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[13] the placid mildness of his character, and those who
Chap. I.} 1498.
approached him spread the fame of his courtesy. Without the stern enthusiasm of Columbus, he was distinguished by the gentleness of his nature and by serene contentment. For nearly sixty years, during a period when marine adventure engaged the most intense public curiosity, he was reverenced for his achievements, his knowledge of cosmography, and his skill in navigation. On the death of Henry the Seventh he was called out of England by the command of Ferdinand, the Catholic king of Castile, and was appointed one of the Council for the New Indies, ever cherishing the hope to discover ‘that hidden secret of nature,’ the direct passage to Asia. In 1518 he was named Pilot Major of Spain, and no
one could guide a ship to the Indies whom he had not first examined and approved. He attended the congress which in April 1524 assembled at Badajoz
to decide on the respective pretensions of Portugal and Spain to the islands of the Moluccas. He subsequently sailed to South America, under the auspices of Charles V., though not with entire success. On his return to his native land, he advanced its commerce by opposing a mercantile monopoly, and was pensioned and rewarded for his merits as the Great Seaman. It
was he who framed the instructions for the expedition which discovered the passage to Archangel. He
lived to an extreme old age, and so loved his profession to the last, that in the hour of death his wandering thoughts were upon the ocean. The discoverer of the territory of our country was one of the most extraordinary men of his day: there is deep reason for regret that time has spared so few memorials of his career. Himself incapable of jealousy, he did

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