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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/151

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COLONIES AND THE MOTHER COUNTRY.

fishermen were blown by a succession of gales to Cadiz and Cyrene, the Canaries, Mexico and Newfoundland. Diaz was storm-carried southward to the Cape, where two shipwrecked mariners long afterward induced the Dutch to settle. Columbus, Cabot and Hudson sought a passage to India or China. The day comes, however, when chance gives way to a systematic art of discovery. The voyage of Columbus was the first where the end was deliberately aimed at and patiently worked up to. Under Ferdinand the Catholic maritime discovery was raised to an art. A board of eminent Spanish navigators, with Vespucci at its head, sat to construct charts and trace out routes for projected voyages. The primary object of Cook's first voyage was astronomical, and he was scientifically equipped for discovery on that, as of course also on the two later voyages, whose sole end was the one so gloriously gained.

Prior discovery confers an indefeasible title to occupy as against any other colonizing power. Misled by a false statement, a British man-of war entered the Mississippi presumably to take possession of Louisiana, but turned aside on being informed of the earlier French occupation. In the thirties two naval expeditions were exploring at the same time in Spencer Gulf, South Australia. Though the French gracefully yielded the pas to the prior English ship, they left a mark on a number of points that still bear French names. There seems to be now no doubt that Brazil had been discovered and rediscovered by Spanish navigators before the Portuguese carbajal set foot on it, but, owing to an international agreement, the discoverers ceded their claim.

Discovery does not necessarily issue in colonization. The more or less mythical discoveries of the coasts of North America and Australia in the ninth and sixteenth centuries interest the antiquarian rather than the historian. They resemble the so-called anticipations of scientific discoveries—Cesalpino's, of Harvey; Vico's, of Wolf and Niebuhr; Swedenborg-'s, of Kant; and a host of guessers, of Darwin. As proof alone is discovery in science, so only exploration is discovery in geography. For lack of this essential element even well-certified discoveries are apt to be fruitless. Tasman's frightened glimpse of New Zealand and his more careful coasting of Tasmania left durable marks on both countries, but only in nomenclature. They led to nothing. No Dutch settlement seems ever to have been made south of New Guinea; no northern nationality is more conspicuously absent among the colonizers of the South Seas. The earlier Portuguese discovery of the Cape of Good Hope was regarded as that of a halfway house to a more distant goal; they stopped to recruit, then hurried off to rich Cathay. The French left their names to a dozen headlands and rivers on the coast of Western Australia, but, though they often excited the suspicions of New South Wales, they made no attempt to settle.

Discovery, to assure sovereignty over the discovered country,