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SEBASTIAN CABOT ON THE UNITED STATES COAST.
ing, and whose extraordinary merits have been recently CHAP. vindicated with ingenious and successful diligence, pursued the paths of discovery which he, with his father, 1498 had opened. A voyage was again undertaken; purposes of traffic were connected with it; and the frugal king was himself a partner in the expenditure. The object of this new expedition was, in part, to explore 66 what manner of landes? those Indies were to inhabit ;” and perhaps, also, a hope was entertained of reaching the rich empire of Cathay. Embarking in May, Sebastian Cabot, with a company of three hundred men, sailed for Labrador, by way of Iceland; and reached the continent in the latitude of fifty-eight degrees. The severity of the cold, the strangeness of the unknown land, and his declared purpose of exploring the country, induced him to turn to the south; and, having proceeded along the shores of the United States to the southern boundary of Maryland, or perhaps to the latitude of Albemarle Sound, want of provisions hastened his return to England.
Curiosity desires to trace the further career of the great seaman, who, with his father, gave a continent to England. The maps which he sketched of his discoveries, and the accounts which he wrote of his adventures, have perished, and the history of the next years of his life is involved in obscurity. Yet it does not ad
I Memoir of Seb. Cabot, 85. that the narrator confounds this with
2 Peter Martyr, of Anghiera, d. the preceding voyage. Ramusio, i. 1. I. vi. Also in Eden, fol. 124, fol. 403, or Eden and Willes, fol. 125, and in Hakluyt, v. 283, and 267. I am indebted for the use of Hakluyt, iii. 29, 39. Gomara, His- Ramusio, and of many other valutoria de las Indias, c. xxxix. The able works, to E. Everett, of passage is quoted in Eden and Charlestown. Willes, fol. 228, and less perfectly 3 Gomara. Treinta i ocho Grain Hakluyt, iii. 30. Herrera, d. i. dos. I. vi. c. xvi. is confused.
4 Peter Martyr. Ut Herculei freti Compare also the conversation in latitudinis fere gradus equarit, &c. Ramusio, where we must suppose
SEBASTIAN CABOT IN HUDSON'S BAY.
CHAP mit of a reasonable doubt, that, perhaps in 1517, after
ä he had been in the employment of Ferdinand of Spain, 1517. and before he received the appointment of Pilot-Major
from Charles V., he sailed once more from England to discover the North-Western passage. The testimony respecting this expedition is confused and difficult of explanation ; the circumstances which attended it, are variously related, and are assigned to other and earlier voyages. A connected and probable account can be given only by comparing the evidence, and extracting the several incidents from different and contradictory narratives. Yet the main fact is indisputable; Sebastian Cabot passed through the straits and entered the bay,” which, after the lapse of nearly a century, took their name from Hudson. He himself wrote a “discourse of navigation," in which the entrance of the strait was laid down with great precision won a card, drawn by his own hand.” He boldly prosecuted his design, making his way through regions, into which it
was, long afterwards, esteemed an act of the most inJune trepid maritime adventure to penetrate, till, on June the
eleventh, as we are informed from a letter written by the navigator himself, he had attained the altitude of sixty-seven and a half degrees,' ever in the hope of finding a passage into the Indian ocean. The sea was
1 See Eden, in Mem. of Cabot, ad explorandum discessurum. Fail102, and Thorne's letter, ib. 103. ing to sail from Spain, Cabot went Compare chaps. xiii. xiv. and xv. of to England. the Memoir." The account in Hak- 2 Anderson was the first of the luyt, iii. 591, 592, may give the date later writers to mention the fact. of the voyage correctly; but then History of Commerce, An. 1496. there must be a gross mistake as to 3 Ortelius, Map of America in its destination. Peter Martyr, d. Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Eden ii. c. v. merits regard. Expectat and Willes, fol. 223. Sir H. Gilbert, indies, ut navigia sibi parentur, in Hakluyt, iii. 49, 50. quibus arcanuin hoc naturæ latens 4 Discorso del Ramusio sopra il jam tandem detegatur. Martis terzo volume, &c. inense anni futuri MDXVI. puto
still open; but the cowardice of a naval officer, and CHAP. the mutiny of the mariners, compelled him to return, an though his own contidence in the possibility of effecting 1517 the passage remained unimpaired.
The career of Sebastian Cabot was in the issue as honorable, as it had in the opening been glorious. He conciliated universal regard by the placid mildness of his character. Without the stern enthusiasm of Columbus, he was distinguished by serene contentment. For nearly sixty years, during a period when marine adventure engaged the most intense public curiosity, he was reverenced for his achievements and his skill. He had attended the congress, which assembled at Badajoz to divide the islands of the Moluccas between Portugal and Spain; he subsequently sailed to South America, under 1526. the auspices of Charles V., though not with entire success. On his return to his native land, he advanced the commerce of England by opposing a mercantile monopoly, and was pensioned and rewarded for his merits as the Great Seaman. It was he who framed 1549. the instructions for the expedition which discovered the passage to Archangel. He lived to an extreme old age, 1553 and so loved his profession to the last, that in the hour of death his wandering thoughts were upon the ocean. The discoverer of the territory of our country was one of the most extraordinary men of his age: there is deep cause for regret, that time has spared so few memorials of his career. Himself incapable of jealousy, he did
i Eden's Travayles, fol. 449. more important services to England
2 Eden's Travayles, fol. 226. than to Spain. Herrera, d. iii. l. ix. c. iii. Com- 3 Hazard, i. 23. Memoir of Cabpare Herrera, d. iii. l. x. c. i. near ot, 185. the close of the chapter. The 4 Hakluyt, i. 251–255. Pur. Spaniard praises but sparingly the chas's Pilgrims, i. 915. great navigator, who had rendered 5 Memoir of Cabot, 219.
VOYAGE OF CORTEREAL FOR PORTUGAL.
CHAP. not escape detraction. He gave England a continent,
är and no one knows his burial-place. 1553 It was after long solicitations, that Columbus had
obtained the opportunity of discovery. Upon the certainty of success, a throng of adventurers eagerly engaged in voyages, to explore the New World, or to plunder its inhabitants. The king of PORTUGAL, grieved
at having neglected Columbus, readily favored an expe1500. dition for northern discovery. Gaspar Cortereal? was
appointed commander of the enterprise. He reached 1501, the shores of North America, ranged the coast for a
distance of six or seven hundred miles, and carefully observed the country and its inhabitants. The most northern point which he attained, was probably about the fiftieth degree. Of the country along which he sailed, he had occasion to admire the brilliant freshness of the verdure, and the density of the stately forests. The pines, well adapted for masts and yards, promised to become an object of gainful commerce. But men were already with the Portuguese an established article of traffic; the inhabitants of the American coast seemed well fitted for labor; and Cortereal freighted his ships with more than fifty Indians, whom, on his return, he sold as slaves. It was soon resolved to renew the expedition; but the adventurer never returned. His death was ascribed to a combat with the natives, whom he desired to kidnap; the name of Labrador, transferred
i Peter Martyr, d. iii. l. vi.; in Eden, fol. 125.
2 See the leading document on the voyage of Cortereal, in a letter from Pietro Pasqualigo, Venetian ambassador in Portugal, written to his brother, October 19, 1501, in Paesi novamente ritrovati et Novo Mondo da Alberico Vesputio Flo
rentino intitulato. L. vi. c. cxxv. The original and the French translation are both in the library of Harvard College.
3 Herrera, d. i. l. vi. c. xvi. Gomara, c. xxxvii. Also in Eden, fol. 227. Galvano, in Hakluyt, iv. 419. Purchas, i. 915, 916. Memoir of Cabot, b. ii. c. iii. and iv.
VOYAGE OF VERRAZZANI FOR FRANCE.
to a more northern coast, is, probably, a memorial of his CHAP crime ;' and is, perhaps, the only permanent trace of Por- a tuguese adventure within the limits of North America. 1501
The FRENCH entered without delay into the competition for the commerce and the soil of America. Within seven years of the discovery of the continent, 1504 the fisheries of Newfoundland were known to the hardy mariners of Brittany and Normandy. The island of Cape Breton acquired its name from their remembrance of home, and in France it was usual to esteem them the discoverers of the country.3 A map of the Gulf of 1506. Saint Lawrence was drawn by Denys, a citizen of Honfleur; and the fishermen of the north-west of France derived wealth from the regions, which, it was reluctantly confessed, had been first visited by the Cabots.
The fisheries had for some years been successfully pursued; savages from the north-eastern coast had been 1508 brought to France ;5 plans of colonization in North 1518. America had been suggested by De Lery and Saint Just ;6 when at length Francis I., a monarch who had invited Da Vinci and Cellini to transplant the fine arts into his kingdom, employed John Verrazzani, another Florentine, to explore the new regions, which had alike excited curi- 1522 osity and hope. It was by way of the isle of Madeira, that the Italian, parting from a fleet which had cruised successfully along the shores of Spain, sailed for Amer-1 ica,' with a single caravel, resolute to make discovery 17.
1 Memoir of Cabot, 242. Nava- moire sur les Limites de l'Acadie, rette, Viages Menores, iii. 43, 44. 104—a good historic outline.
2 Charlevoix, Hist. Gen. de la 5 Charlevoix, N. F. i. 4. Nouv. Fr. i. 3, edition of 1744, 6 L'Escarbot, 21. Mémoire, &c. 4to.; Champlain's Voyages, i. 9. 104. Navarette, &c. iii. 176-180, ar- 7 See Verrazzani's letter to Frangues against the statement in the cis I., from Dieppe, July 8, 1524, text. Compare Memoir of Cabot, in Hakluyt, ii. 357–364, or in
N. Y. Hist. Coll. i. 45–60. It is 3 Verrazzani, in Hakluyt, iii. 363. also in Ramusio. Compare Char4 Charlevoix, i. 3 and 4. Mé- levoix, N. F. i. 5-8.