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by the influence of the nerves, the muscles of the ear to fuch a contraction of its membranes, as fhall vibrate harmonically with the found; as the flimulus of light excited is to an analogous action of the pupil: yet tho' the fentient principle thus fuperintends and adjusts thefe motions, the motions themselves, as he obferves, are not only unattended with confcioufnefs of volition, but are altogether neceffary and involuntary; as we cannot move these muscles when found does not ftrike the ear, nor prevent their action when it does.
[To be concluded in another article.]
ART. XXIII. The Hiftory of the Portuguese, during the reign of Emmanuel: containing all their discoveries from the coast of Africk to the farthest parts of China; their battles by Sea and Land, their firges, and other memorable exploits : with a defcription of those countries; and a particular account of the Religion, Government, and Cuffoms of the Natives. Including also their difcovery of the Brazils, and their wars with the Moors. Tranflated from the latin of Jerome Oforio, bishop of Sylves. By James Gibbs.
8v. 2 vols. 10 s. Millar.
T feems almost incredible how far the human mind is capable of being dilated, and the virtues of magnanimity and courage improved, by a feries of fuccefs; while a train of misfortunes, on the contrary, feldom fails to fink its faculties, even to the lowest ebb. Whoever doubts the truth of this obfervation, may read the Hillory we are now to give an account of, where he will find the Portuguese acting like heroes of the first rank, and performing exploits not eafily, at firft view, to be credited. What fhall we think of an handful of adventurers routing numerous armies, and a few hundreds putting many thousands to flight? Nothing animates a people more than fending out colonies, and making new fettlements. The undertakers are often under a neceffity of enduring the greatest hardships, and obliged to exert the utmost efforts of valour; and being thus inured to look down on dangers with contempt, they not only attempt, but perform actions, the very thoughts of which, in other circumftances, would have filled them with terror.
One can hardly read this hiftory, without calling to mind the fabulous ages of antiquity, when every thing was full of the marvellous. Befides, is it not reafonable to fuppofe, that the Portuguese would relate their own exploits in a man
ner the most favourable to themfelves? and we likewise with the good bishop of Sylves, may not appear to have complied a little with the legendizing fpirit of his religion: But be this as it will, there is, however, no doubt that the Portuguese were, during the reign of Emmanuel, in the meridian of their glory.
We shall now proceed to lay before our readers a fummary of the tranfactions of this reign, the fubject of the two volumes before us. We fhall fay nothing as to the merit of the prefent tranflation, which the reader will be fully apprized of from the extracts to be given.
As to method and difpofition, the whole is fubdivided into twelve books, fix to each volume, which we fhall confider in order. The first book, after a judicious and appofite exordium, fets out with narrating the death of John II. of Portugal, in 1495. who, according to the character there given of him, must have been a prince of great ability, penetration, and fpirit. To him fucceeded Emmanuel, prince of equal capacity, and rather more enterprizing than his predeceffor. Emmanuel began his reign with fettling the affairs of his kingdom, and regulating the courts of justice. He likewife gave a proof of his humanity, by reftoring the Jews to liberty.
As the war carried on by the Portuguese in Africa, makes a confiderable part of the tranfactions of this reign, it will be proper to inform our readers of the ftate of their affairs, and the footing they had there. Ever fince John the first had taken Ceuta, a very ftrong town in Barbary, fituate upon the ftreights of Gibraltar. His fucceffors never allowed the war against the Moors to lie long dormant. Alphonfo, grandfon to John I. and father to John II. had likewife taken the city of Tangier, together with Arzila, not far diftant from thence. And John too, after his father's death, tho' he was involv'd in great difficulties, always perfifted in a firm resolution of carrying on that war: and Emmanuel, following their example, embarked in it with vigour and fpirit.
The right revd. author of this hiftory relates many exploits of his countrymen during this reign, which, though poffible, certainly feem highly improbable. For inftance, that 200 Portuguefe horfe might have defeated 2000 Moorife horfe, and 800 foot, we allow; but that they fhould do this without the lofs of a man, can only be credited by those, who, like the pious bishop, looked upon this event as a reward from heaven, for Emmanuel's fettling a tenth of the
tribute money, paid by the Moors, upon the pricfts, who went into Africa. This obfervation may alfo, perhaps, hold good, at leaft in fome meafure, with refpect to the difcovery of the Eaft Indies, and the atchievements of the Portuguese there; of all which we fhall give the reader fome account.
Though John the fift, fays our author, had acquired great fame, his love of glory was not leffened by old age; for then he fitted out a formidable fleet, which befieged and took Ceuta, a large, rich, and ftrong city of Barbary. Henry, the fon of John, who had greatly diftinguifhed himfelf by his bravery at the fiege of Ceuta, likewife carried on the fame grand defign. He built a fleet, which he ordered to fail as far as poffible fouthward, along the western coaft of Africa, with a defign to find out a paffage to the eastern nations; but death prevented him from carrying his designs into execution. His fucceffor, Alphonf, was fo much harraffed with war, that he could not enter into the schemes of this great prince. But John, the fon of Alphonfe, fet about this affair with great vigour. In his time the greatest part of Ethiopia was vifited, the Portuguefe fleet having failed into places which learned men, in former ages, thought there was no poffibility of reaching. They turned the point that had hitherto bounded the navigation of thefe parts, and failed as far as the line; nor did they ftop here, but proceeded farther, and difcovered vaft tracts of unknown land. Being now out of fight of the polar ftar, they were obliged to fix up conftellations in the fouthern hemifphere, by which they might fteer their course. A new navigation being thus opened, thofe who came afterwards into these feas made fill greater difcoveries, and at last reached the extre mity of that prodigious promontory, which runs fouthward 35 degrees from the line, befides four which it has of north latitude; fo that its whole extent amounts to 39 degrees; that is 2340 miles. In turning this cape, or promontory, they met with the most furious tempefts, whence they call'd it Tormentos. The account John received of the fituation and extent of this promontory, gave him inexpreffible joy; he had now great expectations of finding a paffage to India, and therefore called the extremity of that neck of land, the Cape of good Hope. He next made choice of feveral perfons, Jews as well as Chriftians, fuch as he found to be men of genius and activity; thefe he fent by the way of Alexandria and Ethiopia, from thence to fail for India, to get intelligence from people acquainted with those coafts, what was
the proper courfe to ftcer from the cape to the East Indies. But death put a stop to John's further progrefs in these affair; fo that he left to Emmanuel not only the inheritance of his kingdom, but likewife his carneft defire of carrying on this new navigation."
After this follows an account of Emmanuel's fitting out a fleet, confifting only of four fhips, one of them too being a ftore-fhip. This fmall fquadron was commanded by Vafo de Gama, a nobleman of great abilities, who failed from Lisbon on the 9th of July 1497.
We omit all private tranfactions and regulations, regarding the policy and better government of the kingdom, that we may have the more room to give the reader an abítract of Gama's expedition.
After a tedious voyage of upwards or four months, he at laft made the Cape of Good Hope, from thence coafling along the eastern fhore of Africa; for being unacquainted with the navigation of these parts, he thought it dangerous to keep out to fea. When they came to 10 degrees of southern latitude, they difcovered an ifland called Mofambique, mostly inhabited by Saracens, who being good navigators, furnifh'd. Gama with two pilots, to fteer his fhips to Calicut, on the coaft of Malabar, in the Eaft Indies. The Arabs, at that time knew the ufe of the compafs, and had fea charts and maps, wherein the fituation of countries were laid down with great accuracy; nor were they without quadrants, with which they took the altitude of the fun, and the latitude of places.
Gama arriving at Calicut in May 1498, fent one of his men afhore to get intelligence. This man no fooner landed, than he was carried off his feet by the crowd, and borne here and there, all preffing to fee a man of an appearance and drefs fo frange, and all inquifitive to know whence he came, what he wanted, and by what fortune he had been brought into these parts; but he understood nothing of their language, nor did they of his. Luckily, however, there were then at Calicut fome merchants from Tunis in Africa. These were not a little aftonifhed when they faw him, and fuppofed he was a Spaniard by his drefs; accordingly one of them accofted him in Spanish; and being told they were Portuguese, Monzaida (the African) went on boardGama's fhip, who gave him a moft hearty welcome, and a kind reception. They held a long converfation together, wherein he let Gama into the knowledge of many useful particulars. The following day Gama fent two of his officers
with Monzaida to wait upon the Zamorin, or king of Calicut; who being admitted into his prefence, told him, that the king of Portugal, being filled with admiration at the fame and dignity of his name, had fent thither one of his admirals, who would be extremely glad of having the honour of waiting on his majefty; and, in the name of his mafter, to enter into a league of friendship with fo great a prince. The king made anfwer, that the arrival of the Portuguese admiral gave him inexpreffible pleasure; and he would, with chearfulness, embrace the opportunity of making fuch an alliance; accordingly Gama went athore, and was graciously received by the king.
Here the fecond book begins with a description of the country, and inhabitants of India, their claffes and cuftoms, &c. Then follows the intriguing of the Arabians, to prejudice the Zamorin against the Portuguese, by reprefenting them as pirates; wherein they fucceeded as they could have wish'd, the Zamorin having order'd al their goods which had been landed to be feized, and two Portuguefe to be thrown into prison. Gama, irritated by this ufage, refolved to make repritals, and affert his right by force. Accordingly he attacked the firft fhip he faw coming into the harbour, and took from thence fix naires, or noblemen, with nineteen of their fervants; thefe he put into clofe confinement, but difmiffed the reft. This made the Zamorin restore the two Portuguefe, with part of the goods. Gama, however, thinking himself ill ufed, refufed to deliver up his prifoners, and accordingly failed from Calicut, carrying them along with him. The first harbour he touched at, he fet one of the captives free, giving him a letter to be deliver'd to the Zamorin; wherein he fet forth the many plots form'd gainst him by the Mahometans; nevertheless, he assured his majefty, he would be attach'd to his intereft; and as to the nobility whom he had in cuftody, he defired him not to be uneasy about them, promifing, upon his honour, they fhould be treated with the higheft refpect, and fent back fafe to their native country. After this he proceeded on his voyage homewards, along the African coaft, and arrived at Lifba in fummer 1499. Of 148 who fet out with him, only 55 returned, and thefe too worn out by fickness and fatigue. The king expreffed the utmoft gratitude for the fervices of Gama, and all concerned in the expedition were rewarded according to their rank and fervices.
In 1500, Emmanuel fitted out 13 fhips, with 1500 men on board, under the command of Pedro Alvarez de Cabral,