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The same absurd phraseology, with its train of errors, is copied into Dr. Lardner's Cyclopædia, (History of Maritime and Inland Discovery, vol. 2. p. 137.) Foxe, who made a voyage into Hudson's Bay, in the reign of Charles I., says, (p. 13,) “ As concerning Sebastian Cabot, I cannot find that he was any further northward than 58°, and so returned along the land of America to the South, but for more certainty! hear his own relation to Galeatius Butrigarius, the pope's legate in Spain.” After the “as neare as I can remember,” &c. Foxe gravely adds, “ Thus much from himself !"
In the “ Historical Sketch of the Progress of Discovery, by William Stevenson, Esq.,” which forms the eighteenth volume of Kerr's Collection of Voyages, published in 1824, it is said, (p.353,) “ The course he steered, and the limits of his voyage are, however, liable to uncertainty. He himself informs us that he reached only 56° N. lat., and that the coast of America at that part tended to the East; but there is no coast of North America that answers to this description. According to other accounts he reached 67o and-a-half N. lat., but,” &c. “ It is most probable he did not reach further than Newfoundland."
It is impossible not to feel indignant at such statements from those who vie with each other in complaints of all preceding writers.
Though a matter of little moment, it may be noted that the conjecture is erroneous which connects the pope's legate, Galeatius Butrigarius, with the conversation at the house of Fracastor. Ramusio does not mention any name; withholding it, as he says, , from motives of delicacy. The interview with Cabot at Seville, took place many years after his return, in 1531, from the La Plata ; and the speaker, whoever he may have been, represents himself to have been led to make the call by a desire to “ have
some knowledge of the navigations of the Spaniards.” Now, ? Galeatius Butrigarius, more than twenty years before this visit
could have been made, is found on terms of intimacy with Peter Martyr, (dec. 2. cap. 1,) and not only well informed on the
subject, but urging the historian to pursue his narrative, and the ensuing Decade is addressed in consequence to the Pope. It seems impossible, that the legate so long afterwards-fifteen years, at least, subsequently to the publication of Peter Martyr's volume, describing the enterprise' of Cabot-should have been actuated by this vague impulse of curiosity, and have been indebted for a knowledge of the discoverer of Baccalaos to the reports current at Seville during this his, apparently, first yisit.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED-GOMARA.
Or the passage in Gomara, Hakluyt presents the following ver
“ The testimonie of Francis Lopez de Gomara, a Spaniard, in the fourth
chapter of the second booke of his generall history of the West Indies concerning the first discoverie of a great part of the West Indies, to wit, from 58 to 38 degrees of latitude, by Sebastian Cabota out of
England. “He which brought most certaine newes of the countrey and people of Baccalaos, saith Gomara, was Sebastian Cabote, a Venetian, which rigged up two ships at the cost of king Henry the Seventh of England, having great desire to traffique for the spices as the Portugals did. He carried with him three hundred men, and tooke the way towards Island from beyond the Cape of Labrador, untill he found himselfe in 58 degrees and better. He made relation, that in the moneth of July it was so cold, and the ice so great, that hee durst not passe any further : that the dayes were very long in a maner without any night, and for that short night that they had, it was very cleare. Cabot feeling the cold, turned towards the West, refreshing himselfe at Baccalaos ; and afterwards he sailed along the coast unto 38 degrees, and from thence he shaped his course to returne into England.”
There is to be noted here another of Hakluyt's loose and suspicious references. The Spanish work is not divided into “Books,” and the passage quoted occurs in the first part. This is said, after consulting the Saragossa edition of 1552—that of Medina del Campo, 1553—that of Antwerp, 1554—and the reprint of the work in Barcia's “ Historiadores Primitivos” in 1749. A ready conjecture presents itself as to the source of Hakluyt's error. The work of Gomara was, at an early period, translated into French, by Fumée, in whose version, published in 1578, the matter is distributed into “ Books,” and the passage in question really becomes, according to his arrangement, the fourth chapter of the
That Hakluyt was ignorant of the Spanish language, may be inferred from the circumstance, that when he has occasion (vol. iii. p. 499) to quote Oviedo, he gives us not the original but an Italian version of it by Ramusio. He was at Paris shortly after the appearance of Fumée's Translation, and remained there for some time, as is stated in the Dedication of his first volume to Lord Charles Howard. We shall see, presently, how far he has been misled by relying on that translation.
The following is Gomara's own language
" Qui en mas noticia traxo desta tierra fue Sebastian Gaboto Veneciano. El qual armo dos navios en Inglaterra do tratava desde pequeno, a costa del Rey Enrique Septimo, que desseava contratar en la especiera como hazia el rey d’Portugal. Otros disen que a su costa, y' que prometio al rey Enrique de ir por el norte al Catayo y traer de alla especias en menos tiempo que Por, tugueses por el Sur. Y va tambien por saber que tierra eran las Indias para poblar. Llevo trezientos hombres y camino la buelta de Islandia sobre cabo del Labrador, hasta se poner en cinquenta y ocho grados. Aunque el dize mucho mas contando como avia por el mes de Julio tanto frio y pedaços de yelo que no oso passar mas adelante, y que los dios eran grandissimos y quasi sin noche y las noches muy claras. Es cierte que a sesenta grados son los dias de diez y ocho horas, Diendo pues Gabota la frialdad y estraneza dela tierra, dio la buelta hazia poniente y rehaziendose en los Baccalaos corrio la costa hasta treynta y ochos grados y tornose de alli a Inglaterra.”
“ Sebastian Cabot was the first that brought any knowledge of this land. For being in England in the days of king Henry the Seventh, he furnished two ships at his own charges, or, as some say, at the king's, whom he persuaded that a passage might be found to Cathay by the North Seas, and that spices might be brought from thence sooner by that way than by the viage the Portugales use by the sea of Sur. He went also to know what manner of landes, those Indies were to inhabit. He had with him 300 men, and directed his course by the tract of island upon the Cape of Labrador, at fifty-eight degrees, affirming, that in the month of July there was such cold and heaps of ice, that he durst pass no further; also, that the days were very long, and in manner without night, and the nights very clear. Certain it is, that at the threescore degrees, the longest day is of eighteen hours. But considering the cold, and the strangeness of the unknown land, he turned his course from thence to the west, following the coast unto the thirty-eight degree from whence he returned to England.” (Eden's Translation, see Decades, fol. 318.)
The unwarrantable liberties taken by Hakluyt will appear at a glance. He drops, entirely, the passage of Gomara as to the length of the day in the latitude of 60°, though it stands in the middle of the paragraph. Again, Gomara states the contradictory assertions which he found, as to whether the expedition was fitted out at the cost of Henry VII., or of an individual. In Hakluyt’s day, this was deemed a matter of great importance; for in the passages in the third volume which relate to the NorthWest passage, and the colonization of America, considerable stress is laid, with a view to repel the pretensions of Spain, on the direct agency of the king of England. Hakluyt, therefore, boldly strikes out the words which shew that Gomara had arrived at no conclusion on the point; and by this mutilation exhibits an unqualified averment, that the whole was at the cost of Henry VII. No English reader would hesitate to cite the Spanish author, aş candidly conceding that the enterprise was a national one, at the king's expense ; and Mr. Sharon Turner, in his “ History of England during the Middle Ages," asserting anxiously the merits of Henry VII., declares, (vol. iv. of second ed. p. 163, note 54,) with a reference to Hakluyt, “ Gomara also mentions that the ships were rigged at Henry's costs.” Hakluyt wants here even the apology of having been misled by Fumée, as the French writer, and Richard Eden, fairly state the matter in the alternative.
As to the course pursued by Cabot, Hakluyt has strangely misunderstood the author. The words of Gomara are-_"Llevo trezientos hombres y camino la buelta de Islandia y hasta se poner en cinquanta y ochos grados.” The predecessors of Hakluyt in the work of translation, were so numerous, as to leave him without apology for mistake. Richard Eden says, “ He had with him 300 men, and directed his course by the tract of Island, [Iceland] upon the Cape of Labrador, at 58o.” In the Italian translation of Augustin de Cravaliz, published at Rome in 1556, it is rendered “Meno seco trecento huomini et navico alla volta d'Islanda sopra Capo del Lavoratore finchesi trovo in cinquanta otto gradi;' and in a reprint at Venice, in 1576, “Meno seco trecento huomini et camino la volta de Islandia sopra del Capo del Lavoratore et fino a mettersi in cinquanta otto gradi.”