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The Discovery of America by Columbus. TOWARDS the close of the fifteenth century, Venice and Genoa were the only powers in Europe which owed their support 10 commerce. An interferenee of interests inspired a mutual rivalship; but in traffic, Venice was superior, . She engrossed the whole commerce of India, then, and indeed always, the most valuable in the world, but hit herlo entirely carried on through the inland parts of Asia, or by the way of Egypt and the Red Sea.
In this state of affairs, Christoval, or Christopher Colon, more generally known by his Latinized name Columbus, a native of Genoa, whose knowledge of the true figure of the earth was much superior to the general notions of the age in which he lived, conceived a project of sailing to the Indies by a bold and unknown route, and of opening to his country
source of opulence and power. But this proposal of sailing westward to the Indies, was rejected by the Genoese as chimerical, and the principles on which it was founded were condemned as absord.
Stung with disappointment and indignation, Columbus retired from his country, and laid his scheme before the court of France ; where his reception was still more mortifying, and where, instead of his plan being rejected civilly, he was laughed at and ridiculed.
Henry VII. of England, was bis next re. sort; but the cautious politics of that prince were the most opposite imaginable to a great but uncertain design.
Spain was now his only resource; and there, after eight years' attendance, he succeeded, chiefly through the superior intelligence of the queen Isabella.
Columbus' set sail in the year 1492, with a fleet of three ships, upon the most adventure ous attempt ever undertaken by man, and in the fate of which the inhabitants of two worlds were interested
In this voyage, he had a thousand difficulties to contend with; the most formidable was the pariation of the conipass, then first observed, and which seemed to ihreaten that the laws of nature were altered in an unknown ocean, and that the only guide he had left, was ready to fursake him. His sailors, always discontented, pow broke out into open mutiny, threatening to throw him overboard, and insisted on their return. But the firmness of the commander, and the discovery of land, after a voyage of thirty-three days, put an end to the commotion.
Columbus first landed on Cat Island, one of the Bahamas; but here, to his surprise and sorrow, he discovered from the poverty of the inhabitants, that these could not be the Indies he was in quest of. In steering southward, however, he found the island which he called Hispaniola, or $t. Domingo, abounding in
all the necessaries of life, inhabited by a humane and hospitable people, and what was of still greater consequence, as it insured his favourable reception at home, promising, from 800ie samples he received, considerable quantities of gold. The island, therefore, he proposed to make the centre of his discoveries ; and having left upon it a few of his companions as the ground-work of a colony, returned 10 Spain,
the necessary reinforcements
The Coffee Tree. The coffee-tree, whose seeds or berries afford a well-known and agreeable liquor, is a native of Arabia Felix, where it generally rises 10 the height of seven or eight, and sometimes I welve feet, with a trunk from ten to fifteen inches in circumference.
It is covered with a gray smooth bark, and shoots out, through the whole length of its stem, a growth of branches, which are always opposite to each other, and the leaves, which resemble those of the bay-tree, arranged in pairs in the same manner. From the bottom of the leaves, spring fragrant white flowers, very much like those of the jasmine; and when these flowers or blossom drop off, they leave a small fruit bebind, which is green at first, but reddens as it ripens, and is like a hard cherry
both in shape and colour. Two, three, or more of these berries grow together, on the. same part of the twig; each coated with a husk or tegument, enclosing another and finer skin, in which two seeds or kernels are conlained, which are what we call coffee.
The fruit is usually gathered in May; which is done by shaking the trees, the berries falling on cloths spread underneath to receive them. These, being laid on mats to dry in the sun, the outer husks are opened and separated by drawing rollers of wood or iron over them; after which, the berries are exposed to the sun a second iime, and then sifted clean for use or sale, The husks, however, are not wasted, for the Arabs roast them as we do the berries, and the drink made of them, having a little tartness, is cuoling and pleasant in the heat of summer.
The drink made of coffee-berries has been common in Europe above á hundred and fifty years, and much longer among the Turks,
Coffee was first brought into France by the famous traveller M. Thevenot; and a Greek called Pasqua, who was brought to England as a servant in 1652, first set up the profession of a coffee-house keeper, aud introduced the use of the liquor in these countries.
On the Tea Plant. Of all the vegetable productions of China, the tea plant deserves particular notice, as its leaves afford, by infusion, a favourite liquor, which is used daily among us, by people' of all ranks and conditiong.
This shrub, which seems to be a species of myrtle, seldom grows beỹond the size of a rosebush, or at most, six or seven feet in height. It thrives best in a gravelly soil, and is usually planted in rows, ypon Huile hills about three or four feet distant from each other. Its leaves are long, narrow, iapering to a point, and in, dented like rose or sweet-brier leaves. The shrub is an 'evergreen,' and bears a small fruit containing several round blackish seeds, about the bigness of a large pea, but scarcely abovë one in ten comes to perfection. Bý these seeds, the plant' is 'propagated, nine or ten of them being put into a hole' together and the shrubs' thence arising are afterwards transplanted into proper ground. They thrive best wlien exposed to the south sun, and yield the best tea; but there is a sort that grows without cultivation, which, though less valua. ble, often serves the pouier class of people.
The Chinese know nothing of imperial tea; and several other names, which 'iu Europe, serve to distinguish the goodness and price of this fashionable commodity. In fact, though