerning the history, ethnography, and geography of the Celestial Empire. Fathers Mendoza, Ricci, Trigault, Visdelou, Lecomte, Verbiest, Navarrete, Schall, and Martini, deserve especial mention for having carried to China the arts and sciences of Europe, while they diffused in the west the first accurate and precise information upon the unprogressive civilization of the Flowery Land.
MISSIONARIES AND SETTLERS. MERCHANTS AND TOURISTS.
The Dutch in the Spice Islands--Lemaire and Schouten--Tasman--Mendana--Queiros and Torrès--Pyrard de Laval--Pietro della Valle--Tavernier--Thévenot--Bernier--Robert Knox--Chardin--De Bruyn--Kæmpfer.
The Dutch were not slow in perceiving the weakness and decadence of the Portuguese power in Asia. They felt with how much ease a clever and prudent nation might in a short time become possessed of the whole commerce of the extreme East. After a considerable number of private expeditions and voyages of reconnaissance they had founded in 1602 that celebrated Company of the Indies which was destined to raise to so high a pitch the wealth and prosperity of the metropolis. Equally in its strife with the Portuguese as in its dealing with the natives, the Company pursued a very skilful policy of moderation. Far from founding colonies, or repairing and occupying the fortresses which they took from the Portuguese, the Dutch bore themselves as simple traders, exclusively occupied with their commerce. They avoided building any fortified factory, except at the intersection of the great commercial roads. Thus they were able in a short time to seize all the carrying trade between India, China, Japan, and Oceania. The one fault committed by the all-powerful Company was the concentrating in its own hands a monopoly of the trade in spices. It drove away the foreigners who had settled in the Moluccas or in the Islands of Sunda, or who came thither to obtain a cargo of spices; it even went the length, in order to raise the price of this valuable commodity, of proscribing the cultivation of certain species in a large number of islands, and of forbidding, under pain of death, the exportation and sale of seeds and cuttings of the spice-producing trees. In a few years the Dutch were established in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, the Moluccas, and at the Cape of Good Hope, harbours the best placed for ships returning to Europe.
It was at this time that a rich merchant of Amsterdam, Jacob Lemaire, in concert with a skilful mariner, named Wilhem Cornelis Schouten, conceived a project for reaching the Indies by a new route. The Dutch States-General had in fact forbidden any subject of the United Provinces, not in the pay of the Company of the Indies, from going to the Spice Islands by way of the Cape of Good Hope or of the Strait of Magellan. Schouten, according to some, Lemaire, according to others, had formed the idea of eluding this interdict by seeking a passage to the south of Magellan's Strait. This much is certain, that Lemaire bore one half of the expense of the expedition, while Schouten, by the aid of several merchants whose names have been handed down to us, and who filled the chief offices in the town of Hoorn, provided the other half. They fitted out the Concorde, a vessel of 360 tons, and a yacht, carrying together a crew of sixty-five men, and twenty-nine cannon. This was certainly an equipment but little in accordance with the magnitude of the enterprise. But Schouten was a skilful mariner, the crew had been carefully chosen, and the vessels were abundantly furnished with provisions and spare rigging. Lemaire was commissioner, and Schouten the captain of the ship. The destination was kept secret, and officers and crew entered into an unlimited engagement to go wherever they might be led. On the 25th June, 1615, eleven days after quitting the Texel, and when there was no longer anything to be feared from indiscretion, the crews were assembled to listen to the reading of an order which ran as follows: "The two vessels would seek another passage than that of Magellan, by which to enter the South Sea, and to discover there certain southern countries, in the hope of obtaining enormous profits from them, and if heaven should not favour this design, they would repair by means of the same sea to the East Indies." This declaration was received with enthusiasm by the whole crew, who were animated, like all Dutchmen of that period, with a love for great discoveries.
The route then usually pursued for reaching South America--as may perhaps have been already observed--followed the African coasts as far as below the equator. The Concorde did not try to deviate from it; she reached the shores of Brazil, Patagonia, and Port Desire, at 300 miles to the north of the Strait of Magellan, but was for several days hindered by storms from entering the harbour. The yacht even remained for the space of one whole tide, aground and lying on her side, but high water set her afloat again; only for a short time however, for whilst some repairs were being done to her keel, her rigging took fire, and she was consumed in spite of the energetic efforts of the two crews. On the 13th January, 1616, Lemaire and Schouten arrived at the Sebaldine Islands, discovered by Sebald de Weerdt, and followed the coast of Tierra del Fuego at a short distance from land. The coast ran east-quarter-south-east, and was skirted by high mountains covered with snow. On the 24th of January at mid-day, they sighted its extreme point, but eastward stretched some more land, which also appeared to be of great elevation. The distance between these two islands, according to the general opinion, appeared to be about twenty-four miles, and Schouten entered the strait which divided them. It was so encumbered with whales that the ship was obliged to tack more than once to avoid them. The island to the east received the name of Staten Island, and that to the west the name of Maurice of Nassau.
Twenty-four hours after entering this strait, which received the name of Lemaire, the ship emerged from it, and to an archipelago of small islands situated to starboard was given the name of Barneveldt, in honour of the Grand Pensionary of Holland. In 58 degrees Lemaire doubled Cape Horn--so named in remembrance of the town where the expedition had been fitted out--and entered the South Sea. Lemaire afterwards went northwards as far as the parallel of the Juan Fernandez Islands, where he judged it wise to stop, in order to recruit his men who were suffering from scurvy. As Magellan had done, Lemaire and Schouten passed without perceiving them amongst the principal Polynesian archipelagos, and cast anchor on the 10th April, at the Island of Dogs, where it was only possible to procure a little fresh water and some herbs. They hoped to reach the Solomon Islands, but in the north the Dangerous Archipelago was entered, in which were discovered Waterland Island--so named on account of its containing a great lake--and Fly Island, because a cloud of these insects settled upon the vessel, and it was impossible to get rid of them until at the end of four days there was a change of wind. Afterwards Lemaire crossed the Friendly Archipelago, and entered that of the Navigators, or of Samoa, of which four small islands still retain the names which were then given to them: Goed Hoep, Cocoa, Horn, and Traitors' Islands. The inhabitants of these parts showed themselves extremely addicted to stealing; they tried to draw out the bolts from the ship and to break the chains. Scurvy continued to prevail among the crew, and it was therefore a great boon to receive from the king a present of a black boar and some fruits. The sovereign, who was named Latou, speedily arrived in a large canoe with sails, in shape like the Dutch sledges (trainaux), escorted by a flotilla of five and twenty boats. The king did not venture himself to go on board the Concorde, but his son was of a bolder spirit, and inquired the reason of everything he saw with the most lively curiosity. The next day the number of canoes was greatly augmented, and the Dutch perceived by certain indications that an attack was impending. Accordingly, a shower of stones falls on a sudden upon the ship, the canoes approach nearer, become annoying, and the Dutch to free themselves from them are forced to resort to a discharge of musketry. This island was rightly named Traitors' Island.
It was now the 18th of May, and Lemaire ordered the course to be changed, that the Moluccas might be reached by the north of New Guinea. He probably passed within sight of the Solomon Archipelago, the Admiralty Islands, and the Thousand Islands (Mille Iles), coasting afterwards along New Guinea from 143 degrees to Geelwink Bay. He frequently landed, and gave names to a number of points: the twenty-five islands which form a part of the Admiralty Archipelago, the High Corner, the High Mountain (Hoogberg)--which seems to correspond to a portion of the neighbouring coast of Kornelis-Kinerz Bay--Moa and Arimoa, two islands again seen later on by Tasman, the island to which was given the name of Schouten, but which is now called Mysore and which must not be confounded with some other Schouten Islands situated upon the Coast of Guinea but much farther to the west, and finally the Cape Goede-Hoep, which appears to be Cape Saavedra at the western extremity of Mysore. After sighting the country of Papua, Schouten and Lemaire reached Gilolo, one of the Moluccas, where they received an eager welcome from their compatriots.
When they were thoroughly rested from their fatigues and cured of scurvy, the Dutch went to Batavia, arriving there on the 23rd October, 1616, only thirteen months after quitting the Texel, and having lost only thirteen men during the long voyage. But the Company of the Indies did not at all understand their privileges being infringed upon, and a possibility discovered of reaching the colonies by a way not foreseen in the letters patent which had been granted to the Company at the time of its establishment. The Governor caused the Concorde to be seized, and arrested her officers and sailors, whom he sent off to Holland, there to be tried. Poor Lemaire, who had expected a totally different recompense for his toils and fatigues, and for the discoveries which he had made, could not bear up under the blow which had fallen so unexpectedly upon him; he fell ill of grief and died in the latitude of the island of Mauritius. As for Schouten, he appears not to have been molested upon his return to his own country, and to have made several voyages to the Indies, which were not distinguished by any fresh discovery. He was returning to Europe in 1625, when he was forced by bad weather to enter Antongil Bay, upon the east coast of Madagascar, where he died.
Such was the history of this important expedition, which by means of Strait Lemaire opened up a shorter and less dangerous route than that by Magellan's Strait, an expedition signalized by several discoveries in Oceania, and by a more attentive exploration of points already seen by Spanish or Portuguese navigators. But it is often a matter of difficulty to settle with accuracy to which of these nations the discovery of certain islands, countries, or archipelagos in the neighbourhood of Australia, may be due.
Since we are speaking of the Dutch, we shall put the chronological order of discoveries a little on one side, that we may relate as well as those of Mendana and Quiros, the expeditions of Jan Abel Tasman.
What was the early history of Tasman, by what concurrence of circumstances did he embrace the profession of a sailor, by what means did he acquire the nautical skill and science of which he gave so many proofs, and which conducted him to his important discoveries? From ignorance we cannot answer these questions, all we know of his biography commences with his departure from Batavia on 2nd June, 1639. After passing the Philippines, he would seem during this first voyage to have visited in company with Matthew Quast the Bonin Islands, then known by the fantastic title of "the Gold and Silver Islands."
In a second expedition, composed of two vessels of which he had the chief command, and which sailed from Batavia on the 14th of August, 1642, he reached the Mauritius on the 5th September, and afterwards sailed to the south-east, seeking for the Australian Continent. On the 24th November in latitude 42 degrees 25 minutes south, he discovered land, to which he gave the name of Van-Diemen, after the Governor of the Sunda Islands, but which is now with much greater justice called Tasmania. He anchored there in Fredrik Hendrik Bay, and ascertained that the country was inhabited, although he could not see a single native.
After following this coast for a certain time, he sailed eastwards, with the intention of afterwards making once more for the north, to reach the Solomon Archipelago. On the 13th December, in latitude 42 degrees 10 minutes, he came in sight of a mountainous country which he followed towards the north, until the 18th December, when he cast anchor in a bay; but even the boldest of the savages whom he met with there, did not approach the ship within a stone's throw. Their voices were rough, their stature tall, their colour brown inclining to yellow, and their black hair, which was nearly as long as that of the Japanese, was worn drawn up to the crown of the head. On the morrow they summoned courage to go on board one of the vessels and carry on traffic by means of barter. Tasman, upon seeing these pacific dispositions, despatched a boat for the purpose of obtaining a more accurate knowledge of the shore. Of the sailors who manned it, three were killed without provocation by the natives, while the others escaped by swimming, and were picked up by the ships' boats, but by the time they were in readiness to fire upon the assailants, these had disappeared. The spot where this sad event happened, received the name of Assassins' (Moordenaars) Bay. Tasman, who felt convinced that he could not carry on any intercourse with such fierce people, weighed anchor and sailed up the coast as far as its extreme point, which he named Cape Maria Van-Diemen, in honour of his "lady," for a legend states that having had the audacity to pretend to the hand of the daughter of the governor of the East Indies, the latter had sent him to sea with two dilapidated ships, the Heemskerke and the Zeechen.
The land thus discovered received the name of Staaten Land, soon changed into that of New Zealand. On the 21st January, 1643, Tasman discovered the islands of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, upon which he found a great quantity of pigs, fowls, and fruit. On the 6th February, the ships entered an archipelago, consisting of a score of islands, which were called Prince William Islands, and after sighting Anthong-Java, Tasman followed the coast of New Guinea from Cape Santa Maria, passed by the various points previously discovered by Lemaire and Schouten, and anchored off Batavia on the 15th June following, after a ten months' voyage.
In a second expedition, Tasman, in obedience to his orders dated 1664, was to visit Van Diemen's Land, and to make a careful examination of the western coast of New Guinea, as far as 17 degrees south latitude, in order to ascertain whether that island belonged to the Australian Continent. It does not appear that Tasman carried out this programme, but the loss of his journals causes complete uncertainty as to the route which he followed, and the discoveries which he may have made. From this time there is no record of the events which marked the close of his career, nor of the place and date of his death.
From the period of the taking of Malacca by Albuquerque, the Portuguese conceived that a new world extended to the south of Asia. Their ideas were soon shared by the Spaniards, and henceforward a series of voyages were made on the Pacific Ocean, to search for a southern continent, of which the existence appeared geographically necessary to counterbalance the immense extent of the lands already known. Java the Great, designated later by the names of New Holland and Australia, had been seen by the French perhaps, or as is more probable by Saavedra, from 1530 to 1540, and it was sought for by a crowd of navigators, amongst whom we may mention the Portuguese, Serrao and Meneses, and the Spaniards, Saavedra, Hernando de Grijalva, Alvarado, and Inigo Ortiz de Retes, who explored the greater part of the islands to the north of New Guinea, as well as that great island itself. Afterwards come Mendana, Torrès, and Quiros, upon whose deeds we shall pause a little, on account of the importance and authenticity of the discoveries which we owe to them.
Alvaro Mendana de Neyra was nephew to the Governor of Lima, Don Pedro de Castro, who warmly advocated with the home government his nephew's project of searching for new countries in the Pacific Ocean. Mendana was one-and-twenty when he took the command of two ships and one hundred and twenty-five soldiers and sailors. He sailed from Callao, the port of Lima, on the 19th November, 1567. After sighting the small Island of Jesus, he discovered on the 7th February between 7 degrees and 8 degrees south latitude, the Island of Santa Isabella, where the Spaniards built a brigantine, with which they explored the archipelago of which this island was a part. "The inhabitants," says the narrative of a companion of Mendana, "are anthropophagi, they devour those whom they can make their prisoners in war, and even without being in open hostility, those whom they can succeed in taking by treachery." One of the chiefs in the island sent to Mendana as a delicacy, a quarter of a child, but the Spanish commander caused it to be buried in the presence of the natives, who appeared much hurt by an act which they could not understand. The Spaniards explored the Island las Palmas (Palm Island), los Ramos--so named because it was discovered on Palm Sunday--Galley Island, and Buena-Vista, of which the inhabitants, under the appearance of friendship concealed hostile intentions, which were not long in displaying themselves. The same reception awaited the Spaniards at the Island San Dimas, at Sesarga, and at Guadalcanar, upon which ginger was found for the first time. In the return voyage to Santa Isabella, the Spaniards pursued a course which enabled them to discover St. George Island, where they found bats as large as kites. Scarcely had the crew of the brigantine cast anchor in the harbour of Santa Isabella, than they were obliged again to weigh it, for the place was so unhealthy that five soldiers died and a great number of others were taken ill. Mendana stopped at the Island of Guadalcanar, where out of ten men who had landed to fetch water, one negro alone escaped from the attacks of the natives, who were extremely angry at one of their fellows having been carried off by the Spaniards. The punishment was terrible; twenty men were killed and a number of houses burnt. Mendana afterwards visited several islands of the Solomon archipelago, amongst others the Three Maries and San Juan. Upon the latter island, whilst the ships were being repaired and calked, several affrays with the natives occurred, in which some prisoners were made. After this checkered rest, Mendana again put to sea, and visited the islands of San Christoval, Santa Catalina, and Santa Anna. But as by this time the number of invalids was considerable, the provisions and ammunition nearly exhausted, and the rigging become rotten, the flotilla now set out to return to Peru. The separation of the flagship, the discovery of certain islands which it is difficult to identify, and probably of the Sandwich Islands; violent storms, during which the sails were carried away; the sickness caused by the insufficiency and putrefaction of the water and biscuit on board, were all incidents signalizing this long and trying return voyage, which was ended by the arrival of the ships at the port of Colima in California after five months of navigation.
The narrative of Mendana excited no enthusiasm, in spite of the name of Solomon which he gave to the archipelago discovered by him, to make it believed that from thence came the treasures of the Jewish King. Marvellous recitals had no longer any fascination for men glutted with the riches of Peru. Proofs were what they demanded; the smallest nugget of gold, or the least grain of silver would have been more satisfactory to them.
Mendana had twenty-seven years to wait before he was able to organize another expedition, but then his fleet was a large one, it being proposed to found a colony in the island of San Christoval which Alvaro de Mendana had seen during his first voyage. Thus four ships carrying nearly four hundred people sailed from the port of Lima on the 11th April, 1595. Amongst those on board may be named Doña Isabella, wife of Mendana, the three brothers-in-law of the general, and the pilot Pedro Fernandez Quiros, who later on distinguished himself as commander-in-chief of another expedition. The fleet did not finally leave the Peruvian coast, where its equipment had been completed, until the 16th April. At the end of a month's navigation, not distinguished by any remarkable incident, an island was discovered, which according to custom received the name of the saint whose day it was, and was called Magdalena. Immediately the fleet was surrounded by a crowd of canoes bearing more than four hundred Indians, of fine stature and nearly white, and who while presenting cocoa-nuts and other fruits to the sailors, appeared to entreat them to disembark. The natives no sooner came on board than they began to pilfer, and it was necessary to fire a cannon to get rid of them; a wound which one of the natives received in the fray soon changed their disposition, and a discharge of musketry was the reply to the shower of arrows which they let fly from their boats. Not far from this island three others were discovered, San Pedro, Dominica, and Santa Christina, and the name of las Marquezas de Mendoça was given to the group, in honour of the governor of Peru. So friendly had been the intercourse at the beginning, that an Indian woman upon seeing the beautiful fair hair of Doña Isabella de Mendana had begged her by signs to give her a curl of it; but by the fault of the Spaniards the mutual relations speedily became hostile, and so continued until the day when the natives, becoming conscious of the great inferiority of their arms, begged for peace.
On the 5th August the Spanish flotilla again put to sea and made 1200 miles west-north-west. On the 20th August were discovered the St. Bernard, since called Dangerous Islands, and afterwards Queen Charlotte's Islands, upon which notwithstanding the scarcity of provisions, no landing was made. After Solitary Island--a name which explains its situation--the Santa Cruz archipelago was reached. But at this time, during a storm, the flagship became separated from the fleet, and although search was made several times, no tidings of her were obtained. Fifty canoes, carrying a crowd of natives of a tawny complexion, or of a lustrous black, immediately approached the ships. "All had frizzled hair, black, red, or some other colour (for it was dyed); their teeth also were dyed red; the head was half shaven, the body was naked, except a small veil of fine linen, the face and the arms painted black, glittering and striped with various colours; the neck and limbs loaded with several strings of small beads, of gold, or of black wood, of fishes' teeth, or of a species of medals made of mother of pearl, or of pearls." For arms they carried bows, poisoned arrows with sharp points hardened in the fire, or tipped with bone and steeped in the juice of a herb, great stones, heavy wooden swords made of stiff wood, with three harpoon points, each more than a handbreadth long. Slung over their shoulders they had haversacks exceedingly well made out of palm leaves, and filled with biscuits made from certain roots which serve them for food.
At first Mendana thought he recognized in these natives the inhabitants of the islands he was seeking, but he was quickly undeceived. The vessels were received with a shower of arrows, which was the more vexatious because Mendana, seeing that he could not find the Solomon Islands, had determined to establish his colony in this archipelago. At this juncture, discord reigned among the Spaniards; a revolt fomented against the general was almost immediately suppressed, and the guilty were executed. But these sorrowful events and the fatigues of the voyage had so completely undermined the health of the head of the expedition, that he died on the 17th October, after having had time to indicate his wife as his successor in the conduct of the enterprise. After the death of Mendana the hostilities with the natives redoubled, and many of the Spaniards were so exhausted by sickness and hardships, that a score of thoroughly determined natives might easily have gained the mastery over them. To persist in the intention of founding a settlement under such conditions would have been folly; all agreed in this, and the anchor was raised on the 18th November. Doña Isabella de Mendana's project was to go to Manilla, and there to obtain recruits from amongst the colonists, with whom she would return to found a settlement. She consulted the officers, who all gave their approval in writing; and she found in Quiros a devotion and skill which were speedily to be put to a severe proof. They at once steered away from New Guinea, in order to avoid being entangled amongst the numerous archipelagos surrounding it, and also to enable them sooner to reach the Philippines, which the dilapidated state of the ships rendered necessary. After passing within sight of several islands surrounded by reefs of madrepore, upon which the crews wished to land, a permission which Quiros with great prudence always refused, after having been separated from one of the ships of the squadron, which could not or would not follow, the flotilla arrived at the Ladrone--soon to be called the Marianne--Islands. The Spaniards went on shore several times to buy some provisions; the natives did not desire either their silver or gold, but set the highest value upon iron and all tools made of that metal. The narrative contains here some details upon the veneration shown by the natives towards their ancestors, which are curious enough to warrant our reproducing them verbatim: "They take out the bones from the bodies of their relations, burn the flesh, and mixing the ashes with tuba, a wine made from the cocoa palm, swallow them. They weep for the dead every year for a whole week; there are a great number of female mourners, who are to be hired for the purpose. Besides that, all the neighbours come to weep in the house of the deceased; the compliment being returned to them when the turn comes for the feast to take place at their house. These anniversaries are much frequented, all those assisting at them being liberally regaled. They weep all day and drink to intoxication all night. They recite in the midst of tears, the life and deeds of the dead, beginning with the moment of his birth, and dealing with the whole course of his life, recounting his strength, his height, his beauty, in a word, all that can in any way do him honour. If some amusing action occur in the recital, the company begin to laugh as if they would split their sides; then on a sudden they drink and are again drowned in tears. There are sometimes two hundred persons present at these absurd anniversaries." When the Spanish crew arrived at the Philippines, it was scarcely more than a company of skeletons, emaciated and half dead with hunger. Doña Isabella landed at Manilla on the 11th February, 1596, under a salute from the guns, and was solemnly received in the midst of the troops drawn up under arms. The rest of the crew, fifty having died since the departure from Santa Cruz, were housed and fed at the public expense, and the women all found husbands in Manilla, except four or five who embraced the religious life. As for Doña Isabella, she was escorted back to Peru some time afterwards by Quiros, who lost no time in submitting to the viceroy a project for a fresh voyage. But Luis de Velasco, who had succeeded Mendoza, referred the navigator to the King of Spain and the Council of the Indies, under the pretext that such a decision would overstep the limits of his authority. Quiros therefore went to Spain and thence to Rome, where he received a kindly welcome from the Pope, who recommended him warmly to Philip III. At length in 1605, after numberless applications and solicitations, he was empowered to fit out at Lima the two vessels which he should judge the most suitable for the investigation of the Australian continent and for continuing the discoveries of Mendana. With two ships and one light vessel, Quiros set out from Callao on the 21st December, 1605. At 3000 miles from Peru he had as yet discovered no land. In latitude 25 degrees south he observed a group of small islands belonging to the Dangerous archipelago. These were the Convercion de San Pablo, the Osnabrugh of Wallis, and Decena, so named because it was the tenth island seen. Although this island was defended by rocks, intercourse was carried on with the natives, whose dwellings were scattered about amongst palm-trees on the sea shore. The natives were strong and well proportioned, and their chief wore on his head a kind of crown made of small black feathers so fine and supple that they might have been taken for silk. His fair hair, which descended to the waist, excited the wonder of the Spaniards, who, not being able to understand how a man with so tawny coloured a face could have such light yellow hair, "chose to think that he was married, and that he wore his wife's hair." This singular colour was only due to the habitual use of powdered lime, which burns the hair and causes it to turn yellow.
This island to which Quiros gave the name of Sagittaria, is, according to Fleurieu, Tahiti, one of the principal of the group of Society Islands. On the succeeding days Quiros sighted several other islands, upon which he did not land, and to which he gave names taken from the Calendar, according to a practice which has changed all the native nomenclature of Oceania into a veritable litany. One island visited may be especially noticed; it was named the island of la Gente Hermosa on account of the beauty of its inhabitants, and of the fair colour and coquetry of its women, who, as the Spaniards declared, even bore away the palm for grace and attractiveness from their own fellow-countrywomen of Lima, whose beauty is proverbial. This island, according to Quiros, was situated upon the same parallel as Santa Cruz, to which he intended to go. He therefore sailed westward and reached an island called by the natives Taumaco, in 10 degrees south latitude and 240 miles east of Santa Cruz. This must have been one of the Duff Islands, and here Quiros was told that if he directed his course southwards, he would discover a great land, of which the inhabitants were whiter than those whom he had hitherto seen. This information determined him to abandon his scheme of going to Santa Cruz. He steered in a south-westerly direction, and after having sighted several small islands, he arrived on the 1st May, 1606, in a bay more than twenty-four miles broad. He gave to this island the name which it still bears, of Espiritu Santo. It was one of the New Hebrides group. What events happened during the stay of the ships here? The narrative is silent upon this subject, but we know from other sources that the crew mutinied, made Quiros prisoner, and abandoning the second ship and the brigantine, set out on the 11th June to return to America, where they arrived on the 3rd October, 1606, after a nine months' voyage. M. Ed. Charton throws no light upon this incident. He is silent upon the mutiny of the crew, and even throws all the blame of the separation upon the commander of the second vessel, Luis Vaes de Torrès, who abandoned his chief in quitting Espiritu Santo. Now it is known by a letter from Torrès himself to the King of Spain--published by Lord Stanley at the end of his English edition of Antoine de Morga's History of the Philippines--that he remained "fifteen" days waiting for Quiros in the Bay of Saint Philip and Saint James. The officers met in council, resolved to weigh anchor on the 26th June, and to continue the search for the Australian continent. Hindered by bad weather, which prevents him from sailing round Espiritu Santo Island, assailed by the demands of a crew over whom prevails a slight breath of mutiny, Torrès decides to steer to the north-east to reach the Spanish Islands. In 11 degrees 30 minutes he discovers land, which he imagines must be the commencement of New Guinea. "All this land is part of New Guinea," says Torrès, "it is peopled by Indians who are not very white, and who go naked, although their middles are covered with the bark of trees.... They fight with javelins, bucklers, and certain clubs of stone, the whole adorned with beautiful feathers. All along this land there are other inhabited islands. Upon the whole of this coast there are numerous and vast harbours, with very broad rivers and great plains. Outside these islands stretch reefs and shallows; the islands are between these dangers and the mainland, and a channel runs between. We took possession of these harbours in your Majesty's name. Having pursued this coast for 900 miles, and seen our latitude decrease from 2-1/2 degrees until we found ourselves in 9 degrees, at this point commenced a shoal of from three to nine fathoms deep, which stretched along the coast to 7-1/2 degrees. Not being able to proceed farther on account of the numerous shallows and powerful currents which we encountered, we decided to alter our course to the south-west, by the deep channel which has been mentioned, as far as about 11 degrees. There is there, from one end to the other, an archipelago of innumerable islands, by which I passed. At the end of the eleventh degree the bottom became deeper. There were some very large islands there, and there appeared to be more of them towards the south; they were inhabited by a black population, very robust and quite naked, bearing for arms, strong and long spears, arrows, and stone clubs roughly fashioned."
Modern geographers are agreed in recognizing in the localities thus described, that portion of the Australian Coast which ends in York Peninsula, and the extremity of New Guinea recently visited by Captain Moresby. It was known that Torrès had entered the strait which has been named after him, and which divides New Guinea from Cape York; but the very recent exploration of the south-eastern portion of New Guinea, of which the population has been discovered to be of a comparatively light colour and differing much from the Papous, has just furnished an unexpected confirmation of the discoveries of Quiros. It is for this reason that we have dwelt at some length upon them, referring for the purpose to a very learned work of M. E. T. Hamy, which appeared in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie.
It behoves us now to say a few words about some travellers who explored some unfrequented countries, and furnished their contemporaries with more exact knowledge of a world until then almost unknown. The first of these travellers is François Pyrard, of Laval. Having embarked in 1601 on board a St. Malo ship to go to the Indies to trade, he was wrecked in the Maldive Archipelago. These islets or atolls (detached coral reefs,) to the number of at least 12,000, descend into the Indian Ocean from Cape Comorin as far as the equator. The worthy Pyrard relates his shipwreck, the flight of a portion of his companions in captivity in the archipelago, and his long sojourn of seven years upon the Maldive Islands, a stay rendered almost agreeable by the pains which he took to acquire the native language. He had plenty of time to learn the manners, customs, religion, and industries of the inhabitants, as well as to study the productions and climate of the country. Thus his narrative is filled with details of all kinds, and had retained its attractions until recent years, because travellers do not voluntarily frequent this unhealthy archipelago, the isolated situation of which had kept away foreigners and conquerors. Pyrard's narrative therefore, is still instructive and agreeable reading.
In 1607, a fleet was sent to the Maldives by the King of Bengal, in order to carry off the 100 or 120 cannon which the Maldive sovereign owed to the wreck of numerous Portuguese vessels. Pyrard, notwithstanding all the liberty allowed him, and that he had become a landholder, was desirous to behold his beloved Brittany once more. He therefore eagerly embraced this opportunity of quitting the Archipelago with the three companions who out of the whole crew alone remained with him. But the eventful travels of Pyrard were not yet concluded. Taken first to Ceylon, he was carried afterwards to Bengal, and endeavoured to reach Cochin. Before reaching this town he was captured by the Portuguese and carried prisoner to Cochin; he afterwards fell ill and was nursed in the Hospital of Goa which he only quitted to serve for two years as a soldier, at the end of which time he was again thrown into prison, and it was not until 1611, that he was able to revisit the good town of Laval. After so many trials, Pyrard must doubtless have felt the need of repose, and we are justified in imagining, from the silence of history as to the close of his life, that he was privileged at length to find happiness.
While the honest burgess François Pyrard, was, so to speak, in spite of himself, and from having indulged the desire of making a fortune too rapidly, launched into adventures in which he had to pass much of his life, circumstances of a different and romantic kind caused Pietro della Valle to determine upon travelling. Descendant of an ancient and noble family, he is by turns a soldier of the Pope, and a sailor chasing Barbary corsairs. Upon his return to Rome he finds that a rival, profiting by his absence, has taken his place with a young girl whom he was to have married. So great a misfortune demands an heroic remedy, and Della Valle makes a vow of pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre. But if, as saith the proverb, there is no road which does not lead to Rome, so there is no circuit so long as not to lead to Jerusalem, and of this Della Valle was to make proof. He embarks at Venice in 1614, passes thirteen months at Constantinople, reaches Alexandria by sea, afterwards Cairo, and joins a caravan which at length brings him to Jerusalem. But while en route, Delia Valle had no doubt imbibed a taste for a traveller's life, for he visits in succession Baghdad, Damascus, Aleppo, and even pushes on as far as the ruins of Babylon. We must believe that Della Valle was marked out as an easy prey to love, for upon his return he becomes enamoured of a young Christian woman of Mardin, of wondrous beauty, whom he marries. One would imagine that here at length is fixed the destiny of this indefatigable traveller. Nothing of the kind. Della Valle contrives to accompany the Shah in his war against the Turks, and to traverse during four consecutive years the provinces of Iran. He quits Ispahan in 1621, loses his wife in the month of December of the same year, causes her to be embalmed, and has her coffin carried about in his train for four years longer, which he devotes to exploring Ormuz, the western coasts of India, the Persian Gulf, Aleppo, and Syria, landing at length at Naples in 1626.
The countries which this singular character visited, urged on as he was by an extraordinary enthusiasm, are described by him in a shrewd, gay, and natural style, and even with some degree of fidelity. But he inaugurates the pleiad of amateur, curious, and commercial travellers. He is the first of that prolific race of tourists who each year encumber geographical literature with numerous volumes, from which the savant finds nothing to glean beyond meagre details.
Tavernier is a specimen of insatiable curiosity. At two-and-twenty he has traversed France, England, the Low Countries, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, and Italy. Then when Europe no longer offers any food for his curiosity, he starts for Constantinople, where he remains for a year, and then arrives in Persia, where the opportunity and
Quelque diable, aussi, le poussant,
he sets to work to purchase carpets, stuffs, precious stones, and those thousand trifles of which lovers of curiosities soon became passionately fond, and for which they were ready to pay fabulous sums. The profit which Tavernier realized from his cargo induced him to resume his travels. But like a wise and prudent man, before starting he learnt from a jeweller the art of knowing precious stones. During four successive journeys from 1638 to 1663, he travelled over Persia, the Mogul Empire, the Indies as far as the frontier of China, and the Islands of Sunda. Dazzled by the immense fortune which his traffic had obtained for him, Tavernier would play the lord, and soon saw himself on the verge of ruin, which he hoped to avert by sending one of his nephews to the east with a considerable venture, but instead, his ruin was consummated by this young man, who, judging it best to appropriate the goods which had been confided to him, settled down at Ispahan. Tavernier, who was a well-educated man, made a number of interesting observations upon the history, manners and customs, of the countries which he visited. His narrative certainly contributed to give his contemporaries a much more correct idea of the countries of the east than they previously possessed.
All travellers during the reign of Louis XIV. take the route to the East Indies, whatever may be the end they have in view. Africa is entirely deserted, and if America be the theatre of any real exploration, it is carried out without aid from government.
Whilst Tavernier was accomplishing his last and distant excursions, a distinguished archæologist, Jean de Thévenot, nephew of Melchisedec Thévenot--a learned man to whom we owe an interesting series of travels--journeyed through Europe, and visited Malta, Constantinople, Egypt, Tunis, and Italy. He brought back in 1661 an important collection of medals and monumental inscriptions, recognized nowadays as so important a help to the historian and the philologist. In 1664, he set out anew for the Levant, and visited Persia, Bassorah, Surat, and India, where he saw Masulipatam, Burhampur, Aurungabad, and Golconda. But the fatigues which he had experienced prevented his return to Europe, and he died in Armenia in 1667. The success of his narratives was considerable, and was well deserved by the care and exactitude of a traveller whose scientific attainments in history, geography, and mathematics, far surpassed the average level of his contemporaries.
We must now speak of the amiable Bernier, the "pretty philosopher," as he was entitled in his polite circle, in which were found Ninon and La Fontaine, Madame de la Sablière, St. Evremont, and Chapelle, without reckoning many other good and gay spirits, refractories from the stiff solemnity which then weighed upon the entourage of Louis XIV. Bernier could not escape from the fashion of travelling. After having taken a rapid survey of Syria and Egypt, he resided for twelve years in India, where his good knowledge of medicine conciliated the favour of Aurung-Zebe, and gave him the opportunity of beholding in detail, and with profit, an empire then in the full bloom of its prosperity.
To the south of Hindostan, Ceylon had more than one surprise in reserve for its explorers. Robert Knox, taken prisoner by the natives, owed to this sad circumstance his long residence in the country and the collection of the first authentic documents relating to the forests and the savage natives of Ceylon, the Dutch, with a commercial jealousy which they were not singular in evincing, having until now kept secret all the information which had come to light concerning an island of which they were endeavouring to make a colony.
Another merchant, Jean Chardin, the son of a rich Parisian jeweller, jealous of the successes of Tavernier, desired, like him, to make his fortune by trading in diamonds. The countries which attract these merchants are those of which the fame for wealth and prosperity is become proverbial; these are Persia and India, where rich costumes sparkle with jewels and gold, and where there are mines of diamonds of a fabulous size. The moment is well chosen for visiting these countries. Thanks to the Mogul Emperors, civilization and art have been developed; mosques, palaces, temples have been built, and towns have risen suddenly. Their taste--that curious taste, so distinctly characterized, so different from our own,--is displayed in the construction of gigantic edifices, quite as much as in jewellery and goldsmith's work, and in the manufacture of those costly trifles of which the east was beginning to be passionately fond. Like a wise man, Chardin takes a partner, as good a connoisseur as himself. At first Chardin only traversed Persia in order to reach Ormuz and to embark for the Indies. The following year he returns to Ispahan, and applies himself to learn the language of the country, in order to be able to transact business directly and without any intermediary agent. He has the good fortune to please the Shah, Abbas II. From that time his fortune is made, for it is at once genteel and also the part of a prudent courtier to employ the same purveyor as his sovereign. But Chardin had another merit besides that of making a fortune. He was able to collect so considerable a mass of information concerning the government, manners, creeds, customs, towns, and populations of Persia, that his narrative has remained to our own days the vade-mecum of the traveller. This guide is so much the more precious because Chardin took care to engage at Constantinople a clever draughtsman named Grelot, by whom were reproduced the monuments, cities, scenes, costumes, and ceremonies which so well portray what Chardin called, "the every day of a people."
When Chardin returned to France in 1670, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, with the barbarous persecutions which resulted from it, had chased from their country great numbers of artisans, who, taking refuge in foreign countries enriched them with our arts and manufactures. Chardin, being a protestant, clearly perceived that his religion would hinder him from attaining "to what are termed honours and advancement." As, to use his own words, "one is not free to believe what one will," he resolved to return to the Indies "where, without being urged to a change of religion," he could not fail of attaining an honourable position. Thus liberty of conscience was at that period greater in Persia than in France. Such an assertion on the part of a man who had made the comparison, is but little flattering to the grandson of Henry IV.
This time, however, Chardin did not follow the same route as before. He passed by Smyrna and Constantinople, and from thence, crossing the Black Sea, he landed in the Crimea, in the garb of a religious. Whilst passing through the region of the Caucasus he had the opportunity of studying the Abkasians and Circassians. He afterwards penetrated into Mingrelia, where he was robbed of his goods and papers, and of a portion of the jewels which he was taking back to Europe. He could not have escaped himself had it not been for the devotion to him of the theatines, from whom he had received hospitality, but he escaped only to fall into the hands of the Turks, who, in their turn, accepted a ransom for him. After further misadventures he arrived at Tiflis on the 17th of December, 1672, and as Georgia was then governed by a prince who was a tributary of the Shah of Persia, it was easy for Chardin to reach Erivan, Tauriz, and finally Ispahan.
After a stay of four years in Persia, and a concluding journey to India, during which he realized a considerable fortune, Chardin returned to Europe and settled in England, his own country on account of his religion, being forbidden ground to him.
The journal of his travels forms a large work, in which everything that concerns Persia is especially developed. The long stay he made in the country and his intimate acquaintance with the highest personages of the state enabled him to collect numerous and authentic documents. It may fairly be said that in this way Persia was better known in the seventeenth century than it was 100 years later.
The countries which Chardin had just explored were visited again some years later by a Dutch painter, Cornelius de Bruyn, or Le Brun. The great value of his work consists in the beauty and accuracy of the drawings which illustrate it, for as far as the text is concerned, it contains nothing which was not known before, except in what relates to the Samoyedes, whom he was the first to visit.
We must now speak of the Westphalian, Kæmpfer, almost a naturalized Swede in consequence of his long sojourn in Scandinavian countries. He refused the brilliant position which was there offered him in order to accompany as secretary, an ambassador who was going to Moscow. He was thus enabled to see the principal cities of Russia, a country which at that period had scarcely entered upon the path of western civilization; afterwards he went to Persia, where he quitted the Ambassador Fabricius, in order to enter the service of the Dutch Company of the Indies, and to continue his travels. He thus visited in the first place Persepolis, Shiraz, Ormuz upon the Persian Gulf, where he was extremely ill, and whence he embarked in 1688 for the East Indies. Arabia Felix, India, the Malabar Coast, Ceylon, Java, Sumatra, and Japan were afterwards all visited by him. The object of these journeys was exclusively scientific. Kæmpfer was a physician, but was more especially devoted to the various branches of Natural History, and collected, described, drew, or dried, a considerable number of plants then unknown in Europe, gave new information upon their use in medicine or manufactures, and collected an immense herbarium, which is now preserved with the greater part of his manuscripts in the British Museum in London. But the most interesting portion of his narrative, now-a-days indeed quite obsolete and very incomplete since the country has been opened up to our scientific men,--was for a long time that relating to Japan. He had contrived to procure books treating of the history, literature, and learning of the country, when he had failed in obtaining from certain personages to whom he had rendered himself very acceptable, information which was not usually imparted to foreigners.
To conclude, if all the travellers of whom we have just spoken are not strictly speaking discoverers, if they do not explore countries unknown before, they all have, in various degrees and according to their ability or their studies, the merit of having rendered the countries which they visited better known. Besides they were able to banish to the domain of fable, many of the tales which others less learned had naïvely accepted, and which had for long become so completely public property that nobody dreamed of disputing them.
Thanks to these travellers, something is known of the history of the east, the migrations of nations began to be dimly suspected, and accounts to be given of the changes in those great empires of which the very existence had been long problematical.