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command of the Mediterranean, grow rich upon the treasures which the caravans of the East poured into their markets; but they saw, also, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, an ocean on whose untraversed waters already in imagination they were borne to Cathay, and the goldroofed palaces of Cipango. Bit by bit, Portuguese ships felt their way down the coast of Africa, until Bartolomeo Diaz faced an ocean open beyond the Cape, and at last, in this wonderful year of 1497, at the very moment when Cabot with the swelling heart of a discoverer was doling out islands to his Genoese comrades, Vasco di Gama rounded the Cape, and filled his sails for the Eastern seas.

It was the dawn of the new order, in which the power of Empire has passed into the hands of the nations commanding the ocean. The Italian cities, Venice and Genoa, must have seen that their day was waning. They were hemmed in. It is interesting to notice that Contarini knew it. When Sebastian Cabot proposed to him to show Venice his shorter passage to the East

"With regard to the possibility of such an issue I am doubtful" (Contarini wrote); "for I have some slight knowledge of geography, and, considering the position of Venice, I can see no way whatever by which she can undertake these voyages. It would be necessary to sail in vessels built at Venice, or else they must be built outside the Strait. If they are built at Venice, they will have to pass the

Straits of Gibraltar to reach the ocean, which would not be possible in face of the opposition of the King of Portugal and the King of Spain. If they are not built at Venice, they can only be built on the shore of the Western ocean, for they cannot be constructed on the Red Sea without infinite trouble.

Nor can I see any possibility of building ships on the

Western ocean."

It had been the policy of the Italian critics, therefore, to keep back their navigators from these enterprises on the Western seas. But the navigators would not be held. The instinct of maritime adventure was in their blood. They had the compass to guide them now. Visions of Ophir lured them on; and the learned men of their own country sped them men like the Florentine Toscanelli, who sent the sea-chart to Columbus to aid him in his "magnificent and great desire to find a way to where the spices grow." When their own critics would not employ them, they gave their services to the Kings of Spain and Portugal, whose opposition to her voyages of discovery in consequence Venice soon had very good reason to fear. In May 1493, shortly after Columbus returned to Spain, Pope Alexander VI., by a bull, drawing a line from the Arctic pole to the Antarctic, a hundred leagues towards the west and south from any of the islands which are commonly called De los Azores and Cape Verde, gave to Spain all the islands and firm lands, discovered and to be discovered after the Christmas of 1492, to the west of this line, and to Portugal all to the east. By the Treaty of Tordesillas a year later, this line was redrawn to pass, north and south, three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. Thus we have the islands of the Portuguese called the East Indies. Thus, too, we have the Southern seas unmentioned in the letters-patent of Henry for the voyage of 1497, lest the Portuguese and Spanish envoys should take alarm. And thus we find, years later, Magellan, a Portuguese, in the service of Spain, for it was the interest of Portugal, not to encourage, but rather to thwart, his particular

schemes of discovery. And while the New World was in the making, thus, John Cabot, the Genoese, settled in England.

It is as likely as not that he made his home in Bristol. Anspach, it will be remembered, accounts for his introduction to King Henry by his successful negotiations with the Court of Denmark on behalf of the merchants of Bristol. That is not improbable. Hundreds of years before, the Vikings had searched the northern seas, found the Faroes and Iceland, fought the ice to Greenland, and, almost beyond a doubt, sighted, it may be even landed on, Labrador. This legacy of sober enterprise had been bequeathed to the English sailors. By the beginning of the fourteenth century, English voyages to Iceland were numerous. By the fifteenth, a flourishing trade existed between the two countries. In this intercourse with Iceland, Bristol was always to the front, and once she had a monopoly of it. So important had it grown that an interruption of it could become a casus belli between England and Denmark; and it is not impossible that Cabot was engaged about 1495 in prosecuting the claims of the Bristol men for ships seized and cargoes sold by the Danish king in the war which had just ended. But besides trade and sober adventures in the north seas, the Bristol mariners had those visions and fancies to which so greatly, as Nansen says, England owes her territory to-day visions of ice-free seas, dreams of the Antilia, the land that the Portuguese in the Canaries saw shining in the west in the setting of the sun, the "green isles of the flood" that vanished at the fisherman's approach. We find Columbus, in a

letter describing a voyage to Iceland, recording that a mariner of Bristol sailed from there on July 15, 1480, with ships of 80 tons burden, to discover the mysterious land of Brasylle or O'Brazil, reputed to lie in the Atlantic; and between then and 1497, seven times, Bristol men set out for the island of Brazil and the Seven Cities. They were "dreamers, dreaming greatly," who "yearned beyond the sky-line where the strange roads go down"; and among them came Cabot, learned as they in all navigating arts, with a greater knowledge of geography, and his own hot fancies about a western way to Cipango, which the spice caravans at Mecca had fired, and the news of Columbus's voyage were to set ablaze afresh. And they and he, sailing out once more, came to the continent of North America, and realised their dreams in a discovery such as they never dreamed of. For just as Columbus set sail for the land of spices, and when he came to Cuba made sure that it was Cipango, nor ever thought but that the land he found was the territory of the Grand Khan; so John Cabot, when he discovered the island, where the land was fertile and temperate, and fish so plentiful that the trade with Iceland must cease, had his thoughts still directed to the greater undertaking of sailing "along the coast to the east, where he believes all the spices of the world grow, and where there are also gems," and hopes to make London a greater place for spices than Alexandria. Even so, two hundred years later, La Salle named his estate on the rapids of the St Lawrence Lachine, in the belief that it was on a waterway that led to China. From that greater undertaking, so far

as we know, John Cabot never returned. In his second voyage to the north, in 1501, Corte-Real found in Nova Scotia or Cape Breton "a broken sword, gilded, which was certainly made in Italy," and in the ears of a native boy two silver rings "which with out doubt seem to have been manufactured in Venice." It is believed that these must have been relics of John Cabot's second expedition. Mr Weare makes the interesting suggestion that Cabot reached the mainland and was there met and killed by Alonso de Hojeda, who with La Cosa, the map-maker, as chief pilot, and Amerigo Vespucci as one of his "useful companions," set sail for the north in the spring of 1499. Certainly, Hojeda would have little scruple in putting out of the way any Englishman whom he found on lands dedicated to Spain by the papal bull. And we might thus explain the presence, in La Cosa's map of 1500, of English

flags on territory of greatly wider extent than that discovered by Cabot in the 1497 voyage. But all this is conjecture. It is enough that we know that John Cabot discovered North America, and that this year of rejoicings throughout the empire is the fourth centenary of the expedition by which the foundations of the empire were laid.

"When Drake went down to the Horn,

And England was crowned thereby, 'Twixt seas unsailed and shores unhailed

Our Lodge-our Lodge was born (And England was crowned thereby !)"

Such is the "Song of the Dead," who call on their sons to follow after "by the bones on the way." And we may say, this year more surely than ever, that these sons still living are a Lodge-a Lodge of Empire, born when John Cabot discovered America, long before Drake went down to the Horn. And England thereby is crowned!



It was the evening of a burning Sunday in June 1844, in an out-ofthe-way village in the southern plains of India, when, seated in my long arm-chair in the verandah, I fell asleep and dreamed.

I had been reading Grimm's Fairy Tales, and my mind was full of Rumpelstiltskin, the little old man who could spin straw into gold; and while I was thinking of this, and of how delightful it would be to have such power, I thought some one touched me on the shoulder and said, "Come with me, and I will show you how you may do even greater wonders than Rumpelstiltskin; for you shall spin water into gold, and cinders into cornfields, and ropes of sand into strings of pearl."

And I looked, and we seemed to be standing on a bare hillside commanding an extensive view of a vast level plain, bounded in the far distance by the sea. And somehow I thought that, notwithstanding the great distance, I could distinguish every detail of the landscape as if through a telescope and a more desolate scene I had never beheld. The whole plain seemed to be one vast desert of burning sand, without a blade of vegetation, and here and there were clusters of wretched mud hovels, the only human habitation; and at the doors were gathered groups of the most miserable, emaciated creatures women, and children—that I had

ever seen.

- men,

Then I perceived, to my astonishment, that through this desolate region there ran a great river, with branches like the veins on a man's

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hand, provided by nature, so it would seem, for the fertilisation of the soil. And I thought of Egypt and the Nile, and could not help wondering why, with all this abundant water, there should be no sign of vegetation. Then somehow the scene changed, and I thought I was in some great hall crowded with people, to whom I was going to lecture. By my side was an easel, and on it a huge map of the same vast desert, with all the features I had just


And again my thoughts ran on Egypt, and the words of Moses, which I had heard that morning in church, kept coming into my head, "Must we fetch you water out of this rock!" Then I took up a pointer, and, with Moses still in my thoughts, began to touch the several arms of the great river on the map, as if to illustrate my lecture; and behold, as I did so, each branch of the river seemed to break into a thousand tiny channels, like silver threads, and at once the colours of the landscape changed, for I still seemed to be regarding the actual scene,—and gradually stretch after stretch of the burnt-up sand was transformed before my eyes into fields of waving corn. The clusters of mud hovels, baking in the sun, became well built villages shaded by groves of palm; and under the trees were groups of well-to-do country people, and troops of children in school play-grounds. The reaches of the river too seemed to widen and grow beautiful, with a fringe of dense and lovely foliage; and on the broad shining water


ways I saw, following each other the shelves of our palatial offices in succession, huge barges loaded at Whitehall-we doubt if there to the water's edge with merchan- is to be found a volume of more dise of every sort and description. dramatic interest, or more rich in Among them were market-boats, practical lessons, than the modest with their picturesque cargo and at first sight strictly technical fruits and country folk, forming a record cited at the foot of this scene such as once led to the com- page.1 parison of a well-dressed Eastern crowd to a garden of tulips. And as I watched them dropping down the stream, a strain of sweet music smote my ear, and voices of women and children singing in chorus rose in the clear morning air. In a word, the whole land had suddenly awakened from death to life, and the desert had been turned into a rich and beautiful garden. And as I was wondering by what magic so marvellous a transformation had been wrought, I awoke, and behold it was a dream! And on the table by my side lay an unopened letter "On her Majesty's Service," ordering me to headquarters, and inviting me to take charge of a great scheme of public works in another part of the Presidency.

We can imagine that it was in some such fashion as this that, fifty years ago, the brain of a gifted engineer was inspired to undertake and carry to triumphant completion one of the most extraordinary and fruitful works of the present century-a work calculated at any time to fill Englishmen with pride, but at the present moment one of vital importance to the empire, not only in itself, but in the help which its history may afford in a crisis of the gravest magnitude.

In all the literature of Indian administration-that vast library of yearly reports whose fate is for the most part to gather dust on

Embedded in its 150 pages, and half hidden under the statistics and technicalities with which they bristle, there lies a veritable historical romance, hardly a whit less wonderful than the airy fancy we have sketched above, amounting as it does to nothing less than the literal and practical realisation of exactly such a dream as we have imagined. The Conquest of the Godavery,' in the hands of a master, might indeed be so presented in the form of drama or romance as to rival many a more famous work which has given immortality to the writer of fiction.

It is the story of a herculean task set for execution, of a foresight in essaying it amounting almost to inspiration, of undaunted courage and perseverance in face of overwhelming obstacles, and of a success far surpassing the most sanguine anticipations, such as would at all times be deserving of careful study, but which has special claims on public attention at the present time, and paramount claims on those responsible in any degree for the welfare of India.

And are we not all at this moment realising our share of that responsibility ?-face to face as we are once more with the hideous spectre of Famine, threatening millions who depend on us for their daily bread. Day after day our withers are wrung by detailed reports from those on the spot, of

1 The Engineering Works of the Godávari Delta; a Descriptive and Historical Account. Compiled for the Madras Government by George T. Walch, M. Inst. C.E., Chief Engineer for Irrigation, Madras (retired).

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