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which relate to the North-West 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 show 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, as 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.
nd 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 Fu. mee, 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 three hundred men, and directed his course by the tract of Island (Iceland), upon the Cape of Labrador, at 580." 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."
That Cabot really took the route of Iceland is very probable. A steady and advantageous commerce had for many years been carried on between Bristol and Iceland, and is referred to in the quaint old poem, “ The Policie of keeping the Sea,” reprinted in Hakluyt, (vol. i. p. 201)
« Of Island to write is little nede,
Save of Stockfish: yet, forsooth indeed,
Thitherwards," &c. Seven years before, a treaty had been made with the king of Denmark, securing that privilege. (Selden's Mare Clausum, lib. 2. c. 32.) The theory in reference to which Cabot had projected the voyage would lead him as far North as possible, and it would be a natural precaution to break the dreary continuity at sea, which had exercised so depressing an influence on the sailors of Columbus, by touching at a point so far on his way and yet so familiarly known. Hudson, it may be remarked, took the same route.
We turn now to the translation of Fumee; “ Il mena avec soy trois cens hommes et print la route d'Island au dessus du Cap de Labeur, jusques a ce qui il se trouva a 58 degrez et par dela. Il racomptoit,” &c. Acquainted as we are with the original, it seems difficult to mistake even the French version. Hakluyt, however, had no such previous know. ledge, and he confesses (Dedication to Sir Walter Raleigh, vol. iii. p. 301) that he was not a perfect master even of the French language. Obliged thus to grope after a meaning, his version is as follows, (vol. iii. p. 9)—" He carried with him 300 men, and took the way towards Island from beyond the Cape of Labrador, (!) until he found himself in 580 and better. He made relation,” &c. The timid servility with which Hakluyt strove to follow Fumee is apparent even in the structure of the sentences, for it is improbable that two independent versions of Gomara would concur in such a distribution of the original matter.
It is difficult to understand how Hakluyt could consent to put forth such palpable nonsense. He is evidently quite aware that the word " Island" in the French could mean nothing but Iceland; and, indeed, it is the designation which he himself uniformly employs, particularly at p. 550, &c. of his first volume, where is given at great length—“The true state of Island," being a translation from a Latin work, entitled, “ Brevis Commentarius de Islandia.” Yet with this knowledge, and with all the means of a correct version, he represents Cabot as first reaching America and then proceeding onward to Iceland.
The version of Hakluyt is adopted by every subsequent English writer except LEDIARD, who, in his Naval History, seems to have paused over language seemingly so enigmatical. Not perceiving that a proper name was intended, he asked himself, in vexation, what “ Island” could possibly be meant. Besides, the expression was ungrammatical, for it is not said 66 an Island,” or “ the Island,” but simply, “ towards Island.” He therefore ventures on an amendment (p. 88)— He took the way towards the Islands, (!) from beyond the Cape of Labrador, till he was beyond 58o.” Having made grammar of the passage, he leaves the reader to make sense of it. .
Wearisome as the examination may be, we have not yet reached the principal error of Hakluyt in reference to this short passage. It will be noted that the Spanish writer, after saying that Cabot reached the lat. of 58°, adds, "aunque el dize mucho mas contando como avia por el mes de Julio tante frio," &c. (" although he says much further, relating, how he had in the middle of July, such cold," &c.) Here, too, Hakluyt might have taken advantage of previous translations. In the Italian version of 1576, it is, “ finchesi trovo in 58 gradi benche egli dice di piu et narrava come," &c.; and in that of 1556," et fino a mettersi in 58 gradi anchor che lui dice molto piu il quale diceva.” Hakluyt, however, relying on Fumee—“ jusques a ce qu'il ce trouva a 58 degrez et par dela," renders the passage “ until he found himself in 58° and better.” Thus the Spanish writer, who had perempo torily fixed the limit of 58°, is made, without qualification, to carry Cabot to an indefinite extent beyond it.*
The true version of the passage, not only renders it harmless, but an auxiliary in establishing the truth. That Gomara
• Campbell, in his Lives of the Admirals, changes Hakluyt's phrase into " somewhat more than fifty-eight degrees," for which he quotes Gomara.
should speak slightingly of Cabot was to be expected. His work was published in 1552, not long after our Navigator had quitted the service of Spain, and is dedicated to the Emperor Charles V., whose overtures for the return of Cabot, had been, as will be seen hereafter, rejected. Of the discoveries of Cabot, none, he says, were made for Spain (“ ninguno fue por nuestros Reyes”), and we shall have repeated occasion to expose his disparaging comments on every incident of Cabot's life while in the service of that country. He is of little authority, it may be remarked, even with his own countrymen, and is most notorious for naving, from a paltry jealousy of foreigners, revived and given cur. rency to the idle tale that Columbus was guided in his great enterprise by the charts of a pilot who died in his house. We know, from Peter Martyr (Dec. 3. cap. 6), that, as early as 1515, the Spaniards were jealous of the reputation of Cabot, then in their service; and Gomara, writing immediately after the deep offence which had been given by the abandonment of the service of Spain, and the slight of the emperor's application, was disposed to yield an eager welcome to every false- . hood. With regard to an account, then, from such a quarter, we would attach importance to it only from the presumed acquiescence of Cabot in the representation of a contemporary. Now, so far is this from the fact, the very passage, as at length redeemed from a perversion no less absurd than flagitious, furnishes, in itself, a triumphant proof, that the writer's assertion is in direct conflict with that of the Navigator. The importance of this argument is increased by the consideration that Gomara's work was published two years before Ramusio's third volume in the preface to which appears the extract from Cabot's letter. This shows that other means of information, and probably Cabot's map amongst the rest, were before Gomara. All that we care to know, under such cir. cumstances, is the real statement of Cabot; and in answer to that inquiry we have the clear and precise language of his letter to Ramusio.
CABOT PENETRATED INTO HUDSON'S BAY.
On quitting the authorities which have so long been supposed to involve irreconcilable contradictions, the only remaining difficulty is that of selection from the numerous testimonials which offer, as to the real extent of the voyage. A few are referred to which speak in general terms of the latitude reached, before proceeding to such as describe particularly the course pursued.
In De Bry (Grand Voyages, iv. p. 69), is the following passage:
“ Sebastianus Gabottus, sumptibus Regis Angliæ, Henrici VII., per septentrionalem plagam ad Cataium penetrare voluit. Ille primus Cuspidem Baccajaos detexit (quam hodie Britones et Nortmanni, nautæ la coste des Molues hoc est Asselorum marinorum oram appellant) atque etiam ulterius usque ad 67 gradum versus polum articum."*
Belle-forest, in his Cosmographie Universelle, which appeared at Paris, in 1576 (tom. ii. p. 2175), makes the same statement.
In the treatise of Chauveton, “ Du Nouveau Monde," published at Geneva, in 1579, he says (p. 141), “ Sebastian Gabotto, entreprit aux despens de Henry VII., Rex d'Angleterre, de cercher quelque passage pour aller en Catay par la Tramontaine. Cestuy la descouvrit la pointe de Baccalaos, (que les mariniers de Bretaigne, et de Normandie appellent
• “ Sebastian Cabot attempted, at the expense of Henry VTT., King of England to find a way by the north to Çataia. He first discovered the point of Baccalaos, which the Breton and Norman sailors now call the coast of Codfish; and, proceed. ing yet further, he reached the latitude of sixty-seven degrees towards the Arctic Pole."