Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

reasonable demonstrations he showed, caused the King to man and victual a ship,” &c.

The charter shows this to have been an error. The rich Venetian merchant and his sons were to find the ship and bear all expenses, the wily king stipulating for one-fifth of the gains, without any risk whatever.

The patent runs thus :-
“Henry, by the grace of God, &c. &c.

“Be it known to all, that we have given and granted, and by these presents do give and grant, to our well-beloved John Cabot, citizen of Venice, to Lewis, Sebastian, and Sanctus, sons of the said John, and to their heirs and deputies, full and free authority, leave and power, to fail to all parts, countries and feas of the East, of the West, and of the North, under our banners and ensigns, with five ships, of what burthen or quality soever they be, and as many mariners and men as they will take with them in the said ships, upon their own proper costs and charges, to seek out, discover and find, whatsoever Isles, Countries, Regions or Provinces of the Heathen and Infidels, whatsoever they be, and in whatsoever part


or money,

one fifth of

of the net

the world which before this time have been unknown to all Christians. We have granted to them and every of them and their deputies, and have given them our license, to set up our banners and ensigns in every village, town, castle, isle or mainland, of them newly found; and that the said John and his fons and their heirs may subdue, occupy and possess all such

To conquer,

occupy, poftowns, cities, &c. by them found, which they rers, brade, can subdue, occupy and possess as our vassals king; in wares and lieutenants, getting to us the rule, title and jurisdiction of the said villages, towns, &c.

profit at Brif. “ Yet so that the said John and his sons and their heirs, of all the fruits, profits and commodities growing from such navigation, shall be held and bound to pay to us, in wares or money, the fifth part of the capital gain so gotten for every their

voyage, as often as they shall arrive at our port of Bristol (at which port they shall be obliged only to arrive), deducting all manner of necessary costs and charges by them made: we giving and granting unto them and their heirs and deputies that they shall be free from all payments of customs on all such merchandize they shall

tol each voyage.


Life of Sebastian Cabot.

None other to trade thither on pain of forfeiture of ships and goods.

bring with them from the places so newly found.

“And moreover we have given and granted to them and their heirs and deputies that all the firm land, islands, villages, towns, &c. they shall chance to find, may not, without license of the said John Cabot and his sons, be so frequented and visited, under pain of losing their ships and all the goods of them who shall presume to sail to the places so found.

“ Willing, and commanding strictly all and singular our subjects, as well on land as on sea, to give good assistance to the said John and his sons and deputies, and that as well in arming and furnishing their ships and vessels as in provision of food and buying victuals for their money, and all other things by them to be provided necessary for the said navigation, they do give them all their favours and aslift

The Cabots find the money.


“Witness myself at Westminster, 5th March, in the eleventh year of our reign, or 1495 A.D.” As the civil year began on March 25th this would be really in the year 1496 A.D., one year only before the expedition failed.

[graphic][merged small]

Hypothetical voyage of the Cabots, in 1474 A.D., previous

to the Charter of Henry ; suppurted by Sebastian Cabotos Map, published 1544, now in Paris: reasons which strengthen this view. State of England, and of Bristol, at the period of the Charter.

an earlier voyage.

HE foregoing is the original charter

of Henry VII., which is generally
supposed to have preceded the dif-
covery. A contrary theory has

Theory of been broached, and is upheld by Harris, Pinkerton, Barrow, and others; viz., that the Cabots had, from their own private resources, failed westward, and, discovering the land, returned hastily, and, by their representations induced the king to grant them this patent. The two first named write as follows:

“But the year before that patent was granted, Harris, vol. ii. viz., in 1494, John Cabot, with his son Sebaftian, had failed from Bristol upon discovery,


p. 190, ed.


and had actually seen the continent of Newfoundland, to which they gave the name of * Prima Vista,' or first seen. And on the 24th of June in the same year, he went on shore on an island, which, because it was discovered on that day, he called St. John's;' and of this island he reported very truly that the soil was barren, that it yielded little, and that the people wear bearskin clothes and were armed with bows, arrows, pikes, darts, wooden clubs, and slings; but that the coast abounded with fish, and upon this report of his, the before-mentioned patent of March 5, 1496, was granted.” Herein is the record of all the voyages muddled


in one statement. Barrow says, “there is no possible way

of reconciling the various accounts but by supposing John Cabot to have made one voyage, at least, previous to the date of the patent, and some time between that and the date of the return of Columbus, either in 1494 or 1495."

Now, the above statements agree entirely with the inscription on the map of Seb. Cabot in the “ Bibliotheque Imperial” of Paris, date

Barrow, “ Chronological History of Voyages," p. 32.

See Map. .

« AnteriorContinuar »