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“ A traer a su servicio a Sebastian Gaboto, Ingles, por tenir noticia que era esperto hombre de Mar y para esto escrivio a Milort Ulibi Capitan General del Rey de Ingleterra que se le embiasse y esto fue a treze de Septembre deste anno Sebastian Gaboto vino a Castilla y el Rey le dio titulo da su Capitan, y buenas gages, y quedo en su servicio y le mando residir en Sevilla, para lo que se le ordenasse. *"
There is no difficulty in recognising, through the disguise of the Spanish orthography, the name of Lord Willoughby. That nobleman is found at the head of a Commission for levy. ing troops, dated 29th March, 1511 (Rymer, vol. xiii. p. 297), and immediately followed by a letter from Ferdinand to Henry, dated Seville, 20th April, 1511, relative to the proposed co-operation. Lord Willoughby landed at Plaisance with the English army from the Spanish vessels on the 8th June, 1512 (Herbert's Life of Henry VIII., p. 20).
Surprise will doubtless be felt, that any misconception should exist as to a fact so clearly established. But Herrera is known in this country only through a wretched translation, made about a century ago by a “Captain John Stevens,” replete with errors, and in which many passages of the greatest interest are entirely omitted. Amongst the rest, not a syllable of what has just been quoted is found in it. Unfortunately, too, for the credit of those who cite Herrera, this translator has changed the order of Decades, Books, and Chapters, and yet given no notice that he had taken such a liberty. The reader, therefore, who attempts to verify the references of most English authors, will find them agreeing very well with the book of Stevens, but furnishing no clew to the passages of the original.
The Correspondence referred to by Herrera between Ferdinand and Lord Willoughby, would seem to have been
. “To draw into his service Sebastian Cabot, an Englishman, having heard of his ability as a seaman; and with this view he wrote to Lord Uliby, Captain-General of the King of England, to send him over, and it was on the 13th of September of this year (1512) that Cabot came to Spain. The King gave him the title of his Captain, and a liberal allowance, and retained him in his service, directing that he should reside at Seville to await orders.”
extant about a century ago, if we may judge from the language used in the “ Ensaio Cronologico Para La Historia General De Florida,” published at Madrid in 1723. This work, though it appeared under the name of Cardenas, is understood to have been the production of Andre Goncalez Barcia, Auditor of the supreme council of War of the King of Spain. In the Introduction, the author, after conjecturing the motives which led Cabot to abandon England without reluctance, remarks
“Y aunque conservo siempre la Fama de Cosmografo, no se hico caso de el, en Inglaterra, hasta que el Rei de Espana, por el mes de Septembre de 1512, entendiendo de Algunas Cosmografos que avia algun estrecho a la parte de la Tierra de los Baccalaos y otro a occidente, escrivio a Milord Ulibi, Capitan General de Inglaterra, le embiase a Gaboto, lo qual egecuto luego, como cosa que le importaba poco."*
The readiness with which Lord Willoughby yielded to the request of the Spanish monarch, and his making light of the favour conferred, would seem to be facts that could only be gathered from the Correspondence itself. We may presume it to be not now in existence, or documents so curious would doubtless have been published by Navarette.
No specific duties were, in the first instance, assigned to Cabot; but his value was quickly discerned and appreciated. We find him, in 1515, mentioned (Herrera, Dec. ii. lib. i. cap. xii.) in connexion with an object, about which the King was very solicitous—a general revision of Maps and Charts; and in that year, Peter Martyr (Dec. iii. cap. vi.) speaks of him as holding the dignified and important station of a Member of the Council of the Indies. The same writer informs us
• " And though he maintained always his reputation as cosmographer, yet no account was made of him in England; and, at length, the King of Spain, in the middle of September 1512, understanding from cosmographers that there was a Strait in some part of the land of Baccalaos, communicating with another in the West, write to Lord Vlibi, Captain-General of England, to send Cabot to him, which he did forthwith as a thing of little moment.”
that an expedition had been projected to sail in March 1516, under the command of Cabot, in search of the North-West Passage.
“Familiarem habeo domi Cabotum ipsum et contubernalem interdum Vocatus namque ex Britannia a Rege nostro Catholico post Henrici Majoris Britannia Regis mortem concurialis noster est expectatque Indies ut navigia sibi parentur quibus arcanum hoc naturæ latens jam tandem detegatur. Martio mense anni futuri MDXVI. puto ad explorandum discessurum. Quæ succedent tua Sancitas per me intelliget modo vivere detur. Ex Castellanis non desunt qui Cabotum primum fuisse Baccalorum repertorem negant, tantumque ad Occidentem tetendisse minime assentiuntur. *"
This passage, while it proves that his talents had been recognised and rewarded by the king, and that his personal character had endeared him to the historian, also shows that there already existed against the successful stranger, the same malignant jealousy to which Columbus fell a victim. Unfortunately for Cabot, Ferdinand died on the 23rd of January, 1516. This circumstance would seem to have put an end to the contemplated expedition, and it is probable that in the scenes which immediately followed, full scope was given to that feeling of dislike and pretended distrust, which had not dared to exhibit itself, in any marked manner, during the king's life. Charles V., occupied elsewhere, did not reach Spain for a considerable time. The original publication of the three first Decades of Peter Martyr has a Dedication to him, dated October 1516, in which the youthful sovereign is entreated to enter at once on a consideration of the wonders of that New World with which the work is occupied—“Come
* « Cabot is my very friend whom I use familiarly, and delight to have him sometimes keepe me companie in my own house. For being called out of England by the commandment of the Catholic King of Castile, after the death of King Henry of England the Seventh of that name, he was made one of our Council and assistance as touching the affairs of the New Indies, looking daily for ships to be furnished for him to discover this hid secret of nature. This voyage is appointed to be begun in March in the year next following, being the year of Christ 1516. What shall succeed, your Holiness shall be advertised by my letters if God grant me life. Some of the Spaniards deny that Cabot was the first finder of Baccalaos, and affirm that he went not so far westward.” Eden's translation, Decades, fol. 119.
therefore most Noble Prince, elected of God, and enjoy that high Estate not yet fully understood,” &c. During what
be called the interregnum, a scene of the most odious intrigue was exhibited.
“ All the great qualities of Chievres, the Prime Minister, and favourite of the young King, were sullied with an ignoble and sordid avarice. The accession of his master to the Crown of Spain, opened a new and copious source for the gratification of this passion. During the time of Charles's residence in Flanders, the whole tribe of pretenders to office or to favour, resorted thither. They soon discovered that without the patronage of Chievres, it was vain to hope for preferment ; nor did they want sagacity to find out the proper method of securing him. Vast sums of money were drawn out of Spain. Every thing was venal and disposed of to the highest bidder. After the example of Chievres, the inferior Flemish Ministers engaged in this traffic, which became as general and avowed as it was infamous. »
A curious illustration of the truth of these representations is found amongst the pap wi's lately published by Navarette. A letter occurs (tom. iii. p. 307), from Charles to Bishop Fonseca, dated Brussels 18th November 1516, which states a representation by Andres de St Martin, that on the death of Amerigo Vespucci, about five years before, the late king had intended to confer on the said St Martin the office of Pilot-Major, but that owing to accidental circumstances this intention was frustrated, and Juan Dias de Solis appointed. The latter being now dead, St Martin had preferred a claim to the appointment. Charles commands Fonseca to inquire into the facts, and also into the capacity and fitness of the applicant. We may conceive that, at such a period, the prospect was a cheerless one for Cabot, previously regarded, as has been seen, with obloquy. It is of evil omen, also, to find in authority the intriguer Fonseca, who has obtained an infamous notoriety as the enemy of Columbus against whom his most successful weapon was the Spanish jealousy of foreigners. Finding himself slighted, Cabot returned to England.
Robertson's Charles V. Book I.
CABOT'S VOYAGE OF 1517 FROM ENGLAND IN SEARCH OF THE NORTH
The enterprising and intrepid spirit of our Navigator would seem to have found immediate employment, and he is again on the Ocean. He was aided, doubtless, by being able to point to his own name in Letters Patent, granted so long before by the father of the reigning monarch, whose provisions could not, in justice, be considered as extinct.
For a knowledge of this expedition, we are indebted, principally, to Richard Eden, that friend of Cabot, to whom a tribute of gratitude has been heretofore paid. He published in 1553 a work* bearing this title
“ A treatyse of the Newe India, with other new founde landes and Ilandes, as well Eastwarde as Westwarde, as they are known and found in these oure dayes after the description of Sebastian Munster, in his booke of Universal Cosmographie; wherein the diligent reader may see the good successe and rewarde of noble and honest enterprizes, by the which not only worldly ryches are obtayned, but also God is glorified, and the Christian fayth enlarged. Translated out of Latin into English, by Rycharde Eden. Præter spem sub spe. Imprinted at London, in Lombarde street, by Edward Sutton, 1553."
The volume is dedicated to the Duke of Northumberland. The checks are so many and powerful on a departure from truth, even aside from the character of the writer, as to relieve us from any apprehension of mis-statement. Cabot then resided in England, occupying a conspicuous station. The passage about to be quoted contains a reproach on a seaofficer, of the time of Henry VIII., and it is not likely that such expressions would be addressed to one who had been
• In the Library of the British Museum, title in catalogue, Munster.