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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/150

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

iards discovered the West India Islands, Mexico, Peru and Florida. France discovered the country lying along the basin of the St. Lawrence and the valley of the Mississippi. Holland, through an English navigator, discovered the Hudson River and the future site of New York. England, through another alien, discovered the New England coast and that of Virginia; it discovered, or rediscovered, vast Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and other South Sea islands; in quite recent years it discovered the sources of the Nile. All these countries have been or are about to be colonized by the peoples that discovered them.

Discovery is chiefly the work of private enterprise. It was Phœnician and Greek traders who explored the northern and western coasts of Africa, of Spain, of Gaul, and of Britain. Scandinavian mariners, Norman and English fishermen, discovered North America. Spanish adventurers found the Canaries. The host of travelers have explored on their private account. Yet there are animals, like Mr. Thompson's Lobo, the wolf, and Spot, the crow, able generals and leaders of large bands, who seem to direct exploratory movements. So after a while governments lend their aid when they have ends of their 'own or their aid is needed. The two most memorable exploring expeditions of modern times, and the most momentous in their results, were either in great part or wholly equipped by their respective governments. Two of the vessels of Columbus were impressed ships, and the equipment proceeded from the Castilian treasury, the third being fitted out by merchant mariners of Palos. The expedition of Captain Cook, which practically added a new continent to the globe, was altogether a state enterprise, and its celebrated commander was not, like Columbus, its designer and organizer, but only its director. The Portuguese discoveries of the Azores and the Cape were also state-aided. From this time forward Spanish and Portuguese adventurers received a royal license to discover, and the South American continent, with Mexico and Peru as its brightest jewels, was discovered by just such adventurers. Where a government refuses itself to discover, it may, like the States-General of Holland, assure to the enterprising a terminable monopoly of trade with newly discovered lands, and to this assurance the exploration of New York and its neighborhood and the discovery of Connecticut were due. Merchant companies have naturally a keen eye to the main chance, but those English and Dutch merchants can not be accused of timidity who chartered Cabot, Gilbert, Hudson and other daring mariners to seek a northwest passage to the East. Kings, in their private capacity, newspaper proprietors and rich individuals, from generous motives, sometimes equip and support explorers like Stanley and Winwood Reade.

Geographical, like scientific, discovery is often accidental. Phœnician and Greek traders, Spanish adventurers, Norman and English