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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 vutlawry.

“And to show 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 Se. bastian, by having incautiously accepted and acted under such an instrument, might be held to recognise it as the consum. mation 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 (s 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 ungra. cious, 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 meagre 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 claim 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.).




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 expedition from England in 1517. This assertion is found in the Biogra

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phia Britannica, Pinkerton, Rees, Aikin, Chalmers, Campbell's Lives of the Admirals, &c. The Biographie Universelle postpones his departure to 1526.

We are told by Peter Martyr (Decade iii. cap. vi.), that Cabot did not leave England until after the death of Henry VII., which occurred in 1509. The venerable Historian of the Indies is right, and we thus find completed the circle of errors in that deceptive Conversation. Herrera, the writer of the highest authority on these subjects—Historiographer of the King of Spain, and enjoying familiar access to every document, stated, more than two centuries ago, that Cabot received his appointment from the King of Spain on the 13th September 1512, and even furnished the particulars of the negotiation.

It may readily be conceived that the wily Ferdinand would be anxious to withdraw, if possible, from the service of a youthful monarch, full of enterprise and ambition, and with the accumulated treasures of his thrifty father, a Navigator who had opened to England the glorious career of discovery. He had little reason to hope that Henry would pay greater deference than his father to the Papal Bull. Vespucci, too, who had filled in Spain the office of Pilot-Major, was just dead, as appears by a provision for his widow (Navarette, tom. iii. p. 305), on the 28th March, 1512. The period was favourable to Ferdinand's purpose. Henry had, already, consented to mingle rashly in the dissensions of the Continent, which finally dissipated the hoards of his father and the resources of his kingdom; and in this very year, an army was despatched from England, in vessels provided by Spain, to co-operate with his crafty father-in-law. It is now that Herrera (Dec. i. lib. ix. cap. xiii.) speaks of the king's anxiety to discover the long sought strait, his views on Baccalaos, and his wish to gather round him all the ablest Cosmographers of the time. We are expressly told that these motives induced him.


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