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Full text of "The golden age of Prince Henry the Navigator"

HANDBOUND 
AT THE 



UNIVt.RSlTY OF 
TORONTO PRESS 






THE GOLDEN AGE OF 
PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 



WORKS 


BY 




J. JOHNSTON 


ABRAHAM 
)N'S LOG 


THE SURGEC 


{-jtk Edition) 






THE NIGHT 


NURSE 


(5//5 Edition) 











h' rijiit i9pit^cc 



JOHN OF AVIZ 



y^ 



THE GOLDEN AGE OF 
PRINCE HENRY THE 
NAVIGATOR 



.T 1 *f BY 



J. P7 0LIVEIRA MARTINS 



«•> 



TRANSLATED, WITH ADDITIONS AND ANNOTATIONS 

BY 

JAS. JOHNSTON ABRAHAM 

AND 

WM. EDWARD REYNOLDS 



Wnn TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS 

LONDON 

CHAPMAN AND HALL, Ltd. 

1914 



\ 



Richard Clay & Sons, Limitud, 

brcnswick street, stamford street, 3.b., 

axd bungat, suffolk. 






TRANSLATORS^ PREFACE 

The following work is an account of the lives, adventures, 
discoveries, dreams, and ultimate fates of that wonderful 
family of brothers, the Portuguese Grandsons of John of 
Gaunt — sons of Join of Aviz, and Philippa of Lancaster. 

In its pages will be found living, moving pictures of 
grim old John of Aviz himself, as well as of his sons, Duarte 
the Eloquent, Peter the Traveller, Henry the Navigator, 
John the Unfortunate, Fernando the Martyr, and last, 
but not least, Barcellos " le batard," head of the future 
Royal House of Braganza. 

The glimpses it gives of the colour and movement of 
the fifteenth century, when Moslem and Christian fought 
fiercely for dominance in Europe, when grim mediaeval 
barbarism, cruelty and lust, mixed and mingled with the 
pomp and circumstance of knightly chivalry, with child- 
like Christian piety and budding transcendentalism, makes 
it read more like a cunningly devised historical romance 
than sober history. Yet all the facts presented have been 
carefully verified ; and often the very words of the original 
documents have been interwoven in the text : for the aim 
of the author has been to attempt, as it were, a resurrec- 
tion, striving to make his readers see events, not with their 
own sophisticated modern eyes, but as they appeared to the 
men and women of the time in which they were happening. 

In the Iberian peninsula the work is now a classic. It 
has been drawn upon freely by foreign writers in the com- 
pilation of histories of discovery and colonisation. But 
up to the present it has never before been presented to the 
English public. 

In this translation we have used the last edition published 
during the author's lifetime {Os Filhos de D. Joao I, 



vi TRANSLATORS' PREFACE 

Lisbon, 1901), following as closely as possible the original 
text, adding notes only when such appeared to us neces- 
sary. Certain liberties of suppression must, however, be 
acknowledged : one complete chapter dealing with the 
political constitution of the country has been entirely 
omitted as of no interest to English readers ; an elaborate 
appendix giving in extenso the text of many of the docu- 
ments cited has been left out; and various carping refer- 
ences to the late reigning house of Braganza, due to the 
author's strong Republican bias, have been deleted since 
the recent Revolution has rendered them obsolete. 

It will be found that the impression of Henry the Navi- 
gator here presented differs considerably from the classical 
view as found in the works of Major and Beazley. To 
appreciate this properly it must be remembered that the 
author looked upon the Portuguese colonies as the main 
cause of the poverty and decadence of his country, a 
continual drain upon the nation's life-blood, an incubus 
the removal of which would at once bring new life, new 
hope, new prosperity to the land that he loved so dearly. 

Holding such views it is natural that his mind should be 
biassed considerably against the man who was mainly 
responsible for that enormous outburst of colonising energy 
which raised Portugal, for the time being, into the position 
of the foremost nation in Europe, and likewise caused her 
eventual decay through inability, owing to her meagre 
population, to defend and maintain the enormous posses- 
sions she had acquired. 

Remembering these opinions, each reader must decide 
for himself how much of truth there is in the picture here 
presented of Prince Henry. Our part has been to offer 
in the text the author's views without further comment. 

J. Johnston Abraham. 
W. Edward Reynolds. 

Carlingford Lodge, 

Tunlridjc Well*, 

Ort'Mr, 1915. 



CONTENTS 



CHAr. 



TRANSLATORS PREFACE 



I THE COURT AND COUNCIL 
II THE CAPTURE OP CEUTA 
III THE PRINCE NAVIGATOR 



IV THE TRAVELS OP PRINCE PETER TO THE SEVEN PARTS OF 
THE EARTH ..... 



V A STATESMAN OP THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY 
VI THE LOYAL COUNSELLOR 
VII TANGIER 



VIII THE SLAVE MARKETS OP LAGOS 
IX THE REGENCY 
X ALFARROBEIRA 
XI THE DECREE OF DESTINY 

APPENDIX .... 
INDEX ..... 



PAGE 
V 

1 

30 
61 

85 
129 
145 
169 
205 
232 
272 
306 
316 
321 



VI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Tofo.ct'pagt 

ZQiss OF A^iz Frontispiece 

{From Martim' Life of Nun'alvarts) 



JOHN OP GAUNT 

{From an old print) 



NUN 'aLV ARES .... 

{From the ' Chronica do Condeitahre,' 1528) 



6 

36 



THE CHURCH OP THE NAVIGATORS AT SAGRES . . . .66 

(From a water-colour drawing by Commander the Eon. H. N. Shore, U.S.) 

THE SACRED PROMONTORY, PROM THE SOUTH-EAST ... 80 
(Commander the Eon. E. N. Shore, if.iV.) 

THE SACRED PROMONTORY, PROM THE NORTH-WEST . . .112 

(Commamler the Eon. E. N. Shore, M.N.) 

THE MONASTERY CHURCH AT BATALHA 146 

(From a photograph by £. A. Bennett) 

COIMBRA IN THE TIME OP PRINCE PETER . . , .192 

(Fro)n Martins' '■ Nun'olvares) 

COIMBRA, FROM THE RIO MONDEGO jgg 

(R. A. Bennett) 

PLAN OF THE WALLS OF LISBON IN THE TIME OF JOHN OP AVIZ 248 

(Martini' ' X^un'alvares ') 

THOMAR, THE CHURCH OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLARS . . . 284 

(A A. Bennett) 

THE CASTLE OP LBIRIA 296 

(B. A. Bennett) 



12 



THE GOLDEN AGE OF 
PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 



CHAPTER I 

THE COURT AND COUNCIL 

This is the story of the Golden Age of the expansion of 
Portugal, during which it rose from the position of an 
obscure struggling Principality to that of the great pioneer 
colonising power of Europe; and to appreciate properly 
the narrative that follows it is necessary briefly to re- 
capitulate certain details of history assumed as common 
knowledge by the Portuguese author in his original version 
of the work. 

For two hundred years the country had been gradually 
finding its nationality, driving back the Moors, often with 
the help of English Crusaders, rising from the position of a 
mere fief of Galicia to that of an independent kingdom. 

Frequent treaties with England from the time of 
Edward I onwards marked the growing commercial pros- 
perity of the country; family alliances with the kings of 
Aragon and Castile allowed it to expand safe from the 
attack of its nearest Christian neighbours. Its sons had 
been trained by constant warfare with the Infidel to a high 
pitch of courage and adventure ; and thus we arrive at the 
period when its King, Fernando I, lay dying, leaving no 
heir except an only daughter, Donna Beatrice. 

To safeguard the succession, therefore, and at the 
instigation of Queen Leonora, his wife, he signed a treaty 



2 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

with John I of Castile, by which John married the 
Princess, and it was arranged that Donna Leonora should 
be made Regent till Beatrice's eldest son came of age — 
thus the thrones of Portugal and Castile would ultimately 
be joined. 

On October 22, 1383, Fernando died, and Donna Leonora 
accordingly assumed the Regency. But the whole nation 
hated her. She was not of royal blood; she was living 
openly with her lover, Andeiro, Count of Ourem; the 
national feeling of Portugal was outraged by the thought of 
the contemplated union of the two Crowns; and this 
feeling found expression and a leader in the person of Dom 
John, Grandmaster of the Knights of St. Bennett of Aviz, 
a natural brother of the late King Fernando. He headed 
an insurrection within tw^o months of the King's death, 
slew the Queen's lover, Andeiro, in the very precincts of 
the Palace at Lisbon itself, and forced Leonora to fly to 
Santarem, where she called upon John of Castile to come 
to her aid in defence of the rights of his unborn child. 

Thus the revolution, eventually successful, was started, 
and a new dynasty arose which was only formally acknow- 
ledged in 1411, five years after the death of Henry III of 
Castile, when his widowed Queen finally signed the treaty 
of peace with Portugal. 

The war, however, had not been actively carried on all 
this time. Indeed it ceased on a large scale after 1387, 
when the marriage of the blaster of Aviz with Philippa, 
daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster brought 
much needed help to the struggling kingdom ; and so, for 
some ten years before the formal peace, there had been little 
more than those intermittent guerilla conflicts between the 
combatants, so characteristic of European warfare before 
the close of the eighteenth century, and possible only in a 
time when the political mechanism of a country was much 
less sensitive to disturbance than it is to-day. 

This marriage of the Master of Aviz with Philippa of 
Lancaster was the outcome of an agreement, between John 
of Gaunt and the new Portuguese King, by virtue of which 






PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 3 

Lancaster gave up all claims to the Portuguese throne in 
exchange for help in furthering his pretensions to the Crown 
of Castile, which he claimed through his wife Constance, 
daughter and heir of Peter of Castile and Leon — a title 
which had been usurped on Peter's death by the illegitimate 
Henry of Trastamara, and was now maintained by his son 
John I of Castile — the John who had married the Princess 
Beatrice, and now claimed the Portuguese throne through 
her. 

It was obvious that John of Gaunt and John of Portugal 
were both natural enemies of John of Castile, and that this 
contemplated marriage of Philippa would give each of 
them an added interest in the other's fortunes. 

A treaty was accordingly made between England and 
Portugal in 1386 ; and in the following year John of Gaunt 
set sail from Ph^mouth with a powerful fleet in further- 
ance of his claims to the barren title of King of Castile, 
taking with him also the strong approval of his nephew 
Richard II, who was only too glad to have his dangerously 
powerful uncle thus far out of harm's way. 

Two years before, the Master of Aviz had been helped at 
the Battle of Aljubarotta (1385) by levies of soldiers raised 
in England, companies of adventurers who in those days 
of violence wandered from country to country in search of 
spoil. As Portugal had secured her independence largely 
by the help of English Crusaders, and there was frequent 
intercourse between the two nations, the Master of Aviz 
(John I) at the beginning of this crisis naturally sought 
the aid of such English mercenaries as he could get, and 
these were readily forthcoming. Under the leadership 
of Lord Cobham, Cressingham, Blithe, Grantham, Dale 
and others, a large number were recruited, men careless for 
whom they fought, eager to help any one who paid them to 
conquer any country in which spoil was to be had — for the 
age was one which as yet had felt only the first faint 
glimmerings of light in the mists of mediaeval barbarism, 
and men's minds alternated between a fear of death and 
the Final Judgment, held up to their trembling souls by 



4 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

the prophecies of Holy Mother Church, and wild orgies 
of bestial sensuality in which for the time being they 
mocked at their former fears. 

These English mercenaries proved invaluable at Alju- 
barotta ; and the archers whose name was to become a terror 
in Europe after Agincourt (1415) were mainly responsible 
for giving the Master of Aviz the victory, scattering the 
Castilian cavalry and wounding the King himself. 

The sense of comradeship following on the flush of this 
victory, and the additional aid brought by John of Gaunt, 
was further strengthened by the conjugal union of the two 
Royal Families, a union which was to have a far-reaching 
influence as yet undreamt of amongst the nobility of the 
country and the Portuguese Court, which up to then, it 
must be confessed, had not risen above the semi-barbarism 
born of violence, and nurtured by a pursuit of the pleasures 
of the senses, untrammelled by any of the common law- 
abiding instincts of later days, given over as it was to 
orgies shocking even to the lax morality of the age, kept 
in check only by the universal belief of the approaching 
end of the world which was one of the ma^n stimuli in 
mediaeval Europe for those frequent crusades against the 
Infidel Saracens so characteristic of the times. 

It was largely due to the influence of Philippa that in the 
next quarter of a century all these things were changed ; 
but, nevertheless, before her time the first faint glimmerings 
of the new era had their harbinger in the person of the 
Constable Nun'alvares, a man of commanding personality 
to whom is due the credit of stimulating the genesis of the 
coming (iolden Age which is the subject of this work, and 
which^was to add such a glorious chapter to the history of 
his country. 

In this, however, he had little help at first from his King 
and pupil, the Master of Aviz, who in his youth, though 
brave and fearless, was yet devoid of almost every moral 
sense, taking his pleasures freely where he found them, and 
having no love for the elaborate rules of Chivalry so 
treasured by his Constable. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 5 

It was while in the first flush of early manhood he gave 
a characteristic glimpse of this disposition. Returning 
from the pursuit of a wolf during a hunting expedition in 
the Alemtejo, he came across the daughter of a farmer of 
Veiros in the forest, and immediately fell madly in love 
with her passionate black eyes. With him then to love 
was to act ; and, with the licentious freedom of the nobility 
of the time, he had the girl seized and carried off, finally 
making her his mistress and placing her in a convent near 
his Palace. 

Though the girl herself was probably little loath, her 
father was so incensed at the shame thus cast upon his 
family that he swore never to cut his hair until he had 
revenge, thus earning for himself the sneering nickname 
" Barbadao " (hairy one). 

The future King heard of this resolv^e, and once on passing 
the homestead drew rein and called out, half-laughingly, 
half-resentfully : " Have you not got over your anger yet ? " 
The farmer hearing the question, came out, and gazed at 
him with sullen eyes. Then suddenly, overcome with rage, 
he jumped at him with his knife, crying furiously : 

" Not till I have finished with you." 

The Prince, however, had been watching him, and a 
touch of the spur sent the horse careering out of reach. 
He might have slain the old man where he stood, baffled, 
inarticulate with rage at the futility of the stroke. But 
instead he had sufficient grace to ride away; and after- 
wards history relates the pair were reconciled. 

Bu^ none the less there came from this liaison the fruits 
of bitter trouble to his Royal House, for as the result of this 
youthful indiscretion a son was born, the Count of Bar- 
cellos, ancestor of the future House of Braganza which 
afterwards aspired and eventually managed to raise itself 
to the very throne of Portugal itself. 

Even in his youth the boy showed something of his future 
disposition, for, nurtured in the rough school of his father's 
campaigns, and morbidly conscious of the inferiority of 
his birth in a Court which later on became almost prudish 



6 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

in its morality, he was soured in character and poisoned in 
mind by the seeming slur thus cast upon him. Conse- 
quently, instead of attempting to rise superior to his up- 
bringing, he allowed the seeds of envy to germinate in his 
soul unchecked, and strove to imitate the arrogance of his 
superiors by haughtily trampling on the feelings of those 
beneath him, unconsciously betraying thus the base blood 
that flowed in his veins. Unscrupulous and eager to 
obliterate the stigma of his birth he managed, neverthe- 
less, by the aid of his wealth and position eventually to 
wriggle himself into a position of equality with his two 
more noble brothers, Henry Duke of Vizeu, and Peter 
Duke of Coimbra, managing to obtain for his son the title 
of Duke of Braganza, a rank that, as we have stated, 
eventually served his descendants as a stepping-stone to 
the Crown itself. 

He was scarcely ten years old when his father married — 
in fact, he was little more than a child when Oporto in 1387 
was called upon to rejoice over its King's marriage, though 
in reality there was but a very meagre enthusiasm in 
Court circles for the new-made bride, whose father and 
whose newly wedded husband somewhat ungallantly left 
her immediately after the ceremony, being more eager to 
pursue the war than to linger in her company. 

Philipj)a was then in the very prime of womanhood. 
She was twenty-nine years of age — a year younger than 
her husband — beautiful, gentle and fair. But she appeared 
phlegmatic like all the women of her country, though deep 
down in her nature she was in reality passionate and full 
of sentiment — two characteristics, however, which were 
resolutely controlled by a keen sense of duty. It was this 
seeming coldness, perhaps, that at first made her fail to 
attract the more passionately expansive character of her 
husband ; and yet, perhaps, again, it was for this very same 
reason that she influenced him so profoundly later on, and 
transmitted to her sons certain Saxon qualities — a racial 
amalgamation producing a generation that was to be for 
ever famous. 




To face p. 6 



JOHN OF GAUNT, DUKE OF LANCASTER 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 7 

It is possible, moreover, that the King, though welcoming 
the union for political reasons, may have hesitated some- 
what in choosing as a wife the daughter of such a man as 
Lancaster. He may have doubted, naturally, whether the 
gentleness of expression, the distant coldness, the air of 
reserve of the Princess, might not have been merely on 
the surface, knowing as he did that she had been brought 
up under the worst possible environment. For Lancaster's 
life was far from beyond reproach ; he kept his wife and his 
mistress Catharine under the same roof; and nurtured in 
such an atmosphere the Princess could offer no other 
credentials for her character than her saintly airs. 

Events, however, proved otherwise ; for the very example 
of the paternal scandal, as is often the case, reacted in the 
opposite direction, and had a salutary effect in the develop- 
ment of the daughter's character. Instead of the innocence 
of the child, she possessed the wisdom of the woman who 
had been warned by example to avoid evil ; and for the 
very reason that she had been brought up in intimate 
association with sin, she was all the better able to avoid 
its snares. 

This resisting power, this moral energy, which, without 
doubt, moulded the character of the new Queen and gave 
her such an air of gravity, is one of the priceless heritages 
of the Saxon people; for unlike the Latin races, prone to 
express themselves emotionally, their natural reticence 
makes them chary of betraying their inner feelings by their 
actions, they tend to live within themselves, and strive to 
hide excess of joy or woe whatever fate befall them. A 
certain Northern stiffness prevents them from unbending 
to the little joys and sorrows that so potently move the 
more responsive Southerner. A temperament ruled by the 
laws of self-analysis makes them incapable of such a thing 
as natural frivolity. The Saxon character is subjective, 
essentially that of a thinker ; the Southerner on the other 
hand, is a born actor, preferring to play with the joys of 
life that run riotous in his veins, obeying only the laws 
dictated by nature itself. Life to one is a task — a solemn 



8 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

duty. To the other it is a banquet, or else a sacrifice. 
The tendency of the one is to produce an even eminence ; 
that of the other great saints or else great sinners. 

It was natural that John at first was blind to the deeper, 
rarer qualities of his bride. He saw no other beauty in 
her than that of the unaccustomed, nothing beyond the 
difference between her and the women of his own country. 
Her hair the colour of ripe wheat in June, her delicate 
complexion, her thin red lips, too compressed to have the 
beauty of a natural curve, her small blue eyes, apparently 
cold and incapable of affection, all failed to attract him. 
As a woman she did not rouse in him a man's emotion. 
As a bride he distrusted her when he remembered what he 
knew of her father. The match was purely political, the 
last article in the agreement against Castile ; and the 
wedding was therefore hurried through between two 
military campaigns. 

Until the eve of the wedding Philippa occupied the 
Palace of the Bishop of Oporto, a great castellated strong- 
hold closely surrounded by the black fortified walls built 
by Dom Muninho after defeating the Moors. These 
immense walls, grey with age, cyclopean in size, built of 
immense blocks of granite held together by their weight 
without mortar, were flanked by substantial towers sur- 
mounted by battlements, and defended the stronghold of 
the powerful Bishops of Oporto, who often in those days 
vied with the petty Portuguese Princes themselves for 
power. 

Silhouetted like some great spiny monster, grimly 
serrated against the sky, the walls crowned in those days 
the top of the hill where the town was built, descending 
from thence on one side in an almost straight line to the 
banks of the Douro, while on the other they extended as 
far as the ancient Celtic castle of Porta-ventosa, before 
turning down to the river again, where a small wicket 
formed one exit. 

The whole tremendous structure thus towered over the 



I 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR U 

town whose tiers of shaded streets and small white-washed 
houses formed with it a throne of masonry on top of which 
the Palace seemed to reign imperially. 

Outside the walls a bridge gave access to the hostile 
burgh that Queen Theresa had granted to Bishop Hugo; 
and, deep do^Mi between, the river Douro wound a dark 
and sinuous way between high banks of granite made more 
gloomy still by the dark green foliage of the pine woods 
that bordered its edges. On a level space of ground in 
front of the bridge an arena for tournaments in honour of 
the wedding had been laid out. The bridge itself, begin- 
ning by the Church of S. Domingos, marked the boundary 
between the Episcopal territory and the land belonging to 
the Priory of Cedofeita, whose church the ancient Chapel 
of S. Martin of Tours was the traditional site of the christen- 
ing of Theodomiro ^ in the remote period of the Roman 
expulsion. The Priory lands on which the modern town of 
Oporto is now built consisted in those days only of a few 
callages and scattered cottages. Eastward where pine- 
woods stretched towards the marshes of Campanha could 
be seen the monument raised to the Leonese Count Dom. 
Hermengildo who, in 920, defended the city against the 
Moors, whilst nearer the horizon lay a more level landscape 
of divided fields named the Rio Tinto because of the bloody 
battle fought there when King Ordofio defended the city, 
arriving by forced marches just in time. 

Such was the scene that must have greeted Philippa's 
eyes, and such was the history that probably occurred to 
the minds of the good citizens of Oporto when the Master 
of Avi/ arrived amongst them; and looking upon him 
also as the champion of their national independence they 
were only too willing to celebrate the occasion by general 

^ Theodomiro was the famous Bishop of Iria who, guided by visions and 
led by a star, discovered the sacred reUcs of St. James the Great at 
Santiago in GaUcia in a.d. 835. The slirine of this saint was one of the 
most famous ia Europe during the IMiddle Ages, gathering crowds of 
pilgrims from many distant parts, and making the city of Santiago de 
Compostela the centre of reUgion and diplomacy for the kingdoms of 
Galicia, Aragon, Navarre, and the Castiles. 



10 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

rejoicings. So, on the night before the wedding, when the 
Kin<i arrived with his Constable, the clamorous bells of 
the Cathedral were joyfully answered beyond the ragged 
pine-clad hills by those of Cidofeita, and the night became 
riotous with feasting, dancing and games. The good 
citizens of Oporto in their sad grey town broke for once 
the monotony of their lives, feeling the fitness of the 
occasion ; sounds of merry-making penetrated far into the 
night ; and in the morning, the sunshine flooding the narrow 
streets found only smiling faces as the people flocked o'er 
pathways strewn with rosemary and myrtle to watch the 
happenings of the day. 

The King had spent the night in the burgh of S. Fran- 
cisco ; and early in the morning he set out for the Episcopal 
Palace to greet the Princess. Already the confined space 
between the Palace and the Cathedral was dense with 
faces ; and when the crowding throng saw their King and 
his bride presently emerge, mounted on white chargers 
covered with gold-embroidered saddle-cloths, they made 
their multitudinous welcome resound again and again 
above the blasts of the Heralds' trumj)ets. 

At the head of the procession came the iirchbishop of 
Braga leading the horse of the Princess by its bridle ; and 
behind her walked her two maids-of-honour. Following 
them came the Kjng and his Constable. 

On the threshold of the Cathedral the Bishop of Oporto, 
gorgeous in his robes and mitre, and surrounded by a cloud 
of priests and acolytes waving incense-burners, awaited the 
bride and bridegroom, ready to conduct them to the altar. 
After the service they all returned to the Palace to a 
banquet. Here the aged Constable acted as Master of the 
Ceremonies, and joined in the general rejoicings of the 
guests with as lively a spirit as the youngest of them all. 
As was the custom, an immense quantity of food and wine 
had been provided; and as the banquet progressed girdles 
were unbuckled, wine-cups were emptied, and the various 
sweetmeats became rapidly scantier. The maids-of-honour 
sang ill the chfiir. .nnd round the tables eager page-boys 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 11 

stood on tiptoe, or even climbed the ropes of the decorations 
and pillars in the hall, to get a better view of the proceedings. 

Thus the day passed ; and the long-drawn-out banquet 
was followed by a round dance in which all joined, lords 
and ladies, the King and Queen. Even the Constable 
himself, infected by the gaiety, forgot his years, his long 
grey beard, his troubles of State, his irascible temperament, 
and became as light-footed as Mercury himself. 

The bishops and prelates alone looked on smiling. Out- 
side the delirious cheering of the people gave an added 
stimulus to the dancing. From streets, orchards, and 
fields, came the sound of revelling. In S. Domingos there 
were tournaments. From every quarter came the same 
festive note. With the spacious manner of those days the 
rejoicings lasted for a. fortnight; but the real ceremony 
ended when on the approach of night the bishops blessed 
the royal pair, and these retired to leave their loyal 
subjects to carry on the revels till the break of day. 

In 1390, three years after her marriage, Philippa's 
first child was born. This was Prince Affonso, who died 
in 1392. In 1391 Prince Duarte (Edward), so-called 
in honour of Edward I of England, was born. He 
eventually succeeded his father, and his book. The Loyal 
Counsellor, is the best witness we possess of the history of 
his times. It has been largely drawn upon in these 
memoirs. 

In 1392 her son. Prince Peter, began the life which was 
fated to such a tragic end; and in 1394 Prince Henry the 
Navigator first saw the world wherein he was to play such 
an important part, deservedly earning for himself the name 
of " The Portuguese Scipio," by establishing the vast 
future Colonial Empire of his people. The Princess Branca, 
who died in infancy, was born in 1395 ; and the Princess 
Isabel, afterwards the wife of the Duke of Burgundy, in 
1397. Prince John was born in 1400; and the Ill-fated 
Martyr of Tangier, Prince Fernando, in 1402. 

This was Philippa's last son. She finished her duties by 
generating a saint after producing a race of heroes. Little 



12 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

did she think as she gazed upon this last and dearest in 
her arms that he was destined to be sacrificed by his 
brother on the altar of that Semitic tendency inherited 
from his Phoenician ancestry — the desire to explore the 
unknown in search of adventure and of gain. 

But while Philippa was thus doing her best to consolidate 
and perpetuate the succession of the new dynasty, she was 
at the same time making almost fundamental changes in 
the atmosphere of the Court, having gradually gained an 
all-powerful influence over the mind of the King. She 
found the Court a sink of immorality. She left it as chaste 
as a nunnery. We have it on the authority of Prince 
Duarte's own pen that she induced the King to ordt-r the 
marriage of more than a hundred people ; ^ no other form 
of union was recognised than that of the Church ; and the 
Court henceforth became almost a school of morality. 
Philippa, wearing the veil of a chaste bride, and with her eyes 
directed heavenwards, was remorseless in her gentleness. 

No one became more altered than the King, himself. 
He was now completely under her influence. Once, 
according to tradition, while the Court was at Cintra he so 
far forgot himself as to kiss some lady of the Court, when 
the Queen, entering unexpectedly, looked at him with such 
a frigid expression that, completely taken aback, he pointed 
to the ceiling above him where the motto " Pour bien " 
was emblazoned, and muttered lamely that this too was 
" Pour bien." Philippa without a word, but with a look 
more eloquent than the most violent reproaches, left the 
room and the King to his own conscience, with the result 
that her victory was absolutely complete, and he sur- 
rendered at discretion. 

Her influence indeed lay in this puritanic exclusiveness 

* " If it be said that few wore virtuous I say that many became so; 
for neither do 1 hear, nor do I know of, any nobleman who is other than 
loyal, notwithstanding that more than a hundred have been ordered in 
marriage by my father the King, and my mother the Queen, whom may 
God jtrotect. further, our Lord hears me when I say that I know not 
of any one thus married who afterwards fell into Bin." — The Loyal 
Cou nsellor, X I A' . 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 13 

of temperament which is so characteristically English — 
that unconscious mixture of pride and convention which, 
though much below the level of religious duty, is never- 
theless the opposite of hypocrisy. It was a feeling that 
kept Philippa above all attempts at subterfuge. When she 
disapproved her nature did not permit her to do otherwise 
than express that disapproval. There are no more despotic 
characters than those possessing such a temperament. 
The Queen came to rule the King as with a rod of iron. 
The easy tolerant guidance of the Constable became changed 
to that almost of the cloister; and when Philippa fixed 
him with her cold blue eyes the King felt bound to do 
whatever she wished him to. Fortunately she was as 
sensible as she was good. Under her tutelage the King 
became another man. In his desire to please her he some- 
times even became unnecessarily active, because the Queen 
remembering the state of affairs in her father's house, was 
inclined somewhat to exaggerate in her own mind the 
sinfulness of anything distasteful to her. 

Accordingly she constituted herself censor of morals at 
the Court. She watched the dalliance of lovers, kept a 
sharp look-out for any surreptitious love-making amongst 
those whom marriage debarred from such things, and 
frowned unfavourably on any match-making in which she 
thought the people concerned unsuitable to one another. 
With the almost unlimited power of the King behind her 
she herself chose the brides and bridegrooms, totally dis- 
regarding as something quite negligible any secret inclina- 
tions on the jDart of the unfortunate victims of her marrying 
instincts. 

Thus any day some one or other might receive the 
following command, impossible to disregard — 

" The King and I expect you to hurry your wedding. 
It will be held to-morrow." 

" But to whom, your Majesty ? " would be the startled 
answer. 

" Never mind. You will know at the altar," would be 
the invariable response. 



14 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

In this startling manner the whole Court was not only 
paired, but actually married, an extraordinary example of 
the enormous power of mediaeval despotism. The curious 
thing was that, strange as it may appear, the result seems 
to have been an almost unqualified success, for the genera- 
tion that followed stands out as one of the most virile in 
Portuguese history. 

That this strange subservience, however, could not have 
been brought about without at least one tragedy is only 
natural. Witness the fatal story of Fernando Affonso, 
and one of the Queen's maids-of-honour. Fernando was a 
favourite of the King, and the story of his liaison getting 
about the King had reproached him, but probably, as is 
often the case amongst friends, only in a playful way. 
Consequently when it was suggested that he should marry 
the lady he did not take the advice seriously to heart. 
Feigning instead that he had vowed to make a pilgrimage 
to the shrine of St. Maria de Guadalupe, he disappeared 
from Court, and to the Queen's annoyance was discovered 
instead to have secreted himself in an alcove of the church 
where his lady habitually performed her devotions, no 
doubt with the tacit connivance of the lady herself. Word 
of this was brought to the King ; he was summoned to the 
presence; and again, perhaps with a smile, dismissed with 
a warning to fulfil his duty towards the lady. The warning, 
however, was interpreted by the amorous courtier as a 
dismissal to the lady's chamber; and here unfortunately 
he was found and arrested by the King's command. The 
situation by now had become serious ; Fernando recognised 
his risk, and awaiting his oj)portunity managed to escape 
and conceal himself in the Chapel of St. Eloy. This 
brought matters to a climax; the Queen was openly 
affronted ; and the Court, in a state of deep but suppressed 
excitement, waited to see if she or the courtier would win 
the day. The Queen, herself, feeling that if she did not 
succeed in this battle of inclinations all her influence would 
be gone, was determined to make an example of the culprit. 
Perhaps it was she therefore who induced the King to 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 15 

leave the Palace in pursuit of the irresponsible youth. At 
anv rate the fact remains that John, wakened from his 
siesta in the afternoon, set out half dressed in a towering 
fury, and in the church, seeking sanctuary behind a statue 
of the Virgin, found the author of all the uproar. There 
and then, totally regardless of all the laws of Sanctuary, 
that safety-valve invented by the ingenuity of faith to 
mitigate the acts of violence characteristic of the age, he 
ordered his rearrest. The order was obeyed, but not with- 
out damage to the statue, which fell with a crash on the 
soldiers struggling with the prisoner, who now stood accused 
of the awful act of sacrilege as well. 

On the following morning, without trial, the King had 
him burnt at the stake; and with this sharp salutary 
lesson the power of Philippa was firmly established.^ 

The modern mind shrinks from deeds like this with 
horror; but before we condemn Philippa or the King we 
have to remember that civilisation and customs as well as 
our nerves have changed, that mild-mannered men in those 
days, and even later, as witness the burning of heretics 
in every country in Europe, looked upon such things with- 
out any of the horror which modern humanitarian teaching 
has developed in us. 

There is no doubt that John was immeasurably elevated 
by the influence of his consort, and ended by acquiring a 
character which had a strong influence and served as an 
example to his sons. They were splendidly educated ; 
their spare time was employed in translating the classics 
of other languages ; and all the young Princes, more 
especially Duarte and Peter, developed a taste for the finer 
flowers of mediaeval literature. 

Thus through fire and blood the mists of mediaeval 
ignorance began to scatter ; and the world at length slowly 
appeared as a place where law and righteousness must 
ultimately reign over, and govern, even the minds and the 
actions of kings ; though spiritual thought, still in its in- 

^ A romance fomided on this tragedy, Monge de Cister, has been written 
by the Portuguese poet, A. Herculano. 



16 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

fancy, was not yet capable of curbing the turbulent passions 
bred of centuries when might was always right, and the 
law of the jungle still held good. In the mind of the Master 
of Aviz, the view that the King could do no wrong faded ; 
and in its place came the newer, deeper belief that his office 
entailed a sacred duty, a duty to the people whom God had 
called upon him to reign over as well as to himself. 

The King, his son informs us, felt the weighty responsi- 
bility of his office so much that he ordered a banner to be 
embroidered with the figure of a camel — he chose the camel 
because it was a powerful beast of burden — carrying four 
sacks, each one of which bore an inscription. The first 
had the words, " Temor de mal reger " (The fear of an 
unwise rule) ; the second, " Justi9a com Amor e Tem- 
peran9a " (Judge justly) ; the third, " Contentar cura9oes 
desvariados " (Console the afflicted); and the fourth, 
" Acabar grandes Feitos com pouca Requeza " (Accomplish 
great deeds with economy).^ 

In those days symbolic signs of heraldry were becoming 
popular ; and in these four mottoes we see the true spirit 
of the time. We find this love of economy transmitted 
in the character of his son Prince Peter; this desire to be 
just in the King's actions ; and lastly, this entirely new 
sentiment, fear of an unwise rule, a sentiment capable of 
breaking even a royal back, giving rise to a conception of 
duty in his successor. King Duarte, which marked the 
birth of the new thought destined to transform the world. 

It showed that the King was beginning to feel the rights 
of the people ; that the days of barbarism when kings were 
no more than the blind instruments of violence were gone 
for ever; and lastly, and somewhat unexpectedly, that 
the fetichism that made even such kings bow down tremb- 
ling before the threat of eternal punishment, fulminated 
by the clergy, too, had seen its climax. The new philoso- 
phy had been born, a philosophy yet in its infancy, destined 
still to bear the stigmata of superstition, but, nevertheless, 

' The. Loyal Counadlor, L. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 17 

a true philosophy based on a love of knowledge and a desire 
to regulate conduct according to the dictates of reason. 

The introduction of crests and mottoes from England 
by the King's marriage was a feudal convention that 
originated in Normandy, and for that reason the mottoes 
were in the French tongue. This fashion is in itself of 
little significance ; its importance, however, lies in the fact 
that the crests and mottoes of the House of Aviz reflect, 
as in an heraldic mirror, the spirit and the new order of 
ideas at the Portuguese Court. Moreover, this ritual of 
chivalry under the inspiration of the Constable Nun'alvares 
was destined to bear fruit, starting as it did a new ideal 
which was afterwards abundantly displayed in the history 
of the country, forming a race of men who, like the Con- 
stable himself, were not less worthy of the name of noble- 
men than those who were later nurtured on the legends of 
Amadis of Gaul.^ 

The Master of Aviz was the first Portuguese King to 
rescue the nobility of his country from the opprobrious 
title of cut -throats which they had acquired in Europe; 
and it was largely through the teachings of the rules of 
chivalry this improvement was accomplished. 

It is interesting, therefore, to study the crests and mottoes 
adopted by his house because of the lessons they teach. 

The Queen chose as hers the two words " Pour bien," 
words which the King had gilded on the ceiling of the 
throne-room at Cintra. It w^as this, it will be remembered, 
that suggested to him a means of evading Philippa's anger 
when she caught him in the act of kissing one of the ladies- 
in-waiting. " Pour bien " w^as the sum total of her life. 
She lived solely for her sons, her duty, and her religion. 
" Desir " was Prince Peter's motto, vague and enigmatical 

^ This famous mediaeval romance was originally written in Portuguese, 
possibly from forgotten French legends, by Vasco de Lobeira of Oporto, 
who died in 1403. A century later it was translated into Spanish, and 
added to, by Garciordonez de Montalvo. Succeeding commentators added 
more, and yet more, until in 1540, when it was translated into French by 
Nicholas de Herberay, it had assimied enormous proportions. The best 
English version is the abridgment of Southey. (London, 1803. 4 vols.) 
C 



18 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

like himself, ever preoccupied with the burdens of life, and 
the fleeting intangible desires of his supersensitive imagina- 
tion. After his return from Ceuta he adopted a crest 
representing a hand emerging from a cloud — again the 
characteristic mysticism — holding a dagger thrust through 
a rock with the motto " Acuit ut penetrat." Prince John's 
motto was " J'ai bien raison," a sentiment which he fol- 
lowed during his short life ; while Prince Henry chose the 
words " Talent de bien faire." He was partly the means 
of stimulating Christian Europe to resist and finally over- 
come the spread of the Moslem faith. 

" II me plait " was the King's motto, and he had every 
reason to pride himself upon its suitability, for few can 
claim to have had a greater measure of success in this 
world than himself. 

By the strength of his own right hand he had wrested 
from his enemies the throne of his country, securing, at 
the same time, his people's independence and firmly 
establishing his own dynasty. His marriage had been a 
happy one. His sons, in the words of the country's poet, 
Luiz de Camoens, were " an illustrious generation of noble 
princes." ^ In his declining years, surrounded by these 
same sons he invaded and conquered Morocco, and began 
the famous era of Colonial expansion that was to leave 
his kingdom on the very threshold of glory. In addition, 
during his long reign of nearly half a century he reformed 
the customs, laws, and even the calendar. Thus a people 
whom he found steeped in ignorance and superstition, 
lawless and scattered, without any national cohesion, he 
left to his successors a nation, conscious of itself, and 
proud of its own name.^ 

' Lusiads, IV. 50. 

* '■ The Caesarian Calendar, or the Safarense Calendar as the Arabs 
called it, was abolished in Portugal in 1422, when the Christian Calendar, 
as propounded at Pisa, was adopted — the year one corresponding with 
the year thirty-nine of the Arabs. Aragon adopted the Christian Calendar 
in 1350; Ca«tile-Leon in 1383. 

" There were several versions of the Calendar — that of the Birth of 
Christ, that of the Incarnation, that of the Ascension — besides the Floren- 
tine and the Pisan, the difference between these two latter being that 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 19 

In 1426 he further granted a Royal Charter to the City 
of Lisbon, with two books containing the Justinian Laws, 
and a glossary and digest " so that, with the aid of these, 
deeds may be drawn up, and sentences passed." ^ 

Thus was the dawn of a just government founded which 
was to set a century later under the shadow of the In- 
quisition, bringing with it all the evil results of the 
former disorder. Fortunately for the faith of the people, 
however, this later misfortune had not yet cast its blight 
over the land; hope and enthusiasm ran high; freed 
from the thraldom of dogmatism by the fresh breezes of the 
larger thought, the nation grew accustomed to looking 
forward to enormous power and wealth in the new lands 
being discovered by its intrepid navigators ; and the spirit 
of chivalry acquired a native shape, the crest of the day 
becoming a galley-of-war with its sails distended by the 
sure winds of Hope and Science. 

Such was the spirit of high adventure permeating the 
nobilit}^ when the treaty of peace was signed with Castile 
in 1411. 

To celebrate the occasion the King suggested that an 
International Tournament be held, in which his three sons, 
Duarte, Peter, and Henry, should compete. But these 



the Florentine began one year after the Birth, the Pisan marked the Birth 
of Christ as the year one."— Cf. J. P. Ribeiro, Diss. Chron. e Crit., Vol. II, 
Chapter VI. 

" King John of famous memory made the follo\ving laws in his reign — 

" I, the King, command all workmen and clerks of the kingdom that 
from henceforth all ^Titings and documents must be dated from the birth 
of Chr'st, our Lord Jesus, in similar fashion before dated according to the 
Caesarian era. This is the King's command. If disobeyed the penalty 
will be forfeiture of office. 

" N.B. — The above law was published by the King's command in 
Lisbon by me, Philip Affonso Loguo-Teente, writer to his Majesty's 
Chancery, before Diego Affonso de PaSo, auditor to his Court, and witnessed 
in August A.D. 1422. 

" This law is duly witnessed by us, the undersigned, and we order it to 
be obeyed." 

^ " And ye place these books in the Council HaU, bound by a long 
chain; and allow no one to read therein other than those who are Pro- 
curators, and those who have deeds, or those who wish to prepare and 
draw up new deeds." — Ann. do Munic. de Lisbon, Vol. I, p. 312. 



20 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

immediately answered that such a tournament as proposed 
would not be anything Hke so worthy an object as an 
expedition against some valorous foe, whereby they might 
gain some real chivalrous distinction infinitely greater than 
was possible by any mere formal ceremony. 

" But what sort of an expedition ? " naturally inquired 
the King; and his high-spirited sons, itching for battle, 
and not knowing in the fulness of the country's prosperity 
and their own superabundance of chivalrous energy where 
to turn for a sufficient answer, were dumb. It was then, 
at the psychological moment, that one of the three advisers 
of the crown, John Affonso de Azambuja, whispered the 
magic word " Ceuta " in the King's ear.^ 

At first he jumped at it. To conquer Ceuta, the door 
that the Moors had always used in their invasions of Spain 
— that surely would be a glorious expedition. The more 
he thought of it the more it grew upon his mind. To 
attack the Moors in Granada would have been most in- 
advisable, as it would involve further hostilities with Castile, 
which already looked upon Granada as part of the territory 
it hoped to possess. Indeed, any expedition, no matter 
where, required the utmost circumspection if they were to 
avoid exciting the fear of jealous neighbours ; and the 
further away, in consequence, such an expedition was the 
easier for all concerned. All these considerations the King 
turned over quietly in his own mind. Finally he consulted 
some of his most trusted advisers ; and finding that they 
heartily agreed, he now thought it high time to sound his 
sons upon the project. 

The three elder were then, in 1412, almost full-grown men. 
Duarte was twenty-one, Peter twenty, and Henry eighteen. 
The three others were still too young to be consulted on 
matters of State, being yet in their mother's care. The 
King himself was then fifty-four, and already beginning to 
feel the weight of his years, worn as he was by the hardships 
of his early campaigns and the cares of State. Moreover, 

' Chron. de D. Jodo, I. iii. 71. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 21 

he had been suffering for some time from rather alarming 
attacks of pain and faintness which were then attributed 
to the bite of a rabid dog, though it is much more Hkely 
that he was really subject to " angina pectoris," an hypo- 
thesis all the more likely when one remembers the active 
life he had led.^ 

His three eldest sons brought up together, and almost 
of the same age, like branches of the same tree nourished 
by the same sap, resembled one another closely. But, as in 
nature there are no two branches ever alike, so there are 
no two characters ; and already the different dispositions 
of the three Princes were showing their future mould. 
Prince Duarte even then began to show signs of that over- 
conscientious sense of duty that afterwards caused him to 
sink into an early grave, overburdened by the cares of 
State. Prince Peter, already deep in the study of philo- 
sophy, was seeking to subordinate his life and actions to the 
dictates based upon the conclusions he had arrived at. 
Last of all. Prince Henry began to show himself a typical 
man of action, following the impulses that guided him with 
a blind obstinacy totally regardless of the rights of others. 

Of the three, Peter's was undoubtedly the master mind — 
Duarte being too gently considerate for the rough customs 
of his time, while Henry was for ever dreaming of mighty 
conquests beyond the seas, and so, a slave to his imagina- 
tion, this fixed idea made him afterwards strive by every 
means fair and foul, heroic, cruel, or the reverse, in order 
that his great objective might be accomplished. 

It vvas probably he who cunningly induced John Affonso 
de Azambuja to suggest the idea of an expedition to Ceuta. 
Be that as it may, the fact remains that for him, at any rate, 
the capture of Ceuta meant not a mere expedition against 
the Moors, but the beginning of a conquest which was to 

^ " For five years he suffered greatly, having been bitten by a mad 
dog. So much indeed did it affect him that once, when landing, on being 
handed a letter, not knowing its contents, a sudden attack seized on him, 
and caused him to drop it, his attempts to open it giving him so much 
agony that he broke into a perspiration and lost consciousness." — The 
Loyal Counsellor, XX. 



22 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

open to the arms of his country the golden gates of the 
mysterious east, where it is true there were many Christians 
already, converts of Prester John,i but where also, in addi- 
tion, gold beyond the dreams of avarice could be obtained, 
precious stones, perfumes, frankincense and myrrh, silks, 
and spices, all the multitudinous luxuries that returned 
Crusaders talked about with bated breath. 

Portions of this fabulous wealth trickled into Western 
Europe, brought across the desert in caravans from the 
mouth of the Red Sea through Egyptian Tripoli to Morocco, 
of which Fez was the nominal capital and Ceuta the chief 
seaport ; and, in his eagerness to control the outlet, there 
mingled in Prince Henry's mind an odd medley of greed, 
chivalry, and proselytising zeal. 

The early voyagers looked upon themselves, with a 
curious naive simplicity, not only as merchant adventurers, 
but also as harbingers of the Cross of Christ, sent to bring 
light out of darkness. They were as eager to save the 
souls of the heathen from the danger of eternal damnation, 
which they firmly believed would be otherwise their fate, 
as to seize upon their lands, their riches, and their daughters. 

As soon as his sons were old enough. King John taught 
them to take an interest in the Government of the country 
by making them members of his State Council. Thus was 
formed a unique assembly of four men united })y family 

' The legend of a great Christian Empire in the Far East, ruled over 
by an Emperor named Prester John was current in Europe from the 
eleventh to the fifteenth century. Every one apparently believed it; 
and a letter was actually written and possibly an embassy sent from the 
Pope Alexander III to this mythical monarch in 1177. His dominions 
were supposed to be of enormous e.xtent. His wealth was reputed to be 
boundless. Within his kingdom were the Fountains of Perpetual Youth, 
mountains of gold and precious stones, rivers whose sands were diamonds. 
In his realms also was to be found the worm called " salamander " which 
lived in fire, and worked itself an incombustible envelope from which robes 
were made for the Emperor which were washed in flaming fire. At 6rst 
his country was supposed to be in Asia; but later it became identified 
with Aby.ssinia, and Vasco da Gama in his famous voyage northwards 
from Mosambique heard of him as dwelling there, and endeavoured to 

f[et in touch with him by order of John II of Portugal. Twenty years 
afer, Alvarez, in his history of Abyssinia, invariably calls the King Prester 
John. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 23 

ties, animated by absolute faith in one another, cemented 
together by the bonds of natural affection, and presiding 
over a people who loved and were proud of them all. 
Brought up to respect and revere their father, the younger 
men, naturally more open to the reception of new ideas, 
brought the invaluable adjunct of youth, and the high 
courage associated with it, to the aid of this family council, 
modifying and to some extent combating the more cautious 
opinions which the conservatism of habit, and increasing 
infirmity, naturally produced in the King. The family 
council thus, as it were, established, by this constant 
method of rejuvenescence, a form of immortality trans- 
mitting its ideas, thoughts, and wishes from one generation 
to another. Rallying around the King the young Princes 
with the celerity of youth saw that his decisions were 
quickly executed. By suppressing irritating details of the 
worries of the Government, by lightening his labour as 
much as possible, they tried to make his rule, instead of a 
fatigue, as near a pleasure as they could. By leaving him 
the appointing of the times of meeting, and the order of 
business, they tactfully led him to believe he was still 
directing the administration, while actually he was ruling 
through them. 

\'\Tien, therefore, he confided to them this project for the 
invasion of Morocco, giving them his opinion of the diffi- 
culties that lay in the way of its accomplishment, they 
listened to his views with all the respect due to a father, 
determined none the less to overcome all difficulties, for- 
midable as he made them appear. Stating in the first 
place that there was not enough money in the Treasury for 
the expedition, he pictured how cruel it would be to tax 
the people further, since they had already suffered so 
severely in men and money carrying on the long war with 
Castile, now happily ended; and pointed out that even if 
the tax could be raised without any hardship to the people, 
the very fact of it being raised would put a possible enemy 
on the qui vive, thus immediately vitiating their plans, the 
success of which depended so much on the secrecy with 



24 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

which they could be completed. He reminded them, 
moreover, that the country did not possess a fleet capable 
of transporting the army to Ceuta, and that the army itself 
was not nearly large enough for such a formidable under- 
taking—in fact,that they lacked the most essential materials 
for the success of the scheme. 

^^ Turning to the political side of the question, he said that 
" even in the event of victory the honour of being a noble- 
man of this city of Ceuta may do me more harm than 
good," for the kingdom of Granada seemed to him easier 
to conquer, and, if they did not attem))t it, Castile most 
certainly would do so, especially when they were thus 
otherwise occupied. From the standpoint of Portugal 
a conquest of Granada by Castile was an evil to be avoided, 
as it would disturb the balance of power in the Peninsula, 
augmenting the strength of their old enemy. Lastly, he 
urged that fighting the Moors in i\Iorocco would expose 
their own possessions in the Algarve to counter-attacks 
from the Spanish Moors; and moreover, it would close 
their own door to the Mediterranean, where Portuguese 
vessels traded in oil, wine, and fruit. 

With this weighty indictment he ended ; but to his sons it 
seemed as though he were purposely exaggerating the diffi- 
culties so as to dissuade them ; and after he had expounded 
his doubts they pointed out that it was unnecessary to 
levy taxes, as the money could be readily raised by means 
of a loan from the merchants of the kingdom, and, in any 
case, the sums earmarked for the suggested tournaments 
certainly could be thus employed. With regard to 
transports, they argued, it would be quite feasible to use 
the merchant vessels trading in salt and wine to Galician, 
French, and Flemish ports, the sailors already manning 
them acting naturally as crews. Finally, they assured 
him that, given peace with Castile, it would be a matter of 
no difficulty to raise sufficient men for the prospective 
invading army. 

The King appeared difficult to persuade, especially on 
this last point : for after the first exhilaration, the idea of a 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 25 

naval expedition grew more and more disturbing to his 
mmd, already becoming conservative through increasing 
years. All his days he had been fighting and conquering 
on land; he understood, and could practically forecast 
the chances of such warfare; but in this enterprise the 
thought of the intervening sea daunted him. So he still 
hesitated, although he was forced to admit that to attack 
Granada would only be courting future trouble, since 
Castile would eventually be united to Aragon, and when 
this occurred the new kingdom would be compelled to 
attack whoever then held Granada in defence of ancient 
rights never legally abandoned to the Moors, whom now 
they would feel sufficiently powerful to sweep from out 
the holy land of Spain.i 

All this the King saw clearly. But when one reaches to 
the verge of sixty it is not easy to grasp new ideas ; and 
111 such circumstances one is apt, therefore, to practise 
old follies under the delusion one is following new inspira- 
tions—hence his procrastination. Fortunately, however 
he had around him the fresh eager minds of the young 
Princes ; and thus was added to his more sober survey the 
stimulus of their more buoyant outlook. 

They made light of all the difficulties ; and Prince Henry 
in particular was most insistent in his attack on the idea 
of invading Granada, the only alternative outlet suggested 
to employ the superabundant spirit of adventure possessing 
them. For this reason the King discussed the matter 
fully with him alone on the following day, and finally 
overborne by his impetuosity, consented. Beside himself 
with joy. Prince Henry rushed immediately to tell his 
brothers that the expedition against Ceuta had been decided 
upon, and there was much rejoicing amongst them all. 
For purposes of State, however, it was necessary to keep 

* Aragon and Castile were united under Ferdinand and Isabella in 1479 
rSl!^ anticipated by King Jolin war was soon after declared against 
Granada It began in 1481 and continued to 1492, when GranadI was 
conquered Thus the long reign of the Moors in SpaS^ ended in ^he 
year in which Colombus discovered the West Indies, and gave to the 
newly consolidated Spain its great empire in the West. 



26 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

the matter as secret as possible, and the real object of the 
expedition was therefore disclosed only to a favoured few. 
Some plausible explanation would, however, have to be 
given to their immediate neighbours to account for the 
collection and arming of such a large fleet ; and it was 
absolutely essential that they should become secretly 
acquainted with the strategic position of Ccuta, its anchor- 
age, etc., so as not to precipitate matters, and, by allowing 
the enemy to prepare, thus court disaster. 

The methods employed to attain this knowledge were 
typical of the tortuous ingenuity of the time. A certain 
military priest, the Prior of the Hospitallers,^ famous for his 
shrewdness, was entrusted with the secret ; and it was given 
out that he was proceeding to Sicily to arrange the marriage 
of the widowed Queen with Prince Peter.^ He actually did 
sail from Lisbon to Sicily; but there he purposely failed in 
his supposed mission : for it was only a plausible excuse to 
permit him to visit Ceuta either on the outward or the 
homeward journey. So well, indeed, did he play his part 
that he actually managed to land both going and coming 
back, thus acquiring all the necessary information as to 
the character of the coast, the anchorage, the defences, 
without arousing the faintest suspicion on the part of the 
Moorish authorities. 

Meanwhile from the moment the campaign was decided 
upon the King became a different man. He seemed to be 
living his youth over again, to have become rejuvenated 
by the mere prospect of hearing once more the clash of 
arms. Already he imagined himself leading the attack, 

' The Knights Hospitallers or Knights of St. John of Jerusalem sliared 
originally with their great rivals, the Knights Templars, the duty of 
defending the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem, founded after the first 
Crusade. The Prior of the Hospital, or the " Hospitaller," was the 
keeper of the house or " Hostium," a lodging for sick pilgrims. The 
most notod institution of this order of priestly Knights was in Jerusalem 
itself, before it fell again to the Saracens. The headquarters of the Order 
in Portugal were at Crato. After their expulsion from Palestine they 
hold Rhodes, and finally Malta. Ihe latter island was taken from them 
by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798. 

* Widow of Martino T, whoso death causes! th«- aimexation of Sicily to 
the throne of Aragon, leaving her without a kingdom. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 27 

sword in hand, at the head of his devoted followers. He 
threw himself heart and soul into the preparations for 
gathering together the most powerful army possible, 
leaving the conduct of the country's affairs entirely to his 
eldest son, Prince Duarte, calling, however, upon the two 
younger Princes, Peter and Henry, to help him in his own 
chosen part.^ 

So conscientiously did Prince Duarte take it upon him 
to fulfil the duties devolving upon him in matters of State 
that, lacking the endurance of his father, he soon began to 
feel the fatiguing strain of the weighty responsibility cast 
upon him. 

Rising early he would first attend Mass, and then 
afterwards appear in the High Court of Justiciary where 
he would hear cases until noon. At the mid -day meal he 
would talk business with some official ; and, this finished, 
would only very occasionally indulge in a short siesta, 
for frequently at about two he would be interviewing 
some Surveyor of the Royal Household, or else some 
member of the Council with whom he remained closeted 
till 9 p.m., at which hour he had his evening meal. After- 
wards he would discuss business with some official of the 
Household till 11 p.m., at which hour he went to bed. 
His father's Palace he only visited when the exigencies of 
business demanded his presence there. He rarely went to 
his own estates, or indulged in hunting, neglecting all 
bodily exercise, and accustoming himself to a life entirely 
sedentary. Thus for the first time in the annals of 
Portiigal we come upon a bureaucratic Prince. 

Considering the natural feebleness of his constitution, 
it is not to be wondered at that the Prince's health 
became permanently undermined by this over-zealous 
attention to duty ; but with the morbid conscientiousness 
of the type he refused to acknowledge the fatigue he suffered 
from. Staggering under the weight of the responsibilities 

^ " So many thiug'5 had to be accomplished for this expedition that 
other great matters of pressing urgency could not be attended to," 
The Loyal Counsellor, XIX. 



28 THE GOLDEx\ AGE OF 

his mind came to exaggerate every little difficulty, making 
mountains out of molehills. The greater the difficulty 
appeared the more he martyrised himself; till finally, 
under the burden of his work he became a victim to 
anaemia and chronic dyspepsia, developing all the symptoms 
now grouped under the head of " neurasthenia," and which 
he himself refers to under the name of " Melancholy 
humour." 

His medical advisers urgently pressed upon him the 
necessity of relaxation, couching their advice in this typical 
mediaeval form : 

" Your Royal Highness, instead of devoting yourself 
exclusively to Minerva, should, instead, rather offer sacrifice 
at the altars of Bacchus, Orpheus, Venus, and Morpheus." 

But this sage advice apparently was not acted upon. 
The Prince developed a constitutional melancholia, which 
made him the prey of an unaccountable sorrow, a victim 
to the terror of impending death ; and the condition lasted 
for fully three years, beginning to leave him only after the 
painful shock of his mother's death roused him again out 
of himself. 

In him were all the elements of greatness had his feeble 
frame been equal to the burdens thrust upon it. Methodi- 
cal, painfully conscientious, utterly devoid of arrogance, 
this Prince, neglected by Fortune, became instead a warning 
example of the fate of those rulers whose passive qualities 
deny them the gift of an easy conscience, thus making them 
miss the fruits of the tree of Success — fruits that fall often 
instead to the lot of the bold and unscrupulous who have 
had the courage to rise to opportunities when offered, and 
so have seized upon them. 

Thus it cainc about that the megalomania of his brother, 
Prince Henry, infinitely his intellectual inferior, resulted 
in those glorious conquests of which the world now knows. 
Kindled by the torch of Faith, his grandiose imagination 
raised high the fire of Hope in the breasts of his fellow- 
countrymen, casting a brilliant searchlight into the dark- 
ness of the great unknown world, till then spoken of only 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 29 

in bated whispers by even the most venturous spirits 
amongst the navigators of mediaeval times. 

Thus the characters and the different fates of these 
two brothers were already foreshadowed by their actions 
in this early period of their history ; and we, looking back 
through the vistas of time, can see and marvel at the blind 
workings of destiny. To one was given an early, almost 
forgotten grave ; to the other a name that will endure as 
long as the tale of those golden days of pioneer discovery 
can find a listening ear and a responsive eye. 



CHAPTER II 

THE CAPTURE OF CEUTA 

Ever since the time of the Chaldeans, Fortune has been 
represented as a wheel, and a circle formed by the figure 
of a snake devouring its own tail has been symbolic of Life, 
representing as it does the beginning and the end, the cycle 
of Fate finishing where it has begun. 

So it is in Life ; and so it has been in History : for, after 
all, History is but a record of many lives. It is not sur- 
prising, therefore, that we find many places have become 
historically famous because they have been in turn the scene 
both of the prelude to some great triumphant movement, 
and later on of the last act wherein the curtain drops on 
the ultimate defeat and ruin of this selfsame undertaking. 

In the Palace of Cintra, in a small blue-tiled room, there 
is to be seen to-day a divan, also blue-tiled, built out from 
the wall. From this room and from this same divan came 
the resolutions which began and which ended the cycle that 
surrounded the various Portuguese invasions of I\Iorocco. 
History tells us that here sat Dom Sebastian when he 
decided the plans of the fatal campaign in Aleacerquiber, 
the last expedition against the Moors; and here it was in 
earlier days that at the point we have arrived at in this 
narrative. King John and his sons sat waiting to receive 
the report of the Prior sent to spy out the land, the report 
that determined the commencement of this same cycle, 
the first expedition against the Moors. 

Already, despite the utmost attempts at secrecy, talk 
of a Holy War against the Infidel was current everywhere; 
and p('o|)I<' })cgnn to relate various signs and omens, 

.10 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 31 

visions and dreams, concerning the imminent downfall 
of the Moslem power. There was in those days a firm 
belief in auguries of every kind. Men looked upon them 
as serious things not lightly to be laughed at. To them 
the workings of Nature were still an unfathomable mystery ; 
they saw signs and wonders in every natural phenomenon ; 
and Satan and his angels were an ever-present, almost 
visible, daily menace to their souls. 

It was known at the Court that there was some secret 
behind the Prior's ostensible mission; and his silence on 
arrival heightened the interest to boiling point — an interest 
in which he seemingly luxuriated, so much so that even 
when closeted alone with the King and his sons he did not 
then seem anxious to begin. 

Their eager curiosity, however, was not thus to be 
baulked; and, finally, on being questioned directly, he 
made the following curious reply : 

" Sire, with all due deference, I feel that I would rather 
not speak of what I found, and have seen, until I have 
beside me here two sacks of sand, a reel of ribbon, half a 
bushel of beans, and a porringer." 

" Are you a wizard preparing an incantation ? " said 
the King laughingly. 

The Prior of the Hospitallers bowed gravely. 

" I would not dare jest with your Majesty ; but I would 
beg to repeat my request," he replied, solemnly. 

Again the King laughed. 

" Do you hear how he answers me ? " he said, turning 
to his sons. " I ask him for an account of Ceuta ; and he 
replies in terms of astrology and magic. AVho would have 
believed that a priest could have been capable of bringing 
back such a reply ! " 

Then, with a smile, he ordered what the Prior asked for, 
commenting in mock plaintiveness on the expense he was 
putting the State to. 

To this the Prior made no reply. He waited gravely 
till the curious articles he had asked for were brought to 
him. Then after they had been taken into the adjoining 



32 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

room he followed, leaving the King and his sons to content 
themselves in paticnec till he should be ready to unveil the 
riddle to their understanding. At length the door between 
the two rooms opened, and the Prior appeared. 

" Now, your Majesty," he said, " the result of my 
labours can be seen. I can not only answer on any detail 
you may question me about, but I can also show by ocular 
demonstration what I mean." 

He stood aside respectfully as he spoke ; and the King 
and his three sons, their curiosity now whetted to a keen- 
ness fitting the occasion, trooped past him into the room. 

\Vliat they saw amply repaid them for the time of waiting 
they had so courteously endured. It also fully explained 
the curious request of the Prior. 

On the stone floor of the room moulded in sand was a 
large relief map of the Straits of Gibraltar. It showed the 
southern coast of the Iberian peninsula, with the Bay of Alge- 
ciras and its range of mountains in the hinterland. On 
the other side of the Straits was the promontory of Ceuta, 
crowned in front by the eminences of Mount Musa and 
Mount Almina, where the Arabs once had contemplated 
building their city. A small isthmus joined it to the 
mainland. The city itself was indicated by rows of 
beans ; and a piece of unwound ribbon showed the contour 
of the walls. Below, the beach offering ample anchorage 
and landing facilities was indicated in sand; and the Prior 
pointed out the places around the city where there were 
gardens, lime-groves, and fields of sugar-cane, expatiating 
on their fertility, and showing where the coast around was 
rich in coral nnd tunny (a kind of mackerel).'^ 

' " The city of Ceuta or ' Septa ' is situated on the African coast 
opj)oaite Algeciran or the ' Green Island.' It is built on seven hills; and 
is a populous city extending over an area that measures from East to West 
aytproximately about one mile. Djabal Mu8& (The Mount of Musa) named 
after Musfi, ibn Xo(,air, who was the first to conquer Spain for Islam, rises 
about two miles from the city, which is surrounded by gardens and orchards 
when; the Pomegranate trees produce their fruits in abmidance. There are 
also fertile fields of sugar-cane, and lime-groves that supply the city with 
the means of export to surrounding neighbourhoods. This fertile area, 
with it« springs of crystalline water, is known as Balyunich. Westward 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 33 

While the others openly expressed their admiration and 
delight over the Prior's ingenious idea, Prince Henry- 
remained pensive, thoughtful. With his arms folded across 
his chest, and his right hand stroking his chin absent- 
mindedly, he watched this cartographic lesson in silence ; 
for the enormous future possibilities of the plan were 
already fermenting in his receptive brain. He saw how, 
following this idea, the whole world, its convolutions, 
irregularities, and multiplicity of shapes, could readily 
be depicted by graphic means ; and immediately he began 
to ponder how this knowledge could be turned to the 
acquisition of tangible wealth. It was probably at this 
very moment, therefore, that the first glimmerings of the 
idea formed in his mind which afterwards gave birth to the 
great nautical school at Sagres which he established, and 
which marked the commencement of all modern scientific 
navigation. Little wonder, therefore, that he kept silent 
while his brothers eagerly questioned the Prior on all the 
multiplicity of detail they wanted explained to them. 

can be seen the mountain called Djabalo L'Mina, on whose plateau-like 
summit can still be found the walls constructed in the time of Mahomet 
ibn abi Amir after his return from Spain. He had intended to transport 
the city to this summit; but he died just after the defensive walls of his 
new city had been built ; Ceuta remained where it was ; and the new city 
on the mountain has been for ever since without inhabitants. The walla 
of Al-Mina remain even unto this day, and are possessed of such extra- 
ordinary whiteness that in clear weather they can be seen plainly from 
the Spanish coast though almost hidden by the luxuriant vegetation that 
has sprung up around them since. In the heart of this dead city there is 
a spring which supplies water all the year round. The name ' Septa ' 
means an island, and was given to the old city because it was built on a 
narrow-necked peninsula surrounded on aU sides by water except where 
a bridgt over a strip of marshy land connected it with the mainland. 
Ceuta is an excellent seaport; and there are no better fishing grounds 
than those in its immediate neighbourhood. There are over a hundred 
different kinds of edible fish ; and the tunny is especially abundant there- 
about for harpooning. The immediate vicinity is also very rich in coral 
which surpasses in beauty that of any other neighbourhood. Conse- 
quently in the city bazaars one may see this coral being cut, poUshed, 
pierced, and threaded — for it is one of the chief exports, and the finished 
article is sent by caravan to Ghana and other towns in the Soudan." — 
Edrisi, Desc. of Africa and Spain, 167-8. 

" N.B. — In Dozy's and Goeje's translation of the above (Leyden, 1866) 
we do not find Edrisi' s original footnote on the derivation of ' Septa.* 
Edrisi derives it from the seven hills, called ' Septem Fratres.' " 
D 



34 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

After the first flush of delight over the success of this initial 
movement in their campaign faded, it now became neces- 
sary to divulge the secret to the Queen and the aged Con- 
stable, as on their willing consent so much of its future 
fortune depended. It was John, himself, now an eager 
convert, who, knowing the difficulties, undertook the task 
of enlightening the Queen and his trusted adviser. 

When she was informed Philippa was in a quandary. 
Openly she applauded the scheme ; but in her heart she 
was afraid of the results of such an expedition : for, 
remembering the weight of his years, she did not wish the 
King to go, thinking that he who had spent the greater 
part of his youth in harness ought surely to enjoy the calm 
of a peaceful old age rather than adventure forth again 
upon such unknown perils, and that his duty now was to 
remain beside her administering the affairs of the kingdom 
he had held so successfully against all comers. For her 
sons, on the other hand, she was more than willing they 
should go. With the high heart of a mother of Kings she 
felt indeed that it was their duty to endure such hardships, 
fight valiantly against fearful odds, gain all possible honour 
and distinction, so that at the last they might show them- 
selves worthy of the race from which they sprang. But 
for the King, their father, her husband and lover, she 
wanted peace ; and so, her heart palpitating beneath her 
outward stately calm, she pleaded with him not to go. 

The King would have none of it. Like an old war-horse 
he sensed from afar the sound of battle; and his heart 
sang, and his blood boiled with the glad joy of it again. 
Nevertheless, her pleading eyes caused in his breast an 
accusing irritating consciousness of the weakness of his 
position ; and his tongue failed him as he tried to put the 
matter before her in what seemed to him its proper light. 
For a moment, almost, he felt like yielding; and then the 
persistence that had stood him in such stead in his stormy 
youth came to his relief, and with a sudden inspiration, he 
said : 

" Madam, I remember that in my younger days 1 soiled 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 35 

my hands in Christian blood ; and so I feel that I can only 
complete my penance now by washing them in that of the 
innael. 1 

This improvised argument amounted to an inspiration • 
for, although It was but a cloak hastily assumed by the 
King to cover his southern thirst for violence, it appealed 
with overwhelming force to the almost fanatical religious 
instincts of the Queen-not that she was alone in such 
beliefs, however, for, in part, the same feeling honestly 
underlay the King's o^vn eagerness also, and, indeed, was 
shared by him with all the rest of Christendom, since in 
those days Christianity, like its great antagonist Moham- 
medanism, was a jTiilitant faith, and conversion by the 
sword was looked upon as a most fit and proper method 
of saving the heathen from those eternal fires otherwise 
awaiting them. Thus the Queen's consent was won; and 
nothing now remained but to gain over the Constable, who 
was still looked upon as the King's most powerful adviser 
though now living in retirement on his estates at Arraiolos.' 
The Court was then at Santarem : for in those davs it 
moved with the King, the idea of an administration Led 
in the capital not having yet arisen. Kings were then 
perpetually upon the road, taking the primitive machinery 
o government with them; and like itinerant pedlars they 
distributed their gifts as they progressed, presiding here 
over a Court of Justice, settling there some dispute between 
CIVIC bodies almost independent and always very jealous 
of one another and their prescriptive rights, granting else- 
where some charter, and periodically calling together at 
any convement centre the representatives of the three 
CorTeT ^°"^P°^^d his kingdom, and made up his 

To have summoned the Constable to Santarem would 
have given rise to much comment, and might have en- 

fZfi ?>f T'"^ °^ '^' proceedings. For this reason, 
therefore, the King and the young Princes set out acros^ 
the ragus, ostensibly on a hunting expedition towards 

1 Azurara, Chron., III. 18. 



36 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Montemor; and there the Constable was asked to meet 
them. The great affection he was known to entertain 
towards the Royal Family made such a meeting look the 
most natural thing in the world, and, consequently, it 
excited no curiosity whatever. When they met in the 
forest the King and the Constable walked slowly ahead, 
leaving the young Princes to follow at a respectful distance, 
full of eagerness to know what course events would take, 
feeling that if the Constable was violently opposed to the 
scheme all would be lost. 

Consequently they watched every look and gesture of 
the two elders in front of them, saw how the King hesitated 
and appeared uncertain of himself, remembering his recent 
interview with Philippa. They knew the very moment 
when he began to unfold his plans, watched how his face 
clouded with uncertainty, saw him knit his brows in thought 
as he searched for his most convincing arguments, trembled 
with anxiety as they noticed how he glanced occasionally 
at the imj)assive face of the aged Constable to see how he 
was taking it. Finally, after the King had told him of his 
interview with Philippa and what he said on that occasion, 
they saw the Constable smile. It was an omen of 
victory, and, unable to contain themselves further, they 
rushed up to them to find the Constable saying solemnly : 

" What I think. Sire, is that you, yourself, have no hand 
in this, nor indeed, has any mortal. It is an inspiration 
direct from God ; and you are the instrument of his 
purpose." 

The King, touched by a solemn awe, bowed his head 
before the veteran warrior, then raised it again proudly as 
the thought came to him that he was indeed the leader of 
a glorious enterprise, and that the hand of God was with 
him. With such help, and the confidence he reposed in 
the strength of his own right arm, he felt that the success 
of the expedition was assured. Around him the warm 
south wind, laden with the resinous balm of the brush- 
wood, sang rustling in the cork-forest ; and to his en- 
chanted ears it sounded like the roar of bygone battles 




nun'alvares 



[To face p. 3G 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 37 

when sword met sword, harness clashed with harness in 
deadly impact, and he and his companions fought shoulder 
to shoulder for crown and country in the days of his 
tumultuous youth. 

The fact that something in the nature of an expedition 
was being contemplated by now gradually became public. 
Indeed, it could not have been otherwise seeing that 
preparations were already on foot, and the time was 
ripening. Naturally, seeing the smoke, everybody sus- 
pected a fire ; but where the fire was, and what it was in- 
tended to burn was still only a matter for conjecture. 
Prince Duarte was absolutely overwhelmed with work. 
Prince Henry feeling within him the demon of glory con- 
tinually kept entreating his father to hasten matters, 
begging as a special favour that he should be the first to 
be allowed to land on African soil, the first to attempt to 
scale the walls of Ceuta ; and the King, in whom these 
affinities of character had created a preference, readily 
assented.^ 

The Cortes had now to be approached : for in those days 
the monarchy had not yet entrenched itself amid the ruins 
of the representative institutions of the Middle Ages — 
those feudal guilds which were afterwards destroyed for 
ever by John II. 

Thus, though the initiative came from the King, he 
always, before embarking on any weighty enterprise, took 
the opinion of his people as represented by their delegates, 
not in any mere formal manner, but with a sincere desire 
that they should help him in the interests of the country ; 
for was it not by the unanimous wish of these same people 
he had been called originally to assume the reins of Govern- 
ment, and lead them in their struggle to maintain their 
national independence ? 

The representatives of the Council met in 1414 at Torres 
Vedras. Nun'alvares the Constable, JoSo das Regras, the 
Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of Braga, and a few others, 
with Marshal Alvaro Pereira, the Constable's brother, and 

1 Azurara, Chron., III. 24. 



38 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Joao Gomes da Silva, rcno^\Tlcd for his wit and strength of 
character, formed this momentous Council. 

The King in a few words told them about the proposed 
invasion of Morocco. The Constable almost as briefly 
followed, seconding the proposal ; and then kneeling, he 
kissed the King's hand solemnly. 

A brief silence followed. Every one felt the tension of 
the moment. Every one sat still. JoSo Gomes da Silva 
glanced round at the bowed heads bent solemnly over the 
table. They were all grey with years, bleached with the 
winters of over half a century. Every one of them had 
taken a valiant part in the last war, the war of independ- 
ence; and they were all that remained of Aljubarotta and 
of the many battles against Castile. Several of them had 
almost reached their second childhood, the age when a 
man again becomes the ready instrument of his own 
emotions, when he knows not whether to laugh or 
cry. All these thoughts rushed through Joao Gomes' 
mind. 

Suddenly he laughed aloud ; and, startled, they all 
stared at him. 

" Sire," he cried, " forgive my levity. I kno\r not what 
to say, except that to me it seems that a race of albinos 
(white-heads) is going to fight the Moors." 

The laugh and the quaint conceit appealed strongly to 
their tense strung minds. It seemed as it were to break 
the spell of the solemnity that held them. Every one 
relaxed ; and with a laugh, and the words, " Albinos to the 
front," on every toothless mouth, the assembly dispersed 
noisily. 1 

Immediately after this decision arrangements were 
straightway set on foot to get the expedition ready, for 
it would require fully two years to prepare all that was 
required. Indeed, before this certain preliminary matters 
had already been arranged. The Treasurer, without being 
admitted to the secret, had received orders to prepare the 
Mint, and, as it had been decided to raise a loan, as much 

* Azurara, Chron., III. 26. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 39 

money as possible had been accumulated in the Treasury, 
and arrangements made for importing more. 

In addition all master crossbowmen had been notified 
to make as many enlistments as possible, and recruiting 
had already become active. (Soares de Barros, Acad. 
Municip. Econom., calculating from this enlistment, 
estimated that in 1422 there were 252,067 crossbowmen 
per million of the population.) 

The standing army in those days consisted of the King's 
troops, together with certain companies supplied by the 
nobility. In time of war these noblemen and their troops 
would join the King's army, and the local councils would 
further swell the forces by levies which varied in number 
according to the charter of the particular municipality. 
But, in addition, the King, his constable, and marshal, 
could call at any time, directly to their service, cross- 
bowmen from every part of the kingdom. 

At this period King John had for the first time estab- 
lished arsenals in the country ; and for the maintenance of 
these he had made the State responsible. The permanent 
cavalry force at his disposal consisted of 3,500 lances, of 
which 2,000 were his own vassals, and the rest were raised 
by the nobility and local councils. In addition, all over 
the country there were the master bowmen ; and these 
were held responsible for recruiting, training, and leading 
their companies in war. Now all these various arms were 
put upon a war-footing once more, and much activity and 
speculation in consequence arose all over the country. 
Provision had next to be made for the Armada. ^Vhole 
pine forests were felled and transported to the ship- 
building yards, to help in the construction of new ships 
and the strengthening and repairing of such others as 
alread)^ existed, or of the merchantmen that had been 
commandeered for service. 

Fifteen new galleys -of -war were constructed, and 
fifteen pinnaces. In addition, the entire existing navy 
was dry-docked and repaired. Affonso Furtado was in 
command. It was he who in 1387 had brought Lancaster 



40 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

from England ; and on returning back with the Duke he had 
remained there with ten auxiliary galleys, in accordance , 
with the treaty of Windsor (1386). In England he had 
studied naval construction ; and so he now came back 
prepared to supervise an Armada such as never had been 
seen before in Portuguese waters. It was he who effected 
the seizure of every merchant ship he could find in the ports 
of his country, enrolling them together with their crews 
in his navy, having the power to " apprehend, and im- 
prison any one according to the fault or disobedience 
committed." 

The post of Admiral was in those days an hereditary 
one. It was then held by Admiral Pessanhas ; and in 
the event of there being no successor, it would pass to 
some nobleman — " one who had conscience enough not to 
do anything he should not do " [Orden. Aff. 3 LV.). By 
an ancient ordinance the Admiral had to supply " twenty 
Genoese acquainted with the sea, who shall be competent 
to master and captain the ships." He also had to furnish 
one fifth of every accessory excepting the hull, arms, and 
fittings of the vessels. In those days, and indeed much 
later in every European country, the comman*! of a ship 
on an expedition lay with the senior officer of the troops 
on board. The captain, as we understand him now, did not 
exist. There was a master who was a practical seamen, 
and gave orders to the sailors under his command on all 
technical matters ; but he himself was completely under 
the control of the military commander — a condition of 
affairs which was a fruitful source of trouble until sheer 
futility forced it into desuetude. 

As it became increasingly necessary to invent some 
excuse for all these warlike preparations, the Council, 
after fixing its next session for June 1415, decided that the 
best device would be to send an ambassador to the Court 
of the Duke of Holland complaining of the treatment 
Portuguese shi|)s had experienced at the hands of the Dutch 
pirates, and demanding satisfaction. To lend colour to 
this fabrication, and to make the people and more par- 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 41 

ticularly the neighbouring nations connect it with the 
building of the Armada, considerable secrecy was pretended 
about the proposed embassy, while at the same time its 
object was quietly whispered around. 

The actual mobilisation of the army was left in the hands 
of Prince Peter, Prince Henry, and the Count of Barcellos. 

Prince Peter collected his men in Estremadura and 
Alemtejo, Prince Henry in Beira and Traz-os-Montes, 
the Count of Barcellos in Entre-Douro-e-Minho. Thus 
the kingdom was divided between the three; and the 
troops under Prince Henry and the Count of Barcellos 
were to take ship at Oporto, while Prince Peter's contingent 
came to Lisbon. To Prince Duarte was apportioned the 
part of looking after the affairs of State, and the nursing 
of his " melancholy humour." 

While these preparations were going on there was much 
activity at the naval shipyards. In Lisbon and at Oporto, 
along the banks of the Tagus and the Douro, great quan- 
tities of material were accumulated ; and the sound of 
hammering became incessant. The yards hummed with 
activity like vast ant-heaps. At night the work was 
carried on by the resinous glare of torchlights. At one 
spot busy carpenters planed the timbers to cover the 
vessels' frameworks which, still incomplete, looked like the 
skeletons of prehistoric monsters, their arched ribs looming 
in the shadows half illuminated by the fitful crimson glare 
of the torches burning with smoky brilliance in the night. 

Further along, the banks resembled a huge abattoir : 
bullocks were being slaughtered, skinned, quartered, 
salted, and packed in barrels. There were women busily 
engaged in scaling and salting fish, which were then dried 
in enormous stacks that extended so far as to be almost 
lost to \'iew. The air was heavy with the acrid smell of 
blood, brine, ropes, and resin. The spring was hot, and 
people had already begun to talk of the plague. 

Beyond the victualling yards many coopers were busy; 
while tailors seemed ever to be cutting and sewing sails. 
Each man felt the importance of his trade. Each felt he was 



42 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

a useful unit in the vast machinery of workers engaged on 
this important mission — the mission planned by their be- 
loved King. At one spot carpenters were busy mounting 
mortars and other artillery gathered on the beach ready to 
arm the unfinished ships. Enormous coils of cordage un- 
wound their twisted fabric along the neighbouring fields, idly 
awaiting not only the vessels being built in their immediate 
vicinity, but also those merchant ships that were to return 
from abroad to be equipped for war service. Pulleys 
groaning monotonously, ropes contorting themselves into 
a thousand twisted shapes proclaimed that the nation's 
muscles were straining in the throes of labour; and while 
the windlasses turned creakingly, the furnace flames of 
the neighbouring Mint transformed the scene into a 
veritable Inferno with its roaring fires, hissing cauldrons 
of molten metal, and the perpetual hammering and coining 
of money — the vital force that quickens the pulse of War. 

Old men, with the leisure of crippled age, looking on the 
scene, discussed its meaning, trying to fathom the real 
motive of all this activity — the fact that there was a secret 
quickening the public curiosity, and freeing each individual 
imagination. 

One would say that the Armada was to take the Princess 
Isabel, who was then seventeen, to be married in England ; 
and that it would then proceed to conquer Flanders. 
Another would discredit this, asserting that its destination 
was Naples, and that it was to take Prince Peter there to 
marry the Queen of Sicily. A third would heatedly deny 
this. The Armada, he would inform his listeners with the 
assurance of one who was divulging a great secret, was 
really being built to take the King to the Holy Sepulchre, 
in compliance with a vow he had made should he defeat 
Castile. Still another would ridicule this with the 
superiority of one better acquainted with the happenings 
at Court. It was this one's idea that Holland was the 
ultimate destination of the Armada. Another individual 
was positive that it was being built as an auxiliary to Pope 
Benedict XIII, who was recognised as the true Pope by 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 43 

Spain, but not by Portugal ; and he would support his theory 
by relating, what was as yet little known, that both the 
Roman Pope and Benedict XIII had been deposed in 1409, 
after a council held at Pisa, and Alexander V, who was 
succeeded by John XXIII in the following j^ear, had been 
elected. He would tell how all this discord in the Holy 
Church was due to the intrigues of the vile French against 
Italy, and almost persuade his listeners of the truth of his 
conjecture. 

But at this mention of the French an objection would be 
raised by one of the listeners ; and he would proffer his 
explanation in a cautious whisper, suggesting Normandy as 
the point of attack. Every one knew that the King was 
the grandson of the Count of Bologne, and that he claimed 
the Duchy on that account ; and here again, some sem- 
blance of probability underlay the suggestion : for at that 
time France was actually at the mercy of anyone who raised 
a claim to her lands, monopolised almost completely by 
the Burgundians, and the Armagnese, and further threat- 
ened by the English, who invaded and actually conquered 
Normandy again in 1415 at the Battle of Agincourt. 

Finally, some one would diffidently suggest that there 
might be something in the verses written by a negress, 
Philippa's slave, to her lover. Prince Peter's valet, which 
asserted that Ceuta was the destination of the expedition.^ 
But after such magnificent versions this last appeared sadly 
lacking in colour. Perhaps the verses were crude — at 
any rate the theory was discredited, and thus secrecy was 
maintained. In the cloud of contradictory gossip the 
actuLil truth became labelled as a lie. 

Meanwhile, the neighbouring nations began to be 
alarmed. Castile felt uneasy. She was hard put to it to 
maintain her unstable conquests in Andalusia. Aragon 
found it difficult to hold Sicily. Granada began to feel 
herself perilously surrounded on all sides. And so all 
three sent ambassadors, and these arrived practically at 
the same time. All were commissioned to ask if these 

^ Azurara, Chron., III. 29. 



44 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

hostile preparations were connected with their respective 
Governments ; and all were dismissed with the assurance 
of nothing but the most peaceful intentions.^ 

There arrived at the same time, however, another visitor 
whose departure it was impossible thus to expedite. This 
was the plague which broke out virulently in Lisbon in 
the spring of 1415, claiming a heavy death-roll, and driving 
the Court to seek refuge in Santarem. Nevertheless, the 
incessant warlike preparations still went on ; and these, 
with the ravages of the plague, acting simultaneously on 
the excitable imagination of a credulously pious population, 
stimulated the war fever to extraordinary heights. 

Militant priests went about the country preaching that 
the plague was a visitation from God on account of the 
sins of the people, that these sins must be atoned for before 
the hand of his wrath passed from them, and that to die fight- 
ing abroad against the Infidel insured eternal happiness, 
whereas the equal risk of death at home from the plague 
brought no such hope of ultimate salvation. Then a friar 
of S. Domingos, rising at dawn for his morning devotions, 
saw clearly and distinctly a vision of the King in full 
armour kneeling before the image of the Virgin, whilst 
over him there shone a resplendent flaming sword. The 
mere report of this filled every breast with a burning 
enthusiasm, and recruits came flocking in thousands to 
the standard, for it was now evident that God Himself was 
on the King's side. 

Prince Henry had been at Oporto since January, busily 
superintending the equipment of the Armada, and receiving 
the contingents arriving from beyond the river Mondego — 
companies of archers, and levies of men-at-arms from the 
retainers of the various noblemen and Councils, each under 
the flag of its own commander. Amongst them was a 
veteran warrior of ninety, Ayres Gon9alvcs de Figucircdo, 
white-haired, upright, in full armour at the head of his 
vassals. 

" It seems to me," said the Prince, as the old knight 
^ Azurara, Chron., 111. 30-33. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 45 

bent to kiss his hand, " that one of your age, sir, has 
already amply earned repose after so many years of faithful 
service in the field." 

" I may be conscious of my years, my Prince," came the 
feeble but firm answer of the veteran, " but yet am I as 
willing now to serve as when I fu'st took up arms under 
your father. Nor can I think of any higher obsequies 
than those granted by the battlefield." ^ 

It was animated by a spirit such as this that on July 10, 
1415, Prince Henry's fleet arriving from Oporto, entered 
the Tagus and cast anchor. It consisted of twenty galleys- 
of-war, and viewed from the land, they looked more as if 
decked out for a pageant than prepared to face the stern 
arbitrament of war : for each sailor wore the Prince's tri- 
colour, and all the vessels, their hulls resplendent with 
new paint, the image of their patron saints carved and 
gilded at the bow, flew his standard and the tricoloured 
flags on which the Prince's motto, " Talent de bien faire," 
fluttered triumphant, while ever and anon the metallic 
sound of trumpets came in eddies to the shore. 

Outside he had been joined by the contingent under 
Prince Peter ; and it was the combined fleet which eventu- 
ally cast anchor in the Tagus before the eyes of the as- 
sembled multitudes, each ship folding its white sails as 
it took its moorings for all the world like sea-gulls folding 
their wings when they rest upon the waters and are still. 

Then the two Princes, accompanied by the Count of 
Barcellos, their half brother, D. Fernando of Braganza, the 
King's cousin, and the chief noblemen commanding the 
ships, proceeded to land. Here, however, black news 
awaited them. The Queen had sickened of the plague at 
Odivellos, and everything at Court was consequently in 
confusion. It had happened in this wise. When the 
disease had so far increased in Lisbon that a few sporadic 
cases began to occur in Sacavem, where the Court had 
moved to, it had been hastily decided to abandon it for 
Odivellos. Thither the King had gone immediately; but 

1 Azurara, Chrm., III. 30-33. 



46 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

the Queen, for some reason, had delayed her departure 
for another day, and on that day she began to feel symp- 
toms of the disease. Nevertheless she decided to complete 
the journey to Odivellos ; and so, when she arrived 
there she was already in a high fever, and had to be put 
immediately to bed. 

It was at this cruelly inopportune moment that the 
King, not realising the danger of her condition, his mind 
completely occupied with thoughts of the expedition, came 
into her chamber and stated his intention of going with the 
expedition. 

Oblivious of everything, he talked on eagerly, never 
looking at the Queen, his mind full of roseate dreams of 
glorious feats of arms ; whilst all the time the Queen lay 
still with closed eyes, tears quietly welling from below the 
lids, the presentiment of death lying heavily on her, and 
behind, in the darkness of the chamber, some of the maids- 
of-honour were furtively weeping. Suddenly a strangled 
sob reached the King's ears, and startled him out of his 
self-complacent monologue. He turned to stare, and at 
the same time the Queen opened her eyes. 

" Friends," she said gently to the frightened maids-of- 
honour, at whom the King was glaring fiercely, " friends, 
you should not weep for me." 

Then she turned to the panic-stricken King, now fully 
awake to her extremity. 

" May God give me strength," she said, taking his hand 
fondly, " to hold out until I have given my sons the swords 
I have promised them, and also my blessing." 

Wounded to the heart, the King could endure no more. 
He burst into a flood of tears, and, vehemently desirous of 
avoiding all eyes, hurried out of the Palace, vaulted on the 
first horse he could find, and galloped off blindly like a 
wounded animal to hide himself from every one in the woods 
surrounding the Palace. 

It was obvious to all that the Queen was dying, and 
messengers were sent post-haste to summon her sons 
around her. Her only fear, however, was that the swords 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 47 

she had ordered for each of them to take on the forth- 
coming expedition might not be ready before the end, and 
she kept continually asking for them throughout the day. 
Meanwhile the whole Royal Family had assembled in the 
Palace, but for fear of the plague had not been summoned 
to her presence. At length the swords arrived — three 
precious blades, their hilts fashioned of gold, studded with 
seed-pearls. Eagerly the Queen stretched out her hands 
for them, and they were laid on the bed beside her. Then 
she bade them summon her sons. Prince Duarte sobbed 
like a child ; Prince Peter tried in vain to check his emotion 
by the rules of philosophy ; whilst Prince Henry, angered 
at this cruel jest of Fate on the eve of their momentous 
expedition, bit his lip with suppressed emotion, and 
worked his fingers nervously. 

At a signal from their mother the three Princes knelt 
beside her, while she, supporting herself feebly, presented 
a sword to each — first to Prince Duarte, recommending 
him to be a just king, next to Prince Peter, urging him to 
wear and use it honourably, last of all, to Prince Henry, 
reminding him of his duties to his country. Then she 
asked for the King, and when he entered the room, like 
one in a dream, beside himself with grief, she beckoned him 
to approach, drawing from her bosom a gold locket which, 
when opened, displayed a relic of black wood carefully 
wrapped in silk, and said to be a chip of the original cross 
of Christ. 

Raising the relic to her burning lips with fingers now the 
colour of wax she kissed the relic reverently, then handed 
it to her husband, asking him to keep a fragment and divide 
the rest amongst her three eldest sons. 

Finally she asked her son, Prince Duarte, to look after 
his younger brothers, Prince John, and Prince Fernando, 
who were kept away for fear of infection, and stated that 
it was her wish that her daughter, the Princess Isabel, 
should inherit her estates. 

After this., exhausted, she closed her eyes as if already 
dead; and the King in a frenzy of grief left the room, 



48 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

refusing to see her die, taking horse instead for Alhos 
Vedros, where he remained until the end. 

After he had gone the Princes returned to the death 
chamber; and the Queen hearing their footsteps opened 
her eyes. 

A gale was whistling around the Palace windows. 

" How is the wind ? " she said feebly. 

" Northern gale," they answered. 

"It is favourable for your voyage — I had hoped to — 
to hear of your landing." 

" So you will." 

" No — Yes — I shall see it from above. You must 
not let my death delay you. In a week I shall see you 
landing." 

Suddenly she shivered, pulling the bedclothes up to 
her chin. Then she asked for the priests. They came, 
anointed her, and gave her absolution. Thus the saintly 
Queen departed to another world, leaving, however, the 
heritage of her spirit behind her. 

The same night she was buried ; and immediately 
after the young Princes, heavy with grief, departed to rejoin 
the Armada at Lisbon on their way to the war. Death 
and Plague had been the funereal inauguration of the first 
National Armada. 

Lisbon and the whole nation were plunged in gloom. 
The ships in the estuary, their naked masts stripped of 
flags and ornaments, appeared now like a forest stripped of 
its foliage by some relentless and devastating autumnal gale. 

Only one more catastrophe was necessary to augment 
to the breaking point the gloom that surrounded the 
superstitious and plague-stricken people — and this too 
happened ; for, strange to tell, on the same day the sun 
was totally eclipsed for a period of two hours. 

In earlier times no one would have dared to risk such a 
hazardous enterprise in face of such omens; and indeed, 
even in those days, men of less courage would have been 
daunted. But in this case the common people had got 
it firmly rooted in their minds that this expedition had 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 49 

been specially ordered by Providence, and that they were 
the chosen race whom He had appointed to the task. 
Faith closed the barrier, therefore, against fear; and no 
danger in consequence was sufficiently great to weaken their 
fanatical belief in their fortunate destiny. For this reason, 
at a meeting of the Council, held after the Princes had 
returned from Odivellos, a resolution was passed that the 
expedition was to sail at once, just as if the Queen were 
alive to bid it God-speed, and according to the original 
intention which she had prayed them on her death-bed 
not to alter. 

Prince Henry, thereupon, rising to the occasion, deter- 
mined to suppres.. his family grief, and, to stimulate the 
drooping spirits of his men, decided that all emblems of 
mourning must cease. 

The next day, therefore, saw all the bunting rehoisted on 
the ships; the sounds of merry music floating o'er the 
waves was once more heard ; and the festive flags waving 
in the breeze, and the white flapping sails bending and crack- 
ing in the sunlight roused the lowered enthusiasm of the 
people once more to the fever pitch. Death and plague 
were forgotten ; and the soldiers remarked that truly 
the King was right when he looked upon Prince Henry as 
the most heroic of his sons.^ 

The King sailed from Alhos Vedros to join his Armada 
anchored off Santa Catharina. The fleet consisted of 
two hundred and forty vessels all told. Of these twenty- 
seven were galleys-of-war with three banks of oars, thirty- 
two possessed double rows ; there were sixty-three trans- 
ports, and a hundred and twenty other vessels probably- 
carrying stores.^ There were fifty thousand men on board 
— thirty thousand sailors and rowers, and twenty thousand 
soldiers. One English nobleman had brought five vessels 
crowded with archers. 

^ Azurara Chron., III. 45-48. 

* " Trium et sexaginta navium onerariarum, septem et viginti triremium, 
duarum et triginta bireinium, et centum et viginti aliarum navium." — 
Math. Pisano, De Bello Sejitensi, " Acad. Ined.," I. 43. 
£ 



50 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Tlie King and the three Princes, together with the 
Constable and the Count of BarccUos, were going with the 
expedition, leaving the kingdom to be governed in their 
absence by the Regent, Fernao Rodrigues de Sequeira. 

On Wednesday the 23rd of June 1415, the vessels left 
their moorings, and in full sail accompanied by the swishing 
of oars and the flapping of canvas they foamed their way 
down the estuary. The brazen note of trumpets seemed all 
pervasive. The city appeared suddenly to have become 
depopulated, for all and every one remaining hurried from 
their homes, lining the city walls, crowding along the shores, 
or climbing to the neighbouring hills to see the last of the 
great fleet, and raise their hands and voices to God calling 
upon Him to aid the enterprise to victory.^ 

Women wept for their husbands. Old men mourned 
for their sons. It could in truth be said that all the youth 
of the country was sailing in those vessels. Every one 
was cruelly ignorant of the real destination of this their 
first Armada. The cry on every lip was : " Where is it 
sailing to?" And though some answered glibly Ceuta, 
others Sicily, and still others Holland, no one yet knew 
definitely. 

And so on the shore and on the hills the watchers stood 
for hours, saw it sail beyond the estuary, and waited till 
it disappeared hull down beneath the rim of the horizon 
followed by the setting sun. Even then many were loath 
to leave. They stood listlessly gazing at the empty 
ocean till nightfall came and drove them, lingeringly, 
to their homes, to dream on their pillows the restless 
dreams of those who had been left behind. Such was the 
farewell. 

• • • • • • • 

On Saturday the 26th of July the Armada, passing Cape 
St. Vincent, saluted certain Holy Relics that were kept 

* " Gives qui remanserant atque plelxji ad classem, pulcherrimum 
spectaculum, videndum confluxerc, paasis velis recedent<;m : qiiidam 
vero inoviiia civitntis, quidain loca edita Hcandcrunt : quidam ad littora 
concurrere et, tnanuB ad coelum tendentes, a Deo pro suis victoiiam 
expoeoebant." — Math. Pisano, Ibid., XXXIX. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 51 

on the Sacred Promontory; i and that night it cast anchor 
at Lagos. During the four days there its destination was 
made pubhc at home ; but after so much preceding secrecy 
people still doubted the veracity of this, in spite of the 
proclamation of a Holy Crusade by the Pope. 

On the 30th it sailed towards Faro; but here, meeting 
with a calm, it was delayed for a whole week; and it was 
not until Wednesday the 7th of August that it sighted 
Cape Espartel. Here, turning to enter the Straits at 
nightfall, it made for Tarifa, where the Governor was 
assured of their perfectly peaceful relations with Castile. 
From Tarifa they went to Algeciras which had recently 
been acquired by the Moors of Granada; and here they 
were received in friendly fashion. 

From Algeciras they made straight across for Ceuta, 
the 12th of August being the day fixed for the attack.' 
As soon as they were perceived in the offing they were imme- 
diately met with hostilities, for the object of the expedition 
had now become plain to every one. 

Prince Henry's galley, being nearest the shore, received 
the most damage; but though a few men were landed 
nothing more than an unimportant skirmish resulted, for 
the Armada, anchored east of the peninsula, was exposed at 
the same time to the wind and the attacks of the enemy. 
For this reason, on Wednesday the 14th it was decided to 
sail to the west side of Ceuta ; and this was accomplished 
on Friday, the attack being fixed for the following day. 
A severe gale, however, compelled the King with sore of 
his smaller vessels to run for shelter to Algeciras; and 
m the confusion of the storm many of the other vessels 
dragged their anchors and were buifetted against the rocks, 
threatening disaster. In vain their captains besought 
the Constable to allow them to put out to sea, and thus 
weather out the storm in safety. The old man refused. 
He was no sailor, but he was a good general, and dreaded 
the effect such a seeming retreat might have upon his men ; 
and so he took refuge in the excuse that he could issue no 

^ Hence the name Sagres. 



52 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

such orders till the King returned from Algcciras. Accord- 
ingly they drifted thus for one day and two nights, till 
at length the King sent orders to make for shelter with 
him.^ 

This belated wisdom on the part of the King and his 
nautical advisers came as a great surprise to the Constable, 
who probably did not appreciate the extreme peril of utter 
destruction from shipwreck that the men under him had 
thus escaped. Frankly he was puzzled. He could not 
understand the move ; and began to wonder if the attack 
on Ceuta had been abandoned for the safer one of a raid 
on Gibraltar. On board ship there was also much division 
of council, many wondering if an attack on Ceuta was 
advisable at all, seeing the number of misfortunes that 
had befallen them in pursuance of this aim. First of all 
there had been the death of the Queen. Then came the 
storm to add to the sense of ill-omen amongst these super- 
stitious people. If this had not been enough there followed 
also the plague, which, introduced amongst the sailors 
from Lisbon, was now decimating the fleet. Little wonder, 
therefore, that many, even including the King himself, 
preferred rather to attack Gibraltar than to re -encounter 
the dangers of the first project — Ceuta. Apparently the 
Moors in Ceuta, themselves, believed that such councils 
of prudence would prevail, for on the departure of the 

^ " The following day, during a violent thunderstorm, .UI the captains 
asked the Constable to allow such ships as were able to put to sea to do 
80, leaving those disabled behind, pointing out that as the King had sailed 
for safety they should be allowed to do likewise. As an alternative they 
said they were equally willing to land and fight to the death ; but that 
either one or other of these courses was imperative. The Constable 
anHwered them blandly that he would gladly accompany them to land, 
and HutTcr whatever punishment C!od wished; but that he did not know 
if that would please the King, who would thus be deprived of the honour 
and glory of the exjMjdition, and tiiercfore he could not consent to a landing. 
As for putting out to sea he would never do so, even to save his own life, 
&n by such a course he might lose many of the smaller vessels. As a conse- 
quence the fleet was at the mercy of the storm for two nights and a day, 
until the King ordered them to join him and anchor off Gibraltar where 
he now waa, and where the Constable joined him." — Coron. do Condest, 
LXXVIII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 53 

fleet they ceased altogether making any more preparations 
for defence, believing they were now safe from further 
molestation.^ 

In this way an entire week was lost ; and then the storm 
abating, and the fleet having become re-united, fresh 
courage came with the improvement in the weather, and 
the spirits of the men rose, so that the King decided to 
cross the Straits again on the 20th of August, during the 
night, and make a surprise attack in the grey of morning. 

So, in the darkness before the dawn, amid the palpitating 
silence of the sea, to the sound of the water swishing along 
the sides of the ships, and the splashing and creaking of 
oars half seen in the mist, these new Greeks, like a second 
Salaminian fleet, guided by the torches reflected in the 
water from the city of Ceuta, opened their attack from their 
floating city on this outpost of the Infidel. 

It was a fight against the ever-recurring eastern tide 
breaking on the coast of western resistance, a fight against 
the repetitions of history. There had been quiet since the 
time of Darius and Xerxes in Southern Europe; but now the 
great Moslem wave had swept as far as Spain, and still 
showed no sign of ebbing. On the contrary even, it was 
busily engaged, at that very moment engulfing the great 
Byzantine Empire, and the fatal day was not far off when 
Constantine's City, the heart of the Eastern Christian 

1 " And the most victorious and virtuous King, my father, may God 
receive his Soul, finding himself between Gibraltar and Algeciras, with 
me, my beloved brothers Prince Peter and Prince Henry, the Count of 
Barcellos, and the Constable, was told by some, who were not in favour 
of our intentions, that for many reasons we should not return to Ceuta, 
because of the danger of crossing the Straits in a storm. Moreover, 
many signs and omens from Heaven made them beheve this : the death 
of the most virtuous Queen, my beloved mother, the storm which had not 
allowed us to stay in harbour, and the plague which we now had amongst 
us in our ships. He replied that his conscience would not aUow him to 
depart imtil he had first proved his strength, and, moreover, that he 
wished to die doing his duty. Only after doing that would he depart, 
and signs and omens such as had occurred ought not to affect truly pious 
men, who should rather be convinced that it was their duty to continue 
as far as was in their power, and not mistake their own forebodings for the 
wish of God." — Prince Duarte, The Loyal Coujisellor, XIV. 



54 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

world, Avas fated to fall to the Infidel, and become the 
chief jewel in the crown of the Padishah.^ 

But even before the fall of Constantinople there was an 
uneasy feeling pervading Europe that, at all costs, the 
triumphant progress of the Moslem faith must be checked, 
otherwise Christianity would be doomed; and it was a 
sub-conscious knowledge of this fact that animated more 
than anything else this attempt on the part of Portugal 
to seize Ceuta, attacking, as it were, the Ottoman Empire 
on its western flank, and at the same time helping to bottle 
the egress from the Mediterranean against future expansion. 
For these reasons the taking of Ceuta was not only a 
turning point in the History of Portugal, but also the ful- 
crum on which the Christian civilisation of Western Europe 
was resting. It marked, moreover, the beginning of the 
age of maritime discovery, as well as the critical |)criod 
in the duel between the Christian and Mohammedan faith, 
when the latter was conquering not only the East, but also 
Africa, where the Byzantine Greeks had been submerged 
by the influx of the Arabs. 

Dimly, yet powerfully animated with the consciousness 
of the momentous consequences depending on their success, 
it was in such a mood the Portuguese fleet approached the 
African coast. 

With the first grey of dawn the shrill sound of whistles 
rent the air, giving the signal to attack. Every man of the 

* Constantinople, consisting of the old town of Stambul, as well as 
those of Galata, Pcra and Sontari, is after Athens the oldest city in Europe. 
Ever since it,s foundation by the Greeks in the seventli century B.C., it 
has been surrounded by a tragic history. It became the alternate posses- 
sion of the Greeks and the Persians, suffering severely in the Poloponnesian 
War. It belonged to the Macedonians before it was chosen by Constantine 
as the capital of the Byzantine Empire in a.d. 328. It remained in the 
h.inds of the Chri.stians for eleven centuries, and was taken by the cru.sadera 
in 1204, and again by the Greeks in 1201. Its doubly fortified walls 
successfully rej)ellcd assaults of both Turk and Bulgar for many genera- 
tions, until 1453, when the Turks under Mahomet II, laid siege to and 
captured it, massacring its inhabitants, ruining the " Oblation of Ages " 
in St. Sophia, destroying its libraries and priceless trciisures of Art, and 
making it the Ottoman capital. It was threatenrd by the Russians in 
1829, and again in 1878. Ita recent history will be in the memory of all 
readers. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 55 

great fleet was on deck. Some were hammering on their 
armour, or throwing on their doublets. Others unsheathed 
and brandished their swords, or sharpened their daggers, 
after previously sharpening their wits by stretching away 
the relaxing effects of sleep. Yet again others held torches 
aloft, as the light of dawn was yet no more than a silvered 
streak on the horizon. The raw morning air wafted from 
the shore sounds that told them the enemy were similarly 
ready to receive them. All were prepared to meet their 
last day, having examined their untutored consciences, 
and confessed themselves to the priests who were to be 
seen on every ship with raised crosses, giving absolution 
and their blessing to the perfervid crews. 

King John put out in a galliot to command the assault. 
He had ordered that Prince Henry was to have the honour 
of being the first to land, and as soon as he set foot on 
shore the rest were to follow. The day had now broken, 
and the sun was already beginning to throw its long morning 
shadows. Tired with their long inaction, an intense eager- 
ness to get to close quarters with the enemy pervaded the 
whole fleet; and thereupon Joao Foga9a, the governor 
of the Count of Barcellos' household, no longer able to 
restrain himself, set out in a small boat and landed with a 
few men. He was thus the first to set foot on African soil, 
stealing a march on Prince Henry, much to the latter's anger. 

Quickly the rest of the Armada followed ; and with the 
blast of trumpets and shouts of battle the fighting began. 
A dense crowd of Moors opposed the landing. The invading 
Christians seemed to be lost in the multitude of them; 
but for all that, their resistance proved in vain, for in a 
short time there was scarcely a live Numidian or Sudanese 
left on the shore to tell the tale, though their gigantic 
stature, their savage blackness and bareness, their thick 
lips and huge white teeth, and their fierce bloodshot eyes 
considerably startled their assailants at first. Their chief 
method of defence was by hurling huge stones at the in- 
coming attack, thus knocking off the visors of the armoured 
men, wounding and disabling them ; but the thick shower 



56 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

■with which the first adventurous assailants were received 
rapidly dwindled, and became less accurate as lance and 
bow began to find their quarry. So while Prince Duarte, 
the Count of Barcellos, Prince Peter, the Constable and 
the King, were in the act of landing. Prince Peter and his 
men had already cut their way to the gates of Almina, 
and effected an entry into the city over a heap of 
dead. 

The King could only walk with difficulty as he had been 
wounded ; but it was soon evident to all that without his 
aid the city had already been captured; and though the 
castle resisted for a little longer its walls were also presently 
scaled, and the conquerors entered to fmd it already 
abandoned. It was an almost bloodless victory, for though 
many were wounded, only eight Portuguese were killed. ^ 

After the capture came the sacking of the town. The 
booty collected was tremendously great, for Ceuta surpassed 
Venice in those days in riches on account of its Indian 
commerce, and save for the dead in the streets the city 
appeared one great bazaar. Into this treasure-house of 
riches, then, was let loose a flushed, exultant army of ignorant 
villagers from the mountains of Traz-os-Montes, untutored 
men-at-arms, illiterate archers, who in their greedy search 
for plunder unwittingly destroyed many priceless treasures. 
Coming as they did from miserable thatched cottages, or 
troglodyte caves merely covered by a few slates, they 
suddenly found themselves masters of enchanted palaces, 

* " Inter barbaros, quidam barbarus satis deform is fuisse traditur qui 
viribus et corporis magnitudine reliquos superabat, crispos habens capillos, 
nigrum colorem, dentes admodum albos et niagnos, labra grossa et ad 
mentura usque revoluta, qui non ex Septa civitate oriundus, caeterum 
iEthiopibua siniilis videbatur, nudusque incedebat nequc prneliando aliis 

armi.s nisi lapidibus utebatur, quos tanta vi contorquebat 

quem ipse uno ictu prostrasset." — M. Pisano, De bello Septensi, 49. 

in the Paris Library there is also a MS. by Ant. dc la Salle, which 
de-scribes the taking of Ceuta (No. 10,748, Fonds de Bourgogne). 

" The day that Couta was taken many Moors went to the castle together 
with some Genoese that were staying in Ceuta. The Prince Henry asked the 
Constable to guard all exit from it; so in a few hours the Genoese shouted 
from the walls to tell them of its .surrender, and when they entered they 
found that the Moors had already deserted it." — Cornn do Condest, 
LXXVIII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 57 

walking over floors paved with the most intricately beauti- 
ful enamelled mosaics, looking up at panelled ceilings, 
leaning over carved marble balconies, seeing their reflections 
in the alabaster basins and fonts adorning the garden- 
courtyards, wallowing on soft feather mattresses, lying 
between snow-white linen or silken sheets. The greatness 
of the contrast made their destructive intoxication all 
the more intense. In their Philistine ignorance they were 
able only to appreciate gold, silver and jewels; so they 
set about tearing up mosaics, searching in the depths of 
the fountains and wells, breaking and destroying furniture, 
emptying cellars and warehouses, spilling wine and oil, 
ripping up sacks of wheat and rice, in their greedy search 
for hidden treasure; and soon the streets became strewn 
with broken mosaics, and furniture, torn tapestries and 
priceless carpets, soiled with the powder of cinnamon and 
pepper, stained with oil and wine, dusted with wheat and 
rice which was poured from the broken jars and torn sacks 
that the soldiers piled upon them after they had broken 
them or ripped them open with their swords in their search 
for the precious metals that they valued. Frequently 
they did find treasures in these jars, more frequently not. 
Occasionally on turning one out they would discover a 
terror-stricken woman concealed in its depths ; i and often 
enough these would be dragged out by their ears or hair, 
to be roughly thrust aside by their captors who sought gold, 
not women, and, therefore, allowed them to escape weeping 
into the woods around the city. Here they found still 
other refugees; and so throughout the night there came a 
wailmg of lamentation from them, bemoaning the loss 
of their sons, their husbands and their homes. Even on 
the next day a black crowd could still be seen on the city's 
outskirts, gathered on the fringes of the neighbouring 
hills, overwhelmed with sorrow, chanting desolate hymns 
for the golden city that had been theirs yesterday. 

^ These are the enormous " AH Baba " jars still used in Spain at the 
present day to siAjre oil and honey. The largest ones are capable of holding 
three men. 



58 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Perhaps this weird chorus of lamentation instilled some 
courage into the men that were left, for there occurred 
throughout the day a few uneventful skirmishes, and 
occasional straggling looters met an untimely end. On 
this day, however, the Portuguese army consecrated the 
great Mosque as its Catholic Church; a " Te Dcum " was 
sung with all solemnity, followed by a blast of trumpets; 
and the day was brought to a fitting close by the King 
knighting his three sons with all the pomp and ceremony 
befitting the occasion. 

The King, having decided to leave his newly acquired 
possession, named Dom Pedro de Menezes as its first 
governor, and provided him with a garrison of three thousand 
men. The rest of the Armada prepared joyfully to sail 
for home again, thanking their lucky stars that they were 
not of the three thousand condemned to uphold the stan- 
dard of the Cross in this great ocean of the Infidel stretching 
over the vast unknown continent behind them, looking 
forward to seeing their wives, their children, and their 
homes once more, returning whole and sound, their pockets 
laden with gold and jewels, their baggage heavy with 
spoils. 

Accordingly the Armada returned to Lisbon on the 2nd 
of September, having been away forty days ; and there the 
King, to celebrate the occasion, created for the first time 
Dukes in Portugal. Prince Peter received the Dukedom 
of Coimbra, and the knighthood of Cavilha. Only the 
Count of Barcellos was forgotten. He also was the King's 
son. He too had fought valiantly; but his claims were 
overlooked. It is not difficult to account, therefore, for 
the jealous feeling he afterwards displayed towards his 
step-brothers. 

The new Governor of Ceuta, who had been made Count 
of V^ianna, was left with his garrison to defend the city 
against the constantly threatened attacks of the Moors. 
It was his ambition to increase the territory left in his 
charge; but all the circumstances were against him, and 
he soon found that this isolated colony was becoming of 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 59 

less and less value as the months went on ; for its importance 
had depended solely on the trade of which it was the natural 
outlet, and since this trade was in the hands of his enemies 
it was soon diverted elsewhere. The only chance of 
reviving its fallen fortune was by means of a great conquest 
over the hinterland, giving dominion over the dark con- 
tinent, and opening up the route across the desert to the 
wonderland of India. This was the idea at the back of 
Prince Henry's imaginative mind; and Ceuta was to him 
but the first link in the chain which was to strangle the 
power of the Ottoman Empire and give Portugal command 
over the route to that undiscovered land of his dreams — 
an India of plantations, gold and jewels, silks and spices, 
ivory and rubies. 

The King, his father, had given him the business adminis- 
tration of his African possessions, an administration which 
he held for thirty-five years. Three years after the con- 
quest of Ceuta, news came that the Governments of Fez 
and Granada were about to combine to recapture it and 
destroy its Christian garrison. The Governor asked 
urgently for help ; but the political situation at home was 
precarious, for the King was at Cintra, daily dreading 
an invasion from Castile, and the Princes were away pro- 
tecting the frontier. Prince Peter in Villa Real, Traz-os- 
Montes, Prince Henry in Vizeu, the Count of Barcellos 
in Braganza, and Prince Duarte occupied with the civil 
Government. Nevertheless the king rose to the occasion. 
He summoned his sons immediately, and ordered the fleet 
to be got ready with 1000 men to sail for Ceuta, leaving the 
largei- part of the army for home defence. Prince Henry 
was put in command of the fleet. He arrived at Ceuta in 
three days, fortunately in time, for the assault had already 
commenced, and the small garrison hopelessly outnumbered 
had only with difficulty been able to hold their own. The 
arrival of the fleet, however, saved the situation ; the be- 
siegers saw that their opportunity was gone; and a hollow 
peace was concluded between the belligerents. 

Prince John, then a youth of eighteen, under arms for 



60 PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 

the first time, accompanied his elder brother; while 
Prince Duarte and Prince Peter went overland to the 
Algarve to collect reserves in case of an emergency which 
fortunately did not arise. Ceuta being thus so speedily 
relieved, Prince Henry found himself suddenly idle with 
seasoned troops and an overwhelming fleet concentrated 
near Gibraltar; and remembering his father's previous 
intentions, his naturally restless mind, always craving 
for action, immediately jumped at the idea of attacking 
the fortress. The King, however, had probably anticipated 
his thoughts; for just as he was on the eve of making the 
attempt imperative orders came forbidding it, and ordering 
him to return home immediately. Thus ended the first 
chapter in the history of Portuguese expansion. 



CHAPTER III 

THE PRINCE NAVIGATOR 

In 1418, on his return from his second voyage to Ceuta, 
Prince Henry was a man of twenty-four, and already in 
the prime of Hfe, for to men of his active temperament 
maturity comes early. 

He was tall, broad-shouldered, long-limbed, bronzed 
almost negroid by the sun and the south winds. His 
hair was thick, shaggy, and black like his heavily moustached 
face. He was thus anything but handsome, his manner 
lacked geniality — the beauty of spirit without which there 
can be no bodily charm; and the hardness of his look, 
inherited from his father, was distinctly antipathetic to 
most of his contemporaries. His character, too, in addition 
to his appearance, was very like that of King John, in 
whom we find a perfect example of those stubborn tenacious 
natures, totally lacking in poetic imagination, which, when 
they have once formed a plan, are capable of combining 
equally cunning and violence in order that they may bring 
it to a successful issue. He was a typical Portuguese. 
Such men are exclusively ruled by their prejudices and 
passions. Slaves to their own natures, they are incapable 
of calm reasoning, and thus become the blind instruments 
of their own schemes. To them the germination of an initial 
idea becomes the moulding influence of their destiny. 
They are of the stuff of which great heroes, great martyrs, 
great criminals are formed. Perhaps it was because King 
John saw so much of himself in his son that he had such 
a marked preference for him. 

Like his brother, the Count of Barcellos, Prince Henry 

was totally deficient in those finer qualities, those Saxon 

61 



62 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

characteristics transmitted through Phihppa to his other 
brothers, those indefinable elements, compounded of senti- 
ment, melancholic emotion, contemplative tranquillity, and 
transcendental impulses, which in their infinite variety 
tend to produce the most sublime, as well as the most 
elfish and erotic types of poets — characteristics which 
have produced a Shakespeare, a Goethe, a Byron, and a 
Heine. He was thus a typical Peninsular, positive, hard, 
determined, practical in everything — his actions, his 
vivid enthusiasms, his deeply laid plans. In pursuit of 
his fixed objects in life he did not scruple to descend to 
intrigue. To bring his schemes to a successful issue he 
was capable of any cruelty. Nevertheless, to give him his 
due, he had none of his father's loose morality : indeed 
he was so obsessed by the necessity of concentrating all 
his energies on his plans that he absolutely avoided the 
company of women, and remained unmarried all his life. 
It is probable that it was this cold-blooded, calculating 
selfishness that explained, if it did not excuse, the in- 
humanity and cruelty that tainted his life history. 

The greatness that has been accorded him by subsequent 
centuries was not due so much to his own persoxiality as 
to the happy accident that he lived at a time when great 
events were happening in the history of his country, and 
his was the spirit that voiced the dumb impulse towards 
expansion that possessed the soul of the nation. His 
enterprises chanced to be stable, and fruitful. His 
grandiose ideas of a great new empire starting from the 
Peninsula, spreading through Morocco to all Africa, and 
from thence to the boundless limits of unknown continents, 
actually became realised. His countrymen, therefore, 
are indebted to him for a second Fatherland, and civilised 
Europe for one of its three or four fundamental conquests 
and discoveries. It is for these reasons that his memory has 
been handed down, almost as that of a legendary hero, 
in spite of the ignoble actions that marred his life, and 
the total lack of those finer qualities which distinguished 
the other sons of John I. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 63 

Chaste and abstemious in body, he was a soldier and at 
the same time a zealot — that curious combination, produced 
by the crusades, in which the dawn of the new thought 
heralding the Renascence was still tinged with the old 
Hebraic belief that it was the pleasure of God that all 
who did not acknowledge His spiritual dominion should be | 
ruthlessly destroyed. His mind, like that of many of his 
contemporaries, was essentially mystical ; and he saw in his 
visionary plans nothing less than revelations from heaven 
itself. This fixed belief, this mental bias, which goes by 
the name of insanity when its main end is an object without 
real utility, was the guiding factor moulding his life and^ 
character. 

At first sight he appeared all humility — at least so we 
learn from contemporary observers; but, once angered, 
this humility quickly melted into open disdain : for no 
man dominated by fixed ideas is ever capable of gentleness, 
nor is he in full possession of that power of self-criticism 
which permits him to yield to the logic of other minds in the 
light of later reason. Nevertheless he never permitted 
himself to be carried away by betraying temper when he 
was opposed. On the contrary he retired if possible more 
into himself ; and though he might show signs of boredom, 
frown, express a sarcastic surprise, yet he would with all 
apparent humility dismiss his opponent from his presence 
with a simulated polite hope that perhaps he might be 
in the right, that perhaps success might put the capping 
stone on the edifice of his theories. 

He was not personally ambitious, like his half-brother 
Barccllos; and this we can understand, for his passion 
carried him in quite another direction. Fame and riches 
were to him only the instruments that served his purpose. 
He never thought : " How will this benefit me ? " but, 
" How will it help my cause ? " The motive power domin- 
ating his actions also dominated himself, causing him to 
sacrifice even his own kith and kin in order to exalt his 
faith and his country. His sole ambition was to see the 
cherished ideas of his imagination grow, become realised, 



64 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

bear fruit. Never did he dream of the burden he was im- 
posing on his country when he set it the duty of pioneer 
in those great discoveries which were to benefit humanity 
so greatly, and yet were to prove to his own people nothing 
but the bitterness of Dead-Sea fruit. 

Unlike most of his countrymen, he was incapable of 
enjoying the Olympian ease his position assured him. 
He could not tolerate the indolence of quietude. He was 
for ever consumed by the fire of his own ideas, always 
burning with the flame of his ardent enthusiasm, filled 
with roseate dreams of the fulfilment of his cherished 
ambitions. If his manner was cold, and his words few 
when opinion was against him, he, nevertheless, became 
all the more convinced of the truth of his own ideas, and 
in the greatness of his aim rose superior to the frailties of 
lesser minds. He had the true modesty of greatness, for 
the great have no necessity to advertise themselves. The 
feeling of his all-absorbing mission protected him from 
the facile pleasures of his inferiors. His monomania en- 
abled him to avoid, without conscious effort, the tempta- 
tions inevitable in the atmosphere of a Court. 

It is obvious that he must have been anything but popular 
amongst his contemporaries ; for in his preoccupation with 
his schemes he displayed a lack of charm, a reserve, an 
absent-mindedness that gained for him the appellation of 
misogynist. His ideas were incendiary, and came from a 
mind in conflagration. Consequently his manner was 
frigid. His mind was a furnace that could not find a vent 
for the fire it contained. From what we know of the 
people of Tyre and Sidon, of Carthage in the days of its 
greatness, we can see that Prince Henry was a true 
Phanician. He not only planned his own ulterior fame, 
but saw that his people and his country acquired the same 
rejjutation and glory. Perhaps some blood relationship 
I with these people, some graft of Punic origin in the genea- 
logical tree of the Portuguese nation, gave the Prince the 
fruit of this far-off ancestry. 

Amid the general indifference of the Court his own 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR G5 

burning enthusiasm supported him : for it is an error of 
deduction to suppose that the intensity of a thought dies 
after it has taken shape — enervation and indolence alone 
are the natural enemies of enthusiasm, and such things 
were absolutely foreign to his nature. He was a true 
scientist. He spent whole days and nights studying, 
experimenting, meditating, bent over the primitive geo- 
graphical charts of his time, not speculating on the vague 
fanciful theories of theology or metaphysics, but seeking 
ever after positive realities, facts which could be applied 
to the everyday things of life. Like the Alchemists 
searching for gold amongst the baser metals he hoped to 
transmute his parchments into facts. He was a dreamer 
of futurities, knowing prophetically that his dreams would 
become realities, as they did, within the lives of his 
successors. 

His father's marriage had made the Portuguese Court, 
never exclusive, more cosmopolitan than ever; and the 
country was now opening her gates wider and wider to 
foreign commerce. The capital had by now been fixed 
in Lisbon ; and it was already becoming a maritime centre, 
a " resting place for wanderers," as Jo^o Lopez writes. 
The city on the Tagus was preparing herself for a trans- 
formation similar to that of Rome when she rose from a 
small state on the Tiber to become the centre of a mighty 
Empire. Prince Henry not only gathered round him 
such of his countrymen as would help in the realisation 
of his dreams, but he also gave an open welcome to such 
foreigners as might be useful in the schemes that absorbed 
him. He even favoured these foreigners more than his 
fellow-countrymen. He would invite them to his presence, 
make friends of them, load them with presents in order 
that he might obtain from them any such secrets of naviga- 
I tion, seamanship, or knowledge of other countries, as 
1 would be of use to him in his schemes of conquest. 
[^ In his scientific ardour he knew no bounds of caste 
or country — he was accused even of favouring the Jews 
because he encouraged the study of Medicine, which in 



66 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

those days was a perquisite of the Jews handed on from 
the Arabians. 

In 1431 the University of St. Deniz was reconstructed 
under his encouragement. In it he created a chair of 
Medicine, himself furnishing a room in wliich he placed 
a portrait of Galen ; ^ and, as the University had " no 
proper building wherein they could read or make their 
writing, for which purpose a room had had to be hired," 
he bought some premises in the parish of St. Thom6 in 
1448, and granted twelve marks of silver per annum for 
the maintenance of the first Chair of Theology, derived 
from rents in the island of Madeira. 

• • • • • • « 

Directly after his return from Ceuta in 1418, he began 
to materialise his plans. We wonder if he obtained infor- 
mation from the Moors regarding the more distant parts 
of the African continent. Perhaps he did. At any rate 
we know that his idea, now, was to explore the coast to 
the southward of Morocco, as well as to acquire all the 
Moorish territory. 

But here he found the conservatism of old age against 
him. His father would not allow him to attemj^t to seize 
Gibraltar ; nor would he permit him to use the ships for 
another expedition such as he had just returned from. 
Quietly, therefore, the young Prince desisted from his 
attempts. He was bitterly disappointed : but he was 
young; he could afford to wait; and he knew circumstances 
would change. 

So he set to work on the second part of his plans, aban- 
doning the Court, and going into solitary exile at the 
" Sacred Promontory " (Sagres), taking with him only two 
of his personal attendants and the ships in which he had 
returned from Ceuta. 

And there in his lonelv evrie above the sea he sat and 
dreamed, planned and brooded, looking ever to south- 
ward across the ocean, wondering what lay beyond the 
edge of the horizon, wondering, wondering. It is probable 
* Max. Lemoa, A Med. em Port., 1881, Oporto. 




a 



W 
Pi 
O 

< 

O 

H 

O 

I— ( 

> 



o 



o 
Si 
D 

u 



\ 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 67 

that his disappointment at the inaction of his father was 
even greater than he knew himself. It is Hkely that at 
times he was more than a Httle mad. At any rate he 
grew quieter, more self-absorbed, more unsociable than 
ever. Day by day, as he sat brooding, his men watched 
him, half in fear, half in reverence, seeing him sit for hours 
gazing southward, wondering what was passing in his mind, 
wondering what was going to happen, wondering, as the 
days grew into weeks, if anything was ever going to happen 
again. 

And then quite suddenly the inaction was broken. 

It was daybreak, and the men were just beginning to 
rouse themselves from slumber, when he appeared amongst 
them, vibrant with his long-pent energy unloosed, giving 
orders for his ships to make all haste and sail once more 
for the Moroccan coast. The men watched him in awe. 
They believed that his violent haste indicated that he 
had had some special miraculous revelation (for in those 
days the Divinity of Kings was a very real thing), and they 
set out with alacrity under the stimulus of the inspiration. ^ 

It was, however, only the reaction after forced inactivity ; 
and his main thought was to find out what truth there 
was in the reports he had heard concerning the Arabs of 
the Desert and the natives of Guinea. ^~~\ 

After some days the ships returned reporting that one \ 
of their number had been lost, and they had discovered j 
nothing new. And then some little time afterwards the I 
lost ship also hove in sight. The captain had a most un- 1 
expected story to tell. It appeared that the currents had 1 
carried them away from the coast, and drifting in the Trade 
winds they had come to an island which they named Porto 
Santo. It was from this they now returned full of tales 
of its beauty and fertility, and eager that the Prince should 
colonise it.^ 

This was a totally unforeseen result. It did not fit in 
with his plans — which were solely connected with the 

^ Barros, Dec. I, 1-16. 

* Azurara, C<mc[. de Guine, CXXXIII. '"'^ 



68 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

East. Were there more islands westward ? It is possible 
he had heard in Ceuta rumours about islands in the Atlantic. 
He may have known of the travels of Xerife Edrisi who 
lived about the end of the eleventh century, and who, in 
order to escape the persecutions of Mahdi, went to Sicily, 
where he was entertained by King Rogerio, and com- 
missioned to summarise the geographical knowledge he 
had acquired in his fifteen years' voyaging. It is possible 
he may have seen a translation of his book, or the earlier 
works of Madusi e Ibn Said who taught that the world 
ended beyond the " Seas of Obscurity," fading off in vapours 
and slime just beyond Nigeria, where Arabs had been in 
their caravans, and architects had gone from Granada, 
as far as Timbuctu on the Niger, to superintend the building 
of certain edifices. 

More recently, however, certain Arabian geographers, 
Abulfeda and Albyruny, had described their voyage along 
the Western coast of Africa as far as Sofala. In 1403 
they had got to Bakui, and Ibn Fattima had described 
the coast to Arguim. Prince Henry now began to speculate 
as to how and where this great continent ended, 
whether it rounded off in the sea, or opened out mto some 
larger continent still, whether, most precious thought of 
all, there was not some way round it to the gorgeous lands 
of the East his mind was for ever dwelling upon. Such 
Yi£re the thoughts that were for ever seething in his mind. 

Now, the discovery of Porto Santo, identified as the 
" Fortunate Islands " of the ancients, assured him of the 
truth of the writings of Xerife Edrisi who had thus described 
his father's capital several centuries before : " The land 
here being on the north side of the river Taga, which passes 
through Tolaitola (Toledo), opens out in front of Medina- 
Lisboa (Lisbon), in a bay that is affected by the tide and 
is six miles from side to side. Beyond its south coast is 
the castle of Mina (Hisn al-Ma'dan) or Almada, so called 
because along its shore the river Taga depositeth pure gold." 

Prince Henry, reading it anew, began to wonder if he 
could find in other lands the gold which the river Tagus 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 69 

no longer deposited; and this gold acquiring phantastic 
proportions in his dreams fired him with renewed hope and 
energy. What he read further on stimulated him still 
more. It was the story of how some Moorish travellers 
had set out from Lisbon : 

" Eight brothers, having decided to make a voyage, armed 
a vessel, and stored it with enough provisions to last them 
several months. Then they sailed out of the Tagus with 
a favourable wind which continued for eleven days, when 
it came to pass that they reached a certain portion of the 
sea where the water was viscid, evil-smelling, and as black 
as tar. Moreover, there were strong currents there. So, 
fearing disaster, tl-ey rowed towards the south for the space 
of twelve days more ; and then they came to ' Gezirath al 
Ganem,' or the Island of Rams, so called because of the 
great flocks of sheep that grazed upon the fertile pastures 
of the island. Landing in search of water and fresh food 
they there found a spring of crystalline water beside a 
wild fig-tree. Afterwards they killed some sheep, only to 
find the flesh was so distasteful that they could not eat 
it. So, keeping the skins, they sailed again southward for 
yet another twelve days until at length they came to another 
island with habitations and ploughed fields. On landing 
they were immediately attacked by a people armed with 
arrows, who captured them and took them by sea to a 
city where the natives were red-skinned and the women 
exceedingly beautiful to look upon. For three days they 
were kept close prisoners; and on the fourth they were 
visited by an interpreter who could speak Arabic, asking 
them who they were, whence they came, and what was 
their business. To him they thereupon related their ex- 
perience, upon hearing which he raised their hopes of 
a speedy release and a safe departure. On the following day, 
therefore, they were taken to a court where the King through 
his ' trugiman ' (dragoman) asked them the same questions. 
To him they replied that they had sailed to settle the rumours 
about new lands in the Atlantic, at which the King was 
very much amused. Laughingly he told them, through 



70 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

the interpreter, that he would see to their safe return to 
their own country, and informed them that his own father 
had aheady ordered all the Atlantic to be explored, and 
that his men sailing for a whole month had returned without 
sighting land. They were then taken back to prison to 
await the return of a favourable wind ; and when it came 
they were blindfolded, bound, taken on a three days' 
journey, and eventually landed upon a beach. 

" When the sun rose, they, thus ill-treated and in sore 
straits, heard the welcome sound of voices; whereupon 
they shouted for help, and a people who spoke Arabic 
came to their rescue and unbound them. 

" ' Do you know how far from your native country you 
are ? ' they were asked. 

" ' No.' 

" ' Well, you have a two months' voyage before you.' 

" ' Wa asafi (Heaven help us!),' they exclaimed; and 
from this incident the place became known as Asafi or 
Safi."i 

Later, in the reign of Affonso IV, between 1331 and 
1334, other vessels had left Lisbon and reached the 
Canaries; so that it can be said that ever since the days 
of the Phoenicians the Canary Islands had been known, at 
least traditionally. They were represented in the ancient 
maps of the Middle Ages, in the Florentine charts of 1417, 
in the Apocalyptic maps of the twelfth century, in the 
Turinese maps of the same date, and in the Catalonian 
atlas now in the National Library of Paris (No 681H fonds 
anciens). It must also have been in Prince Henry's memory 
that in 1393, scarcely twenty-five years before, some sailors 
from Biscay, Guipuzcoa, and Seville, had returned from 
the Canaries, bringing to Henry of Castile a few captured 
natives, numerous hides, wax, and other articles of value 
as proof of the truth of their story. They had named 

' Safi is on the Moroccan coast at 32 20' N. The Canary Islands, 
probably the scene of this story, arc further south lying between 27' 30' 
and 29' 30' N. In the eleventh century the Moorish Empire did not 
extend west of Safi. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 71 

Teneriffe the " Infernal Isle " on account of its volcano, 
and the other islands Lancaster, Graciosa, Fortaventura, 
Palma, and Ferro Island.^ 

Such was the state of Prince Henry's mind, after his 
men had returned from Porto Santo, that it seemed almost 
more than a coincidence that shortly afterwards there 
should arrive at Sagres one Joao Gon9alves Zarco a noble- 
man of his household, and a pilot, Joao de Morales, straight 
from Ceuta, with a most marvellous tale. It appeared 
that in 1416, four years before, the Prince of Aragon, Don 
Sancho, had died, leaving by his will a certain sum of money 
for the ransom of Christian prisoners amongst the Moors. 
Amongst those j-rmsomed had been Morales; and he 
knowing Zarco had told him the story of a certain English- 
man named Machin who had been lost on the beach of 
some unknown island, which from the description did 
not appear to be Porto Santo. Fired by the thought, the 
Prince immediately decided to organise a second expedition, 
and after sending his two gentlemen, Zarco and Perestrello, 
to obtain the King's consent, the expedition duly sailed 
accompanied by those who had been on the previous voyage. 

The direction was as near as they could guess towards 
Porto Santo ; but one day as they were proceeding under 
full sail towards the southern horizon something which 
appeared as a dense fog, and which they attributed to 
the presence of land, was sighted. 

Immediately a terror fell upon the crew. They cried 
out that it was " the island of Cipango (Japan) hidden 
by the mysteries of God, where the Spaniards had sought 
refuge from the persecutions of the Saracens," and prayed 
the intrepid commander to put back before it was too late : 
for the seas in those days were thick with terrible legends, 
flakes of foam that had been created by superstition, 
and were only now being dispersed by the fair fresh winds 

^ Chron. of Henry III. " And they returned to inform the King how 
easy they were of conquest if the King wished it." Henry, however, did 
not acquire the Canaries, which, at the beginning of the fifteenth century 
(1402), were taken for Normandy by John de Bethencourt. 



72 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

of perseverance. To them it was sinning against Provi- 
dence to seek to discover what God wished to remain 
concealed. But Zarco, a true Phoenician, hke Prince Henry 
and Joao de Castro after him, and equally fearless, put 
himself at the helm and steered steadily onward. The 
fog grew thicker and thicker. They began to wonder had 
they come to the " Seas of Obscurity " described by 
Masudi e Ibn Said. No land could be seen ; but they 
were beginning to hear the angry roar of unseen breakers. 
Zarco, however, steered steadily on, cutting the splashing 
yielding waters. The sound of the breakers was becoming 
more and more distinct; its angry thunders echoed closer 
and closer, more resounding, more menacing. And then, 
suddenly, like some gigantic monster, a dim-seen, craggy 
coast loomed up in the grey swirling mist. The sailors, 
white with fear, crossed themselves. The very air seemed 
to cry aloud of disaster. 

*' Back ! Back ! " they cried. 

And then, almost as suddenly as if at the touch of a 
wand, the scene was marvellously transformed. They 
found themselves gazing on a green carpet of calm waters 
that stretched before them; and smiling down on them 
was a seductive amphitheatre of sun-lit hills. ^ 

A beach and a bay were before them. It was the island 

* Cf. F. Manuel de Mcllo, Epanaph. Ill, and Azurara, Co7iq. de 
Quint, 83. The story of the discovery of Madeira by the Englishman 
Machin, the lover of Anne d'Arfct, is authenticated in Major's Life of Henry 
the Naingator, and is exhaustively studied in note five of Caspar Fnictnoso'a 
Suadades da Terra (pp. 348-429), Edit. A. R. de Azevedo. According to 
Beazley {Henri/ the Navigator, p. 109) Robert Machin was an Englishman 
who fled from Bristol in the reign of Edward III (1370) carrj'ing off with 
him his mistreiw, Anne d'Arfet. He intended to seek refuge in France; 
but his ship was driven out to sea by adverse winds; and after thirteen 
days in the Atlantic without a sight of land they were wrecked on the 
shores of an unknown island. Here Aiuie d'Arfot died of terror and 
exhaustion, whilst five days later her lover succumbed, also, and was buried 
beside her. One of the ship's boats, however, had been saved; and in 
this some of the crew escaped to the African coast. Here they fell into 
the hands of the Barbary pirates and were sold as slaves. No doubt they 
told their story to some of their fellow Christian slaves, and it was this 
story that Morales the Spaniard, when he was ransomed, told to Zarco, 
and thus brought to the knowledge of the Prince Navigator. (Sec also 
Hakliiyt's Voyages for a somewhat similar account of Machin.) 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 73 

of Madeira, that paradise emerging from the sea embowered 
in shadowy palms, gay with flowers, and surrounded by 
fogs which the fearless spirit of this dauntless sailor had 
been the first willingly to penetrate. 

Perestrello returned to Lisbon to tell of Zarco's discovery, 
leaving that intrepid sailor behind him ; and Prince Henry 
thus encouraged was able to turn the tables on those 
shallow-minded, sneering noblemen at his father's Court 
who had laughed at him as a dreamer of visions, and 
scoffed at his disciples as foolish followers of a cause from 
which no possible profit could be derived. 

It was an epoch-making discovery, a discovery of which 
at the present time it is very difficult to grasp the enormous 
import : for it Ireed men's minds from the traditions of 
ages, the paralysing incubus of the Ptolemaic conception 
of the world as a mass of land lying for ninety degrees in 
every direction from a mythical centre, " Arim," situated 
on or near the equator, surrounded by an ocean of illimit- 
able water melting into unknown regions of perpetual fog 
inhabited by fearful monsters. According to its traditions 
the world ended absolutely at the Pillars of Hercules (The 
Straits of Gibraltar). There was no land beyond save for 
the mythical "Fortunate Islands"; and though these 
now re-discovered were identified with them, yet the fact 
that they were found made men's minds more open, so 
that they began to doubt even the great name of Ptolemy 
himself, and free themselves from the traditions of the 
Arabian geographers following his teaching, which up to 
-~-then they had implicitly accepted. 

Encouraged by this preliminary success resulting from 
his thirst for exploration. Prince Henry became more and 
more filled with the ever-present increasing desire which 
had for years possessed his mind — that of finding how 
Africa really ended, whether it was joined with China 
by land, as many of the maps indicated, or whether indeed 
there was an entrance into the Indian Ocean around Africa 
by which the ships of his country could reach that land 
of his dreams independent of the Saracen. 



74 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Born in the purple, he might easily have idled his life 
away in rosy philosophic dreaming of such things, leaving 
accomplishment to others; but being essentially practical, 
under all his mysticism, he refused to allow himself to be 
carried away by any such idle poetic dreaming, and the 
discovery of mere enchanted islands, however Arcadian, 
could not satisfy his eager active mind. 

So from his eyrie in Sagres he was ever looking witli 
visionary eyes southward and ever southward, seeing the 
markets of the unknown world opening before him, travel- 
ling in his imagination along the coast of his dreams, 
voyaging in his mind to the uttermost limits of far Cathay. * 

Doubling Cape St. Vincent, the coast runs for about 
four kilometers from East to West, and then turns at 
a right angle due South, forming the peninsula chosen 
by the Prince for his observations. This small tongue of 
rocky land, with no other vegetation than wild juniper 
shrubs struggling to flourish in the close sandy soil, 
measures one kilometer in length and half a kilometer 
in breadth. On its eastern aspect there is a small semi- 
circular bay, formed by a cliff which marks the beginning 
of the coast line extending towards Lagos. The bay itself, 
about a kilometer in breadth, formed a miniature port, 
a nest in which his " caravels " like eaglets or young falcons 
were being constantly manoeuvred, their white canvas 
wings marked with the scarlet of the Christian Cross 
swelling to the sunny breezes as their crews continually 
practised to acquire dexterity in those waters which 
they were later destined to explore and strip of the secrets 
of centuries. Facing directly towards Morocco this penin- 
sula received its full share of any southern storm that, 
coming from Africa, was laden with the desert sand of the 
Sahara; and tlic Prince could thus be said to be almost 
treading those sandy wastes, since their soil was thus brought 

' " And to hotter observe the stars and the celestial bodies, he selected 
a mountain on Cn]n: St. Vincent, because there it seldom rained, and very 
rarely did the skies become cloudy." — Caspar Fructuoso, Saudades da 
Terra, II. pp. 8-9, Kdit., 1873. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 75 

to him on the " Simoom " as it crested the waves that broke 
daily at his feet. 

Here he spent his days with the feeling almost that he 
was on board ship : for ahead of him was the sea and 
Africa, to starboard the vast unknown Atlantic, to port 
still sea and beach — only the stern, forgotten, was moored 
to the mainland. Thus was his ship tied to Portugal, just 
as his body was to the soil and the people of his country ; 
and thus his soul, like the bow of his ship, was for ever 
looking outward towards other lands filled with dim 
visions of the Empire yet to be. It was here that he dreamed 
of Africa and the sea ; and here that he started his nautical 
school, afterwards known as the Villa do Infante 
(The Prince's Tovvu), and destined, though he knew it not, 
to become the harbour of refuge for his grief-stricken 
soul after the tragedy of Tangier. It is here that we, to- 
day, can see the remains of " Sagres," destroyed as effectu- 
ally by the efflux of time as the Empire he had been equally 
active in erecting. 

At first this settlement on Cape St. Vincent was no more 
than a shelter for small sailing craft that timorously 
ventured out to acquire a knowledge of the African coast. 
As we have seen, these first exercises resulted in the dis- 
covery of Madeira and a few other small islands (1418-1420). 
Afterwards (1428), when his brother Prince Peter returned 
from his voyages, bringing with him the writings of the 
Venetian, Marco Polo, and those of George Purbach, the 
school was considerably augmented, and the first library 
dealing with scientific navigation was formed.^ 

1 Along with Marco Polo's writings, Prince Peter brought also a map of 
the world in which the latest additions to geographical knowledge were 
noted. It had all the known countries marked on it ; but in addition the 
southern coast of Africa, afterwards called the Cape of Thunders or the 
Cape of Good Hope, was indicated ; and in spite of the fact that it did not 
show with any exactitude the " end of Africa," it nevertheless was remark- 
able in that it opposed the view common amongst Arab geographers, 
handed down from Ptolemy, that it was impossible to sail by this route 
to the East. This map was seen by Antonio GalvSo, and mentioned in 
his book Tratada dos Descobrimentos Antigos e 3Iodernos (Treatise on Old 
and Modem Discoveries), Lisbon, 1563. It was also seen by Dr. Gaspar 
Fnictuoso (1522-91), who, in his book Saicdades da Terra, relates the story 



76 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

This George Purbacli was he who afterwards trained 
the celebrated Johann INIiiller of Konigsberg, who wrote 
a treatise on geography and translated the Almagest of 
Ptolemy, both of which had a great influence on navigation. 

Already Prince Henry had working for him a carto- 
grapher named Mestre Pedro, who illuminated and coloured 
the charts which were gradually becoming a maze of symbols 
indicative of the people, legends, fauna, and flora of these 
newly discovered regions ; and in addition he had brought 
over from Majorca a certain Maestro Jayme, an experienced 
map-maker and designer of the rude navigating instruments 
of the time, whose duty it was to make daily observations 
during any voyage. 

The works of Marco Polo, and the Venetian maps brought 
back by Prince Peter were consequently a source of inlinite 
joy to Prince Henry. He threw himself with enthusiasm 
into a careful study of them both, perceiving that the 
ancient geography of Ptolemy, round which the AraV)S 
had woven a golden network of tradition, had received its 
deathblow from the experience of this wonderful traveller 
who had journeyed to Cathay (China), crossing from Pekin 
to its extreme south, penetrated into India, describing 
the riches of Bengal and Guzarate, heard about Ziprangri 
(Japan), had been in Java and the neighbouring islands, 
and in Ceylon, Malabar, and as far as the Gulf of Cambaya. 

Reading the wonderful narrative, his imagination became 
fired once more by the mysterious charm of the East ; and 
the suggestion of the maps in his possession that there 
was a way thither round Africa fixed his mind more fully 
on his preparations to find if this were really so. 

Nevertheless, he did not neglect the unexplored wonders 
of the Atlantic. John de liethcneourt after proclaiming 
himself King on his discovery of the Canaries had abandoned 

of the discoveiy of the Azores. He says : " And for the reasons and con- 
jectures that I will refer to later, and on account of certain directions 
found in old Koman writings, the Coniniittee of Cosmographcrs and of 
men experienced in Navigation, wiwhing to extend the Empire with new 
di»coverie^«» and conquests, concluded that it was possible to navigate from 
Portugal to India." 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 77 

them in 1405,^ and so when his men had found Madeira, 
Prince Henry, thinking this was a good opportunity, 
to take possession of all the islands, prepared a fleet in 
1424 with 2,500 men to consolidate his power over them.^ 
There arose at the time, however, complications with 
Castile; and King John, wishing to end his days in peace, 
would not allow him to carry out his plans. 

In the meanwhile the settlement at Cape St. Vincent 
was beginning to establish itself firmly. There was already 
a school, a port, and a small fortress. There were also two 
churches, Santa Maria's and Santa Catharina's — the parish 
churches of the Navigators. Anchored close to the beach 
were a number of small, broad vessels called " caravels," 
which according to Cadamosto, a Venetian employed by 
the Prince, were the best sea-going vessels of the time.^ 
They were faster, finer lined, more easy to handle than 
other vessels of the time. The barges {jragatas) found 
to-day on the Tagus and the Douro are the lineal descen- 
dants of these caravels.* 

The caravel was a three-masted vessel 20-30 metres 
in length by 6-7 in breadth, without basket towers, or 
top-sails. The sails, triangular in shape, looked like wings 
when they were unfurled and freed to the winds. In 

^ Hist, de la prem. disc, et conq. des Canaries, faite dis Van 1402, Paris, 
1630. 

^ Azurara, Conq. de Guine, LXXIX. 

^ Tlie forests of Madeira were favourable for the progress of naviga- 
tion, allowing the construction of " round-topped vessels " as Fructuoso 
describes them. Before this there were only small vessels ; but " in this 
island there was so much wood, so large and so hard, that they were able 
to collect great quantities of planks, rods, and masts, which were sawn 
there uy the saw-mills which even to-day may be seen on the north part 
of the island. Moreover, with the great quantities of wood exported to 
the kingdom, they began to build ' round-topped vessels.' Before this 
there were none in the kingdom." — Naviga^'oes de Cadamosto, II. 3. 

The name " Madeira " means " wood " or " timber " in Portuguese. 

* The design is really Phcenician in origin, and such " fragatas " can 
be seen any day on either of these two rivers giving a quaintly mediaeval 
air to the quays of these Portuguese cities. They are used for the transport 
of oil, wine, com, etc., and are often to be seen daring the Atlantic off the 
Portuguese coast. Strangely enough, too, the men who form their crews 
are themselvec; of an almost pure Phoenician origin, quite different from 
the Portuguese, and keeping to themselves as gypsies do. 



78 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

full sail if the wind was on either quarter they could still 
progress as if it were astern ; and to change the course 
it was only necessary to tilt them as a bird tilts its wings. 
Consequently they were extremely easy to handle, and, 
watched from the shore as they flitted, agile, swift along 
the coast, running in and out of the indentations, darting 
away swiftly with flapping canvas, or stranding quietly 
on the beach, they irresistibly reminded one of a flight of 
graceful sea-gulls manoeuvring on the waters. 

When not in use they were anchored close to the beach 
in the harbour of Sagres, while on the sands convenient 
the armament and equipment was piled up. The Prince 
called this his " Terca," or " Tierce," derived from the 
Venetian " Darcena," an arsenal. The name was appro- 
priate, for it was indeed an arsenal with its fortress, and 
its nautical school, erected almost at a point where the 
Mediterranean met the Atlantic, 

Coming from the shores of this inner sea the Pho^nieians 
had looked upon the Pillars of Hercules as the limits of 
their world ; but now these modern Pha'uicians, estab- 
lished not far off on the Sacred Promontory, were preparing 
to disprove these theories of their ancestors, and show that 
instead of ending here it really was just beginning. Such 
was the task this nest of sea-gulls had unwittingly set 
themselves; and it was for this they were continually 
rehearsing those flights which later took them on so 
many distant voyages, and landed them amid a wealth of 
adventure such as the world had never dreamt of before. 

The proximity of the school to Cadiz was intentional. 
The mind of the Prince was for ever upon Africa; his 
father would not allow him to take Gibraltar; and so he 
hoped that this new settlement of his, now called Villa 
do Infante, would become the stopping place for the trade 
from the Levant, as here, perhaps better than in Cadiz, 
passing ships could find shelter and experienced pilots. 
His fixed idea was to divert to Portugal all the Oriental 
commerce which had left Ceuta on its capture, and which 
had not, as it afterwards did, yet come to Lisbon. He 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 79 

evidently thought of transporting Ceuta and its trade to this 
new locahty on the northern coast of the Straits; and, 
when the town was still in its infancy, made a treaty with 
Genoa to establish there an open port such as the Italians 
had arranged with Jaffa, Smyrna, and other cities in the 
Levant. 

But the near proximity of Lisbon militated against this 
plan ; and in addition Lagos was also very close. It was 
to this latter place, at first, that African commerce diverted 
itself until Lisbon finally forged ahead and captured all 
the transmarine trade of Europe. Eventually, therefore, 
the Villa do Infante became a place of solitude wherein 
he cooled the fervour of his burning enthusiasm, and tried to 
forget his sorrows after the fatal error of Tangier. It 
was there he wrestled simultaneously with his impulsiveness 
and his despair, with his fortunes and misfortunes, and 
there he tried to forget the world buried in the work that 
eventually immortalised him. 

He founded his town in 1418 ; and for more than thirty 
years, and up to seven years before his death, it consisted 
only of the fortified walls and a few houses. Azurara, 
describing it in 1453, stated that at that time much build- 
ing was going on,i but the death of the Prince in 1460 
seems to have put a stop to that, and his town, scarcely 
finished, was abandoned, and tumbled to ruins. The work, 
too, that he had started was abandoned, not to be 
revived until the time of John II ; for during the reign of 
Aff onso V, Portugal was not able to execute even one half 
of Prince Henry's programme.^ 

But though Villa do Infante crumbled to dust, the spirit 
of adventure and discovery hatched in this maritime nest 
lived to produce its fruits ; and when Vasca da Gama and 
his men in 1498 succeeded in doubling the Cape, showing 
how Africa ended, and opening a free way to the Far East, 
the " Tercena " again became known as " Sacrum " or 

1 Conq. de Ouine V. 

2 Gomes Eannes de Azurara was nominated keeper of the Tower of 
Tombo in 1454. In the preceding year he finished his work, Chron. da 
Conq. de Guine. 



80 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

" Sagres," as it is called to-day. It was called Sacrum 
at first because there in the long-forgotten days of hoary 
antiquity the ancient Celts erected a temple and made 
sacrifices to their unknown Gods. To-day the later tradi- 
tion hallows its lichen-covered ruins, enshrining the memory 
of Portugal's first and greatest Prince-navigator. 

Its walls crumbled to dust, its houses fell, its parchment 
maps rotted, its caravels and galleys-of-war, swan-like, 
departed slowly, till only its sacred sands, defying the 
progress of Time, remained, only the lonely promontory, 
deserted by the fleets of bygone days, was left, and there 
was nothing for the pious pilgrims to see save the spot where 
the mysterious vessel grounded that carried the blessed 
body of St. Vincent guarded by his attendant ravens. 

To the ancient world the relics of the Celtic temple 
sanctified the Cape; to the mediaeval mind the legend of 
St. Vincent made it holy ground; to the student of later 
days the time-worn ruins of Villa do Infante, the historical 
cradle of all Western discovery, make it more holy and 
more sacred still, justifying for all time the name " Sacrum 
Promontorium." ^ 

^ Commander, the Hon. H. N. Shore, R.N., a recent visitor (1899) to 
this desolate shrine of Navigation, writes an interesting article, " The 
Seamen's Mecca," in The United Service Magazine of July 1910, describing 
his pilgrimage to Sagres. 

After referring to Drake's destruction and storming of Sagres in the 
sixteenth century he tells us that : 

" The scene of Drake's exploit is well worth a visit, if only to enable one 
to realise the difficulties of his task. . . . 

" My tour of inspection revealed little in the way of antiquities. A 
town. Villa do Infante, as it is called in the old chronicles, may have 
stood there; but the care with which every trace of it, along with the 
observatory, school of navigation, and arsenal, have been swept away is 
remarkable. With the exception, indeed of Lloyd's Signal Station, a 
venerable church, and a few hovels yclept barracks, the space is . . . 
a barren waste of rock. The church— a structure of great antiquity — 
probably the solitary connecting-Hnk with past ages hereabouts, contains 
Bome fine tomb-stones bearing the dates, I.'jSO, 1627, and 1G63. 

" In short, a drearier spot than this rock of Sagres fancy could hardly 
picture. And the 'intelligent foreigner' cannot but tliink it odd that 
no reUc should have been unearthed, or clue discovered calculated to 
throw the merest sidelight on Prince Henry's sojourn here. The earliest 
mention of the place, in the English language — Fenncr's account of Drake's 
visit — contains not even an allusion to town, arscnaJ, or observatory. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 81 

In the foregoing description of the desolation that was 
allowed to follow on the death of Prince Henry in 1460 
we are anticipating somewhat the course of this history; 
but it is necessary here to dwell upon it as it explains to a 
very great extent the difficulties he had ever to encounter 
in his lifetime from the deep-rooted objection of his 
countrymen in general to anything pertaining to adven- 
tures over sea. They were essentially a land-loving and 
a farming people. In the attack on Ceuta they followed 
their beloved King willingly; but they looked upon it 
merely as a forgivable caprice on the part of their royal 
head, who wanted thus to give his high-spirited sons a 
chance of testing their mettle. 

It was a caprice, however, that was not to be repeated. 
Adventures were not always to be sought, especially 
adventures that might endanger the safety of the State. 
The classical idea of exchanging the plough for the oar 
did not appeal in the least to this nation of farmers. To 
them it seemed there were fields and mountains sufficient 
at home to cultivate without meeting the danger of the 
seas, and incurring other risks as well. 

The only relics the captors found worth carrying away were the guns. 
And yet their visit was but one hundred years after Prince Henry's death. 

" So completely, indeed, have all traces of Prince Henry's establish- 
ments on the rock of Sagres been obliterated, that a feeling of scepticism 
has sprung up in many minds as to any town, school, observatory, or 
arsenal ever having existed thereon. It is well known that most of Prince 
Henry's expeditions were fitted out at Lagos, near by, and that he often 
retired to the village of Reposeira, some five nules inland. It is possible, 
therefore, that the old chroniclers may have used the name indiscrimin- 
ately. And it is certainly pleasanter to picture the mathematicians, the 
astronomers, and the map-makers, comfortably ensconced at Lagos, or 
Reposeira, than shivering and scorching by turns, in a state of insufEerable 
boredom in that forlorn ' castle of the winds ' at Sagres. 

" Of the scientific work actually accomplished at Sagres, under Prince 
Henry's supervision, nothing very definite is known; all records have 
perished. But were no other memorial of the Navigator's life-work 
extant, the scene to be witnessed at any hour of day, or night, from this 
rock supplies the most eloquent testimony to the reality and enduring 
worth of his achievements. The majestic stream of commerce that sweeps 
past . . . within hailing distance of Lloyd's station during the twenty- 
four hours, constitutes a grander and more enduring monument to Prince 
Henry's genius than any mere words engraved on stone, or written in a 
book." 
G 



82 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

It had been tlie custom of the Portuguese kings to en- 
courage immigration into their own country, its population 
being too small for the lands it possessed. This idea, 
therefore, of the Prince that they should themselves popu- 
late other countries was something quite new, since they 
remembered how the wilds of Lavra, near Coruche, had 
been granted to Lamberto de Orches so that he might 
plant it with German emigrants,^ how William and Robert 
de la Corne had parcelled out Athouguia-dosfrancos, 
how Lourinha was granted to Jourdan, and Azambuja 
to Childe Rolim for a similar purpose, and how Villa 
Verde, Alcanede, Almada, and afterwards Villa Franca 
and Montalvo de Sor were populated by Sanclio I with 
emigrants from Flanders. 

The obstinate persistence of Prince Henry, therefore, 
in sending ships continually south along the African coast 
was looked upon as a sign of madness; for the Arabian 
theory that the world ended in a sea of mud and slime 
still had its supporters, since this was the opinion of the 
many navigators who had returned from the first expedi- 
tions to Cape Bojador. The ideas of the Prince were 
looked upon accordingly as the ravings of a person afflicted 
with a monomania, an irrational obstinacy in the face 
of so-called impossibilities, a " narrow-mindedness, like 
the world itself, without any apparent end." 

All this was before the colonisation of Madeira, and before 
Gil Eannes had returned after being shamed unto doubling 
the awful cape (Bojador) in 1434, bringing with him the 
news that the world did not terminate there, that there 
was much fruitful land beyond, and that the waters of the 
tropics were not boiling hot as had been believed by all 
heretofore, in spite of the Prince's scepticism. 

As soon, therefore, as people began to travel to and from 
Madeira, adverse criticism began to cease; and they started 
instead to praise in whispers what a short time before they 
had detested and slandered. 

King John died in 1433; and once freed from the incu- 
bus of his conservatism the new King, Edward (Duarte), 

^ Barros, Dec. 1-4. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 83 

endowed his brother Prince Henry " during his lifetime 
with our islands, Madeira, Porto Santo, and Deserto, 
together with all their taxes and rents, and also, as is the 
law here, with their civil and criminal jurisdiction, except 
the power of gi\'ing sentence of death." 

Madeira, accordingly, in a short time became inhabited 
by a flourishing community. In 1445, twenty-five years 
after its discovery, Cadamosto visiting it found there 
four towns, Machico, Santo Cruz, Funchal, and Camara 
da Lobos, with a population of eight hundred inhabitants. 
Their farms were yielding bountifully; and sugar-cane 
1 and vines, introduced by Prince Henry, were a good source 
of income.^ 

Large quantities of cedar and yew w^ere exported. The 
island was a garden, and its people found themselves 
happy and rich. 

The visionary hopes of the Prince in his observatory 
at Sagres were becoming an actual reality. He was already 
seeing a new country populated, tilled, and planted by his 
endeavours. 

By now the tremendous cape (Bojador) which had been 
the utmost limits of all pre\'ious knowledge, even amongst 
the Moors, had been stripped of its mysterious terrors, and 
so loomed out no longer as an end but as the beginning 
of a new world as yet unconquered, a milestone on the 
wide expanse of ocean leading to the unknown East, 
Yet was he not elated. Indeed he was wont to frown even 
at his own success, gauging it not by the importance of what 
had been done but by the immensity of what yet remained 
to do. As his mariners progressed along the coast they 
erected wooden crosses by the way as a sign of possession, 
signs that King John II afterwards replaced by mark-stones. 

^ " Prince Henry, as Master and Governor of the Order of Christ, under 
which was the jurisdiction of the Island as well as its administration, 
ordered sugar-canes to be imported from CeciUa, and to be planted and 
grown on the island. Moreover, he ordered experts to experiment and 
see if the island and climate were suitable, and the result was a harvest 
that surpassed the best anjrwhere else, and that enriched many merchants 
and farmers in the kingdom."' — Saudades da Terra, edit. Azevedo, p. 65. 



St PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 

The death of his father at the age of seventy-seven 
came ahnost as a rehef to Prince Henry; for the King 
had ahvays been too old to enter with any sympathy into 
his ideas, and so while he was alive he had not been per- 
mitted to take either Gibraltar or the Canaries, nor would 
he have accomplished even what he did had lie not exer- 
cised his own resourcefulness to the utmost. Following 
out the idea of his own plans he would already have taken 
Tangier, Alcazer, Azamor, Arzilla, and all the Moorish 
coast : for the taking of Ccuta was to him but an experi- 
mental venture; he thought in continents, not islands; 
and to him it seemed incredible that no one but himself 
seemed capable of seeing the ideas that filled his soul with 
the brilliance as of an aurora. Ceuta was to him a mere 
nothing, the result of a momentary struggle taken with the 
sacrifice of only eight lives; and now that he saw his 
brother, passive and docile on the throne, he turned on him 
his every faculty, used every art in his possession to gain 
him over to help in the furtherance of his projects, listening 
only to the counsel of those who shared his views about 
the feasibility of the Empire of his dreams. 

So he urged continually the necessity of conquering 
Morocco in order that he might be able to proceed unhin- 
dered Eastward. Material resources were all he needed to 
continue his discoveries on the West African coast, and 
these he now had ; but to conquer Morocco it was essential 
that the King who sat upon the throne should sanction 
the plan, and be filled with the same burning enthusiasm 
that consumed himself. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE TRAVELS OF PRINCE PETER TO THE SEVEN PARTS OF 

THE EARTH 

The appearance and disposition of the two brothers, 
Prince Peter and Prince Henry, was singularly different, 
a thing often noticed in families. Instead of being dark, 
saturnine, reserved like the Navigator, Prince Peter was 
fair like his English mother, bright-eyed, warm-hearted, 
sympathetic. He early acquired a reputation for prudence 
and wisdom. 

Yet, in spite of this dissimilarity in their minds, the two 
brothers had one great feeling in common : the desire to 
discover what lay beyond the mountains, the divine rest- 
lessness that prompts its possessor to penetrate where none 
of his kin have ever been before, the soul of the pioneer. 

In Peter, however, the impulse was not the concentrated 
passion that impelled his brother's mind to action. It 
was, on the contrary, compounded rather of the spirit of 
high adventure engendered by the songs of the minstrels, 
interlaced, co-mingled with the zeal of the Crusader; and 
so, as soon as he returned from Ceuta, he urged his father 
to permit him to make the voyage to the Holy Sepulchre, 
mingling with his pious impulses rosy visions of quixotic 
hazards in which he figured, in shining armour, slaying 
dragons, rescuing damsels in distress, helping by the 
strength of his eager, young right arm the cause of righteous- 
ness in peril, going on any random, perilous adventure, the 
accomplishment of which might help to lighten those vows 

of chivalry he had made at his mother's death-bed. 

85 



86 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

None the less mingled with these dreams was a certain 
sober groundwork of design. When he planned his pious 
pilgrimage he had decided, at the same time, to endeavour 
to penetrate as far as possible eastward, eager to find the 
rumoured empire of the great Christian monarch, Prcstcr 
John. By this means he hoped to help his brother's 
plans ; for while Prince Henry was working and dreaming 
over his discoveries at Sagres, seeking to find a sea route 
to the East, Prince Peter intended to explore, as much as 
possible, the overland route from Palestine itself, bringing 
back all the available knowledge, and gleaning also on 
his way such information as he could from the Venetians 
and the Genoese, who were then the most renowned 
geographers throughout the known world. 

Already mariners were beginning to recognise the 
spherical shape of the earth; but the world was still to 
them a dark enigma, the most enthralling problem of the 
age. The travels of the Crusaders had kindled into 
flame the spirit of inquiry, and Christianity, militant 
against a still more militant Mohammedanism, was eager 
to find new lands, new people whom it might convert 
to the True Faith. Nowadays the world seems too 
cramped for our far-reaching thoughts, almost even for 
our actions. VVc talk in the same breath of both Conti- 
nents. In a brief month or two we can rush round the 
whole earth's surface. We have explored all the habitable 
globe; and every little insignificant island is now charted. 
In truth, we have at last realised the old symbolical idea : 
man is the modern Atlas; he holds the world in his hands 
as in a sceptre, and for this reason becomes more weary of 
it daily. 

But at the beginning of the fifteenth century things 
were very different. The earth had still the charm of 
surprise it no longer possesses. Its mysteries were still 
fascinating, its dark places mind-enthralling, its enigmas 
drew, as with a magnet, all eager inquiring souls. Nothing 
was known for certain of its oceans and continents, of its 
people outside the cramped basin of the Mediterranean. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 87 

The days of the older, ever-fighting periods were over; 
countries and nations had again taken shape on the map, 
after the long period of anarchy following the disruption 
of the Roman Empire. The period of internal adjustment 
was now almost complete; Governments were becoming 
more stable, and nations and rulers, now free to look 
beyond the confines of their own land, were feeling the 
impulse of expansion, the desire to find fresh outlets for 
trade, fresh vent for the enterprise of their warlike spirits, 
free from their own immediate neighbours. 

Nowhere was this influence more felt than in Portugal, 
situated as it was on the confines of the known and the 
unknown ; and, perhaps, in no other country did the fine 
flower of Aryan inquiry bloom more fully or more brilliantly 
at that time. Seductively alluring, sweetly poisonous, it 
gave to the nation the brief greatness that eventually 
destroyed itself in her. 

Prince Peter was twenty-four, two years senior to Prince 
Henry, when he was created Duke of Coimbra. Impatient 
to start upon his adventures, he was delayed by the 
complications with Castile in 1417, and afterwards by the 
situation in Ceuta in 1418, when his father forbade him to 
join the expedition. We have it from Azurara,^ that, find- 
ing he could not get leave, he slipped away quietly from 
the Court disguised as a servant, with the intention of 
sailing in one of the ships, under the pretence that he 
was one of the captain's attendants. Confessing himself, 
ho^ycver, before he sailed, the priest, afraid of the respon- 
sibility, divulged the secret in a sermon, and the Prince 
was promptly ordered off with Prince Duarte (Edward), as 
we have seen, to raise reserves in the Algarve. 

Nevertheless he was able to start on his eagerly antici- 
pated journey in the same year, for we know that early in 
1419 he was in Hungary. He took with him twelve 
companions, in memory of the twelve apostles, a number 

^ Chron. do Conde D. Pedro de Menezes, II. 77. 



88 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

which was not only supposed to have some mystical 
meaning in the days of Mediaeval Christianity, but was 
also customary in the history of chivalry ever since the 
days of Charlemagne. One of the twelve was Gomes de 
Santo Estevam ; and it is to his work we are indebted for 
the chief details of this narrative.^ 

They started on their journey travelling on horseback 
straight to Valladolid, where the Castilian Court was at 
the time — the Prince, afterwards John II of Castile., a son 
of Catharine of Lancaster, and, therefore, cousin to Prince 
Peter, being then in his minority. ^ 

Here they were received with great pomp, and Prince 
Peter formed a friendship with his youthful kinsman, and 
the future all-powerful Constable, de Luna, which, by the 
family alliances produced afterwards, had such an effect 
on the future history of the Royal House of Portugal. 
When they set out again on their journey, the Prince, de 
Luna, and an imposing cavalcade, escorted them for a 
league on the way outside Valladolid ; and there Prince 
Peter was presented with a gift of 25,000 gold pieces, and, 
in addition, with what probably turned out more valuable 
still, the scholarly help of Garcia Ramircs, learned not only 
in Latin and Greek, but also in the Oriental languages, 
Turkish, Hebrew, Chaldaic, and Arabic. Beside the 
Prince rode his fidus Achates, Alvaro Vaz de Almada; 
and from this journey began a friendship between the two 
which only ended with their death together on the fatal 
field of Alfarrobcira. Alvaro Vaz, an older man, had 
already travelled extensively before he chanced to be 
chosen as the guide and mentor of the Prince. His father, 
John Anncs, builder of the walls of Lisbon, had twice been 
Ambassador to foreign Courts, and had transmitted to his 
son his love for travel. Thus it came that Alvaro Vaz 
had returned to his country scarcely two years before 

* " The Book, or Autoscript of Prince Peter of Portugal, who travelled 
throughout the seven parts of the Earth : Written by Gomes do Santo 
Eatevam, one of the twelve who went in bis company." — Lisbon, J644. 
See Appendix p. 316-.'i20. 

» Vide Romey, Hisloire D'Espagne, I. 16, 17. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 89 

covered with glory and honour. He had fought for the 
Enghsh at Agincourt, and Henry V had made him Count of 
Avranches, and a Knight of the Garter.^ 

These wars with France had commenced three years 
before, and, though no one then suspected it, were to 
continue for half a century. It is just possible that the 
Prince and his companions may have had some idea of 
participating in them, for no doubt Alvaro Vaz, riding 
beside him, would tell of his experiences in the campaign 
culminating in Agincourt, after he had recounted the 
doings at Ceuta, for they were both now seasoned cam- 
paigners. But as it happened their fortunes eventually 
turned instead towards the Court of King Sigismundo of 
Hungary, at the other extreme of Europe, led, no doubt, 
by the fact that his dominions were the bulwarks of the 
Christian West against the invading hosts of the Turks. 
In 1389 had come the first invasion from the East, and the 
awful calamity of Cassovia, and seven years later the 
Hungarians had again been defeated by the Sultan Bajazet, 
and the Turkish influx had overflowed Moldavia and 
Wallachia.^ 

After this, internal dissensions had kept the Turks 
quiet for some years; but by 1419 the pressure had re- 
commenced; and now the whole weight of this Turkish 
invasion was centred on Sigismundo and his kingdom. 
At this critical period, therefore, he received the visit of 
the Portuguese Prince, coming from across Europe accom- 
panied by his escort of noblemen in search of chivalrous 
adventure ; and it was not unnatural, therefore, that when 
they saw how things were, they eagerly offered their 

^ Major's LA.fe of Prijice Henry incorrectly states that Charles VII of 
France gave Alvaro Vaz these two titles. Ferdinand Denis in his Portugal 
Pittor., p. 86, states that Louis XI recognised the title at a later date. 
As this King reigned 1461-83, and Alvaro Vaz was killed in 1449 at AJfar- 
robeira, this recognition can only have been to his descendants. It is 
probably from this later recognition that Major's mistake arose, as no 
French King could create Kjiights of the Garter, though English Kings 
made Counts in their French possessions. 

* See Chron. J-' Jean Brandon, Bruxelles, 1870, pp. 156-61 ; Gilles de 
Royo, Chron., p. 179. 



90 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

swords to the Emperor, asking to be allowed to join his 
army.^ 

Such a help could not, and would not be refused. 
Sigismundo eagerly accepted their help, conceding to the 
Prince an annual pension of 20,000 ducats, together with 
the fief of Traviso, the Government of which was deputed 
to one of his noblemen, Alvaro Gon^alves de Athayde. 
It was on the western confines of the Empire, and the 
object of putting such a good soldier at its head was that 
he might hold it against the Venetians, who, though their 
ambitions had been crushed by the Treaty of 1381, were 
still watched with intense suspicion by the various 
Republics of Northern Italy, as well as the Duke of Austria 
and the King of Hungary.^ 

Prince Peter, in the meanwhile, accompanied the King 
to defend his eastern boundaries, and fought also in his 
campaigns in Germany, having as a companion in arms at 
the siege of Prague, Eric, King of Denmark.^ Appar- 
ently he remained four or five years in Germany, accompany- 
ing Sigismundo in his lengthy though fruitless campaigns 
— campaigns which only terminated in 14.33, several years 
after the Prince had departed. Probably the monotony 
of this soldiering life in Germany on one side, and the 
mainly unsuccessful struggles with the Turk on the other, 
wearied the Prince. A desire also to see this mysterious 
East at close quarters, this East from which the Turks 
were constantly extending their talons, together with the 
pious wish to visit the Holy Land, grew stronger and 
stronger in him as the months went by, till finally, he 
decided to leave the Court of Sigismundo, and start once 
more on his intended journey. 

We now come to a period in Prince Peter's history, 
dealing with his travels in the Holy Land, in which, owing 

» Vide .'En. Silv. Piccol., Oper. Hist., Eiiropa, p. 445. 
' See Sloria delUi vmrca Treingiann, Vorci, XVI. (i-63; Leo-Botta, 
ibid., 549; JEnesis Silvius. Oper. Epist., X. 506. 
3 Ant. Bonfinii, Rer. Ungaricar. (Hann., 1606), p. 392. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 91 

to the confusion of dates, it is exceedingly difficult to un- 
ravel truth from fantasy, the real from the unreal. Accord- 
ing to Santo Estevam's book, which is the main authority 
on which we have to rely, these wanderings must have 
started in or about 1425, extending over an indefinite 
number of years ; yet, as we shall see later, we have authentic 
records of the presence of the Prince in Denmark, England, 
Flanders, and Burgundy, in 1425-26, and the known diver- 
gences in the calendars of these countries are not sufficient 
to account for the discrepancies here noted. We shall 
therefore follow Santo Estevam's narrative, collating it 
with the much later itineraries of d'Aveiro (1556-59), 
and Pietro della Valle (1616) in regard to the legendary 
sites in the Holy Land usually visited by pious pilgrims in 
those days, neglecting the confusion in dates, and allowing 
the reader to form his own opinion of the truthfulness or 
otherwise of Santo Estevam's narrative, which in many 
quarters has been classed, possibly rather harshly, with 
that of Sir John Mandeville of pious but unblushingly 
faith-straining memory. 

Sailing towards Cyprus, probably from Venice, Prince 
Peter began his journey to the Holy Land, following the 
classical itinerary of the Crusaders.^ Cyprus was still 
governed at that time by the Lusignans, a French family 
to whom Richard Coeur de Lion had granted it, after 
subjecting the Arabs in 1191. On arriving, therefore, at 
Nicosia, the capital, the Prince landed to pay his respects 
to the reigning King, Hugo IV, only to find that this 
unfortunate monarch had been defeated by the Mamelukes 
of Egypt in the previous year, when they had attacked 
the island, sacking Famagusta, and that, just before the 
time of his arrival, they had returned again, succeeded in 
defeating the King a second time, taken him prisoner, 
and carried him off to Alexandria. 

Consequently they were received by the mourning Queen 
his wife, who addressed them thus : " Friends ! Whence 

^ Vide ItinerariG da Terra Santa, etc., by Fr. Pantaleao d'Aveiro, Lisbon, 
1596, 2nd edit. 



92 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

have you come ? " To which, on their replying that they 
came from the Iberian peninsula, she rejoined still weeping : 
" Truly, it is a blessing from Heaven that the Portuguese 
kingdom is so near, and that we can help one another : 
thus the enemies of our Faith will be less powerful." 

This she said, echoing the fear that possessed all Europe 
at that time of the all-conquering Turk. P^or everywhere 
they felt his coming, as in the remoter centuries they had 
been able to hear the distant thimder of the Knights of 
Attila. All the Eastern Mediterranean beyond Italy was 
a veritable Inferno, and the Byzantine Empire, crumbling 
to decay, stone by stone, was slipping from the impotent 
hands of the Pala^ologi. 

But the Prince could be of little service to the stricken 
Queen : for at a time when all the Christian powers of 
Eastern Europe were keeping guard in fear of the Turk, 
each thinking only of their own possessions, what could 
one puny arm avail ; and when all trembled for themselves, 
who was ready to come to the help of one obscure little 
kingdom ? Leaving Cyprus and the Queen, therefore, in 
her desolation, the Prince and his companions made 
instead for the all-powerful presence of the great Sultan, 
Amurath II, encamped then with his army at Patras in 
the Gulf of Lepanto, bringing with them letters of safe 
conduct from Venice, and paying twenty-six gold pieces 
for permission to travel in the Sultan's possessions in the 
near East. 

Amurath II had ruled over the Ottoman Empire for 
four years, having succeeded Mahomet I in 1421. The 
world-power of the Turks dates from then. Expanding, 
smothering, dominating all resistance, their dominions 
increased yearly, spreading from the -^Egean, stretching as 
far as the Danube, engulfhig Bulgaria, Macedonia, Thes- 
salia, Thrace, over-running Servia, Wallachia, and the last 
miserable remains of the Greek Empire, until only Byzan- 
tium and a narrow strip of hind was left to the last of the 
Palffologi. Two years before (1423) Constantinople itself 
had been besieged by Amurath, encamping in Nicodemia; 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 98 

and it was then that the deafening roar of cannon first 
resounded in the Dardanelles. The city had been saved, 
it is true, but not by the prowess of the Christian powers. 
The Sultan's two sons had rebelled against their father in 
Nicaea, and Aniurath had been compelled to raise the 
siege to cope with this trouble within his own dominions. 
The Emperor, John II, was able therefore to die on his 
throne in 1448 ; and it was not until five years after (1453) 
that Constantinople fell into the hands that have held it 
ever since, and the Byzantine Empire came to its inglorious 
close. 

Thus when the Prince and his cavalcade rode from Patras 
to the great city, they found it still in the hands of those 
of their own faith, impenetrable behind its triple walls and 
moats, still glorious and golden, brilliant in its decadent 
splendour, gay with continual festivities, as unconscious 
of its future fate as Nineveh in the hour before its doom. 

Crossing into Asia Minor, the Prince and his followers 
set out across the sandy wastes on their way south, appar- 
ently with only the vaguest notion of their route. The 
traveller. Gomes Estevam, notes great mountain ranges 
capped with snow, and states that they sighted Jerusalem 
on the one hand and Norway on the other from their 
heights, travelling on dromedaries, each dromedary carry- 
ing four men, with their necessaries " bread, water, honey, 
figs, raisins, together with four or five sacks of dates, the 
rations for the beast." It is evident from his narrative 
that they did not penetrate beyond Asia Minor, and his 
sighting of Norway is, of course, pure fiction, like the 
many uther inaccuracies found in the descriptions of ancient 
travels. The viewing of Jerusalem is another obvious 
error, the sight existing only in their perfervid imagina- 
tions. The probability is that from Constantinople they 
did cross into Asia, and losing their way in the mountains 
of Armenia they came again to the shores of the Mediter- 
ranean, whence they eventually sailed to Alexandria. 
Had they proceeded overland through Syria they would 
certainly have passed through Palestine. 



94 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

When in Egypt they visited " The Great Babylon " in 
Babylonia. This was the fanciful name applied to the 
Sultan of Cairo by early Christian writers, many of whom 
refer to Cairo as Babylon, confusing it with the more 
ancient Cairo (Babul) founded in a.d. 658 by Amru, 
situated one and a half miles from modern Cairo, of which 
it now forms a suburb where the Nile joins the Canal de 
Trojano.^ 

Egypt was at that time in the hands of the Mamelukes; 
and the description of the Prince's travels from thence to 
Palestine here given is drawn, in addition to Estevam's 
description, from the writings of d'Aveiro, the Viaggi of 
della Valle, both already cited, and La Terre Saincte of 
F. Eugene Roger, Paris, 1646. 

Wishing to proceed to Palestine through Egypt, it was 
necessary to obtain a safe conduct from the Sultan; and 
Estevam tells us that they remained fourteen days in Cairo 
for this purpose, and that the Ruler of Egypt questioned 
them at great length about the various European countries, 
and especially Spain. 

It seems to have been at Cairo also that the idea of visit- 
ing the Kingdom of Prester John was first mooted openly 
amongst the company, though it must have been already 
present in Prince Peter's mind, suggested by the conversa- 
tions of his brother, for by this overland journey the one 
would thus complete the plans carried out overseas by the 
other, and the circle would be made complete. 

From Cairo they started overland to Jerusalem, by the 
beaten caravan track, that, even to-day, passes in a straight 
line eastwards through the northern parts of Suez. This 
is what Estevam calls the Province of Centurius, where he 
states that " when a male child is nine months old it is 
customary to put a band of iron round his head, whereby 
he grows up with little wisdom but great hardness." This 
ancient custom of producing cranial deformities, by mould- 

1 Vide Pietro della Valle, Viaggi. Venice, 1661, 8, 283, and d'Aveiro, 
Itinerario, V. 181. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 95 

ing the soft bones of the calvarium in infants, is still 
practised to-day amongst the inhabitants of the peninsula, 
and is prevalent also amongst the various tribes of the 
Kabyles, their neighbours. The deformity found in Egypt 
is that which Vesalius terms lateral or temporo-parietal 
compression, described as macrocephalic by Hippocrates. 
It has been found also amongst the original North Euro- 
peans, and, in addition, amongst the tribes on the north-east 
of the Caucases. It consists of a lateral compression of 
the skull throughout its antero-posterior extent, obliquely 
from above downwards and before backwards, producing 
a bulging of one or both of the frontal and occipital poles, 
or a narrowing of the calvarium with a consequent broaden- 
ing of the base. It was practised, as we have noted, only 
upon males, and was brought about by manual manipula- 
tion or by means of a fillet. ^ 

The caravan track wound along the base of the range of 
hills which limits on the east the Desert of Tih, a country 
inhabited by the " Alarves," savages who went about 
naked and fed on herbs and raw flesh, wandering amongst 
the mountains and the desert, attacking any travellers 
whom they thought sufficiently weak to plunder.^ 

Half way across the peninsula that ends at Mount 
Sinai, separating the Red Sea from the Gulfs of Suez and 
Akabah, the caravan route turns northward, bifurcating 
into two, one leading to Gaza, following the coast-line 
from Jaffa to Caesarea, the other going over the hills of 
Judaea on its way to Jerusalem. It was the latter which 
Prince Peter and his companions now took. Along this 
road, tiien, they entered the Holy Land, a land fated to 
have become the world's stage, representing its Paradise 
and its Gehenna, destined to be the seat of its redemption 
through the cross, and prophesied to be the scene of the 
last great Judgment when time shall have melted away and 
history be buried for ever in the deep valley of Jehoshaphat. 

^ Vide Magitot, " Essai sur lea mutilations ethniques," Int. Cong. 
Anthrop. 1880, p. 549-612. 

' Vide della Valle, Viaggi, I. 346. 



96 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

In those days the Holy Land was divided into four 
provinces. The first was Gahlee, between Lebanon and 
Samaria, extending on the north from the Jordan to 
Phoenicia, and on the south from Saphet to the hills of 
Gilboa, including Lake Tiberias and the mountains of 
Zebulon. In it were the mountains of Gilboa, Hermon, and 
Tabor, and the ruins of the ancient cities of Nazareth, and 
of Nain, of Salem, Bethlehem (of Galilee), Tiberias — after 
which the lake is named — Cana, Scpphoris, and Bethsaida. 

After Galilee came Phoenicia, extending from Adonis, 
the boundary of Syria, along the Mediterranean coast as 
far as " Castellum Peregrinorum " of the Crusaders, near 
which we find Bibiis, and Barut. Next came Saruaria, 
and then Palestine proper followed, with the four coast 
towns of Caesarea, Jaffa, Ascalon, and Gaza, and the holy 
cities of Ramlah, Ludd (Lydda Diospolis), Bethlehem (of 
Judasa), Hebron, Emmaus, Azotus (Ashdod of the Philis- 
tines, the seat of the worship of Dagon), and Jericho 
hidden amongst its orchards and fields of palm and sugar- 
cane, irrigated by streams that join the Jordan after 
having watered the vast district of Galgala,^ and famous 
for its scarlet roses, " The Roses of Sharon," that fade and 
revive again, in spite of being cut, as soon as they are 
immersed in water.^ 

The Chosen Land, so often soaked in blood, yet always 
blessed, was then still a land flowing with milk and honey. 
The Romans had strewn it with cities and monuments. 
The Empress Helena, wife of Constantius Chlorus, and 

* d'Aveiro, Jtinerario, p. 214. 

2 Eugene Roger, La Terre Saincte, p. 18-20, 149. The Rose 
of Jericho or Sharon, Anaslatica heirox, is a cruciferous plant the 
flowers of which, after it has been dried, will always as soon as 
moistened open out its petals and appear as if revived. It is a curio with 
which all travellers in the Levant are acquaint<;d. From its pecuUarity 
arises the ancient superstition of its influence in labour, and the con- 
fciderable trade in it that even to-day is carried on between the Jews and 
the Arabs of Palestine. As soon as labour commences the stalk of the 
flower is placed in water, and the child is said to be lucky if it is bom 
before the flower opens out its petals completely. Afterwards it is with- 
drawn, dried, and kept for another occasion. The sj)ccimen8 sold to 
travellers, however, are usually too old to change colour as described. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 97 

mother of Constantine the Great, after her conversion to 
the Christian Faith, had built in it many churches and 
monasteries, and re-consecrated the Divine history of 
Judaea. But at the time of the Prince's visit desolation 
was to be seen everywhere, and the ruins caused by the 
invading Arab and Egyptian met the eye on all sides. 
Various events had combined to produce this. First, the 
destruction following the conquests of Saladin in 1187, 
when the Christians were expelled from Jerusalem and 
the country became attached to the Government of 
Damascus ; next, the further desolation that followed the 
burning of the Holy City by the Turks of Egypt in 1244; 
finally the capture of St. John d'Acre in 1291, when the 
whole of Palestine was lost to the Christian Faith, and 
another long century of bloody and destructive warfare 
ended. 

But though the once busy cities had many of them 
crumbled to dust and become depopulated, though the 
ruined monasteries were even then rapidly falling to 
pieces, and the shrines they guarded becoming converted 
into stables for travellers, the country itself, sacred equally 
to the Jew, the Moslem, and the Christian, still continued 
to bloom, and produce its fruits in their season— true 
Paradise that it was. Sycamores, acacias, palms, pines, 
aloes, and all the species of tree indigenous to the basin 
of the Mediterranean wooded and cast their grateful 
shade over the dappled, grassy carpet, patterned with 
ranunculae and narcissi, with anemones and hyacinths, 
spikenards, liUes, irises, and other flowering plants that 
evolved their intoxicating fragrance, dotting the valleys, 
and bordering the footpaths beside the lethal aconite 
whose destructive roots caused their neighbouring blossoms 
to wither and decay, like the Kermes that yields its pure 
purple, and the mandrake, and the solane£e whose ritual 
poisons helped to contribute to the mystic exhalation of 
this land chosen by God. Here vine-trees crept along the 
hill-sides, and melon-plants, octopus-like, crossed the net- 
work of their tendrilled stems. There olive-trees rustled 

H 



98 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

their silver-green above the mounts, while almond and 
fig-trees brightened the lower-lying fields, planted with 
nmlberries which helped to supply the famous silk of 
Pha-nicia, and cotton crops that grew beside the sugar- 
canes. Beyond these garden-fields appeared the golden 
oceans of wheat rippling in the breeze ; and further beyond 
again on the mountain-slopes herds of pendent-eared goats 
could be seen from which came the soft hair that produced 
the rich Syrian and Damascus fabrics, and flocks of sheep 
whose flesh was used as a substitute for pork by the Jews 
and Mussulmen.^ 

Thus Judaea slept in peace amongst its ruins, crushed, 
it is true, under the foot of the Egyptian, but nevertheless 
a haven of rest cooled by the refreshing breezes from the 
north, that swept from the perpetual snows of Lebanon, 
sheltered from the scorching desert sands by the hills of 
Seir, and Idumaea, and watered in its midst by the Jordan, 
which flowed from north to south, bordered by orange 
groves and luxuriant cane-fields, 2 issuing from the Sea 
of Galilee, distributing its life-giving moisture on both 
sides, blessing the land with life » until it becomes lost in 
the Dead Sea, whose soil is for ever absorbing the stagnant 
waters of Sodom, and whose mephitic emanations are 
wafted with all their unpleasantnesses towards Jerusalem.* 

Before entering the Holy City, the Prince's cavalcade 
turned eastwards towards the Wilderness of Judaea, and 
proceeded by the shores of the Dead Sea, along the valley 
of the Jordan, until they came to the place of the fountain 

1 d'Aveiro, Itinerario, 53. 

2 Delia Valle, Viaggi, I. 463. 

» Eugene Roger, La Terre SaincU, 3-4. , j .u 

" The Jordan runs along that part, near Jericho, with much depth 
but little width. It hath no sand but is muddy and chalky. The Abbot 
Caly a.sked me to take some of this mud and dry it m the sun, and to take 
it back with me to France, assuring me it possessed miraculous powers 
against fevers."— d'Aveiro, Itinerario, V. 217. „ .. * 

♦ " The cause of this evil odour continuing is due to the smell tbat 
comes from the Dead Sea," says d'Aveiro, Itinerario, V 149. This is of 
course, a delusion. The real cause of the evil atmosphere of Jerusalem 
in those days and even until lately was the entire absence of any sanitary 
arrangements in a place crowded with pilgrims. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 99 

where tradition hath it St. Paul was baptised, and where, 
in consequence, one could " get absolution for four 
hundred sins." From there the cavalcade went on to 
Nazareth, the native town of the Virgin. 

Nazareth, which means a " flower," is situated on a plain 
facing east, and is circled by peaceful wooded hills. It 
was then a town of two hundred hearths, where Moors 
sacrilegiously dwelt amongst its sacred ruins. Below, in 
the centre of the ancient city, stood the house of St. Anne, 
where the Virgin received the message of the " Annuncia- 
tion." The house then standing was that built by the 
Empress Helena, as " the original one had been transported 
by angels to Lor<^tto." ^ Upon its foundations the 
Empress had raisel another house, the doorway of which 
faced Jerusalem. Round it had been built a basilica; 
but the Moors, at the time of this pilgrimage, had con- 
verted it into a stable. Two columns of porphyry marked 
the place where the Archangel had communicated to the 
Virgin her sacred duty; and now amongst the ruins, as 
if placed there by the pious hands of Nature, grew flower- 
ing anemonies, chalcedonias, ranunculse, cyclamens, and 
irises, permeating the atmosphere with their scented 
treasures. Near this they visited the Holy Fount, and the 
gardens planted by the Empress ; whilst higher up, near 
the bridge, about two hundred paces away, they saw the 
circular tombstone upon which Christ and His disciples 
ate the Last Supper. 

Moving with reverent feet quietly from place to place, 
the travellers crossed themselves continually, commenting 
gravely on the pious works of the Empress, who, repudiated 
by her husband on account of her faith, had earned for 
this very reason the title of Emperor for her son, and that 
of saint from the Church.^ 

Leaving Nazareth, the pilgrims turned again, descending 
through the hills of Samaria, probably along the road that 
passes through Sebasta or Samaria, Silo and Arimathsea 

1 Itinerario, V. 267. 

- Eugene Roger, La Terre Saincie, 48-54. 



100 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

(Raniah), leading straight to Jerusalem. On the way 
they visited Emmaiis, scarcely six miles north-east of 
Jerusalem, the place from which the Virgin and the Child 
started on their fugitive journey into Egypt, and pro- 
ceeded to see the palm-tree that had miraculously lowered 
its fruit -laden branches to the reach of the passing Virgin, 
so that she might pick its dates and feed her Child.^ Near 
this palm was the fountain that, on the same occasion, 
had quenched the thirst of the Virgin and of St. Joseph. 
Untroubled by any thought of modern scepticism, the pious 
travellers gazed reverently on all these things. 

Though the town itself was deserted, demolished, and 
abandoned, there still was in existence the monastery built 
on the spot where Jesus had appeared miraculously before 
His disciples. It rested on the summit of a hill, surrounded 
by a grove of grey olive-trees, placed upon rocky founda- 
tion made fertile with infinite toil by canals and wells 
that had been made in the hard rocks, whose moss-covered 
crags now dripped with the life-giving moisture. There 
they saw the fountain which the Redeemer and His 
disciples had once frequented, and whose waters ever 
since had become miraculous, as well as being of an untold 
freshness and purity. ^ 

Though they were so close to Jerusalem, they did not 
enter it as yet. Perhaps they wished to prepare themselves 
first by visiting all the introductory scenes of the Passion 
and Drama of Christ. At any rate, the fact remains, 
that after skirting the city they went first to Bethlehem, 
going southwards along the road that, following the hills 
of Judaea, joins the caravan route from Gaza at Hebron. 
In Bethlehem they visited the birthplace of Christ 
and the sepulchre of St. Jerome, who had ended there a 
stormv life devoted to the cause of his Master The 
Church erected over the birthplace by the Empress Helena, 
a grotto of fifteen paces in length by four and a half in 
breadth, and nine or ten in height, was still standing 

' Delia Vallc, Viaggi, I. 478. 
a Itinerario, 237. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 101 

covered with its cedar-wood roof ; but the infidels had 
already destroyed its marble frontage; and the convents 
also had been sacked, and now remained deserted and 
ruined, nothing but a framework of turreted walls. From 
the ruins they gazed over the fertile landscape as it gradu- 
ally unrolled itself before them, dividing into cultivated 
fields as far as Engaddi which nestled in its wonderful 
valley, vine-clad on every side. Near by was the spot 
where the angel had appeared to the shepherds, as well as 
a grotto the earth of which was supposed to stimulate 
lactation.^ 

From Bethlehem they at length turned back towards 
Jerusalem ; and as they journeyed gradually the city rose 
before them crowned upon its sacred hills, each one of 
which was blessed with some holy memory. The brook of 
Kedron, bifurcating, encloses a plateau upon which lies the 
Holy City. Eastwards it runs between the plateau and 
the Mount of Olives, from whose commanding summit, 
where the Temple of Ashtoreth once stood, Jesus had 
ascended into Heaven, leaving behind Him, graven in the 
rocks, the last footprints which both Christian and Moor 
kissed with equal reverence. Here, again, the Empress 
Helena had erected an octagonal Church; but it, too, at 
that time was in ruins. ^ On the eastern slope was Beth- 
phage, on the western side the Garden of Gethsemane 
beyond the brook of Kedron. Further south was the Mount 
of Offence, on the summit of which was the Palace of Eros, 
built by King Solomon. Through the gap between the 
Mount of Olives and the Mount of Offence ran the road to 
Bethany; and on its right, again, were the tombs of the 
Prophet-. Eastward of Jerusalem, beside the Valley of 

1 Eugene Roger, La Terre Saincte, p. 161-77. 

'■ The earth of this place and that surrounding it is almost white and 
crumbles hke flour. It has the peculiar virtue of increasing the milk in 
women and mammalian animals, a virtue not limited to Christian women 
alone, but also affecting Turkish and Moorish women also, who, therefore, 
also drink it in water, and give it to their animals. They call this earth 
• The Virgin's milk.' "— d'Aveiro, Itinerario, V. 186. 

^ d'Aveiro, ibid., Uo, and Eugene Roger, ibid., 138. 



102 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Hinnom and the aqueduct of Bethlehem, rising to the north 
is the Mount of Evil Council, whereon the fatal decision 
of " expcdit ut unus moriatur homo " was made. It is 
here that the dry bed of the Kedron divides into two, en- 
closing the city; and from this it runs southward towards 
the Dead Sea, eight leagues from Jerusalem. Above the 
Mount of Evil Council, rising towards the west, are the 
hills on which David defeated the Philistines ; and going 
round the city walls the pilgrims came to the hidden pool 
where this part of the brook Kedron rises, and beyond 
they saw the two-peaked mountain at the foot of which 
was the grotto of Jeremiah, beside the road to Damascus. 
Here were the tombs of the Kings, and the identical spot 
where St. Paul was converted. 

Before entering Jerusalem, the Prince and his knights 
visited the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which is four hundred 
and fifty paces long, and viewed the rock-hewn tombs 
where Jew and Turk alike were buried to await the Last 
Trump. ^ Next they climbed the hill to visit the grave of 
the Virgin Mary, which lies on the east side of the brook, 
the swelling floods of which had almost hidden the chapel 
constructed by the piety of the Empress Helena.^ The 
tomb was in front of the bridge spanned by the road from 
Bethlehem, which enters the city by the gate where 
St. Stephen was stoned to death; and here they saw the 
place where the disciples had kept watch over her body, 
and gazed upon her footprints impressed on the rock to 
the depth of two fingers breadth. Moved by pious fear 
at the sight, Garcia Ramircs exclaimed : 

" Here we shall all be tried on the Last Day. Were it 
not well, then, that we should mark the spot so that we 
may all meet together ? " 

But the Prince thereupon declaimed against him, moved 
by a deeper, purer piety, saying severely that such a 
thought was blasphemy, and that : " Never did God mean 
to have this holy place thus blemished." 

1 DeUa VaUe, Via^gi, I. 433-4. 

* Eugt^ne Roger, La TerreSaincU, 123-4, 129; Delia Valle, Viaggi, I, 433. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 103 

Jerusalem was then about a third smaller than in the 
time of the Romans, when Christ was crucified. Mount 
Zion was outside the walls, but the Hill of Calvary was 
enclosed within them. The city had seven gates, of which 
the last, on the southern aspect, was the one through which 
Jesus had entered when He was taken prisoner on the 
Mount of Olives. The population was about 15,000 at 
the time of the Prince's pilgrimage, made up of Turks, 
Moors, Arabs, and Latin Christians, Greeks, Armenians, 
Syrians, Nestorians, Chaldseans, and Jews. These latter, 
according to d'Aveiro, were only a few hundreds in number, 
were very poor, and ill-treated by all alike; but the 
Christians were " allowed by the mercy of God to be other- 
wise. They were treated with respect, lived in the land like 
guests, both Greek and Armenian having all they desired; 
and those that were actual inhabitants were wealthier 
than the Moors, having both bread and water in plenty." ^ 

The kaleidoscopic effect of the bustling population on 
the sojourner in this centre of half the world's faith, the 
clash of colours, the multiplicity of nations, was even more 
marked then than it is to-day. Swarthy Jews in white 
simars, scarlet shoes, dark red caps and sashes, long 
beards and hooked noses, jostled against fair Armenians 
in striped blue and white turbans, flat-faced, thick-lipped 
Nubians, and half -clad Ethiopians. Walking along the 
streets one could see Armenian nuns, whose Orders were 
without cloister, in their black veils and long robes of 
Turkish cloth, begging for alms as they swept the streets 
so that the pilgrims might walk barefoot in comparative 
comforr.. Prancing on horseback through the crowded, 
narrow byways in his white turban and burnous striped 
with purple and red, would come an Arab, armed with 
dagger, hatchet, and dangling scimitar, his loose trousers 
tucked in by elaborate buskins at the ankle, himself proud, 
haughty, almost ignoring the swarming crowd of pedestrian 
unbelievers who impeded his path. Bare-armed, bare- 
legged Syrians moved through the throng in their sheep- 

^ Itinerario, V. 62-3. 



104 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

skin caps and black cotton skirts held up by shoulder- 
straps tightened by a belt round the waist, armed with 
bow and arrows, dagger and curved scimitar. Arabian 
women with their almost black hands and feet, their bare 
wrists and ankles adorned with beads, followed dressed in 
spacious blue robes that covered them from head to feet, 
wearing headcloths gay with gilt and silvered discs, ear- 
rings and nose-rings of agate, lapis-lazuli, and green 
jasper, staring through the slits of their black veils with 
unfathomable liquid brown eyes, silent and inscrutable. 
Everywhere there were crowds of children, naked and 
happy, their foreheads tattooed with coloured stars, 
playing contentedly, wriggling in and out of the throngs 
in the crowded, dusty, evil-smelling streets. 

But all-pervasive, dominating everything, as one would 
naturally expect in such a place, were the devotees of the 
three great religions — Hebrew, Moslem, and Christian — 
to which the city was sacred ; and everywhere every one 
amongst the inhabitants treated each and all of them 
impartially with that respectful mixture of fear and 
reverence which is such a characteristic attitude of the 
Eastern mind towards all religious zealots. Thus reverenced 
by all, the wild-eyed dervish in mantle of bright red, 
white-capped, bare-legged, raved and danced, the half- 
insane begging friar, shaved or with long, fearsome 
locks and tangled beard, carried his iron cross and 
stamped in frenzy as he walked, the Maronite women 
marched in procession, clad in the Syrian fashion, 
wailing in loud, stridulous choruses, " Heli — li — li — li — 
li — li — li — li — li — li," as if under a spell, ^ and no one 
said them nay ; for in this centre of transcendental 
thought, every one was more or less influenced by the 
religious beliefs of his neighbour, and consequently all 
these devotees were given the hospitality of the city, and 
treated with a veneration prompted partly by fear, partly 
by piety. Each religion looked upon the other as possess- 
ing some portion of its own; and even the Jew was re- 
garded, by Christian and Moslem alike, as possessing sacred 

» Delia Valle. Viarjgi, I. 455. 



I 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 105 

relics of the ancient Faith from which their own was 
derived, especially so at this time when the rancour of the 
Crusades was over, and many of the old heresies had raised 
their heads again so that Rephaims, Zuzims, Emins, 
Horites, Amalekites, Amorites, Kenites, Kadmonites, 
Hittites, and even the devil-worshipping Canaanites and 
other Galileans found advocates. ^ 

Amid such surroundings the wanderers entered 
Jerusalem, putting up in the lower part of the city — the 
part set aside for Christian pilgrims ; and here they 
immediately commenced the devotions proper to their 
pilgrimage. First they went to the Holy Sepulchre, 
lying south of Golgotha, facing the prison of Peter, and 
entering they prayed beside the twelve monks who had 
been appointed its custodians by an arrangement made a 
hundred years before between Philip VI of France and the 
then Sultan. 2 

At the Sepulchre, the chief monk himself personally 
conducted Prince Peter and his knights, admitting them 
to the Tomb, which was guarded by a Moor, to whom 
they paid twenty crusados before entering. Above the 
Sepulchre there was a chapel, scarcely large enough to 
admit three people — the priest, the deacon, and one 
assistant ; and here, according to a custom instituted by 

^ " ' Ziaret ' is the name given by Mohammedans to the Holy Places that, 
although not sanctified by the doctrines of Islam, are, nevertheless, con- 
sidered as such, and where Christians are admitted after paying tolL" — 
Cf. Delia Valle, Viaggi, I. 462. The worshipping of Moslems in some of 
these places is attested by many travellers. Fr. Pantaleao d'Avciro says 
concerning the Holy Sepulchre : " And pilgrims. Moors as well as Turks, 
who g^ to Mecca, do not consider their pilgrimage complete unless they 
visit th's Temple and other particular localities in Jerusalem " (I.e., p. 138). 
Beside ihe Holy Sepulchre, the Temple of Solomon, the Virgin's Tomb, 
and the Tombs of the Patriarchs in Hebron were always visited on the 
Ist of August— six to eight thousand Turks and Moors thus celebrating the 
Feast of the Ascension, coming from aU parts, even from India (I.e., p. 152). 
The Nativity was similarly celebrated at Bethlehem (i.e., p. 183). 

2 " In 1418, seven or eight years before Prince Peter's time, a rival 
order of monks to whose keeping, for the time being, the vigil of the 
Holy Sepulchre had been entrusted, wished to obtain the honour as a 
permanency. Pope Martino V accordingly sent their plea to Egradense, 
Patriarch of Jerusalem, but he decreed in favour of the original holders, 
the Franciscans." — d'Aveiro, Itinerario, V. 105-6. 



106 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

the Moslems to commemorate their triumph over the 
Crusaders, each entrant had to submit without demur to 
a buffet on the face from the Moor in attendance.^ 

Having visited the Holy Sepulchre, they ascended Mount 
Calvary on the Hill of Golgotha, westward of which could 
be seen the yawning Valley of Gehenna, where the brook 
Kedron begins ; and here they saw the three marks, still 
open, where the three crosses had been placed for the 
crucifixion. The Mount itself, including the Holy Sepulchre 
and the site where the original cross had been found in 
the time of the Empress Helena, had been transformed 
by her into a sanctuary of many chapels. The hole where 
the cross had been erected was lined by a silver rim.^ 

It was guarded by two sentries,^ who stood beside the 
columns erected on the site of the crosses of the two 
thieves. Near the Sepulchre, with its lamps, which in the 
age of miracles were said to have been lighted miraculously 
by a spark from Heaven, was the Chapel of St. Maria 
Egyptiaca, another Magdalene : close by were the tombs 
of Godfrey de Bouillon, Baldwin, and many others of lesser 
fame, besides the reputed resting-place of the skull of Adam, 
brought thither by the waters of the Flood, so th it it might 
be bathed in Holy Blood.* 

^ Fr. Pantaleao d'Aveiro tells us that these customs were still in use 
in his time, a century later. " The door of the Holy Sepulchre is always 
locked with two keys, and sealed above with the Turkish seal. This is 
done with the help of a hand ladder; and the keys and the seal are always 
zealously kept by three Turks. One of these has the seal, and the other 
two the keys, so that whenever the door is opened for the admission of 
pilgrims these three Turks and their officers have to be summoned " 
(pp. 68-9). Cf. also the description of the Holy Sepulchre, C. xxii-xxiii. 

' The hole is more than two, and nearly three hands in depth, and it 
is large enough for one to place his head in it. This 1 often did, and 
attained some spiritual consolation from it. The said hole has a large 
silver brim, engraved with iigurcs, and surrounded with the following 
inscription : " Locus in quo Crux Domini lixa fuit quando in ea 
pependit." — d'Aveiro, Jtinerario, 75. 

=* Ibid., 95. 

* " Where it is affirmed, that the skull of Father Adam was found, and 
that our Redeemer being on the Cross, His Divine Blood fell upon the skull 
and wholly bathed it, and this is so earnestly credited, that God alone can 
make them beUeve otherwise." — Ibid., V. 94. 

Eugene Roger, La Terre Saincte, 103-20. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 107 

They ascended the Via Sacra, the Via Dolorosa, and the 
Way of Bitterness, that leads from Mount Calvary through 
the Gate to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and to the road 
that goes to Bethany. The Way of Bitterness crosses at 
right angles the street that comes from the Palace of 
Maccabees to that of Herod of Ascalon, in the quarter 
of Bezetha. At this crossing of the streets was the house 
of Pontius Pilate, over the site of the ancient Palace of 
Solomon, and in front, forty paces northward, the ruins 
of the chapel built on the site where our Saviour had been 
lashed. This chapel had, at the time, been sacrilegiously 
transformed into a stable. 

Beyond the Palace of Solomon was that of the ancient 
Praetor of Judse?, which, in spite of the passage of Time, 
was then the residence of the Egyptian Pashas, being still 
habitable. They saw it, therefore, standing above its 
twelve steps of stone — not the original steps, however, 
which had been removed to St. John's in Rome. 

The Prince and his knights, like other pilgrims, knelt 
and prayed at all the sanctified places. They visited the 
arch of " Ecce Homo," where the Virgin and the Apostle 
John had met Jesus on his way to Calvary, and ascended 
the gallery that crosses the street above the arch. This 
gallery has two windows, from one of which Pilate, whose 
Palace was only thirty paces away, had ordered Christ, 
dressed in purple, crowned with thorns and still bleeding 
from the lash-marks, to appear before the Jews ; and it 
was from it he had asked the people, through a herald, 
whether they would have the life of Christ or of Barabbas, 
to wi Ich the crowd, in delirium had answered, condemning 
Christ : " Tolle, tolle, crucifige ! " This gallery or transit 
was open to the travellers, who saw the words of the blas- 
phemous clamour engraved upon its pillars.^ 

^ Eug^ae Roger, La Terre Saincte, 101. 

Delia Valle in his Viaggi, I. 429, tells us the following about the Arch 
of " Ecce Homo " : " Its appearance is that of a central column supporting 
two arches, coming from different directions like two windows." 

d'Aveiro, Itintrario, 132 : " This transit has two windows, one facing the 
north, the other the south. It is rudely sculptured, having a central 



108 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

They trod the very ground where Simon had helped 
Chi'ist to carry the cross ; they saw the house of Lazarus, 
wherein the women had mourned, the house of Isabel in 
front of the College of Scribes ; and with all these memories 
crowding upon them they reconstructed in their uncritical 
minds the history of the Life of Christ. 

Southwards was David's old city, on Mount Zion. 
They visited there the houses of the High Priests : that 
of Annas, and that of Caiaphas ; and they observed with 
compunction, that neither was there grass growing, nor 
was there a larger space than eighty paces round the site 
where Judas had betrayed Christ. Both the High Priests' 
houses were then churches : that of Annas was an 
Armenian convent, that of Caiaphas was San Salvador's 
Temple, and there was still to be seen, over its altar, the 
lid of the Holy Sepulchre. In the courtyard of the 
house of Annas they saw the identical olive-tree to 
which Christ had been bound while He awaited judgment ; 
and near by was the orange-tree by which Peter had 
stood when he denied Christ for the first time. They 
listened to find out if they could hear the sound of 
beating.^ 

In the courtyard in the house of Caiaphas there still 
remained the hearth at which the Apostle Peter had warmed 
himself when he denied Christ for the second time. For 
twelve " crusados " they were allowed to see the chair 
from which the High Priest Annas had condemned Jesus. 



pillax of somewhat rude workmanship ; and at the base of the pillar, on 
each side of it, there is a large slab with both Latin and Greek inscrij)tious, 
which being worn are interpreted in various ways. On the northern facet 
the Latin words ' Christus Deus ' can be clearly read, and on the other 
side ' Ecce homo,* and * Tolle, tolle ! ' I myself, at least, perhaps 
because I had been told, was able to decipher this meaning from the 
inscription." 

^ " It is the 0])inion among many Christians in the Land, that in this 
church one can hear the sounds of beating, in memory of this injury in- 
flicted on Our Saviour . . . personally, I have always hstened, but heard 
nothing, perhaps because, as is reputed, only those who deserve mercy for 
their sins can hear it." — d'Avciro, Itinerario, V. 125. 

Eugene Roger, La Terre Saincle, XXXVIII. 99-100. 



i 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 109 

Next they climbed the hill of the old Metropolis of Jeru- 
salem to see the tomb of David. ^ 

They wished to enter the Temple, but were not allowed. 
Near the city walls, on the slopes of Mount Moriah, was 
the site of Solomon's Temple, which Jesus had cleared of 
buyers and sellers, and where the Virgin had found Him 
debating with the Doctors. It had been desecrated and 
burnt by Titus, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem; and 
on its site the Mohammedans had erected another, the 
entrance to which was absolutel}^ prohibited to Christians. 
The " Haran," as it is called, was octagonal in shape, 
crowned with a cupola, and richly adorned with marble. 
The Aurea Gate was beside it. There Jesus had leaned 
while preaching to the people; and this was reputed to 
have endowed the marble with a healing virtue to those 
afflicted with gout and possessed by devils. Through this 
Gate Jesus had entered His city in triumph on Palm 
Sunday. 2 

Pursuing the pilgrimage on the western part of the city, 
they went to the place where St. John the Baptist used to 
preach, and to the grotto wherein he slept. To be admitted 
here, they had to pay four " crusados." Near the city 
walls, not far from the northern gate was the house of 
the Virgin's parents : " And there is no better known house 
in Jerusalem, because its frontage is constructed of large 
beautiful marbles." In spite of its chapel being then a 
mosque, and the adjacent convent being the house of a 
Moor, daily Mass was habitually read there, as was also the 
case in St. Anne's room ; ^ for the Mussulmen were very 
tolerant in Jerusalem, since their religion was so intimately 
connected with Christianity. 

^ " King David's ancient tower, which consists of almost one block of 
marble, is still to be seen." — Delia Valle, Viaggi, I. 441. 

" Covered with a most rich cloth embroidered in gold, its letters in the 
Moorish tongue, proclaim whose tomb it is : the tomb is fashioned like an 
altar, and is raised, and over it a gold cloth covers it to the ground." — 
d'Aveiro, Itinerario, 121. 

- d'Aveiro, Itinerario, V. 139, and XLII. Eugene Roger, La Terre 
Saincte, 90-5. 3 Jbid., 120-1. 



no THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Leaving the gate, the pilgrims passed the bridge over 
the Kedron, and arrived now on the opposite side, facing 
the Mount of OHvcs. Here the Virgin had spent most of 
lier days. They next went to the Garden of Gethsemane, 
which stretched along the foot of the Mount of Olives.^ 
They saw the identical place where Judas hanged himself, 
and the exact spot where Christ had been taken prisoner. 
Then they went to the Wilderness, where Satan had 
tempted Christ ; and from there they saw the tomb of 
Zacharias, which lay away in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, to 
the south, and almost at the foot of the INIount of Offence, 
beside the tombs of The Prophets. 

Having finished their pilgrimage in Jerusalem, they 
departed northward, crossing Samaria. They stopped at 
Tabor, where Christ had appeared to His disciples, 
Peter, James, and John, and where Moses and Ellas had 
come to speak to Him. Tabor appeared to the travellers 
enveloped in its miraculous cloak of snow. " It appears, 
with its snow, like a huge white tomb, and when one 
approaches the snow seems to elude one, and it no longer 
looks like a tomb. It may be that God wishes no man to 
know where Moses was buried." 

Mount Tabor raises its solitary peak like a sugar-loaf. 
Its base measures three miles in circumference ; and its 
diameter is about five hundred paces ; while its summit is 
1,000 metres above sea-level. One can see all Palestine 
from here, except Tiberias and its lake, which is hidden 
behind Mount Saron. Tiberias itself, seven leagues west- 
ward of Nazareth, was then no more than a huddle of stone 
columns, among which some dozen Moorish families made 
their homes. ^ In the earlier part of the seventeenth 
century, which was when Eugene Roger made his travels 
in the Holy Land, there were twelve families of Portuguese 
Jews in Tiberias, who were certainly fugitives from the 

' " And it is so hidden behind the Mount of Olives, that it almost appears 
to be subterranean. Its upper walls are part of the Mount itself, and its 
soil is gravel and slato : ... its earth is endowed with healing virtues 
against infirmities." — d'Aveiro, Itinerario, 155. 

* Eugene Roger, La Terre Saiiicle, 61. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 111 

persecutions of the Jews that had taken place in Portugal 
during the previous century. In the middle of this 
century. Friar PantaleSo d'Aveiro already notes the 
existence of numerous colonies of Jews, who had emigrated 
back from Portugal and Spain, In Sapheto, there were 
more than 500 of these,^ " telling me that their sins had 
expelled them from Portugal, not to the Promised Land, 
as they had hoped, but to the Land of Despair, where they 
now found themselves struggling in their misery." In 
Damascus the travellers came across another Portuguese 
colony; 2 and in Tripoli, the seaport of Beiruth "there 
were about 2,000 Jews, the greater part of whom were 
Portuguese." ^ 

The Sea of Galiiee, extending over an area of sixty 
square miles, could also be seen from here ; and its aspect 
reminded the travellers of the estuary of the Tagus 
opposite Lisbon.* Its waters are holy to the Jew as 
well as to the Arab and Christian. Around its shores 
were gathered five tribes ; and from the thriving days of 
Palestine, when it was under Roman rule, there survived 
the ruins of numerous cities : Tiberias, resting almost upon 
its waters, Capernaum, Chorozin, Hippos, and Bethsaida 
(or Julias), the birthplace of the Apostles Peter, Andrew, 
James and John, the Galilean fishermen who had been 
the first to listen to the Word of the Divine Master whose 
voice had calmed the turbulent waters when they had 
sailed out to cast their nets. Between Bethsaida and 
Tiberias, on the hill -top, loomed the dark ruins of the 
walls of Magdalon Castle, after which Mary Magdalene 
had been named ; and along the shores of this historical 
sea, among the ruins of its cities, wandered many vagrant 
tribes of Moors — ten or twelve families of them living 
around Bethsaida.^ 

Mount Tabor was no exception to the prevailing deso- 
lation. It also had been twice adorned with a profusion 
of buildings : first in the remote ages of Aristobulus' son, 

1 Eugene Roger, La Terre Saincte, 26G-8. 2 ^j^-,;^ 273. ' Ihid., 292. 
* d'Aveiro, Itintrario, 264. ^ Eugene Roger, La Terre Saincte, 62-4. 



112 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

when it had been defended under the leadership of Gabinius 
af^ainst the Roman invasion by Vespasian ; secondly, 
when the Empress Helena had erected on its summit 
a church with three chapels. The ruins of the ancient city, 
the remains of its walls, of its churches and convents were 
now half-hidden by the thick brushwood of arbutus- 
berries, buck's-horns, crow-berries, civadillas, and carob 
plants, struggling amid a sea of wild shrubs and rosemary. 
And to add to this general desolation, numerous flights of 
wild doves echoed their plaintive song, as if lamenting the 
wild boar's possession of this Sacred Mount, whose rugged 
slopes were absolutely inaccessible on all sides except one. 
At the base of an abrupt rise, a bridge and the village of 
Tur, inhabited by Moors, survived with the help of the 
taxes paid by pilgrims, who every time they wished to 
ascend this Sacred Mount made the rustic inhabitants 
richer by twenty " soldos." ^ 

Leaving these scenes behind them, the travellers re- 
turned to Nazareth; and there, after having gone to 
Hebron, eight miles from Jerusalem, to see the resting- 
place of Adam, they saw the place where our Lord, after 
rising from the dead, had appeared to His disciples. 

Over Adam's grave the ]\Ioors had erected a magnifi- 
cent mosque, very similar in construction to the one in 
Jerusalem."^ 

Beyond Galilee, the travellers entered the Syrian Desert, 
from whose mounts of red clay God had fashioned Adam.^ 

^ Eugene Roger, La Terre Saincte, 55-9. Delia Valle, Viaggi, I. 500, 
calls this village " Tabor." 

2 Gomes de Santo Estevam calls this " Ecrem" — apparently referring 
to Hebron. C^. d'Aveiro, Itinerario, 95, and Eugdne Roger, ibid., 185-(3. 

•^ " The Christians of the Land make beads for rosaries with this clay, 
and sell them to pilgrims. Some of them are left in their natural colours, 
others again are dyed black. The Moors make flat cakes with this clay, 
and call them ' Talisman Earth,' exporting them for sale to Persia, Ethiopia. 
India, and throughout the whole Orient, where they are sought after as 
precious things. The hole from which this clay is taken, at least the one 
I saw, is only large enough to holtl three men. and this only as far as their 
waists. The inhabitants fell me with conviction, that in spite of both 
Moslem and Christian taking out clay, the hole remains always of the 
same depth." — d'Aveiro, Itinerario, V. 200. 



I 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 113 

They took with them some of this red clay as a relic; 
and they saw, at the same time, the grotto where Adam 
and Eve dwelt after the expulsion from Eden. 

All these incidents, sacred to their religious minds, were 
either correctly or otherwise associated with the various 
places they visited. They now made for Armenia and 
Syria, hoping that after their pious pilgrimage they might, 
with greater safety, penetrate the mysterious East. 

Santo Estevam tells us that they reached the Armenian 
Mountains, where tradition has it that Noah landed on 
Mount Ararat (Macis or Agri-Dagh), nine miles south-east 
of Erivan, after the Flood. It is, however, unlikely that 
they travelled so far, because he tells us very little for 
such a long journey. Geographical names were, in those 
days, applied with great lack of precision ; and this must 
have been more so when dealing with such an unknown 
country as Armenia then was. 

What is more likely is that, proceeding beyond the north 
of Palestine, they probably reached the mountain ranges 
of the Lebanons, and were compelled to turn back : 
" These mountains of Armenia are very high," writes 
de Santo Estevam, " and we spent one and a half days in 
climbing them. Through this range passes a very full 
stream, where many precious stones are found. ^ Between 
these two ranges, lying crossways, we found Noah's Ark, 
which on account of the river's dampness was overgrown 
with weeds, and so covered with bird-lime as to be in 
parts snow-white; but none of us could proceed and 
approach the Ark on account of the thick woods and the 
precipitous ground we encountered." 

Defeafed in this attempt to reach the East, they re- 
turned to Egypt; and here, the Prince's travels acquire 
a new character. 

1 Perhaps this is the R. Lita, or the Orontes, both of which rising at Baalbek 
(Hehopohs) in the middle of the Bucca Valley, between the parallel ranges 
of the Lebanons and the Anti-Lebanons, run in opposite directions, the 
first, southward towards the Sea at Tyre, the second northward, mLxing 
Its waters with thoc:e of the River Eleutherus, and passing Antioch, opening 
into the Sea at Zemar or Simyra. 
I 



114 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

His caravan arriving at Babylonia (Cairo), they found 
there, according to Estevam, another Sultan. He was a 
Castilian, a native of Villa Nueva de la Serena, in 
Estremadura, and the son of Master Martin and of Barbuda. 
Positive statements such as these having no relation to the 
prevalent ideas of the sixteenth century, that so powerfully 
influenced Gomes de Santo Estevam in other parts of his 
narrative, are additional proofs in favour of the truth of 
this part of his writings, and lend colour to the suspicion 
that in other parts they were mutilated and transposed 
by their first editor, working from a more ancient manu- 
script, in an attempt to endow them with a superior 
historical character to that of the actual facts associated 
with Prince Peter's real travels. At any rate the fact 
remains that the latter half of the narrative is singularly 
confused and falsified, though curiously enough the facts 
concerning this Castilian Sultan are accurate. 

To the astonished Prince and his suite, the Sultan of 
the Mamelukes related his story. It appeared that he 
had been taken prisoner in his youth during an incursion 
of the Moors from Granada. Subsequently he had been 
educated as a Moslem, and eventually hiid gravitated 
to Egypt, where he had been enrolled in the Sultan's 
bodyguard. His rise to power, though rapid, was not 
without precedent ; for cases similar to his were not un- 
common, and indeed, were not unlikely to happen in 
dependent provinces and States such as Egypt, where the 
unstable Government frequently fell into the hands of any 
powerful military individual who could make himself 
sufficiently feared. Indeed, this was so frequently the 
ease that the bodyguard often possessed more power than 
the Sultan himself. Under such circumstances travellers 
ran the risk of finding these sporadic rulers disporting 
themselves with exceptional lawlessness and cruelty; but 
on the other hand, as was the case here, they could also 
sometimes be approached with the sentimentality of 
patriotic recollections ; and in Prince Peter's case, as it 
happened, the new Sultan received them with open arms, 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 115 

even allowing them to be accompanied on their travels 
by his own guards. 

It is difficult to be certain what direction they took. 
It seems, however, that they travelled up the Nile. For 
the third time, they sought the elusive East, seeking 
Prester John ; and this time, they had taken a safer if not 
a more certain road. Through the deserts that stretched 
alongside of the Nile, they arrived at " Assiao," which, 
without doubt, is Assuan, on the extreme lowlands of the 
Nile. They then crossed the " Ninive " desert — possibly 
Nubia ; and their city of " Samara " may be Samhara, 
on the shores of the Red Sea, southward, near the Straits 
of Bab-el -Mandeb. The writer tells us, indeed, that they 
crossed over to Arabia (facing the Yemen shores) ; and here 
he cites the well-known custom there of exhibiting the 
dead, detailing with exactitude the City of Saba (Mara), 
Marieba (Mareb or Sabbiah), between the Yemen and the 
Mascati. Intimately connected with Oriental commerce, 
this was the ancient and prosperous land from which 
tradition tells us came the Queen of Sheba who \'isited 
Solomon, and trusted him to establish commercial relations 
with Ophir, Western India, through the Red Sea and 
the Gulf of Akabah, near Mount Sinai. From there they 
turned northward again ; and thus the Prester John 
whom they sought, was left behind amongst his strong- 
holds in the Ethiopian Mountains. 

At Sinai, they visited the tomb of St. Catharine, guarded 
by a battalion of 180 monks ; and here Santo Estevam 
gives us the following description of what he saw : " The 
place where the body of St. Catharine rests is a monastery 
built on an enormous and lofty rock, which is said to be 
the one that Moses wounded with his rod, when he got 
water for the Children of Israel. On the rock there is a 
large visible laceration, but there is no water flowing. 
Above the rock is a small church, wherein is the Sepulchre 
of the Holy Saint; and here there are constantly two 
Franciscan monks keeping vigil over the tomb of St. 
Catharine, who is yet buried therein in flesh and bone. 



116 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Near the rock there are two poles, and two enormous 
cables tied thereto ; and on the top of the wall of the church 
there are two other poles to which two monks are firmly 
tied. By means of a rope ladder, the two monks climb 
to the uppermost, which is fully 170 cubits hijrh; and 
to them those in the monastery below send up every 
third day three things : water, bread for food, and oil 
for their lamp, and these they place inside a basket, 
which those above pull up by means of a rope. And thus, 
when they are in need of anything, they write on a piece 
of parchment and put it in the basket, so that those below 
may know what they want in the basket. We asked 
the Prior's leave to ascend, and he willingly consented. 
And we started climbing the ladder, and as soon as those 
above knew of our approach, they stooped before the 
steps of the altar, so that we saw not their faces. We 
entered the church, which is made of two stones only. 
The floor of the church, and the steps of the altar, and of 
the tomb of St. Catharine, under which is the plate 
wherein the oil drops out of the Saint's body, is all made 
of one stone; the door of the church, and the roof is all 
another stone; and the place wherein she is buried is 
all miraculously wrought by the craft of angels. Ascend- 
ing the steps, the Saint's body can be seen in its flesh and 
bone, which is within the altar to a depth of half a rod. 
And so that she may be seen and not touched, there is 
in front a stone like a net, marvellously transparent; 
and on this altar Mass is said. And there the oil, which 
comes from her arms, is seen, and it cures all infirmity. 
We prayed here, and saw the perfection of this church 
for five or six hours ; and then we descended the 
rope-ladder to the monastery below, and Prince Peter 
asked the Prior permission to depart, and the Prior 
answered : 

" ' If it is thy wish to depart, bear in mind that ye 
must all pass through the land of unbelievers, and ye 
are thirteen, so take with you from here thirteen tunics 
to be buried in, if, peradventure, any of you die.' 



» »» 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 117 

It is possible that in Sinai there were then, when Prince 
Peter visited these parts, hermits who Kved on the heights 
of almost inaccessible rocks, receiving their food by 
means of ropes ; but it is equally possible, that the writer, 
Santo Estevam, is mixing truth with fiction in all its variety. 
On the summit of Mount Sinai there is, in fact, a chapel, 
and tradition further tells us that from this summit the 
remains of St. Catharine " are guarded by angels," ^ 
whilst below is the monastery in which the body of the 
Saint is buried. ^ The convent, rising over the place 
where the Holy Flame appeared to Moses when he was 
leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, was at 
first merely a chapel erected by the Empress Helena; 
later, Justinian built there a vast church and monastery, 
round the encastled walls of which the Alarves of Sinai 
came to demand food with an outcry of threats. Tradition 
informs us that one of these nomads was Mahomet, who 
served these monks as a camel -boy, and who commanded 
that, in recognition of this, the monastery was to be 
respected for ever afterwards by his followers .^ 

^ '". . . cappelletta che nella cima altissima del Sinai dove gli Angeli 
portarono il corpo di Santa Cathrina e lo cusodirono un tempo. II sasso' 
dove a ponto ella giacera e per miracolo, come dicono, gonfio e mostra 
quasi la figura do un corpo nel luogo dove il suo corpo riposava." — Delia 
VaUe, Viaggi, I. 356. 

2 " Bacciamo piu volte la Santa testa e la mano sinistra, che bellissima 
si vede con tutte le sue dita, came e unghie." — Ibid., 362. 

3 Ibid., 345, 7. 

" In early Christian times the solitudes of the Sinaitic district drew 
to a site invested with such sanctity a large number of anchorites. A 
host of cells and convents arose in clefts of the rocks and at the base of 
the mountains; the town of Feiran was founded in the wady of that 
name, close to the precipices of Jebel Serbal, and became the seat of a 
bishopric, and not less than 6000 monks or hermits were in the neighbour- 
hood at tlie time of the Saracen conquests. Some ruins of the town, 
overgrown with tarfa-trees, crown a lofty rock in the middle of the valley, 
and on both sides of it are seen deserted houses, several perched at a great 
height, with ancient excavated tombs. Wady Feiran, the most pleasant 
spot in the peninsula, and possibly the scene of the long halt of Israel 
prior to tho one at Sinai, has a generally constant brook, and therefore 
vegetation of luxuriant palms and feathery tamarisks. . . . Of aU the 
establishments of the old Christian population of these highlands, the 
only important one remaining is the convent named after St. Catharine, 
its vice-patroness, but reaUy dedicated to the Transfiguration. It stands 
at the base of Jebel Mousa (Moimtain of Myrrh), 5452 feet above the sea. 



118 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

With Sinai finishes the description of the journey; 
that is, if the description of the incursion into Arabia 
docs not belong to the reahns of phantasy. The " Auto- 
script " of Santo Estevam says, that they next went to 
Mecca to see the tomb of the prophet; and he further 
describes the travels of Prince Peter in Ethiopia, portray- 
ing the land of Prester John in the fancy colours of Mediae- 
valism.^ It is incredible that Prince Peter went to 
Ethiopia, or that he met Prester John ; and in all likelihood 
the descriptions given are interpolations of the first 
editor. From Mount Sinai Prince Peter must have 
returned b)^ way of Egypt to Europe,^ through which he 
travelled leisurely from south to north, studying foi some 
time at the colleges in Paris, and in all probability going 
as far north as Denmark to visit King Eric, his former 

and partly on its steep slope, in a valley so narrow that little room is left 
between its walls and the mountain opposite. It was founded by the 
Emperor Justinian, at the traditional site of Jethro's Well and the Burning 
Bush. According to a legend, one of its early inmates was informed in 
his sleep that the body of St. Catharine, who suffered martjTdom at Alex- 
andria, had been conveyed by angels to the top of the highest peak in the 
vicinity. The monks therefore ascended in procession, found the corpse, 
and deposited it in their church, and hence arose the cimmon name of 
the convent, with that of Jebel Katerin. The building is a regular monastic 
fortress, being enclosed with high and solid walls of granite, surmounted 
with small towers, and defended by guns against the Arabs. In the 
interior are several courts planted with flowers and vines. Balconies with 
wooden balustrades run round each area, on which the doors of the several 
apartments open. The inmates, from twenty to thirty in number, are all 
foreigners, chiefly from the Greek islands, and are employed in some pro- 
fession, in addition to their religious duties. No natives of the wilderness 
are aUowed to enter the convent, except those who arc retained as servants, 
but a supply of bread is lowered down to them from the walls as often as 
it is demanded; and as there is no door, visitors from distant lands are 
hoisted up to the battlements by a windlass. The interior of the church 
has a richly-adorned roof, supported by rows of granite pillars, walls hung 
with portraits of saints, and a floor paved with beautiful slabs of marble. 
From 5000 to 6000 wandering Arabs constitute the present population of 
the desert, claiming at pleasure the hospitality of the monks." — Thos. 
Milner's Geography, p. 875. 

* Vide The True Fdcls Regarding the Land of Prester John of India, by 
P. Francisco Alvarcs, edit, in 1520, republished in Lisbon in 1889. 

* The ( 'hronicle ofNuretnburg, edit. 1493 : " Essai sur Thist. de la cosmog., 
etc.," III. 2.31 — includes in folio CCXC Porlufjaliu a lengthy reference to 
I'rincc Peter, Regent during the minority of Aflouso V, and says that he 
travuUed throughout almost all Europe. 



I 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 119 

companion-at-arms, who was- then at the height of his 
glory as Emperor of the North. 

He was styled " Emperor of the North " because, after 
the union of the three crowns of Sweden, Norway, and 
Denmark, under Margarita, whom he succeeded, the 
Scandinavian people, united in one kingdom, wished to 
reconstruct for themselves an Empire similar to the old 
Roman Imperium. The same had happened in Spain, 
when Affonso VI (1072-1109), after a prodigious expansion 
of his dominions, called himself Emperor; for in the political 
mind of the Middle Ages there still survived the idea 
that above the nations' independent thrones there should 
be one supreme ruler to dominate the Empire, as happened 
in Germany and Italy. 

This idea, however, did not become generalised, chiefly 
because of the example of France which gave other 
monarchies a new type of Government for imitation ; and 
so the attempt to constitute a Scandinavian Empire 
failed also. Eric I was deposed in 1437 ; and although 
Christovan, " The Brave," succeeded in preserving the 
union for eight years, the kingdoms were again separated 
in 1448. At the time of Prince Peter's visit, however, 
the " Emperor " Eric must have been, as we have stated, 
at the height of his power. 

From Denmark, the Prince went to England, where we 
find him in the fourth year of Henry VI's reign (1422- 
1461), that is in 1425,^ when he was invested with the 

^ " About Michaelmas, Peter, Duke of Coimbra, Prince of Portugal, 
came into England, and was honourably received and feasted by the 
King's nncles, and was also elected into the Order of the Garter "... 
Anno regui 4, Henry VI : John Stow, The Annals of England (London, 
1592), p. 693. 

Another document, however, dates this visit of the Prince as 1422 : 

"The Prince of Portugal, being at this time (1422) on his travels in 
England, he, with the Archbishop of Canterbury generously undertook 
to compose the difference between the protector and the bishop ; but their 
endeavours proving unsuccessful, the duke of Bedford, Regent of France, 
and brother to the protector, for the good of the pubUc judged it necessary 
to come over to accommodate the affair in controversy." — Thos. Allen, 
The Hist, and Antiq. of London, etc., I. 153. 

During Henry VTs minority, his two uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and 
of Gloucester, the former in France, the latter in England, ruled his two 



120 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Order of the Garter, to which his travelHng companion, 
Alvaro Vaz already belonged. Close family ties united 
at that time the Royal Houses of England and Portugal; 
and these ties corresponded to the links of friendship 
forged by the various alliances between the two countries. 
Though the King was a mere child, the power of England 
was almost paramount in France, so much so, that in 
14-31 Henry VI was actually crowned King of France in 
Paris. In Rouen they were burning Jeanne d'Arc, and 
France was looked upon as a country disappearing from 
the map of Europe. 

Jeanne d'Arc saved it ; the flames of the fire that burnt 
her kindled the conflagration of patriotism, and from this 
crucial moment the wheel of Fortune became reversed. 
In 1451, with the loss of Bordeaux and Bayonne, the reign 
of Henry VI over France terminated; and in the following 
years the Wars of the Roses cost him his crown and his 
reason. His defeats at Northampton, Wakefield, and 
Towton (1460-61) dethroned him, exiled his Queen, 
Margarite, to France, and raised the House of York to 
royal power. 

At the end of December (1425), Prince Petor embarked 
at Dover and sailed to Ostend, visiting Flanders to meet 
Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and perhaps, indeed, 
to make arrangements for the marriage of his sister, 
Princess Isabel, which took place four years later. 

The Duke had succeeded his father, John the Fearless, 
in 1419, and, since 1420, had been allied with the English 
in their wars with France. The Flemish worshipped him 
for the good he had done them whilst residing among 
them constantly. Their fixed hostility to France, whose 
Kings had been their overlords from the creation of the 
Earldom in 862 to the time of Baldwin-of-thc-Iron-Arm, 
had never been able to find adequate expression until 

kingdoms for him, each with the title of " Protector." Henry V had 
died in France in the year 1422, when his heir waa merely eiyht months 
old. 

Perhaps Prince Peter visitod England on two occeisions, one before, and 
the other after his travels in the East. 



I 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 121 

1384, when by the marriage of the Countess Margarita III 
of Dampierre to the Duke of Burgundy, Philip I, the 
two small States, the northern and the southern, wedged 
in between France and Germany, became united under 
one owner. This union, completing the barrier between 
Fi'ance and Germany, like a restoration of the " Lotha- 
ringa " of the treaty of Verdun (843), had been the 
cherished ambition of the House of Burgundy for genera- 
tions, an ambition, which now had been realised by Charles 
the Bold, and was to ripen more fully after the marriage 
of Philip the Good with Prince Peter's sister. 

But, in addition to the natural aspirations of Burgundy, 
there had been added now a hatred, and to these future 
hopes, a yearning for vengeance which moved Philip the 
Good, Duke of Burgundy, and of Brabant, of Limburg 
Luxemburg, Count of Flanders, Holland, and Zeeland, 
Knight of Malines and Marquis of the Holy Empire, " the 
greatest uncrowned Prince in these days throughout all 
Christendom," to ally himself with all and every foe of 
France ; ^ for he had to avenge the ruthless murder of his 
father, John the Fearless, on the Bridge of Montereau, 
in 1419, when he was on his way to Paris to conclude 
terms of peace with the Armagnacs. His ambassadors, 
Guy de Bar, and the noblemen de Chatelux and de I'lsle- 
Adam, had been sent in advance of him some months 
before. He himself followed in September, and it was 
while crossing the fatal bridge, in company of the Dauphin, 
that he had been treacherously knocked down by a blow 
on the head, and Tannegui du Chatel, whilst he was lying 
stunned upon the ground, had buried his sword in his 
body.2 Thus perished John the Fearless, at the age of 
forty-nine, when he had scarcely reigned sixteen years. 

The tragedy could not be forgotten by his son and heir ; 
and in Prince Peter, coming from England, full of hatred 

^ Azurara, Chron. do Conde D. Pedro, II. p. xxvi. 

* " Being summoned by the King of France, he was murdered by a 
wound on the head, and by the false hand of Tannegui du Chatel." — 
Glossary to the Poem by Don Pedro, 1478, Saragossa, No. 776, Nat. Lib. 
of Lisbon, p. 8. 



122 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

towards France, he found a congenial counsellor. While 
England attacked one flank, they deemed victory would 
be certain if they attacked the other. It, however, proved 
to be otherwise. France withstood the English attack 
and crushed Burgundy ; and the ambitious schemes of 
the Prince, if perchance they formed this perspective, 
proved fruitless in the end. 

The day after his landing at Ostend, he arrived at 
Udenburg,^ where he spent the night, according to the 
custom of the time, in the Abbey. ^ There the Senate of 
Bruges sent an envoy to meet him,^ and prepared for him 
a festive reception. Immediately on his arrival, on 
Christmas Eve, they offered him " the wine of honour " * 
according to the custom of the Flemish, repeating the 
ceremony again on Tuesday, New Year's Day, 1426.^ 

On Thursday, Prince Peter and his suite met the Duke 

1 Arch, du Franc, do Bruges, No. 102, a.d. 1240-30 (arch, de I'Etat). 
The register of Prince Peter's travels in Flanders were extracted in 1872 
from the documents of the Cities of Bruges and Ghent by Herr Eniile van 
den Busche. 

^ Dep. pour messages : Le 22 decerabre (1425) a Guillaume Haghelin 
envoye a Oudenbourg a la recontre du fils du Roi de Portugal, pour un 
jour XX gros — valent XX sous. " Comptes de le ville de Bruges pour leg 
ann. 142.>-26." No. 32, 480 V Invent, impr. des ch. de^ comptes. 

' " XXa secunda die mensis decembris, ann. Dni. MCCCXXV illustr. 
princeps Petrus fil. regis Portucalensis, visitav. ctenobiura et ecclesiam 
nostram." — Arch, de VEtat, abb. d'Oudenbourg, A-nnot. Hist. Inv. litt., 
V. 2. 

* Dec. 23, dimanche. Offert k Dom Pierre, tils du Roi de Portugal : 
24 cruchons, tout en amer, payes a Jean de Bicke a 7 gros le cruchon, 
141. 

" Dec. 25, mardi, jour de Noel. Achet6 a Pierre Bustyn. 18 rasi^res et 
5 cruchons de vin qui fut affert au bailli, bourgomestre, Ichcvins et autres 
qui ont I'habitude d' avoir du vin, ct tout ccux que corame le fils du Roi 
de Portugal, etaient ici, etc." — Arch, de Bruges ; reg. des ch. des comptes, 
cah. 1425-26. 

'" Janvier Icr., mardi — 

A Monseigneur le chancelicr 16 cruchons a 8 gr. 101. 8. 
Au fils du roi do Portugal— 24 cruchons. 
A Monseigneur de Tomai — IG cruchons. 

Janvier C, dimanche — 

A Monseigneur Toumai — 12 cruchons a 8 gr. 

Au fils du roi do Portugal — 24 cruchons. 

Aux d<5put^s do Gand — 12 cnichons. 

Aux d(!'put€s d'Yprcs — 4 cruchons. 
Arch, de Bruges ; rig. des ch. comptes, ch. 1425-26. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 123 

of Burgundy, Philip, his future brother-in-law, at the 
Castle of Wynendale, where a hunt had been prepared in 
his honour; ^ and on January 31, the City of Bruges 
held a tournament at Buerch, and a reception at the 
Senate House followed by a ball, also for him.^ Evidently 
Bruges was determined to fete the friend of their Duke. 

In April, after Eastertide, the Prince departed to Ghent, 
where the Duke again awaited him. He remained a year 
or more in Flanders, in the company of his future brother- 
in-law, seeing, observing and studying methods of Govern- 
ment, embodying his observations in letters to his brother. 
Prince Duarte, whc, as we know, was at that time govern- 
ing his father's kingdom. Several of these letters from 
Bruges are still extant, letters formulating a political 
programme inspired by the generous ideas common to 
this generation of the House of Aviz. 

From Flanders, he went through Hungary to Venice, 
in the spring of 1428, perhaps on account of business 
relating to his Duchy in Treviso, bordering on the realms 
of the Venetian Republic, certainly to gather information 
about the trade of the Republic : for whilst there he 
collected such maps, and information on maritime dis- 
coveries, as he knew would help the ambitious plans of 
his brother Henry. 

The Republic was then at the height of its power. For 
the previous ten centuries the Venetians had dominated 
the Western world, and, by their proximity to Byzantium, 
also H rained the wealth of the Eastern Empire ; whilst, 
in addition, their site on the Mediterranean had enabled 
them to defy both Arab and Turk. Thus these ten 
centuries had been a history of constant progress. As 

^ Arch, de VBtai, a Bruges. Justif. de comptes, n. 921. 

^ " Depenses pour choses diverse : Le 30 Janvier, donne pour frais fait 
chez Dolius van Thielt, ou les bourgomestres, echevins, tresoriers, notables 
et autres officiers de la ville souperent lorsque le fils du roi de Portugal 
assista au tournoi au Buerch : XXXIII sous V deniers gros, valent XX 
livres, XIII sous. Item. Donne a Comeille Jordaen doyen des boueur 
pour avoir arrange le fumier au Buerch, avec ses compagnons quand eu 
lieu le tournoi en honeur du fils du roi de Portugal : XVIs. gr. valent IX 
sous." — Comptes de lu ville de Bruges, 1425-26, n. 32, 480, etc. 



124 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Queen of the Adriatic, Venice had disputed the domain 
of Lombardy over Milan, swaying the Mediterranean with 
her settlements scattered along the ancient colonies of 
Magna Graeca. 

Now, having attained to the zenith of her power, resting 

on her interlacing canals, with her 10,000 gondolas, black 

as ink, passing each other in their silent, gliding traffic, 

below her fifty bridges, she presented to the traveller an 

aspect as dazzling as it was singular. Tlic splendour 

of her palaces, the reflection of her marbles, the illumination 

of her stained-glass windows bewildered him. Her silent 

waterways, without the rumble proper to other great 

cities, seemed strange to the ear of the stranger. Her 

market-places were a continual feast of colour. The transept 

that leads from the Piazza di San Marco to the Rialto was 

a fair where all kinds of precious textures were exhibited 

for sale in interminable bazaars : jewellery, furniture, 

perfumes and spices, brocades, ivories, and all the products 

of the East and West, including illuminated manuscripts 

and the famous cut-glass of Venice were bein<T displayed 

on every hand. Her Arsenal and Treasury, one enclosed 

within her band of fortified and turreted walls, the other 

hidden within the Crypts of San Marco, containing the 

Regalia of Cyprus and Crete, and its two carbuncles, as 

large as a hen's-egg, were the two chief sights of this 

singular city that had sprung from her wedlock ^ with the 

Adriatic. All distant commerce then converged towards 

Venice ; her ships commanded even the Turkish shores ; 

and her merchants had penetrated even to the fabulous 

East. Indeed, one of her sons, Marco Polo, as early as 

1270, had got as far as China, and the written narrative 

^ Tlio Republic of Venice was known as the " Bride of the Sea " on 
account of the ceremony of wedding the Adriatic instituted in 1174 by 
Pope Alexander III, wlio gave the Doge of the Republic a gold ring from 
his own finger in token of tlio victory achieved by the Venetians at Istria 
over Frederick Barbarossa, in defence of the Pope's quarrel. When his 
Holiness gave the ring he desired tlie Doge to throw a similar one into 
the sea every year on Ascension Day, in commemoration of the event. 
At the ceremony the Doge threw the ring saying : " Wo wed thee, O sea, 
in token of perpetual domination." 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 125 

of his travels, travels so extraordinary that they seemed 
almost fanciful, had stirred the imagination of the entire 
European world to the depths.^ 

It was into this wonder city that Prince Peter entered 
almost as a neighbouring sovereign, since he was Duke 
of Treviso which in bygone days had belonged to the 
Republic, supplying it with the timber to build its navies, 
and connecting it by land with the inland powers of Central 
Europe. The Prince was escorted by 300 horsemen, and 
the Republic, having decided to receive him regally, 
sent four ambassadors to meet him. The Doge, with the 
city's nobility, awaited him in the State Galley of the 
Republic, surrounded by a magnificent fleet of flag- 
emblazoned gondolas and barges manned by soldiers. 
Royally they entertained the Prince and his suite, over- 
whelming them with gifts, and repeating their generosity 
at the termination of the innumerable public festivities 
celebrated in his honour by presenting him with hundreds 
of splendid silks, velvets, and brocades, in that wealth of 
colour and workmanship for which Venice had become 
renowned throughout all Europe. 

Leaving Venice, he travelled to Rome, laden with gifts, 
the envoys of the Republic accompanying him as far as 
Ferrara.2 But of all the presents that he took with him, 
nothing was half so precious as the account of Marco 

^ Marco Polo was bom in Venice in 1254. His father and his uncle, 
having penetrated into China, had returned as the Emperor's Kubla's 
envoy to the Pope. Finding that Clement IV had died, the father went 
back af in envoy of Gregory X, accompanied, this time, by his son Marco, 
who was then seventeen. They travelled to Ormus Island on the Persian 
Gulf, and thence by way of Persia, and central Asia, across the 1200 miles 
long desert of Gobi into China. There they foimd themselves in great 
favour with the Great Khan, who sent young Marco on numerous distant 
missions. Returning home Marco Polo was taken prisoner by the Genoese, 
after a victory over the Venetians, and it was simply owing to the fact that, 
during his imprisonment, he used to while the tedious hours away relating 
the story of his adventures, and that one Rusticiano of Pisa, a fellow 
prisoner, wrote them down, that his name has now become famous for all 
time. 

* " Aveva con lui cavalli 300 a quaU per la Signoria furono fatte le 
spese e 25 gentil-huomini I'accompagnarono fine a Ferrara." — Marino 
Sanudo, Vitce ducum venet., in Muratori, rer. Italic, script., XXII. 999. 



126 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Polo's travels, with which the Republic presented him 
in recognition of the freedom that her people had enjoyed 
in Portugal/ and the maps of distant regions, precious 
treasures which would fill his brother Henry with 
satisfaction. 

In Mav 1428, the Prince was in Rome, where Martino V 
received him, granting him, as was customary, the Bull 
that was habitually presented to the Kings of England, 
France and Portugal, when they were crowned and 
anointed. 

From Rome, he went overland directly to Spain, meeting 
at Penafiel near Valladolid the King of Navarre, whose 
sister was to be his future sister-in-law. ^ 

Thus eventually he arrived at his o^vn country, after 
ten years of distant and perpetual travel. It could have 
been said, indeed, in those days, that he had seen the whole 
world. And everywhere he went he brought honour to 
his country, leaving behind him a track of pleasant 
memories in all the Courts and countries that he visited. 
Portucral was, in fact, enriched bv these travels of her 
Prince ; for the agreement with the House of Burgundy 
now linked the House of Aviz, so intimately connected 
with that of Lancaster, with the two most renowned and 
powerful families in all Europe. Returning, he had 
brought with him a wealth of experience and information, 
more widespread and more valuable than any one had 
hitherto done — especially needful at that time, since he 

* " And in the times that Prince Peter, of glorious memory, arrived in 
Venice, and after the grand fetes and honours that were given in his 
honour on account of the fropdom that they thomsolvea had hrul in our 
country, as if to thank him, they offered him as a handsome gift the Book 
of Marco Polo, which lie brought back with him as he wished to explore 
the world." — Extracted from the Portuguese translation by Val. Fernando 
of Marco Polo's book, 1502, in the City library. Lisbon. 

' " Leaving Tordcsillas, he (the King of Navarre) wa.s accompanied 
for one mile by the King of Castile on his way to Penafiel, and in this 
town they met Prince Peter, Infante of Portugal, who was on his way 
to Navarre and who was returning from the Courts of the Christian Princes, 
and who, being festively received was presented with two •Sicilian horses." — 
Garibay, Comp. hist, de laa Cron. y univ. hist, de iodoa los reynoe de EapaHa. 
(Amberee, 1571). III. 437. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 127 

found on his arrival his aged father in the second childhood 
of old age, one of his brothers wholly enslaved by his 
plans of discovery and conquest, and another, Prince 
Duarte, bending under the weight of Government to a 
point prejudicial even to his life. It was, indeed, high 
time, therefore, that he returned to give a helping hand 
in the internal administration of his country. 

In the workings of these aristocratic monarchies, such 
as existed in Europe during the dawn of the Renascence, 
political marriages were the principal means of promoting 
friendship between nations; and recognising this, the 
Prince, on his return, became resolved to expel from his 
life all further thoughts of adventure by marrying the 
daughter of the Duke of Urgel, who had recently, in 
1410-1412, disputed the rights of the father of the Queen 
of Castile, and of the future Queen of Portugal, to the 
crown ^ of Aragon. This marriage resulted from the 
Prince's travels in Spain, and was intended to smooth 
over mutual rivalries; but, unfortunately, from the 
differences between the families of Urgel and of Castile 
arose later the bitterness between Queen Leonora and 
Prince Peter, causing the deplorable discord that followed. 
In September 1428, Prince Duarte married. Six days 
before this Prince Peter had arrived at Avellans, and in 
Coimbra, m.eeting his brother, he had found him so en- 
thralled by his new bride, that, listening to her " singing at 
her monochord," he had forgotten to go hunting or indulge 
in any of the other diversions peculiar to the time. With 
Leonora had arrived the Archbishop of Santiago and 
the Bishop of Cuenca, the Portuguese clergy being repre- 
sented by the Archbishops of Lisbon and of Braga, 
together with the Bishops of Coimbra and of Ceuta. The 
r^flu'''^ took place at Santa Clara, where the bride 
fulhlled the invariable mediaeval custom of fainting at the 
end of the ceremony " on account of her dress, which was 
very weighty, and the heat of the crowd of good people 
that were therein assembled, and of the torches that were 
large." They tried to carry her out, but could not lift 



128 PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 

her ; they drenched her with Holy Water, and she opened 
her eyes." ^ Such were the wedding auspices of the future 
King, who was ever neglected by fortune ! 

After the Crown Prince's wedding. Prince Peter was 
married in 1429; and in this same year Princess Isabel 
married the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, who had 
acted as the Prince's host on his northern travels. For 
this last marriage, there arrived at Lisbon, towards the 
end of 1428, the Duke's ambassadors, ^ Baldwin de 
Lanoy of Molemba (afterwards raised, in recognition of 
his services, to the dignity of Duke of St. Albin), de 
Rombais, and other noblemen. These accompanied the 
Princess on her voyage, landed with her about Christ- 
mas-time at Eclusa, and were present at the wedding 
in Bruges on January 10. The rejoicings afterwards 
were on a monumental scale : eight whole days of " Ker- 
messe," enriched by the Order of the Golden Fleece.' 
The Duke was the " Jason " who had captured from these 
western confines of the earth this new prize of Phryxos 
and of Helle, slaying the dragon, and obtaining the hand 
of Isabel — his modern Medea. He looked lorward to a 
life of happiness and satisfied ambition. Likewise Prince 
Peter, having finished his travels, thought that he too 
could settle down, moored in the safe harbour of domestic 
contentment, after having acquired the '' Golden Fleece " 
of knowledge at the hands of his worldly experience I 

Man proposes . Little did either of them know what 

Fate had in store for them ! 

' Tranalatod from a letter WTitten by Prineo Henry to his father, King 
John, describing to him what had taken phice at this wedding. 

^ Prince Duarte received magnificently the ambassadors of his future 
brother-in-law. Among other festivities, he welcomed them with a 
memorable supper, and " at this supper, the Prince gave many rich presents 
and large.ss(5d to the flutists and minstrels, who had arrived on horse- 
back, . . . and who performed melodiously on trumpets and other iiistru- 
mcnts."— From the M.S. No. 11.215 in the Nat. Lib. of Paris. 

' With the ambassador, Baldwin de Lanoy of Molembai, came the 
Duke's servant, Johann van P>yck, the celebrated arti.st.— M.S. No. 11,215, 
Nat. Lib. of Paris. Cf. also Racxyoski's Les arts en Portugal, 197. 



CHAPTER V 

A STATESMAN OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY 

Prince Peter was thirty-seven when he married and 
determined to settle down. The knowledge gained in 
his travels had stored his mind with much experience and 
many memories. So, in the decade (1428-39) that lay 
between his return to Portugal and the death of his brother 
Duarte, taking himself and his position in the State with 
a seriousness essentially English, he set himself to clarify 
the knowledge he had acquired, studying to discover how 
he might best apply that knowledge, guided by the clear 
light of reason, for the benefit of the nation he would 
have to govern in the not unlikely event of his brother's 
death before the heir was of an age to undertake the 
duties of his birth. 

Having seen the surface of things, he now wished to 
occupy himself with the hidden springs that formed their 
motive powers ; and so he applied himself wholeheartedly 
to the study of metaphysics, seeking the psychological 
bases underlying men's thoughts and deeds, hoping thereby 
to understand the ideas animating the common actions 
of mankind. 

In person he was tall, wiry, well built, and rather long 
featured, possessing a long nose and a full beard. His 
fair hair proclaimed his English blood, whilst his vague 
contemplative blue eyes argued him possessed of the 
dreamy Saxon temperament with all its accompanying 
virtues and defects. He was slow of speech, self-centred, 
and consequently rather neglectful of the opinions of 
others, though this neglectfulness was masked by that 

^ 129 



130 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

polished urbanity of manner whicli is of the essential 
training of a Prince. Yet, though quiet and contemplative, 
he possessed the inherent obstinacy of mind peculiar to 
those saturated with I heir own ideas, and when opposed 
was subject to an explosive anger which completely swayed 
him for the time, causing him to vent it in a manner 
strangely at variance with the rules of philosophy he had 
adopted as his guides in life. Nevertheless, he possessed 
the precious qualities of his temperament. He lived for 
his ideals amid the material pleasure-loving atmosphere 
inherent in a Court, making few friends, estranging ordinary 
minds by the rarified atmosphere in which his thoughts 
moved, developing in consequence a contempt for the 
kindly human weaknesses around him which deprived 
him of the personal magnetism essential in the leader of 
any successful reformation. With his mother's lineaments 
he inherited also her lofty piety and ideals of personal 
purity ; and so, as a corollary, his feelings towards the 
Church were such that he would not permit the clergy to 
kneel before him or kiss his hand. A Christian at heart, 
" he frequently fasted, and throughout Lent habitually 
slept, fully dressed, upon a heap of straw." ^ 

It is obvious that with such a character, though he 
might be much respected, he would be little loved, his 
friends though deeply attached would be few, and his 
enemies many. Thus in many ways he was almost the 
antithesis of his brother, Prince Henry, who, essentially a 
man of action, and a burning enthusiast, wished to draw 
all men's minds to his aid in the accomplishment of the 
glorious dreams of conquest which his rapt vision saw 
unfolding beyond the horizon of futurity; whilst he, on 
the contrary, being of a subjective and philosophical turn 
of mind, sought rather the springs of his ambitions, and 
the guides for his actions, in closer connnunion with him- 
self, using up his enthusiasm and energy in attempts to 
decipher the riddle of the Universe. 

> Ruy de Pina, Chron. de. Affonso V, CXXV. in the " Incd. da Academia," 
II. 432, 433. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 131 

Thus, curiously enough, it came about that these two 
diametrically opposed minds eventually found themselves 
seeking the same goal, although by different routes : one 
hoping to realise his dreams by the concrete discovery of 
new lands, the other inspired to explore the world's more 
abstract nature, travelling and making observations in 
the undiscovered realms of the ideal, both seeking, as it 
were, to penetrate the wall of the unknown. 

We may, in truth, ask ourselves which of these two lines 
of inquiry rewards the traveller, and the world, with 
more material and stable results, and which of them brings 
us nearer the mystery of the Universe ! 

In the ten years between his marriage and the death of 
Prince Duarte, Prince Peter occupied himself in these 
mental voyages, during which he visited the lands of 
philosophy, and with all the eagerness of a Renascence 
scholar explored the wealth of knowledge hidden in the 
classics. It was during this period he translated Cicero's 
Be officiis, and Vegetius' " On the Art of War." i Remem- 
bering, moreover, the political experience he had gained 
m his travels through Europe, and the principles he 
had learnt by reading Gilles de Colonna's De Regimine 
Pnncipwn, he also turned into Portuguese this famous 
treatise dealing with the principles of monarchy which had 
been written for the benefit of Philip of France, and had 
been such a favourite of John of Portugal that he always 
kept It beside him below his pillow. For the benefit of 
his brother Henry he also translated Marco Polo's book, 
which, as we have seen, had been presented to him by the 
nobility of Venice. 

These classical studies, and this reading of the authors 
of his time, moulded his mind in a cast of philosophical 
inquiry, and stimulated him to seek new adventures 
navigating the obscure seas of critical and moral speculation,' 
causing him to define his ideas and embroider his thoughts 
m verse after the courtly custom of the times. We find 
him, therefore, corresponding with John de Mena, the 

^ Pina, Chron., XXV. 



132 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Prince of Castilian poets, who would answer him also in 
verse, of which the following is an example : 

" Nunca fue despues ni ante 
quyen vysse los atavios 
& secretes de Lcuante, 
BUS montcs, jnssoaa y rios, 
suss calores y suss frios, 
corao vos, senhor infante." * 



1 " There was never aiter nor before 
one who knows the silks 
and secrets of Levant, 
its hills, islands, and streams, 
its heats, and its snows, 
like you, noble prince." 

Garcia de Rezendc in his Canciormrio Geral, "The Book of Song "^^^^ 
Kausler; Stuttgart, 1848, 3 vols.), gives three poems written by the i^nce 
his letter to de Mena, and its answer (Vol. II p. 67-73). The Poem that 
appears in this book headed " From the Infante D Pedro, «on of K ng 
John of glorious memory, a depreciation of the World. ^Titten m the 
Suan tongue, with a glossary," has been constantly but erroneously 

'"Amad'o'r Z los Cs-in his Hist. crit. de la litt. Espanola, VII. 79, 80. says 
that : this poem '" Depreciation of the World " was written f^o";^ 1^*^^^' 
starting with the foUowing stanza, in which the poet, describing the m- 
BtabUity of Court friendship. aUudes to the famihanty of Alvaro de Luna, 
the Constable of Castile : 

" Wc learn that they praise whate'er they find 
In thee, whether it be good or evil : 
Speak to the Master d'Escalona 
And say whether he be faithful and loyal. 
The " disgrace " of Alvaro de Luna. " The Master of Escalona." wm 
from 1439-41 ; in 1449. when Prince Peter died, he was agam restored to 
T^wer In 1441 King John II took the Prince of Aragon prisoner, and 
Svaro left Escalona'to release him. It can be B^i^ ^hat th.s^8^^r.phe 
dates from 1439-41; but, again, here Alvaro is called The Master ol 
iS^lona.^a tltletha't he only obtained in 1445. after the battle o Olmedo 
where th; Aragonese Prince Henry was kiUed I^.^^'^^f^. 439-^1 
the date should be 1446. the poem refernng to the disgrace of 1439-41. 
[The above criticism of OUveira Martins, ho^^^^^' l^^ours mvder the 
erroneous impression that the Prince, himself was the author of this 
poem. The author was m reality Prince Peter's son, Dom Pedro. The 
STstake apparently originated in Garcia de R^^^^^e attrjbutong^^ Pnnce 
Peter the authorship of the poem, not even aware of the meaning of the 
following lines: 

" See the Master, he lived in toil. 
See beside him his early fall; " 
D. Alvaro de Luna, the Master d'Escalona, died in 1453, four years after 
Prince Peter's death. And if these proofs do not auflice, we hud the poem 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 133 

These seeds of poesy, sown by the Prince in the imagina- 
tion of his eldest son, brought forth their fruits, producing 
the most perfect poem of the age — the censorial verses 
in which the Constable Dom Pedro, the friend of the 
Marquis of Santillana, poured out his grief at the immen- 
sity of his misfortunes. There is no doubt, however, that 
the Prince himself was the author of Horas da Confissao 
{Hours in Confession), in which he immortalised the ideas 
of his mystical mind. In another work of his, Virtuosa 
beimfeitoria {Deeds of Virtue), we find the moral conclusions 
of his philosophy;^ and in his letters to his brother, Prince 
Duarte, a reflection of his practical statesmanship. We 
may, perhaps, delay a moment over these, in order that 
we may gauge more clearly the bent of mind which is 
the special distinguishing characteristic of men of his 
temperament. 

With far-seeing eyes, writing from Bruges (1426) to 
Prince Duarte, who asked his advice, he noted clearly the 
strength, as well as the weakness of the Portuguese people, 
who, to-day, possess the same characteristics unchanged 

to have been edited in Saragossa in 1478, under the title " Verses composed 
by the most illustrious Prince Peter of Portugal in which there are 1000 
verses, with a glossary, on the depreciation of Life, and a censorial criticism 
on the beauties of the World, showing their superficiality." In its text 
we find a reference to PhiUp the Good of Burgundy, '" the victorious and 
most famous lord, Duke Philip, 7ny uncle, an honour to Christendom " 
(folic 8). Elsewhere he writes : " King John II of Castile, my uiicle " 
(folio 5 and 10), and we find here a reference and account of Alvaro de 
Luna's death. All this shows without doubt, that it was the Constable 
Dom Pedro, son of Prince Peter, who was the author of this poem, and not 
Prince Peter himself, as Garcia de Rezende would have us beheve by his 
words : " son of King John of glorious memory." He should have written 
" grandiofi " of King John.] 

^ The Loyal Counsellor, by Prince Duarte, XXXVII., tells us that : 
" The treatise is divided into six books. The first (20 chapters) defines 
the title, and contains in itseK these chapters. . . ." The summary con- 
tinues : " The third book tells us how virtuous actions should be petitioned. 
The fourth how they should be received. The fifth expounds the meaning 
of gratitude, and in what manner it should be made manifest. The sixth 
and last book demonstrates the ways in which virtuous actions may 
miscarry.'* 

There is a copy of 534 pages of this work in the Library of the Academy 
of Lisbon, and another in the Academy of History of Madrid. The treatise 
is dedicated to Prince Duarte, and, therefore, must date from 1428-33. 



134. THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

as they did then, after four centuries wherein they have 
crowded the splendid acliievements of twenty, as well as 
sufi'ered the misfortunes which still burden them at the 
present time. Living in prosperous Flanders, in the 
classical land of " Kermesse," the Prince saw by contrast 
the sobriety of his own people; but, on the other hand, 
he noticed the vice of self-glorification that possessed 
the Portuguese Court, and the folly of the custom of 
ennobling each son to follow in his father's footsteps, and 
thus ever increase the cloud of parasites, who in those 
days flocked around the throne and filled the Court with 
a mob of indolent and incapable hangers-on, ever hoping 
by some turn of fortune to acquire position and place 
without the merit deserving it. We find, here in the 
fifteenth century, the germ of that deplorable state of 
affairs in Portugal which arose when the unexpectedly 
rapid expansion of her colonies outgrew the superfluous 
population of the country, causing the enterprising and 
healthy to emigrate, leaving the dregs behind to defend 
the country and carry on its industries. 

In Flanders, the Prince had noticed that the people 
were mere tax-payers, possessing not a tithe ot the liberty 
enjoyed by the Portuguese. Nevertheless he recommended 
that an effort should be made to curb the almost royal 
powers and check the extravagance of the nobility, whose 
lawless greed was crushing the people between the mill- 
stones of selfish interest and over- taxation. The custom 
of the time compelled the people to support the Court 
during its migrations from place to place, a burden which 
was increased by the necessity of supplying also the services 
of man and beast. This, he maintaincfl, was not as it 
should be; nor, moreover, was it right that monasteries 
and chapels should be requisitioned as inns and hostels, 
sacrificing the revenues meant for religion and charity, 
in order that a crowd of parasites should be comfortably 
housed in their sanctuaries. 

He pointed out that there were not sufficient horses in 
the kingdom, and suggested that the privileges which 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 135 

had been granted to those who could not supply the 
proper quota of men and horses should be abolished as 
an example to stimulate for the future. 

It is evident from these extracts from his correspondence 
that he had already formulated in his own mind those 
ideas of organisation and reform which he afterwards 
tried to carry out during his Regency. Such schemes, 
however, were opposed on the one hand by the unbridled 
power of the nobility, and on the other by the fervid 
visions of discovery held by Prince Henry and his followers ; 
both of which vested interests appealed more to the fear 
as well as to the imagination of the nation than any 
problematical visions of reform. For this reason, there- 
fore, the future disastrous attempts to apply them during 
the Regency were doomed to failure — a failure as complete 
as all previous attempts had been. 

The question at issue really revolved around the ex- 
pediency of keeping Ceuta, and the general policy of 
extending their possessions at the expense of Morocco. 
Ceuta, Prince Peter maintained, was a veritable drain 
on the country, a voracious consumer of troops, arms, 
and money; and he added that in those lands where he 
was travelling, England and Flanders, the trend of political 
thought was no longer in favour of the lust for honours 
and conquests, but dwelt rather on the " indiscretion of 
supporting such ideas to the great loss and impoverishment 
of the Fatherland." 

Instead of casting their eyes towards adventures abroad, 
they ought rather, therefore, to turn their attention to 
the subject of home defence ; and here he dilated at length 
on the importance of cavalry in warfare — an importance 
which was even greater then than it is to-day, since fire- 
arms were not yet in general use — pointing out, therefore, 
the paramount importance of an adequate supply of 
horses, and advising that certain privileges should be 
granted to a community which in any part of the kingdom 
possessed a stud of breeding mares. 

Turning next to permanent defences, he condemned the 




136 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

present fortifications as obsolete, and advised their recon- 
struction, maintaining the thesis that, although with 
these military preparations there would arise an excess 
of unproductive public work, yet at the same time this 
excess, by employing superfluous labour, would provide for 
many unemployed. It was true, he admitted, that the 
people groaned already under the burdens required of 
them ; but the remedy for all these evils was the presence 
of the King in the various districts at frequent intervals, 
accompanied by men who understood the requirements 
of the neighbourhoods, so that he could look into abuses 
with a fully prepared mind, and at the same time stimulate 
the loyalty of the masses by the evident care he was 
bestowing on their interests. 

In these schemes of national reorganisation, next to 

the strengthening of the army, came the question of reforms 

amongst the clergy — more important on account of the 

moral character of their function, perhaps more urgent 

also because of the gravity of certain abuses, that had 

crept in amongst them. " You ought to take care " — 

Prince Peter wrote to his brother — " to carrv out those 

services that are chiefly Providence's ; and they arc those 

that belong to the Church and to the clergy." The first 

evil was the excessive number of clergy in minor Orders, 

a hybrid class that corrupted the office of priesthood, 

and increased parasitism. He advised that prelates should 

be prohibited from granting these minor Orders, except 

to those who were entering the Church in all faithfulness ; 

and that, at least, they should not ordain any one unless 

he possessed a knowledge of Latin. Further, in relation 

to the regular clergy, it was necessary to make candidates 

obey monastic laws, to maintain the discipline of eating 

and sleeping together, and not alone, to re-establish the 

rule of election to the various oflices of the Order, and 

to form a code to advise the superiors of these Orders 

respecting their duties. Referring to the Episcopal Laws, 

the Prince advised that the Bishops of the Diocese should 

not be transferred from place to place ; and that in nominat- 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 137 

ing them they should do so with all discretion in order 
to ensure their duties being performed without scandals. 
It seemed that in these nominations they should always 
follow the regulations of the chapter of the cathedrals, 
in order to refer their supplications to the Pope. Every- 
thing respecting the secular clergy ought to be dealt mth 
in all discretion and prudence, without undue haste, and 
in accordance "wdth the advice of the superior Orders. 

To this clearness of reasoning the Prince added, with the 
tact and discretion of his practical mind, that the functions 
of the clergy ought to include more than that of spiritual 
ministration. They had not, up to the present, had 
the duties of educating the masses ; but now, the Prince, 
wishing to commingle, at one and the same time, the 
general and moral education of the people, urged that Sees 
and monasteries should form the nuclei of Universities 
(although in Lisbon, and in other European capitals, 
there were already institutions for higher teaching), so 
that, in time, the clergy might become the sole instruments 
of secular education. He wished, taking Paris as his 
model, the University to institute colleges granting bur- 
saries and scholarships to the poorer students, so that 
they might live in equality and intimate association with 
their more fortunate comrades. These colleges were to be 
clausures, with dormitories and common dining-rooms or 
refectories, for monastic life helped to initiate a man into 
academical discipline more readily than military training. 
In these establishments, the chapters of the cathedrals 
and the Orders of the various monasteries should found 
also Faculties of Divinity, and supply a sufficiency of 
candidates to form the clergy, thus recruiting a spiritual 
army, as well as the army of scientists and magistrates. 
This plan, which the Prince advocated on the model of 
the University of Paris, the Jesuits afterwards carried out 
in Portugal in the reign of John III. 

In the Faculty of Law there was much room for improve- 
ment. With a note of sarcasm, the Prince cited, a propos 
of the crowd of judges and courtiers, the words of Isaiah : 



138 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

" Multiplicasti gentem, sed non magnificasti laetitiam." 
" Justice, Sire ! " he would write, "" is another virtue, 
that it seems to me does not reign in the hearts of those 
who have to judge in our country." If justice failed to 
animate the judges, a second evil was the delays in legal 
procedure, because " Justice has two parts : one to give 
to each what belongs to him, another to give it to him 
without delay." For all this it was necessary to call 
into operation much painstaking energy; and above all 
it was indispensable to make a legal code, tabulating and 
sifting the ordinances that had been made from the 
beginning of history, many of which had become obsolete, 
others had been recalled, and all of them formed a thick 
cloud of obscurity among which a bandit -crowd of magis- 
trates and lawyers hunted the unenlightened public. 
King John I had already dictated the workings of this 
service; but the machinery that crushed individual 
interest, at the beginning of its development, had also 
the faults of delay, and years elapsed before Prince Peter, 
during his regency, was able to bring his legal code into 
more perfect operation. 

Prince Peter, moreover, wished that the King should 
have beside him a Council of State, a permanent institu- 
tion, in which the component parts of all jiublic society 
should be represented, to work in conjunction with the 
Crown. The clergy, the nobility, and the people were, 
thus, " to give council," and to see that nothing was done 
against the interests of the masses, or against the rights 
and privileges of the classes. There was, indeed, at the 
time, the institution of the Cortes, which the King called 
together whenever he deemed it necessary ; there was 
also an Aulic Council, originating in the " Aula Regia " 
of the Goths, and chiefly composed of the members of 
the Royal Family ; but the conception of an actual Council 
of State, representative of the forces and elements of the 
public, originated apparently first in the mind of the 
young Prince, who was the most faithful preacher of the 
doctrines of the Renascence among his people. According 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 139 

to this doctrine, the Government was an edifice of organisa- 
tion, and the King the pinnacle of this edifice, and no 
longer a personage whose wish was law. The throne 
rose above the steps of the various classes of the com- 
munity, and the King was, at the same time, the Defender 
of the Faith and the Judge. " We are brought into this 
world," Prince Peter wrote, " by the authority of the 
Apostle, to commend the good, and to condemn the 
bad." The monarchy, consecrated by religion, became 
a fundamental institution, not through the right of in- 
heritance, according to the ideas of the nobility, but by 
the indorsement of social utility, according to the Roman 
idea. 

Anointed by Providence, called to the office of supreme 
jurisdiction, the King, instead of becoming a Divinity, 
ought to unite within himself all those qualities that are 
indispensable in governing his people. He should be 
cautious and reserved, since he had no lack of " impossible 
requirements and petitions " from the covetous crowd 
that surrounded him. Moreover, and here his counsel 
applied particularly to Prince Duarte who was born to 
hesitate and to doubt, he should be firm in his decisions 
and actions, and diligent in the improvement of his 
country, selecting the men experienced in virtue and 
wisdom; he should be gracious and affable, without 
familiarity, to every one, grateful for services rendered, 
but not depriving one to reward another, nor giving so 
much one day that the rest of the year had to be one long 
fast, not heaping favours on some so that there was not 
enough for others, but dividing benefits justly among all 
so that they should last. He should be faithful, in word 
and actions, and chiefly in all vital affairs ; strong to defend 
valiantly his country from the foreigner as well as from 
the native enemy. He should possess enough feeling to 
sustain, and to help others to sustain, the principles of 
justice ; he should be a Catholic and a firm believer.^ 

^ Extracted from Prince Peter's letter to his brother Prince Duarte, 
pubhshed in Sylva's Memorias, I. 374-9. 



UO THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

When these words were written (1433) John I had 
breathed his last, having died " without being well enough 
disposed to perfect the work of his conscience " ; ^ for 
during the last years of his reign he had been sorely tried 
by his Government, weakened by the weight of his years, 
by ill-health, and by grief over the death of his queen. 
Nevertheless, in 1430, when Prince Peter, at the very time 
that there was a rupture with Castile, communicated to 
his father the work that he was undertaking, compiling his 
treatise Virtuosa Beimjeitoria, the old King had answered 
roughly : " It does not belong to the province of warfare 
to be humanitarian," adding, " that a Prince should 
not dedicate his life to clerical compositions, or to anything 
like them"; 2 for, with the temperament of a veteran-at- 
arms, he opposed any speculative tendencies on the part 
of his sons. Prince Peter, therefore, for the time being, 
left the completion of his treatise in the hands of 
Friar John Verba, who compiled his work from ethical 
propositions collected from Seneca and other authors.' 

" Cease your clerking, and pay more heed to common 
sense," the old warrior had said to his sons, bidding them 
waken up to realities, stretch their arms and dispel the 
somnolent effects of the impractical theorising they were so 
fond of, counselling Prince Duarte, above all, to become 
a man, in order that he might become a good King. 

This birth of critical thought, however, this dawn of 
positive observation, gathered from the ancients, these 
seeds that germinated into so many discoveries, could 
not thus be destroyed. Indeed, Prince Peter expounds 
his theory of ethics, by comparing it to the art of the 
bowman, who aims high in order to hit his target : " And 
it will be suitable to do as the archer does with his frail 
arrow, if he wishes to strike the object of his aim. For 
to strike this object he must aim high, and when the arrow 
is bowed it will descend and fall wherever the archer 

' Extracted from Prince Peter's letter to his brother Prince Duarte, 
pubh.shcd in Sylva's Memorias, T. 374-9. 
* Viriuoaa Beimfeitoria.'^ • Ibi/t. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 141 

wishes. ... So are we and our desires; we always fall 
short of our noblest thoughts." 

Thus he would write to his brother, telling him that we 
should raise our hopes and aims to realise the loftiest of 
our ambitions, wdthout losing confidence, or the sense that 
dispels illusions in the vague realms of the abstract, 
where ever}i:hing is distorted or exaggerated; and that we 
ought to blend the noblest of our intentions, our clearest 
thoughts, with the humblest of our understandings and 
the weakest of our powers, if we wished, further to 
strengthen and sustain our conscience, which belongs to 
Providence, and if we desired to be of use to our equals, 
who are as human and frail as ourselves. 

In Prince Peter's cold practical mind, tinged Avith an 
almost fanatical piety, the sense of duty was raised almost 
to the position of a Deity; and those lacking in it he 
loathed ^vith an unutterable loathing. Moreover, he de- 
spised almost equally those whose main object in doing 
good was to gain the fickle favour of the multitude, holding 
that virtue should be its o^vn reward ; and so, later, when 
the people of Lisbon wdshed to raise a statue to his honour, 
he refused permission absolutely, although at the time he 
was dedicating his life to the service of these very people 
whom he thus treated -with such apparent contempt. 
Similarly he gave his services ungrudgingly to his brother, 
King Duarte. His actions, thus, were for their own merit, 
without thought of reward, dictated solely by the voice of 
his own conscience. 

This first pioneer mind of the Renascence, uniting 
practical and speculative ideas in his creed of morals, 
seeing the hand of God in every happening, looked upon 
the world with a curious blend of materialism mingled 
\vith idealism. He was a " homo duplex," at one time 
objective or practical, at another subjective or introspec- 
tive ; and it was this most extraordinary dual personality 
that ultimately doomed him, by reason of this complexity, 
to the most cruel of Fates. His mind was too sensitive, 
his heart too compassionate to influence. 



142 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

When he was forty, after having visited the " seven 
regions " of the physical, as well as of the intellectual world, 
learning the extent as well as the life of the globe, studying 
the body and the soul of man, Prince Peter, in the vigour 
of manhood, made it his business, without other am- 
bitions, to devote himself to guiding the more timid mind 
of his King and brother, never anticipating, however, that 
this weakness of spirit would weigh his brother down to 
the grave in the brief space of six years, under the burden 
of the Government. 

Superior in intellect to both his brothers, he was thus 
continually repressing the explosive energy of Prince 
Henry, and, at the same time, supporting and sustaining 
the vacillating mind of King Duarte. The King admired 
his knowledge ; but Prince Henry, thinking him antagon- 
istic, gradually grew estranged, ceased to talk to him of 
his plans of conquests and discoveries, and withdrew 
more and more into himself, pondering over Ceuta one 
day, over Granada another, and for ever having the word 
" Fez " engraved upon his mind. 

Philosophy, speaking through the thoughtful mind of 
Prince Peter, attempted in vain to show Prince Henry 
the fallac}'^ of his adventures. Ceuta was a consumer of 
men, arms, and money. He failed to persuade Prince 
Henry that the only " virtuous actions " were in reality 
to defend the country, preserve the peace, and use the 
resources of the land for the benefit of the people who 
were struggling slowly to rise in an interval of peace, and 
over whom Providence had jilaced them to rule. This, 
and this only, was the true light in which the situation 
ought to be regarded. 

Prince Peter, characteristically typical of this New Age 
in which civilisation was now entering, thus displayed the 
tendencies of his muid, with the freedom from tradition 
which was to become more general in the individual and 
which eventually brought about the reforms of the Renas- 
cence, not without, however, bringing, in addition, the 
bitter fruits of knowledge. Similarly, his brother Henry, 




PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 143 

yielding to the vehement impulses of his mind, with a 
fury of action that woke the world from its dreams and its 
lethargy of mediaevalism, was typical of another aspect of 
the coming revolution. And thus it came about that these 
two brothers, so fundamentally different in character, 
were in reality the two great pioneers who laid the founda- 
tions of the Renascence in Portugal. 

In spite, however, of the far-reaching results that 
crowned Prince Henry's endeavours, Prince Peter's role, 
so modest and so self-sacrificing, was by far the greater of 
the two. The complexity of his character, the attempted 
execution of his intentions, the solutions of the problems 
which he enunciated, must be recognised by the historian 
as the signs of the dawn of a Great Age, and as being 
incomparably more instructive than the study of those 
simple spontaneous actions and ambitions of the other, 
although the latter gave his country, the Portuguese 
people, and civilisation in general, the rewards of an epoch- 
making advancement. 

To fathom the thoughts, to discover the secrets, explore 
and govern the mind of man is a better and more noble 
achievement than to map out the ocean. The mind of 
man must always be an unknown and vast domain, an 
open continent rich in the most extraordinary of adven- 
tures, in the most surprising of discoveries, in the most 
astonishing and pleasing of conquests, and alas ! in the 
most cruel of defeats. At the present day, the vast world 
no longer hides from us the secrets of its continents ; but 
the innermost soul of humanity still lies concealed, and 
as little explored as ever it was ; it is still as undiscovered 
as the physical world was in the days when it was believed 
to end and fadeaway in slime and vapours, in the mysterious 
" Seas of Obscurity." 

Prince Peter, who according to his friend the poet was 
acquainted with the whole physical world, 

" Its hills, islands and streams, 
its heats, and its snows." 

sought his real adventures in exploring its moral counter- 




144 PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 

part, unravelling its secrets, navigating its quicksands 
and reefs. Tiring of mundane things, he wished rather 
to explore this other world, which in its infinity seems to 
some to lead to nothing but illimitable plains, to others 
to fade away into " slime and vapours," or end with the 
blinding glare of virtue, or, again, to be enshrouded in the 
darkness of incoherent perversity ! 

Statesman and philosopher, ruler, moralist and poet — 
as all those who feel for man, and see the psychological 
and social unity of the race — Prince Peter, after his distant 
travels and discoveries throughout his two worlds, sailed 
out on the Ocean of Life to be wrecked eventually on the 
quicksands of his doctrines. For such are the dangers of 
navigating the " Seas of Obscurity " of the moral Avorld ! 




CHAPTER VI 

THE LOYAL COUNSELLOR 

Peaceful in death, the body of King John I rested 
upon its funeral couch, beside which his sons silent as 
statues kept vigil, excepting Prince Peter who was riding 
post-haste from Coimbra, and the Count of Barcellos 
away on his estates in the north. The}^ were all mature 
men when their father died in 1433. The Count of 
Barcellos was fifty-six, Prince Peter forty-one; and of the 
others present, Prince Fernando, the youngest, was thirty, 
Prince John was thirty-three. Prince Henry thirty-nine, and 
Prince Duarte, who received the cro%vn from the brows now 
cold and lifeless before him, was forty-two. Of all the 
Royal Household, Prince Duarte gave vent to his sorrow 
with the least restraint, wishing himself dead, craving to be 
carried away in company of his dead father on the black 
wings of Death, until, at length, Friar Gil Lobo, his con- 
fessor, approached him respectfully and gently touched 
his shoulder, whereupon the new King fixed him with 
a dazed look. 

" Wake up, Sire ! Wake up to your Royal Office ! " he 
said reproachfully. But the new King, in his grief, could 
only co\ er his face mth his hands, and weep like a child. 

They shrouded the body, and placed it in its coffin, 
covering it with a black velvet cloth, until at night, accom- 
panied by the nobility of the country, and followed by 
torchbearers, it was conveyed on a bier by the princes 
themselves from the Palace to St. Vincent's Cathedral. ^ 

The great bells of the cathedral tolled slowly, solemnly 

^ Pina, Chron, de D. Duarte, I. 75. 
L 145 



146 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

in the night; and through the vndc entrance the awed 
spectators could see its aisles swathed in sombre draperies, 
the catafalque ^v^th its burning candles, and the close- 
packed multitude, who had come to pay their last tribute 
to the mighty dead. Friar Rodrigo preached the funeral 
oration, whilst twelve monks burned incense, standing 
with bowed heads beside the pall, where they had placed 
the bier. The following day, with all due solemnity, 
followed by an enormous procession, the State hearse 
conveyed the body on its last journey drawn by five 
magnificent horses, one covered with white and crimson 
trappings embroidered with the arms of St. George, 
another with blue and scarlet trappings embroidered 
with the Royal Arms, the third with the motto " Pour 
bicn," the fourth with " FF," being the initials of his 
Queen, while the fifth and last was wholly draped in 
black. Behind them came members of the nobility, 
carrying the various banners, the Royal Standard, the 
dead King's guidon, his helmet, his escutcheon, his lance, 
and an enormous black standard, the corners of which 
swept the ground and seemed to draw after it the mourning 
crowd that followed. At S. Domingos, the " Forum " 
of the media3val City, the procession stopped to hear 
the Chief Justice Mangancha's oration; and at the city 
gate, a bodyguard of knights awaited the cortege to 
accompany it on its last long journey through Adevellos, 
Villa Franca, Alcoente, and Alcoba9a to Batalha — a 
distance of about sixty miles — where all the Masters of 
Aviz were buried. Even after death, this Master of Aviz 
could perform miracles, if we are to believe the writings 
of his times which tell us that : " During these ceremonies 
of 14.33, the cathedral consumed six tapers, and twenty- 
four torches, having, in all, 264 lbs. of wax, and after these 
ceremonies they had 264i lbs. of wax ! " * 

The late King had been failing in health for some con- 
siderable time, being weary with the burden, not so much 

* Arrh. of Batnlha, as compiled by Sylva in his Mem. de El-rei D. Joho 
/., B. doc. 20; Vol. IV. p. 142-7 and Vol. I. p. 273-7. 




«il 




PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 147 

of his years, for he was only seventy-seven, as of his heart 
attacks, which seized upon him oftener as he grew older. 
One month before his death, he had gone to Alcochete in 
a weak state of health, aware of his approaching death; 
and becoming worse there, he had said to his sons : " It 
is not fitting that I should make an end here in these villages 
and wilds. Take me back to my Palace in Alca9ova, so 
that I may die there seemingly as befits a King." 

On his death-bed, however, he wished to say farewell 
to his guardian saints, and commend himself to their 
keeping. He was carried, therefore, to the cathedral, and 
there, in State, he heard his last Mass, said at the altar of 
St. Vincent, his favourite saint and patron for the terrible 
approaching day in which he, himself, was to appear 
before the judgment seat of God. In his enfeebled mori- 
bund mind, he now felt the remorse of bygone days; 
the chapel that he had ordered to be built was, then, 
not yet completed ; and so to pay this debt and clear his 
conscience, he offered also a bag of gold coins to defray 
the expenses of completing the work when he arrived at 
the offertory. 

From here, he wished to go to the Chapel of Our Lady 
da Escada, his protectress, as well as the protectress of 
his capital ; for ever since the rough days of the last Revolu- 
tion, the people had, upon each first of May, formed a 
procession of thanksgiving to her altar for the victory.^ 
Having visited this chapel near S. Domingos, and returned 
to the Palace, well pleased and at peace with his conscience, 
trusting in the protection of his saints, he sent for his 
confessor, so that he should be better prepared to die. 
But, after the priest had been sent for, passing his hand 
over his face and feeling his unshaved chin, the King 
called for his barber " so that after death he should not 
look hideous and slovenly." 2 Meanwhile, his confessor 
arrived, but before he could be confessed his mind clouded 
over, he became confused, delirious, and so " the sting 

^ Friar Luiz de Sousa, Hist, de S. Domingos, III. 19. 
Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, I. 71 and 73. 



148 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

of Death was increased in his childrens' hearts by the 
mournful sight of seeing him die without being well enough 
disposed completely to discharge his spiritual duties." ^ 

It was on August 15, 1433, his death took place, forty- 
eight years to the day after his victory at Aljubarotta, 
and eighteen after his equally successful expedition against 
Ceuta. The sun was also eclipsed then, as on the day of 
Philippa's death. ^ 

" Wake up, Sire ! Wake up to your Royal Office ! " 
repeated Friar Gil Lobo to the new Monarch. 

But the gloom of the day had entered the grief -stricken 
soul of the new King. Passive and broken-hearted, he 
tried to rouse himself. He appeared as one in a dream. A 
shadow seemed also to have fallen on the nation. A vague 
fear chilled all hearts. The air seemed full of malediction. 
The clouds of superstition, born of apprehension, seemed 
to gather and threaten. Therefore, it was not unexpected 
that, when the King had confessed himself, taken com- 
munion, and was awaiting his coronation, Mestre Guedelha, 
the Jew, who was the Court Physician and Astrologer, 
should kneel before him and beg him to delay bis corona- 
tion until the afternoon : 

" There is danger. Sire ! " he said. " The stars have 
warned me ! Jupiter is retrogressing ; the sun is shadowed ; 
and the skies foretell misfortunes." 

" I know," replied the King, putting a friendly hand on 
the soothsayer's shoulder, adding with a melancholy look : 
" I know, Mestre Guedelha. I feel that you are faithful ; 
and I have faith in your wisdom and in your science ; but, 
I have greater faith in God, and know that He decrees 
the fate of all things. . . ." 

Bowing his head, he saw, as in a vision, the march of 
his adverse fortune; but, nevertheless, he resigned himself 
to his fate. Mediaeval Christianity had effectually created 
from the ancient conception of the Fates an added super- 
stition, more absolute because more readily understood; 
and astrologers, Kabalists, and all kinds of soothsayers 
' Pina, Chron. de D. DuarU, IV. 80. » Ibid., L 73. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 149 

and fortune-tellers, reading the enigmatical characters 
written on the Book of Nature, now ended their prog- 
nostications with the phrase " Dens super omnia.^* 

" Let it be so," murmured the Jew ; " what I asked was 
not hard to grant. I was only moved to speak." 

" No, no ! I will not listen. My faith and hope in God 
must never waver," replied the King. 

" You will reign but a few years, Sire ! " the astrologer 
went on mournfully, inspired by the confidence he felt 
in the truth of his prognostications. " A few years, and 
those full of burdens and anxieties. . . ." 

But the King would have none of it. He was ready 
indeed, to welcome the end long before it came. 

In the meanwhile, outside the Palace, the populace, 
like children, ever ready to rejoice or melt into tears on 
the slightest provocation, cheered their newly crowned 
King. 

" Sir ! " he said, turning to the Bishop, who stood beside 
him, " I wish that, now, this ceremony should be com- 
pleted by burning here, before me, some oakum as a sign 
of the briefness and evanescence of worldly pomp and 
glory." 

He was realising his fate, almost a voluntary martyr, 
a martyr who meekly bowed his head before the blade 
that he already saw in the hands of Providence. 

" Sire ! " retorted the Bishop, with authority, " the 
memory of this request excuses now any further cere- 
mony." ' 

The King smothered a sigh, and said no more. 

He had now entered upon his reign of five years' suffering, 
making an excellent but weak King, with a character that 
scarcely rose above a scrupulous loyalty to duty. A slave 
to his own beliefs, it was from his lips came the saying " A 
King's word should never be broken " — a dictum alas, 
that is sadly lacking in verity, since it is chiefly a King 
who is most often compelled to contradict himself. This 
scrupulosity, this semi-superstitious firmness, was clearly 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, III. 79. 



150 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

seen in his appearance, in his pale, ascetic, clean-shaven 
features, prematurely withered by wrinkles, and in his 
lost and vague expression. In spite, however, of this, 
and of the weak impression produced by his brown straight 
hair brushed smoothly over his temples, King Duarte 
did not lack a certain curious eharm that was painfully 
effeminate and diffident, depending on the grace and 
affability with which he received everybody, appearing as 
if he apologised for the high office which Providence had 
given him, and which he himself thought too lofty for 
him to occupy. 

They called him " Duarte the Eloquent," not because 
he possessed the gift of persuasion with captivating and 
soul-stirring words, but because he appreciated " the 
grammar and logic of his language." ^ He was a crowned 
author, with the weaknesses and virtues of this class of 
men, with the inertia of will power that comes from the 
fatal disposition to communicate in writing his thoughts 
and wishes. Literature, in general, has this inherent 
defect : it mistakes a cloud for Juno, and mere words for 
actions. The mediocre scribbler has these faults even 
more accentuated. He puts a high price on the ideas 
that fill his mind, ideas little above those of the man in 
the street ; but he is inferior to that same despised " man 
in the street," because he — the latter — has not resorted 
to the vice of expressing himself on paper. The Renas- 
cence, which marks the period when modern thought began 
to develop, produced, at the same time, numbers of these 
" Eloquents," because mankind had just begun to emerge 
from an Age of semi-barbarism, when activity of body 
was of more importance than activity of mind, and the 
new type of men who were beginning to arrive had not 
yet developed a power of thinking indejiendently, but, 
for the most part were content, with more or less servility, 
to imitate the ideas and methods of the immortal ancient 
writers. 

With the vices and virtues of a writer, King Duarte, 

» Pina, Chrmi. de I). Duarte, II. 7G-7. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 151 

without belonging to their more mediocre class, could 
not be said to be one of the master-minds. In other 
circumstances he might have been ; but the fact that he 
had been born a Prince at that particular moment when 
the nation's energies pulsated violently, and in which the 
example of his brothers bestirred him to saturate himself 
with a knowledge that eventually proved too much for 
his limited \atality, told against him. By increasing the 
tension and strain on his weak constitution, it began by 
making him a valitudinarian, and ended by killing him 
outright, when the cruel tragedy he had failed to foresee 
made him drain to the dregs the bitter cup that sorrow 
held to his lips. 

He was terrified of the stupendous energies and mighty 
schemes of his brother. Prince Henry, struck dumb by 
the vastness of his plans and the world-embracing magni- 
tude of his designs. He sought protection against him, 
therefore, in his brother, Prince Peter, whose safe gravity 
was more in keeping with his o^vn literary temerity, since 
another defect in men of this temperament is an un- 
certainty of action that proceeds from expending all their 
reserve courage in writing and talking, not in doing. Thus 
it came about, that when, on the day of his accession, he 
found himself acclaimed, and crowned, and had not his 
brother Prince Peter to support him, he felt the lack of 
self-confidence all the more acutely. 

When Prince Peter learnt in Coimbra that his father 
was failing he rode straight away towards Lisbon, until, 
arriving at Leiria, he received the news that he had died. 
He, tJierefore, broke his journey there, dressed himself 
in black, and took advantage of the opportunity to write 
to the new King a long letter full of political and moral 
advice.^ 

At this time, many grave problems presented themselves. 
But the most menacing of these were the following two : 
the first dealt with internal policy, and concerned the 
quarrelling nature and plundering disposition of the crowd 

^ This letter is published in Sylva's Mem. de El-rei D. Joao I., I. 374-9. 



152 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

of noblemen to whom the late King had made certain 
grants in recognition of their services when they raised 
him to the throne; the second, perhaps more serious, con- 
cerned external politics, and had direct bearings on the 
economy of the country, as it dealt with the advisability 
of continuing the conquest of the Empire of Fez, and the 
plans of discovery that had taken possession of Prince 
Henry, King Duarte, with his characteristic weakness, 
wished to have the views of evervbodv, and to read their 
written opinions. 

There was, moreover, the subsidiary question of attacking 

Granada, an undertaking in which the King of Castile had 

already invited Prince Henry to assist him. The Count 

of Arrayolos, and the Count of Ourem, both sons of the 

Count of Barccllos, and, therefore, the King's cousins, when 

asked their opinion on this latter question, replied in 

writing in the affirmative. They urged strongly that 

Prince Henry should head an expedition against Granada ; 

but, whilst one of them wrote that they should not expect 

to acquire any new territory thereby, as this might lead 

to complications with Castile, the other enlarged upon 

the advantages of Prince Henry obtaining th : Kingdom 

of Granada for himself, adding the Canary Islands, and 

thus beginning a series of conquests that might eventually 

lead to the acquisition of Castile also. As for the idea of 

conquering Morocco, the Count of Arrayolos thought that 

this should be abandoned. The Count of Ourem, on the 

other hand, advised following up the recent conquest of 

Ceuta by laying siege to Tangier, or Arzilla ; but he thought 

that the King, in person, should command the expedition 

and not Prince Henry, and that it might be done without 

raising any taxes or contracting loans. The Count of 

Arrayolos defended his scheme of attacking Granada by 

saying that it would preserve the neutrality with the 

King of Castile, as well as the Princes of Aragon and their 

allies the Navarrese, maintaining that on this depended 

all future success. The Bishop of Oporto, on the other 

hand, advised the King to occupy himself more with 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 153 

home affairs and attend to the unrest amongst the 
nobility.^ 

Surrounded by such a diversity of opinion, the King 
was at loss to know what to do. Should he follow his 
father's and Prince Henry's advice : to " cease his clerk- 
ing " — " Res non verba ! " Some decision must be made; 
but unfortunately, King Duarte, though wise in words, 
could not translate his words into actions ; and so, in 
his doubt, he turned to the knowledge, prudence and 
philosophy of Prince Peter, who was only too willing to 
give advice to a brother in whom he did not fail to 
observe this weakness of character. 

Having learnt the news of his father's death at Leiria 
and written immediately to his brother such counsel as 
seemed necessary on the occasion, Prince Peter set out 
again, slowly turning the situation over in his mind, and 
continuing his journey until he reached Bellas. There he 
met the King, and paid homage to him as well as to the 
heir presumptive, D. Affonso — the first member of the 
Royal Family to bear the title of " Prince " in Portugal — 
who had been placed under his guardianship and that of 
his brother Henry, as he was then only one year old.^ 

Probably King Duarte was already preparing some of 
his many " Treatises," by means of which he consoled him- 
self over his passive propensities. Probably he had 
already anticipated with anxiety the storms that were 
brewing in his relations with his two brothers, the jealous 
envy that possessed the Count of Barcellos, the acknow- 
ledged leader of the turbulent and avaricious nobility 

^ Extracted from three letters in the Ajuda Library, Lisbon : 
(a) From the Count of Arriolos, Torres Vedras, April, 22, 1433. 
(6) From the Count of Ourera, Lisbon, June 4, 1433. 

(c) From the Bishop of Oporto, Santarem, Dec. 5, 1433. 
And from the following : 

(d) Prince Peter's answer, published in Sylva's Mem., I. 374-9, above 
cited ; and : 

(e) The letter from the Count of Barcellos, writing against an expedition 
to Africa, from GuimarSes, May 29, addressed to King John, a few months 
before his death, and published ra Sousa's Hist. Gen., V. 

2 Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, IV. and V., 80-5, and Sousa's Hist Gen., 1. 
418. 



154 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

who were ready to divide the kinordom, and the fiery 
ambitions which had captured by now Prince Henry's 
enthusiastic imagination. In addition, he foresaw trouble 
from Prince John's influence over his father-in-law, the 
Count of Barcellos, whose daughter he had married ; and 
could not help being distressed by the actions of Prince 
Fernando, whom he had already reproached for quarrelling 
with his father. Little wonder, then, that the new King 
sought forgetfulness of all these things by burying him- 
self in his writings, drawing up plans of action, instead of 
acting, with all the seriousness, lack of humour, calmness, 
and method which he inherited from his English mother. 

He wrote instead of acting, because his mind, lacking 
in depth and energy, nevertheless retained that mimicry 
of action proper to people without determination. His 
" Treatises " were, therefore, a compendium of all the 
ideas of his period, and may be considered as a diary of 
his life. One day he would summarise the principles of 
Government, compiling them from what he had read in 
De Regimine Principum, which was then the standard work 
of the times on statesmanship; another day he would 
write his dissertations on riding, re-editing what his father 
had written in his treatise on horsemanship. After this, 
the subject of domestic economy would engage his atten- 
tion ; then sermons, mystic glossaries, mineralogical 
studies, astronomical observations, biologies, etc., in which 
he dispersed the clouds of mysticism that had remained 
with these newly born sciences ; then ethical dissertations, 
then notes on the State, political essays on any question 
at issue, then rules on " demonology," the old terror that 
had not yet been dispersed, and in those days was taking 
a transcendental though tragic form, entering directly by 
the gates of religion, in such a manner that the Church 
became part of the State, defining the absolute rule of 
Christian Princes.* 

* The works of King Duartc, according to the bibliography prepared by 
Viscount Santarem in the 1842 I*aris edition of The Loyal Counsellor, are 
thf following : 

(a) E^ay written when his brothers went to Tangier. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 155 

In his last work the crowned author made a complete 
summary of the knowledge of his Times about the almost 
unknown sciences. This encyclopaedic knowledge was 
characteristic of the undeveloped thought of the period, 
when the various sciences had not yet been subjected to 
objective criticism. Emerging from the cloister, and 
doflfimg the monastic hood. Knowledge now began to 
take liberties with Dogma and preach a new Doctrine of 
Morals. It was destroying transcendental Orientalism, 
substituting in its place a code of Humanity, almost wholly 
drawn from the classical ideas that more faithfully resemble 
modern thought, and that we find expounded in the works 
of Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Plutarch. 

Reading the works of King Duarte, we note immediately 
a certain lack of originality in them, and thus become 
acquainted with the main trait in his character. If we 
compare his writings with the works on his book-shelves, 
we find that the King had a complete library of the sciences 
of his day, and that, though he may have understood them, 
he was unable to add to them. As scrupulous as he was 
literary, he was not content with merely reading : he wished 

(b) Advice given to Prince Henry when he sailed against Tangier. 

(c) Reasons for this War. 

(d) Recollections on the birth of his sons. 

(e) Astronomical observations on the Moon. 
(/) Petitions to the Court while at Santarem. 

\g) Concerning " the Good Captain," i. e. Alvaro Vaz, Count of 
Avranches. 

{h) Observations on coloured ores. 

(») Papers on rewards given to a certain class of servitors. 

(j) Treatise on good Government, concerning its justice, and offices. 

{k) E say on Mercy. 

(l) Sermon for Friar Fernando to preach at King John's funeral. 

(m) Sermon for Mestre Francisco to preach concerning the Constable. 

(n) A manual on fencing. 

(o) An answer to Prince Fernando's complaints against his father. 

(p) A glossary on the Lord's Prayer. 

{q) How to cast out devils. 

(r) What to learn from parents; patriotism and order. 

(s) An explanation of distraction. 

{t) Domestic life and its effect on the Government and on business. 

(«) Handbook on the art of riding — republished by P. Roquette, with an 
appendix, Paris, lsi2. 

(v) Tfie Loyal Counsellor, a compendium of all his works. 



156 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

to write out his lessons after having digested them in his 
colourless mind.^ 

The following pages exhibit an impression formed on 
reading The Loyal Counsellor, which, if it had been dated 
throughout, would have served us as a complete diary of 
his sympathetic and melancholic life. It plainly shows that 
King Duartc was a monarch so full of conscientious virtue 
that he was devoid of qualities, so scrupulous in considering 
every point of view, and the niceties of procedure, that he 
was incapable of governing his country, since he could 
never unhesitatingly make up his mind to any bold 
procedure. Men like him would be perfect if Fortune, or 
the necessity for action, or the rectitude of their scruples, 
did not impose upon them a task beyond their strength. 
Thus oppressed, conscious of the overmastering Fate that 
crushes them, knowing the impotence of their desires 
however beautiful their visions may be, such men are ever 
lacking in reactive strength, in protesting courage, and 
so retire, in panic, into the hidden recesses of their own 
souls for comfort, retaliating against adversity by doing 
penance for the apparent crimes with which they over- 
burden their consciences. Men of this type should not 
obey their instincts. They should forget themselves. 
They cannot get away from the scrupulous scrutiny of their 
hypercritical selves ; but, in order to carry out their life- 
work, should be endowed with more stable powers of 

^ The books that King Duartc referred to were catalogued, for the first 
time, by Sousa, in his Hist. Gen., Proof I. 544, where we find mentioned 
among ancient literature, the writings of Ca?sar and of Cicero, translated 
by Prince Peter, the Dialectica of Aristotle, the works of Seneca, and of 
Valerius Maximus. Among the works on romance and chivalry we find 
the story of Tristan, of Galahad, and of Count Lucanor. the Tror'n.t of 
D. Denis and D. Alfonso, besides the treatise on horsemanship by King 
John I. Of historical works, he had the Chronicles of both Spain and 
Portugal. Of works on statesmanshiji and Government, he had the Ordina- 
tions of Bartholo, the De regitnine principum of Gillos de Colonna. Among 
pcientific works and geographical books, he had the works of Avicenna, of 
Marco Polo— translated from the Venetian by his brother Prince Peter, 
and the Quinta essentia. Finallv, on religion and ethics, we find the 
Collntiones of St. John Casaianus, Virfnofta Beimfeiinria of Prince Peter, the 
Meditations and Confessions of St. Augustine, and a quantity of books on 
mystic and religious dogma. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 157 

decision, even when their courage excels their other 
quahties, for their scrupulous sense of right will always 
make them see the point of view of others rather than 
their o\vn. Such men, contending with the impossible 
desires of their pious souls, fare badly in this blind and 
cruel world. History teaches us that they, especially when 
they have been placed on a throne, invariably suffer a 
martyrdom that is as pitiful as it is useless. Ill-served 
by Fortune are those Kings, who, like King Duarte, are 
born to write ; for, in truth, they are hypnotised by their 
own doctrines, and none are more surely victimised by 
their faithfulness to blank parchment than they, since 
through this medium they imagine themselves in com- 
munication with the mysterious forces of Life. From the 
earliest times the Christian has confessed himself to the 
cold white tablets of his Temples. King Duarte poured 
forth his soul to his blank parchments, and in this fashion 
solaced his afflicted mind. Thus, although his labours 
proved worthless to a World that pushed him to his death, 
they, nevertheless, were a consolation to himself, and so 
perhaps, were justified of their existence. Writing his 
Loyal Counsellor in the shape of a formulary of prescrip- 
tions for the "Melancholy Humours" that permeated 
his constitution, he imagined that it sufficed to write 
about virtue and spontaneous activity to make his ideas 
materialise and take possession of him. In any case 
such consoling illusions blunted his feelings, and mitigated 
somewhat his afflictions, although they failed utterly to 
make him otherwise than unfit for the office of King. 

His melancholy opened to him the portals of the Temple 
of Philosophy ; and roaming amid its shaded precincts, cur- 
tained by the many hanging cob-webs of the Age, his specu- 
lations became as entangled and unassorted as captive 
insects. But of all the prescriptions for his " Melancholy 
Humours," he found matrimony to be the most effective.^ 

^ " And, by the grace of Our Lord, I know that a good, wise, and gracious 
woman, as my wife is, and well beloved, is a great remedy against sadness 
and boredom." — The Loyal Counsellor, XXIII. 



158 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

For this reason he dedicated The Loyal Counsellor to 
his Queen and bride. It was a manual of loyalty. He 
wrote it with his o-vvn hand, without the help of a secretary. 
He asked his literary countrymen to read it " letter by 
letter, and a little at each sitting so that those that read 
it, or hear it read, shall be well disposed at the time, 
to listen attentively." He felt, himself, that every page 
was a garden of flowers in bloom. " It will please me," 
he wrote, " if the readers will be like the bee that in her 
flight from twig to leaf will tarry longer on the flower, 
so as to derive sustenance therefrom." We note, then, 
that he did not write merely to please himself, after the 
manner of poets. His themes were born independently 
of ecstasy. His thoughts were those of his Age, as are 
those of every true-born author. And, as he was King, 
he naturally imagined that his exalted position would 
elevate his thoughts and give him a superior style, as 
well as loftier ideas. These illusions, brought on by social 
position, and influenced by the self-esteem common to 
authors, are not peculiar to monarchs, but appear to 
originate in the fact that every one has faith in the superi- 
ority of his own thoughts. King Duarte was, indeed, 
modest, but his modesty was closely allied to vanity. He 
did not doubt the value of his \vritings, because he approv- 
ingly remarks : " It suffices, to my mind, that our Lord 
knows my intentions, for my wishes to be fruitful." Thus 
he convicts himself, for when a \\Titcr doubts he destroys, 
as surely as he boasts when he publishes. Here, then, we 
see the vanity of the author rather than the King. His 
interest for us centres in the value he gave to his own 
conceptions, " because intelligence is our best virtue." 
Moreover, in those days, when science and study were still 
the dowry of the nobility, it was not snobbishness that 
made him write that his works "were chiefly to belong 
to the nobility, who desire to live in virtue, because 
others, met bin ks, will derive no pleasure in reading them 
or in hearing them read," ^ for the majority of the people, 
' The Loyal Counsellor, dedication to the Queen. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 159 

including the most of the nobihty, sought no greater 
mental pabulum in those days than could be derived from 
the romances of chivalry, or the rhymes of minstrels, 
to whom they could listen entranced for hours, happy 
under the spell of the " gay science " of these spontaneous 
imaginations. On the other hand, Moral and Philosophical 
conceptions, beginning to break free from the ecclesiastical 
atmosphere, casting off the shackles of Theology, were as 
yet an exclusive appanage of a species of brotherhood 
of the initiated, who were now seeking, it is true, to spread 
their knowledge by writing it in the vulgar tongue instead 
of leaving it buried in Latin; and the real importance, 
therefore, of The Loyal Counsellor is that it was one of the 
pioneer works of this kind in the Portuguese tongue. It 
is, therefore, a landmark in the secularisation of Thought 
born of the Renascence, and on that account is of 
immense historical importance. The language of every- 
day conversation was now invading the provinces of science 
and literature. Naturally, therefore, in the realms of 
Philosophy, it was but right that these products of superior 
thought should cease being the sole property of the Clergy, 
who still had their Latin Orisons, and should instead become 
part of the common heritage of the People. 

The Loyal Counsellor is a confused conglomeration of all 
the moral and philosophical thoughts of the Age. No 
book has ever more faithfully displaj^ed the mind of its 
author; for it portrays King Duarte himself, with a soul 
fundamentally ascetic, compounded indeed of virtue and 
loyalty, but with a grip on reality so vague as to necessitate 
the intervention of a manuscript to clarify his thoughts, 
and lengthy dissertations on advice to strengthen his 
indecisive Will. He thought that it was a King's duty 
to write such things ; and the disaster of Tangier, remorse 
over which cost him his life, proceeded directly from this 
fault. With his constant vacillations, his lack of will 
power, he was ever unable to rise to independent action. 
Indeed, he spent the years of his kingship distributing 
advice, no doubt of excellent quality, but lacking always 



160 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

the strength of command behind it, and so always unheeded 
by those to whom it was addressed. 

The book opens with a disquisition on psychology. We 
find, here, that the moral attributes of man are divided 
under two heads : Understanding and Will Power. These 
divisions are the forerunners of the introspective analyses 
that go to form our modern ideas of psychology. He 
further subdivides Understanding into seven components : 
(1) Apprehension, " by means of which we perceive what 
is demonstrated unto us "; (2) Retention, " by which we 
memorise what we learn " ; (3) Judgment ; (4) Invention, 
" by which we devise improvements on our past actions " ; 
(5) Declaration, " through which we declare and teach 
others "; (G) Execution; (7) Perseverance, "consisting of 
firmness and constancy to our decisions." Understanding, 
he tells us, works mainly through the Retentive faculty 
or Memory, which is also divided into two parts, viz., ohe 
belonging to the Spirit, the other to the Senses — the first 
dealing " with things that are not experienced, and pain 
that is not felt," the second with things as they are.^ 

His division of Will Power is less confusing. Stoicism, 
and later on Christian Philosophy, had taken deep root 
in the field of active intelligence, producing a stable harvest 
of Thought that was soon regarded as essential for self- 
preservation, and was believed to lead to a surer salvation. 
King Duarte knew his Seneca — every student of his time 
read him. He was also acquainted with, and often quoted, 
the Fathers and Doctors of the Church; and from this 
ecclesiastical knowledge, having studied the writings of 
St. Gregory, he borrowed the idea of Man's three Souls : 
the Vegetative, the Sensitive, and the Rational. 

We find he divides Will Power into four components : 
(1) the Carnal, (2) the Spiritual, (3) the Will of Weakness 
and of Pleasure, and (4) the Perfect and Virtuous. We 
arc told the Carnal Will desires vice, and relaxation from 
both weariness and care, also protection from all danger 
and fatigue. The Carnal and Spiritual components are 

^ The Loyal Counsellor, I. and II. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 161 

antagonistic to one another, and by their conflict within 
us they create the third, that of Weakness and of Pleasure, 
which latter two, since they want satisfying, without any 
inhibition, place those individuals who are dominated by 
them in a situation of Sin. The fourth and independent 
one works often for things directly apart from pleasure, 
acting under the commands of the Understanding.^ 

We are then informed how the moral man should pro- 
ceed to overcome his desires. First, with the aid of the 
fear of Hell-fire, and of the penalties decreed by the Law ; 
secondly, by the hope of rewards in this life, as well as 
in the Life to come ; thirdly, and lastly, by stimulatmg the 
love for God and the desire for virtue. 

These are his interpretations of the determining motives 
that condition a virtuous life. He tells us that these 
motives spring from the seeds of Fear, develop into the 
flower of Hope, and finally produce the fruits of pious 
Love. It is in its way a faithful analysis of the Evolution 
of Morality; and King Duarte writes clearly when he 
defines his three " Categories " : " They differ widely, for in 
the first two (fear of Hell-fire and desire for rewards) are 
those that begin to follow the more perfect state, and in 
the third those that, being no longer influenced by fear or 
pain, become, in turn, powerful factors in the elevation of 
those who already hope for the rewards due to their 
ser\aces. From these latter arises, therefore, the disposi- 
tion of mind that produces good and loyal sons who hope 
to inherit the belongings of the Father " — the Father 
being God, and the whole World, both material and abstract, 
appearing in this doctrine as One to those educated in 
parental Love and the bonds that unite them to the 
universal brotherhood. 

Simplifying by his own ideas this analysis of Will Power, 
King Duarte gives examples of the follo^^'ing four " In- 
stances," which are typical of the philosophical reasoning 

^ " The conquest of desire is a great achievement," he tells us. From 
all this results his proverb of "' To cultivate Desire is to create Sin." — ■ 
The Loyal Counsellor, III. 
M 



162 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

of his time. The first " Instance " is similar to the " will 
of a tree " (Vegetative). It seeks health, nourishment, 
moisture, and sleep (rest). The second is like "that of 
the animal world (Sensitive), and manifests itself by the 
twelve passions : love, desire, delight, hatred, fatigue, 
sorrow, kindness or tamcness, hope, audacity, rage, 
despair, and fear. The third (Rational) " is shared only 
by men and the angels " ; for in Man is reproduced the 
interior Universe, where the Will counsels and commands 
what belongs to the province of the virtues. The fourth 
is the result of the conjunction of all the others to produce 
Will Power, which, " as a Lady amongst all, commands 
us to act in all things that we do with our Understanding." 
As an example he instances the following : " The Will to 
go hunting (second instance) is in conflict with the desire 
to sleep or eat (first instance), common-sense intervenes 
(third instance), forbidding satisfaction with no other Will 
but that which urges one from one's bed to leave the 
Lodge and hunt, and suggests, instead, the advisability 
of doing something more important (fourth instance)." 

The three instances in conflict resolve themselves, there- 
fore, in the fourth, which is Will Power. Acting on such 
will power may produce cither Virtue or Sin according to 
the motive.^ The Will and Understanding, or in other 
words, the character and the intelligence, constitute, 
therefore, the moral Man, governed by a determination 
that arises in conjunction with these two elements. From 
these, then, are derived the Temperaments, generally 
four in number. First, there are men with little under- 
standing and knowledge, and consequently many perverse 
desires. These are all evil doers, without any other good 
in them than that they have been created by Providence; ^ 
for intelligence cannot be divorced from Virtue, nor Virtue 
from intelligence. Then comes the man who has both 
great intelligence and knowledge, but who has also evil 
desires, although he has also a sense of Justice : such a 

> Thf Loyal Counsellor, VI. 

* Cf. " God mauio him. Let him pass for a man." 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 163 

man may be worse off than the other, because in him 
intelligence strengthens his determination; and " although 
at some time he may accomplish great deeds, yet will he 
not escape corrections and punishments." He is followed 
by the man of little understanding and knowledge, but 
who possesses just and noble desires. Of such are the good 
and simple, whom Providence often rewards with more 
mercy than they themselves expect or understand. Lastly 
comes the man abounding in both intelligence and good 
desires. 1 

Rationalism such as this, with its simple juggling with 
ideas (indulged in also even when dealing with the more 
physical sciences), though satisfying to contemporary 
teachers, was, of course, an almost empty warehouse, the 
lock of which was the wish of the monarch, and the keys 
thereof kept in the possession of the Clergy ; for the later 
Idealism, which subsequently was recognised as the Vital 
Force of the Universe, was then only beginning to define 
itself in the mind of St. Thomas Aquinas, in spite of the 
fact that Mediaeval Christianity was already quickening 
Philosophy into a mysterious, burning, and living passion. 
Thus we find that King Duarte scrupulously included in 
his writings even the order of mass service and its duration,'' 
considering it as forming an essential part of the system 
of Government. 

Looking back it is easy in these days to see how the 
secularisation of Thought, which became general in Europe 
in the fifteenth century, was bound to come in conflict 
with the Papal Theocracy, as it did in Portugal a century 
later, producing a new form of Imperial Catholicism. Thus 
stimuL^ted, monarchs considered themselves the Patriarchs 
of their own People, and, therefore, rivals of the Papacy — 
although not denying the Pope's authority as head of the 
Church, and not " protesting " against the traditions of 
that Church like their northern brethren. In King Duarte's 
time, however, these ecclesiastical quarrels, often political 
ill origin, had not yet crystallised into action, and there 

1 The Loyal Counsellor, VIII. 2 /j^^,^ XCV. and XCVI. 



164 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

were tlien no Protestants to " protest " against a Catholi- 
ism which later became more absolute and suppressive, 
largely from the necessit}^ of protecting its own existence 
by constant struggles. A wish for enlightenment had not 
yet become a sin. On the contrary, the Gospel could be 
studied, like any other book, in peace, so as to be well 
understood. " Ye must not read one hour," says The 
Loyal Counsellor, " but a good deal less than ye are able. 
Thus, if ye can read twelve pages, ye should read no more 
than three." In other words, the Gospel should be read 
slowly, and then thought over, so that " when there is 
part ye cannot comprehend, ye should ponder not over 
much ; for there is no mind that can understand all perfectly 
in theology." Moreover, he adds, " of those things ye 
cannot comprehend, do not question, for ye must certainly 
know that there are many who know little." Again the 
confession of common ignorance in theology is sanctioned 
by the cold impartiality of intelligence, thus — " do not 
form any intention or determination that all ye read 
must be twisted in order to appear to agree mutually; " 
and if there are doubts, ignore them, for " when your 
intelligence doubts what ye read, ye should be pleased to 
leave it in doubt." ^ 

Canons of blind obedience such as these were afterwards 
adopted for educational purposes by the Jesuits in their 
" QujEstiones de Deo praetereantur," in which they taught 
their less intelligent novices to take up this attitude 
towards theology. Thus, it came about that, at the time 
of the Reformation, when doubt and scientific inquiry 
were beginning to rise simultaneously, threatening as it 
seemed to destroy the very foundations of the Church, 
these counsels towards a mental halt, which King Duarte 
advised in his piety, were invoked for a i)urpose he had 
never intended, namely, to prohibit the individual inter- 
pretation of the Scriptures. The old trust in the judgment 
of the People consequently became destroyed, leaving in 
its place an Absolute Catholicism that killed also the 

» The Loyal Counsellor, XCIII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 165 

optimism, marking the Dawn of the Renascence, which 
regarded the World and its workings as intrinsically per- 
fect, to such a degree, indeed, as to give rise to the belief 
in the existence of a principle of Eternal Justice that was 
above even Religion itself ; for humanity had begun to 
realise that though religions might change, Right and Wrong 
would always remain constant, or as The Loyal Counsellor 
hath it : "In the faith of Celestial Affairs, there are great 
changes and varieties in general ; but, above all its laws, 
all Sects and Heretics are united in one manner of belief : 
Christians, Mohammedans and Gentiles, all agree in the 
determination of Good and Evil." ^ 

This sense of an all -pervading Justice throughout the 
World was a favourite theme of King Duarte's. He believed 
it was instinctive ; and taught that we must not doubt what 
these instincts of ours would have us believe ; for faith and 
instinct are our best guides : " It seems to me a want of 
judgment to doubt what the Holy Church would lead us 
to believe because we understand it not ; for our bodies 
which work so wondrously, who can understand them ? . . . 
and the powers of Memory, Vision, Scent, Taste, and more 
especially the Emotions, whose is the mind that can unravel 
their mysteries with reason ? " ^ j^ other words, we can 
no more understand what we " ourselves have in us " 
than we can understand all the phenomena of life. 

It is true we may study these phenomena as King Duarte 
studied meteorology ^ and mineralogy ; but, even then we 
shall find that, though the mysteries of Life contain other 
things than those which the Church commands us to 
belie\ e in, still the Universe contains many phenomena 
that cannot be explained by our reasoning. The sphere 
of the miraculous is enclosed within the limits of the 
Orthodox ; the Universe is not all phantasmagorical, and 

1 The Loyal Counsellor, XXXIV. ^ ij^id., XXXIX. 

3 Sousa's Hist. Gen., Proof I. 540, reprinting King Duarte's Observations 
on the Moon : " When the new moon appears crimson it foretells wind. If 
its upper horn be indistinct it foretells rain. If it be resplendent, like water 
rippled by the oar, it foretells an early storm at sea. If the centre be 
paler, good weather at full moon may be expected." 



166 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Reason can reign therefore only in the field that Faith leaves 
for investigation, otherwise scientific inquiry will drive 
Truth further away from the reach of our senses. 

Astrology, the source of our superstitions, remained for 
centuries as a refuge for the imagination, even when the 
skies, that field wherein ancient mythology had flourished 
so luxuriantly, had lost their primitive divine characters. 
It had become, in the fifteenth century, a Creed without 
Theology, a Religion without Gods, a terror without piety 
— the dry remains left over from an ancient worship, now 
abandoned. 

The author of The Loyal Counsellor still believed in the 
influence of the stars ; for Mediaeval Christianity, calling 
Faith into action only in what appertained to the Spiritual 
Man, failed to formulate any Philosophy of Nature ; and 
so, at the dawn of the Renascence, that is, when Humanity 
awoke from the phantastical dreams of the Middle Ages, 
Man, in surprise, began to look about him, and to inquire 
into the " Secrets of Nature," Avithout Orthodoxy being 
able to give him any more information than King Duarte 
in his interpretation of the Scriptures. 

" About this influence of the Planets," observes King 
Duarte, " there be some who maintain that ships, horses, 
arms, birds, and dogs, are influenced ; why, therefore, they 
ask, should not Man be similarly influenced ? To such I 
answer that certainly these things must have some influence 
on our birth, conditioning at the time our Fortunes, although 
there seems to be no obvious manifestation of this ; but, 
as I hold that a man is a more perfect woi k of Creation than 
the Constellations, for he commands everything, therefore 
I believe that if a man have knowledge he may overcome 
this influence through the mediation of Faith. For how 
much more can one accomplish who leans on the Lord, 
since of him it is written that all things shall be his ? " * 
Faith, in the case of King Duarte, thus fought the fight 
which rational Thought afterwards took over against the 
evil influences of spells, spirits, devils, witches, whose 

1 The Loyal Counsellor, XXXIX. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 167 

baleful influence Imagination, then and even later, believed 
to permeate the mysteries of Nature. 

Thus was the World conceived in the Loyal Counsellor, 
and in the virtuous mind of King Duarte its author. 
From the pages of his book we can form a rounded picture 
of the man ; we see him rise placid and weak, comforting 
himself with his own counsels in times of adversity, writing 
his doctrines scrupulously and with the minuteness of men 
of his type. He well knew, so he tells us, in his excellent 
Latin, what constitutes a " good captain." ^ He knew 
" that there are as many loyal and stout hearts in Portugal, 
as there are among us English (his mother was English) 
valiant men-at-arms." ^ His knowledge when he came 
to write it down seemed almost encyclopsedic, but he 
could not apply it. All his energy seemed to be consumed 
in composition. There was none left for action. He 
transformed his own confessor into a secretary to write 
down the creations of his mind,^ in which the lack of 
virility was replaced by his bureaucratic tendencies. 

As he could only think on paper, he even wrote out 
rules for translating his own Latin.* For this punctilious- 
ness he was nicknamed " The Eloquent." He had not 
that spark of genius in his character that inspired Prince 
Henry, nor that profound intelligence that distinguished 
Prince Peter. He was born loyal and an adviser, virtuous, 
energetic, punctilious — and yet lacking what constitutes 
true manliness — namely. Will Power. Cursed with the 
vice of indecision, he worried himself into the grave trying 
to come to a conclusion. Painfully conscientious of his 
inefiiciency in everything he did, knowing his own faults, 
but without the strength to overcome them, afflicted ^vdth 
the defects of his virtues, entangled in his scruples, 

^ " These things constitute a good captain : 

" Labor in negotiis, fortitudo in pericuUs, industria in agendo, celeritas 
in conficiendo, consilium in providendo." — Sousa's Hist. Oen., I. 555. 

2 The Loyal Counsellor, XXXIX. 

3 The Loyal Counsellor, XC. tells us that Friar Gil Lobo wrote the 
apologue of the two boats in Chapter XC, by the King's command. 

* " Methods for translating any tongue into our own tongue." — Sousa's 
Hist. Gen., Proof I. 542. 




168 PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 

crushed by unavailing remorses, he was for ever seek- 
ing refuge within a consciousness as virtuous as it was 
incapable of commanding resourcefulness of action. 

He had not the courage of his convictions, neither had 
he that abnegation that constitutes the martyr, those 
passive heroes who conquer the World by demonstrating 
the stupidity of Fate. Nevertheless he possessed the 
charm of gentle virtue, born of frankness, a quality that 
is as seductive as it is evanescent. If Prince Fernando, 
the Martyr, earned his Palm, if Prince Henry, the Hero, 
earned his Laurels, King Duarte, the Conscientious, surely 
earned his Lily, the symbol of modesty and chastity. 

Portugal and the World at large hold in reverence the 
memory of Prince Henry for having been a hero, of Prince 
Fernando for having been a martyr; but that of King 
Duarte, whose virtue had no inferior merit, has been for- 
gotten. Between these brothers, the unfortunate King, 
ill -served by Fate, suffered equally from the sacrifice of 
one and the inhumanity of the other, because, by reason 
of his gentle virtue, he was not able to control the fiery 
energy of Prince Henry, or forbid the expedition that 
caused the fate of Prince Fernando. And, in truth, the 
outcome of gentleness and of virtue is always this; for 
the good are essentially weak, and in the stern realities 
of Life weakness is the greatest defect of all. Perhaps 
this is the reason why we admire the good in our o\vn minds, 
but in our actions treat them as negligible. Nevertheless, 
the more we realise the apparent merits of the strong and 
valiant and therefore successful, the more we should 
appreciate the worth of those humble virtues which 
distinguish men like King Duarte. 



CHAPTER VII 

TANGIER 

Immediately after his father's death, Prince Henry 
precipitated himself, Hke a falcon, upon King Duarte, 
demanding a second expedition to Africa. Obsessed by 
this idea, he proposed changing his motto " Talent de bien 
faire " to the word " IDA," which signifies " expedition," 
the letters of which were also the initials of his own name : 
" Iff ante Doni Anrrique." ^ 

General opinion was, however, against such a venture. 
Indeed, only a few weeks before King John's death, the 
Count of Barcellos, knowing Prince Henry's mania, had 
written from Guimaraes a long letter to his father dwelling 
on the unfavourable political results that must inevitably 
follow from any such proposed expedition, showing him, 
seriatim, in arguments dictated by reason and common- 
sense, why he, at least, was opposed to any such schemes. 
But Prince Henry was not the only one to be dealt with. 
The truth was that around the King, in opposition to 
Prince Peter the Philosopher and the Count of Barcellos, 
who was away from Court preoccupied with the welfare 
of his extensive estates in the north, there were his other 
brothers, then in the flower of their youth, full of energy 
and resourcefulness, princes whose fame had already been 
noised abroad throughout Europe, so much so that the 
Palaeologue of Byzantium, the Pope, the Kings of Castile 
and of England, each and all had invited them to visit their 
courts, offering them wealth and positions of eminence. 

It was only human, then, that these young men should, 

^ Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XIV 
169 



170 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

with difficulty, after this, be restrained at Court doing 
nothing, feehng naturally that it would be more honourable 
to employ their energies abroad in acquiring fame, instead 
of wasting them in idleness at home. Prince Peter was a 
father and a philosopher, content with his family and his 
studies. Prince Henry, on the other hand, was single and 
had no family, living the chaste life of a cloistered monk, 
wrapped up in fiery dreams of a great World dominance. 
Of the two younger, Prince John had married his niece, 
the daughter of the Count of Barcellos, and was more or 
less a pawn in the hands of others in the game ; but Prince 
Fernando, following Prince Henry's example, remained 
single, and, excited by the same militant asceticism that 
animated his brother, was itching for action with all the 
impetuosity of his three and thirty years. 

\\Ticn John de Siqueira, who had acted as Regent during 
the expedition to Ceuta, and later succeeded the Master 
of Aviz in the command of the Order of St. Bennett, died. 
King Duarte gave the Mastership of this Order to his 
youngest brother, because by his father's death he had 
inherited only Atouguia and Salvaterra near Santarem, 
since Portugal was too small to grant extensive lands to so 
many princes. Nevertheless, Prince Fernando, although 
knowing this, comparing his lot with that of his brothers, 
was filled with discontent; and so one day, at Almeirim, 
he declared to the King that he wished to go abroad to 
France or Italy, in search of further fortune. The King 
begged him meekly to give up the idea, to have patience, 
and to remember the poverty of the kingdom, and how his 
father had divided the greater part of it among those who 
had helped him to gain its independence. King John, he 
continued, had been content himself with the liege of 
Santiago, which was less valuable than that of Aviz; 
whilst the Crown itself had not brought him. King Duarte, 
more than the Palace of Bellas : for all the other lands, that 
had once belonged to the reigning sovereign, would eventu- 
ally be inherited by Prince John, as he had married the 
Count of Barcellos' daughter. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 171 

To all of this Prince Fernando answered that it was not 
greed that prompted him to complain, but the fact that 
his older brothers had won their spurs on the battlefield 
of Ceuta, while he, who was older now than they had been 
at that time, was still a nonentity, and found himself 
wearied to death by the excess of leisure he possessed.^ 

The King, at a loss to know what to do, and perhaps 
foreseeing the approach of his own misfortunes, turned to 
Prince Henry for aid, beseeching him, instead of exciting 
his younger brother by such ideas, to help to moderate 
his ambitions. He begged Prince Henry to consider the 
poverty of the people, to listen to general opinion, and to 
have some pity for his tribulation. The unfortunate King 
might have expected as much mercy from a marble statue. 
He could not have applied for help to a worse quarter ; for 
Prince Henry, unmoved, answered dryly that his petitions 
were in vain, and that their father's intentions had been 
more generous. He had wished to extend the kingdom 
beyond the Seas, so that each should acquire sufficient 
lands to satisfv the most ambitious of them, and at the 
same time be able to train their vassals to wars and con- 
quests, so that they should not deteriorate either in valour 
or chivalry. King John had wished and done his best to 
convert his kingdom into a tournament field, into the 
citadel of a future extensive Empire. Now times were 
changed ; timorous councils prevailed ; yet in the kingdom 
there were at least two, himself and his brother Fernando, 
who were still anxious to show their mettle and were 
without the impediment of a family. It seemed only right, 
thereiore, that they should be allowed to go with their own 
vassals, as was the right, and privilege, and duty of Chris- 
tian Knights, to fight the Infidel in Africa. 

King Duarte, almost checkmated by the heat of his 
brother's arguments, repeated his objections, and drew 
attention to the difficulty of keeping Ceuta. 

" For the love of God," he said, " do not excite, but 
rather calm Prince Fernando." ^ 

^ Pina, Chron. de D. Dtiarte, X. ^ Ibid., XI. 



172 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

But Prince Henry had curbed his passions too long. In 
his father's lifetime he had been constrained to keep his 
ambitions to himself from respect for the old King's wishes 
and increasing infirmities ; and so, during the last years of 
his reign, he had lived contentedly in hope. But now, at 
the beginnmg of a new reign, when his brother, with whose 
weakness and want of enthusiasm he could not sympathise, 
offered the same feeble excuses, only fit to be ignored, 
things were different. 

" The kingdom is small and poor, is it ? " he argued. 
" Well, then let us make it richer and larger ! " 

Thus it came about that the now fixed idea of carrying 
out this expedition caused his hard, ambitious nature to 
become more and more aggressive. He soon saw, however, 
that a violent line of attack against his brother's weakness 
was not advisable — for the weak are often obstinate; so 
against this obstinacy he now decided to use cunning. 

He knew full well what influence Prince Peter, who was 
strongly opposed to these ideas, had over the King ; but he 
also knew that Queen Leonora, faithfully loved by her 
husband, detested this brother-in-law of hers with a 
feminine hatred because he had married the daughter 
of the Count of Urgel, the pretender to the Crown of 
Barcelona, and, therefore, the lifelong enemy of her family.* 
Prince Henry, therefore, calculated that the King would 
grant anything she asked for, especially when it concerned 
the kingdom over which she now found herself ruling as 
his consort. He also calculated that, with a little tact, 
he could convince the Queen, and make her .jump at the 
opportunity of defeating Prince Peter; and, with this 
object in view, to get into her good graces, he made her 
son, the younger Prince Fernando, who was then scarcely 
three years old, his heir. All these things he schemed and 
plotted, bearing in mind the King's weakness, the Queen's 
hatred of her brother-in-law, and her great love for her son. 
Eventually, he hatched his plot so well that the result 
was the realisation of his hopes ; for Queen Leonora, 

* Pina, Chron. de D. Affonao V, II. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 173 

entering whole-heartedly into the spirit of the conspiracy, 
so contrived to influence the King, who had no suspicions 
of the means that were being employed to win over the 
unfortunate " Loyal Counsellor," so unloyally counselled, 
that he finally consented, although, in spite of all their 
well-laid schemes, he resisted for two whole years. 

It happened that, unexpectedly, at the beginning of 1436, 
Pope Eugin IV ordered a Crusade, asked for previously — 
perhaps also at Prince Henry's instigation — to be carried 
out as soon as he was ready to march against the Infidel ; 
and Prince Henry, seizing upon this half -forgotten request, 
and in order to see if the Queen's manceuvi'es had had 
their desired effects, again approached the King, only to 
find that he still raised the old objection that there was no 
money, reminding him that, as late as 1428, Princess 
Isabel's marriage had cost the State 200,000 crowns, ^ and 
this without counting expenses incurred by the festivities 
and travels, asking him to think also of the debts that had 
arisen from the reception of the ambassadors who had 
come for Princess Isabel from Philip the Good, the cost of 
his own wedding, and of Prince Peter's in the same year, 
and the money spent on the late King's funeral, with its 
long procession to Batalha. 

" There has been enough expense already," he ended ; 
" we cannot meet any more." 

" But yet," retorted Prince Henry, " you did not feel 
so economically inclined when you offered to help Castile 
in their wars against Granada, or when you asked His 
Holiness for a Holy War ! Moreover, personally I will not 
marry — so there will be no more foolish extravagance in 
that direction ! What I yearn for is not a wife, but the 
command of ' Africa portentosa,' as the Romans called it, 
the Golden Gates that lead to a wide-world Empire. If 
you are prepared to waste money abroad over ambassadors 

1 The old crown, double its present value, appears to have varied con- 
siderably in the fifteenth century. In 1436, the law fixed its value at 
about 5s. 2d., in 1473 it was almost double this. In 1438, 200,000 crowns 
was about £51,700. 



171 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

and festivities, why not spend it at home, where we can 
get something for our money ? Tangier is simply asking 
us to capture it. Ceuta is costing us for its upkeep simply 
because it lies isolated, surrounded by nothing but Moors, 
whereas if Tetuan, Alcazer, Arzilla, and Tangier were ours, 
this difficulty would evaporate, and we should have a 
second Fatherland, a second Portugal ! Let us capture 
Tangier, and make the Kingdom of Fez our own ! " 

The ardent eloquence of Prince Henry fell upon deaf 
ears ; but, far from being disheartened or defeated, he left 
the King to his own thoughts, and prepared himself for 
an interview with his sister-in-law, the Queen. Thus 
King Duarte, finding no one to listen to him, was finally 
compelled to make up his mind and yield. This consent 
was eventually wrung from him by his wife, who awaited 
a favourable moment of weak docility. 

All was haste now, the plan of the Expedition was soon 
drawn up. The army that Prince Henry needed was 
14,000 men — 3,000 infantry, 500 mounted cross-bowmen, 
and 10,000 other troops. As there was no money in 
the Treasury, the Cortes met at Evora in the middle of 
April to raise it, " not without much grumbling and dis- 
satisfaction on the part of the public, whos* cries and 
lamentations wounded the King." ^ 

King Duarte, in his weak consideration for his subjects, 
was, in fact, like Cervantes' Knight-errant, dragged into 
the windmill of his brother's ambitions ; and Henry, now 
his consent was gained, did not scruple to flatter him with 
praise, when any conscientious doubts threatened these 
plans, so that the King, carried away by the rapid whirl- 
wind of events, found himself helpless to do anything. 
His Queen's caresses made him forget the general course of 
events ; and, moreover, he was now preoccupied antici- 
pating his death as foretold by the Court Astrologer. 
Tears, therefore, would often come to his eyes, and his 
spirits would ebb ; or else he would force himself into high 
spirits, as he did during the meeting of the Council at 
» Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XIV. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 175 

Almeirim. A foreboding sorrow was undermining him. 
Buffeted between two conclusions, both impotent and 
undecisive, sharp pangs of remorse pricked his agitated 
mind for having, in a moment of weakness, and perhaps 
for the first time in his hfe, taken an unusually definite 
course — a course for which he knew his weakness and his 
love for his false Queen were alone responsible. 

In this torture of mind, his earnest wish was to recall 
the promise he had made, not because he had decided 
against the expedition, but rather because he was becoming 
more and more terror-stricken at each apparent immovable 
obstacle which he had overlooked, and which now kept 
urging him to revise his verdict with all his old character- 
istic doubtfulness of mind. In August, therefore, he met 
his brothers in Council at Leiria, to see if they could 
mitigate the tortures of this dilemma. Tangier appeared 
to him a hideous nightmare. 

At this meeting Prince John was the first to give his 
views, for it was customary at these sessions for the 
youngest and least important member to open the discus- 
sion, and he happened to be the youngest there. His words 
were to the point, and he lucidly discussed the two salient 
features of the situation : the Justice and the Honour 
demanded of them, and the pros and cons in connection 
with the expedition. 

He pointed out that the Crusade was a duty : " For a 
thousandfold more than that we should send to a Cardinal 
to do some small act of mercy, we should grant this one 
to the Pope with better grace. In all reason and justice, 
the invasion of Morocco must not be delayed." 

" Evcn if it turns out as successful as the one against 
Ceuta," interrupted the King, " after its advantages and 
disadvantages have been well discussed, its good and its 
evil, its winnings and its losses, the result will profit us 
and our Kingdom as little." 

" What ! " retorted Prince John, " would you lose here 
so that you may gain there ? Do you forget what happened 
to Alexander and Rome ? If common-sense condemns this 



176 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

War, something stronger commands it — and that some- 
thing is Honour ! Is His Holiness to be obeyed or dis- 
obeyed ? I leave you all to decide ! " 

The thread of this discourse shows the spirit of the young 
Prince, for, when one reasons with sound judgment, one 
does not fall blindly into the error of obeying " honour." 
" Honour," that is enthusiasm, is not obtained by mere 
decision, but essentially by the use of every faculty, as 
was the case with Prince Henry. Prince John was a 
prudent youth, discreet, loyal and firm, as time will show. 
He, therefore, resembled Prince Peter more, and also his 
father-in-law and step-brother, the Count of Barcellos. 
It was the latter who next joined the discussion, with a 
certain authority given him by his years — he was nearly 
sixty — and the rude vocabulary of a man educated in a 
different school, without the flourish of eloquence of the 
lettered aristocracy. 

" Your flowery words," he said, " are only apparent 
truths. It is in common-sense that the ' flower ' of reason 
is to be found ; and common-sense, truth and honour — nay, 
ever)i:hing, condemns this War ! " 

Prince Peter was the next to speak; and his words, 
brief, to the point, and without any excessive " floweriness,'* 
were listened to in silence ; for all felt the wisdom that lay 
behind them, and knew that the loyalty and deep affection 
he had for his brother and King, would oblige him to give 
vent to his true feelings without reserve. 

" To fight the Moor," he said, " is a glorious enterprise, 
but only when it does not commit us to disaster. It is true 
we have no money, which is essentially the chief considera- 
tion in this business. Like a ' thief in the house,' I know 
its scarcity. And the King could not get any money from 
the public without feeling guilty in his conscience. He 
must not do this ! As a King and as a Christian he must 
not weaken the exchange." 

"But supposing," he continued, "he takes Tangier, 
Alca/cr and Arzilla : What will he do next? Will he 
populate them from a kingdom already almost depopu- 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 177 

lated ? This seems to me absurd as well as unwise ; for 
if he attempts it, it will be as stupid as exchanging a good 
overcoat for a bad hat, since we should surely lose Portugal 
and not gain Africa. The conquest of Granada is, to my 
mind, more commendable. It would soon be filled with 
Christians ; but in Morocco we should lack in subjects 
without lacking in land, and, therefore, though we would 
court certain danger, we should assuredly gain no certain 
profit. To besiege Tangier is a thing to avoid. It is an 
enormous risk. The Moors of Tripoli, of Barbary, even 
of Mecca, would certainly come to their comrades' help ; 
and instead of being the besiegers we should find ourselves 
the besieged. The conquest of Africa is difficult enough, 
even for all the Kings of the Peninsula together. There- 
fore, Sire ! I conclude that neither now, nor in the future, 
is it wise to recommence this War in Africa." ^ 

In absolute silence the thoughtful Council dispersed, 
and the King, with graver doubts, more undecided, more 
melancholic, more panic-stricken than ever, departed, 
wondering what he could do in this crisis, how he could 
resist Prince Henry and the Queen. If there was one 
person whom they were compelled to obey, he thought, it 
would assuredly be the Pope. He therefore ordered the 
Count of Ourem to write to Rome.^ Unfortunately for 
the King, Prince Henry got wind of it, and at once set 
himself to counter this stroke, realising that an adverse 
opinion was capable of upsetting all his plans, and that an 
immediate decision was, now, more urgent than ever. He 
therefore approached the Queen without delay, urging her 
to save the situation, promising that whatever he possessed 
he would give to her beloved son of three, whom he found 
smiling and lisping beside her, clapping his hands, utterly 
unconscious that his mother was expecting the arrival of 
his new sister, who would see the light of that very day.^ 

1 Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XIV., XIX. 2 7^,^^^ XX. 

^ Prince Henry was already almost fabulously rich, as the result of the 
discoveries that had been made. He owned the rents of the islands of 
Madeira, Porto Santo, Deserta, and Guinea, as well as of the lands belonging 
to the Order of Christ. 
N 



178 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

He found her at Torres Vedras, where all the Court had 
recently gone. On September 18, Princess Catharina 
was born, and with her arrival started the events that 
doomed the King to his death. During the crisis of her 
indisposition, the Queen was not allowed to forget her 
promise to Prince Henry, nor her hatred for Prince Peter. 
Prince Henry knew full well that a woman is caprice in 
human form, and he, therefore, had a short interview with 
her before he left her with King Duarte. 

It was in that fatal moment that the King, stooping 
over her bed, in a whisper gave his promise, his heart torn 
by the thought that he had committed an error, and over- 
come by the weakness that prevented him being strong 
enough to resist his wife's supplications during that sublime 
moment, between life and death, when a woman appears 
a victim to her sacred duty to the race. 

Thus the promise was given without waiting for the 
Pope's advice ; and, more than this, the King ordered that 
all preparations should be made without delay. It was, 
therefore, arranged that the Count of Arrayolos, the Count 
of Barccllos' son, should look after the arming of the fleet 
in Oporto, while the King himself, in person, oversaw 
similar preparations at Lisbon. 

The Pope's answer, which arrived from Rome already 
too late to have any bearing on the question, was another 
thunderbolt that struck the broken-hearted King. 

The Pope wrote saying that, for guidance, the King 
should refer to the books of Canons of the Holy See, and 
that he should turn to his ministers for advice. He would 
give the King, however, his opinion : If the question con- 
cerned the Infidel occupying territory that was originally 
Christian, and thus endangering the Christian Religion, 
turning sanctuaries into mosques and perpetuating other 
abominations, there was no doubt that it was his duty to 
make war. But if, on the contrary, the question dealt 
with territory that had never been Christian, he should 
act otherwise, whether the Infidel was doing harm or not; 
for the World and its abundance belonged to God alone; 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 179 

and it was He who makes the sun rise for both Christian 
and Infidel. Nevertheless, if they were " Idolaters," 
sinning against the laws of Nature, then they should be 
punished, for Nature commands them to worship only one 
God. In any case, a war should only be made in all piety, 
and ^vith all due consideration, care being taken not to 
expose Christian soldiers to dangers or suffering without 
sufficient cause; for if, through audacious or ill-advised 
impulses, there should result calamity, the King would 
be sinning grievously. If the War were just, the King could 
carry it out honourably at the expense and suffering of the 
Nation ; but if it were a War that was purely adventurous, 
then it would be unjust to levy taxes for the purpose.^ 

We can easily guess what a piercing thrust this advice 
was to the pious King. The days of militant Crusades, 
and pious enthusiastic fanaticism had now set in Rome, 
to be replaced by other ideas, which the people of the 
Peninsula were later to absorb, and against the violation 
of which they were to protest in their own way. The ideas 
now dictated by the Pope were the outcome of a new spirit 
which taught that God had made the sun to rise in order 
to benefit both the Heathen and Christian, a new Theology, 
that distinguished between the Moor and the Idolater, 
that propounded a Natural Law of worshipping only one 
God, and, at the same time, suggested a parallelism between 
Christ and Mahomet, a philosophic Doctrine that preached 
nothing but Peace, and defined War as an exclusive means 
of defence in evident necessity. With all due respect 
to the Pope, King Duarte took this advice for what it 
was worth — he still remained in doubt. As for Prince 
Henry, when he himself read out this pontifical message 
— for he would not even allow his brother to read it 
himself — he ground his teeth in anger at His Holiness' 
weakness. 

Whatever the advice, the die was cast, and Tangier was 
to be attacked. And so to dissipate his forebodings and 
raise his hopes, the King occupied himself %vriting about 

^ Piua, Chron. de D. Duarte, XX. 



180 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

the situation and his interviews with his advisers, am- 
bi^ously recording; the motives that he wished to make 
himself beUeve had influenced him in his decision, and 
laying down the plans of the campaifrn with a touchhig 
belief in the ability of Prince Henry to carry it to a success- 
ful issue. 

His motives were numerous, and he tabulated them 
methodically, even trying to hide from himself his charac- 
teristic indecision, the Queen's influence over him, and his 
weakness during his daughter's birth. His main plea was 
that the War was a necessity to exercise the army, a neglect 
of which exercise led to the degeneration of peoples and, 
often, to the loss of kingdoms, whereas the stimulus of war 
" took the people away from themselves, and from a Life 
without virtue." Moreover, he ^^Tote that it would en- 
courage a pious feeling amongst the nobility to know that 
they were doing good with Crusades, voyages and adven- 
tures, and that it seemed to him that it was more noble to 
work and to incur expense " in anything that was of 
service to God and himself, than in anything that was of 
service to the foreigner." Other Christian princes, too, 
were crusading, and if the nation did not hdp them, it 
seemed only right that they should fight some other un- 
believers independently. Finally, after some other varied 
reasons, he gave his last : " because I consider that we 
govern Ceuta, this white man's prison, this consumer of 
money, with so much loss and danger, and all because of 
the persecution of those who wish to avenge Our Lord God, 
[therefore I think we ought to go to war] to subject the 
Infidels of that kingdom to obedience to the Holy Mother 
Church, obtaining thus more territory to increase our 
honour and wealth, so that the said expense will be com- 
pensated for in all or in part, as I understand, pleasing 
Our Lord, whose will be done, through His great mercy, 
if Tangier and Alcazer be captured." * 

The King obviously wished to convince himself, so that 
he might clear from his perturbed soul the clouds of doubt 

^ Papers of King Duarte in Sousa'a Hist. Oen., Proof I. 538. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 181 

placed there by Prince Peter's advice, by the Pope's 
admonition, and by the Count of Barcellos' warnings, as 
well as the presentiments of his own sensitive mind. So, 
in order to persuade himself of this, he Avrote it all down, 
making himself believe that the energy spent on enumer- 
ating his reasons would introduce some soothing strength 
of decision into his wavering spirit, and make him forget 
himself. He did not wish to go in person to Ceuta, as 
his father had done before him, and as his son was to do 
after him at Alcazer ; but he yearned to supervise bureau- 
cratically the plan of campaign, formulating learned 
probabilities, and recommending his own -written ideas, 
often repeated in their punctuated execution, to Prince 
Henry. 

He advised that, as soon as they reached Ceuta, they 
should divide the fleet into three parts. One part was to 
be sent to Tangier, another to Arzilla, and a third to 
Alcazer. Thus he thought Prince Henry would prevent 
the Moors concentrating all their forces at Tangier, " so 
that these may be held elsewhere and prevented from help- 
ing the others there." Prince Henry was advised to march 
against Tangier with a force of 500 horse ; then to besiege 
it " with two columns that should reach from coast to 
coast " ; and if the men available were not sufficient, with 
one column having constant communication with the fleet. 
He was to make, at the most, three attacks ; and if the third 
did not effect the fall of Tangier, he was to retire to Ceuta 
and winter there, until the month of March : " and, then 
I will go with all my army." ^ King Duarte, further 
cautioned him that if he did not do this he would surely 
find himself crushed by the combined forces from Tripoli, 
Barbary, and all the tribes as far as Mecca, as Prince Peter, 
who had travelled throughout the spacious Orient, had 
warned him. 

The panic of the King was as obvious as his advice was 
cautious ; and the insistence with which he advised Prince 
Henry, together with the length of these dissertations, 
^ Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XXI. 



182 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

shows the doubts he entertained concerning his brother's 
caution. In truth, Prince Henry paid Httle attention to 
the voice of Prudence; lor, full of blind confidence, he 
remembered that Ceuta had been a mere skirmish, and was 
inclined to consider Tangier would be the same. Therefore 
he looked upon all his brother's counsels as so much 
infantile chatter, the outcome of a hesitating mind; and, 
conscious of his own strength of character and lack of fear, 
felt benevolently sorry for the King, whose cackling he 
suffered accordingly with as much patience as might be. 
King Duarte, however, would not leave him in peace. He 
was constantly at him with advice such as this : " I 
command you to make it your business to protect the 
virtue of Chastity, because you know full well how much 
Our Lord is pleased with this same virtue; and I would 
have you notice how the English pursue this object, since, 
although, in time of peace, they arc so much occupied with 
their women, having them ever about them, yet, in time 
of war, to protect them more zealously, they will not suffer 
that they be allowed near the battlefields." ^ 

To this and hundreds such similar counsels Prince Henry 
listened in silence, shrugging his shoulders in sympathy 
for a seemingly deranged mind, until the date of his 
departure arrived, and he was free to act untrammelled by 
his brother's following shadow. 

On August 23, 1437, the fleet sailed from Lisbon, with 
all the troops that had been recruited : 2,000 cavalry, 
1,000 crossbowmcn, and 3,000 archers, making in all a 
total of 6,000 men, instead of the 14,000 that the Prince 
had asked for. But this scarcity did not affect Prince 
Henry's plans, his self-confidence blinding him completely 
to the enormous risks he rnn. The people " found this 
expedition such an undertaking that they felt more dis- 
posed to lose their sjwils than to endanger their lives. "^ 
In vain the King adjourned trials in the High Courts until 

' King Duartc's papers, " Instr. de Tangier " in Sousa's Hist Oen., 
Proof I. r.:5:j. 

« Pina, Chron. de D. Dmrle, XXII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 183 

after the War; in vain, he bribed criminals with free 
pardon : ^ 

Every device failed, men and money failed, the latter 
because neither the Treasury, nor the Crown estates, nor 
the loans borrowed, not even the sums that were taken by 
the Government, and that had been raised for the purpose 
of charity, realised enough. Even the vessels that the 
Government contracted for were not built; and those 
recalled from Flanders and Germany failed to return to 
home waters on account of the war that Germany was 
waging against the French, after the restoration of the 
Monarchy in Paris. To cap everything, Castile would not 
allow the Portuguese trading vessels to leave the shores 
of Biscay, and so part of the Ai'my had to march overland 
to Gibraltar before embarking for Ceuta. 

The religious ceremonies in connection with the depar- 
ture of the fleet resembled more those of a funeral than of 
an expedition, when, in the chapel of Our Lady of Bethlem, 
the friars confessed and communicated the sailors. ^ 
Presentiments of some catastrophe were universally felt ; 
but this only increased Prince Henry's blind enthusiasm. 

^ The text of the Law was the following : 

(1) That plaintiffs who wish to enlist can leave their cases in the hands 
of their Procurators and Judges, who shall work for the interests of the 
plaintiffs. 

(2) All executions of sentences of death and quartering are to be ad- 
journed until two months after the return of the Armada, provided that 
the crimiaal has committed his crime prior to January 1436, and provided 
that the criminal wiU join the Armada. 

(3) Similarly, minor crimes wiU be pardoned to those enlisting before 
the last day of April. And those sentenced to death and quartering will 
be pardoned after their return from the War; excepting treacherous 
assassj'is, woman garrotters, forgers, heretics, persons guilty of sacrilege, 
highwaymen, robbers, and incendiaries, who wiU not have safe conduct 
through districts wherein they have committed crimes, but only in the 
district of embarcation. 

(4) AH lawsuits are to be prorogued until two months after the return 
of the Armada. 

(5) The King beseeches prelates to absolve the excommunicated " be- 
cause it w ill be a thing of danger and of corruption to others, if they join 
the Armada." 

2 Barros, " Dec." I., IV. 12, " Item : ordered in the Church of Santa 
Maria de Bethlem, situated in Restello in the outskirts of the City of 
Lisbon." — Test, do inf. D. Henriqice. 




184 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

His soul was tempered like steel, and his eyes shone in his 
weather-beaten, bronzed countenance, when, at last, he 
boarded his ship, eager to face all odds, confident in his 
star, followed by Prince Fernando, then in the strength of 
his three and thirty years. 

On the other hand, Prince Fernando, w^ho had been 
praying for and eagerly looking forward to this expedition, 
in favour of which he had persistently tried to influence his 
dead father, now began to share the public presentiments 
about it ; and so on the eve of departure, Santiago's Day, 
he took his last leave of the Chapels of Our Lady da 
Escada, and S. Domingos, in which latter he was confessed 
and had Holy Communion,^ so that he might start recon- 
ciled and prepared for his death. He also made his last 
Testament, distributing his possessions, which were few 
indeed, among the various churches where he had performed 
his devotions, indicating his pious Avishes thus : — " If I 
die in this Armada, on board of which I am sailing . . . 
it is my will that they give me torches and obsequies 
as if I were a simple nobleman and no more . . . and if, 
perchance, my brother, Prince Henry, wishes to make 
other obsequies in my honour ... I ask him. in mercy, 
that he will only order High Mass to be sung for the 
salvation of my Soul, or to spend the money in the ransom- 
ing of captives, or in alms to some worthy people who may 
pray to God on my behalf." ^ Little indeed, when he made 
this Will, did the ill-fated Prince anticipate that his funeral 
obsequies would be conducted not by his brother and with 
Christian ceremonies, but by the King of Fez, exposing 
his dead and mutilated body to the derision of a gloating 
mob of Infidels. 

The voyage was accomplished in little more than four 
days. On August 27 they arrived at Ceuta, where they 
found the Governor, Dom Pedro de Menezes, Count of 

* Friar Luiz do Souaa's Hist, de S. Domhigos, III. 19. 
2 Extracted from Princo Fcrnando's Will and Testament made before 
he sailed in 1437, and copied in Sousa's Hist. Oen., Proof I. 501. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 185 

Vianna, on his deathbed, stricken by the fatal illness 
■which carried him off in a few days,^ after having for 
twenty years resisted with his isolated garrison constant 
Moorish attacks. The natives around the city were terror- 
stricken ; and the news of a Christian fleet approaching their 
shores resounded throughout all Maghreb. ^ The anxiety 
within Ceuta itself was, however, almost as great when 
they saw how small was the force vnth which it was 
proposed to attack Tangier; and the unanimous opinion 
given by a special Council of War assembled was that it 
should be delayed till reinforcements arrived. Neverthe- 
less, Prince Henry, angered and adamant, tragically 
exclaimed : 

" I knoAV that the forces are small ; but it is the command 
of God ! Even if they were smaller, we should have to 
open the attack ! " ^ 

Then, rising with these words, determined to face what- 
ever Fate had in store for him, he left the meeting, followed 
by the eyes of all assembled. 

Whenever such fanaticism takes possession of a man, it 
converts him, for the time, into an hypnotic power that 
dominates the wills of those around him, making him 
appear a hero in their eyes, subordinating their intelligence, 
so that reason and critical judgment give way to a blind 
automatism, impelling them to obey commands as if they 
were infallible. Such was the power Prince Henry pos- 
sessed over these men. His will appeared to be that of 
Destiny. The more doubtful the outcome seemed, the 
more he hardened his heart against abandoning it. The 
members of the Council were silenced. They followed him 
like sheep with the submissive apathy of men awaiting their 
fate. It was the will of God ! 

This portion of Africa juts out into the Straits, forming 
a promontory, on the middle of which is Alcazer, in front 

^ Azurara, Chron. do conde D. Pedro, XL. 
2 Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XXI. 
- Ibid., XXII. 



186 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

of Tarifa.i Towards the right, beyond Cape Lion, and 
already resting on Mediterranean waters, Hes Ceuta; 
whilst on the left, still on the Straits, bounded by Cape 
Espartel, is Tangier. Westward, the Atlantic coast 
descends along Arzilla ^ to Azamor. Westward the coast 
curves in sharply ; and on this bay is Tctuan. The moun- 
tains of Ximeira, or the " Monos " (Monkey) Mountains, 
the backbone of this African promontory, runs obliquely 
from Tangier to Ceuta, ending here abruptly, frowning 
over the sea and fading away beyond the lower slopes of 
the fields of Andjera. There were two roads from Ceuta 
to Tangier ; one wound along the summits of the mountain 
ridges parallel to the coast of the Straits, the other de- 
scended to the Mediterranean, and lead to Tetuan, cutting 
obliquely towards Tangier, leaving the wild, mountainous 
part westwards and entering the valleys of Andjera. The 
first was the shorter, but the second was the safer. 

The Prince immediately launched out 1,000 men, under 
the command of Joao Pcrreira, to acquaint themselves 
with the former road. They had not proceeded far before 
they encountered skirmishing parties of Moors ; and 
advancing towards Cape Lion, they were driven back on 
account of the precipitous ground. This first engagement 
unfortunately delayed them a few days, and it was not 
until September 8 that Prince Henry was able to leave 
Ceuta, proceeding along the coast and making straight for 
Tetuan. Prince Fernando, who was ill, went by sea with 
the fleet, which, without splitting into three, as King 
Duarte had advised, sailed from Ceuta to Tangier. On 
the 10th, a Tuesday, Prince Henry occupied Tetuan, which 
had been evacuated by the Moors. He entered the city and 

* " From Ceuta to Ca^r Ma^muda (Alcazer), the formidable fortress 
bordering on the shores, where they constructed vessels and boats that 
wore destined to sail beyond Spain, there is a distance of twelve miles. 
This castle rises over the part of the coast nearest Spain." — Edrisi, Dtsc., 
etc., translation by Dozy and (Jocje, p. 201. 

* " From Tangier to Arzilla there is only one short day's journey. Arzilla 
is a very small city, of which little remains. It is also known as Aciia, 
anrl is surrounded hv fortified walls and situated on the Straits of Gibraltar 
(d"az-Zoc4e)."— yftiof., p. 202. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 187 

destroyed its gates. ^ The next day the Portuguese column 
made for the heights of Cape Lion ; and on Friday, the 13th 
— an unlucky day and an unlucky number — they occupied 
the old town of Tangier,^ pitching their camp along the 
neighbouring shore. Prince Henry's long-desired moment 
was approaching. He was in a fever to begin. That 
same Friday evening, therefore, remembering the day of 
the capture of Ceuta, and under the impression that the 
Moors would do the same as they had done then and be 
put to flight, he ordered his troops to commence attacking 
at once. But when the assaulting forces unfurled their 
banners, a gust of wind carried away the Prince's flag, 
splintering the lance to pieces ; and, seeing this, the ardour 
of his inexperienced followers was chilled ; they murmured 
that it was an e\i\ omen ; all sting in consequence was 
taken out of the attack; and the fleet-footed southern 
night fell heavily upon their apprehensive imaginations. 

It was obvious a quick attack was useless ; and so the 
whole of the following week, from this unlucky date and 
day, Friday the 13th, to another unlucky day, Friday the 
20th, was spent in landing arms and provisions, and con- 
structing siege-works. They soon found that the situation 
was different from that of Ceuta. The Moor, behind his own 
shelter, was also preparing himself for a brave stand ; and, 
between those rocky battlements and the fleet rocking 
gently in the tranquil sea close at hand, the Prince's camp 
began to appear like a shipwreck. Soldiers and sailors 

^ "From Ceuta to the fortress of Tetuan ("Tettawin") going south- 
west, there is only a short day's journey. This fortress is situated on the 
centre of an elevation, five mUes from the Mediterranean. It is occupied 
by a tribe of Berbers called Madjacsa (Medjeke^a)." — Edrisi, Desc, etc., 
translation by Dozy and Goeje, p. 203. 

^ " From Ca9r Magumda (Alcazer) to Tangier is a journey of twenty 
miles along the western road. This last city is very ancient, and domi- 
nates all the surrounding district. Constructed over an elevation that 
commands the sea, its houses are scattered on the centre of the slope that 
descends to the shore. It is a beautiful city. Its inhabitants are 
industrious merchants. They also build ships, and the port is much 
frequented. The plateau, which is near Tangier, is very fertile and is 
inhabited by the Berber tribes called ' Canhadja.' From Tangier, the 
Atlantic Ocean forms an elbow, that turning towards the meridian reaches 
the Land of Tochommoch, the capital of which was in other days a large 
city."— Ibid., p. 201. 



188 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

were beginning to ask themselves why their ambitious 
leader had not followed their King's advice. He had not 
divided his fleet into three parts, because it was certainly 
too small. In this, his judgment was sound. He had tried 
a rapid assault which, with good fortune, might have been 
successful. It had failed, however, and could not be 
repeated without other reinforcements, as the King had 
advised. They did not blame him for the failure of the 
assault — it might have been successful ; but now they 
began to wonder and doubt, seeing that the delay would 
permit the enemy to concentrate reinforcements upon 
Tangier, and render their task more difficult still. At this 
moment the Prince, too, was beginning to see the painful 
truth through the fading visions of his blinding enthusiasm. 
He was fuiding out that this was not Ceuta. 

On the 27th, also a Friday, the second attack was made. 
They had to retire with 500 wounded, leaving twenty of 
their comrades lifeless on the field. More than this, their 
stores were getting scantier — provisions having to be 
brought from Ceuta. 

On Saturday they saw the spears of the first reinforce- 
ments glistening on the summit of the mountains in the 
dazzling troj)ical sun. On Sunday they noted clouds of 
dust raised iDy a few turbaned horsemen, who had ridden 
out to acquaint themselves with the position of the camp. 
On Monday, both mountain and valley were thick with 
Moors, who had arrived from Arzilla and Alcazer, to gather 
round the green flag of the Pro})het and help the defenders 
of Tangier. They numbered 40,000 horsemen and 30,000 
infantry. In truth, the 5,000 Christian invaders were 
becoming besieged; prophesies were being fulfilled; 
common-sense was becoming the victor. Prince Henry 
wept with rage. He wept for his long years of hope, for 
the eighteen years of inactivity he had spent during his 
father's old age, the eighteen long years in which he had 
nursed the ambitions that were now scattered with the 
dust of one brief day over the scorching sands of tropical 
Africa ! 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 189 

On Tuesday, October 1, the small Christian army made 
an heroic advance; but the Infidels, to draw them from 
their base, kept retiring, avoiding the clash of steel only to 
reappear at a further distance in overwhelming numbers, 
looking like a huge black wave that threatened to swamp 
the Portuguese column. On Wednesday, the scene was 
changed. The Moors from the city now made a sortie, 
while those from both mountain and valley helped them 
to attack the camp. Both, however, were repelled; but 
the extremity in which the invaders were placed now be- 
came evident. Disaster stared them in the face. There was 
now no other hope than that of the ships, sAvaying in the 
roadstead as if impatient to weigh anchor and unfurl their 
sails. And yet Prince Henry, with clenched teeth, would 
not admit his failure even to himself. Another daj^ was 
spent in doubt ; but on the following, again a Friday, he 
again essayed a forward movement, having in the mean- 
time ordered a high tower of wooden scaffolding to be 
erected beside the camp, from the top of which his cross- 
bowmen shot at the enemy throughout the day. On 
Saturday the turbaned host, with a deafening shout of fury, 
precipitated itself upon the ladders of this scaffolding. 
Prince Henry, on horseback, clad in a black suit of chain- 
armour, as black as his own destiny, as his own despairing 
soul, led his men in person against this overwhelming 
assault. 

The scene was now beginning to foreshadow inevitable 
disaster. Amid the din of battle sounds of trumpets 
rent the air, mortars thundered their charges, belching 
forth clouds of smoke, rivers of arrows poured forth from 
the beleag-uered garrison attempting to stay the fiery 
Moslem onset. Occasionally, blazing balls of tow, soaked 
in pitch, accompanied these clouds of arrows, while the 
wooden ladders swayed, or, burning to cinders, snapped 
with the weight of the assailants, who nevertheless pressed 
steadily on, driving the Portuguese back till even Prince 
Henry himself, seeing that the day was lost, was compelled 
to order a retreat behind the entrenchments. 



190 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Even yet, however, he would not acknowledge himself 
defeated. The obstinacy of his Punic temperament 
dominated him. As the scaffolding and ladders were 
burnt he ordered more to be fetched from the fleet, refusing 
to re-cmbark his men while it was yet possible, disregarding 
the King's advice, paying no attention to Prince Peter's 
opinions, obstinately holding his ground until he discovered 
he was completely surrounded by the enemy — the kings 
of Fez, of Belez, of Lazaraque, of Morocco and of Fafilete. 
It seemed as though every Moor in Maghreb had come to 
fight for the Prophet, to defend Tangier, to avenge Ceuta, 
and to exterminate the Christians. We are told by con- 
temporary writers that they numbered 70,000 horsemen, 
and 700,000 tribesmen. Prince Henry was now confronted 
with inevitable disaster. It was the 9th of October ; they 
had begun the siege on the 13th of September, a siege that 
had lasted twenty-seven days ; and the end was rapidly 
approaching. The sailors retreated in haste to their ships, 
and the soldiers entrenched, like sheep behind the shelter 
of their pen, watched in sullen silence the Moors of Tangier 
crossing the sandy plain to attack the camp, and all the 
surrounding country pouring forth an innumerable accom- 
panying army, whose long, winding columns of glittering 
lances undulated and glistened like fields of wheat rippling 
in the summer breeze. That day Prince Henry lost his 
charger ; the Portuguese were driven back ; and night fell 
over the doomed garrison cramped behind its OAvn defences. 
All hojic had now fled from the Christian host. The space 
between the camp and the shore, across the beach, which 
was still free in parts, was the scene, in the dead of night, 
of many a cowardly act, many an heroic sacrifice. WTiole 
companies fled in boats, rowing feverishly for their lives 
towards the fleet ; others, on the contrary, came from the 
ships, left their boats, and joined themselves on the beach 
to their doomed comrades, refusing to desert them in their 
dire extremity, swearing that they would die with them. 
Next morning the camp was completely surrounded ; 
retreat to the ships cut off ; and it was found there was only 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 191 

enough provisions for two days. Thus they had to resist 
starvation as well as the enemy's spears ; and for this 
reason many, in their despair, clamoured for a bold dash 
to liberate them from such torture, preferring to die 
fighting like men, rather than endure any longer the 
agonies of hunger and thirst. Seeing the huge band of 
Moors that had encircled the camp, cutting them off from 
the sea, they gave up all hopes of ever reaching their ships 
— the ships whose proximity only added to their helpless- 
ness ; and so they watched with fatalistic eyes whilst the 
band began to tighten closer and closer, as though to 
strangle them. On Thursday, October 10, at break of day, 
Mass was held. The Prince, kneeling, earnestly prayed 
to God and His Holy Saints to work some miracle. Was 
he not fighting in their cause ? Was it not right, then, that 
they should come to his aid ? Why, then, had he been 
forsaken ? His tortured mind rebelled against the cold 
injustice of this seeming desertion, when he remembered 
the piety of his intentions, the strength of his faith so 
cruelly harrowed. He implored High Heaven to listen 
to his supplications, to rescue them from the Fate that was 
now inevitable without aid. He demanded almost as a 
right that God should come to the succour and support of 
what was so evidently His own cause against the over- 
whelming power of Mohammed. But God did not hear. 
The Saints had forgotten. Renewed hostilities put a stop 
to his prayers. Like some gigantic tidal wave an influx 
of Moors broke over the rude fortifications of the encamp- 
ment, as if to engulf it ; yet, like a foam-swept island rock, 
it stood firm, fixed, unconquerable ; and the wild waves 
of Islam receded again and yet again. 

Through the long, pitiless day they held their own ; 
and then at nightfall, the sadly diminished garrison 
attempted to make a sudden dash for liberty. But they 
had a traitor in the camp ; a priest sold their secret ; and 
everywhere they found a watchful enemy determined to 
hem them in. The following day a truce was made; but 
on Saturday, tiie 12th, at 7 a.m., hostilities recommenced. 



192 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

There was now no fuel left in the camp, and no other meat 
than horseflesh, which thc}^ devoured almost raw, after 
attemptinfj to cook it by burning the straw stuffing of their 
saddles. Worse still, there was no water either; and they 
tried to quench their thirst by sucking the salted mud 
of the beach. Saturday night saw yet another attempt 
to reach their only hope, the fleet, which, in the fever of 
thirst and hunger, they saw magnified, near and yet far 
away, like some huge mocking mirage. A quiet of ex- 
haustion had fallen even on their assailants. After the 
clash of steel came an awful silence, the silence of impending 
doom. The spectre of Death was in the inky sky, hovering 
with open talons and vulture wings over the condemned ; 
and now creeping into the breasts of all, with this dread 
pause, came fear, the fear that even amongst the bravest 
men will sweep with panic speed over any army. 

Hunger, thirst, the agony of waiting inactive, peering 
vainly into the night, not knowing when or where the 
stroke might fall, the mocking sight of the ships that 
meant safety, so near and yet so useless, all combined to 
put the last overwhelming strain on the demoralised 
army. 

They had to surrender. 

The terms imposed by the Moors were humiliatingly 
heavy. They were granted their lives, allowed to go to 
their ships in safety, but without their arms. For this 
they agreed to give up Ceuta, and, as earnest of their good 
faith. Prince Fernando was left a hostage in the enemy's 
hands. They agreed to give up all Moorish captives, to 
make a treaty of peace for 100 years, and to renounce all 
plans of conquering Barbary. 

Such were the terms Prince Henry accepted ; but in his 
later actions we sec his Punic temperament. He did not 
hesitate to yield when he saw that he had made a mistake; 
but, at the same time, he never had any intention of 
surrendering Ceuta, in spite of the fact that the INIoors 
held his brother as hostage for his good faith, and Prince 
Fcrnando's ransom was to be this very surrender. To 













^»., 



Pi liilt 'W 



Q 
o 



Q 




PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 193 

ensure his safety during captivity the Portuguese were 
given the son of (^lalaben^ala, " Sheik " of Tangier, and 
formerly Governor of Ceuta, whilst to the Moors were 
surrendered D. Pedro de Athayade, John Gomes de 
Avellar, Ayres, and Gomes da Cunha, who were put into 
captivity with the Prince. Nevertheless, in justice to 
Prince Henry, it must be stated that the hostages knew 
of his intentions, knew that Ceuta would never be surren- 
dered, and went deliberately to their fate, conscious that 
they would be sacrificed. Prince Henry, indeed, offered, 
himself, to take his brother's place; but neither Prince 
Fernando, nor the Council would allow this ; and History 
tells us that he did not hold out long against their views.i 
The lives of those whom the World counts " great " are 
examples either of vahant action or sublime abnegation. 
To court death in battle for the mere sake of action is not 
true greatness; but to meet it calmly in a great cause 
teaches an immortal lesson. And so, contrasting these 
two brothers, we may ask ourselves which of them was 
the nobler : the one who met his prolonged torture and 
slow death almost joyfully, or the one who lived on in hopes 
of revenge, the one who perished in sacrifice, or the one 
who accepted that sacrifice solely for the sake of his 
ambition. Our sympathy, as well as our admiration, must 
irresistibly yield to Prince Fernando "The Martyr"; 
for if life does not consist in action only, Heroism cannot 
be Its loftiest termination, and its end must always be more 
noble, respected, and admired when it leads to such greatness 
as converts a man into the fuel that is consumed by the living 
flame of the ethereal soul of the martyr in him. 

The greatness of Christianity depends upon what has 
always exalted it. We may state that this greatness is 
due to Its tendency to look upon Life as something to be 
used for higher purposes, sanctifying heroic martyrs 
perfectmg the apotheoses of those who, in charity and love,' 
cultivate the rarer flower of existence. 

On the other hand, in Iron, in Bronze, in Fire, and in 

^ Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XX.., XXXIII. 
o 



194 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Blood, the PhcEiiician mind, ardent and hard, always 
conceived Life as a torture, and fashioned Heroism as a 
blind pursuit of an elusive Destiny, unmercifully crushing 
everything that tried to oppose or arrest its progress, 
shunning only obstacles that were essentially unconquer- 
able. 

This was the mind of Prince Henry. On Thursday 
October 17, after terms had been arranged, he ordered his 
men to board their ships. But some of the Moors did not 
respect the terms of the treaty ; many were beyond control ; 
and so considerable skirmishing took place that the 
" Sheiks " were unable to repress. At length, however, 
on the Saturday, most of the Portuguese reached the shore 
and, in confusion, took to the boats, pursued by ill-aimed 
showers of spears with which certain fanatical Moslems 
from the shore assisted the rapidity of their departure, and 
followed by deafening shouts of " Algazarra " — the war-cry 
of the Moors. The Prince made for Ceuta, whilst the 
remains of the fleet sailed to Lisbon, Prince Fernando and 
his companions in captivity being taken to Tangier to 
begin the expiatory suffering brought on by their country's 
hero. 

After the fleet left Lisbon, King Duarte had remained 
in the capital, uneasy and anxious for news, while Prince 
John went to the Algarve to gather an army and pro- 
visions to succour his brothers, in case the graver fears 
were realised. In Lisbon, dreading disaster, Prince Peter 
hurriedly began to collect a fleet ; but plague broke out ; 
all plans became dislocated; and the King had to seek 
refuge at Santarem. It was there he received the first 
news of the siege, on the very day in which his troops had 
effected their disastrous retreat from Tangier; and there 
he brooded over the distressful confirmation of his fears, 
wondering why his brother had not carried out his instruc- 
tions. Overcome by his own fatal shortsightedness, he 
wept and accused himself of the responsibility, {)ainfully 
deeming himself the author of the catastrophe.^ All the 

• The Loyal Counsellor, III. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 195 

remorse was his. He saw in himself the chief sinner. He 
could not even console himself wdth reflections on the 
fortunes of war, like Prince Henry. He knew beforehand. 
He had sinned because he was weak. Therefore he felt 
the stigma all the more. In vain Prince Peter, with his 
generous heart and magnanimous humanity, tried to 
console him ; in vain he sought to make light of his scruples, 
to dry his tears with his affection, to dissipate his exag- 
gerated terrors, seeking to introduce into his soul the joys 
of new hopes. The King's desolation was complete. He 
summoned every one around him. He dreaded to find 
himself alone. He called his physicians, as he believed 
himself dying. He even summoned his father's faithful 
old servant, the ecred Mem de Seabra, who had nursed 
him in his arms and carried him in his golden youth, in 
the joyous days, for ever lost, the days of his childhood. 
The old servant came post-haste from his cloister in 
Setubal, where he had secluded himself for the rest of his 
remaining years, in remorseful penitence, as dictated by 
the Brotherhood of the Serra de Ossa.^ 

Prince Peter had just returned to Lisbon, to complete 
the preparations of the relieving fleet, when the miserable 
remains of Prince Henry's expedition entered the Tagus, 
and the enormity of the catastrophe became knowm. 
They told how Prince Fernando had been lost ; and they 
began, now, to ask what fate had befallen Prince Henry. 
The public mind wavered between a fear that some cruel 
fate had also befallen him, and anger because he alone was 
to blame for this disgrace and suffering; for the crews, 
landing in rags, without their weapons, dazed with the 
hardships they had endured, instinctively exaggerated 
their misfortunes, to elicit public sympathy and excuse 
their defeat at the hands of the all-powerful Moor. 

Among this broken crowd, however, was a certain knight, 
the worthy chevalier and companion of Prince Peter, one 

^ Pina, Chron de D. Duarte. (The Serra de Ossa is a range of mountains 
in the province of Alemtejo. On its highest summit we find, to-day, the ruins 
of the old monastery.) 



196 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

who had, in the wars with France, earned the distinction 
of the Order of the Garter. It was none other than the 
renowned Sir Alvaro Vaz de Almada, Count D'Avranche — 
a singular character who saw all things M'ith a humorous 
eye, and talked about them with the bold extravagance of 
a wit capable of laughter in the face of the most cruel of 
tragedies. Sir Alvaro, having landed, dressed himself in 
festive garb, and ordered his men to do likewise. He 
shaved and perfumed himself, and, with a joyful face and 
a smile on his lips, not to belie his festive attire, betook 
himself to Carnide,^ where the Court was at the time, to 
pay his respects to the King and Prince Peter. Sir Alvaro 
even expressed the wish that all belfrys should peal out 
their most festive chimes, informing those around him that 
Tangier was forgotten history, and doing it, too, with such 
a grave air of conviction, that long faces smiled again, and 
even hopes were raised that Prince Fernando would not 
remain long with the Moor in captivity,^ 

His words were balm to the mind of the tortured King; 
but unfortunately they were nothing more than the 
generous outpourings suggested by a kindly though 
extravagant imagination ; and the news that kept arriving, 
showed that the Moors were fully determined to hold the 
Prince as long as Ccuta remained other than theirs. Pi-ince 
John had, by now, started from the Algarve with a relief 
force; but stormy, unfavourable gales detained him; and 
when he arrived at Arzilla it was found that his brother 
was already in captivity. He, therefore, opened negotia- 
tions with the Sheik of Arzilla and Tangier, ^alabcn9ala, 
whose son, as already mentioned, the Portuguese held in 
hostage, with the hope of an exchange. But the King of 
Fez, hearing of this, and apparently fearing some move, 
took the Prince away with him; ^ and so this, as well as 

• On Nov. 9, at Caniifle, tho King signer! the " safety " to those 
criminals who had been in Tangier with his brothers and had accompanied 
them. This " safety " lasted until February of the following year 
(1438). 

* Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XXXVI. 
=> Ibid., XXXVI. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 197 

Prince Henry's attempts in Ceuta to release him, proved 
equally useless. Thus things came to an impasse ; and 
Prince Henry, seeing no way of effecting an exchange, 
sent the Moorish prisoners to the Algarve, determined to 
hold on to Ceuta, refusing to return home in spite of 
innumerable letters and messages from King Duarte 
commanding him to do so.^ 

From Arzilla, the King of Fez took Prince Fernando to 
his Court at Fez. The road to Fez ^ descending from 
Tangier almost parallel to the coast, meets the road from 
Arzilla, and follows on to Alcacerquibir,^ where it crosses 
the riv^er Luccus, that reaches the sea at El-Araich (La- 
rache).^ From here the caravan route, climbing the hills 
of El-Charbie, runs obliquely inland through Basra and 
Vezzan, making for Fez, over the hill of Uad Sebu. Prince 
Fernando, therefore, was making the same journey in his 
captivity that, in later years, in as tragic circumstances, 
the unfortunate King Sebastian was to make after his 
defeat at Alcacerquibir — the final stroke that destroyed 
the Portuguese power in Morocco. Prince Fernando, born 
co-heir to the great expansive colonising ambition that 
possessed Prince Henry's Punic Soul, was, thus, also the 
precursor of the torture of King Sebastian, for so it was 
predestined by Fate. These two kingly figures acted the 
Prologue and the Epilogue in this portion of the History 
of Portugal, the opening and the closing scenes in which 
their respective martyrdoms completed the cycle of exploits 

1 Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XXXVIII-IX. 

2 " Eight days are spent on the road from Ceuta to Fez, passing Zadd- 
jan." — Edrisi, Desc, translated by Dozy and Goeje, p. 204. 

3 " From Tochommoch, we come to Ca^r Abdi 'L-Carim (Ca^r-el-Kebir) 
or Alcacerquibir, a small town near the coast, two days from Tangier, 
and boardering on the river Loccos (Luccus). Here we find bazaars in 
proportion to the importance of the town, and other signs of prosperity." — 
Ibid., p. 202. 

* " Between Arzila (Arzilla) and Al-Cagr (Alcacerquibir), we meet the 
estuary of the Safdad (R. Luccus), a river large enough to harbour vessels; 
its waters are sweet, and the inhabitants of Tochommoch use them. It 
is formed by the junction of two affluents, one of which rises in the land of 
the Danhadja, on the d'Al-Ba^ra Mountains, and the other in the land 
of the Kitama."— /6u/., p. 202, 



198 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

wherein the Portuguese people demonstrated the greatness 
they inherited from their Phoenician forefathers. 

Riding an ill-fed mongrel, with a rotten saddle, the pom- 
mel of which was falling to pieces, and a bridle tied with 
bits of esparto, Prince Fernando — a Christian Prince, — was 
mockingly made by the Moors to enact the part of Christ 
when riding through the streets of Jerusalem. He was 
forced to make his way through the desert, followed, on 
foot, by his nine companions, accompanied by a crowd of 
jeering, mocking Moors. His companions were his Chap- 
lain and Confessor, his Physician, his valet, and his two 
cooks. As they passed each Moorish village, the people 
would receive them with shouts of derision, yelling insults 
after them, spitting at them, and following them with 
showers of stones. In this fashion they were taken as 
far as Fez, where they were met by an equally fanatical 
multitude, thirsting for their blood with the fury of savage 
cannibals, and only kept at bay with difficulty by the 
guards sent to defend them. 

King Duarte, in the meantime, crushed by the cruel 
weight of this catastrophe, adjourned the Cortes that was 
sitting in Lciria, until the following January (1438),* 
finding they came to no conclusion. Opinions were sharply 
divided between fear for the death of the Prince and the 
shame of losing Ccuta. Chivalry spoke, as usual, through 
Prince Peter, who advised the surrender of Ceuta and the 
giving up of any idea of expanding the Empire. Many of 
the noblemen, however, headed by the Count of Arrayolos, 
were strongly opposed to any such surrender, especially 
as they knew Prince Fernando himself was against it. 
Various other opinions were also given. Dom Fernando, 
Archbishop of Braga, pointed out that Ceuta was a Chris- 
tian possession, and that, therefore, it could not be given 
up with all the consecrated Churches that it already 
possessed, to the Infidel Moor, without the Pope's consent. 
Others sought to hide their indecision by supporting this 
vein of argument, and advised that the Prince's freedom 

» Pina, Chron. dc D. Dmrle, XXXVIII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 199 

should be bought with gold, or by exchanging captives, 
and only when everything else failed should they think of 
surrendering Ceuta, after consulting the Heads of the 
Christian Church. The King thus heard all over again 
merely a repetition of what his Cortes had said ; and so 
the problem remained as unsolved as ever. The instincts 
of brotherly Love, however, prompted him to give up 
Ceuta. To him the thought of sacrificing his o^vn brother 
was as painful as death itself ; but the surrender of Ceuta 
was impossible against the wishes of his Cortes. In this 
cruel dilemma he took the advice of the more undecided, 
and delayed action by consulting the Pope and writing 
numerous letters to other Christian kings, who all replied 
condoling with him, but nevertheless, advising that he 
should not give up Ceuta. ^ 

In the meantime Prince Henry was not to be found 
anywhere — letters, prayers, supplications, and commands, 
were all useless in bringing him home. Five whole months, 
up to February 1438, he kept away somewhere in Africa, 
hoping to rescue the brother whom he had sacrificed, until 
convinced at last of the fruitlessness of further effort, he 
returned to bury himself in his wilderness at Sagres, there 
to hide his tears of rage and despair, not having enough 
courage to show his face at Court. For once in his life he 
showed the white feather. He was afraid to confront the 
placid severity of his brother. Prince Peter, and to meet the 
pitiable complaints of the King he had betrayed. 

Nevertheless the latter, at length, also sought his advice 
in the matter of Prince Fernando and Ceuta, after having 
ob1"ained the opinion of nearly every one in the land, and 
insisted on his coming to meet him in Evora, where the 
Court was at the time. It was not, however, until June 
that Prince Henry could make up his mind to leave Sagres. 
He came to Portel, eighteen miles south of Evora, and from 
there he wrote to his brother, asking him in mercy to 
excuse him from Court, telling him that he could not 
possibly come any further. King Duarte, therefore, went 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Dmrte, XXXIX.-XLI. 



200 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

to Portcl. We know exactly what took place between the 
two brothers. We know that Prince Henry — carrying the 
burden of his guilt and in deep mourning — no sooner had 
advised the King to surrender Ceuta, than he also urged 
him to follow this up with another expedition, insisting 
that it was only necessary to have 6,000 horsemen, 6,000 
crossbowmen, and 12,000 infantry to avenge the recent 
disaster of Tangier, and conquer all Africa. Stirred by 
his own eloquence, the Prince forgot his shame and his 
mourning, and again was the obedient slave of his charac- 
teristic enthusiasm, putting aside all obstacles, neglecting 
every difficulty with the power of illusion so common in 
men commonly called " visionaries," who often look back 
upon the past and consider it more shadowy than their 
hopes for the future. 

King Duarte's supplications were all in vain. The two 
brothers separated ; and each went his way in sorrow : one 
to Evora, the other to Sagres. Possibly the King was 
beginning to doubt his brother's sanity, when he realised 
that all these plans were as lacking in common-sense as they 
had ever been. To him this talk of a second expedition, 
this risk of another catastrophe, after the recent debacle, 
was nothing but the ravings of a deranged mind, especially 
since it had already resulted in Prince Fernando being in 
fetters. To him his consent meant the signing of his own 
death warrant. A veil of blood passed before his eyes when 
he closed them to shut out the inhuman madness of Prince 
Henry. He had hoped to find him penitent. Instead he 
discovered he was as much a slave to his ideas as ever. 
The unfortunate King had not the strength to bear the 
burden of it longer. When he returned to Evora it was seen 
that his countenance was one of deeper despair than ever, 
that he appeared more shaken, more apprehensive.^ 

He remained in Evora apparently less than a month 

after this interview, for we know that in August he was in 

Thomar, in the Palace da Ribeira, where, after much 

suffering, he died broken-hearted. His doctors give us 

» Pina, Chron. de D. DuarU, XLIl. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 201 

the following cause for the " fever " that proved fatal in 
two days, attributing it to " an unequalled sorrow and 
continued distress, developed as a result of the misfortunes 
following the siege of Tangier." Thus died King Duarte, 
in his forty-seventh year, on the 9th of September, having 
reigned five troublous years and twenty-five days. His 
conscientious scruples killed him, aided by the remorse 
he felt for having yielded to the caprice of his wife — the 
wife who had been the direct cause of all these calamities, 
and who now, in floods of tears, asked Prince Peter to open 
the King's last Will and Testament. This having been 
done, they found that he requested that all his money 
and every possible means should be used, and exhausted 
if necessary, to release Prince Fernando, and that, if this 
were not successful, they should surrender Ceuta.^ In 
his weakness he was only capable of posthumous strength ! 
He died a victim of the clash of wishes that had surged 
around his vacillating mind. He was buried with the 
piece of the Holy Cross his mother had given him on her 
death-bed, and which he had always carried with him. The 
widowed Queen, however, wished to keep this relic herself; 
and, therefore, his tomb was opened, and the unfortunate 
King, even after death, was deprived of his only blessing. ^ 

In spite of all this his brother. Prince Fernando, who 
was enduring his tortures in the dungeons of the Palace 
of Fez, survived him for five years, though, after he 
had written unavailingly from Arzilla to his brothers, to 
ransom him,^ like a true Christian, he had prayed to his 
Eternal Father to mitigate, if possible, his suffering, and 
rem-^ve soon from his lips the bitter cup of martyrdom. 

King Duarte was dead ; and now the complications of 
the Regency, which will be related further on, followed ; 
but meanwhile Prince Peter did all he could to carry out 
his brother's last wishes. After everything else had failed, 
in 1441 Dom Fernando de Castro, at the head of a fleet, 
sailed from Lisbon to effect the surrender of Ceuta to the 

1 Pina, Chron. de D. Duarte, XLIII.-IV. 
* Azurara, Chron. th D. Joao I, III. 40. ^ Pina, Ibid., XLII. 



202 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Moors, and to bring back the captives ; but the fleet was 
attacked by Genoese pirates, the admiral was killed and 
his vessel sunk, while the rest of the ships had to return 
to Tavira. It seemed as though all the Fates were against 
the release of the unfortunate prisoners. Dom Alvaro, 
the admiral's son, however, took command of the re- 
maining vessels, and actually arrived at Ceuta ; but the 
King of Fez, either in mistrust, or preferring to keep his 
prisoners, asked for the surrender of the city before he 
released his prisoners, swearing by Mahomet that he 
would liberate Prince Fernando after Ceuta had been given 
back. Dom Alvaro, therefore, returned to Lisbon con- 
vinced, or feigning himself convinced, that the King of P'cz 
no longer yearned for his city.^ Whatever the truth may 
have been, Ceuta still remained Portuguese. 

After the Prince's hopes of freedom began to wane, his 
fate became, day by day, more cruel. During the first 
months of his imprisonment, in spite of the weight of his 
iron fetters, his life was made more or less bearable by the 
company of his fellow-countrymen in captivity; but after 
these few months they were separated, and the Prince was 
taken to the stables of the Palace, where he was compelled 
to groom the Sultan's horses and work in his orchards like 
a common slave. His hands became hard with labour, 
and his feet sore and often bleeding with the weight of his 
irons. To deprive him of everything, he was stripped of 
all his clothes save his shirt, being robbed of the two hun- 
dred gold pieces he had sewn inside the lining of his doublet. 
Enslaved, alone, perpetually beaten, his sufferings were 
not yet complete. There yet remained to deprive him of 
the light of day, of the sun, and of the stars that twinkled 
in the inky dome of the tropical night — the same stars 
that were gladdening the hearts of his fellow-countrymen 
in freedom at home, in the beloved country that he was 
never to see again. 

All this they also took from him, leaving him only the 
hopes of a redeeming death, casting him into a dark and 

» Pina, Chron. de AJfonso V, LIV. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 203 

filthy cell, wherein he could scarcely turn or lie. More 
tried than Job, he lived fifteen months, perpetually kneel- 
ing, perpetually calling on his Maker to end his sufferings. 
What an extraordinarily eloquent prayer his must have 
been ! His knees were hardened, his skin dry like parch- 
ment tightly stretched over his bones, and in many places 
broken. He soon became like a li^dng skeleton that, 
perpetually cramped, had become deformed, presenting, 
at the same time, a horrible and repugnant appearance; 
but the more miserable and fatigued his body grew the 
more ethereal became his Soul, soaring in the freedom of 
the absolute liberty of his holy heroism ! 

One day, after more than five years of captivity, he felt 
his fetters suddenly free him from the World. Even his 
jailers, seeing him thus, were moved to pity. The day 
before they had noticed that he was dying ; and that after- 
noon he swooned and fell on his back, with an expression 
of peace on his features — ^as if he were embracing a death 
that, in this case at least, had lost its sting. He closed 
his eyes, and tears of gratitude stained his sunken cheeks 
as he thanked Providence for granting him his prayer. 
His Physician and his Confessor were summoned ; and they 
asked him if he slept ; but the Prince was indifferent to 
their questions. The two men exchanged a questioning 
glance, wondering whether he slept or whether he was 
already dead. 

" I hear you ! " he murmured, conscious, at last, of their 
anxiety. 

In the presence of these two friends he expired on the 
5th of July 1443, and then : 

" He did not feel the driver's whip, 
Nor the burning heat of day ; 
For death had illuminated the Land of Sleep, 
And his lifeless bodj'' lay 
A worn-out fetter, that the Soul 
Had broken and thrown away." 

Longfellow, The Slave's Dream. 

Even the Moors looked upon him as a Saint, or rather, said 
that he would have been one had he been a Mohammedan, 



204 PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 

inferring this sanctity from his chastity, his virtue, and 
the miracle of his having Hved so long cramped in his cell. 
They even condemned his country for allowing him to die 
the neglected death of a martyr. 

They removed his dead body, and called his fellow 
prisoners, who, when they beheld his miserable remains, 
threw themselves prostrate on the ground and tore their 
beards in the depths of their sorrow. After his jailers 
had unfettered him, they washed the body, and were 
about to bury it when the Sultan ordered him to be evisce- 
rated, and hanged in front of the city walls, exposed to 
the derision of the turbaned multitude — for was he not a 
Christian, and a Portuguese Prince ? 

Afterwards his body was encased in a lead coffin and 
buried in the city walls. Later the people credited his 
tomb with miraculous influence, believing him to have been 
a Saint. ^ Five of his fellow-prisoners died with him; but 
among those ransomed was Friar John Alvares, his Con- 
fessor, who afterwards wrote the history of his martyrdom, 
from which we have taken the preceding pages. ^ 

The story of this famous tragedy was published through- 
out Europe by Calderon (1600-81) in his diama. The 
Constant Prince, wherein is told of King Duarte's futile 
attempts to ransom him, of Prince Fernando's resignation 
to his fate, and of the callous ambitions of Prince Henry, 
who, when asked, in the last act, by the Moor why he does 
not surrender Ceuta, answers : 

" Because it belongs to God, and not to me ! " 

Thirty years after, King Affonso V having captured 
Arzilla, the martyr's bones were brought back to rest in 
his native country.' 

^ Pina, Chron. de D. Affonm V, LXXXIII. 

^ " Chronicles of the saintly and virtuous Prince Fernando, son of 
John I, who died in the Land of the Moors." — By Friar Jofto Alvaros, 
edited by Jeronymo Lopes. Lisbon, 1527. 

^ Chron. de Zanlfliet : " Porro ad suos : quidquid, inquit, promiseritis 

f)aganJ8, nunquam iilam nobilem Septam ad manus inBdelium, colentium 
egem Mahometi, reverti perinittatis. Ego pro vobis obscs manebo in 
vinculis paratus potius sustincru uiille mortis genera, quatu eflestucationi 
Septa consentire." 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE SLAVE MARKETS OF LAGOS 

Crushed by the catastrophe of Tangier, persecuted by 
the shade of the King who had succumbed as the result 
of his ambitions, and by the ghost of the brother tortured 
to death by the Moor of Fez, Prince Henry, burdened with 
the hatred of the whole population, was yet so sustained 
by the flame of his own Faith, that he found sufficient 
courage speedily to react against the magnitude of his 
misfortunes. Another man, similarly burdened, would 
have sunk under the weight of it, and, as his famous pupil 
Magellan later on remarked, " would have hidden himself, 
with seven yards of sackcloth and a rosary of oak-apples, 
to die in the wilds of the Serra de Ossa," which even in 
the fifteenth century was already a deserted wilderness. 
Prince Henry was, however, above this. He possessed a 
character such as later on was reincarnated in his nephew 
Charles the Bold, who, more favoured than himself, was 
able to overcome his hostile fortunes, possessing a capacity 
for prayer, penitence and piety, which in his uncle took 
the form of an unsurpassable energy. 

He did not seek a hiding-place at Sagres to weep over 
his misfortunes. On the contrary, he deliberately secluded 
himself in this wilderness because he was determined to 
right himself in the eyes of an accusing World, and prove 
to it the value of his theories. The whole World and its 
opinions were nothing to him, neither the censure of the 
wise and prudent, nor the accusations of the emotional, 
nor the mockery of the vulgar mob.^ His ambitious ideas, 

^ " Besides the mob, the nobility would speak of the Prince in mockery, 
holding that such elaborate and expensive preparations, which preoccupied 
him in the summarising of his iiiforraation and discoveries, neglecting 
even the care of his own estates, was all work and expense without profit." — 
Azurara, Conquest of Guinea, XVIII. 

206 



206 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

like Juno, had a double aspect. One, the conquest of 
Morocco, was now discredited. The other, still in favour, 
was the discovery of a sea-way around Africa to the 
Orient. With this latter preoccupation, meditating over 
the problems involved, he daily lived more and more 
within himself, shut up in Sagres, where he completed his 
plans, and from whence he finally launched forth to realise 
the fruits of his adventure. Five reasons, according to a 
contemporary writer, impelled him : to know the Unkno^vn, 
to crush the power of the Moor, to propagate the Christian 
Faith, to communicate with the Ethiopian Christians of 
Prester John, to find allies among them ; and above these 
five reasons, there was a sixth : " which seems to be the 
root from which others spring — that is, his sign, his con- 
stellation, the inclination of celestial orbs." ^ Philosophers 
of those days still studied Astrology. The Villa do 
Infante was being built and was rising stone by stone.* 
His ideas were gradually taking shape. He felt, within 
himself, the birth of new energies ; and the gloom of his 
sorrow was gradually lifting, like the morning mists when 
they scatter before the first rays of the rising sun. 

The adventures of his mariners, during the two previous 
years, must now be recorded. In 1433, Gil Eannes had 
sailed from Lagos and returned from the Canary Islands, 
without being able to double Cape Bojador, the object for 
which he had been sent out. On the following year, 
howevTr, Prince Henry having reproached him for crediting 
" certain legends useful to frighten children with," he 

* " Because his rising sign was Aries, in the House of Mars, exalted by 
the Sun, and he himself was in the eleventh House, accompanied by the 
Sun, therefore, the said Mars was in Aquarius, which is the House of 
Saturn, the House of Hope, signifying that the Prince would occupy 
himself with brave discoveries and conquests, and especially with the 
unravelling of secrets which are not for the eyes of others. . . . And being 
accompanied by the Sun, in the House of .Juj)iter. it signifies that all his 
trade and conquests will be successful, and will jdease his Lord and King." — 
Azurara, Conquest o/Ouinea, VIL 

* " After Tangier the Prince was habitually in the Kingdom of the 
Algarvo on account of his town, the building of which he was super- 
intending, as well as the gathering of prizes which they brought to hira 
at Lagos."— /6tV/., XVI I L 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 207 

determined to try again,^ sailed forth the second time, 
doubled the Cape, landed and found the coast deserted. 
But he brought back as a sign " certain herbs that we call 
" Roses of St. Maria ; " and when he sailed again, this time 
his vessel was accompanied by Affonso Baldaya with his 
varinel. Passing the Cape, for the second time, they 
anchored at Angra dos Ruivos, landed and found signs 
of human footprints and of camels .^ In 1436, Baldaya 
sailed out again, and reached as far south as Angra dos 
Cavallos, where he landed, repelling the natives and return- 
ing to the Algarve with fibre nets made by the savages as 
trophies.^ This was all that had been accomplished up to 
the disastrous date of Tangier ; and we can readily see why 
the public scoffed and objected to this propaganda. The 
results were so small compared with the efforts made. 
Stimulated by his unpopularity, compelled to abandon the 
scheme of conquering Morocco, the Prince now threw 
himself whole-heartedly into the study of navigation. It 
is stated by some that it was at this time Jayme of Majorca 
came to lend his help to the Nautical School or Academy 
of Sagres ; others, however, tell us that it was after the 
capture of Ceuta he came. Cadamosto fixes the date of 
the voyage of Diniz Fernandes, who sailed along the coast 
as far as the estuary of Quedec, or Ouedec, Sanaga or 
Senegal, in the year 1439-40.* In the following year, 
Antao Gongalves and Nuno Tristao, sailing as far as Porto 
do Cavalleiro, returned with the first captives.^ 

This voyage was really the first to bring back positive 
results from the exploration of the coasts of Africa. It 
proved, beyond doubt, that the World did not terminate 

^ Cape Bojador was for centuries the utmost limit of European ad- 
venture. It was supposed to represent the end of the World. Beyond 
were the Seas of Obscurity peopled by strange monsters, living in boiUng 
oceans subject to awful tempests; and any one passing the Cape was 
choosing certain death. 

2 Azurara, Conquista de Guine, VIII. and IX. 

^ Ibid., X., and Barros Decada, I. 1, 5. 

* Naveg. de Cadamosto, II. Cf. Goes, Chron. do Pr. D. Joao, and Barros 
Decada, I. ], 3. 

^ Azurara, Conquista de Guine, XIV. 



208 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

in a sen of slinic, and that those other lands were not 
uninhabited. It suggested, therefore, that there were 
riehes as well as people in those mysterious regions which 
belonged to none except perhaps the Pope, who, as head 
of all Christendom, Emperor of all Kings and Princes, and 
representative of God, claimed all that belonged to God 
on the Earth. 

After the successful voyage of Diniz Fernandes, Prince 
Henry as Grand Master of the Order of Christ, sent Fcrnao 
Lopes de Azevedo, Chevalier of the Order, on an embassy 
to the Pope,^ petitioning that all the territory discovered 
should belong to the Portuguese Crown, and all their 
ecclesiastical moneys should go to the Order of Christ.^ 

These discoveries, connected with the expeditions to 
Africa, were, in reality, a new form of conquest, being in 
a measure a continuation of the Crusades, in which the 
Pope exercised a kind of feudal rule above the Christian 
Sovereigns outside the inherited States of the old Roman 
Empire. The Pope had already issued Bulls in connection 
with Ceuta and Tangier ; and, therefore, the Prince's pre- 
tensions, though new, sprang from ancient tradition. After 
Eugcnius IV had agreed with Prince Henry's propositions, 
and Sixtus IV^ (1471-84) had confirmed these first Papal 
Bulls at the request of Affonso V and of John II, we arrive 
at Alexander VI's famous Order of 1493, in which he 
divided by a meridian, 370 leagues from Cape Verde, all 
the unexplored Globe between Castile and Portugal : an 
Order that, as it did not benefit France, Holland, or 

' Barros, Decada, I. 1. 4 : where we find it stat-ed that the Pope waa 
Martin V, but this is incorrect, for Martin reigned only from 1417-31. 
In 1440-41, the date in question, the Pope was Eugonius IV (1431-47). 
Sousa, in his Hist. Gen., Proof I. p. 442, tells us that the Bull issued by 
Eugenius IV in 1445 contirmcd those grants that had been made to King 
Duarte and King AfTonso in favour of Prince Henry, as well a« the Grand 
Mastership of the Order of Christ. In the same volume (Vol. I. i)p. 444-5) 
we also not« the grant of the jurLsdiction of the various islands (1449 and 
1454) by King Alfonso to Prince Henry, and in p. 446 that this was con- 
firmed by Nicliolas V (1447-55), and again by C'alixtus III (1455-8). 
Further, the Bull dated Januarys, 1450, and issued by Nicholas V, ceded 
to King AfIon.so the sovereignty of all lands discovered by Prince Henry. 

' Barros. Dwado, I. 1.7, and Azurara, Comjuisla dr (,'uini, XV. 



r 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 209 

England, was ignored by thcni in their later appearance 
as explorers in this new World, 

When Antao Gk)n9alves returned again from Africa, 
after visiting the gulf that had already been named the 
Rio d'Ouro because there he had found gold-dust, he 
brought \nth him also a number of negro slaves, and as 
a great curiosity, a quantity of ostrich eggs " which ap- 
peared one day at the Prince's table ... as fresh, and 
as savoury as if they had been of domestic birds." ^ These 
tangible objects, especially the gold and the slaves, put an 
effectual stop to all further ridicule of Prince Henry's 
expeditions. " Constrained by necessity, they confessed 
their former foolishness, deeming themselves ignorant of 
things that they had before refused to consider seriously, 
and manifestly saying that the Prince could be no other 
than a second Alexander. From thence onward, there- 
fore, their enthusiasm grew more and more, seeing, as they 
did, the houses of others full of slaves, and their estates on 
the increase." ^ 

It is obvious, looking back, that from this moment, the 
constitution of the national character became fundamen- 
tally changed. The introduction of gold ^ and the influx 
of slave-labour started the work of disintegration. Such 
are the penalties of success, the punishments of avarice. 
All the old fighting instincts that had led to this transitory 
Glory were speedily destined to be almost obliterated, or 
at any rate altered, by this new national character — a fatal 
change which Prince Henry, all unknowing, bending over 

^ Azurara, Conquista de Guine, XVI. 

- Azurara, Conquista de Guine, XVllI. and Barros, Decada, I. 1, 8, 
where Ave find : " For as a result of the recent Wars against Castile, as 
well as the expeditions to Ceuta and Tangier and elsewhere, there was 
such a lack of people, that the Country could scarcely support itself." 

3 Caspar Fructuoso in his Saudades da terra tells us the following of 
Prince Henry's tomb — 

" Prince Henry's tomb Ls gilded with letters almost obliterated now ; 
and it is said that this gilding was because it was through his means that 
the mine from which Portugal derived and derives so much gold was dis- 
covered '* (p. 9, Azevedo's edition). "The discovery of this mine was 
after the Prince's death, but not the finding of gold-dust, which was 
discovered in his lifetime, along the shores near Arguin." 
P 




210 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

his maps to forget the torture of Tangier, started when 
he introduced to his Country and People the fatal taint of 
Ethiopian blood. 

Since the capture of Ceuta, less than a quarter of a 
century before, Lagos had gradually developed into a 
centre of active trade with the opposite coast. The people 
of the Algarv^e had always supplied the country with men 
and ships in these wars with the Moors ; ^ and in no part of 
the kingdom, therefore, were the Prince's praises more 
loudly sung, now that they saw the positive results of his 
expeditions and the plunder of the Rio d'Ouro. It seemed 
their special privilege then to stimulate the new impulses 
towards exploration, so that the country might derive the 
greatest possible benefit from their workings. It was 
obvious to the people that these new thoughts that had 
given them such great successes ought to possess new 
institutions for their development. For, while the public 
spirit had been content to conquer countries by mediaeval 
methods, and the formulas of the ancient grants still in 
force in the islands of the Atlantic had sufiiced to con- 
solidate the workings of Faith and Chivalry; yet now, if 
they wished to establish a more stable Empire, it was 
obvious that this undeveloped spirit must be improved 
upon, since, in itself, it was only capable of disturbing the 
Imperial equilibrium, sacking the African coasts, beginning 
the slave-trade, and plundering the deserts for gold. 
History would thus merely repeat itself; and the vessels 
and varinels from Lagos would be sailing, as in remoter 
ages the galleys of the Carthaginians had sailed, south 
along the Atlantic shores of Africa to bring back slaves, 
and north, to return with lead ore from Cassiterides. 

Guilds of merchant adventurers, therefore, were formed 
at Lagos; and as these maritime excursions resulted in the 
extension of the rule of this City, holding the Sceptre of 
Navigation, so did Portugal, later, acquire, by these 
excursions along the African coast dominion over that 

* Azurara, Conquiata de Ouini, XLIX. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 211 

enigmatical World " Africa portentosas " as the Romans 
named it. 

Starting, without doubt, from the combined excursions 
of fishermen, these navigating and commercial guilds, 
formed at Lagos, proved themselves such intrepid instru- 
ments for exploring the precarious dangers of unknown 
regions that other countries soon followed their example. 
The Dutch were the fii'st to seize upon the idea. It 
changed their nation into a federation of Oriental shipping 
companies, altering their entire history. But it was in 
England that the most profound alteration took place — for 
there is no doubt that it is to her guilds of merchant 
venturers that the great colonial Empire which she holds 
to-day is due. S;ich were the unexpected consequences 
of this first colonising company established at Lagos by 
the Prince to acquire the plunder of the Rio d'Ouro. 

Sovereignty over these regions having been conferred 
on Portugal by the Pope, the Portuguese King granted 
to Prince Henry the fifth part of all the products brought 
to the Kingdom by the explorers from these newly dis- 
covered lands, and no one was allowed, therefore, to ap- 
proach with an armed vessel, without special permission 
from the Pi-ince. The Sea was looked upon as his own 
dominion, it was his " Mare clausum." The founders of 
the company in Lagos were Langarote, the " almoxarife " 
or receiver of customs to the Crown, and an old squire of 
the Prince, Gil Eannes, the ancient salt who had doubled 
Cape Bojador, Estevam Affonso, a nobleman who died in 
the Canaries, Rodrigo Alvares, Joao Bernaldes, and Joao 
Dias. Each of these six commanded his own vessel, fullv 
armed for battle. It was a new portent in history. Before, 
„fiuch vessels had been merely glorified fishing-boats. 
/ For the first time also, in history, these explorers of 
Lagos regularly practised a traffic in slaves. Sailing 
southwards along the coast as far as Cape Blanco, the 
theatre of their exploits became that coast -line having as 
its southern extremity " Cabo do Resgate " (The Cape of 
Plunder), and the Bay of St. John, and as its northern, 



212 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Aiguiii with its two islands, Naar and Tidra, or Tider 
Island. Along this coast -line, the explorers fell upon the 
unfortunate natives. After landing, seeing that the Moors 
retreated with their women and children, "the mariners 
called on Santiago and St. George for Portugal, and fell 
upon them with as much slaughter as they could." Un- 
fortunate mothers strove to shield their children. Their 
husbands, in turn, strove to shield them, each trying to 
protect the other. Some rushed into the Sea and were 
drowTicd; others, with the animal instincts of sheep, sought 
to hide themselves within their huts, or concealed their 
children under sea-wrack and sand. " And at last, Our 
Lord God, who always rewards the upright, wishing that 
day to recompense them (the Portuguese) for all the labour 
that they had given in His service, and to reward them 
and pay them for their expenses, suffered them to capture 
men, women, and youths to the number of 165, besides 
those that were slain." ^ This happened in the Island of 
Naar, and was repeated at the capture of Tider Island, 
so that they returned to Lagos with a total of 235 captives, 
the fifth part of whom were to belong to Prince Henry.* 

The landing at Lagos of these slaves was a new event in 
Portuguese history — an event that takes one's imagination 
back to those remote times. Historically, the slave-trade 
is looked upon mainly as the offspring of War, chiefly 
because its other origins have been condenmed by the 
philosophic thought of the Middle Ages, as well as the 
Christian teaching of more modern times; and for these 
reasons, therefore, the Portuguese of the fifteenth century 
chose to regard their booty as captured enemies, to excuse 
their own barbarity. Recognising, however, the fact that 
one's fellowmen may legally be reduced to this miserable 
status, the exploitation of the slave-trade yielded, for the 
time being, a rapid solution to the depopulation which had 
been such a source of alarm in the Kingdom, stimulating 
intensely also at the same time the economical })rosperity 
of the new colonies. Thus to the enterprise of navigation 

* Azurara, Conquida de Giiine, XIX. ' Ibid., XIX., XX. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 213 

now became added that of a new trade — the sale of slaves, 
another of the series of new social phenomena spontaneously 
created by the energies of this one man, in whose mind 
was reincarnated the commercial ability of a Hanno, com- 
bined with the military capacities of a Hannibal. 

On the beach at Lagos, Prince Henry, on horseback 
presided over the landing and division of his plunder ; and 
the surrounding fields became crowded with people who 
had come to witness this strange spectacle, as the wind, 
carrying the cries of distress of the unfortunate captives, 
collected them with eager curious eves. The slaves were 
landed from the boats; and, once ashore, they huddled to- 
gether in dazed attitudes of apprehension, like herds of 
cattle at market. " Among them there were some more 
white than others, handsome and of promising aspect. 
Others were less white — almost brown. Others again 
were as black as ebony and as hideous as Ethiopians 
both in face and body, contrasting strangely with those 
that guarded them and looking as if they had come from 
another world." ^ They were almost Arabs, for only the 
north of Africa had been explored, and there the whiter 
races, already crossed with the Nubian, produced the 
negroid type of Senegambia, which further south melts 
gradually into the full Black that characterises Guinea. 
" Some were overburdened with grief, and their faces 
were wet with tears ; others cried loudly in their affliction, 
gazing towards the skies, shouting as if imploring Nature 
to come to their aid ; others covered their faces with their 
hands, and threw themselves prostrate on the ground ; 
while others again voiced their tribulation in weird chants. "^ 
Drawn up on the beach, Prince Henry rode by their ranks 
as if to review them. To him the sight acted as a balm 
that soothed away all memory of Tangier for ever. If 
he had been defeated by man, he now felt himself the 
conqueror of Nature; for his herd of human bipeds did 
not appear to him other than savage animals. Their 
colour seemed to him to belie the thought that they had 
^ Azurara, Conquista de Guine, XXV. - Ibid. 



( 



214 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

been created in the image of God. Their souls seemed to 
his eyes as black as their skins. To him they were as the 
cattle on the hills ; and he was as unmoved by their grief 
as the shepherd watching his sheep bleating enough to 
move a heart of stone. But since his heart was of bronze, 
the Prince went on ordering the selection of his herd of 
negroes, " He began to portion them with the idea of 
equalising the commerical value of each lot ; and when 
he thought it expedient to separate fathers and sons, 
wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, he respected no 
family ties or bonds of friendship : they were grouped 
merely according to the laws of his discretion." ^ He even 
exchanged captives from one lot for those of another, so 
as not to discontent the o^^Tlers of the lots, doing it with 
a callous cruelty that often victimised the unfortunates, 
and seldom consoled them for other losses. And thus it 
would often happen that subdued grief would suddenly 
assume the proportions of an explosive chorus of despair, 
when they saw that " the father was taken to Lagos, the 
mother was dragged to Lisbon, and the sons to other 
parts." 2 

The historian tells us with characteristic mediaeval 
piety : " The forty-six captives that were the fifth part 
allotted to the Prince he chose quickly. We see what was 
the reward that the Prince deserved at the hands of Our 
Lord for having thus given them the chance of Salvation, 
and not only them but many others whom he afterwards 
acquired." ^ 

There was no hypocrisy in this. It was the genuine 
spirit of the Age. Proselytising zeal burnt fiercely then, 
and both Portuguese and, later, Spanish pioneers made 
an invariable rule of baptising their prisoners and victims, 
firmly convinced that thereby they were saving them from 
eternal damnation. So, while they took away their Earthly 
goods, even their freedom, they were naively satisfied in 
their own minds that they had put them in the way of 

' Azurara, Conquista de Guink, XXV. 
» Ibid., XXVI. 3 Ibid., XXVI. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 215 

laying up for themselves treasures in Heaven — and surely, 
when they realised this, as they must later, they would 
be eternally grateful. 

CAt any rate, this new trade, incomparably more remu- 
nerative than any other, soon stimulated the avarice of the 
people of the Algarve to recklessness. Any one who could 
get command of a ship, it was thought, would make a 
fortune. One such person was Gon5alo de Cintra. He 
was sent with his ship in 1445 to explore, discovered the 
bay that is now named after him, hastily went ashore 
hoping to seize some prisoners in an ebbing tide, got 
stranded, were surrounded by the natives, and he and 
seven of his men paid the penalty with their lives. ^ These 
were the first Europeans killed in this new land. That 
same j'^ear, Antao Gonyalves, Gomes Pires, and Diogo 
Affonso sailed out to the Rio d'Ouro as a punitive party. 
Later Nuno TristSo, and finally Diniz Dias followed, 
getting as far south as Cape Verde. It is evident that 
the fervour for discovery coupled with the hope of gain 
had been steadily growing since 1440, the date of Antao 
(ion^alves' first voyage. With this period too, in which 
the thirst for exploring the African coast gained momentum, 
came the realisation of Prince Henry's ambitions. Every 
one believed in him now. No one scoffed at his dreams 
as impracticable. He devoted himself still more to his far- 
reaching schemes of conquest, treating as negligible the 
struggle between Prince Peter and the Count of Barcellos 
over the Regency, brought on by King Duarte's death, 
until the result of the tragic battle at Alfarrobeira sealed 
his brother's fate. No doubt the struggles between the 
Count of Barcellos' ambitious avarice, and Prince Peter's 
orderly and just attempts at Government, must have seemed 
to Prince Henry as things unworthy of his consideration. 
His small country was insignificant beside the vnde expanse 
that awaited his pioneer ships. From his country he 
wanted only vessels, men, and money to carry out his 
expeditions ; and these he could best obtain from a shy 
^ Azurara, Conquista de Guine, XXVII. 



216 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

boy-king who was ruled by his avaricious noblemen, men 
whose influence would be of no avail against his own 
ambitious personality. Prince Peter was the stumbling- 
block. He felt he could carry out his plans more easily 
if the discreet and wise Regent were not in power. 
We can see, therefore, why he left him to his tragic 
fate. 

Arising out of these new enterprises, rather unexpectedly, 
but quite naturally, there rapidly sprang into existence 
a new aristocracy — that of the merchant venturers, who 
quickly outshone in wealth the older nobility, and soon 
began to get absorbed amongst them by intermarriage. 
One of the first of these was Lan^irote, a squire of the 
Infante's household, brought up at Lagos. It was he 
who organised and carried out the successful slave-raid 
described in the preceding pages, and on account of this 
success he had been knighted on his return. The Prince 
held him in high favour, the merchants of Lagos looked 
upon him as their natural leader, and his position was 
made absolutely secure by his marriage with the daughter 
of Soeiro da Costa, alcaide of Lagos, a great nobleman 
who had fought in his fiery youth all over Europe, in 
Italy, France, Spain, and at Ceuta with King John. He 
was accordingly the most important personage in the 
Algarve, with his years and battles, and great honours 
resting upon him; and therefore, in his daughter's marriage, 
the traditions of his great family became united, as it were 
to that of the nobility of navigation and commerce, 
represented by Lan9arote the restless adventurer, linking 
up the old feudal nobility with the new. 

In was in 1447 that the first great Armada, intended to 
avenge the death of De Cintra as well as to continue the 
work of exploring, was formed, with Lanearote at the 
head of the syndicate that also hoped to make profit out 
of it. Everybody in Lagos seemed to belong to this 
syndicate : Soeiro da Costa, Alvaro de Freitas, commen- 
dador of Aljczur, of the Order of Santiago, Gomes Pires, 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 217 

Rodrigueannes de Travassos of Prince Peter's household, 
and many others. Their request to Prince Henry for 
permission to adventure was made through Lan9arote 
himself, supported by the judges, alcaides and officials of 
the town.i Lagos had already evolved the tactics that 
were later adopted in London and Amsterdam, when the 
English and the Dutch, following their example, armed 
their fleets to acquire new colonies. 

The Lagos fleet, sailing on the 10th of August, was the 
largest that up to then had ever been collected for such 
a purpose. It consisted of fourteen caravels, which were 
to be joined at Tider Island by twelve others that had 
been equipped in Lisbon and in the Island of Madeira. 
Diniz Dias and Nnno TristSo, who in 1443 had been the 
first to double Cape Blanco and to discover Arguin, the 
centre from which Senegal and Gambia were explored, 
commanded their own caravels. Alvaro Gonial ves de 
Athayde commanded another. John Gongalves Zarco, 
the discoverer of Madeira, commanded a fourth. There 
were in all twenty-six vessels. The Prince gave Lan9arote 
the Crusader's flag, under which all those who met their 
death " were absolved of all sin and fault by the authority 
of the Holy Father " ^ — Christian piety in this way imitating 
its more primitive cousin Islam. 

Protected by Cape Branco, Arguin was a convenient 
centre from which the neighbouring extensive shores could 
be explored. It served as a depot such as the Genoese 
and Venetians, in bygone days, had founded along the 
remote eastern confines of the jMediterranean ; and the 
Portuguese now consolidated their claims to all land in 
Africa discovered prior to 1448 by fortifying it.^ Thus to 
the original character of these enterprises, to the maritime 
commerce carried on by these companies, and to the 
traffic in slaves, became added the system of marking 
out exclusive claims by fortifications. Gradually the 

^ Azurara, Conquista de Quine, XLIX., LI. ^ Ibid., LV. 

* Naveg. de Cadomosto, in the national collection, Lisbon, X. 



218 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

methods of colonisation were becoming more and more 
complete. 

The main feature that jumps to the eye as the result 
of these preliminary enterprises, and the birth of these 
institutions or companies of navigation that followed, is 
the system of monopoly in colonial commerce that was 
introduced. Having first made Arguin the seat of adminis- 
tration. Prince Henry next made it the centre of all his 
African trade ; no one, except his men, was allowed to 
enter the Bay of Arguin to trade with the natives ; the 
merchants, under the shelter of these fortified head- 
quarters, were thus able to trade securely in cloth, textures, 
silver, carpets, and above all slaves ; ^ and the fiist contract 
made in Arguin weIB naturally given to Lan9arote, the 
organiser of this company of traders of Lagos. 

After Prince Henry's death, the right of granting these 
coveted concessions passed to the Crown; and in 1469 
Affonso V bestowed them on Fernao Gomes, for a period 
of five years, with the obligation of exploring 500 leagues 
of coast southward. The rent was 200,000 reis (about 
£40) per annum; he had to sell all ivory at 500 reals (£14) 
})er quintal (100 lbs.) through the Crown, which had 
contracted for its sale to Martin Annes Boaviagcm. 
Further, each year the King was entitled to the musk of 
one civet-cat.2 

The contract of 1460 excluded the Islands of Cape Verde, 
for they belonged to Prince Fernando (to whom Prince 
Henry had left them in his Will), and the plunder of Arguin 
itself, since it belonged to Prince John (also left to him 
by Prince Henry). But Fernao Gomes succeeded in 

^ " The events that followed were not conditioned by so much labour 
and stri-ngth of forces as in the past, for after that \'ear and onward, all 
trade was obtained by tiio exchange of imported goods, instead of by 
strength and right of power." — Azurara, Con/juista de GuItiA, LXV. 

2 The musk of the civet-cat (vivcrra), named " zabad " by the Arabs, 
and " Zibette " by the Indians, from which the French derive their word 
" civette," was one of the most luxurious perfumes. The animal possesses 
a gland that secretes a fatty, odorotis. sebaceous substance, which when 
freshly extract(!d is white in colour but darkens with keeping. Cf. Pietro 
Delia Valle, \'iaijgi, I. 375. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 219 

obtaining the annuity of 100,000 reals,i for it was the fact 
of his having discovered gold in the site " we now call 
Mina " (Mine), when exploring the coast as far as St. 
Catharine's Point, that helped to stimulate the thirst for 
exploration so much.'^ Most of the African Continent was 
now visibly looming out of the darkness of the Atlantic; 
and, succeeding this first Epoch in the annals of navigation, 
the discovery of the Gulf of Guinea, with its islands and 
coast running southwards to reach the end of this vast 
Continent, almost completed the task. The new nobility 
was further strengthened by the triumphs of FernSo Gomes, 
who after fighting under Affonso V in Alcazer and Tangier, 
where he received his martial education, was made a 
nobleman. He took as his title the name of "Mina,"^ 
and " an escutcheon with a field of silver, bearing the 
heads of three negroes, each with a gold nose-ring, ear- 
rings, and neckband." This new nobility gloried in its 
trade, without scruple. It was looked upon as something 
much more adventurous and meritorious than mere hum- 
drum barter, for these slave-drivers deemed themselves 
as worthy of respect as the noblemen of the preceding 
century who had captured Portugal by merely slaughtering 
Moors. 

Yet jealousy, excited throughout the Kingdom by the 
riches gathered by this trade with Africa, was becoming 
more and more widespread and menacing towards these 
sjave -masters ; for there was 

" Nought to be seen, but visionary monks 
To council strolling, and embroiling creeds, 
Banditti Saints, disturbing distant lands." 

James Thomson, lAbertij, IV. 84. 

Thus we fuid that at the Cortes of 1473, in Coimbra, 

^ Barros, Decada, 1, 2. The rent of the commercial monopoly of 
Africa, during the second half of the fifteenth century, attained a con- 
siderable sum : 300,000 reals — 6^d. was the value of the real in Affonso V's 
reign. The quintal — 100 lbs. — of ivory was accordingly worth about £196. 
At the beginning of the seventeenth century Cape Verde and Mina were 
enriching the treasury by £60,000 per annum. 

^ Barros, ibid. ^ Barros, ibid. 




220 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

one year before the expiration of Fcrnao Gomes' contract, 
the people clamoured loudly, asking; that the trade of 
Guinea should he drawn in lots, so that every one might 
benefit by it. Moreover, in the matter of the export of 
molasses, they demanded free-trade in sugar with Madeira,^ 
and asked that slaves from Guinea should not be taken 
out of the country without consent of the Cortes. ^ 

Portugal was being transformed indeed into a new 
Carthage ; and no force was now capable of diverting it 
from its epoch-making colonising policy. 

During the decline of his life, Prince Henry enjoyed a 
happy old age. He went with his nephew to Alcazer, and 
assisted in the capture of Tangier. His cup overflowed 
with contentment, for many of his dreams had been 
accomplished even in his lifetime, especially after the 
installation of his headquarters at Arguin, and the float- 
ing of his transmarine companies. Adventurers arrived 
from abroad to offer him their services, for his fame was 
now world-wide ; and these he accepted gladly, his own 
countrymen and the foreigner being equally useful to him 
in his enterprises. 

It was when he was already seventy years of age, and 
was l)eginning to feel that he had had his day, that, on 
August 8, 1454, there anchored at St. Vincent a galley 

' The history of the sugar contract with the Island of Madeira is noted 
in Azevedo's edition of Sandades da terra : 

It began with the agreement of December 1452, drawn up and signed 
at Albufeira, between Prince Henry and Diogo de Peive, a nobleman of 
hiR household, and deals with the construction of " M'ator-machincs " 
that could yield " dispatch to all the cane-fields," the third part of which 
was to belong to the Prince " without paying anything," p. 665. At the 
same time, the first charter of the island stipulated that one-half of all the 
sugar-cane that was not converted into sugar should belong to the Prince. 
These " presses " thus came into general use, and a duty, of StO kilos, of 
sugar per month, was demanded from farmers who manufactured their 
sugar independently of these " jjresses " or mills. The industry apparently 
was able to bear this heavy burden; i)ut when Prince F(Tnando, who 
inherited the duties of these islands after I'rince Henry's death, demanded, 
in 1461, a tax of one-third part of all the sugar manufactured in both 
" j)nHs " and " water-machine," the farmers complained, and left off 
manufactunig sugar. 

* Santareni, Mem. para a hist, doe Cortes, II. 2, 39. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 221 

of Marco Zeno's, the Venetian, bringing Alvisi Cadamosto, 
a nobleman of Venice whose voyages in his service were 
afterwards to become world-famous. When he inquired 
eagerly if he might be permitted to trade under his flag, 
Prince Henry sent him his secretary Antonio Gon9alves 
and the Venetian consul, Patricio di Conti, with samples 
of products from Africa. The terms offered were that if 
a caravel were armed at the explorer's expense, on its 
return the Prince should claim one quarter of the proceeds ; 
but if the Prince armed it at his expense he should claim 
one half. The Venetian accepted this second proposal, 
and Prince Henry accordingly ordered a caravel of ninety 
tons to be armed, and appointed Vicente Dias to act as 
captain. They sailed on March 22, 1455, arriving three 
days later at Porto Santo.^ In this first voyage they went 
as far as the rivers Senegal and Gambia, discovering on 
their return voyage the Islands of Cape Verde. The 
Senegal had already been reached by Lancarote, eight 
years before this, when he believed that he was entering 
some part of the Nile, or the Niger, which was supposed 
to be the western portion of the true Nile by both natives 
and earlier geographers. ^ From the Senegal, Lan9arote 
had coasted as far as Cape Verde, while Joao Gonyalves 
Zarco, dragging his anchor, had drifted as far as Goree.^ 
Finally, ten or twelve years after Cadamosto's voyage, 
and nine years after the Prince's death, Pedro de Cintra 
and Soeiro da Costa, two navigators belonging to Lan- 
^arote's syndicate and the last two of the contractors of 
this mixed commercial and discovering propaganda, 
charted the coast as far as Sierra Leone, in accordance 
with the agreement stipulating that 500 leagues 
extra should be explored. It was, therefore, the same 

1 Naveg. de Cadamosto, in the collection of the Academy II. Major's 
Life of Prince Henry gives this date as 1455, while Goes in his Chron. do 
Pr. D. Joao, VIII. gives us 1445. 

2 The Nile was supposed to rise in the Mountains of the Moon in the 
centre of Africa. One-half flowed north and east, through Egypt to the 
Mediterranean, the other west and south (the Niger) to the Atlantic. 

3 Azurara, Conquista de Giiine, LVI., LVIII., LXXV. 



** ^ ^ 



THE GOLDEN AGE OF 



Sociro da Costa, who hy doubling Cape Palnias succeeded 
in getting beyond the huge elbow of the African Continent. 
It was he also who named the river that runs near Cape 
Three Points after himself, and gave the explorers access 
to IMina — the mine that enriched Fernao Gomes' family.^ 
Such were the successive waves in the expansion of the 
Portuguese possessions in Africa, that made such a revolu- 
tion in the annals of geography.^ 

\Vliilst all this exploring was going on in Africa, however, 
the western ocean had not been neglected, and the Azores 
were seen for the first time, surging out of the Atlantic, 
in l-iSS. after Madeira had been discovered and populated. 
The finding of the islands was gradual. First of all, Prince 
Henry ordered Gon9alo Cabral to set out westward to try 
to authenticate the islands shown on the Florentine chart 
of 1351. In this voyage only the Formiga Islands were 

1 Barros, Decada, I. 2, 3. 

' The following is not an epitome of all the Navigators' voyages, but 
merely a suminary of their progress : 



I. Uninhabited Regions: 

26° 6'n. Cape Bojador . 

24° 50' iXjigra dos Ruivos 

24° 30' Angra dos Cavallos 

23° 45' Riod'Ouro . 

23° 9' Porto do Cavalleiro 



II. Region of the Arabs : 

20° 48' N. Cape Blanco 
Arguin . 
Tider Island 



1434, Gil Eannes. 

1435, ,, & Baldaya, 

1436, Baldaya. 

1436, Antao CJonfalves. 
1440, „ „ & Nunc 

Tristao. 



»» 



Arguin Bay 



1442, NimoTristao. 
1445, Laugarote, with 
1st Co. of LAgOS. 



tho 



III. Region of Negroids : 

16° 10'n. Estuary of the Senegal . 
13° .30' Estuary of the Gambia . 
14° 48' Cape Verde 

„ „ Islands . 
Estuary of the Casamansa 
Estuary of the Rio Grande 
(Sierra Loone 



12° 30' 

11° 50' 

8^30' 



1447, I>anvarote and his 2nd Co. 

1455, Cadamosto in his 1st voyage. 

1454, Diniz Dias. 

1456, Cadamosto in his 2nd voyage. 

1455, Cadamosto in his 1st voyage. 
1461. Pedro de Ciutra. 

1465, „ „ „ & Soeiruda 

Cosia. 



V. Region of Negroes: 
4" C N. Cape Palmas 



River Soeiro da Costa 
Three Point Cape 
San Jorge da Mina 



] 



1469, Soeiro da Costa. 
1469, Fernfto Gomes. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 223 

discovered; but in the following year, on his return, he 
found in addition Santa Maria, from which he could see 
yet another island, which Prince Peter the Regent ordered 
to be populated, naming it " San Miguel " "on account 
of the singular devotion that he always entertained for 
this Saint." ^ 

Later, in 1446, the Prince began to turn his attention 
towards the Canary Islands, the fifth part of which was 
granted to him by the Regent " authorising him the fifth 
part of all that was to be seen therein." Circumstances, 
however, did not permit this arrangement to turn out as 
successfully as some of the others. The Canary Islands 
were not destined to become the nation's property by this 
grant of the Regent, whose unfortunate rule (1439-46) 
coincided with the period in which these companies of 
Lagos were floated for the purpose of plundering Arguin, 
and exploiting the slave-trade. 

Nothing can more forcibly demonstrate the detachment 
of mind possessed by those dominated by one all-absorbing 
idea than the behaviour of Prince Henry at this period. 
He had already allowed one brother to be sacrificed to 
his ambition. Incidentally, he had thus helped to kill 
another. Now, all the while the country was in the throes 
of civil conflict, when Prince Peter was doing his utmost 
to thwart the rapacity of a bandit nobility, he stood aside, 
detached, uninterested, caring nothing, wrapped up in his 
dreams, enslaved by his thirst for fresh discoveries — care- 
less of all else. 

* Azurara, Conquista de Guine, LXXXIII. In 1507, S. IMiguel was 
leased for 160,000 lbs. of sugar : Arch. nac. Ldv. das Ilhas, 126. 

Vid? also Arch, dos Azores, 151, which contains various documentary 
papers relating to the Government and property of these islands — (1) the 
Regal Charter of July 2, 1439, dealing with the population of the Azores ; 
(2) of April 5, 1443, exempting the inhabitants from one-tenth of the cost 
of export; (3) of April 20, 1447, establishing the same exemption for 
S. Miguel; (4) of March 10, 1449, dealing with the population of the 
seven islands; (5) of January 20, 1453, granting Corvo Island to the Duke 
of Braganza; (6) of September 2, 1460, wherein Prince Henry grants 
Jesus Christo and Graciosa to his heir Prince Fernando; and (7) of 
December 3, 1460, transferring the grant of the islands of Madeira and 
Azores by the death of Prince Henry to Prince Fernando. 




224 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

At the very time when things had come to a ehmax, 
and his brother was forced by fate to pivc up his life at 
Alfarrobeira (1449), he was busy planning fresh expeditions. 
Even then Soeiro da Costa and his son-in-law Lan^arote 
were searchintr the seas with a fleet of twenty-six caravels. 

He appeared to be unconscious of everything around him 
that did not seem to him to bear upon his great obsession. 
But he cannot have been quite unconscious. As soon as 
his brother had been slain, he suddenly woke up. As soon 
as the Duke of Braganza managed to usur}) the throne 
under the pseudonym of Affonso \\ he saw the value of 
the new changes likely to accrue to his ambitions. 

His knowledge of the power of a strong hand behind 
the throne acquired in the days of his father's dotage, and 
in his brother Duarte's feeble term of Government, came 
back to him. He emerged from his hermitage in Sagres 
and revived his plans for the invasion of Morocco. 
Now there was no one to oppose him. The King was a 
mere infant. The Cortes was composed mainly of thieves 
in disguise, occupied only with their own petty quarrels 
and ambitions. He felt that, at last, his day had come. 

At this time the awful news resounded tluoughout 
Europe that Constantinople had fallen into the hands 
of Mahomet II (1453); and in terror-stricken Italy, the 
Pope, seeing himself threatened, along with all Christendom, 
thereupon feverishly ordered all Christian monarchs to 
start another Crusade.^ 

This was Prince Henry's opportunity. He was still 
thinking of Ceuta, the city that had given him the bitterest 
moments of his life; and in spite of his seventy years and 
his white hairs, still wiry in body and as tenacious in mind 
as ever, he asked permission to set out to defend this 
threatened bulwark of Portugal. This, however, his 
nephew would not permit. ^ 

Nevertheless, twenty-one years after Tangier, and five 
after the fall of Byzantium, Prince Henry took his nephew 

' Pina, Chron. de Affonso V, CXXVIII. 
* Azurara, Conquista de Ouini, V. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 225 

to Alcacerguiber (1458). Following the fearful catastrophe 
of Constantinople, when the Turks were devouring Greece 
and threatening Hungary, the Pope kept appealing to all 
Christian monarchs, and in 1457 he sent an ambassador 
to Portugal with the Bull for a Crusade. The young King 
was thus fired with religious piety, and offered to set out 
with 12,000 men, ordering at the same time the new 
Crusading coinage to be issued from his mint.i But the 
brotherhood of Christian monarchs only wished to fight 
the Turks ; and he could get no aid in his proposed attempt 
on Morocco outside his own kingdom. Nevertheless, his 
own enthusiastic courage, educated as he had been in the 
long crisis of the Regency, and the stimulus of the young 
generation that surrounded him and urged him on, proved 
sufficient. They lound themselves capable of working the 
miracle of quickly starting an expedition, and of falling 
as suddenly on the Moor. In the autumn of 1458, on the 
dawn of October 3, there arrived at Sagres the fleet that 
three days before had sailed from Lisbon; and Prince 
Henry, bowed down by the weight of seventy-five years, 
boarded his ship to take command of the fleet that cap- 
tured Alcazer,2 a success that was the prologue to others 
at Tangier and Arzilla (1471), victories that gave him the 
cognomen of " Africano " for all time. 

Thus before he died, Prince Henry had the happiness 
of seeing both his great ambitions apparently on the point 
of realisation, and feeling his conscience freed from the 
guilt of the evils he had \^TOught at the command of the 
restless spirit of adventure in his earlier days. He had 
actually dragged the dark continent of Africa up from 
the bed of the Ocean; and it was already evident he had 
started a new line of inquiry promising in the near future 
to yield a rich harvest of results — a new sea-way to India. 
He had the supreme satisfaction of feeling that his successes 
at Alcazer and Arzilla had wiped out the memory of the 

1 Aragao, Descr. Geral, I. 230, citing Pina's Chron. de D. Ajfonso V. 

2 Pina, Chron. de D. Ajfonso F,CXXXVIII., where we find that Prince 
Henry captured Alcazer on October 16, 1458. 

Q 



226 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

disaster he had experienced at Tangier. He saw in his 
mind's eye Morocco eventually converted into a new 
Portugal across the Sea; and though he was mistaken 
on this last point, the fact that he lived his remaining 
days nourishing this dream, never to be realised, must 
certainly have sweetened his old age immeasurably. 
Neither the discovery of India, nor his new Empire beyond 
the Ocean, were capable of giving him command of all 
Africa, for the vague military strategy of his times omitted 
to consider the north-eastern portion of this continent ; 
and Portugal was not as successful in carrying out the 
second part of his programme as she was in the first, 
because as a country she was too small and did not possess 
the necessary men and resources to complete the task. 
Thus, Prince Peter's keener political foresight was con- 
firmed by the subsequent history of his country, and 
perhaps also by the subsequent history of Europe. It 
was one thing to subject the Ocean and establish fortifi- 
cations along the shores of countries inhabited by more 
or less divided and ineffective populations — this was what 
a mere handful of Portuguese tried to accomplish in the 
East. It was quite another thing to establi-th a stable 
Empire in these regions, to populate them with vigorous 
thrifty people, and to bless them with a living proselytising 
Faith that would check the Turk, whose taking of Con- 
stantinople had shaken the foundations of all Christendom. 
To suppress the Arab or Moor, to usurp their dominions, 
the Portuguese required a larger and more thickly popii- 
lated fatherland. To dominate and exterminate this black 
wave was an impossibility. To attempt to capture the Ori- 
ental markets proved as futile as remaining on board the 
invading fleet ; for the markets of Africa for ever remained 
as an immovable craft, anchored in and constantly buffeted 
by the tempestuous seas of Islam. The loss of trade and 
isolation that fell to the lot of Ceuta after it passed into 
Christian hands, a fate that was afterwards shared by 
Alcazcr, Tangier, Arzilla and Azamor, demonstrated this 
effectually. They simply became expensive burdens, until 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 227 

at last John III wisely abandoned them, following the 
almost forgotten advice of Prince Peter. 

History thus brought its revenge. The Prince had been 
known to say that not even the Kings of Spain would 
suffice to conquer and subject the Mussulmen of Africa; 
and this, in fact, eventually was proved when Portugal 
had given up the idea of ruling the Arab, and Spain did 
try. Her united power was able to accomplish even less 
than her small neighbour; for the two sieges of Oran by 
Cardinal Jimenes (1509-10) proved as fruitless as the 
ill-fated attack on Argel by Carlos V (1541). Only in 
modern history, after the steady fall of the Mohammedan 
power, has France, with all her enormous resources, 
succeeded, after much expense and bloodshed, in estab- 
lishing a stable centre of colonisation at Argel, which is 
still perpetually attacked by the Arab, although waning 
in power, integrity and vitality. Morocco remained 
Mohammedan ; and if the same thing happened then that 
was later to happen at Argel, it was for the same reasons 
— the lack of things essential and unobtainable even in 
this Golden Age of the Portuguese people. 

It was, indeed, fortunate that Prince Henry died in 
1460 at Sagres,^ firm in the belief that Morocco was destined 
to belong to his country. His life work was over. The 
cause to which he had devoted his whole soul was flowering 
to success. It seemed as if by his own efforts he had been 
able to force the hand of Fate. He felt like a conqueror; 
and he died before the results of his world-colonising 
policy began to be criticised. His two brothers, Duarte 
and Fernando had fallen at the hands of destiny; and we 
shall see how Prince Peter was sacrificed at the altar of 
reason. He, on the other hand, expired in the full flush 
of success. Such was the end of the House of Aviz; and 
such was the Autumn of its genealogical tree. Its leaves 
fell brown and withered upon the Earth that rots all 
things, leaving only a memory — a great memory it is true, 
but still a memory, of high-soaring kingly dreams. 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Ajfonso V, CXLIV. 



228 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

The World's appreciation of Prince Henry is confined 
chiefly to his character as a man of action. His creative 
instinct initiated a new form of Imperial expansion, based 
on the old classical ideas of conquest. A modern Alexander, 
he originated and inspired the historical epoch of naviga- 
tion, dowering Portugal, the forerunner, with the benefits 
of his discoveries. In addition he gave a practical turn 
to the transcendental idea that the Church of Rome 
possessed a mystic sovereignty over the whole world, by 
petitioning it for the rights of ownership over the newly 
discovered territories he had found, and by utilising in 
his ventures the Bull of Crusaders, which had been pro- 
mulgated really to enact the religious and chivalrous 
ventures of more ancient times.^ His acquisitions being 
sanctioned by these proclamations, and by the ancient 
rights of conquest, he made the Order of Christ, of which 
he was the Grand Master, an instrument for his commercial 
and colonising enterprise, applying the rents of his new 
lands for the building and equipment of his vessels. 

He thus turned crusading into a profession, and the 
Order of Christ into a company of navigators. The 
ancient military and monastic institutions, the old ideas 
of warfare and of Religion, were quickly transformed in 
their essence, ^^'ithout any alteration in their aspect.^ The 

^ This claim of the Pope, arrogating to himself the right of apportioning 
new lands as he might think fit, was afterwards vehemently repudiated by 
the Protestant nations, particularly England and Holland, and was a 
fruitful source of irritation to Elizabethan mariners. 

* The Grants made by the Pope were transferred by the Prince to the 
Order of Christ : vide the Grant of June 7, 1454, in which Alfonso V passed 
on the jurisdiction of Gazalla, Guinea, Nubia and Etliiopia; also that of 
December 26, 1458, drawn up by the Prince while at Sagres, stating that 
the Order of Christ should receive the twentieth part, instead of the tenth 
part of all the imports from Guinea, whether slaves, gold, or ivory, and 
the rest was to go to the nobility. Cf. also that dated September 18, 1460, 
transferring the Island of Madeira to the same Order : Sousa's Hist. Gen., 
Proof 1. 454. Further, from 1485, after the death of the Prince, there 
is the decree issued by Estevam Gomes, Curate, serving as Archbishop at 
Lisbon, confirming these grants to the Order of Christ, as per the Bulls 
issued by Sixto IV, by Xicolau V, and by CalLxtas III, above cited, ibid., 55. 
Prince Henry, in 1451, made his nephew Prince Fernando his heir, thus 
keeping his oath to his sister-in-law (cf. the document in Sousa's Hist. 
Gen., 562), and by the grant of 1460 he also transferred Madeira to the 
Crown, wliile King Affonso V passed this on to Prince Fernando, ibid., 562. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 229 

monk found himself doing duty as pilot ; the knight became 
a merchant ; and Portugal rapidly took the appearance of 
a modern Carthage. Later, in the hands of the Inquisitor, 
the chosen deity became Moloch, the fire-breathing dragon 
that consumed his victims ; and a rural, warlike and pious 
nation, turned into a company of wealthy merchants, 
became stimulated to fiendish acts by the cruelty of a 
fanaticism which was obsessed by the delusion that it was 
thus carrying out the will of God, The Merciful, The Com- 
passionate. 

Undoubtedly the moral tone degenerated, because the 
spirit of Gain, developed under the combined stimulus of 
Religion and adventure, produced men of a less noble 
type than those the source of whose activity was that of 
a proselytising war, when courageous action, pious abnega- 
tion, and sacrifice went hand in hand. 

With truth-loving accuracy, the writer of the times 
confesses that " events following the earlier adventures 
were not endowed with so much sacrificing labour or 
fortitude, because deeds were conditioned by trade and 
agreements, and not so much by valour and strength of 
arms." But since the younger generation was born -wdth 
the Renascence, in a new age of Humanity, it was neces- 
sarily commercial ; and so its materialistic instincts rapidly 
usurped the former rule of transcendental thought and 
feeling. What characterises not only the Prince as a man, 
but Portugal as a People, is the hybrid alliance between 
these two extremes, an acme of Faith and an equally 
tenacious lust for gold. It is this that gave the nation 
during its Golden Days a semi-Punic character, and 
developed in its apostles a Religion as bloody and de- 
structive as the ancient rites of the Phoenicians, in spite 
of the mystic piety given to the very same Religion 
by Xavier.i It was this that ultimately ruined her 
colonial Empire, when Portugal found herself competing 
with other nations — nations that were inspired only by 

^ Cf. Portuguese Discoveries and Dependencies, by A. J. D'Orsey, London, 
1893, p. 116. 



230 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

a desire for trade, and had no proselytising zeal at 
all.i 

The Punic character, acquired by the traffic of these 
navigators, stimulated the fertility of the Prince's mind 
from a business point of view, and led him to devise new, 
or revive old, methods by which these colonies could be 
exploited. Thus the companies of commercial Navigators 
were evolved, and the slave-trade, and the Greek and 
Phoenician svstem of colonial defence and growth resusci- 
tated. Most of these methods of acquiring wealth were con- 
sciously or unconsciously resurrections of History, because 
formerly round the Mediterranean and along the Spanish 
coasts, in remoter centuries, there had been some form of 
slave-trade, farms and mines had been worked by slaves, 
and companies of navigators and of commerce had sailed 
from fortified centres. In these things, therefore, there 
was little that was new, although most of them long before 
this had disappeared ; nevertheless, it must be conceded 
that in more than one item, more particularly in the case 
of the uninhabited Atlantic islands, the fertile imagination 
of the Prince did propound something quite fresh, something 
which was an entirely new thought. 

The problem in question was that of populating the 
new-found countries ; and in his idea of emigration was 
its apparent solution. His, therefore, was the initiative 
that served as a type to other nations, who later entered 
on the same colonial husbandry. As they copied the 
example of his primitive colonial and defensive centres, 
and his markets of slaves, so they also followed his example 
of populating their colonies. The Azores and Madeira 

* Portuguese Discoveries and Dependencies, p. 30 : " Da Gama en- 
countered, on October 3, a large vessel belonging to the Sultan of Egypt, 
crowded with pilgrims returning from Mecca. The Arabs, seeing resiat- 
anco hopeless, offtTcd an enormous ransom, which the admiral accepted, 
and yet ordered the vessel to be Bred. The poor WTetches succeeded in 
extinguishing the flames, but the merciless da Gama orrlorod his men to 
rekindle them. An eye-witness relates that the women held up their 
children towards da Gama, and that in this scene of horror, ' rint6rieur 
du b&timcnt ofiFrait une representation visible de I'enfer.' . . . Thia 
terrible episode in the second voyage of Vasco da Gama shows the spirit 
with which h<» wa« animated in his voyage to Malabar." 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 231 

islands are examples of this to-day. They flourish, off- 
spring of the Fatherland founded in the Ocean, free from 
the complications produced by attempting at the same 
time to provide for the welfare of a previous native 
population. 

Thus, from Prince Henry's creative mind, too hard, 
too merciless, too disdainful to be altogether human, 
came all our modern ideas of colonisation — ^a Minerva 
giving birth to a Jupiter ! And if to Portugal belongs 
two centuries of greatness, it is mainly due to him — his 
country's Hercules. He quickened the dormant energies 
of the whole Nation ; he became the interpreter of its 
destiny ; and he succeeded in doing this mainly by the 
force of his hard, tenacious, yet heroic character. To 
realise this conquest, this success, he was compelled to 
break, not his own heaat, because his mind had no use 
for sentiment, but the happiness, the peace, and even the 
very lives of his three brothers, who died, more or less 
sacrificed to his ambition, one overburdened with grief, 
another in torturing captivity, and the third slain in the 
confusion of a civil war which he did nothing to avert. 
Alone, in moments of weariness, it is possible he may have 
regretted some, or all, of these events ; but, knowing his 
character as we do, seeing it in the perspective of history, 
we must feel that, had the circumstances recurred, he 
would have acted similarly, again and yet again. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE REGENCY 

We must now turn back a page in the Book of History 
to consider the events that followed immediately upon 
King Duarte's death, in order that we may be able to grasp 
more fully the significance of subsequent happenings. 

Prince Peter only was with the mourning Queen when 
his brother died. Prince Henry was, as usual, in Sagres, 
Prince John was again ill with " fever " at Alcacer do Sal, 
and the Count of Barcellos was away on his northern 
estates. 

Opening the King's Will, it was found that Prince Peter 
had been appointed Regent. But, as in life so in death, 
the wishes of this unfortunate monarch were disregarded ; 
and, when the Council assembled, they decided to exclude 
the three eldest Princes, Peter, Henry, and John, from 
the Government : " So that the Queen might not find 
herself obliged to leave the Government in their hands, 
and be moved by greater forces." 

This foolish sentiment, no doubt prompted secretly by 
the Queen, led speedily to disaster, touching as it did the 
pride of the Count of Barcellos, who was thus tacitly 
ignored, though he was the oldest of the late King's 
immediate relatives. 

He had journeyed southward with all haste, hoping to 
gain what he considered his rightful share of influence and 
power; for having lived all his days nursing the bitterness 
of his common birth, now, with the experience of his sixty 
years, and his fabulous wealth, he thought he saw at last 
the opportunity of wiping out for ever this inferiority. 

232 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 233 

For years, he had been carefully reminded of how his 
step-brothers had distinguished themselves at Ceuta, how 
they had, in consequence, been created Dukes at Tavira, 
and how, in King Duarte's reign, they had enjoyed as 
much power as the King himself. Lands, money, and 
vassals he had in plenty, for he had inherited enough from 
the Constable, his father-in-law; but yet, he lacked that 
position of undisputed eminence, that rank of nobility, 
which his doubtful parentage deprived him of. He, also, 
wished to be a Prince, to voice his wishes beside the 
Throne; and for this reason, he hurried to Court, in all 
haste, tired and mud-stained, after his forced journey. 

From the South, and unfortunately equally preoccupied 
with other ambitions, arrived Prince Henry. 

King Duarte's death was gathering the actors for the 
Drama that was soon to be enacted. 

The prologue of this Drama, it will be remembered, has 
already told us of Queen Leonora's antipathy for Prince 
Peter, how it originated in his marriage to the Count of 
Urgel's daughter, how later it was rendered more active 
by Prince Henry's move, when he influenced her to per- 
suade the late King to oppose Prince Peter and to under- 
take the disastrous expedition against Tangier, how it 
rose to a climax when the rumour got about that it was 
due entirely to her influence that her husband fell into 
the error that eventually led to such destruction and 
sacrifice. Nor did Prince Peter's increasing popularity, 
when she was thus daily becoming more unpopular, amend 
matters. It would seem that Queen Leonora was one of 
those small-minded women who are ruled by their likes 
and dislikes, and, accordingly, are at the mercy of their 
emotions. Soon, therefore, passive dislike grew into active 
hatred, for the Prince, on the one hand, was beginning to 
discern the limits of her capabilities, and the Queen, on the 
other, kept unavoidably wounding his pride by reminding 
him of the simple fact that she was the new King's mother. 

At first, however, during the early days of her grief, she 
put herself unreservedly into the hands of her two brothers- 



234 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

in-law, Prince Peter and Prince Henry, beseeching them 
to stay near for her immediate help, leaving all the main 
business to the Cortes which was to meet at Torres Novas. 
To crown the infant was obviously the most urgent matter. 
This Prince Peter did, after instructing Mestre Guedelha, 
the Court Physician and Astrologer, to arrange the ceremony 
according to the influence of the stars, fixing upon the 
most promising hour so as to avoid the incidents that had, 
it will be remembered, cast such a gloom over both King 
and subjects at the last Coronation. And this he did, 
although he himself had little faith in such omens, feeling 
that it was the better course to pursue, because he would 
thus consider the superstitions of the public. 

It was a seemingly insignificant incident, and yet it 
showed the mistakes he was liable to fall into as a result 
of his unapproachable superiority. As a philosopher, he 
was determined to steer the vessel of State with a loyal 
steady hand ; but, on the other hand, his impulsive mind 
— pessimistic, but nevertheless obedient to the dictates 
of reason — proved inadequate to circumstances. Every one 
knew he had no belief in such omens, and, had he flatly 
refused to consider them, would have understood. His 
taking cognizance of them, therefore, made people sus- 
picious of over subtlety and possible bad faith on his part 
towards the infant King. 

It is difficult for the average man to appreciate this 
state of mind, a mind in which loyalty, absolutely genuine 
in its intentions, is far from appearing genuine in its 
actions, because, though such a person has no aim but 
that which is the right one, yet he is continually mis- 
understood, since, instead of explaining his intentions 
frankly, he keeps his hopes and fears to himself, and thus 
his motives ever appear dark and sinister. In this dual 
personality we see both the Philosopher and the Politician, 
and such wc know must necessarily court trouble, for 
the bulk of the pocple, in their crude simplicity, usually 
misinterpret the apparent contradictions of such men, 
being unable to follow any thought above the simple 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 235 

average of life. Thus it was that, later, the Count of 
Barcellos and his son the Count of Ourem were able to 
poison the King's and the Nation's mind against Prince 
Peter, and this to such a point that he was driven from 
power, labelled a traitor, and, it was whispered, even a 
murderer. 

However, we must not anticipate matters. 

Possessed with the thought that the Prince wished to 
usurp the Crown from the infant King, seeing in this 
ambition not only a danger to her dearest one's position, 
but also to his life, the Queen was therefore dumbfounded 
when Prince Peter asked her to name as heir apparent 
the new King's brother, Prince Fernando, an infant of yet 
more tender years. Fully persuaded that he wished him- 
self to be King, or at least an everlasting Regent, she was 
so startled by this proposal that with feminine subtlety, 
more acutely active no doubt because her posthumous 
daughter, Donna Joanna, had not yet been born, she 
immediately countered by suggesting a marriage between 
the King and Prince Peter's daughter Isabel, thus hoping 
to minimise the Prince's supposed designs on her son's 
life; and it was not until after this had been settled that 
she chose her son Prince Fernando as heir apparent to the 
Crown. ^ 

It was about this juncture that the Count of Barcellos 
arrived, calculating that with the Queen's known antipathy 
towards Prince Peter he might readily further his own 
ambitions. He was quite alive to the fact that the rights 
of monarchy had originally risen from the more absolute 

1 Fna, Chron. de D. Affonso V, II.-VI. 

In 'he nine years of her married life, Leonora gave birth to eight 
chUdreu, three of whom were still-bom: Prince John (1429) the eldest. 
Princess Maria (1432), and Prince Duarte (1435). King Duarte was thus 
survived by five childien : Princess Fihppa (1430), who died at the age 
of nine, King ASonso V (1432-81); Prince Fernando, adopted by his 
uncle, who left him the Dukedom of Vizeu (1433-70); Princess Leonora, 
who married the Emperor of Germany (1434-67) ; and Princess Catharina 
(1436-63). Then there was Princess Joanna (1439-75), the posthumous 
daughter, who afterwards became Queen of Castile. Besides these legiti- 
mate children. King Duarte left a son, Dom John Manuel, who became 
Bishop of Guarda, and died in 1476. 



236 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Roman ideas, and that family unions had now come to 
play a most important part in the polity of a nation. 
Guileful and crafty, as a man usually is who has had to 
curb his jealousy for seventy years, he, therefore, entered 
the Court in all apparent good-will, and sympathetically 
suggested that the King should marry his own grand- 
daughter, the other Princess Isabel, Prince John's daughter. 
This would obviously give him great power at Court, his 
familv would rise to the Throne, and Prince Peter's dav 
would be over. But her suspicions of Prince Peter and 
her fear for her son's life proved too strong for this. The 
young monarch was, therefore, later on married to the 
Regent's daughter, and the first move of the Count of 
Barcellos thus met with an effectual check. 

Leaving the Court secretly, therefore, he next went to 
visit Dom Pedro, Archbishop of Lisbon, Prince Peter's 
traditional enemy, and one in great favour with the Queen. 
In him he found a willing confidant ; and, as a result, nearly 
all the nobilit)^, under the leadership of one Vasco Fernandes 
Coutinho — afterwards Count of Marialva, became secretly 
leagued together against the Regent. On the day before 
the meeting of the Cortes, therefore, these conspirators 
assembled quietly in a church at Torres Novas ; and all 
of them, dissatisfied with the favours that the Regent had 
granted them, took an oath to stand together against 
Prince Peter. The oath was in document form, but 
unfortunately the document has been lost. We can, 
however, guess what its objects were. It aimed at over- 
throwing Prince Peter, because it was known that he was 
just in action, intent on working for the good of the 
people, and bent on curbing the excessive power of the 
nobility. In truth, the aristocracy had, for some time 
past, been falling from their high estate; the country was 
being reduced to a state of quietude by a regular organised 
military force, intended primarily for defence, but acting 
also as a most efficient curb on their hereditary lawless- 
ness ; and they, therefore, desired eagerly to get back to 
their ancient chaos and disorder. The greatest obstacle 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 237 

to their cause was obviously a Monarchy that considered 
the interests of the pubUc, and those of the pubHc alone — 
not the nobility, not the merchant classes, not the peasants, 
but the public as a whole. Society had changed. During 
the Middle Ages, the motive spirit had been one of selfish 
interest ; but now, in this morning of the Renascence, 
Civilisation had raised its ideal cupola, segment by seg- 
ment, forming a composite edifice of unity, strength, and 
harmony, under the guidance of the Sovereign. In the 
Princes' minds, the State had become an architectural 
structure, a living creation, animated by the breath of 
social utility. This conception, sketched by John I, had 
by now taken a definite shape under Prince Peter's 
guidance. The Drama, that now begins, opens with a 
Revolution in the dawn of the Renascence in Portugal. 
It shows us how the Count of Barcellos, taking the role of 
" le Due de Guise," adopting the latter's motto " A chacun 
son tour," became the leader of a rebel aristrocacy, and 
how there were others ready to welcome and to support 
his revolutionary sentiments. 

We know that the assembly of conspirators wished the 
Queen to be Regent. To enable them to realise their 
ambitions, the last thing they desired was Prince Peter's 
vdse rule over them. Moreover, they frankly admitted 
that they preferred the Queen, because being a " foreigner 
and a woman, she will leave us the use and fruits of the 
Kingdom." Certain of winning the Count's applause, they 
hoped to gain also the support of Prince Henry. But it is 
unlikely that they did so; for the Prince, as we know, 
attached little importance to the internal administration 
of the country, in spite of the fact that at his mother's 
deathbed he had vowed to look after the welfare of the 
nation and to maintain the chivalrous traditions of the 
aristocracy. In any case his indifference was in their 
favour. 

The situation was already sufficiently serious ; but the 
climax came when the Queen was informed of the plot, 
no doubt directly or indirectly through the Count of 



238 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Barcellos or the Archbishop, and seized with sudden 
ambitions, earnestly took upon herself the role of leader 
of the party.i Prince Henry must have been above this 
conspiracy, for, impatient and perhaps exasperated at the 
loss of time incurred by these intrigues, he did everything 
possible to bring about a reconciliation, using all his 
influence over the Queen to induce her to agree to give 
Prince Peter the title of " Defender of the Kingdom," 
and leave him the supervision of the Courts of Justice, 
while she, herself, looked after the Government and the 
education of her children. Moreover, he opposed the 
suggestion of the Count of Barcellos concerning the King's 
marriage ; and, further, we learn, disagreed with those who 
strove to convince the Queen that she should not yield any 
part of the Government either to him or to Prince Peter ^ — 
all of which points to his innocence of conspiracy. Mean- 
while the unfortunate Queen, possessing no will of her own, 
soon found herself compelled to follow the wishes of the 
majority. 

It was in this atmosphere, then, that the Cortes assem- 
bled; and it is not surprising, therefore, to note the mis- 
fortunes that followed — for pomp and reality ever yield 
different fruits. Worn-out warriors, grey-haired Bishops, 
and grave Public Procurators unrolled their parchments, 
cleared their throats, and made their conventional speeches, 
summarising the situation, without getting nearer to any 
practical result. Some impartially wished either the 
Queen or Prince Peter to act as Regent; others, again, 
advised that they should divide the Government between 
them; while a third voted solidly for the exclusive Regency 
of the Queen. We know who these were ! Yet, again, 
the Public Procurators clamoured for Prince Peter. 

As there was no predominant mind to lead them, the 
result that usually follows such debates occurred. Nothing 
was decided. Prince Henry, impatient to return to Sagres 
to carry out work that was of more importance to him 
than these political squabbles, })roposcd an amendment, 

* Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, VIII.-X. « Ibid., XII.-XIII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 239 

the main points of which were that the Queen should 
attend to the education of her sons and to the adminis- 
tration of the Crown estates and offices, that the admin- 
istration of the Courts of Justice should be handed over 
to the Count of Arrayolos, that Prince Peter should be 
proclaimed "Defender of the Kingdom" (without, be it 
marked, any means to defend it), and that the Cortes should 
sit permanently, meeting once a year. It was evident 
that this amendment, as is frequently the case, " amended " 
nothing ; and we can only explain its weakness by remem- 
bering the little importance Prince Henry ever attached 
to the practical Government of his country, and his im- 
patience to return to Sagres ; for had he wished to have 
done otherwise, a man of his strength of character could 
hardly have failed to get his own way. 

" Let it be as my brother wishes " — was Prince Peter's 
reply, when he heard the amendment. 

It was an answer compatible with the character of the 
speaker. If he had not been so critical, he would have 
been more self-confident. Had he not possessed so complex 
a mind, had he been simpler, he would have answered : 

" It is a destructive error that will bring no good." 

But philosophy and self-criticism have the vice, as well 
as the virtue, of checking our impulses ; and some lofty 
minds, by a process of over-subtle reasoning, will often 
overlook or reject as fatal many a recognised solution of a 
problem such as would instantly commend itself to less 
complex minds. If he had been ambitious. Prince Peter 
would perhaps have even welcomed civil war. Had he 
been thinking of himself and of his plans, and not of the 
public and of his country, he would have pushed himself 
more forward, been more keen in action, worked for his 
ends with a more discerning eye. But since he was 
neither ambitious for himself nor for his schemes, he ran 
straight into the very disasters he T\dshed to avoid. Having 
passed this amendment, the document was duly signed 
before notaries ; and, to lend more solemnity to the occasion, 
this was done in church upon the altar. But the oath 



240 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

and signatures were accompanied by such reserved and 
cautious phraseology that it was evident those swearing 
intended breaking their word as soon as the opportunity 
arose ; for fetichism, superstition and falsification were 
still the seasonings in vogue at such gatherings, and most 
of them wished to lie without perjury. The Archbishop 
of Lisbon — more honour to him — was the only one among 
them M'ho firmly refused to sign the document, chiefly 
because he was obstinately opposed to Prince Peter.^ 

The Cortes dissolved, and Prince Henry returned to 
Sagres. 

The die was cast. Nothing but trouble awaited the new 
reign, in spite of the precautions of the Royal Astrologer. 

• «•••• 

The Count of Barcellos, like the conventional villain, in 
delighted anticipation, rubbed his tremulous aged hands, 
with the childish Joy of an old man already counting up 
his winnings. He smiled contemptuously at the simple 
straightforwardness of the " Defender of the Kingdom." 
He gloated over Prince Henry's wild schemes ; for as long 
as the latter was thus preoccupied he had little to fear 
from him. Both these sons of the English Princess, each 
in his own particular way, must have seemed to him 
creatures of a singular eccentricity. His own ambitions 
were diametrically opposed to theirs ; the baser instincts 
of the Nation, and the plundering habits of the aristocracy 
— ^the two elements that went to mould his character — 
made him yearn for nothing nobler than power and wealth. 
After having curbed his ambitions for so many years, he 
now allowed his feelings full play. At last his day had 
come; for he knew he could easily influence the weak 
Aragoncsc widow of that extraordinary creature, the late 
King Duartc, who had whiled away his days and his 
unfortunate reign in composing dissertations. 

Following on his success at the Cortes in setting aside 
King Duartc's wishes for the Regency, and brooding over 
his plans, he thought he saw a favourable opportunity for 
» Pina, Chron. de D. AJJomo V, XIV., XV. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 241 

again attempting to bring about a family alliance between 
the King and his own granddaughter. He wanted a 
King possessed of more autocratic ideas than those which 
had been introduced from England with Philippa, and had 
no sympathy for these doctrines of the people's rights 
that had almost demented his father, and inculcated ideas 
into his step-brothers' minds such as threatened to curb 
the bandit habits he so dearly loved. He realised that he 
must stop the infant King's marriage to Prince Peter's 
daughter, for then, the country would be ruled by a 
father-in-law, whom he regarded as a rhapsodist, dominated 
by absurd ideas of Justice and chimerical dreams of public 
welfare. His own idea of Justice was the sword, and his 
notion of public welfare the people's faithful submission 
to the sceptre of the ruler. The enthusiastic awakening 
of the Nation, under the new liberal thought, had almost 
destroyed his hopes ; but now there seemed at last a 
chance of crushing any more such aspirations. Therefore, 
he approached the Queen, bent on instilling distrust into 
her mind about her son's wedding, hinting that Prince 
Peter did not wish to abide by the late King's Will. Queen 
Leonora was frightened. She wanted to act and yet she 
dared not, for there was still some sort of respect left for 
documentary injunctions, and disobeying the word of the 
dead meant nothing less than invoking the curse of every 
shade in both Olympus and Tartarus. And so she hesi- 
tated. She hated and mistrusted Prince Peter. She felt 
herself ill at ease before his discerning gaze; and yet, 
haunted by the fear of disobeying her husband's last 
wish, she could not fall in with the Count of Barcellos' 
ideas. 

" I leave it all to you. You arrange it yourself ! " — she 
said finally at the end of the interview ; and the Count, 
swollen with a feeling of his own importance, thereupon 
approached Prince Peter, and repeated his suggestions as 
to the marriage. We can imagine the attitude of the 
*' Defender of the Kingdom." With princely contempt, 
with a bitter satirical smile, Prince Peter answered that 



242 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

he could blame somebody but that he would not. Then, 
opening a casket, he took out the written amendment 
that had been signed at the recent meeting of the Cortes, 
tore it to shreds, and calmly handed him the pieces.^ 

Certainly he was no diplomat. The true politician 
ignores, or pretends to ignore, the immediate, and adopts 
an attitude of dissimulation often to the point of losing his 
dignity. Love of Philosophy is a mistake when dealing 
with politics. Prince Peter, with his knowledge of the 
World and Mankind, was not equal to the occasion. The 
Count of Barcellos was ; but, fortunately, he had not the 
necessary imagination for the role. His confused ambitions 
were only capable of groping blindly. He did not aspire 
to the Sceptre. This thought had no place in his mind ; 
its seeds, undeveloped as yet, were only to germinate in 
his descendants. Putting the torn pieces of the document 
into his pocket, he left infuriated, conscious of having 
taken a false step, and yet surprised at his step-brother's 
simplicity. For this, and for this alone he had made his 
long journey. 

But, again, opposition met him where he least expected 
to find it. The Court had moved to the capital, and shortly 
afterwards Prince John, now convalescent from his " fever," 
arrived upon the scene. He was thirty-nine, and the young- 
est of the Princes remaining now that Prince Fernando was 
in captivity in Fez. The Count of Barcellos, old enough 
to be his father, and actually his father-in-law, did not 
dream of opposition from this quarter. He was all the 
more surprised then, when Prince John, who entertained 
a filial respect for his brother, and had absolute trust in 
his discretion, openly told the Queen that the resolution 
of the meeting of Torres Novas was a mistake, and that 
Prince Peter should act alone as Regent, otherwise things 
would go from bad to worse. Already grave fault was 
being found with the Government; for Queen Leonora, on 
account of the proximity of her daughter's birth, was 
unable to discharge the duties she had undertaken. Dis- 

1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affoiiso V, XVL 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 243 

content was rife; and the citizens of the Capital, hearing 
Prince John's opinions, openly grumbled, demanding that 
the Queen should give up her impossible task, and allow 
Prince Peter to govern alone.^ 

In August, 1439 — almost a year after King Duarte's 
death. Princess Joanna, who afterwards married King 
Henry VI of Castile, was born. But not even after the 
birth of the Princess did matters amend themselves. 
The public clamoured for Prince Peter to intervene im- 
mediately; but he, being devoid of ambition, and some- 
what contemptuous of the pleasures of power that others 
strove for so vehemently, was becoming more and more 
inclined rather to give up even the little he had in the 
Government than to seek more, wishing instead to betake 
himself to the peace and quiet of his estates. 

Our worthy friend Sir Alvaro, who saw the tragic 
humour of Prince Peter's philosophy, agreed with him. 

" Your Highness should either retire from office," he 
advised, with a smile, " or else take things more seriously, 
and assume all the Government yourself. Your scruples 
are compromising, and will benefit no one." 

With the indecision that had characterised his brother 
the late King, Prince Peter next consulted Prince John, 
for Prince Henry, again a stranger to Court, was in his 
dream-retreat at Sagres. 

" For my part," Prince John answered, "if it were 
not for the fact that I have two brothers like yourself and 
Henry, I would take the Regency myself ; and if they did 
not give it to me, I should perish in the attempt ! We 
will I'ot question the Queen's virtues — they probably are 
numerous — but we cannot allow ourselves to be ruled by 
a woman, and much less by one who is a foreigner. It 
would be a disgrace and an outrage ! " 

It will be noticed that he was against his owti daughter 

ever sitting on the throne as consort, for, in truth, the 

generous blood of Aviz flowed in his veins ; and so he 

opposed the scheme that might lead to the Count of 

1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, XVII., XIX. 



244 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Barcellos ruling through a helpless puppet King, intensely 
to the astonishment of the Count, who, on his part, would 
not believe this son-in-law of his could be so stupid where 
his own personal interests were concerned. 

Prince Peter had good reasons to fear a revolution : his 
philosophy was able at least to warn him of this. 

" Civil war is certain," continued Prince John, with 
conviction, " because those who advise the Queen do so, 
not for love of their country, but from love of themselves. 
Their chief aim is to bolster up the power of the nobles 
at the expense of the people and the Royal Inheritance." 

Dwelling on this, he reminded Prince Peter how King 
Duarte's wise legislation had curbed those vampires who 
had been ever ready to suck the Nation's strength, eager 
to destroy the sense of freedom that had been growing 
since the War of Independence with Castile. They were 
still dangerous from within. But now, in addition, there 
was another danger, from without. This was the power 
of the Princes of Aragon, Queen Leonora's brothers, who 
having climbed to the Castilian throne beside their other 
sister, still ever restless, ever in search of adventure, would 
now doubtless try to insinuate themselves into the troubles 
of Portugal as well. He, therefore, went on to urge him 
to take heart of grace, exercise a wise precaution, and keep 
the Government stable in his own hands, saying that this 
was the only means of avoiding war, and that if he did 
not care to take the responsibility alone, he ought to recall 
and consult with his brother Henry from Sagres. Finally, 
he drew a more hopeful picture for the future, })roj)hcsying 
a peaceful Government at the next session of the Cortes, 
if only his brother would take a firmer grip on the affairs 
of State. Thus he persuaded Prince Peter to agree to 
wait for the Cortes, convincing him that it would be 
wrong to resign the Government, and suggesting that 
perhaps the Queen herself would propose some more 
acceptable arrangement,^ for often the most arduous and 
intricate problems are thus unexpectedly solved. 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, XXI., XXII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 245 

But the Queen was at Sacavem, entangled in a web of 
intrigue; and while Lisbon was rejoicing, because Prince 
Peter was to continue his rule, she, for the same reason, 
was vengefully expelling from Court all those ladies-in- 
waiting who sympathised with Prince Peter. With this 
fresh manifestation of temper, she reopened hostilities, 
committing, at the same time, an error that led her head- 
long into disaster and resulted in her complete estrangement 
from public favour. It happened in this wise : returning 
to Lisbon, she gave the Governor, Nuno Martins da Silva, 
the right of collecting the trade taxes which the merchants 
of the City were obliged to pay every seven years. This 
roused the citizens, who, collecting rapidly, surrounded 
and besieged the Government buildings during the meet- 
ing when the t^s^o procurators, Bartholomew Gomes and 
Alvaro Affonso, were presenting the Carta Regia. The 
mob, finding that the Queen had read and signed this 
Carta Regia without consulting the Regent, rushed into 
the room, seized Alvaro Affonso and threw him out of 
the window. The unfortunate man escaped with his life 
by falling on an adjacent roof, and Bartholomew Gomes 
owed his to his own Herculean strength.^ 

All the while the mob were thus demonstrating their 
hostility towards the Queen, they kept cheering for 
Prince Peter. In vain the Count of Ai'rayolos, to whom 
the Cortes of Torres Novas had entrusted the administra- 
tion of Justice, hurried to Lisbon to pacify them. The 
rioting only became worse on his arrival. Those who 
were for the Queen secretly fanned the conflagration in 
the belief that Arrayolos had come to punish the ring- 
leaders. It was prophesied that rivers would run with 
blood. A general massacre was threatened as the only 
means of settling the entanglement. Fugitives began to 
leave the City. The public lost all respect for the clergy, 
even when upholding the Government. Friar Vasco da 
Alagoa, while preaching in S. Domingos, was dragged 
from the pulpit and mobbed out of his church. The 
1 Pina, Chron de D. Affonso V, XXIV. 



246 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Count of Arrayolos, who had come to quell the insurrection, 
had to .seek shelter from a crowd that threatened to tear 
him limb from limb.^ Lisbon, in fact, was out in full 
rebellion. 

Such was the situation when Prince Peter arrived at 
the Capital from Camaratc, and succeeded after consider- 
able difficulty in restoring order. The Cortes told him 
bluntly that the cause of the upheaval was that there 
were too many Regents ; and that either he should reign 
alone, or else the Queen should do so by herself. 

Nevertheless the Queen, in spite of the advices of Prince 
Peter and the Count of Arrayolos, insisted that her noble- 
men should attend the next session, each followed by their 
vassals and bodyguard ^ — the foolish lady evidently wishing 
the Assembly to take the form of an open battle. 

As far as Prince Peter was concerned, events had taken 
such a turn that he found himself compelled to set aside 
his feeling of detachment, turning from the pose of a 
philosopher to that of a man of action. Feeling the need 
of counsel he longed, therefore, to have beside him his 
brother. Prince John, whose simple straightforward mind 
was able to see more clearly in a crisis than his own over- 
subtle intellect. But Prince John lay at Alcoehete, again 
the victim of his " fever," and Prince Peter, therefore, 
went there to consult him. 

At the invalid's bedside he found his nephew, the 
Count of Ourem. Prince John's advice was the same. 
Again he recommended him to proclaim himself sole 
Regent, saying that then he should have nothing to fear, 
that thus he could meet all his enemies — the Aragonese 
princes, or any one else who might come to defend the 
Queen. Ourem, his nephew, nodded ajiprovingly, saying 
that he and many others were ready to help him to defend 
the kingdom. 

It was excellent advice, but Prince Peter, with the 
procrastinating weakness of a diplomatist, hesitated. 

" We will wait for the Cortes," he said. " It is dan- 

> Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, XXV. * 75^^.^ XXVII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 247 

gerous to precipitate matters. The Cortes will decide for 
us in due time ! " 

And in this he remained firm, although Prince John 
objected that by following such a course he ran the risk 
of not taking advantage of the proper moment when 
public feeling was favourable. 

"Let it be as God wishes," replied the Regent; "I 
will not act without the Cortes. The Queen writes to her 
noblemen, ordering them all to attend with their troops, 
whilst I, as Defender of the Kingdom, must similarly warn 
my districts to hold themselves in readiness for any 
emergency." ^ 

All this took less than one month, and September had 
just arrived when the Prince, before going to his house 
at Coimbra to prepare himself in solitude for the impending 
crisis, decided to present himself at Sacavem on the way. 
The little King of seven ran up to his uncle and allowed 
him to kiss his hand ; but the Queen-mother received him 
coldly, and treated his courteous advances with scornful 
suspicion, so much so that on his departure he was goaded 
to exclaim : 

" What I have done I have done for the best. The only 
reward I have received has been hatred and malevolence. 
So far you have found me as you wished : from henceforth 
take me as you find me ! " ^ 

And with these words he left her, pleased with himself 
for having for once spoken out his true thoughts. Never- 
theless, it was a grave tactical error, for if he wished for 
the Queen's friendly co-operation, he had now lost it for 
ever, fatally wounding her pride; and if Civil War was 
threatening before, it was certain now. The man to 
command coming events must have discretion as well as 
fortitude. 

On the other hand, the Count of Barcellos, with the 

cunning of an old fox, was a better politician. It is true 

his illusive hopes seemed to be receding, and, to his 

incredulous eyes, his own sons appeared obedient and loyal 

1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, XXVIII. ^ Ibid., XXX. 



248 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

to Prince Peter; yet none the less he was beginning to 
find the sokition of his problem ; and so he eraftily remained 
in the background, allowing himself time to find cover, 
cautious of taking any false step that might seriously 
compromise him. 

Meanwhile, Prince Peter had returned to Lisbon on his 
way to Coimbra, and for the first time began to exercise 
his power as Defender of the Kingdom. With this title, 
his father, before him, had established the country's in- 
dependence, and finding the throne vacant, made himself 
King. The memory of the Revolution of 1383 must have 
been fresh in the mind of this son of John I. Again 
Lisbon was calling — calling him, as it had called his father 
— not now as then to seize the Crown, since philosophy 
made him immune to such ambitions, but rather to avert 
the disasters that were threatening that Crown, through 
the nobility's covetous anarchy and the Queen's jealous 
folly. Indeed, recognising its origin from the ancient 
Roman tribune, he was scrupulously conscious that the 
Office of Defender of the Kingdom was one with sacred 
duties ; and, moreover, reason told him that these duties 
were the attributes of sovereignty, and that the King 
should be the true Defender of the people against the 
power of the aristocracy. 

With these thoughts, and with a firm hand, he wrote 
his warning proclamations to the various districts, com- 
manding them to be prepared for further orders ;i and 
having dispatched them, so that they all should be delivered 
on the same day at their destinations, he set out to Coimbra. 
Meanwhile, at Lisbon, an excited multitude gathered all 
through the day at the Cathedral doors to read the copies 
intended for the City ; and at night they still kept coming 
with torches and lanthorns because the day was not long 
enough. With widespread alarm, at the dangers hinted 
at, and yet with extreme confidence that with their help 
he could avert them, the populace acclaimed the Prince 
as their Defender, blaming the Queen, who they believed 
» Pina, Chron. de D. AJfomo\V, XXXIX. 




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PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 249 

would welcome foreign intervention and the help of the 
Aragonese Princes to crush them. Hurrahs, shouts of 
joy, and cheers resounded as each line of Prince Peter's 
message was read out to a public that felt itself secure 
under the protection of this one Prince whom they all 
loved. 

All the towns in the Kingdom answered that they would 
hold themselves in readiness, and Oporto that the Prince, 
and he alone, " was to be Regent." ^ 

Trembling with fear, the Queen sought refuge and 
escaped to Alemquer, — for, while the Defender remained 
at Coimbra waiting for his Cortes to assemble, Lisbon 
had declared itself in rebellion. It had given itself up to 
Sir Alvaro Vaz de Almada, Prince Peter's " fidus Achates," 
who had made himself Lord -lieutenant and General of 
the City, taking the oath to abide by the wishes of the 
citizens as he solemnl}^ accepted the City's banner. Under 
his friend's rule the City w^as all for Prince Peter : in S. 
Domingos, in the ancient " forum " of the Mediaeval city, 
the various representatives assembled and decided that 
only Prince Peter was to act as their Regent and Defender, 
promising to support him at the meeting of the Cortes and 
" to die for him should the necessity arise." 

However, even in the City itself things did not run 
altogether smoothly for the Regent, for opposing him 
was his old enemy, the Archbishop Dom Pedro, the only 
person, it will be remembered, who had refused to swear 
allegiance to the new Government and sign the resolution 
at Torres Novas, a quarrelsome person and one so deep in 
debt that no honest prudent Government, however willing, 
could relieve him. He started converting his Cathedral 
into an arsenal, fortifying it against the City authorities, 
in spite of all warnings, until such mobs of citizens assem- 
bled to support the authorities that he was compelled to 
sacrifice staff and sword to save himself, and take flight 
to Castile, remembering the fate that had befallen his 
predecessor (on the day that Count Andeiro was beheaded) 
1 Pina, Ckron. de D. Affonso V, XXXIX . 



250 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

too well to run a similar risk himself. As soon, however, 
as he arrived at Castile, he felt himself at a safe enough 
distance to write a threatening letter to the Munieipality, 
saying that he would raise an army and mareh against 
the City. The authorities answered by depriving him of 
his Episcopal rents in the City, giving half of these to his 
successor, and the other half to his creditors ! ^ The humour 
and political subtlety of this came from no other than 
Sir Alvaro — for it was after this answer had been given 
that Prince John returned from Alcochete and took 
command of the City himself. ^ 

Meanwhile, the Queen answered Prince Peter's manifesto 
with yet another of her own, commanding the people to 
adhere to the resolution of Torres Novas, and proclaiming 
herself Regent. But these notices were all torn down 
and destroyed, and at Lisbon the Writer to the Chancery 
barely escaped with his life, as he posted them on the 
Cathedral doors .3 At the same time, the Queen did her 
best to prejudice Prince John, now in charge of the City, 
against the Regent. Recalling him to Alemquer, she tried 
to win him over from his brother, bribing him with the 
offer of the Regency for himself, and the Crown for his 
daughter, trying, in fact, in her despair, to tempt him 
with everything she possessed. 

But Prince John was immovable. 

"This can never be God's wish," he answered firmly; 
" nor can He desire that among the sons of John I, who 
have all been brought up in such peaceful concord and 
love, there should now be sown the seeds of discord. If 
I agreed to your proposals, I should live in worldly shame, 
and in fear of God, not so much for accepting the Regency, 
but merely at the thought of doing so when I have two 
such brothers as Prince Peter and Prince Henry, older 
and more fitted for the duty than I can ever hope to be. 

' Royal Charter of Dec. 8, 1439. in the Annals of the Municipality of 
Lisbon. 
« Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, XXXI.-XXXTV. and XL. 
» Ibid., XXXV. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 251 

The King's wedding to my o^vn daughter, if things were 
otherwise, would certainly be the greatest honour and the 
greatest blessing that I could desire. But as things are, 
I would rather see her in public disgrace, than wedded 
thus at the expense of my brother's honour and wishes, 
for then I would have to go against the last request of 
King Duarte, whom may Heaven hold in peace." ^ 

Thus prompted by the spirit of chivalry and honour, 
the Prince spoke out his answer, leaving the Queen in- 
capable of further argument. She could not understand 
how such loyalty and brotherly affection could overcome 
personal ambition and paternal love. But, in her obstinacy, 
she would not admit herself defeated. So she changed 
her tactics. She next recalled Prince Henry. She wrote 
to him, perhaps misadvised by those who shared her 
ambitions, convinced that it was better to rouse this 
dreamer by putting fear and surprise into his soul, and 
informed him that the worst had come to pass, that Prince 
Peter wished to keep all power in his oAvn hands, and that 
he was plotting for their mutual destruction. 

WTien Prince Henry — who was at Sagres — read this 
letter, he could not resist smiling as he looked at the 
messenger; but, nevertheless, he made a hasty journey 
to Coimbra, to find out for himself the real state of matters. 

" See, brother ! " he laughed, as alighting from his horse 
he met Prince Peter; " see how great my fear is ! I am 
here, hale and hearty." 

After greeting him, he went on to tell of the Queen's 
message. 

" I am not surprised," answered Prince Peter, with 
deep-rooted melancholy, " such times, and such designs 
are ever yielding a rich harvest of unexpected fruits ! " ^ 
And he went on to relate what had happened in his 
absence, unfolding the story as he led the other through 
the Palace courtyards, into the Duchess of Coimbra's 
presence, where he found the whole family assembled 
to welcome him. Here also he found the Count of Bar- 
1 Pina, Chron de D. Ajfonso V, XLIX. ^ /^j^,^ XLIII. 



252 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

cellos, a little uneasy as one who finds himself in the 
backr^round. Tlie three brothers orrectcd each other, and 
then retired to discuss the situation. Finally it was 
decided that Barcellos, being more friendly with the Queen 
than any of them, should endeavour to persuade her to 
attend the Cortes, which was to meet at Lisbon in a 
month's time. 

The Count, therefore, took horse for Alemquer, where 

he met his son, the Count of Arrayolos, just returned from 

the capital. There was no doubt the storm was gathering; 

and Prince Peter seemed more in public favour than ever. 

Alemquer had been transformed into a veritable fortress, 

surrounded by sentinels and outposts, whose constant 

watchfulness betrayed the apprehension of the authorities. 

The Count, frowning and biting his lip, delivered his 

message to the Queen, explaining that the peace of the 

nation, and Prince Fernando's freedom (the unfortunate 

martyr was almost forgotten during this comedy) demanded 

an immediate meeting of the Cortes, and that the Princes 

wished her to attend the meeting. The Queen, in her 

vanity, seeing a probable capitulation in this request, 

answered that she would go if the Municipal and Urban 

authorities repealed the acts passed during Prmee Peter's 

Regency; and with this answer the old Count returned to 

Coimbra, quite convinced that the Queen's last day had 

come. For this reason, when the two brothers separated, 

one for Sagres, the other for Guimaracs, Barcellos, who 

owned the whole Minho district and most of that of Traz- 

os-Montes, with an eagerness that was proportional to 

his desire to neutralise the false steps he had taken, did 

everything he could to convince the Queen's party of the 

mistake that she would fall into by attending the meeting 

of the Cortes.* Apparently the Count had delivered his 

message very much against his will ; and now he tried to 

undo what he had done. He pointed out that nothing 

could be gained by her presence there, that she could 

leave others to settle their own squabbles, and that then 

» Pina, Chron. de D. Affonm V, XLIV. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 253 

she and her party could join the winning side. The Count, 

no doubt, at this time must have been finding himself 

very much alone. Prince Peter, surrounded by his family, 

was absorbed in study and his books, while in the peaceful 

oblivion of the tomb, King Duarte rested in his eternal 

sleep. At Sagres, Prince Henry armed his fleets to conquer 

Africa and thought of nothing else. In his cell, at Fez, 

Prince Fernando groaned under the whip of the Moor; 

and in Lisbon, Prince John was holding the city for his 

brother against all comers. 

To lead a Revolution is a mere figure of speech, for 

Revolutions are never led : their chieftains are always 

serfs. The Revolution was taking shape at Lisbon. To 

await the Cortes, as Prince Peter wished, was to run a grave 

risk. Oporto precipitated matters somewhat by declaring, 

once and for all, its final wishes in the matter. The 

Commission of S. Domingos soon followed this example. 

They felt that something had to be done during this 

momentous crisis. Moreover, Prince John's remarks 

made them see that a prompt decision was imperative ; and 

it looked as if Prince Peter was now determined to cross the 

Rubicon. In Lopo Fernandes, a great friend of Prince John, 

they had one " to whom the people looked for support." 

To their assistance also came Diogo Affonso Mangancha 

" who was learned, brave and restless." The latter was 

a fine swordsman and an astute scholar, one who saw 

his own fortunes bound up in this Revolution. He, 

therefore, concentrated all his energies in the cause. Even 

in King Duarte's reign he had already the reputation of a 

learned judge; and he was also very popular, for it was 

known that he had bequeathed all he had to a noble 

purpose — ^the founding of the University of Coimbra.* 

In his Will, dated January 4, 1448, we find the following 

regulations for the college : " In it shall be received ten 

pauper scholars and four servitors without alms, or beasts, 

^ The Loyal Counsellor, LVIII. : This Judge Mangancha founded his 
country's most famous University. In his lifetime, he started its first 
college in his own house, iostituting a Ubrary in which, as was customary 
in those days, the books were fastened with chains to the walls. 



254 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

receiving instead two " tavolas " per diem, without other 
rations, or bedding, or other articles of maintenance 
without survey, or else receiving one " tavola " and night 
rations . . . that there shall be ten apartments, and in 
these shall be built ten wooden bedsteads, and studies . . . 
and here shall be received : firstly, ten scholars already 
tutored, and these ten must be over sixteen years of age ; 
secondly, if they be in the Faculty of Divinity, they shall 
be admitted although not tutored ... of these ten, one 
shall act as Rector of the college . . . and each new scholar 
of this or other Faculty may stay ten years, and those 
that enter already tutored may remain only seven years, 
and those learned in Logic, five years and m) more. . . . 
Tlie College shall not admit rich noblemen, coxcombs, 
drunkards, rovers, stammerers, nor any addicted to vice, 
nor any crooked-nosed, nor fat-faced person, nor any 
with the complexion of rosemary, even though they be 
virtuous." ^ Such was the Will, and such the character 
of this new champion of the people, who openly siding 
with Prince Peter and the citizens of Lisbon, defying the 
authorities made public his opinions with all the rhetoric 
of a trained advocate. His views were popular, and he 
was listened to eagerly. The laws of Portugal, he main- 
tained, were derived from the ancient codes of the Sicilian 
Franks, which from the very beginning had excluded 
women from the throne. Therefore, he told his willing 
hearers, the Queen had no right to rule; and accordingly, 
he urged them to submit to the governance of none other 
then Prince Peter. It was a popular view, backed by the 
seeming logic of the law, and so the citizens came in 
crowds to support and cheer him. 

The Queen, the Princes, and the various muncipalities 
were informed of this. It looked as if the cause of the 
Regent was rising in the full flood of fortune. Lisbon 
as the capital opened the way by accepting the new 
movement. Oporto followed her example; and Prince 

1 We find this extraordinary document copied verbatim in J. P. Ribeiro's 
Dim. Chron., IL 260. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 255 

Peter, stimulated by the fervour of his friends, agreed to 
undertake the task of looking after the country's welfare. 
But Prince Henry, on the other hand, was not so carried 
away. He looked upon these happenings as revolutionary, 
for we must remember the actual meaning of these events 
was that the resolution of the Cortes of Torres Novas 
had now been absolutely repudiated. Therefore, he 
remained coldly neutral; and the populace, who were 
unable to distinguish things in the same light as the 
educated nobility, soon began to grumble against him, 
so much so that Prince John had to intervene, putting 
fear into them by threatening that he would communicate 
with Sagres. 

When the Count of Barcellos, at Guimaraes, learnt of 
the new move, he was overcome \vith senile anger, realising 
that his step-brother was now almost certain of power. 
It is true he had ad\ised the Queen not to attend the 
Cortes. But he had done so against his will. His object 
was to keep the various interests suspicious of one another. 
He neither wished Queen Leonora nor Prince Peter to 
have anything to do with the Government. Only disorder 
and disagreement could benefit his cause, and he realised 
this. A strong Government would obviously be antagon- 
istic to his plans, and it was clear that, in the hands of 
Prince Peter, the Aragonese widow would be no easy 
victim to his own cunning. Pina ^ tells us that " accord- 
ing to the public and indi\'idual wisdom that followed, the 
Count's disappointment was in keepmg \^ith his own 
interests." 

Everywhere, and especially in Lisbon, things were going 
against him. Reports of his political attitude had reached 
the capital, where Prince John was provisionally Governor, 
and Sir Alvaro in command of the troops. The Queen, 
sheltered in her castle and protected by its garrison, tried 
to resist the provisional Government ; but Sir Alvaro laid 
siege to it, and more by threats than by actual violence, 
compelled it to surrender. 

1 Chron. de D. Ajf<mso V, XXXV., XXXIX. and XLI. 



256 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Tliese hap])cnings in the capital obliged Prince Peter 
to leave Coimbra. He marched to the capital, accompanied 
by an escort of 4000 men. It was given out that he was 
making for Alcmquer to accompany the infant King there; 
for he had taken the main road that leads from Coimbra, 
through Redinha and Lciria to Batalha and Alcoba9a. 
The Queen hearing of this, and feeling uneasy, sent a 
messenger to intercept him at Afazeirao. The messenger 
encountered the Prince and his troops on this main road, 
where he was told that they were not bound for Alcmquer. 
Eventually the escort arrived at the gates of Lisbon, 
outside which the Prince pitched his camp. It was the 
beginning of the winter of 1439. The citizens came out in 
crowds to meet him, beseeching him to be their Regent; 
but they were told to wait for the Cortes' decision. 

Some little time after, accompanied by his brothers. 
Prince Henry and Prince John, he entered the city to 
attend the meeting of the Assembly, which consisted of 
the representatives of the three districts of the Kingdom. 

At this meeting the Queen opposed everything, refusing 
to give up the Regency, to leave Alemquer, or even to 
allow the young King to enter his own capital. Prince 
Henrv was able eventuallv, however, to convince her that 
the young monarch should be present at the next meeting 
of the Cortes. But this was not in keeping with the 
Count of Barcellos' plans. He objected strongly — indeed 
with such vehemence, that his cause was prejudiced 
thereby ; and so his later attempt to reinstate his friend 
the Archbishop of Lisbon also proved futile,^ a defeat 
that served but to increase his hatred for Prince Peter. 

Next, one of the procurators from Oporto took it upon 
himself to propose that the Queen and the infant King 
should be separated, because, he said, " educated by a 
woman he will grow effeminate, and will be brought up 
to hate the Regent — and perhaps us as well." 

" We cannot support you in this," interrupted Prince 
Peter, seeing that the Assembly were on the point of 
» Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, XLV.-XLIX. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 257 

agreeing with the procurator. " If the King were to die, 
every one would then say that it was I who had killed 
him. The responsibility is too great for me ! " 

But, on the Cortes insisting on discussing the point, he 
called upon his two brothers to express their opinion, only 
to fhid that they, somewhat to his surprise, agreed with 
the Assembly, holding that the King should remain in the 
Regent's charge. To get out of the difhculty, therefore, 
he proposed that he should accompany the boy-king and 
the Queen-mother on a progress throughout the Kingdom. 
But here another difficulty arose. The Queen would not 
agree to this, thinking that it would look humiliating to 
travel thus, attached as it were to the Prince's Court. 

The Regent's star was obviously in the ascendant; and 
it was clear the Queen would have to yield to the inevitable. 
It was then that an exceedingly clever move occurred to 
her. She acted on it instantly, giving up not only the 
King to Prince Peter, but also all her other children, four 
in number, the youngest of whom was only a few months 
old. Leaving her entire family thus with Prince Peter, 
she departed theatrically alone, unaccompanied to Cintra, 
reckoning that by appearing forcibly bereft, she would 
provoke civil war, and induce her own brothers, once they 
had settled their affairs at home, quickly to come to her 
defence. No sooner, however, had she reached Cintra than 
she set out again in a fever of hysterical excitement for 
Alemquer, feeling that there she was nearer the frontier, 
and closer, therefore, to the help she anticipated from 
Aragon — all Prince Peter's advice, arguments, and suppli- 
cations proving in vam, although, with the idea of calming 
her, ht liad brought the King and his Court to Santarem, 
so that they could be near her, across the Tagus. 

At Almeirim, all was almost open conspiracy ; and here the 
Count of Barcellos was in his element. He tried to induce 
the Queen to betake herself to Crato, reminding her that 
the Prior of the Hospitallers could be depended upon, and 
that his castle was strong enough to withstand any attack 
that might come before her brothers from Aragon arrived 



258 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

to avenge her. He went so far, indeed, as to give colour 
to the rumours tliat he was privy to certain agreements 
between the Queen and the Aragonese Princes to invade 
the country — rumours which caused Prince John, the 
Count of Ourem, Prince Henry, and eventually the Regent 
himself, to upbraid him for his folly. Contemporaries 
explain the Count of Ourem's partiality for Prince Peter, 
by assuming that " it was a better and safer policy for 
the father to belong to one party and the son to the other." 

By this time, the Queen was in a fever of doubt, in- 
decision, and fear, not knowing how to act, so much so 
that for safety she sent her jewellery and money to her 
sister. It was impossible to distinguish friend from foe; 
every one was suspicious of every one else ; and the Prior 
of Crato, in this atmosphere of uncertainty, sent his own 
son, first to Santarem, to pay homage to the Regent, then 
to Almeirim, to wait on Leonora during her vacillating 
journeys. 

The crisis was reached one cold October night (1440), 
when the Queen, with a small band of attendants, looking 
like a family of wandering gypsies, fled from Almeirim 
across the broad plains south of the Tagus, to Crato. 
Almeirim had noisily espoused her cause; and when the 
news of this flight spread throughout the town every one 
was panic-stricken, the people, in alarm, leaving their 
beds and shouting : 

" Run for your lives ! Run ! Prince Peter is coming 
to imprison us all ! " 

The fear was as widespread as it was ridiculous. Half- 
dressed, collecting their goods as best they could, the 
frightened populace hurried across the moors, like a flock 
of frightened sheep. In their panic, many were firmly 
convinced that their only safety now was in Castile. The 
wife and son of an old and lame warrior, the Squire of 
Cascaes, pulled the decrepit old man out of bed, dragging 
him along the floor in their anxiety, urging him in the name 
of all the saints to bestir himself and save himself. 

" Let me die in my own country ! " he protested feebly; 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 259 

" in the country of my birth. I never have been, nor 
ever shall be a traitor. Do not expel rae, when I am 
guiltless ! My body will find no other soil for its burial 
than here ! " i 

They carried him forcibly, his feeble resistance and 
protests adding a humorous though pathetic note to 
the grotesque disorder that lasted throughout the night ; 
and when the morning pierced the black veil of night, 
the to\vn was mute and deserted throughout, save here 
and there, where some dishevelled, half -clothed, lost 
creature was left as a sign that a feverish multitude had 
hurriedly left the Court of the Queen, who by now was 
fortifying herself in her stronghold at Crato. 

Their terror, in a way, was justified, for hostilities with 
Castile were threatening. Coming of age, King John II 
of Castile had placed the Government in the hands of his 
favourite, Don Alvaro de Luna, he who had already 
befriended Prince Peter when the latter visited Valladolid 
on his way to the East. This Don Alvaro, who had been 
brought up from early childhood in the Castilian Court, 
where he fii'st went as a page in 1408, was the envy of 
all the men, and the idol of all the women. He and 
Prince Peter constantly corresponded. Musician, poet, 
and writer, his verses to his lady-loves in his work Virtuous 
and Beauteous Damoiselles, referring to them as the 
" Crowned Glories of Creation," are known to all students. 
It was to this celebrated personage that John II, when 
he ascended the throne, surrendered the reins of Govern- 
ment entirely.2 The gentlemen of the Court looked upon 
the bard with jaundiced eyes, seeing him exalted to the 
title ca Count de San Esteban, given six cities and seventy 
castles. They showed their jealousy by opposing, in 

^ Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, L.-LXV. 

- Vide Ticknor, History of Span. Lit, edit, by Gayangos, I. 208. The 
anonymous chronicles of Alvaro de Luna, printed for the first time in Milan, 
1546, is a celebrated Castilian classic. Amador de los Rios in his Hist. Grit. 
Litt. Esp., VI. 224-9, attributes the work to Don Alvaro himself. For an 
analysis of Don Alvaro's works and mention of Virtuous and Beauteous 
Damoiselles, vide ibid., 63-5, and 271-7. 



260 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

every way the ambitions of the King's cousins — the 
Princes of Ai*agon, who in 1418, by one of chcm marrying 
Queen Leonora of Portugal's sister, became thus related. 
Their widowed mother then took up her abode at the 
Castilian Court, beside her daughter-in-law, with her two 
other sons, who in search of fortune allied themselves at first 
with the popular Don Alvaro, and eventually succeeded in 
insinuating themselves above the other noblemen, beside 
the weak King, From that moment Castile became 
divided into two camps, ever wrangling with one another 
for the King's favours ; and thus the Ai'agonese Princes, 
belonging to Don Alvaro's party, and occupied with their 
own ambitions, had little opportunity of giving much 
support to the Portuguese Queen against Prmce Peter, 
the friend of their most powerful ally, Don Alvaro. 

All this was no concern of Portugal; but as soon as the 
Queen escaped from Cintra to Almeirim, Prince Peter 
saw that it was necessary to prevent the Ai'agonese Princes 
coming to her assistance; and so, with the help of his 
brothers, and the Count of Barcellos, who now kept a foot 
in both camps for safety, he ranged himself on the side 
of Don Alvaro; and to make doubly sure, at the same 
time, befriended also the Master of Alcantara, the Pre- 
tender Don Guitierres, sending him auxiliaries against the 
Aragonese Princes, who were practically holding the King 
of Castile as their prisoner.^ In this way, any active 
Castilian intervention was baulked, for while Don Alvaro 
was King John's trusted favourite, the Ai'agonese Princes 
would have plenty to occupy them at home. All they could 
do to hclj) Queen Leonora, therefore, was to send an 
Ambassador in the autumn of 1440, claiming the Regency 
for their sister ; but even this di])lomatic move was check- 
mated by the King of Castile, who, with Luna's consent, 
sent a secret message to Prince Peter, giving him permission 
to ignore the Ambassador, so that he was sent back eventu- 
ally merely with the usual empty courtesies, after Queen 
Leonora had gone to Crato.- 
» Pina, Chron de D. AffoneoV, LV. and LVl. - Ibid., LXiii. and LXVi. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 261 

The Regency was by now a settled affair. Prince Peter 
was head of the Government ; he had the King in his 
charge ; and any enactments promulgated by this child 
of eight were of necessity those suggested by his uncle. 

From the heights of a throne, where circumstances had 
compelled him to rise, Prince Peter was able to see the 
lie of the surrounding political landscape, for from such 
an elevation one can see far over the horizon of futurity. 
And the conclusion he came to was the old conclusion 
of Solomon, for pessimism sat on the throne beside him. 
Two characteristic examples of this temperament of his 
may here be recalled. Once when, accompanied by 
Prince Henry, he was entering the gate of S. Bento that 
leads across the River Mondego, they both stopped their 
horses to gaze at the city's coat -of -arms over the entrance. 
It represented the figure of a crowned woman standing 
upon a calyx; on one of the woman's breasts was a lion 
rampant, and on the other the figure of a serpent. 

Prince Henry laughed grimly, pointing to the coat-of- 
arms. 

" We may well compare," he said, " this figure with 
your own life, brother ; for truly your breast is burdened, 
on the one side by the lion of Castile, and on the other by 
the serpent of our country's ills." 

" You speak well," the other answered, frowning; " but 
I see also therein an evil omen. The calyx signilieth 
blood, and this doubtless will be my final reward." ^ 

On another occasion, the people of Lisbon -wished to 
erect a statue to him, in recognition of the relief he had 
brougtit them by abolishing the mediaeval custom which 
compelled them to lodge the Court when it was in Lisbon, 
and also all ambassadors from foreign countries, supplying 
them with food, bedding, and similar necessaries. ^ The 
extravagant demands of the courtiers, and the frequent 
arrival of these ambassadors before the days when 
permanent legations were established, had made this 
service extremely heav}^; and the people were, therefore, 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso F, LII. 2 Viterbo, Elucid V. 



262 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

very grateful when, in 1439, Prince Peter abolished this 
custom and reserved the Palace of " Os Estaos " lor the 
reception of these ambassadors.^ 

When, however, he was told of the public's wishes, he 
forbade it. 

" If my image were placed there," he said, his features 
heavy with thought and pain, " the day would, neverthe- 
less, come when in recompense for any good that I may 
have done, and for any more that, by the grace of God, 
I may yet do, your sons would pull it do^v^l, or mutilate it 
with stones. For this reason, therefore, I do not wish it. 
God will give me His own reward, in His own time. I do 
not expect anything from your hands other than that I 
have told you of; unless, peradventure, ye do something 
yet more evil towards me." 

Shakespeare, the magic-mind, who has portrayed for 
us the men of the Renascence, depicts in his Hamlet a 
character not unlike Prince Peter. It was characteristic 
of the Portuguese Hamlet to see in the calyx of the city 
of Coimbra his ovm Fate symbolically anticipated. It 
is beyond doubt that he was not ambitious, for he had 
plenty of opportunities to satiate such a desire. Instead 
he was a pessimist, a philosopher who sat upon a throne ; 
and his pessimism gave him a longer foreknowledge, a 
more prophetic mind than that possessed by his famous 
brother, Prince Henry, who could not, would not, believe 
that his own ambitions would meet with the same Fate, 
the same destruction, and almost the same oblivion, that 
Philosophy taught the other to anticipate. 

After the Queen's escape there was a foretaste of civil 
war. Prince Peter sent manifestoes to the Urban authori- 
ties throughout the Kingdom, manifestos that were read 

1 " Os Estaos " was an edifice in the Rocio at Lisbon in 1484. It was 
repaired in the time of the Inriuisition, and was reconstnicted after the 
Great Earthquake of 1775. In 1820 the Inquisition having ceased, it 
became the Regent's Palace; in 1826 it served aa a municipal building; 
in 1833 it was the Exclioquer; and finally it was burnt down in 18.36. At 
the present day, ite site is occupied by the Theatre of D. Maria 11. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 263 

out after Mass on All Saint's Day. To these the Queen 
replied with others of her own; and they, in turn, brought 
about more hostile preparations. Prince Henry was 
dispatched off to Beira, Prince John to the district between 
the Guadiana and the Tagus. A special envoy was 
hurriedly sent to Oporto ; and orders were sent to Alemtejo 
forbidding them to supply the castle with more provisions 
than were necessary for the Queen and twenty other 
persons. 

The Castle of Crato was one of those ancient strong- 
holds that had been erected in the middle of a wilderness, 
now desolate after centuries of perpetual warfare. Fire 
and sword had ^^TOught much destruction in the district ; 
the plains had been barren for years; and the garrison, 
therefore, semi-isolated, could only get their stores from 
afar. The Prince's orders accordingly amounted to a 
siege; so that already, before any troops had marched 
against them, they were threatened with starvation 
from within. The wretched Queen, therefore, besought 
Prince John to come to her aid; but to her appeal he 
merely answered by asking her to quit her stronghold. 
When, however, it was known that she was seeking help 
from Castile, it was felt that something more had to be 
done ; and so, on December 17, the Prince's troops entered 
Belver, and an edict was issued forthwith recalling all 
the Prior's vassals, imposing the penalty of death on such 
as failed to obey. 

The actual siege now commenced ; and fear and hunger 
soon held sway within. Grave prognostications were 
whispered. The minds of the besieged, frightened by 
their guilt, saw nothing but impending disaster. The air 
was full of omens ; and it was with eager, anxious eyes, 
therefore, that, one day, the garrison watched an eagle 
flying round the battlements. As they gazed, they saw 
it circle the walls three times and then suddenly pounce 
upon a stork's-nest built on the tower of the Priory, 
carrying away the mother-stork and her two young ones in 
its talons. To their mediaeval minds this was a deadly 



264 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

portent ; and in their nervous fear, they connected it with 
their o^vTl fate. The eagle was the Prince, the stork and 
her two Httle ones the Queen and her children. Yet 
another omen pointed against them. Tlie besiegers' first 
shot struck an escutcheon, showing the castle's arms, and 
without breaking it made it fall from the hands of two 
stone angels that held it, so that only when it reached the 
ground did it fall to j)ieces. The second shot killed a man ; 
and the third crushed his body which had, by now, been 
placed in a cofTin. The besiegers were tightening their 
circle. In the immediate vicinity there was some resist- 
ance; but in other parts of the Kingdom the Queen's 
forces were strangely inactive. At length, however, 
a meagre array of less than a thousand Castilian troops, 
bribed with the money and jewels that the Queen had sent 
them, arrived ; and now, having no alternative, the Regent, 
together with Prince John and the Counts of Ourem and 
of Arrayolos, marched towards the scene of trouble. It 
was towards the end of December when they entered Aviz, 
and by this time the Queen was convinced that further 
resistance was useless ; neither Barcellos, nor her Aragonese 
allies, nor her party of councillors from Torres Novas were 
coming to her aid ; and so she abandoned the castle, and 
escorted by the Prior, the Squire of Cascaes, and others, 
crossed the frontier, leaving the garrison with its 800 
Castilian auxiliaries to surrender.^ Thus ended the first 
stage of the war. 

Although the Count of Barcellos had not actually 
joined the Queen's party, and his sons belonged to that 
of the Regent, still his loyalty was not above suspicion. 
It was felt that he might be preparing some counterstroke 
in his retreat up in the north; and so Prince Peter and 
Prince Henry journeyed in company to Traz-os-Montcs 
in February 1441, to see if they could either definitely 
attach him to their side, or force him to declare himself 
an open enemy. The Count, however, apparently expect- 
ing some such move on their part, had already crossed the 

' Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, LXVI. and LXXIV. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 265 

Douro, taking horse for Misao Frio, and was now in the 
rugged highlands of the north, a land of wild and barren 
mountains formed of craggy schists crowned by the granite 
of some past prehistoric eruption. These regions were 
inhabited by communities that had been isolated by nature 
from lowland civilisation for so long that they were 
almost independent of any authority, having been left 
over as it were from the convulsions of the Wars of the 
Middle Ages. Nominally the clans professed allegiance 
to some powerful nobleman or lord; but they were so 
tenacious of their freedom that they always insisted on 
choosing their own protector. Latterly this had been 
the Count of Barcellos ; but he was now beginning to be 
unpopular because, for some time past, he had been 
attempting to restrict their freedom, to benefit his o\^^l 
interests.^ 

It was in these fastnesses that he now concealed himself, 
fearing that his step-brothers had come to punish him; 
and as a precaution against surprise he had ordered the 
ferries to be destroyed behind him. It was a futile move, 
as the Princes immediately had a pontoon thrown across 
the river, and followed after him. It was obvious they 
intended to force a meeting; and so the Count of Ourem, 
his son, who was in their company, asked permission to 
go ahead and talk matters over with his father. Appar- 
ently he was successful in bringing him to reason, for he 
presently returned with the Count, who greeted the two 
Princes as if nothing had happened. The meeting, to a 
casual observer, seemed all that could be desired; but 
the inijermost feelings of these three brothers could only 
be guessed at. The Archbishop of Braga, Dom Fernando, 
a depraved, malicious black-coat, seeing this meeting, 
exclaimed, unofficially inspired : " Ecce quam jocundum 
habitare fratres in unum." Prince Peter, whose pene- 
trating eye saw beyond these superficialities of affection, 
listened impassively to the verbose contradictions that came 

^ Fomellos, Mem. Hist. econ. do concelho de Misao Frio. Cf. J. P. 
Ribeiro, Reflex. Hist, p. 1, n. 19. 



266 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

from Barccllos, heard his protests, received his promises 
of obedience, and accepted his assurances of friendship 
and love. Barcellos now fervently affirmed that he would 
leave the Queen to her own devices. He even promised 
to take upon himself the task of bringing her back penitent. 
He agreed that the King should marry the Regent's 
daughter, making only one stipulation, that the exiled 
Archbishop of Lisbon should be reinstated. Prince Peter 
consented to this; and the brothers separated with their 
quarrel apparently patched up. The Regent went to his 
capital, Prince Henry to Vizeu on his way to Sagres, and 
the Count to Guimaraes.^ 

Slowly the difficulties of the Regency were disappearing. 
The Cortes next met at Torres Vedras, to arrange the King's 
marriage, which took place at Obidos on Ascension Day, 
14'41,2 Only one difficulty seemed immovable — Queen 
Leonora was still in Castile worrying her brothers to come 
and avenge her. The Count of Barcellos sent a messenger, 
who was unfortunate enough to arrive there at an awkward 
moment. The year before, the Queen of Castile had suc- 
ceeded in arranging a marriage between her son, the Prince 
of Asturias, and his cousin, Princess Branca of Navarre, 
whose father was the lifelong enemy of Don Alvaro de 
Luna. This union Don Alvaro had failed to stop,^ for 
he had to contend with his King's weakness, as w€;ll as 
with his own waning influence; and the Aragonese Princes 
having almost supplanted him were daily becoming more 
and more powerful. They had besieged Medina del Campo ; 
they had again acquired more favours from the King; and 
they had routed dc Luna's and the Master of Alcantara's 
forces. Queen Leonora was with her brothers, now power- 
ful and influential at IMedina, when the Count's messenger 
arrived. She apparently knew Barcellos only too well, 
and naturally enough j:)referred to rely on her brothers' 
help alone. She, therefore, refused to receive the messenger. 
Across the frontier the same tactics were being employed : 

• Pina. Chron. de. D. Afjonso T. I. XXV. ^ Ibid., LXXV. 

* Ch. Roniey, Hist. d'Esp., IX. 17. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 267 

the Regent refused to see the Castilian ambassadors, and 
called the Cortes at Evora. A rupture appeared imminent. 
The situation was critical, for whatever happened War 
seemed certain ; and the Cortes, therefore, decided to prepare 
for it, entering enthusiastically into the preparations for 
raising a loan and getting ready the necessary armaments. 
Seeing this unanimity, however, the Castilians, on the other 
hand, were correspondingly impressed ; and so they decided, 
in spite of Queen Leonora's and her brothers' supplications, 
that peace should be maintained with Portugal. ^ 

Quiet thus crowned the year 1441, and the following 
year was passing in the same happy way, when in October, 
Prince John died at Alcacer do Sal, a victim to his per- 
nicious " fever." Prince Peter thus lost in this brother his 
most faithful adviser. He was the second of King John's 
sons, now, beyond the grave, and was scarcely forty-two, 
in fact in the prime of life, when he died. His country 
lost in him one of its most able minds, and the Regent a 
brother who was his right hand in the Government. The 
Regent's sorrow was, therefore, proportional to his loss. 
He was at Coimbra when he received the news; and it 
affected him so deeply that he had to take to his chamber 
to conceal his grief. 

It would seem^ as if Fortune in this world was made up 
of sorrows and joys, for like a pair of balance-scales, when 
one side rises, the other necessarily falls, an equilibrium 
that, no doubt, suggested the symbol of Justice with its 
even distribution of worldly goods. So when the Regent 
was mourning over his loss, the Count of Barcellos was 
rejoicin^j. His scale, lightened of disappointment, was on 
the rise. He, like his brothers, would come into a Duke- 
dom. He was now the third remaining son of John I, and 
the wealthiest of the three, because his estates belonged 
to himself and not to the Crown. The star of his family 
was in the ascendant. In 1442, Dom Duarte, Duke of 
Braganza, died without leaving an heir ; and as the Cortes 
was meeting at Evora, both father and son, Barcellos and 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, LXXVII.-LXXX. 



268 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Ourem. unknown to one another, hurried thither to claim 
the title of the deceased, who was not even buried at the 
time. Ourem arrived first, however, and immediately 
claimed the honour and the castles and estates that went 
with it from the Recent. Barcellos arrived next, and made 
the same request, only to be told by the Recent that what 
he asked for had already been granted to his son. It was 
a bitter disappointment to the old man ; for though he saw 
his family and himself thus rising in the scales of power, 
he wished none the less that the honour should have been 
his, and his disappointment made him desire, therefore, 
all the more vehemently the downfall of the Regent.* 

In the following year, 1443, Prince Fernando succumbed 
to his tortures in Fez, making, now, the third son of John I 
that had died. The next year. Prince John's son also died; 
so that within a comparatively short time the two Master- 
ships, those of Santiago and of A^'^z, together Avith the title 
of Constable, became vacant. The Regent refused to make 
the Count of Ourem Constable, and gave the title to his 
own son. The Count of Ourem claimed it because he was 
Nun'alvares' grandson. The Regent opposed this claim 
on the grounds that the honour was not hereditary, and 
pointed out that on his father's death, which could not be 
very distant, he, Ourem, would be Duke of Braganza and 
thrice Count, and that he ought to remember this and 
have patience considering the small size and the poverty of 
the Kingdom.2 Enraged, the Count of Ourem departed, 
vowing revenge. It was olivious that he had inherited 
the ambitious appetite of his father; and Prince Peter, 
looking on these events, was becoming aware that his 
apprehensions were likely to become realities. 

In Castile, Queen Leonora was also lamenting her 
misfortunes, for her hopes were sinking after Don Alvaro's 
victory at Olmedo (1445), which freed the Castilian King 
from the influence of the Aragoncse princes. She, there- 

^ Eventually, however, tlip matter was compromised: Barcellos took 
the title of Duke, and Ourem tlin estates. 

Pina, Chron. de I). Affonso V, LXXXII., LXXXIV. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 269 

fore, was compelled to go to Toledo, living there in poverty, 
supported only by the miserable dole she received from 
Portugal. Later on, however, things seemed to brighten 
for her, and negotiations were opened between her and the 
Count of Arrayolos. And then the unexpected happened. 
On February 19, 1445, she died, apparently poisoned. 
It was rumoured that Don Alvaro, the Aragonese princes' 
enemy, had poisoned her. It may or it may not have 
been true ; but the fact remains that within fifteen days, 
equally unexpected, the Queen of Castile died also.^ And 
it was stated that the Princes being conquered, Don Alvaro 
had thus rid himself of their sisters as well, and made him- 
self thereby the sole power behind the throne. Immediately 
after, the Regent of Portugal sent him new reinforcements, 
under the command of his own son, the new Constable, 
who, then sixteen years of age, had been under arms for 
the first time at Olmedo.^ 

Looking back now, it seems an extraordinary move on 
the part of the Regent. Evidently he was determined 
to exterminate the Aragonese princes, one of whom. Prince 
Henry, eventually fell on the battlefield, and the other, 
defeated, was compelled to seek a hiding-place in the 
PjTcnees. 

Politically, however, it was an exceedingly unfortunate 
move for Prince Peter, his reputation thereby receiving 
a severe blow, for his action in Castile practically made him 
Don Alvaro's accomplice in crime. The publicity of this, 
moreover, became more widespread by his arranging with 
Don Alvaro a marriage between Prince John's daughter 
and the \vidower King of Castile. Prince Peter thought 

1 Ch. Roraey, Hist d'Esp., IX. 17. 

- Prince Peter's son, Peter, was bom in 1429. It was during this 
expedition to Castile that he became acquainted with Don Inigo Lopes de 
Mendonza, fighting beside him at Olmedo, where Mendonza earned the 
title of Marquis of Santillana. On his return to Portugal, the Constable, 
who had inherited his father's taste for Uterature, asked the Marquis for 
a collection of his Canciones y dezires — " Songs and Sayings " — which 
the other gave him together with the celebrated letter which is one of 
the chief Uterarj^ documents of his day. Cf. Amador de los Rios, Hist. 
Grit., VII. 80. 



270 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

that by this action he was paying a debt to the memory 
of his beloved brother. Don Alvaro believed, on the other 
hand, that in this Portuguese Queen he was securing a 
docile accomplice to the carrying out of his own plans. He 
was greatly mistaken, however. The King, far from pre- 
occupying himself with his new bride, and thus overlooking 
other happenings, became aware of the fact that this 
favourite of his was taking too many liberties ;i and Queen 
Isabel, obeying the instincts of her race, prejudiced her 
husband against Don Alvaro, to such a point that the once 
powerful Constable of Castile was imprisoned in 1453, and 
beheaded in the following year at Valladolid— truly a 
typical turn of the wheel of Fortune ! ^ 

It was m 1447 that this marriage of his niece, the Princess 
Isabel, took place ; and in the same year, his own daughter 
Isabel married the young King Affonso V, who was now 
fifteen. The two Isabels, therefore, had each risen almost 
simultaneously to a throne — one to that of Portugal, the 
other to that of Castile. It was in July, that, after the 
marriage, the young King at length received the reins 
of office, and Prince Peter was able to leave Coimbra and 
return to his family and his beloved books. His enemies, 
no doubt, rejoiced, but the Prince was satisfied to have 
avoided anarchy from within and war from without. 

Conscious of the purity of his motives, of the sincerity 
of his actions for the benefit of the people he had been called 
to rule over, he was, nevertheless, crushed under the feeling 
that much that he had attempted had been unsuccessful. 
Clear and logical in his own mind, he tried to govern by 
the laws of reason, failing to see that men's minds are 
influenced not by logic but by prejudice, not by clear 
thinking but by emotion. Had he had more of the milk 
of Human Kindness he might have accomplished by 
persuasion, by arousing fealty, by winning popularity, 

I E. Oaribay, Comp. Hist, de las cron. y univ. Hist, de todos hs reynca de 
£7«7)ar,a(Ambcres ir)71), 11. 1133. , , o- n:,rriL 

•i Ch. Romoy, Hist. d'Esp., IX. 17. Amador do los Rios, Hist. CnU, 

etc., VI. 185. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 271 

much that he wished to see done for the benefit of the 
nation. 

He was respected, feared, but, save for a few intimates, 
never loved as his father John of Aviz had been loved. 
Consequently, he was continually being misunderstood. 
His cold and distant manner made enemies of many who 
might have been his friends. As a popular ruler he was a 
comparative failure. In his innermost soul, he was a 
disappointed man. 

When he retired, he had many enemies ; and, now that his 
power was gone, they rose in swarms against him, poisoning 
the minds of the people and even of his son-in-law, and 
nephew, the King towards him, accusing him of complicity 
in the crimes of the Constable of Castile, of being privy to 
the poisoning of the two Queens. Later on, after the events 
of 1444, which will be recounted later, they suggested that 
he was plotting against the King. 

He was called ambitious by those whose souls were so 
full of the lust for power, and the greed for gain, that they 
could not understand how any one situated as he was 
could fail to feel the same. 

His end should have been that of a philosopher, calm 
and untroubled. It came as he predicted — a cornucopia 
emptying itself in a sea of blood. 



CHAPTER X 

ALFARROBEIRA 

By January 1446, the reign of the Regent was legally 
over. The king was then fourteen years of age, and it was 
considered tliat he was now old enough to govern by him- 
self. The Regent and his party were di.strustlul of the out- 
come, for it was known that the young King's character was 
still lacking in energy, in spite ol the tumultuous violence 
that had marked his tender youth. But, on the other hand, 
the aristocracy, who had been so sternly repressed by the 
Regent, openly rejoiced, and awaited his coming of age 
with an impatient eagerness, hungering to pounce, falcon- 
like, on the perquisites of his kingdom so long withheld from 
their hungry maws. 

Nevertheless, for a time, these conspirator were balked. 
The Regent called the Cortes at Lisbon, ostensibly in order 
that the King might take the reins of Government. The 
session was opened by a speech from the Chief Justice 
Mangancha, who, at the end of the ceremony, knelt smiling 
before the young monarch and presented him with the 
rod of Justice. 

The smile of the Chief Justice meant, however, that he 
knew it had been arranged that at the end of three days 
Affonso V would declare himself too young to take up 
the responsibilities of his office. And this was what eventu- 
ally happened. The King did resign temporarily, after 
affirming that he had been legally married to his cousin, 
the Princess Isabel, a statement intended to quash effectu- 
ally the rumour that the wedding at Obidos had been 

irregular. 

272 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 273 

It was a Machiavellian move, typical of Magancha; 
but the stratagem, as is often the case, recoiled on the head 
of its originator, for there arose such a storm of opposition 
from all the interested parties, that the young King, 
frightened into contradicting himself, presently repudi- 
ated both his statements, and promised, in the same breath, 
to assume the Government and remarry the Princess. 

The second marriage ceremony, accordingly, took place 
early in 1447; and immediately afterwards the Regent 
handed over the reins of Government, and the King was 
left to his own devices, to do his best or his worst for his 
country and his people. 

This was the time that the enemies of the Regent had 
been impatiently awaiting. The Count of Barcellos was 
at Chaves when this happened. Though seventy years 
of age, he was still active; and with the agility caused by 
this rejuvenescence of his hopes, he jumped on his horse, 
gathered his vassals together, and, as quick as lightning, 
galloped through Marao, and Tamego, until he reached 
Guimaraes. From here he made for Ponte de Lima, and 
thence to Oporto, depriving the ex-Regent's men, on his 
way through the Minho district, of all the offices the young 
King had given them, expelling them as traitors, besieging 
the castles of all those that might still have some partiality 
for the ex-Regent in the province. It was evident he 
thought the Kingdom already belonged to him, and he 
felt that he could do as he liked. 

While this was going on in the North, the Cortes was still 
sitting at Santarem. Here Prince Peter remained beside 
the Kin-, leaving the Count of Ourem encamped at Torres 
Novas in command of the army. 

Now there was in the King's entourage a certain secretary 
named Barredo, a man trained in all the subtleties of the 
Italian school. Secretly he was in the pay of the Regent's 
enemies, and he now set about gaining the confidence of 
the young King. This he succeeded in doing ; and so, having 
progressed thus far, his next step was easy. Gradually, 
durmg the daily dispatch of business, he began slowly and 



274 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

deliberately to poison the King's mind asainst W"<^e Peter 
cunningly ntorlarding the treatment «-.th fulsome flattery 
Zd protestations of affeetion. in order the more easily 
to disguise the villainy of the medicament. 

When at length, then, he thought that the soil ws 
sufficiently prepared, he began to cast doubts on the 
stren<Hh of the King's patriotism, m that he allowed him- 
self to be made the tool of such a mentor urging him to 
bestir himself, protesting his own unfl.nch.ng loyalty '» 
his cause, and apparently allowing it to be d-Sge<i "U* 
of him that he knew there was a plot on toot to depose 
the King in order that Prince Peter and his sons might seize 

'■'^Finllirhc suggested there was yet time to thwart this 
nefariou^ scLme? it the King would only trust to his r^ 
?rTends; and to do this effectually he proposed that he 
sZld secretly hurry off to his army, waiting and loyal 
under the Count of Ourem, at Torres Novas 

AJl this tissue of lies the young King foolishly swallowed; 
and acting immediately under the proffered advice 
hctuglt an imaginary refuge under the care of the Count 
of Ourem. The Count, with a boiling hatred of Prince 
Peter tainted him with allowing himself to be ru^ed by the 
ex-Regent. He reminded the boy that, though he was 
King, the actual ruler was the Prince at Santarcm He 
pointed out to him that he was no longer a child and told 
him snecringly that, if he wished to be deemed a man, 
heXTd lofk after the safety of his own Crown, not depute 

'' TOs"suggestion of weakness irritated the King beyond 
control. He felt young, inexperienced, and yet impetu- 
ously anxious to prove himself a man. Nevertheless, the 
Xetion and fllial'respect he had always had for the Regent 
who had ever seemed his friend made hin. pause At the 
age of liltcen gratitude is capable of speaking with a loud 



1 



voice 



"'mat am I to do ? I cannot believe it I " said the boy, 
not knowing what to think, whom to trust. 




PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 275 

*' You may well doubt," replied the Count. " But now 
that you are free from your uncle's tyranny, you should 
expel him from Court." 

" I cannot remain in doubt," generously protested the 
boy. " I will go and claim my Crown from him in person." 

Ourem agreed, advising him to take ^vith him his noble- 
men and vassals, armed and ready to meet resistance. 

But when he returned. Prince Peter, aware of the 
situation, as soon as he and his troops entered Santarem, 
went to meet him; and to the boy's awkward but im- 
perious demand he replied at once : 

" Willingly do I surrender all authority. For ten long 
years I have neglected what is mine in your interests. 
Let me now, therefore, go in peace to my estates to look 
after them." 

It was thus that he met these accusations, almost 
admitting himself in the wrong; and thus did he nonplus 
the King. It is the inevitable result when two com- 
batants fight with unequal weapons, one of them using his 
own and turning the other's against him as well. The 
boy-king, pleased with the day's work, bade his uncle an 
effusive farewell, and left him ; but immediately afterwards 
he felt heavy at heart, because he had the vague feeling 
that he had committed an ungracious act. And hearing 
that the Prince had taken the road to Coimbra, escorted 
by his troops on account of the Count of Ourem's hostility, 
relief and remorse wrestled within his inexperienced breast'. 
It was the end of July, when Prince Peter, finding himself 
in Thomar, seeing that he had not actually been attacked 
as yet, dismissed his escort, and proceeded alone with his 
sons 1 to his estates, where we left him in the preceding 
chapter. 

His resignation and his seclusion brought much joy to 
all the discontented, the avaricious, and those who hoped 
to make a good haul from out the troubled political waters. 
Those experienced in helping themselves during the dis- 
orders of a change of Government all therefore now began 
^ Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, LXXXIX. 



276 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

casting their nets of intrigue into the disturbed waters of 
the nation. Slanderers were free to speak; villainy held 
the field; and ingratitude was yielding its fruits, ine 
Regent was openly called a monster : he was spoken of as 
beina unjust, ambitious, as having poisoned King Duarte, 
so as" to succeed him, Prince John because he was jealous 
of him. and Queen Leonora, poor lady, after having obliged 
her to quit the country. The uncertain mind of the mob, 
veering completely round, now openly condemned the 
Re-ent for having been, as they thought, the author of 
thete almost forgotten crimes. Stimulated by this ficti- 
tious wave of sympathy, they even deemed they also were 
among his victims— cheating themselves into the belief 
that they had been faithful followers of Queen Leonora, 
whom now openly lamented, they wished to avenge. 
Moreover, there was a rich harvest to reap. The belongings 
of the Regent's followers would suffice for them. They 
would confiscate half the country, and plunder the other 
half! Vw victis! And they would be the victors! 
To such as these the Count of Ourem, and the Archbishop 
of Lisbon, who was again in power and favour at Court, 
were ready to promise anything. 

The wave of popular sentiment thus started rose rapidiy, 

threatening seriously to prejudice Prince Peter It was 

now openlv suggested that such crimes as his should not 

escape punishment. Some even demanded his head, ^o 

loud became the rumblings that they penetrated even to 

Sagres, although, in 1447, Prince Henry was absorbed with 

his expeditions and companies at Lagos, and with the 

second syndicate of Lan^arote. Nevertheless, he tore 

himself away from his beloved schemes and came to 

Santarem to defend his brother-" but not with that 

fortitude that his brother deserved, nor that the Wor d 

would expect : " ^ for he was ever dreaming of Africa--oniy 

this vast continent occupied his mind— and he felt that 

now of all times, nothing must be allowed seriously to 

interfere with his enterprises, since they were promising 

' Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, XC. 



I 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 277 

so much. Indeed, with his nephew at length on the throne 
and the nobiUty more than preoccupied with themselves, 
he felt freer to follow his own plans ; and now he was be- 
ginning again to see himself in Morocco, taking his revenge 
for Tangier, and imagining perhaps Lan9arote's caravels 
doubling the Cape to discover Prester John and his Indian 
Empire. 

At this time Sir Alvaro, Count d'Avranches and late 
Lord-lieutenant of Lisbon, returned from Ceuta, and 
presented himself at Court. Here, he speedily made him- 
self popular with the young Kjing. His character, however, 
had not changed in the least; for he delighted in saying 
outright any unpalatable or sarcastic truths that came to 
his mind, speaking freely of Prince Peter's innocence, of his 
friendship for him, and of his hatred for the Count of 
Ourem. He was absolutely fearless, careless of whom or 
to whom he spoke the truth, and ever ready to prove his 
words at the point of the sword. The King, who was only 
a boy and instinctively chivalrous, recognised from the 
depths of his heart the gratitude he should have had for 
his uncle, and warmed towards the Count d'Avranches, who 
shielded Prince Peter against the virulence of those wishing 
to expel him from Court. Nevertheless, those that wished 
well towards the Count advised him to be cautious, 
counselling him to curb his tongue so as not to lose 
favour with the King. 

But to all such counsels he answered : 

" My friends, for what I have done for my country I 
deserve castles and cities rather than dungeons and fetters. 
I cannc^, therefore, show the white feather. I pray you 
believe, however, that I can look after myself. I put my 
trust in Providence ; and I would rather my friends should 
visit my sepulchre than my prison cell. Therefore have 
no pity or fear for me." 

With such words he left the Court. On the following 
day he attended the Council, attired, if possible, more 
carefully than ever, but taking also, as a precaution, his 
best blade with him. In the Council itself he spoke without 



278 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

fear, berating those who slandered Prince Peter and 
demanded his head. Prince Henry, hearing him, ap- 
plauded ; and the young King, carried away by his elo- 
quence, was apparently won over to the Regent's side, to 
the evident disgust of the others.^ Thus, for the last time, 
Chivalry, personified by Sir Alvaro Vaz, gained a victory. 

A little later he went in Prince Henry's suite to Coimbra 
to see Prince Peter, round whom many of his old party 
had gathered. There, however, they found that their 
success had been but momentary : for, when they got there, 
news had already arrived of the measures that the King 
had been induced to take at Santarem, whioh was then 
subject to the Count of Ourem. It was forbidden for any 
nobleman there to go near the Prince ; edicts were issued to 
the effect that all Queen Leonora's servants, who had been 
deprived of their lands during the Regency, should come 
and reclaim them ; and, last of all, it was announced that 
the ex-Regent had been expelled from Court, and prohibited 
from leaving his estates. There was thus a complete 
rupture, a complete reaction against Prince Peter, his life 
even having been declared forfeit should he disobey this 
last edict. Prince Henry, seeing things thus at a standstill, 
after having come all this way to quell, as he thought, more 
active hostilities, was completely taken aback. Now was 
the time he should have asserted himself; but instead he 
went back south to Soure, apparently oblivious of all 
danger, possessed only of a burning eagerness to know how 
it had fared with Lan^arote, careless of all else.^ 

Meanwhile Ourem found the King, influenced by 
Barrcdo, an easy victim to his arguments, and readily 
convinced him of his uncle's felony, urging the necessity of 
making an end of him. His first stroke was to approach 
his father, Barcellos, and to get him, at the King's com- 
mand, to go to Prince Peter, in the hopes that a quarrel 
would ensue, and thus give them some plausible excuse 
against the Regent. Prince Peter, however, disappointed 

' Pina. Chran. de D. Afformo V, XCL « Ibid., XCIIL 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 279 

them. In his pessimism he refused to quarrel, and disdain- 
fully refused to see the Count of Barcellos. Unable, then, 
to carry out this plan, they next devised another. They 
deprived Sir Alvaro of the castle of Lisbon, which he had 
held since 1439 ; and also took the office of Constable from 
Prince Peter's son, which, now for the second time, was 
claimed by Ourem. This latter move, however, was too 
rapid ; and the King, apparently uneasy, would not go so 
far against his own family. He compromised, therefore, 
by making his cousin, Prince Fernando, Constable; and 
to make up for this, allowed himself to be influenced so far 
as to order Prince Peter to give up the troops he had re- 
tained in his service since the expedition against Castile in 
1445. This demand, however, the Prince refused, on the 
ground that he needed them for his own personal defence, 
stating, nevertheless, that he was willing to give their 
value in money. ^ 

The conflict was ripening. There seemed no way of 
unravelling these misunderstandings, or of bringing peace 
to the country. There would have been had the nobility 
been more patriotic and less selfish, more concerned for 
the country's good than their own aggrandisement and 
lust for personal revenge. It was these latter factors that 
were destined to drive Prince Peter to his doom. The 
Count of Arrayolos, to see if he could smooth matters, 
left Ceuta, where he had been for a year. He argued with 
his father and his brother. He tried to induce Prince 
Peter to return to Court .^ The Prince's answer was a 
letter from Coimbra that gives us a true insight into his 
character. We therefore give some extracts from it : 

" I will not recapitulate to you," he wrote, " the begin- 
ning of my rule, and how it progressed, because with all 
this you are well acquainted yourself, and it is unnecessary 
to recall it. I will remind you, however, that during 
my tenure of office many were ill -content : not a few 
because they were jealous, the rest because they could not 
circumvent justice. . . . They began by complaining to 

1 Pina, Chrcm. de D. Affm^o V, XCIII. and XCIV. ^ j^id,^ XCV. 



280 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

the King, making him behevc that I wished for a perpetual 
Regency. The truth is that certainly there were some 
who thus mahciously busied themselves ; and, knowing it, 
I often used to say, while I was Regent, as I did once in 
your presence at Evora, that I would willingly abdicate 
when the King asked for it ; but that I would not do so 
at that time while so many were planning and plotting to 
get rid of me for their own interests, and not for those of 
the State. It was this declaration my enemies took up, 
affirming that I had said that I would never surrender the 
Government, misconstruing my words to suit their own 
purpose, striving thus to make My Lord the King believe 
what they wished. 

" So long did those who hated me continue this, that at 
length they succeeded in persuading My Lord the King 
to take the Government into his own hands ; and it was 
finally agreed between us, that, on the month of October 
which has just passed and which was then yet to come, 
he should occupy the Palace with his wife, after which I 
should hand over the Government to him with all the 
solemnity proper to the occasion. My enemies objected 
to this sequence, however, maintaining that the Govern- 
ment should be given up in any fashion desired by the 
King, their reason being that they wished for a rupture, 
and hoped that the Regency would be given up before the 
wedding, so that they would have th(r better chance of 
preventing it altogether. 

" Immediately I did resign, as if at a signal, the Count 
of Barcellos, my brother and your father became active. 
Escorted by his noblemen, as if on some historic progress, 
he left Chaves for Oporto, having already awaiting him 
there an army in hiding, expelling unscrupulously, on his 
arrival, those who were favourable to me, and treating 
them as miscreants. Continuing his progress, he ordered 
the same to be done at Guimaracs. nnd Ponte de Lima, 
destroying, in the latter place, the house of Leonel da Lima, 
for being my faithful servant — as if that had been treachery. 
.Vnd while he expelled these he called them traitors, 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 281 

sacking their villages and castles without reason as if they 
were enemies." 

The letter goes on to describe how the King and the Count 
of Ourem met one another, and how Prince Peter after- 
wards secluded himself on his o^vn estates. It transcribes 
the King's letter wherein he approved of all the Prince's 
actions while Regent. 

" Seeing that the said acts (of aggression on the part of 
Barcellos) were the beginning of evil," it continued " I 
warned my adherents of the day of my departure, so that 
they could accompany me ; and in this guise and with this 
reward I departed from the Court of my Lord the King 
until, arriving at Thomar, I dismissed my escort. Immedi- 
ately afterwards, while proceeding on my journey almost 
alone, I received a letter informing me that your father, 
the Count of Barcellos, was passing with armed men 
through my lands, and that he commanded me, on a certain 
day, to meet him at Avellans. To this I replied by warnin<^ 
some of my men to come to me, because I wished to arrest 
his journey, meeting force with force. And then, the same 
day, I received another dispatch denying the first, so that 
I wrote at once to those that I had summoned, telling them 
not to come. But some received the summons mthout 
receiving the orders to remain." 

He writes on, saying that while at Coimbra his enemies 
libelled him in all ways to the King, " making him lose all 
respect for me and mine, so that he had no other alternative 
than to deprive my men of the offices that they held at 
Court and in his Kingdom. My servants were, therefore, 
dismissed from Court, and others of mine deprived of 
Government offices throughout the Kingdom. But this 
was not all ! They now began openly to malign me, asking 
It any one knew who had brewed me the potions that killed 
King Duarte, Prince John my brother, and Queen Leonora, 
each one whispering after the damned imagination of his 
own foul nature." 

Witnesses were bribed, he states, his judges were his 
enemies, and, at the same time, all his acts during the 



282 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Regency were misrepresented. Crimes were invented 
against him, his friends forbidden to visit him, and he 
himself interdicted from appearmg at Court. His disgrace 
was, in fact, complete. 

" After this they sent me a kind of agreement between 
myself and the Duke your father, an agreement which 
my Lord the King signed and sealed, and which was 
brought to me by the Duke, who sought my displeasure. 

" Believe me truly, this document was not drawn up 
with any good intention . . . but only because they 
wished to quarrel with me. 

" In concocting it, my enemies found ready help in the 
persons of Dom Fernando and Dom Ruy Galoao, constant 
slanderers of mine ; and as I knew this, I wrote My Lord 
the King praying him of his mercy never to send me any 
more such men, since, even though I were to do all the 
World's virtue, it would be interpreted as the opposite." 

Continuing the narrative, he tells in his letter how the 
agreement having been handed to him he signed it, but 
at the same time ordered his villages and castles to prepare 
themselves for war. 

" To disgrace me," he adds, " they even deprived the 
Count d'Avranches of the castle of Lisbon " ; and then he 
continues to tell how the Count of Ourem attempted to 
again claim the office of Constable, which had belonged to 
Prince Peter's son. 

" Much honoured Lord and Count," he then resumes, 
*' what chiefly condenms these actions, is that they desire 
to have here in Portugal the ' Practice of Castile '—each 
one for himself — and the country, as you know, cannot 
support this; for if this ' Practice ' were to take effect, as 
it is already beginning so to do, I believe that soon the 
King's service, as well as his Kingdom, will be of little 
worth." 1 

But the Count of Arrayolos' attempts at a reconciliation, 
after he had received this letter, were all in vain; and 

• Extracted from a copy in Souea's Hist. Oen., Vol. V., p. 120-39. Thia 
letter xa dated December 30, 1448. 



I 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 283 

apparently he soon abandoned any hopes of peace he may 
at any time have entertained, either because he was con- 
vinced that they were futile, or because the bearers of 
news brought alarming accounts of the safety of Ceuta, 
compelling his hurried departure, as the Chronicles tell us.^ 
At any rate, he returned to Africa, leaving this ocean of 
intrigue, that was to drown Prince Peter, in full ebullition. 
Possibly he did not foresee the long years of anarchy that 
were coming. Certainly he cannot for a moment have 
dreamt that this storm would only terminate with the 
catastrophe of 1483 — a catastrophe that led his own son 
to the scaffold of Evora. Indeed, it was not until King 
John II became the follower of Prince Peter's anti-feudal 
policy, as well as oi Prince Henry's transmarine ambi- 
tions, that the heroic visions of the sons of John I once 
more held the field. He (John II) was the " Perfect 
Prince," who avenged Alfarrobeira (1449), destroying the 
tyranny revived during Affonso V's reign, when each man 
fought for his own hand and all sense of patriotism was 
temporarily dead. 

In this long letter, in which the Prince tells us of his 
innocence, we also notice his resignation to the toils of 
Fate in which he found himself involved. 

By now Oporto, which was the first city to proclaim 
him, had allowed itself to be influenced by the Duke of 
Braganza, mobbing the Regent's friends as though they 
were traitors. Lisbon, we shall see, which had so enthusi- 
astically proclaimed him, later left and denied him. He 
was right, after all, when he refused to have his statue 
erected in front of " Os Estaos." At that time he possessed 
sufficient courage to be cynically contemptuous of popu- 
larity. Now, subdued by Fate, not in courage but in 
character, his philosophical detachment disappeared; and 
\ his hand shook as he penned his complaints to the Count 
of Arrayolos. Disappointment rose superior to philosophy ; 
and we see in him a doomed man, lost, not by the domina- 
ting strength of his opponents, for often the conquered 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso F, XCV. 



I 



284 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

are the victors, but by the weakness that allowed the 
clamour of his enemies to fill his ears and stun his 
faculties. 

In the meantime, dispatches kept arriving in Coimbra 
saying that the Duke of Braganza was crossing the river 
Mondego with an army and was descending the road that 
runs southward of the Estrella Mountains. The King 
had recalled him to Court, and the Count of Ourem had 
advised him to come with his troops. Having to cross 
Prince Peter's territory, it was certain the two armies 
would meet. 

Supporting the Prince was Sir Alvaro. He missed, 
however, his brother Henry, the last of King John's sons 
that counted, felt that he wanted his advice, and so asked 
him to leave Thomar, where he was superintending the 
building of the Convent of Christ, and come to his assist- 
ance.i Prince Henry, however, answered evasively, 
proffering advice, recommending him to use discretion 
and prudence, saying that he would discuss matters with 
him when they met, but never stirring to come to him. 
Burdened with anxiety, under the weight of his isolation — 
the heaviest form of suffering — Prince Peter now applied 
eagerly to his friend and companion Sir Alvaro ; and here 
he naturally received the very opposite advice — a quick, 
adventurous advance, the hazard of battle, war, and a 
happy ending. 

They sent, therefore, a messenger to parley with the 
Duke of Braganza, who was now a{>proaching Coja, de- 
scending the Alva Valley. April 1449 had just com- 
menced, and Prince Peter was daily expecting the arrival 
of his brother. Prince Henry, hoping that he might possibly 
amend the situation. Between this forlorn hope and the 
Count d'Avranches' drastic advice, his mind was dis- 

> The Mastership of the Order of Christ was transferred from Algarve 
to Thomar, many years before King John had given it to Prince Henry, 
It was, therefore. Prince Henry who erected th..s building at Thomar. 
Of. Eacrij). de Ordem dc Christo, MS. by Pedro Alvarcs Secco, in the Nat. 
Lib., Lisbon. Of. Rackzynski, Les arts en Portugal, 346. 



1» 




PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 285 

tracted, his faith in justice had left him, his initiative 
became smothered in the gloom of doubt. The messenger 
returned with the following words from Braganza : " The 
Duke and the Prince have ever been fast friends. The 
Prince should then comply with the King's orders. Let 
him take the public road, and he might rest assured that 
no one would harm him." 

" If the Duke does not change his proposition," replied 
Prince Peter, in irritation, " tell him that I will hinder his 
passage, I am not so stupid or so badly advised as to be 
lured by such dissimulation." 

The messenger took this reply, and preparations for 
hostilities were in feverish progress, when another messen- 
ger came — this time from Santarem — from the King, 
recalling — at Ourem's suggestion — Prince Peter to the 
Crown's service. This unexpected move enraged Prince 
Peter, who, having curbed his temper for so long, now 
suddenly gave vent to his feelings. The temper of phleg- 
matic minds, in such circumstances, is closely akin to 
madness ; and if we are to credit, as many refused to do at 
the time, the veracity of the messenger who returned back 
to the King, Prince Peter, beside himself, is said curtly to 
have refused, answering that he was no vassal of the 
Portuguese King, but a subject of the Castilian King. It 
was an answer that delighted the Count of Ourem ; and, 
pleased with the course of events, he now fanned the 
conflagration, proceeding to publish broadcast the many 
reports that were gradually to be the end of Prince Peter. 
Meanwhile the Bishop of Ceuta arrived at Penella, where 
Prince Peter had assembled his troops, with a message 
asking him to allow the Duke and his troops to pass, as it 
was the King's command. 

" I will let him," frowned Prince Peter, " but he must 
not pass with the sound of battle." 

The Bishop returned; Prince Henry had already left 
Coimbra on his way to Santarem ; and Prince Peter could 
not understand his brother's attitude in the circumstances, 
remembering Prince John's words when the Queen 



286 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

wanted him to be Regent and wished to marry his daughter 
to her son : 

" This can never be God's wish, nor can He desire that 
among the sons of John I, who have all been brought up 
in such peaceful concord and love, there should now be 
sown the seeds of discord." 

He forgot that to Prince Henry the internal affairs of 
the country were of trivial importance. He forgot that 
Prince John had not had the cares of colonising Guinea, 
nor his mind wrapped in plans dealing with an invasion 
of the Moorish Empire. To Prince Peter his maritime 
brother was an enigma. Born and educated by the same 
mother, he now realised that Prince Henry was unaware 
that he was undergoing mental torture, his life was one 
long night, his mind shrouded in perpetual gloom. It 
seemed to him as if the very fields and trees moved against 
him, the doubtful shadows of his ideas danced before him 
so. He was like a man struggling in the grasp of an 
unending nightmare. 

And then suddenly his exasperation abated, and he 
became steeped in an atmosphere of apathetic inertia, 
without knowing what end to expect. So he sat watching 
with dull eyes the horses of his nephew's messengers 
galloping towards him, arriving from Santarem, ordering 
him to return to Coimbra, forbidding him to leave Coimbra 
without permission, ordering him to allow the Duke to 
pass. 

" Let him come ! But he must come in peace ! " he 
replied, opening his eyes, as one waking from the torpor of 
some evil dream, agitated and excited, without being able 
to associate his movements or ideas, now thinking of 
resistance, now of submission. 

Instead of going to Coimbra, as the King had com- 
manded, he made straight for Louza. For the first time, 
he failed to reason out his movements. The Duke of 
Braganza remained at Coja, Prince Peter advanced from 
Louza to Villarinho, half a league to the north-east, 
ascending by the tree-clad altitudes of the valley of Coura, 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 287 

and climbing the precipitous peak of Mount A9or, the 
summit of the Estrella Mountains. At Coja, over Mount 
Alva, which slopes down gathering the trains of these 
elevations towards the basin of the river Mondego, the 
Duke had halted his troops, taking advantage of this 
naturally fortified site. Now, between the positions of 
the two armies, on either side of the river, there was merely 
a distance of five leagues as the crow flies, but more than 
this across the craggy ground and grim clefts by which 
this mountain range slopes up to its highest peaks. At 
the Villarinho side, where Prince Peter was, the Duke's 
progress was arrested, on the right, by the great watershed 
of the Mondego, and, on the left, by the gigantic cliffs of 
the mountains. A collision was thus certain, unless the 
Duke retired, going up the Mondego valley, taking the 
same way by which he was now advancing. 

Prince Peter, on his charger, leading his squadrons, 
addressed his men. Tall, thin, saturnine, recent vicissi- 
tudes had left their mark on him, accentuating his fifty- 
seven years, whitening his temples and his full beard. 
His blue eyes, usually dreamy, were now fired as by an 
inward light. His expression was fixed, as though in 
somnambulism. His voice, addressing his men, had a 
spectral, hollow tone, and what he told them seemed like 
a death-bed confession. Affirming his loyalty to the King, 
he founded on this the basis of his disobedience. He 
reminded them of his ten years of Government, during 
which he had honestly defended the Crown and country 
from the greed of the aristocracy and foreign intervention. 
The King, he reminded them, was an infant and badly 
advised. The fury of his own enemies had arisen from 
his failure to satisfy their greed, and from him not allowing 
the King to grant what they wished — namely, the whole 
Kingdom. He had left the Regency as he had entered it. 
Chivalry, which was incarnated in this son of John I, was 
speaking on the eve of his death. His was a generous, 
heroic aspect of life, placing the p>rinciples of personal 
honour above the interests and necessities of the World. 



288 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

The majority of the people were turning these doctrines 
into a religion that was founded on material jurisdiction; 
but the superior minds, either in sentiment like Nun'al- 
vares, or in philosophy like Prince Peter himself, were 
establishing this religion of duty on an intimate acquaint- 
ance with the revelations of their higher thoughts. 

Prince Peter's men listened in deathlike silence. Their 
gravity and silence were eloquent tributes to his views. 
Each unit felt himself marked off for a similar fate, little 
knowing, perhaps, that in the history of their country 
the moment had arrived that meant a collision between 
the old Barbaric World of the Middle Ages, and Chivalry 
its offspring, the ideal flower that blooms to fade. Reality 
will not allow the poetical intentions of the human mind 
to rise above its organic instincts and sentiments. To 
crush the turbulence of the mediaeval character, it was 
necessary to have something more powerful than Chivalry; 
to convert the iron hand of tyranny into an adequate and 
practical system of Life something more than mere legends 
of traditions were needed. And this something was the 
Spirit of the Renascence. 

Before his companies, with Sir Alvaro at his side. Prince 
Peter advanced about a distance of one league, because 
on the opposite side the Duke of Braganza had descended 
to Varzea — about three leagues. In the Coura Valley, 
Prince Peter in the hollow, the Duke on the height, were 
less than one league from one another. The Duke, with 
the burden of his seventy-two years, asked, in doubt, 
whether his men wished to fight or retreat. 

" A retreat would be disastrous," volunteered Alvaro 
Pirts dc Tavera ; " if they are our enemies we must fight." 

On the other side. Sir Alvaro, who had been scouting in 
advance, returned eager for battle. 

" Let us go for them !" he cried. "They must either 
retire or be annihilated ! " 

" No ! " answered Prince Peter, obeying the little caution 
he yet possessed. " Our best plan is to remain on the defen- 
sive. Please God, they may retire without fighting." 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 289 

In truth, the Duke of Braganza was uncertain of his 
men. Many of them were already murmuring. Sympathy 
alone is incapable of victory, but it offers this consolation : 
it makes the victors look upon the conquered with Platonic, 
though unconfessed, respect. And at times, as was going 
to happen now, sympathy may be strong enough to triumph. 
The Duke soon realised that his men's feelings were not 
with him. Many secretly were for Prince Peter; almost 
all believed that they were merely marching against friends. 
Others were frightened; and this weakness is common 
when guilt is about. 

Since their march to Varzea, the Duke had found himself 
in a dilemma. He could not retire, because the peasants 
had destroyed the ferries across the Alva, which was now 
in full flood after the spring had melted the mountain 
snows. He could not even open the attack, because his 
troops held a weak position. Consequently he found him- 
self at the mercy of the man whom he had set out to destroy. 
For this reason, in spite of his age, and in spite of his hatred 
for Prince Peter, he abandoned his men to save himself. 
With a handful of followers, he retreated at night, follow- 
ing the mountain passes, guided by wandering shepherds 
along the snow-covered altitudes, where the cold was intense 
and the atmosphere of the rarest. Leaving the snow-capped 
summits on his left, he finally reached Covilha ; but his 
hardships were such that he felt their after-effects for the 
subsequent years of his life. 

When his men found themselves thus abandoned they 
scattered, losing themselves in the mountains in their 
constant fear that Prince Peter was at their heels. All 
of them were making for Covilha, which belonged to Prince 
Henry. But their horses became snow-bound, and they 
found themselves compelled to abandon their baggage. 
At Albergaria, on the extreme heights, some even succumbed 
to the cold. Prince Peter's men wished to follow this 
retreat, but the Prince would not. Sir Alvaro particularly 
counselled him to follow the Duke and take him prisoner, 
saying " He who spares his enemy will die at his hand ; " 
u 



290 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

but, even after this wise remark, he would not. The truth 
is that all acts of deliberation are sheer madness when they 
exceed the level medium of the occasion. 

Prince Peter, confident in his faith, firmly believed that 
right would triumph. After this mistake in allowing 
the Duke to escape, he therefore disbanded his troops and 
again shut himself in his Palace at Coimbra with his 
family and his books. Meanwhile, the Duke of Braganza 
had collected the rest of his scattered army at Covilha, 
and presently appeared at Santarem at Court, proclaiming 
himself the conqueror of the rebel Prince, who had refused 
to obey the King's commands. In this he was supported 
by the evidence of the Count of Ourem, and by the story 
as told by his men. Not even Prince Henry was now 
capable of defending Prince Peter against these obvious 
accusations. 

The aristocracy, now encouraged, were able to give vent 
to their hatred of Prince Peter. They clamoured round the 
throne for vengeance and for what they called " justice," 
their eyes fixed all the while on the spoils they now hoped 
to be allowed to divide amongst themselves. Things 
presently began to take a rapid course. The Duke's 
retreat had occurred just before Palm Sunday. On Good 
Friday, the King publicly proclaimed Prince Peter as a 
disloyal traitor, and ordered his own men to be ready for 
war. Thus in this Holy Week of 1449 there was another 
Passion— that of the innocent Prince— who dismissed 
the King's messenger curtly, telling him to go back to his 
master and revise his message. 

The King, who was only seventeen, intensely angered, 
immediately prepared himself for battle, distributing at 
the same time the lands and offices that had belonged 
to Piince Peter amongst those who asked for them.i 
And these arrived in queues ! 

Up to now the ex-Regent's son. Prince Peter, had not 
yet been deprived of the office of Constable which his father 
had given him willi the grandmastership of Aviz. The 
1 Pina. Chron. dc D. Affonso V, CVI.-CVII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 291 

lands between the Tagus and the Guadiana were still his, 
including Elvas and Marvao, and it was rumoured that 
through these the Castilians of Don Alvaro de Luna and 
the troops of the Master of Alcantara were coming to help 
Prmce Peter. So loud were these rumours, that the King 
sent out the Count of Odemira with a force against the 
younger Prince Peter, who was obliged to retreat to Castile.i 
But even this move failed to bring about more active 
hostilities; and its failure further exasperated Prince 
Peter's enemies, who now descended so low as to use the 
young Queen as a decoy to draw her father. It was 
Queen Isabel who by letter told him that the Council had 
passed the choice of three sentences on him— death, im- 
prisonment for life, or expulsion from the Kingdom- and 
further, that the King had left Santarem on May 5, with 
an army. 

Prince Peter having read this letter, feeling already, as 
the Chronicles inform us, " that Death was knocking at 
the door of his life," crushed it in his hand nervously, 
and thought for a few moments in silence. Then he 
inquired courteously from the messenger after the King's 
and his daughter's health, sat down at table, ate his dinner 
quietly, and then, unable to control himself longer, broke 
do^^Ti completely even in the presence of the messenger. 

" My choice is death ... no son of John I will remain 
un buried . . . "he declared brokenly, " to wander in my 
old age in foreign countries, or be imprisoned at fifty- 
seven ! ... to allow the fetters of Injustice to wound 
me ! " 

Afterwards he asked the advice of those round him. 
His own view was that he ought to confront the King on 
the 5th, the day that he was to leave for Santarem. There 
he would tell him the truth, thus crushing his enemies 
not with the strength of arms but mth the force of evidence. 
He wished to make the King see his innocence while he 
himself was blinded with anxiety. 

Quietly his companions left him, keeping their counsel 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, CVIII. 



292 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

for the following day, as the Prince wished, feeling that 
whatever course they suggested would be momentous in 
its consequences. Discussion ran far into the night. 
Some held that one was not justified in seeking death, 
that it was enough to meet it when the time came. They 
maintained that they ought to fortify themselves at 
Coimbra, Penella, and Montemor, and as a last resource, 
at Buarcos, where they would have the sea as another 
means of escape in the event of a siege. Others opposhig 
this held that time might come to their aid; for the King 
was but a youth who would learn with experience and 
change his mind. Others again declared that it would 
be a dishonour for Knights of the Garter to wait merely 
for a siege; the best course to these seemed to be that 
the Prince should fortify himself in his castles and retreat 
across the River Douro, where he could get reinforcements 
with which he could cross over to Beira and march towards 
the Guadiana, where the lands of his son, the Constable, 
lay. This alone should be enough to make his enemies 
think before attacking them. 

Sir Alvaro, however, had a different opinion to the others. 
He thought it better to die great and honoured, than to 
live in obscurity and misery. He advised that troops 
should be gathered to go to Santarem in force and compel 
the King to listen to his uncle's defence, so as to end these 
falsifications and misunderstandings once and for all. 
And, if the King were unwilling, then nought was left but 
to meet death nobly, and in a manner worthy of valiant 
gentlemen. Prince Peter fully agreed with Sir Alvaro.* 

Two opposite minds thus came to the same conclusion 
by different routes. Chivalry dominated the actions of 
one, reason of the other; and both of them were thus 
led into error. Chivalry meant to Sir Alvaro absolute 
obedience and complete sacrifice, even unto death, to the 
practical necessities represented by feudal life and the 
brotherhood of warriors. To Prince Peter, it was an 
analogous obedience and sacrifice to the laws of Idealism, 
' Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V. CIX.-CXI. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 293 

represented by absolute loyalty, by absolute faithfulness 
to the principles of his religion of the noble intellect of 
man. Each of them, one guided by determination, the 
other by reason, arrived thus at the same opinion in the 
crisis ; and both were ready to grasp at one common act 
of madness. 

Prince Peter, who prided himself on his political sense 
and critical judgment, lost both in this crisis. Sir Alvaro, 
whose humour had lightened his most dangerous steps, now 
failed to suggest anything but the desperate chance of a 
forlorn hope. Thus standing alone these two men swore 
to die fighting back to back. 

" Sir Alvaro ! " said Prince Peter, " dost know that 
I am already weary of Life, and that I would willingly 
leave it and all its sorrows and suffering? The hand of 
Destiny has been against me; and I am determined to 
make an end of it or perish in the attempt. Tell me, old 
friend, if on the day that I am fated to depart this Life, 
thou, who by my side wast deemed worthy of the Holy 
Order of the Garter, and who hast accompanied me 
throughout my worldly wanderings, wilt willingly accom- 
pany me at the last ? " ^ 

" Truly, my Lord, I will," answered Sir Alvaro ; " I am 
willing to accompany you in Death even as I have in Life ; 
and, if God ordains that your Soul is to depart from this 
World, He will not deny mine to follow ; and if in Heaven 
one Soul be allowed to serve another, mine will always 
serve yours." 

The following morning, therefore, they prepared them- 
selves for all eventualities. They took Communion, 
swearing to perish together if need be, telling the priest 
who officiated that they wished to offend no one with 
this oath, but only to defend Justice and Honour with 
all reason. Prince Peter knelt confessing and asking 

^ The Prince, on April 22, 1427, was created a Knight of the Garter 
(an Order to which Sir Alvaro already belonged), and Duke of Exeter, 
which title was then vacant by the death of Thomas Beaufort. Major 
Life of Prince Henry. 



294 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

forgiveness for his sins; * Sir Alvaro stood silently beside 
him, suppressing his emotion ; while at the altar, the 
priest monotonously read his orisons and finally gave 
them his blessing. 

Leaving them thus, let us turn for a moment to the 
Court at Santarem. The Queen, stunned by the tumult 
of these warlike preparations, frightened by the voiees 
that clamoured for her father's head, pained and remorse- 
ful for having written to him a cruel letter, threw herself 
at her husband's feet, weeping and imploring him to have 
mercy on Prince Peter. She reminded him that after all 
he was her father, besought him to recollect that his exe- 
cution would be a disgrace to her own, to his own children, 
and implored him to open his eyes to the real truth and 
not believe the malicious tongues of traitors. 

" How can he expect mercy," returned the King, " if 
he remains disobedient ? I recalled his troops, and he 
Avould not give them up. I commanded him to allow His 
Grace the Duke to pass, but he would not. Yet for your 
sake and for you alone, if he comes and asks my forgive- 
ness I will grant it." 

She got up, and immediately wrote to her father; but by 
that time it was too late to alter his decision, and instinc- 
tively she knew it. Prince Peter had decided to fight it 
out, declaring obstinately that he could not ask forgive- 
ness for a wrong he had never done, and refusing to confess 
himself to a king after having made his peace with Heaven ! 
" I would sooner have Death with all its terrors, than Life 
with all this shame ! " he ended. 

He was right. Because if Idealism is practical madness, 
it is dignity that determines the boundary line between 
the rational World and the World of necessity, marking 
clearly the limits where reality joins the conceptions of 
thought. To die for a point of honour is al)surd, to die in the 
exigencies of honour is a happy ending to a dull existence. 

Prince Peter, buffeted in these tempestuous oceans, was 
being drifted by a gale of madness. It is true that in a 
' Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, CXII. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 295 

moment of weakness he wrote to his daughter asking for 

pardon. But he would seem to have done so merely to 

appear as if he were following the advice of his supporters, 

for obeying his conscience he added : " This, Madam, I do 

more to please your Majesty than because reason prompts 

me so to do." Such words naturally offended the King, 

making the situation, if possible, even worse than before. 

As a consequence he now totally refused to pardon him, 

listening more willingly to the poisonous accusations his 

courtiers had to make, and barkening to their insinuations 

that he was allowing himself to be influenced by a woman — 

for their one anxiety now was the Queen and the love the 

King had for her. They dreaded her influence, and for 

this reason began to plot how they might separate them, 

advising the King to leave the Palace and go hunting, 

telling him that his age and his wife were making anything 

but a man of him. His physicians remarked that he 

would always remain a woman; and moralists enlarged 

upon this, saying that his marriage was illegal and amounted 

to mere concubinage. 

In spite of all these plots, however, the King remained 
immoved. His advisers thereupon changed their tactics, 
and invented a story of unfaithfulness on the part of his 
consort, the supposed lover being one Alvaro de Castro, the 
King's Lord-of-the-Chamber. This plot, however, was too 
thin ; de Castro was proved innocent ; and, to conpensate for 
the imprisonment he had suffered, he had to be created 
Count of Monsanto.i 

Nevertheless, in spite of this failure, the King was still 
encompassed in a network of lies, and every endeavour 
to bring about peace proved fruitless — indeed any one who 
had the temerity to attempt it suffered, as was the case 
with the Prior of Aveiro, whom on that account they 
deprived of his lands .2 

When the 5th of May dawned, after a night which the 

^ Alvaro de Castro was he who married the daughter of John das Regras. 
the Chancellor, and was later created Marquis of Cascaes. 
2 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, CXIL-CXV. 



296 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

city had spent in festivity, Prince Peter left Coimbra. He 
was accompanied by his sons, 1000 horsemen, 4000 in- 
fantrymen, together with his transports of mules, oxen 
and wagons. Just before he set out, he addressed his 
men, telling them that, " he, a loyal subject was going 
to demand justice from his Lord the King." Making 
every possible excuse for him, it was a singular move. 
His army bore the legend " Loyalty " on the one side of 
its standards, and " Justice and Vengeance " on the other. 
It was, indeed, an original way of proclaiming loyalty, 
marching out in the guise of a rebel, asking for justice one 
moment and shouting vengeance the next. 

Seeing this mad disguise, his enemies at Santarem were 
delighted. Had he remained at Coimbra as his advisers 
counselled even then all might have been well, because 
if the worse came to the worst, he was strong enough 
there to withstand a siege. When it was made known, 
however, that he was on his way along open fields, marching 
into the very jaws of the wolf, his enemies' joy knew no 
bounds, for it was now the easiest possible thing to make the 
King believe that the Prince was marching prepared for war. 

Yet, truly, the Prince was marching in all good faith, 
for he still had hopes that his nephew would ultimately 
see the truth, and listen to his defence. But hope, loyalty, 
and anticipation of death, the love of life, together with 
princely anger and disdain for his enemies were all con- 
fusing a mind already incapable of conceiving lucid ideas. 

On the 5th, his army spent the night at Ega. The 
next day, without entering Leiria, they halted at Batalha, 
where the monks had to quell the hostility of the populace. 
Prince Peter attended Mass in the Monastery, and having 
prepared his Soul, he visited the tombs of his parents.^ 

' " They arc two great monuments, so close together that they seem 
but one. The marble, very white and flawless, is carved in relief all round 
with blackthorn branches and berries. The interspaces show the French 
legend: Ml me plnit, "pour bien." ' Over the tombs are two reposing 
figures — one of the King, who is in full armour save for his visor, the other, 
on the right, of the Queen. The pillars of this tomb face the principal 
entrance of the Cathedral."— Friar Luiz de Sousa, Hist, de S. Domingos, 
Vols. IV. p. 15, and I. 625-62G. 




PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 297 

From Batalha, they made for Alcoba9a, where they 
were also welcomed by the monks. The King had by 
now sent out scouts. From Alcoba9a, Prince Peter went 
straight to Rio Maior, leaving the main road to Lisbon. 
To discuss the route they should take he held a council 
of war at Rio Maior. Here the Prince found that his men 
were practically unanimous for a return to Coimbra, 
deeming their honour now saved, and that it was unneces- 
sary therefore to proceed. The arguments used were 
that none would dare to attack them. They could not 
send a messenger to Santarem, nor could they trust such 
a mere boy as the King. To advance further, moreover, 
would be sheer rebellion; and besides, it would in any case 
be an error to pitcli their camp in the olive groves on the 
outskirts of Santarem, for in the event of an attack they 
would have their retreat cut off. Finally to march to 
the capital would also be a mistake that might have a cruel 
result, for the capital was no longer partial to Prince Peter. 
Ob\'iously, then, the only course was to retire to Coimbra. 

It is evident that his advisers thought Ufe was still 
sweet. But the Prince was of a different opinion. 

" I already feel," he replied, " that it is inexpedient to 
tarry here, and unnecessary to advance towards Santarem 
for the reasons you have named, and because it would 
seem as if we were at war with the King. Nevertheless, 
I cannot retreat. We will, therefore, march to the capital. 
If I am not attacked we will return through Loures, Torres, 
Torres Vedras and Obidos, to Coimbra, where we will 
await whatever adventure may come, — perhaps Prince 
Henry's or my daughter's intervention." 

It frequently happens that a man contemplating suicide 
in his despair, at the very moment that he takes the firm 
step, has a vague hope that something will stay his hand. 
Some such struggle was now happening in Prince Peter's 
mind. He vaguely hoped for a miracle, for his nephew 
to meet him suddenly, repentant and willing to receive 
him, for Lisbon to acclaim him as of yore, for Prince Henry 
to help him — in his extremity he hoped for the impossible. 



298 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

And so he remained three days inactive at Rio Maior. 
But the King did not meet him in repentance, neither did 
he receive a message from Prince Henry, nor from his 
daughter the Queen. Nothing happened. Nothing hut 
peace, silence, and inactivity, as if Death had already 
taken possession of all. And now the despair of phleg- 
matic characters, as powerful as the flames of hatred in 
the more passionate, made him more and more distraught. 

Instead of going eastward, straight to Santarem, on 
the 16th, he cut obliquely northwards, making for 
Alcoentre, on his way to Lisbon, where the news of his 
approach caused a riot and bloodshed, two of his servants 
being seized on suspicion and immediately afterwards 
executed and quartered. 

His small column was soon followed by the King's 
horsemen, scouts who had been sent out from Santarem. 
They hung about the column, showering abuse on him 
and his men. They called him hypocrite, highwayman, 
traitor and tyrant, and this seemed to put new mettle 
into his soldiers. 

"Calm yourselves!" Prince Peter advised his men; 
" do not let your feelings get the better of you. Those 
same mouths that are now abusing me have often kissed 
mv hand in gratitude ! " 

But even in the speaker, waves of angry indignation 
were rising — rising as if to choke him. A slight 
skirmish took place at the extreme end of his column, and 
this brought the Prince a few prisoners, amongst whom 
was an old servant of his brother Prince Henry's household. 

" You ungrateful villain ! You traitor I " roared Prince 
Peter, infuriated at the sight of him. " You liar and 
coward ! It is enough to work evil with your hands, 
without using your tongue ! " 

He approached the man and with one blow struck him 
down. The soldiers fell upon him like a hungry pack of 
wolves, and made short work of him. 

The sight of blood seemed to rouse a sudden fury in 
the Prince. He was no longer a phlegmatic Saxon, he 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 299 

was now maddened into any cruelty; and in his uncon- 
trollable fury, he ordered the other ^vTetched prisoners 
to be hanged and quartered. 

It was an impolitic act. The greater part of his 
infantry, either in sympathy for their murdered com- 
patriots — enemies though they were, or more likely 
because they saw nothing but death confronting them, 
deserted the Prince and fled to the mountains. Only 
his cavalry remained solid, held as it were by their homage 
and loyalty to him. They were ready to meet their own 
death, as well as to cause that of their brethren. Such 
are the horrors of civil war ! The greatest difficulty is to 
possess a heart hard<^ned enough ! 

It was now rumoured that the King had set out from 
Santarem, with 70,000 men, so great was the apprehension 
of the Prince's enemies. In reality he was marching 
slowly along the shores of the Tagus, in order to give the 
Prince time to approach the hostile capital ; for the nearer 
Lisbon they met the better it would be for the royal 
forces, since Prince Peter would then be hemmed in 
between two fires. In the meanwhile, Prince Peter was 
marching towards Alcoentre, always southward. The 
direction of the two armies was therefore converging. 
At length Prince Peter arrived at Castanheira, and there 
he encamped. But all the time his forces were decreasing, 
many men deserting, often abandoning even their baggage 
to make more speed. Finding himself running the risk 
of at length having no one beside him, save perhaps Sir 
Alvaro, who followed him like his own shadow, he again 
put his troops on the march, announcing that he was 
going to Lisbon. But after marching one and a half 
leagues, along the River of Alfarrobeira on its Alverca 
side, he halted again, for indeed he no longer had any 
thought of entering the capital, knowing that his own 
fate, and that of his followers was sealed. All that now 
remained to him was the hope that Prince Henry would 
arrive in time to help him. 

It was on Tuesday, May 20, that the King and his 



800 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

army appeared in sight, and Sir Alvaro was sent out to 
reconnoitre. Even he had lost hope by now; and when 
he saw the army assembled against him, he knew their 
last chance was gone. 

At Alverca, the Tagus broadens out into a wide shallow 
basin stretching southwards along the flooded plains of 
rushes, salt-marshes, and partially submerged fields, 
where herds of wild black bulls graze. Little cover is 
here afforded by the small willows and other shrubs, 
which faintly curtain the blue horizon. On the other 
side of those plains, a more varied view meets the eye, 
bounded on the north by a line of rounded elevations — 
not rising sufficiently to deserve the name of hills — whose 
slopes of reddish clay are relieved by dark green patches 
of bramble bushes, forming spinneys of brushwood fringing 
the yellower plain. On these mounts, thus softly rising 
out of a plain whose soil is crusted and hardened by both 
tide and sun, white-washed villages stand out, nestling 
in the warm green foliage of pomegranates and fig-trees, 
varied by the melancholic steel-grey of the all -pervasive 
olive. Along the vales, holm-oaks, and aloes their thorny 
metallic leaves triumphantly crowned by scarlet tufts, 
soften the landscape in the tamer light that simmers down 
from the glorious azure sky and from the purple mountains 
far away. 

The River of Alfarrobeira descends from the north, 
winding along the plain under cover of two rows of elms 
and poplars that almost hide it as it approaches the barer 
marshes of the Tagus. It was here, near the river, that 
Prince Peter had pitched his camp. By now he was 
surrounded by royal forces, and these, hoping to win a 
bloodless victory, attempted by repeated blasts of 
trumpets, and by threatening shouts, to detach the 
remainder of the Prince's meagre army from their alle- 
giance. The reverse, however, occurred. Some of the 
royal troops deserted and took their stand beside the Prince. 

In this state of indecision, some of the King's cross- 
bowmen took to the water, and under cover of the trees 



J 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 301 

poured a shower of arrows into the camp. There were 
soon casualities on both sides, the camp returning the 
attack. Prince Peter then ordered the bombards that 
he had with him to be fired, directing them to aim high. 
But his artillery lodged a shot near the King's tent, and 
immediately the Royalists answered with a precipitate 
charge, quickly scattering the rest of the Prince's infantry. 
It was obvious the end was near at hand, and the Prince, 
seeing the moment that his mind had yearned for and his 
instincts rebelled against, dismounted. He was lightly 
armoured : he wore a coat of mail, and over this a velvet 
jacket. Up to the last he had hoped for the intervention 
of Prince Henry. Little did he know that Prince Henry 
was there beside the King, and that it was his fate to die 
deserted by his favourite brother ! ^ 

Tall, thin, pale, moving already like a spectre, Prince 
Peter stood holding his enemies at bay with the point of 
his sword. Near by, his sons, furtively watched him with 
the indecision of their tender years . . . when an arrow, 
either by chance or in good aim buried itself in his breast .2 

1 " Prince Henry was beside King Affonso V, his nephew, at the Battle 
of Alfarrobeira, where Prince Peter was slain, and his troops routed. Here 
also perished beside him the Count d'Avranches (Sir Alvaro), and if my 
understanding is enough, I can truly say that no human loyalty or 
fortitude can surpass or equal his." — Azurara, Conq. de Guine, V. 

- It is said that bets were made among the Royal troops as to who 
should slay the Prince. Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, CXXI. 

" Et le due [Prince Peter, Duke of Coimbra], quand il sentit venir le 
roy, se cloyt et tit un champ clos de fossez et d'artillerie, et mit ses gens 
en bonne ordonnance : et a ce que m'ont plusieurs nobles hommes portu- 
galois (qui furent presents) certifi6, le due ne le faissait en autre intention 
sinon cuidant faire partir de son camp aucuns des plus notables, pour aller 
au roy en grande humiUt6, pour soy recommander en sa bonne grace, et 
89avorr les causes pourquoy il estoit mesl6 avec sa royal magest6, soy 
escuser par humbles voyes, et lui ramente voyr les services qu'il entendait 
avoir faicts au roy en ses jeunes jours et a I'utilite du royaume en con- 
cluant qu'il lui offrait son service. Mais il advint que les arbalestriers 
du roy de Portugal approcherent du camp en grands nombres et ce com- 
men9a une escarmouche par meschans gens, d'un cost^ et autre, tellement 
que d'un trait d'arbaleste, le due de Coimbre au miHeu de ses gens fut atteint 
en la poi trine, dont il mourut en celle mesme heure, et n'ay point sceu 
q'un seul homme de nom fust bless6, ou atteint de celle escarmouche fors 
le due seulement. . . . Ainsi fust le due de Coimbre occis." — The Chronicles 
of Burgimdy, Lea Mem. des Mess. Olivier de la Marche, 291. 



302 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

Throwing up his arms, he fell back limply. It was a 
fatal wound. The Bishop of Coimbra seeing him fall, and 
knowing he was in extremis, hurried to his side, and there 
in the thick of the fight absolved him, receiving his last 
sigh in his arms. Turning quietly on his side. Prince Peter, 
Duke of Coimbra, Duke of Exeter, Knight of the Garter, 
expired quietly and simply as he had lived ! 

Meanwhile, Sir Alvaro, on horseback, galloped here, 
there and everywhere, doing terrible slaughter, deter- 
mined to sell his life as dearly as possible. 

" Sir Count, what shall we do ? " shouted one of his 
attendants ; " the Prince lies dead ! " 

"Silence, Sirrah!" roared the Count; "whisper not 
this to a single soul ! " 

Spurring his horse from the battlefield, he hastened 
back to his tent, and there, dismounting, asked for bread 
and wine. Then putting on his best armour, he set out 
on foot along the lines, now broken on all sides. Recog- 
nising him, the enemy fell upon him. But he resisted 
them stoutly. First he struck out with his lance, which 
was soon broken. Then, though streaming in blood, he 
used his sword to valiant purpose, not all >wing them to 
approach while he stood there surrounded by the dead 
and dying victims of his fury. 

At last, finding he could fight no more, he gasped : 

" Oh, body of mine ! I feel that you can do no more ; 
and you my spirit, why should you tarry here ? " 

Falling to the ground, he shouted in a voice of thunder : 

*' Fight on, comrades ! And you, you villains, do your 
worst 1 " 

In an instant he was cut to pieces. One who had been 
his friend, now hacked off his head and took it to the King 
in hopes of reward. 

Prince Peter's body remained on the battlefield for 
three days, before it was taken on a skiff to the church of 
Alverca. 

Of King John's sons, there were now only two living : 
one was Prince Henry, who died as we have seen in 14G0, 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 303 

in his ejTie at Sagres, happy in the assurance that he was 
quitting this Hfe in immortal fame, forgetting the brothers 
whom he had sacrificed on the altar of his schemes ; the 
other was Dom Affonso, Count of Barcellos and Duke of 
Braganza, who died in 1461, ^ bending under the weight 
of his four and eighty years. ^ He died fabulously rich, 
all-powerful, in the full satisfaction of his great ambitions. 
He and Prince Henry were, in fact, the conquerors of Life; 
the others died conquered. Prince John, whilst almost a 
youth, succumbed to the " fever " which overcame this 
rare example of character, cutting short a noble life. 
Prince Fernando also perished in his youth, a true martyr 
to his country's cause. King Duarte died broken-hearted 
at the loss of his beloved brother, repenting in bitter tears 
the mistakes that his hypochondriacal character accused 
him of. Lastly, Prince Peter's death closes the lugubrious 
History of these lives — a story that for centuries has 
prompted the Tragic Muse to whisper numbers into the 
ear of many a nation's bard. 

We mortals must wonder which is more laudable : to 
conquer or to die conquered ? We ask ourselves the 
question : whether in this imperfect and incomplete World 
of ours — incomplete in all that is ideal in it — Goodness, 
Virtue, Nobleness, and our fluttering flight towards the 
Perfect, represented to our appreciative senses by the old 
Greek Icarian legends, are not, in truth, things that must 
wear the lasting monuments of grief — the Cross of past 
tragedies ? Compounded of Irony, Reality seems to 
persecute those who seek to divine its laws, seems to 
punish those who would rend the veil that Nature keeps 
before the vengeful goddess of Mystery. Contradictory 
in the essence of its very being, the World crushes all 
those who attempt to conquer it and try to wrench from it 
its secrets. To live in peaceful happiness, it is necessary 

^ The same year his son, the marquis of Valen9a, Count of Ourem, died. 
He was the unmarried heir to the House of Braganza, which was, there- 
fore, inherited by his brother the Count of Arrayolos. Cf. Sousa, Hist. 
Gen. X 515. 

2 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, CXLV. 



304 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

to ignore the calls of this thirst for knowledge. Well, 
indeed, has the Old Testament handed down to us the 
story of the Expulsion of our first parents from Paradise. 

In sueh a kaleidoscope of doubtful illusions, life 
runs swiftly and smoothly for those who do not attempt 
to penetrate the mysteries of its undercurrents ; but it 
violently resents the ambitious, and finally consumes them 
in the fires that are fed by their idols. Temperament 
is the law that determines the sentence that Destiny 
decrees for Man ; and, for this reason, happiness will never 
be other than a subjective experience, depending, above 
all, on the mental structure of the individual himself. 
Happiness reconciles some to the greatest calamities of 
the exterior World; to others their misfortunes do not 
even vanish with the richest gifts of Fate. 

Of the unfortunate martyrs that are influenced by this 
thirst after the Ideal, some walk through Life stumbling 
without dispersing their doubts, others follow their visions, 
blinded and attracted by the mirages that, either over 
the extensive oceans, or over the vast deserts of Life, 
strike the quickened imaginations of the explorers. In 
the battle of Life, the World has its oceans and its wastes, 
its waters and its sands, both of which are misleading, 
placing the traveller at the mercy of its tempestuous 
passions. 

Already, to-day, wc, the inheritors of this Western 
Civilisation, have arrived at an Age that allows us to see 
more clearly the World's recesses ; but, alas 1 only to 
appreciate how our happiness and moral liberty have 
sprung from the sacrifice of others, as they pursued their 
illusions ! 

And if History is a lesson on social development, so 
can we, in our analyses of characters and of the moral 
instincts that comprise them, find a whole volume on 
social psychology. A well-studied character is a whole 
j)lanet explored. And if such cliaractcrs are like those of 
the sons of John I, eminently strong and all divergingly 
different, then our study becomes almost a system on 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 305 

human nature. Further, if they help to form, as these 
do, the foundations of the Renascence, such a study 
will give us a glimpse of the determining Force of our 
civilisation — the Force that is even more miraculous 
than the phenomena that many worship still as their 
all-powerful gods ! 



CHAPTER XI 

THE DECREE OF DESTINY 

Little remains now, except to add, in the form of 
epilogue, a summary of subsequent events. We have 
seen what befell Prince Peter. Even after his death, 
misfortune still dogged his family. On the day following 
the battle of Alfarrobeira, as soon as the news of the 
disaster became known, his widow fled from Coimbra, 
with her two daughters. Dona Brites and Dona Philippa. 

Of his sons, Prince Peter, the eldest, who was scarcely 
twenty, was at the time in exile in Castile; and Prince 
John and Prince Jayme, boys of fifteen and sixteen 
respectively, taken prisoners were "awaiting the cutlass." ^ 
Thus Queen Isabel, from her throne was left lamenting 
her father's murder and her own complete separation from 
her family. 

The plunder of the Prince's estates took place imme- 
diately. The Duke of Braganza seized GuimarSes, and 
would have taken Oporto had not its citizens vehemently 
objected.^ 

The Count of Ourcm took Valcn9a do Minho and its 
title.^ Vasco Fcrnandes Coutinho, president of the 
league of 1439, became Count of Marialva."* And so on. 
Gifts were there for the asking. But the most eloquent 
proofs of the greedy injustice of such wholesale spoliation 
is that, though the Battle of Alfarrobeira was fought in 
May, it was not until December 10 that a Carta Regia 
was published, dated from Almeirim, declaring that the 

» Pina, Chron. de D. AJJonao V, CXXVI. ^ /fc,-^.^ CXXIX. 

3 Ibid., CXXXII. * Ibid., VIII. 

306 



il 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 307 

Prince and those who fought for him had been traitors 
and rebels, and, therefore, were deprived of all honours 
and estates. 

This document coincided with the arrival of the am- 
bassador sent by the Duke of Burgundy to inquire and 
report upon the Prince's death ; for the news of the disaster 
had resounded throughout all Europe, in every capital 
and Court where the Prince was known and loved ; and the 
Pope himself, Nicolas V, had been stirred by the calamity 
to issue a Bull in favour of Prince Peter. 

The Duke of Burgundy's ambassador, the Dean of Vergy,^ 
afterwards Bishop and Cardinal of Arras, was received 
by Affonso V, at Evora, on December G. 

It was evident that the Duke was deeply incensed both 
at the manner of the Prince's death and the subsequent 
calamities and spoliation to which his memory and his 
dependents had been subjected. 

The ambassador, therefore, opened his formal indict- 
ment of the Portuguese Court in the Duke's name, in 
flowery mediaeval fashion, with yet a marked under- 
current of reproach apparent in it, demanding that the 
aspersions cast upon his name and honour should be 
disavowed, and that to his rightful descendants should 
be restored the lands, titles and honours which were justly 
theirs. He added, pointedly, that he had instructions 
from the Duke of Burgundy to carry away \vith him the 
body of his beloved brother-in-law, if the Portuguese 
King persisted in refusing him the right that was due to 
him of burial in consecrated ground; and finished his set 
oration \/y dwelling on the dead Prince's piety, his classical 
pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the high Christian 
Chivalry that marked his every action — all this in the 
ponderously ornate mediaeval Latin of the time. 

The yoimg King listened in embarrassed silence. He 

probably saw now for the fu-st time the light in which the 

cultured Courts of Europe viewed the actions he had 

sanctioned in his semi-barbaric followers, and was pro- 

1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, CXXIX. 



308 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

portionally ashamed. At any rate, he answered nothing, 
merely handing a written reply to the ambassador, which 
was nothing more than a formal excuse for what had 
occurred ; and. the audience ended, the ambassador had 
perforce to retire, his object unaccomplished. 

A few days later, however, he demanded and received 
a second audience : for in the meantime the King, urged 
on by his greedy advisers, fearful of losing their spoils, 
had been induced to publish the Carta Regia already 
mentioned, in which he sanctioned the calumnies on his 
uncle. The ambassador, therefore, when he came again 
the second time, spoke in quite a different tone, opening 
his mind freely and straightforwardly, condemning the 
King's advisers as murderers, declaring that he must 
refuse to dispatch the roj-^al answer to his master Philip 
the Good, rebuking Affonso V for his lack of conscience 
in condemning — nay, even justifying, what he now de- 
scribed as treacherous parricide, reminding him that 
Prince Peter had acted towards him as a second father, 
and accusing him of more than cowardice in thus staying 
the hand of Justice. After such plain speaking, he took 
his leave; but on January 12, he sought niid was granted 
a final audience, in which he defended Prince Peter from 
the standpoint of his feudal rights. 

Four days later, he departed, his mission a comparative 
failure, as was only to be expected, since the deeds done 
could not now be undone, and the spoils so greedily 
gathered not disgorged without completely condemning 
and punishing the whole victorious party. Nevertheless, 
it did bear some fruit, because they felt themselves com- 
pelled in very shame to mitigate somewhat their atrocities; 
and Prince Jayme, his brother Prince John, and his sister 
Princess Beatrice, therefore, were permitted to accompany 
the ambassador to Burgundy,^ there to place themselves 
under the protection of their uncle Philip the Good. 

All the while the ambassador was at the Court, the 
Queen aided him zealously in his forlorn attempt to | 
1 Pina, Chron. de D. Affonso V, CXXIX. ' 



I 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 309 

rehabilitate the memory of her father and the fortunes of 
his family; but her aid unfortunately was of little avail, 
as what love the King had for her had been skilfully 
undermined by the enemies of her house. 

When, however, she provided an heir to the throne in 
the person of Prince John, afterwards John II of famous 
memory, the fortunes of her house again began to improve. 
It was impossible to maintain the slur of unconsecrated 
burial on the grandfather of the heir presumptive; and 
Prince Peter's remains were, therefore, carried solemnly 
to their last resting-place at Batalha, where he now sleeps 
under the motto " Desire," the ambiguous expression of 
the character that was the direct cause of his almost 
suicidal exit from this world. 

Had the Queen lived, the ameliorating effect of her 
increasing influence would now probably have resus- 
citated the fortunes of her family ; but, like a plant that 
blooms once and then dies, she departed this life towards 
the end of 1455, leaving her infant son behind her, the 
son who was so amply to avenge on the aristocracy of 
Portugal and the House of Braganza the wrongs his 
grandfather's memory and estates had suffered at their 
hands. 

After the birth of this her son her influence had so 
markedly increased that, when she died so unexpectedly, 
there was more than a suspicion that she had been 
poisoned. Indeed, after the tragedy of Alfarrobeira, she 
had expected nothing less ; and the chronicles tell us that 
she had now lost all affection for her husband .^ 

She knew, besides, that the victorious traitors had 
done their best to separate her from the King, advising 
him to take another wife ; but this, to Affonso's credit, he 
would not do, writing her a consoling letter from Lisbon, 
when she was in fear and agony at Santarem.^ 

But with her little son beside her, she felt that all was 
changed ; the honour of her family was in his clinging little 
hands; and when she was taken ill, she knew that she 

1 Pina, Chron. de D. Ajfonso V, CXXVI. 2 Ihid., CXXVIII. 



310 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

could now leave the world with a mind easier than she 
had had for years. It was the beginning of the winter. 
The Court was at Evora at the time. She died as the 
chronicles relate of " a flooding of blood that was sus- 
])icious of poisoning." ^ And with her death the returning 
influence of Prince Peter's family again declined. 

Nevertheless, the King was beginning to develop by 
this time that intense devotion to the pomp and circum- 
stances of Chivalry, the glories of the jousting fields, the 
lust of adventurous crusades against the Moslem which 
now remains the outstanding feature of his reign; it was 
impossible for him to harbour jealousy and suspicion for 
long; and so, in 1453, he recalled his uncle's eldest son, 
Prince Peter, the Poet-Constable, from exile in Castile, 
and restored him to favour and the Grandmastership of 
the Order of St. Bennett of Aviz.^ 

Apparently the Prince remained a favourite at Court, 
and entered fully into the knightly exercises that were 
then so popular there. Perhaps, indeed, it was through 
absorbing this atmosphere too well that he was tempted 
to his death. It happened in this wise : 

There was trouble over the succession in Aragon. 
Prince Charles, the heir, had been poisoned by his step- 
mother, in order that her own son Don Fernando, the 
future husband of Isabel of Castile, might succeed. 
Alarmed at this, the Catalans placed themselves under 
the protection of France, and afterwards under Henry V 
of Castile, both of whom, however, were bought off by 
Don Fernando. Searching round for some one to appeal 
to, therefore, they then remembered that Prince Peter, as 
the son of the eldest daughter of the Count of Urgel, had 
certain legitimate claims to the throne. To him, then, they 
appealed, in 1467. He was thirty-seven years of age at 
the time, and the j)rospect of a throne tempted him. He 
was not, however, destined to succeed ; for, with the fiendish 
malignity of the time, he too was secretly poisoned, and 

^ Goofl, Chron. de Princip. D. Jrxio, V. 
" Sousa, Hist. Gen., II. 84-8. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 311 

thus the second of Prince Peter's children perished at the 
hands of his enemies.^ 

Princess PhiHppa, who was twelve years old at the date 
of her father's death, had a better fate. She secluded 
herself for hfe in the cloister at Odivellos, although she 
never took the veil ; and there she gave herself up to 
Religion, spending her days in her cell writing and trans- 
lating rehgious works : The Stations and Meditations of the 
Passion is from her pen, as is also a translation from the 
French Bible, the Solitary Life of St, Lawrence, and 
various other spiritual works intended for the use of 
her niece Princess Joanna. In her continued the love for 
literature inherited from Prince Peter; and of all his 
children, she alone, in the protection of the cloister, met 
with a natural death in 1493, at the age of forty-four.^ 

The remaining children of Prince Peter, whose fates 
must briefly be mentioned, are those who took refuge in 
the Court of the Duke of Burgundy. 

Princess Brites married Adolphus de Cieves, Lord of 
Ravenstejai. Contemporary chronicles speak of her as 
" apparently living upon Earth as a woman. Her birth- 
place was nevertheless Heaven." Her extraordinary 
humility made her walk through life as if her virtues 
were crimes. Below her dress of silk brocade she wore 
haircloth; and she habitually slept upon straw. So 
virtuous and saintly was she, that even her death was 
considered a miracle. It is written that two stars were 
seen in the sky the night she died, and that both were 
eclipsed as she expired. However, the truth is that she 
was poisoned by a certain John Constain. 

Prince Jayme and Prince John, also in their uncle's 
care, went as children to Bruges, where the Duke acted 
as their father, fixing a pension on them,^ since they had 

^ Zurita, Ann. de Aragon, XVIII. 147. 

2 Sousa, Hist. Gen., II. 81, 8-4. (Friar Francisco Brandao : " Counsels 
and opinions of the Lady Donna Philippa, daughter of Prince Peter, re- 
garding intercessions and wars of Castile, with brief notices concerning the 
princess, dedicated to King John IV, Lisbon, 1643.") 

3 OUvier de la Marche, Mem., Book I., xx., xxiv., xxv. and xxviii. 



312 THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

been deprived of all. They were accompanied by a few 
of their father's adherents, who like themselves, were 
ruined. 

Prince John chose the life of a soldier; and in 1452, we 
hear of him fighting at the siege of Ghent, in the cos- 
mopolitan Burgundian army of Scotch, Portuguese, 
Spaniards, and Italians.^ 

As a reward for his services, the Duke knighted his 
nephew, enrolling him, in May 1456, in the Order of the 
Golden Fleece, in the Chapter that belonged to that Order 
at Haya. His excellent qualities and modesty were the 
charm of all the Court. He deemed himself, indeed, 
fortunate in his honours; and himself said that they were 
worth more to him than a Crown.^ He was twenty years 
of age, life seemed very promising, and it looked as if he 
had broken the curse that surrounded his family. 

Being, however, a Prince without a patrimony, it was 
necessary to find him an heiress who would still be of 
equal birth ; and this his uncle, the Duke, found for him in 
the person of Charlotte de Lusignans, daughter of John II 
of Cyprus. 

It is true Cyprus meant in those days he end of the 
World, far away from everything he had been accustomed 
to hold dear. Nevertheless it appealed strongly to his 
adventurous nature, for was it not the great bulwark of 

1 " Lo 27 raai, 1452, se partirent les luitions des nmrchands de la ville 
de Bruges, les qucUes y allaient du sceu et volonte de ceux de Cand, po\ir 
trouver paix entre le due de Bourgogne et les Gantois: icellcs nations 
etoient, Eapaigne, Arragon, Portugal, Escoce, Venissiens, Florentins, 
Miilamois, Genevois, et Lucois." — Chastellain, Chron. (Bruxelles, 1803, II. 
280). " Les nations de Bruges sont les marchands tenant tables de mar- 
chandise pour tout le monde." — Jacques Duclerc, II. 43. Cf. ChafltcUain, 
II. 305 and 369. 

'^ " Entre ces cinq chevaliers nouvcaux 61us, moult fut belle chose, ce 
disoit-on, des manidrcs et paroles de ce Prince Messire Jchan de Coymbre 
alors quant il re^ut I'ordre en chapitre et qu'on lui requist le serment, 
car tout si noble et de royal sangue qu'il estoit, sy se reputoit-il un des 
moins dignes du monde d'estre vcnu k celuy honeur, encore si jrunc qu'il 
estoit et qui riens n'avoit vu ne valu. Done, s'il eust et^ des mcilliers du 
monde ce disoit, sy se tenoit-il asscz k pare d'estre venu la, et disait que 
autant se tenoit k riche alors et plus joycux que d'avoir couronne en teste." 
— ChasteUain, ibid. (Bruxelles, 1864), III. 95. 



» PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 313 

Christianity, on the confines of the sea of Moslem infi- 
delity ? Distance was the price he had to pay for power ; 
and he faced the adventure with eager heart, buoyed up 
with the promise of support from his uncle, dreaming that 
perhaps he might thereby lay the foundations of a great 
Empire for himself. 

I We read of his charm in the Chronicles that tell us of 
the tender parting from his uncle, his brother-in-law 
Adolphus de Cleves, his twin nephews of Toulongeon, and 
his friends. 

Bravely he faced the fact that his destination was " the 
end of the Earth, among a people naturally perverse." 
Happily perhaps for him, he did not guess that he was to 
be a victim of this perversity. 

His title as consort was Prince of Antioch ; and, finding 
his wife's Kingdom in a state of anarchy, true son of his 
father, he set about reducing it to order. Like his father 
he raised many enemies against himself ; and to complete 
the parallel, these enemies triumphed : in less than two 
years after his arrival at Cyprus he was dead, poisoned 
with five of his most trusted companions. ^ The Mauso- 
leum that covers his remains in the convent of S. 
Domingos, was raised to his memory by his widow, who 
afterwards married the Duke of Savoy .^ The Kingdom 
of Cyprus, which he had tried to govern, did not long 
survive him. It became involved in hostilities between 
Venice, Egypt, and Turkey, lost its independence in 1489, 

^ Henry Giblet, Hist, de re Lusignans, Venice, 1655. " Ceslui noble 
chevalier <\q I'ordre de la Toison d'or fut empoisonne d'aucuns gouvemeurs 
du royaume de Cypre, lesquel, prenans dueil en sa maniere de gouvemer 
qui estoit vertueuse et utile au dit royaume, conspirerent centre lui et 
lui brasserent la poison de sa mort que dommage fut le plus grand des 
crestiens. Car de mes yeux jus qu'a celuy jour n' avoir vu homme onques 
plus enclin a haute disposition, ne a haute vertu, et pour tant fortune 
envieuse d'un tel bien futur au monde envenima les coeurs d'aucuns 
mauvais pour lui avancier la mort . . . Furent empoisonn6s aussy cinq 
gentils hommes avecques le Prince d'Antioche, messire Jehan de Coimbre, 
que tous moururent avec luy, en grant pleur et regret de la fille du roy que 
depuis se remaria au due de Savoye." — Chastellain, ibid., Vol. III. 
LXXVI. 386. 

2 lUn, da, Terra Sancta, Pantaleao d'Aveiro, XIV. ; 41, V. edit., 1596, 



31i THE GOLDEN AGE OF 

when Catharina Cornaro ceded all rights to Venice, and 
fell eventually into the hands of the Turks in 1570.* 

His death makes the fourth of Prince Peter's children 
killed by poison : Prince Peter in Barcelona, Prince John 
in Cyprus, Princess Brites in Bruges, and Queen Isabel 
in Evora. Only Princess Philippa died a natural death in 
her cell at Onivcllos; and only Queen Isabel left a suc- 
cessor to avenge this ill-fated family. 

Prince Jayme's fate alone remains to be told. Dedi- 
cating himself to the service of the Church, he went from 
Bruges to Rome, where his uncle's influence served him 
in good stead, for shortly after his arrival a vacancy 
occurred in the See of Arras, and he was appointed Bishop 
by the Pope in 1453. From Arras he was translated to 
Lisbon as Archbishop. In 1456 he went to Rome in the 
service of Burgundy; and whilst there Callixtus III made 
him Bishop of Paphos, in Cyprus, where his brother should 
have been King. He became a Cardinal at the age of 
twenty -two; and it was said that in spite of his youth the 
honour was already late, considering his worth. ^ 

His was an extraordinarily brilliant career, for, while 
little more than a boy, he had reached aln.ost the highest 
eminence possible in the Church — in fact, nothing but the 
Vatican itself remained. Like his brother, Prince John, 
he thus seemed destined for a career of exceptional great- 
ness and good fortune. 

And then came the change. Dignitaries of the Church 
in those days frequently respected the vow of celibacy 
and chastity more in the breach than the observance. 
What happened to the Prince-Cardinal is not known. What 
unhappy love affair poisoned his happiness will never be 
discovered. All that is known is that, at the age of 
twenty-five, he died in Florence, because, it is said, " he 
did not wish to contaminate his chastity." Thus perished 
the last of the sons of Prince Peter, the Philosopher. 

» Adrien de But, fhrnn. (Bnixelles), 1870, 394. 

^ " . . . ut quamvis juvenis adhuc tardius tamen opinione omnium ad 
earn dignitatem aacenderit." — iEneae Sylvii Hisl. de Europa, LVIII. 461. 



PRINCE HENRY THE NAVIGATOR 315 

His ermine bore the legend " Malo mori quam foedari," ^ 
" Death before defilement." It may be taken, indeed, as 
the motto of the whole of this unfortunate family, the most 
noble branch of the House of Aviz — as noble in character as 
in intellect. Their common misfortunes — misfortunes that 
seemed as it were inherited — have dowered them in the 
eyes of the World with the martyr's crown — the highest 
consecration this world can give. 

It has also been said that such protracted and cruel 
misfortunes were the " necessary preparations " for the 
greatness Portugal was about to enter upon — that but for 
them there would have been no John II, Born in these 
hours of supreme affliction, receiving in his mother's womb 
the impressions of these tragedies, his character was 
moulded by the still fresh memories of Prince Henry's 
lofty ambitions, by the newly expounded teachings of 
King Duarte's colonising doctrines ; his strength was 
developed under the shadow of the tragedy of Alfarro- 
beira, where the aristocracy triumphed over the body of 
Prince Peter ; and his skill in arms perfected by the spirit of 
knight-errantry, stimulated during the reign of his father 
Affonso V. 

As soon as he ascended to the throne. King John II at 
once began to restore the material progress interrupted in 
his father's reign. With sword and dagger he avenged his 
grandfather's murder, crushing the aristocracy's anarchistic 
ideas. With the aid of Science, and his intrepid servants, 
he followed in Prince Henry's footsteps, \vresting at 
length from Nature the secret of the open seaway to the 
East. Personifying the concrete idea of absolute monarchy, 
he took as his motto the words, " For the Law, for the 
Nation, for the World, and for Justice ! " 

In him Portugal saw her apotheosis, and the House of 
Aviz its culmination. 

^ Oallia Christ., III. 344; Onuphre, Epit. Pontif, Rom., Venice, 1557; 
318-25. Cf. Sousa, Hist. Gen., II. 91, 101. 



APPENDIX 

" The Autoscript of Prince Peter, who travelled through the 
seven parts of the Earth, ^v^itten by Gomes de Santo Estevam, 
who Avent in his company," was first published in 1544. It 
was subsequently re-edited in 1698, 1739, 1767, and 1882. 
We have arranged the following synopsis from the last-mentioned 
edition, giving the headings of the paragraphs into which it is 

divided : , , / ^i 

1. How the Infante Dom Pedro of Portugal started from tlie 
village of Barcellos to visit the Seven Parts of the Earth. 

He starts with twelve companions, in memory of the twelve 
Apostles, and arrives at the Court to receive the blessing of his 
father, the King, who gives him twelve thousand pieces of 

gold. , . , . , 

He goes to Valladolid. The King of Castile gives him twenty 
thousand pieces of gold and " the tongue of Ramires." 

2. How the Prince arrives at the City of Venice, and embarks 

there. 

We go to Venice overland, and there embark for CjT^rus, 
visiting the Court at Nicosia, and the Queen whose husband 
was in the hands of the Turks. 

3. How we leave Cyprus to pay homage to the Great Turk in 
the City of Mandua. 

We go to Turkey, to Mandua, and from hence to Patras, 
whore we sec the Siiltan. We pay two pieces of gold as tribute, 
and depart for Constantinople, then threatened by the Knights 
of Rhodes. From Constantinople, we cross the desert through 
the Land of the Greeks and Macedonians, sighting Jerusalem, 
and arriving at an Hermitage, where we sec portrayed the 
bodies of both Kings and Princes. The Hermit tolls us that 
we must not proceed westward as this leads to Norway, wliore 
the days are merely of four hours. We take dromedaries and 
journey through the desert. 

4. How 7ve arrive at Babylonia, and make reverence to the 
Great Babi/lon. 

We go to Babylonia and see the Sultan's son, to whom we 
communicate our intentions of going to Prester John. 

316 



< 



APPENDIX Sir 

5. How we depart from Babylonia to visit the Holy Land. 

We go through the Province of Centiirius. Regarding 
Macrocephaha. We cross the Land of " the Alarves," and, 
arriving at the Jordan, pass Nazareth. 

6. How the Prince enters the Holy City of Jerusalem. 
We visit the Sanctuaries and Mount Tabor. 

7. How we leave Jerusalem to journey to the Mouritains of 
Armenia, zvhereon rests Noah's Ark. 

Description of the mountains. We see Noah's Ark resting 
on the mountains. 

8. How the Prince pays homage to the King of Armenia, and 
visits the house of Saint Maria Egypciaca. 

We \'isit the King of Armenia and the sepulchre of Saint 
Maria over the Jordan. 

9. How we go to where dwells the Grand Sultan of Egypt in 
Babylonia. 

We visit Eg3'pt, and deal ^vith the Sidtan who came from 
Villa Nueva de la Serena, and was once a captive from 
Granada given to the King of Fez. We assist at the suppli- 
cation of a Moor, tied across a high-raised pole, for haxing 
assaulted a pilgrim. We now turn to Penora, Sabranza, 
Grand Cairo, Assuan, and Fantalion or Torna and Pasiban ( ?), 
where the River Prison is seen " coursing from the ' Terrestial 
Paradise.' " 

10. How the Prince pays homage to " The great Morate," and 
then travels to where dwells " The Supreme Tamerlan." 

We pass Cappadocia, where we received the bounty of " The 
Great Morate," and, crossing the Desert of Ninive, arrive at the 
City of " Samasa," where we are received by the " Great 
Tamerlan." We grovel thrice on the groimd before him. 
Description of the Court and of the Religious ceremonies 
there. Across a desert we arrive at the City of Tarfo, fourteen, 
leagues from Sodom and Gomorrha. Description. 

11. How we reach Arabia, and proceed to the Mountains of 
Gelboe, where Saul perished. 

12. How we arrive at Mount Sinai. Description of the 
Sanctuauj and of Saint Catharine's body. 

13. How we go to the " Land of the Great Rohan," and see the 
" House of Mecca." 

Roban sends us in charge of two Moors to Gudilfe, the 
Lord of the house of Mecca and King of Jerusalem, who keeps 
us prisoners for ten weeks. Liberated we see the sepulchre of 
Mafoma " suspended in mid-air between six loadstones, which 
are similar in size and of the brilliancy of gold; and as each 
has an equal attractive motive it is the case that this sepulchre 
is sustained in mid-air, the which these miserable fanatics 
consider a great marvel." 



818 APPENDIX 

14. IIow we go to the Land of the Amazons of the City of 
Sonterra. Customs of the Amazon Pigmies. 

15. Uoxv we arrive at a Province of Jews that are subject to 
Pr ester John. 

" In this province the Jews do not cut their beards, for 
they have lost their Promised Land." 

16. IIow the Infante, Dom Pedro, passes through the land of 
Giants, and goes to the India of Prester John. 

^Ve go to the Province of Giants, through which we proceed 
to India, stopping at the city of " Car9ola " in the province 
aforesaid. We are informed here that we shall find Prester John 
in the city of "Carleo." We go to the city of " Alves," and 
there we find him. Description of the city, wherein we remain 
fourteen weeks. We see the body of St. Thomas. 

17. IIow Prester John is elected. Ritual of the Election. 

" Here is a land where the son is the sepulclue of the father, 
and the father is the sepulchre of the son, for they cat each 
other. We leave. We cross the City of Edieia and visit the 
' Terrestrial Paradise.' We see the four rivers : the Tigris 
full of olive and cyprus trees; the Euphrates full of palms; 
the Gion full of human beings; the Pison full of parrots that 
build their nests on the waters." 

We arrive at the Province of the Pigmies, " who are very 
small men, as small as infants of five; and they have great 
wars with the birds." We return to the Court of Prester 
John. 

18. The letter ivritten by Prester John of I uiia to the King 
of Castile. 

" Prester John of India, King of many realms, etc., wishes 
it to be known that we believe in God the Father, Son and 
Holy Ghost, Three Persons in One True God. To all those 
whom it may concern, know what there is in our realms. We 
inform you that we have sixty kings as our vassals, and the 
poor we maintain with their rents. Ye must know that our 
realms consist of three parts : India Major, Abexins, and 
India Minor, where the Apostle Saint Thomas is buried. Know 
that elephants are born in this land, camels, lions, and unicorns, 
the which have great strength, and are capable of lifting even 
a calf for their young ones to eat. These animals and many 
varieties of serpents infest the deserts; and the camels and 
dromedaries, when they arc young, we subject and tame to 
plough the fields, and to carry. We have a people in one 
Province who possess only one eye; and other people who 
possess two in front and two behind, and when these die, they 
are eaten by their relatives. They are called Gostes and 
Mangostes, and live in the shelter of very lofty mountains. 
They say that they will not sally forth until the Anti-Christ 



M 



APPENDIX 319 

comes, and then they will sally forth in great fury. They are 
so numerous that not even the whole world can conquer them ; 
but, no doubt, God who commands in Heaven will destroy 
them with Hell-fire for their cruelties. In another Province, 
there dwell a people who have round feet. These do not 
pillage, nor are they good farmers. And there is another 
generation, whose men and women are no bigger than children 
of five. These have no work until the harvest season; for 
then there comes a band of birds, and at that time their King 
sallies out to war and kills many birds. Near by there are 
others who are human from the navel upwards and horse 
from the navel down. These live on raw flesh, and die on the 
desert hke wild beasts. We ordered some of these to be fetched 
to adorn our Court. We have also in these parts a hundred 
castles, very strong, and in each 4,000 men-at-arms, who 
guard the palaces and frontiers from that cruel nation of Got 
and Magot, who, if they l^ft their mountains would undoubtedly 
destroy the whole world. When we bathe, we make them carry 
in front of us a Cross, because we wish to remember the Cross 
of Jesus Christ, and we also take ahead a gold casket full of 
earth. 

" And know that none of our people, who have the Apostle 
Thomas ^vith them, bear false witness, because we should be 
miracidously punished — just as in other parts we should be 
damned for the sins of disloyalty — for God asks us to love our 
neighbour in good faith, not to bear false witness, or commit 
adultery, for which sins the punishment is death. Each year 
we visit the sepulchres of the Holy Prophets, and go to Baby- 
lonia on castles built upon elephants (on account of the many 
serpents, dragons and bears, that infest the desert), to visit 
the sepulchre of the Prophet David. 

" We have also subject to us the Pro\ince of Giants, who 
pay us tribute ; and these men are as tall as lances, and if they 
were as bellicose as they are tall, they would conquer the 
world. But Our Lord has cursed them, and they wish for 
aught but work; and this is so because they wished to erect 
the Towc" of Babel, saying that they would storm Heaven. 
Of these we have a few at our Court so that the strangers may 
see them. 

" Our palaces are of the manner figured by the Apostle 
Saint Thomas for King Gudilfe; the doors are of Cedar of 
Lebanon and the windows are fashioned in crystal. In front 
of our palaces there are others where our youths dwell. In 
the apartments wherein we sleep we burn a balsam-lamp, 
because of its pleasing smell ; and our couches are encastellated 
in sapphires thus made for the sake of chastity. In our house 
there are usually in attendance twelve kings, twelve archbishops, 



320 APPENDIX 

twelve bishops, twelve patriarchs, and as many abbots in onr 
chapel as there be days in the year. Each one of these says 
Mass on his day ; and as soon as he has said IMass he goes to 
his Monastery,' for reasons of honesty and humility. Know 
that on Ciiristmas-Day, Easter Sunday, and Ascension-Day, 
we have great feasts, and we preach to the people ; and there 
are other solemnities that last nigh all day; and at night we 
are so famished that we eat of all and every eartlily viands. 

" These miracles and marvels, and many others, doth God 
make among us, through the happy advent of Saint Thomas. 

" I write of these things, so that all in other lands may 
know what happens in these parts of India." 

It seems that most of this narrative has been falsified by 
the Castilian Editor, from whose version the later Portuguese 
text has been derived. Bearing in mind the credulity and the 
phantastic spirit of the Age, we are not surprised to find this 
narrative to be such a medley of fact and fiction. 



INDEX 



Abulfeda, 68 

Acre, St. John d', 97 

Afltonso rV, 70 

Affonso V, 79, 204, 218, 219, 224, 

270, 272, 301, 307-9, 315 
Affonso VI, 119 
Agincourt, Battle of, 43 
Alcacerguiber, 225 
Alcazar, 225, 226 
Alcoba9a, 297 
Alexander V, 43, 79 
Alexandria, 93 
Alfarrobeira, Battle of, 215, 224, 

272-306 
Alhos Vedros. 49 
Aljubarotta, Battle of, 3, 4 
Almada, Alvaro Vaz de, 98, 196 
Alvares, Friar John, 204 
Alvaro, 202, 259, 260 
Alverca, 300 
Amurath II, Sultan, 92 
Andeiro, 2 
Andjera, 186 
Annes, John, 88 
Antioch, Prince of, 313 
Ararat, Mount, 113 
Arc, Jeanne d', 120 
Arguin, 212, 217, 218, 220, 222 
Arimathaea, 99 
Arrayolos, Count of, 152, 178, 239, 

245, 246, 264, 279, 282 
Arzilla, 197, 201, 225, 226 
Athayde, Alvaro Goncalves de, 90, 

217 
Azores, the. 230 
Azurara, 79 

Babylonia, 94, 114 

Bajazet, Sultan, 89 

Baldaya, Affonso, 207, 222 

Barbary, 177, 181 

Barcellos, Count of, 5, 41, 45, 53, 
56, 61, 63, 145, 152-4, 169, 171. 
176, 178, 181, 215, 232, 235, 237, 
238, 240-2, 244, 247, 252, 255, 
264-6, 268, 273, 279, 281, 303 

Y 321 



Barcelona, 172 

Barredo, 273 

Batalha, 146, 297 

Beatrice, Princess, 1, 308 

Belez, 190 

Benedict XIII, Pope, 42, 43 

Bethlehem, 96, 101-2, 105 

Bethsaida, 14 

Biscay, Bay of, 183 

Blithe, 3 

Bojador, Cape, 206, 207, 211, 222 

Braga, Archbishop of, 10, 37 

Braganza, Duke of, 6, 224, 285, 

303 
Branca, Princess, 11 
Branco, Cape, 211, 217 
Brites, Princess, 311 
Buerch, 123 
Burgundy, Duke of, 11, 120, 121, 

123, 169, 224, 307, 311 
Byzantium, 123, 169, 224 

Cabral, Gon§alo, 222 

Cadiz, 78 

Cairo, 94, 114 

^alabengala, 193, 196 

Calvary, Moimt, 105-7 

Camoens, Luiz de, 18 

Canary Islands, 152, 206, 223 

Capernaum, 111 

Camide, 196 

Castile, 8, 23-5, 38, 43, 59, 77, 87, 
152, 244, 250, 260, 261, 263, 264, 
266, 267-71, 282, 285, 291 

Castro, Alvaro de, 295 

Catherina, Princess, 178 

Catherine of Braganza, 7 

Centiirius, Province of, 94 

Ceuta, 20, 21, 24-6, 32, 37, 51, 52, 
56, 58-60, 84, 135, 142, 170, 180, 
183, 184, 186-8, 190, 193, 197-9, 
201, 202, 207-11, 226, 233, 283 

Charles the Bold, 121, 205 

Chorozin, 111 

Cintra, Gongalves de, 215, 216, 257 

Cleves, Adolphus de, 311, 313 



322 



INDEX 



Cobham, Lord, 3 

Coimbra. 6, 87, 151. 219, 251, 253, 
256, 262, 267, 270, 275, 278, 279, 
281, 284, 286, 290, 296, 302 

Constantine the Great, 97 

Constantinople, 93, 224 

Conti, ratricio di, 221 

Costa, Solivo da. 222, 224 

Coutinho, Vasco Femandes, 236, 306 

Covilha, 287 

Crato, 257-61, 263 

Cressingham, 3 

Cyprus, 91, 92, 312, 313 

Dale, 3 

Dead Sea, the, 98, 102 

Denmark, 90, 118, 119 

Deserto, 83 

Dias, 221, 222 

Dom, Leonesse, Cotint, 9 

Douro, River, 8, 9, 265, 292 

Diiarte. Prince, 11, 12, 15, 16, 19, 
20, 21, 27, 37, 41, 47, 56, 60, 82, 
87, 123, 126, 127, 129, 131. 133, 
139, 142; becomes King, 145, 150, 
151, 194-6, 198-201, 204, 215, 
224, 227, 232, 233, 243, 244, 251, 
253, 276, 281, 315 

Eannes, GU, 206, 211, 212 

Edrisi. Xerife. 68 

Edward I, 1, II 

Ega, 296 

Egypt, 94, 115, 118, 313 

Engaddi, 101 

England, 119, 169 

Erio, King of Denmark. 90, 118 

Estovam, Santo, 88, 91, 93, 94, 

114-18 
Eugin IV. Pope, 173 
Evora, 199, 200, 280 

Fafilete, 190 

Fattima, Ibn, 68 

Ferdinand, King, 25 

Femandes, Diniz, 207, 208 

Fernando I, 1, 2 

Fernando, Dom, 201, 265, 282 

Fernando, Prince, 11. 47, 145, 154, 
168, 170-2. 184. 186, 192-4, 196- 
205, 218. 235, 242, 268, 279 

Ferrara, 125 

Fez, 152, 184, 190, 197, 202, 242, 
252. 268 

Figiicrirodo, Ayres Gonjalves, 44 

Flanders, 123,*134 

Furtado, Affonso, 39 



Galgala, 96 

Galilee, 96, 111, 112 

Gambia, River, 221, 222 

Gaza, 96. 100 

Genoa, 79 

Gethsemane, Garden of, 101 

Ghent, 123, 312 

Gibraltar, 183 

Gomes, Bartholomew, 245 

Gomes, Fernao. 218-20, 222 

Gonial ves, Antao, 207, 209, 215, 

221, 222 
Goree, 221 

Granada, 20, 24, 25, 43, 59, 152, 177 
Grantham, 3 

GuedeUia, Mestre, 148, 149 
Guimaraes, 255, 266 
Guinea, Gulf of, 219, 220 

Henry III, 2, 71 

Henry V of Castile, 310 

Henry VI of Castile, 119, 120, 243 

Henry, Prince, the Navigator, 11, 
18-22, 25, 27, 28, 33, 37, 41, 44, 
45, 47, 49, 51, 53, 55, 59, 61, 64, 
65-8, 70-8, 81, 83, 84-6, 89, 131, 
132, 135, 142, 143, 145, 151-4, 
167-74, 176-8, 180-200, 204-40, 
250, 251, 255, 256, 258, 261, 
263, 264, 266, 269, 276, 278, 283, 
284, 286-301, 303, 305 

Henry of Trastamara, 3 

Hermengildo, 9 

Hermon, Moimt, 96 

Hospitallers, Prior of the, 26, 31-3 

Hugo IV, King, 91 

Hungary, 87, 123 

Inquisition, the, 19 

Isabel, Princess, 11, 42, 47, 128, 173, 

235. 236, 270, 314 
Isabella, Queen, 25 

Jaffa, 79. 96 

Jayme, Prince, 306, 308, 311, 314 

Jehoshaphat, Valley of, 102, 107 

Jericho, 96 

Jerusalem. 97, 98, 100-10, 198 

Jimenes, Cardinal, 227 

Joanne, Princess, 311 

John I of Castile, 1. 2. 3, 62, 152 

John I of Portugal, 2, 3, 5 26. 30, 
31, 34, 35, 39, 43-53, 55, 58, 60-2, 
69, 77, 82. 84, 145-9, 151, 171, 
236, 237, 286 

John II of Castile, 37, 88, 259 

John IT of Portugal, 83. 283 

John de Bfithencourt, 76 



INDEX 



323 



John of Gaunt, 2, 3, 8 

John, Prince, 11, 18, 59, 145, 154, 
170, 175, 176, 194, 218, 232, 243, 
244, 246-8, 253, 255, 256, 258, 
263, 264, 267, 276, 281, 285, 286, 
303, 308, 309. 311, 312 

John, Prester, 22, 86, 94, 115. 116, 
206 
' Jord.in, River, 96, 98 

Judcea, Wilderness of, 98 

Kedron, Brook, 102, 106, 110 

Lagos, 206, 210-17, 222, 276 

Langarote, 216, 217, 221, 222 

Lazaraque, 190 

Lebanon, Mount, 96 

Leiria, 175, 198 

Leonora, Queen, 1, 2, 172, 177, 178, 

233, 241, 242, 244, 256, 258, 260, 

266, 267, 276, 281 
Lion, Cape, 186, 187 
Lisbon, 19, 41, 44. 65, 73, 79, 128, 

182, 201, 225, 245, 248, 249, 252- 

6, 261, 266, 272, 279, 282, 283, 

297, 298, 309, 314 
Lobo, Friar Gil, 145, 148, 167 
Loyal Counsellor, The, 156-68, 173 
Luna, Alvaro de, 259, 260, 266, 269, 

270, 291 
Lusignans, Charlotte de, 312 



^ Madeira, 72, 82, 83, 217, 222, 230 
i Magancha, Chief Justice, 272, 273 
"i Mahdi, 68 
\ Mahomet II, 224 

Mandeville, Sir John, 91 

Margarite III, 121 

Martino I, 26 

Mecca, 177, 181 

Mena, John de, 131 

Menzies, Dom Pedro de, 58, 184 

Mondego, River, 261, 284, 287 

Montemor, 292 

Morocco, 18, 23, 30, 38, 67, 74, 175, 
177, 190, 206, 207, 224, 225, 227, 
253 

Naar, 212 
Nazareth, 99, 112 
Niger, River, 115, 221 
Nun'alvares, Constable, 4, 10, 11, 
13, 17, 35-8, 51, 52 

Odivellos, 45, 46, 49 
Offence, Mount of, 101 
Ohves, Mount of, 101, 103, 110 



Oporto, 6, 9, 10, 41, 44, 45, 152, 178, 

283, 300 
Oran, 227 

Ordono, King, 9, 10 
Ourem, Count of, 152, 177, 235, 

246, 258, 264, 265, 268, 273-8, 

281,282,285,290,306 

Pahnas, Cape, 222 

Paris, 183 

Paul, St., 102 

Pedro, Mestre, 76, 133, 236, 240, 
249 

Penella, 292 

Pereira, Alvaro, 37 

Perestrello, 71, 73 

Perreira, Joao, 186 

Pessanhas, Admiral, 40 

Peter, Prince, 3, 11, 17, 19-21, 26, 
27, 41, 43, 45, 47, 53, 56, 58-60, 
75-8, 84-144, 145, 151, 153, 167- 
71, 195, 196, 198, 199, 201, 215-17, 
223, 226, 227, 232, 234, 235, 
237-70, 273-302, 306-8, 310, 311, 
314 

Philip I, 121 

Philip the Good, 120, 128, 133, 173, 
308 

Philippa, Princess, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 
11, 12-16,34-6,45-8,62, 241, 311 

Phoenicia, 96 

Polo, Marco, 75, 76, 124-6, 131 

Purbaeh, George, 75, 76 

Quebec, 207 

Ramires, Garcia, 88 

Regras, Joao das, 37 

Renascence, the, 127, 141, 143, 166, 

229, 305 
Richard II, 3 

Rio Grande, Estuary of, 222 
Rodrigo, Friar, 146 
Rodrigues, Femao, 50 
Rome, 125, 126 

Sacavem, 245 

Sagres, 80, 83, 200, 206, 207, 224, 

225, 227, 240, 244, 251, 255, 266, 

276, 303 
St. Catharine, 115-18 
St. Vincent, 220 
St. Vincent, Cape, 75, 77, 80 
Saladin, 97 
Samaria, 96, 99, 110 
Sancho, Don, 71, 82 
Santa Catharina, 4 
Santa Maria, 223 



824 



INDEX 



Santarem, 273-6, 285, 291, 294; 

296-8, 309 
Santiago, 212 
Sapheto, 111 
Sebastian, Dom, 30, 197 
Senegal, River, 221, 222 
Shore, H. N., 80 
Sierra Leone, 221, 222 
Sigismvmdo, 89, 90 
Silo, 99 

Silva, Jouo Gomes de, 38 
Silva, Nimo Martins da, 245 

Tabor, Mount 9G, 110, 111 
Tangier. 152, 174-81, 186, 186, 190, 

193, 190, 201, 205, 207-10, 213, 

219, 220, 224, 225, 233 
Tetuan, 174, 186 
Theodomiro, 9 
Theresa, Queen, 9 
Three Point Cave, 222 
Tiberius, 96, 111 
Tidra (Tida Island), 212, 222 
Tih, Desert of, 95 
Torres Novas, 274 



Torres Vedras, 37, 38, 49, 178, 297 
Treviso, 123, 125 
Tripoli, 177, 181 
Tristfto, Nunc, 207 
Turkey, 313 

Udemburg, 122 

Urgel, Count of, 172, 233, 310 

Valen^a do Minlio, 306 

Varzea, 289 

Vaz, Sir Alvaro, 88, 89, 120, 196, 

243, 277, 278, 282, 284, 289, 292, 

293, 299, 300, 302 
Venice, 123-6, 201, 313, 314 
Verba, Friar John, 140 
Verde, Capo, 215, 218, 221, 222 
Villa do Infante, 75, 79, 206 
Vizen, Duke of, 6 

Zarco, Joao Gonjalves, 71-3, 217, 

221 
Zeno, Marco, 221 
Zion, Mount, 1, 3, 108 



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