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least twenty-two degrees of latitude, as
well as one of seven degrees of longi-

26 The Diplomatic History

tude, between that cape and the Azores
Islands. Even, if instead of reading only
" Cape Verde," we accept the expres
sion used in the cedula of the Catholic
Sovereigns of May 28, 1493 : "las
islas de Cabo Verde," the starting point
is impracticable, the Azores and the
Cape Verde archipelago being neither
in the same latitude nor in the same

of America 27



THE difference in the dates between the
two Bulls inter ctetera, the one of May 3,
the other of May 4, has led to the belief
that immediately after the publication of
the first Bull Portugal had lodged a pro
test with the Curia, and that the Pope had
yielded at once to the demands of Joao II.
in issuing a third Bull (C), which would
thus have been a Bull of Compromise,
or Restrictive. But it is improbable that
the restriction was prompted by any such

It is necessary at the outset to recall
the fat that no mention whatever of
Portugal is to be. found in the Bull of
May 4, and if she is named in that of

28 The Diplomatic History

May 3 it is neither to confirm nor to pro
tect her rights to Oceanic possessions, as
is generally believed. Alexander VI.
"only and incidentally declares therein
that the Kings of Portugal having ob
tained formerly from the Holy See cer
tain privileges, favours and immunities
concerning Africa, Guinea and the Gold
Mine, he grants to Spain, as regards the
islands and lands discovered, or to be
discovered by her, privileges, favours,
and immunities identical to those which
Portugal possesses regarding her African
possessions. Nothing more ! The clause
seems to have been inserted simply to
avoid repeating in detail articles set forth
at length in other Bulls. The protection
of the rights of Portugal, therefore,
must not be sought there, but (if any
where at all) in the clause of the Bull
inter ccetera^ of May 3 : " Omnes et
singulas terras et insulas . . . quas sub
dominio aftuali temporali aliquorum
Dominorum Christianorum constitute
non sint " (All and singular the lands and

of America 29

islands . . . such as have not actually
been heretofore possessed by any other
Christian prince).

We are not even certain that there
were ambassadors from Portugal at Rome
at the beginning of May, 1493. We
only know that Joao II. intrusted to Pedro
da Sylva, Grand-Commander of A viz, an
Embassy of Obedience to Alexander VI.,
on the occasion of his accession to the
papal chair. This pope was elefted
August n, 1492; but those embassies
were sent sometimes so late as eighteen
months or two years after the election,
da Sylva, besides, was instructed to have
a conference with Charles VIII. in Italy
before repairing to Rome, and had to
wait a long while for the French King
at Genoa : " na cidade de Cena muyto
dias esperando polla entrada del Rey
Carlo de Francia em Italia," 34 the latter
not crossing the Alps till September 2,
1494. But Ruy de Pina says that Sylva
was to meet at Rome Ferdinand d Al-
meida, Bishop of Ceuta, 35 and Diego de

30 The Diplomatic History

Sousa, Bishop of Porto " who were in
that city." These two prelates we must
assume to have been resident ambassadors
of Portugal there, just as Carvajal and
Medina occupied the post for Spain. It
is probable, therefore, that they were at
Rome when the Pope issued the three
Bulls, A, B and C ; but it is not certain.

At all events, there is no proof what
ever that the Line of Demarcation was
established in consequence of a protest
on the part of the envoys of Joao II., and
as a concession made in his favour by
the Holy See. One hundred leagues
west of the Azores was not, as we shall
soon notice, such a space as the King of
Portugal would ever have claimed or
been satisfied with, considering that he
viewed himself as the lawful sovereign
of an entire third of the world, in
which third he placed the regions which
Columbus had just discovered.

Everything tends to show that in the
dispatch sent by the Catholic Sovereigns
to their ambassadors at Rome, apparently

of America 31

in the last two weeks of March, 1493,
to obtain the grant of the countries found
by Columbus, they had themselves in
dicated where the Oceanic dominions of
Spain should commence. Thus, in the
cedula confirming the titles conceded to
the great Genoese, Ferdinand and Isa
bella express themselves as follows: "It
is our will that you be admiral of [that
part of] the Ocean sea belonging to us,
which begins at a band or line that we
have caused to be traced, and which passes
in the Azores and Cape Verde Islands,
from North to South, and from one pole
to the other; in such a manner that
everything west of it is ours." 36 This
cedula is dated from Barcelona, May 28,
1493, while the instructions given to
de Spratz, when the Pope sent him to
Spain with Bulls A, B and C, are dated
only May 17 of the same year. It is
scarcely probable that this nuncio left
Rome immediately on his errand, for
hurry never was one of the traits of the
papal chancery. Be that as it may, the

32 The Diplomatic History

presence in Spain of those Bulls is men
tioned for the first time July 19, I493- 87
Further, the two Bulls of May 3 specify
no limits whatever ; and if the Bull of
May 4 actually sets forth one, it is, as
we have just shown, different from the
boundary fixed by Ferdinand and Isa
bella, as they ignore entirely the grant
of one hundred leagues, and explicitly
locate the Line of Demarcation in the
longitude of the Azores and Cape Verde

Finally, there are no vestiges of docu
ments either in Spain, in Portugal, or at
Rome, mentioning a controversy of any
kind on the subject in May, 1493, and
even for many years afterwards. In spite
of personal researches and others made at
our request by the Roman archivists in the
Vatican and Lateran, in 1867 and 1880,
it has been impossible to find in the
pontifical archives the least indication
bearing on the subjedt. 38 It is probable
that none will ever be found. Ray-
naldi, who, after Baronius, had explored

of America 33

those repositories with greater zeal
and ability than anyone else, only says
that to avoid the controversies which
might have arisen between the Portu
guese and Spaniards, at a time when the
fleets of both nations were sailing on the
ocean, Alexander VI. decided to divide
the East and West Indies by a third
Bull. But he ascribes the initiative of
the aft to the Pope himself, and bases
the brief details which he gives, solely
upon the authority of Barros and

Now, Barros, as usual, does nothing
else than plagiarize Resende, Resende
in his turn plagiarizes Ruy de Pina,
adding a few comments of his own, and
Ruy de Pina, the only original authority
for what is known on the subject, merely
says that the discovery accomplished by
Columbus was a cause of estrangement
and contentions between Portugal and
Spain, followed by reciprocal embassies,
as well as conventions and treaties be
tween the two kingdoms. He does not


34 The Diplomatic History

even seem to suspeft that any difficulties
were experienced in Rome.

As to Zurita, who wrote a century
afterwards, he cites no document, and
we know personally that the archives of
Aragon contain no document of the time
on the sub) eft. 39

Herrera is often quoted regarding that
question. But we must again repeat that
this chronicler, who is invaluable for the
greatest part of the sixteenth century,
has nothing for the six books of his first
Decade, which alone are of interest to us
just at present, except what he borrows
from Las Casas (consequently from the
" Historic "), and from Zurita. We are
even richer in documents for that period
than he ever was, notwithstanding his
activity, talent and researches.

Munoz is also often quoted. If that
learned and indefatigable investigator of
the Spanish archives had ever discovered
a document concerning the alleged ne
gotiations with the Holy See, we should
find it in his vast collection of copies and

of America 35

notes, made expressly by royal order to
write a history of America, or in Navar-
rete. The statements of those historians
therefore are mere inferences, such as any
of us can draw from the supposed state of
mind of Joao II., from the above-men
tioned Bulls and from the motives of the
Treaty of Tordesillas.

Consequently, so far as we know
from documents, there were no contro
versies nor outside influences to modify
the first intentions of Alexander VI.
Besides, they could not have arisen and
culminated in the twenty-fouir hours
which elapsed between the issuing of
the two Bulls inter cater a; as any
one at all familiar with the dilatory
habits of the Court of Rome will readily

We likewise notice in Bull C the
grant of a right which shows how little
the Pope was disposed to hearken to
demands of the sort on the part of
Portugal, and particularly to enforce
the rights which she claimed under the

36 The Diplomatic History

Bulls of Nicholas V. and Sixtus IV. Its
wording is as follows : " We do give,
grant and assign unto you [i.e., Ferdinand
and Isabella] your heirs and successors,
all the main lands and islands, found and
to be found, discovered or to be dis
covered, toward the West and South . . .
embracing in this donation all continental
lands or islands whatsoever found or to be
found toward India, or toward any other
part whatsoever it be." 40

Those dominions, present and prospec
tive, did not commence, it is true, until
100 leagues west of the Azores ; but the
grant in reality took away from Portu
gal the basis and principal objed: of her
rights, since India was not excluded from
the regions thus conceded to Spain. Nay,
no limit whatsoever was assigned west
ward ; which, the earth being then ad
mitted at Rome, as well as anywhere
else, to be round, and there being no men
tion where the East commenced, in
volved the possibility on the part of
Spain to claim sovereignty over regions

of America 37

which Portugal considered to belong to

Herrera 41 says that when Ferdinand
and Isabella requested the Pope to grant
to them the newly-found lands, they in-
stru&ed their ambassador to let him
know that the discovery had been made
without encroaching upon the dominions
of Portugal, Columbus having been posi
tively commanded by Their Highnesses
not to come within 100 leagues of the
Mine, or of Guinea, or of any other part
belonging to the Portuguese. Some
writers have seen in this assertion of
Herrera that 100 leagues away from the
Portuguese possessions was the place
where the Catholic Sovereigns 42 wished
the Line of Demarcation established.

In the first place, there is no document
known to warrant the statement of
Herrera. On the contrary, what we
possess on the subjedt, and it is almost
certain that it is all which the celebrated
chronicler himself ever had for the period,
is in contradiction to such an asser-

38 The Diplomatic History

tion. Columbus himself says that his
instructions were only " to avoid going
to the Mine or to any part of Guinea,"
without reference to the " hundred
leagues," although the occasion was pro
pitious for such a reference. Then the
Catholic Sovereigns themselves state that
the Line which they had caused to be
marked passed in the Azores and Cape
Verde Islands. Finally, in the instructions
which they gave Columbus for the second
voyage, he is again simply enjoined not to
touch either at the Mine or Guinea.

The supposition of Humboldt 43 that
the Line was drawn to agree with the
notions of physical geography of Colum
bus himself, in other words, that the
Pope fixed it where, according to the
great Genoese, navigators first find " a
great change in the stars, in the aspect
of the sea and the temperature of the
atmosphere, and where the compass
shows no variation," is scarcely admis
sible. It is true that those phenomena
were noted by Columbus in the course

of America 39

of his first voyage ; but they are men
tioned only in his journal, which he ne
cessarily kept with him until his arrival
at Palos. But when the Bulls were
drafted at Rome, only a copy of the
"Epistola" sent to Ferdinand and Isa
bella from Lisbon was known there, and
that contains no allusion whatever to
those phenomena.

It seems most likely that the deter
mination of the limit, at a distance of
100 leagues from the Azores and Cape
Verde Islands, was suggested to the
Pope by his scientific advisers. Their
sole object was to avoid encroaching on
the regions conceded to the kings of
Portugal by the Bulls of Nicholas V. and
Sixtus IV., in accordance with the ex
pression therein contained : " Cum suis
mineris et quibuscumque aliis insulis,
littoribus seu costis, maris, etc.," applied
to the Azores and to Guinea. And 100
leagues seemed to them, rightly enough,
a sufficient margin.

4O The Diplomatic History




IN our days, after four centuries, the
power which the popes claimed to exer
cise regarding the paramount sovereignty
over the islands of the world, appears to
us excessive and singular. It is not with
out surprise, therefore, especially among
Protestant nations, that Venezuela, for
instance, is seen at such a late date to
appeal to a papal grant as the source of
her rights over Guiana in the present
conflict with England. But it is evident
that to judge the question with impar
tiality, we must carry our thoughts back
to the time when the donation was made
to Spain, and not consider it with the
ideas which prevail to-day.

of America 41

Apostolical letters constituted in a
great measure at the close of the fifteenth
century what might be termed the ruling
law of Europe, since they were based
upon traditions, as well as rules which
were universally deemed to be equitable,
or, at all events, received as such by all
European nations. England, which now
describes that supreme authority and
its logical, direct and immediate con
sequences as " comical " and " ridicul
ous," 44 yielded to it formerly with as
much readiness and respeft as any other
nation. Nay, during several centuries,
her historians believed, and a number
still believe it, that the rights of Great
Britain over Ireland had precisely the
same origin as the rights claimed by
Venezuela over a part of British Guiana.
And so it is, historically.

In the " Metalogicus " of John of
Salisbury can be read the following
statement : " At my request, the Pope
granted and gave to the illustrious King
of England, Henry II., Ireland to possess

42 The Diplomatic History

by an hereditary title, as is shown by his
Letters, which are preserved to this day.
For all those islands, by virtue of a very
ancient right, are considered to belong
to the Roman Church, in consequence
of the donation made by Constantine,
who founded and endowed that Church.
Besides, Pope Adrian sent through me a
golden ring adorned with a gem of great
value, in proof of the right to govern
Ireland." 45

One of the Letters mentioned by John
of Salisbury is evidently the Bull Lauda-
biliter^ inserted by Baronius 46 and by
Rymer 47 in their collections, under the
date of 1 155. We notice in that docu
ment, among the reasons of Adrian IV.
for granting to Henry II. the kingdom
which he was preparing to conquer,
two of those adduced by Alexander VI.
in the Bull granting the New World
to Ferdinand and Isabella, viz. : for the
strengthening of the Church, and the
spread of the Christian religion. 48

The authenticity of a part of that

of America 43

apostolic letter is now contested, 49 and not
without cogent arguments. But it can
not be denied that the Bull Laudabiliter
well expresses the sentiments which,
as regards the alleged primordial rights of
the Holy See, were recognized by Euro
pean nations in general, and England in
particular. Even if, as several scholars of
note say, the Bull had been invented or
interpolated by Henry II., we are bound
to infer from such a deception that the
sovereignty of the popes, at least over
the islands of the world, was recognized
in the British Isles as well as anywhere
else. Otherwise, of what use would
have been the supposed interpolation ?

Further, on the Sunday preceding
the Feast of the Assumption in 1172,
Henry II., in the Cathedral of Avranches,
before the legates, bishops, barons and
people, his hand on the Gospels, placed
his own kingdom of England and all its
dependencies under the pontifical sove
reignty. 50 The following year he was
more explicit still. In a letter addressed

44 The Diplomatic History

to Pope Alexander III., in 1173, the
authenticity of which has not been
questioned, he says to the pontiff:
" The Kingdom of England belongs to
your jurisdiction ; and as to the obliga
tion of feudal right, I acknowledge my
self to be the subjeft of you alone." 51 It
was not therefore a mere spiritual sove
reignty, but one paramount and absolute.

Under the circumstances, it is evident
that a king who declared himself to be,
in such terms, a mere vassal of the Pope,
would not have afted inconsistently in
asking of him the grant of the kingdom
of Ireland which he coveted.

This submission to the rights or pre
tensions of the papacy was not limited
in England to the Plantagenets. It con
tinued in the Houses of Lancaster and
York. 52 Such, at least, was the case with
the first Tudor. The five embassies of
obedience which Henry VII. sent to
Rome from 1485 to I493, 53 prove his
catholic deference. It is no exag
geration therefore to say that if the

of America 45

auditor of the Rota, Jerome Porcio, had
kept his promise 54 to publish the dis
course " bene et eleganter composi-
tum," 65 which was pronounced by John
Sherwood, Bishop of Durham, when,
December 14, 1492, he came with
Giovanni Gigli, of Lucca, to place the
oath of obedience for Henry Tudor in
the hands of Alexander VI., we should
find in his oration the same expressions
of respeftful submission used in the dis
courses pronounced about the same time
by the ambassadors of the Catholic Sove
reigns. And just before the time when
Borgia granted to Ferdinand and Isa
bella the countries recently discovered
by Christopher Columbus, England still
took as a basis for her right of sove
reignty over Ireland, the Bull Lauda-
biliter that is, an authority derived
from the same principle and source.

Again, the sending by Henry VII. of
John Cabot four years afterwards to dis
cover Cathay does not militate against his
regard for the papal authority in that

46 The Diplomatic History

respedl. The King of England doubt
less interpreted the rights conceded to
Spain and Portugal as not excluding in
the main the search by other nations
for new lands and islands. The restric
tion set forth in the Bulls applied only
to the discoveries aftually accomplished
by those two powers. This we see by the
fadt that Henry VII. imposes as a primary
condition the going only to regions
heretofore unknown of all Christians :
" Quag christianis omnibus ante hasc tem-
pora fuerunt incognitas." 57 These are
almost the terms of the Bulls inter c<ztera.
But those discoveries once accomplished,
they required the confirmation and vest
ing from the Pope, according to the
then general custom in Europe.

At that time Henry VII. entertained
sincere feelings of respeft and gratitude
for the papacy. He had not forgotten
the eminent service rendered to him
only a few years before by Innocent VIII.
When, after the Battle of Bosworth,
wishing to extinguish for ever the dis-

of America 47

sensions existing between the Houses of
York and Lancaster by marrying his
cousin, the daughter of Edward III.,
he had not only obtained without diffi
culty the required dispensation, but by
sending Giacomo Passarelli to London,
and by the famous Bull inejfabilis sedentis^
the Pope had lent him powerful aid and
consecrated the new dynasty.

Under such circumstances Henry
Tudor would not have disregarded the
decisions of the Court of Rome, with
which he never ceased to be in the best
of terms, as is shown by the frequent
embassies of obedience which he sent
him at the end of the fifteenth century.

It is true that by what we know,
through Burchard and Infessura, of the
orations which were pronounced at
Rome by the special envoys of the King
of England, particularly that of May i,
1504, on the occasion of the accession of
Julius II., we gather that no mention is
made of the countries discovered in the
north-west. But the expeditions of John

48 The Diplomatic History

Cabot, of the brothers Fernandez and of
Bristol shipowners, had yielded no such
results as Henry VII. cared to secure.
Those voyages to Labrador and New
foundland, where the navigators sailing
under the English flag had scarcely found
anything else than barren countries, ice
bergs and white bears, resulted neither
in profits nor expectations. This is the
reason why we do not see England put
forward Cabot s expedition, as the ground
of her rights to the sovereignty of North
America, until a century afterwards, and
then chiefly to thwart the efforts of
France in colonizing Canada and the
adjacent regions.

of America 49



WE must now revert to what was taking
place at Rome.

The correspondence of the Holy See
with Spain was behindhand, consider
ing the important events which had
lately occurred in Italy. On May 17,
1493, Alexander VI. ordered Francis de
Spratz, appointed special nuncio, to re
pair to Spain and remit to Ferdinand
and Isabella an apostolical brief touch
ing matters of high importance. These
were the Pope s reasons for his treaty of
alliance with Venice and Milan and ex
planations why he had neglefled to send
a legate to re-establish amicable relations

50 The Diplomatic History

between Spain and France, as the latter
threatened to wage war, notwithstand
ing the restitution of Perpignan and
Rousillon. At the same time he in
trusted to de Spratz " another brief
concerning the grant made to the sove
reigns of Spain, of the dominion and of
the things contained in islands recently
discovered by one of their subjefts." 58

Before the said nuncio arrived in
Spain and could remit the Bulls to
Ferdinand and Isabella, these monarchs,
on the occasion of the accession of Alex
ander VI. to the papal chair, had sent
him an embassy of obedience, that is,
a solemn mission for the sole and ex
clusive purpose of giving to a recently
elected pope assurances of filial allegiance
and submission to his will and decrees,
according to a time-honoured custom
with Christian princes. This embassy
was composed of Diego Lopez de Haro,
viceroy of Galicia, principal ambassador,
and of Gonzalvo Fernandez de Heredia,
Archbishop of Tarragona.

of America 51

They entered Rome as early as Satur
day, May 25, I493, 59 with d 16 usua l cere
monial. On June 12, following, they
went in great state to the Floral Field,
where the required oath was taken, and an
address delivered in a consistory by Lopez
de Haro in the name of his sovereigns.
In this address he severely upbraided
Alexander VI. in person, reproaching
him with the wars which raged in Italy,
censuring his conduct, as tending to
diminish the Christian faith, and blaming
him for harbouring in the States of the
Church the Moors who had been ex
pelled from Spain, demanding at the
same time their expulsion from the Papal
states. Finally, he denounced vehemently
the venality of offices and simony which
prevailed in the grant of ecclesiastical
dignities. 60 We must suppose, too, that
there was in that bold oration some
allusion to the marvellous countries
which Christopher Columbus had just
discovered, together with the usual ex
pressions of homage at the feet of His

52 The Diplomatic History

Holiness. Unfortunately, the text itself
of that address has not reached us.

The following week, Bernardin de
Carvajal, then Bishop of Carthagena, and
the regular ambassador of Spain at Rome,
who was destined to become a cardinal a
few months afterwards, and finally to be
excommunicated by Julius II., pro
nounced on the occasion of that special
embassy a sermon, which was imme
diately printed.

Like all discourses of obedience, Car-
vajal s is a long dithyrambus, containing
here and there useful historical indica
tions. In brief, it is as follows :

" The world rejoices greatly upon

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