Page:Early voyages to Terra Australis.djvu/66
hence it is to be believed that for this reason the Portuguese have kept silence respecting their discovery of it.
This discovery, as we have said, must be comprised between the years 1512 and 1542. There is, however, no mention made of it in the voyages of the time, which would sufficiently prove that the Portuguese had suppressed, or at least concealed, the account of it. But I propose to endeavour to supply this defect from the narrative of two of their historians.
Castanheda, a Portuguese author, who had been in India, tells us that in the beginning of July, 1525, the Portuguese of Ternate, one of the Moluccas, dispatched a vessel to the island of Celebes to traffic there; that this vessel on its return was driven by violent winds and currents into an open sea, between the Straits of Magellan and the Moluccas; that the Portuguese found themselves thrown more than three hundred leagues out of their route, and were several times nearly lost. One night their rudder was carried away, and they beat about till the morning, when they discovered an island thirty leagues in circumference, on which they landed, with thanks to God for affording them this asylum. The islanders gave them an excellent reception; they were of a tawny colour, but well made and good looking, both men and women. The men had long black beards. The Portuguese remained four months in this island, not only for the purpose of refitting, but because the winds were contrary for the return to the Moluccas. At length they departed, and reached Ternate on the 20th of January, 1526.
Such is the narrative of Castanheda. The Jesuit Maffei, who has given us a history of India, has supplied us with less details, but his account is not less valuable, inasmuch as he gives us the name of the captain who commanded the ship. He says: Some Portuguese of the Moluccas, having gone to the islands of Celebes to seek for gold, but not having been able to land, were driven by a fearful tempest upon an