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William Y/interbotham

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.venturers could reach in the time employed in their voyages, which was comprehended in a very small space. There appears no reafon to doubt of the discovery; but as the land was never colonized, nor any advantages made of it, it may fairly be conjectured, that they reached no farther than the barren country of Labrador. In stort, it is from a much later period that we must date the real discovery of America *.

Towards the clofe of the 14th century, the navigation of Europe was scarcely extended beyond the limits of the Mediterranean. The mariner's compass had been invented and in common use'for more than a century; yet with the help of this sure guide, prompted by the most ardent spirit of discovery, and encouraged by the patronage of princes, the mariners of thofe days rarely ventured from the sight of land. They acquired great applause by failing along the coast of Africa and discovering fome of the neighbouring islands; and aster pushing their researches with the greatest industry and perseverance for more than half a century, the Portuguese,' ,whq were the most fortunate and enterprising, extended their discoveries''Southward no farther than the equator.

The rich commodities of the East, had for several ages been brought
into Europe by the way of the Red '£ca and the Mediterranean; and it
had now became the object of the Portuguese to sind a passage to India,
by failing roind the Southern extremity of Africa and then taking an
Eastern course. This great object engaged the general attention of
mankind, and drew into the Portuguese service adventurers from every
maritime nation in Europe. Every year added to their experience in
navigation, and seemed to promise a reward to their industry. The
profpect, however, cf arriving at. the Indies was extremely distant;
sifty years perseverance in the fame track, had brought them only to the
equator, and it was propable that as many more would elapse besore they
could accomplish their purpofe, had not Columbus, by an uncommon
exertion of genius, formed a design no less astonishing to the age in
which he lived, than benessicial to posterity.

Among the foreigners whom the fame of the discoveries made by the
Portuguese had allured into their service, was Christopher Colon or
Columbus, a subject of the republic of Genoa, Neither the time nor

• In the »d Vol. ol the Tranfactions os the Philofophical Society al Philadelphia,
Mr. Otto, in a Memoir on the Difcovery of America, strenuously contends, that one
Beh»m, a German, discovered the American Continent prior to its being discovered by
Columbus. For the ingenious arguments in support os this opinion, the reader is re-
serred to the Memoir.

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