Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/42

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13
MODERN DISCOVERY

of his liberal projects. The Portuguese trade was carried on with great success from Ormuz. About 1595 the Dutch made their first appearance in the Indian Seas, and gave a great stimulus to competition. Nor were the English merchants indifferent to the opening of a new market. So far back as 1561 Antonie Jenkinson visited Persia with that object, but he was not favourably received. In the first year of the seventeenth century, John Mildenhall, accompanied by John Cartwright, a student of Magdalen, renewed the overtures, and they found Shah Abbas even then well disposed to cede a port on the Gulf. In 1609, Joseph Salbancke again reported favourably of the commercial prospects if an English fleet could contend successfully against the Portuguese and Dutch. At length the East India Company, which was founded in 1600, succeeded in opening the trade in 1614, and from that year a British Resident was regularly established at Ispahan. It thus happened that both political events and commercial enterprise concurred at the same time to bring Persia into communication with Europe, and a country tliat only a few years before was scarcely known became the frequent resort of travellers.

In 1601, Philip II. thought it advisable to renew diplomatic intercourse with this great monarch, and he instructed the Viceroy at Goa to despatch a second mission to Ispahan. The Viceroy chose three Augustinian friars, among whom was Antoine de Gouvea, who has left an interesting account of his travels. Gouvea was the Rector of the College of Goa, and Professor of Theology, and he had acquired a competent knowledge of Persian. The party landed at Ormuz early in 1602, and set out in May to join the king, but they turned aside from the direct route to visit 'Chelminira,' or the Forty Columns, which he believed to be the 'sepulchre of an