MAGELLAN'S VOYAGE TO THE SOUTH SEA.
A GRAND PROCESSION.
And now glad shouts cleave the air, for mass in the great cathedral is ended and the Admiral and his men are coming out. Everybody screams as loud as he can, the Portuguese sailors loudest of all, for the Admiral is of their nation, though the Spanish have adopted him; cloaks and streamers are waved in the air as the trumpets announce the approach of the procession. First comes a consecrated banner, to fly from the mast of the Admiral's ship; then, in order, march the sailors and soldiers of the Victoria, with their priest following in the rear; then a sacred relic is borne along by two ecclesiastics escorted by the crew of the
A SIGHT OF BEWILDERING SPLENDOR.
And now the crowds press closer together and heads are raised with eager expectancy, as the commanders of the expedition pass by on horseback, richly attired and proudly conscious of their importance. Every one is a soldier and sailor of experience and renown, and as they ride by fingers are pointed and knowing ones explain to their neighbors that the one in the red cloak is Rodriguez Serrano, captain of the Santiago, that the one with tall plumes is Gaspar de Quesada, commander of the Concepcion, that the man with the surly, evil look, and long black hair is Luis de Mendoza, of the Victoria, that the tall man with pointed beard and golden armor is the great noble, Don Juan de Cartagena, who has left his castle to seek renown in foreign countries, and on account of his influence at court has been assigned to the command of the San Antonio; that the sharp-nosed, inquisitive looking man, who seems to be desirous of seeing everything that is to be seen, is one Anthony Pigapheta, a Knight of Rhodes, who dabbled in letters, has written a little poetry at times, and is consequently looked on as rather a suspicious character; while the broad-shouldered, black-bearded man with a velvet cap and robe trimmed with fur is the Admiral himself, who is already not too well liked by his captains, from the fact that he is a Portuguese, who managed in some unaccountable way to inspire both the Emperor Charles and the great Cardinal Ximenes with a high opinion of his ability and so to secure the command of the squadron. The knowing ones predict trouble for the Admiral from the pride of Don Juan de Cartagena and the machinations of the scheming little priest who is always near him, as well as from the well-known surliness and insubordination of Mendoza, and the wily craft of Quesada. But the broad-shouldered man in the fur-trimmed gown has a resolute look, a big nose and a firmly set mouth, and appears able to take care of himself; and those who know something of his history opine that Cartagena and the others will do well to take heed how they rouse his wrath.
So on, mid the shoutings of the people, the procession moves to the mole of Seville, and the captains and men go on board, and the bishop blesses the fleet and crews, and the Admiral goes to the Alcazar, for his preparations are not quite complete, but the anchors are lifted, and the ships drop gently down the beautiful Guadalquiver to its mouth and there cast anchor at San Lucar to wait for final arrangements to be made.
THE DEPARTURE FROM SEVILLE.
It was on Monday, August 10, 1519, the feast of St. Lawrence, that the fleet left Seville, and a few days later the Admiral came down the river in his own barge and hurried the preparations to put to sea. One delay after another occurred, however, and not until Tuesday, September 26, did the vessels lift anchor and stand out to sea. The interval had been well employed, however, for in addition to the regular duties of the day, every seaman who could be spared from the service of the vessel was required to go on shore and hear mass at the church of Our Lady of Barrameda, near San Lucar, and the Admiral commanded that before a final start was made every one should confess, receive absolution, and partake of the communion.
On the morning of September 20th, a boat went from the flag-ship bearing to the vessels of the squadron the final orders of the Admiral. These written documents are still extant, and convey the most minute directions for keeping the squadron together. At night a beacon burned from the stern of the Admiral's ship; all manoeuvres were telegraphed to the other vessels by means of the number, or color, or situation of the lamps displayed from the leading ship. The orders received, the yawl returned to the flag-ship; the anchors were raised; with a rousing cheer the sails went up, and amid salvoes of artillery the fleet put to sea, receiving as it passed the blessing of a monk hermit, who lifted his hands on the heights, of San Lucar and implored the favor of heaven for the expedition starting on its way to conquer new lands for the Christian King.
A VOYAGE TO THE GREAT UNKNOWN.
"Where are they going?" Nobody knew. A general idea prevailed that the discovery of new countries, the conquest of new lands, were the objects before the hardy voyageurs, but to what part of the world their prows were to be directed no one, not even the captains, could tell. The Admiral had orders from the Emperor and Cardinal to sail west to the Moluccas, but he kept his orders secret for fear his crew might desert, and he had good reason to do so for no one had ever been to the Moluccas by sailing west, and it was to the west Magellan proposed to go. More than one ship had been cast away on the unknown sands of America; more
So the hearts of the sailors were light; others had sailed to the New World and brought back wealth; why not they? Their expedition, was the largest which had ever left Spain on a western voyage of discovery and conquest. They were two hundred and thirty-seven in number, had eighty cannon, the best that in that age could be made, abundant provision, ammunition far more than they could possibly need, and a reckless spirit of adventure which would carry them through any danger. They were all on fire with enthusiasm, and their Admiral the most enthusiastic of all, but not the most interested. To their historian, Pigapheta, everything was new; he was a landsman, and no sooner was he out of sight of land than he at once began voluminous notes and memoranda of everything he saw. The sailors laughed to see him running to record in his journal things which to them were of every-day occurrence, but Pigapheta was not to be discouraged by the laughter and ridicule of the sailors. He persevered, and to him we owe the best account of the voyage ever written, for from beginning to end he was a part, and a not unimportant part, of the expedition.
A MARVELLOUS WATER-YIELDING TREE.
Six days after leaving San Lucar the Canary Islands were sighted and the fleet dropped anchor in the harbor of Teneriffe, where provisions were taken in and the already large stores in the holds of the ships were augmented by such a quantity as to render starvation an exceedingly improbable result of any voyage however long. Then leaving Teneriffe after three busy days of loading, they put into the port of Monterose where a large quantity of pitch for the use of the vessels was taken on board, and Pigapheta embraced the opportunity of this comparatively lengthy stay at the Canary Islands to go on shore and listen to a tale told him of a very great marvel: In one of these islands, he says, no rain ever falls, nor dew, and the inhabitants would perish for want of water were it not for a certain tree which collects the moisture and gives it forth in buckets-full at its base. The worthy historian questions whether the tree might not be cultivated in such a way as to be made available for a long voyage, and he even hints at the propriety of taking a tree on board, but his suggestions on this point seem to have been scouted by the commanding officers and poor Pigapheta discovered that in naval service it is the part of subordinates to know as little as possible. On Monday, the third day of October, the voyage really began, when the cliffs of Teneriffe faded from view and the little squadron was alone on the deep.
MAN-EATERS OF THE DEEP.
The course of the fleet lay to the south, and for several days they coasted along in sight of Africa, then turned their prows to the west and in sixty days sighted the coast of Brazil. For a wonder, to Magellan at least, they had rain all the way, but as this was the rainy season in that part of the world the marvel has been considerably diminished by more accurate knowledge of the meteorological phenomena of the Equator. To Pigapheta everything was novel; he watched the sharks which followed the ships and listened to the stories of the sailors who assured him that the sharks knew when one of their number was about to die, and followed the vessel for the purpose of devouring the corpse when it should be committed to the waves. He watched the birds and noted in particular one of the kind known as Mother Carey's Chickens, the female of which is superstitiously believed to lay her
GIANTS OF BRAZIL.
The members of the expedition had an exceedingly dim idea of the size of the countries they were dealing with and more than one of Magellan's men thought he had made a liberal estimate in the statement that Verzin, or Brazil, in size exceeded all France. They did not seem to entertain the dimmest idea of the extent of the country, and probably would not have believed the fact that in extent Brazil is equal to Europe. The population of the country excited their lively interest and not a few stories were picked up by the sailors as to the lives and domestic habits of the people. Extravagant enough were these tales to the men of that or any other time, and yet they were readily believed. The natives of the coast told wonderful yarns of the people of the interior and no story was too incredible to be recorded by the historian. The Upland Indians were 400 feet high, and lived to be two hundred years old; they never slept because when they once lay down their joints were too stiff to rise again, so that when they rested they leaned against trees or placed their elbows on mountains. They adored a god which appeared to them once a year; they had houses the lowest of which was taller than the loftiest mountain; there was gold in such abundance that it was a thing of no regard; the streets were paved with it; the king of that country had it sprinkled before him in yellow showers whenever he walked abroad.
SEEKING A PASSAGE.
Greedily the eyes of the Spaniards distended when these monstrous fabrications were commended to their attention, and some were in favor of ending the marine expedition then and there and instituting a land march to this marvellous country of gold and giants; but Magellan said no, he had not started to hunt giants nor to find gold, but to seek a western passage to the Moluccas and the Moluccas he was determined to find. So, leaving the bay of Rio de Janeiro the expedition sailed south, and entered the wide estuary of La Plata which they deemed the passage of which they were in search. Sailing up the bay they continued some distance before they discovered it was not a strait, and even the limited geographical knowledge of that time taught Magellan that by sailing up a fresh-water river he must sooner or later come to the end of it, and back the ships turned, sailed out of the La Plata and continued to the south.
ORIGIN OF CANNIBALISM AMONG THE PATAGONIANS.
Their next landing was among the Patagonians, and when the huge black forms of these people appeared on the coast, the sailors readily believed that they had in reality arrived in the land of giants. But so far from being savage, the Patagonians received them kindly, brought them food, guided them to water, and in every way possible supplied the wants of these strangers whom they regarded as having come down from heaven. The kind welcome, however, was ill-requited, for several of the Patagonians were kidnapped by the Spaniards, and some of them put in irons in order to detain them on the vessels. In this land, too, they found
The strange appearance and facial disfigurements of the Patagonians at once attracted the European eye. These natives cut holes in their lips and suspended stones from them, of such size and weight as to draw the lower lip down below the level of the chin; they slit their noses, and wore rings pendent from those organs. The lobes of their ears were so elongated by the pieces of wood placed
The priests accompanying the expedition took one of the natives in hand for education; baptized him by the name of John, taught him to pronounce the words Jesus and Maria, and had great hopes of his conversion, until he stole a bag of nails and vanished. The Patagonians were a source of amusement too, for they thought the boats were the ships' children, and conceived that the larger vessels were suckling their young when the yawls were placed alongside the ships. Nor did the wonders cease here. Every island was full of sea-lions and sea-calves. There were birds so fat that they could not be plucked, but were skinned instead. There were animals with the head and ears of a mule, the neck of a camel, the body of a deer, the tail of a horse -- the guanaco. The capture of several of the giants by the Spaniards made the natives cautious and unfriendly, and ultimately provoked hostilities between them and the visitors, and in a fight which resulted, one Spaniard was killed by a poisoned arrow. In revenge Magellan burned the village and sailed away. But Pigapheta improved the occasion to learn from the giant prisoner something of the medical practice of his people, and informs us that when the Patagonians had the stomach-ache they put an arrow down their throats the distance of two or three feet, which made them vomit at least a bucketful of green stuff, whereupon, as might readily be supposed, they got better. When their heads ached they made a cut on the forehead, and so for any portion of the body which was afflicted. When one died, ten devils appeared and danced round the body, and of the ten, one was always much larger than any of the rest, and was thereby supposed to be the prince of the devils come to claim his own. The giants were expensive passengers, for any one of them at a meal ate a half bushel basket full of biscuits and drank a bucketful of water, so they were not sorry later on in the voyage when the last one of their prisoners, unaccustomed to ship-fare and to the restraints of a vessel, gave up the ghost.