ABSTRACT

Although, after a severe struggle, the title of John to the throne was recognised by the sovereign of Castile,* the minds of his subjects were still so unsettled, that John found it necessary to give employment out of the kingdom to the restless spirits within it.†

1411 In 1411 he accordingly undertook an expedition against the Moors, of which the immediate object was the capture of Ceuta.‡

1415 That fortress surrendered in 1415. John resolved to continue his enterprises against the Moors, under the direction of his third son, the famous prince Henry of Vasco. " M a , "

observes Barros, " i l desiderio del infante con questi tali predi non remaneva soddesfatto."*

Henry -†- possessed science far beyond the men of rank of his time. He had read all that was then extant respecting Southern Africa ; had gained what information he could of it from the Moors of Barbary; and had formed a notion, that it was possible to pass round Africa to the Indies. He laboured with the utmost diligence to accomplish this passage ; entertaining an earnest hope, that he might thus obtain for his own country the riches which were expected to flow from Indian commerce : his whole life was, in fact, devoted to the prosecution of this design. In this view he fitted out vessels ; engaged the hardiest and most able navigators to follow up his plans ; and fixed his residence on the most southerly point of Portugal, in order that he might thence catch the first view of his returning ships. ‡

Such was the ardent spirit with which that Prince entered into these enterprises; and such was the laudable object he had in view.