Notable Voyagers

Notable Voyagers

by William Henry Giles Kingston

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Overview

In the year 1486 a council of learned professors of geography, mathematics, and all branches of science, erudite friars, accomplished bishops, and other dignitaries of the Church, were seated in the vast arched hall of the old Dominican convent of Saint Stephen in Salamanca, then the great seat of learning in Spain. They had met to hear a simple mariner, then standing in their midst, propound and defend certain conclusions at which
he had arrived regarding the form and geography of the earth, and the possibility, nay, the certainty, that by sailing west, the unknown shores of Eastern India could be reached. Some of his hearers declared it to be grossly presumptuous in an ordinary man to suppose, after so many profound philosophers and
mathematicians had been studying the world, and so many able navigators had been sailing about it for years past, that there remained so vast a discovery for him to make. Some cited the books of the Old Testament to prove that he was wrong, others the explanations of various reverend commentators. Doctrinal points were mixed up with philosophical discussions, and a mathematical demonstration was allowed no weight if it
appeared to clash with a text of Scripture or comment of one of the fathers.
Although Pliny and the wisest of the ancients had maintained the possibility of an antipodes in the southern
hemisphere, these learned gentlemen made out that it was altogether a novel theory.
Others declared that to assert there were inhabited lands on the opposite side of the globe would be to
maintain that there were nations not descended from Adam, as it would have been impossible for them to have
passed the intervening ocean, and therefore discredit would be thrown on the Bible.
Again, some of the council more versed in science, though admitting the globular form of the earth, and the
possibility of an opposite habitable hemisphere, maintained that it would be impossible to arrive there on
account of the insupportable heat of the torrid zone; besides which, if the circumference of the earth was as
great as they supposed, it would require three years to make the voyage.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012215949
Publisher: JC PUB NETWORKS
Publication date: 03/12/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

William Henry Giles Kingston (28 February 1814 - 5 August 1880), writer of tales for boys, was born in London, but spent much of his youth in Oporto, where his father was a meWilliam Kingston was born in Harley Street, London, on 28 February 1814. He was the eldest son of Lucy Henry Kingston, and grandson by the mother's side of Sir Giles Rooke, Knight Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. His father was in the wine business in Oporto, and there for many years the son lived, making frequent voyages to England, and contracting a lifelong affection for the sea. He entered his father's business, but soon indulged his natural bent for writing. His newspaper articles on Portugal were translated into Portuguese, and assisted the conclusion of the commercial treaty with Portugal in 1842, when he received from Donna Mariada Gloria an order of Portuguese knighthood and a pension.
His first book was The Circassian Chief, a story published in 1844, and while still living in Oporto, he wrote The Prime Minister, an historical novel, and Lusitanian Sketches, descriptions of travels in Portugal. Settling in England, he interested himself in the emigration movement, edited in 1844 The Colonist' and The Colonial Magazine and East India Review, was honorary secretary of a colonisation society, wrote in 1848 Some Suggestions for a System of General Emigration, lectured on colonisation in 1849, published a manual for colonists, How to Emigrate, in 1850, and visited the western highlands on behalf of the emigration commissioners. He was afterwards a zealous volunteer and worked actively for the improvement of the condition of seamen. But from 1850 his chief occupation was writing books for boys, or editing boys' annuals and weekly periodicals. The Union Jack, a paper for boys, he started only a few months before his death.

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