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naturally be expected to resume his progress along the coast on the first occasion, and he would thus be conducted to the spot where Hojeda found him. It is probable, therefore, that impatient of inactivity, and despairing of aid from the Crown, he threw himself into such a vessel as his private means enabled him to equip, and, as the Bristol manuscript expresses it, “with no extraordinary preparation set forth from Bristol and made great discoveries.”
It may have been while he followed the bent of his genius in this desultory manner, that the spirit of enterprise awakened again in England, and his absence may account for the non-appearance of his name in the subsequent patents.
A less agreeable conjecture is suggested by the character of Henry VII. That shrewd and penurious monarch may have been influenced by the same feeling which induced Ferdinand of Spain to rid himself of Columbus, whose high estimate of what he had effected was found to mingle, inconveniently, with all his proposals for following up the Great Discovery. Henry may have preferred to listen to those with whom a bargain might be made solely in reference to prospective services. Avarice, a disease to which he was constitutionally subject and of which the symptoms became every year more apparent, had now reached his moral sense. Bacon, who wrote his History under the eye of James, a lineal descendant and professed admirer of that monarch, could not disguise the evidence of the infamous devices to which Henry resorted for the purpose of extorting money from his own subjects. Speaking of his escape from the difficulties which at one time beset him, and particularly from the long and vexatious feuds with Scotland, it is remarked
“ Wherefore nature, which many times is happily contained and refrained by some bands of fortune, began to take place in the King ; carrying, as with a strong tide, his affections and thoughts unto the gathering and heaping up of treasure. And as kings do more easily find instruments for their will and humour, than for their service and honour, he had gotten for his purpose, or beyond his purpose, two instruments, Empson and Dudley, whom the people
esteemed as his horse-leeches and shearers, bold men and careless of fame, and that took toll of their master's grist.
“ Then did they also use to inthral and charge the subjects' lands with tenures • in capite,' by finding false offices, and thereby to work upon them for wardships, liveries, primer seisins, and alienations, being the fruits of those tenures, refusing, upon divers pretexts and delays, to admit men to traverse those false offices, according to the law. Nay, the King's wards, after they had accomplished their full age, could not be suffered to have livery of their lands, without paying excessive fines, far exceeding all reasonable rates. They did also vex men with informations of intrusion, upon scarce colourable titles.
“ When men were outlawed in personal actions, they would not permit them to purchase their charters of pardon, except they paid great and intolerable sums; standing upon the strict point of law, which upon outlawries giveth forfeiture of goods; nay, contrary to all law and colour, they maintained the king ought to have the half of men's lands and rents, during the space of two full
years, for a pain in case of outlawry. “ And to shew further the king's extreme diligence, I do remember to have seen long since a book of accompt of Empson's, that had the king's hand almost to every leaf, by way of signing, and was in some places postilled in the margin with the king's hand likewise, where was this remembrance :
• Item, Received of such a one five marks, for a pardon to be procured ; and if the pardon do not pass, the money to be repaid : except the party be some other ways satisfied.' “And over against this ' memorandum,' of the king's own hand,
• Otherwise satisfied.' “ Which I do the rather mention, because it shews in the king a nearness, but yet with a kind of justness. So these little sands and grains of gold and silver, as it seemeth, helped not a little to make up the great heap and bank.”
It is remarkable that the First Patent is to the father and the three sons," and to the heirs of them, and each of them and their deputies ;” and it is expressly provided that the regions discovered by them, “may not of any other of our subjects be frequented or visited, without the licence of the aforesaid John and his sons, and their deputies, under pain of forfeiture as well of the ships as of all and singular the goods of all them that shall presume to sail to those places so found.” Under this grant, the “ Londe and Isles” were discovered, and, of course, a right of exclusive resort to these regions, vested in the father and sons for an indefinite period. The patent of 3rd February, 1498, on the other hand, is
very cautiously worded. The power given is to the father alone, described as a Venetian, and to his deputies without any words of inheritance. The whole merit of the discovery is, perhaps craftily, represented as embodied in the old man. The privilege given expired, in strictness, with John Cabot; and Sebastian, by having incautiously accepted and acted under such an instrument, might be held to recognise it as the consummation of all that had been previously done, and as a waiver of the terms of the first patent.
The Portuguese patentees of 19th March 1501, consent to receive the privilege of exclusive resort for only ten years; and it is provided that they shall not be interfered with, by virtue of any previous grant to a foreigner, ' (“extraneus,”) under the great seal, (“virtute aut colore alicujus concessionis nostræ sibi Magno Sigillo Nostro per antea factæ.”) It is true the pen is drawn through this passage in the original Roll; but attention had evidently been drawn, in an adverse temper, to a claim that might be set up under the previous grant. It was, perhaps, thought better not to aim an ungracious, and superfluous, blow at what had already expired. The clause is retained which secures the new patentees against molestation from any of the king's subjects, and this provision was considered as applying to the surviving sons who, in the original patent, are not, like the father, called Venetians, but were probably all born in England.
It is not, however, certain that Henry intended to supersede the claims of Cabot, so far as respected discoveries actually made. The general authority to the three Portuguese is as to lands “ before unknown to all Christians;" and the reservation may mean more than a caution to respect the rights of foreign nations. The patent of 19th March 1501 gives a wider range for discovery than even the original one to the Cabots. It authorises discoveries to the South ; "ad omnes partes, regiones et fines maris Orientalis, Occidentalis, Australis, Borealis et Septentrionalis.” The two marked words occur in this patent, and also in that of 9th December 1502, but are not found in that of 5th March, 1496.
However all this may be, the meager evidence referred to is all that remains to fill up fifteen years of Cabot's life subsequent to the first discovery.
One fact is too remarkable not to claira especial notice. Amerigo Vespucci accompanied Hojeda, and it is now agreed that this was the first occasion on which he crossed the Atlantic. Sebastian Cabot was found prosecuting his Third Voyage from England.* Yet, while the name of one overspreads the New World, no bay, cape, or headland recalls the memory of the other. While the falsehoods of one have been diffused with triumphant success, England has suffered to moulder in obscurity, in one of the lanes of the Metropolis, the very Record which establishes the discovery effected by her Great Seaman fourteen months before Columbus beheld the Continent, and two years before the lucky Florentine had been West of the Canaries.
* See Appendix. (B.)
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN FERDINAND OF SPAIN AND LORD WILLOUGHBY
DE BROKE_CABOT ENTERS THE SERVICE OF SPAIN 13TH SEPTEMBER,
The disappearance of Cabot's Maps and Discourses, which were, so long after his death, in the custody of William Worthington, ready for publication, cannot but painfully recur to us in contemplating the long period during which we are absolutely without materials for even conjecturing the manner in which he was employed. These documents would, of course, have supplied abundant information; but in their absence, we are compelled to pass abruptly to the new theatre on which he was called to perform a conspicuous part.
Singular as it may appear with regard to a fact so well settled, as the period at which he quitted his native country and entered the service of Spain, there exist on this point statements quite irreconcilable with each other, and yet equally unfounded. In the Conversation given by Ramusio, and with which the name of Butrigarius has been subsequently connected, Cabot is made to say, that the troubles in England led him to seek employment in Spain where he was very graciously received by Ferdinand and Isabella. The queen died in 1504; and many English writers, relying on the Conversation, have assumed that Cabot entered a foreign service immediately after his return from the original discovery. Others say, that he first went abroad after the