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killed one of his companions, “ while he stooped to take up a root for his relief.” They were at the very last extremity when a French vessel unexpectedly arrived, “well furnished with vittaile," of which, thrusting aside all scruples as to the honesty of the transaction, they speedily made themselves masters, and hastened home, where the Frenchmen followed, and making complaints to Henry VIII., “the king causing the matter to be examined, and finding the great distresse of his subjects, was so moved with pitie that he punished not his subjects, but of his own purse made full and royal recompence unto the French.”?
1. We have said that, for some years, the French omitted to follow up the successful issue of Cartier's second voyage; their next attempt was the result of a private adventure. Jean François de la Roque, the Sieur de Roberval, a wealthy nobleman of Picardy, requested permission to found a settlement in the country, and this Francis readily granted, besides conferring on him a long string of empty and ridiculous titles, such as Lord of Norimbega, Lieutenant-General, and Viceroy in Canada, Hochelaga, Sanguenay, Newfoundland, Belleisle, Carpon, Labrador, the Great Bay, and Baccalaos; which, truly, if merited by any one, ought to have been conferred
Cartier. A subordinate command only was given to this great French seaman, who was ordered to set sail with five vessels, leaving his lordship, the lieutenantgeneral and viceroy, to follow, when the path should have been cleared of a few of the difficulties :—and not a few of these had to be surmounted.
Donnaconna, the aged chieftain who had been so nefariously carried off, had died in France, and
6 Hakluyt, v. iii., p. 130.
when Cartier revisited the scene of his former amicable intercourse with the Indians, they observed a totally different demeanor toward him :whilst before they had exhaused all their arts and persuasions to induce him to stay amongst them, they now resisted, by every means in their power, any attempt at a settlement, until at length the French were obliged, for their defence, to build a fort near the present site of Quebec. We have already, in the voyages of the Cortereals, had a sad example of the fatal results of any attempt to break asunder all ties of relationship and humanity by forcing the Red Indian to become the slave of his white fellow creature; it was only by acts of the most signal vengeance that the western hemisphere was saved from that disgraceful traffic, which is the foulest blot in the annals of the eastern.
It is impossible not to be struck with the determined resistance which has ever been made by the aborigines of North America to these kidnapping adventures, and likewise the fact, that the indiscretion of one traveller is almost invariably visited, at some future period, on the perhaps unoffending head of the next who may happen to traverse the same path. But to return.
After a long interval, Roberval arrived at the scene of action, but a jealousy existed between him and Cartier, and at length the desertion of the latter gave the death blow to an enterprise which could only succeed when commanded by an experienced seaman, and it was subsequently abandoned. In 1549, Roberval, who seems to have been a man of great spirit, and his brother Achille, made another attempt at a settlement; their names may be added to the list of voyagers and travellers who have fallen victims to the imprudence of those who had preceded them—they were never heard of more.
Certainly no prince ever gave higher hopes of a promising reign than Edward VI. According to Burnet, while yet a child,8 “ he knew all the harbours and ports both of his own dominions and of France and Scotland, and how much water they had, and what was the way of coming into them." “ Naval affairs had seized his attention as a sort of passion,” and when the merchants began to turn their views towards the north-east—in their attempts to discover a passage to the Indies having met with such severe rebuffs in the north-west,we find him entering into their schemes with a spirit and energy surprising in one so young. At this critical moment there happened to be in London no less a person than Sebastian Cabot, a sketch of whose life since we last heard of him may not be uninteresting.
After his voyage, in conjunction with the fainthearted Sir Thomas Pert, in 1517, he appears to have returned to Spain, where he was created by the emperor, pilot-major, an office of great importance and responsibility. He was also a member of the famous conclave, held at Badajos, in April, 1524, appointed to settle the dispute between the kings of Spain and Portugal as to their respective titles to the Moluccas, to which both monarchs laid claim, each affirming that they came within the grant of the papal bull to himself. On their decision being proclaimed, that the Moluccas were situate by at least twenty degrees within the Spanish limits, a company was formed to prosecute the trade to these islands, and the command of a squadron of ships having been given to Cabot, he was permitted, after numberless vexatious obstacles had been thrown in his way by the agents of Portugal, to depart in the beginning of April, 1526.
History of Reformation,” v. ii. p. 225.
In this voyage Cabot sailed up the Rio de la Plata for a distance of three hundred and fifty leagues, and, after a residence in the country, he returned to Spain, the main objects of his voyage having been defeated, by the machinations of Portugal, but nevertheless adding greatly to his own popularity as a naval commander. He afterwards made several voyages in the Spanish service, but growing old, and doubtless wishing to end his days in his native country, he returned to England.
King Edward soon became aware of the value of Cabot. On the 6th January, 1549, he granted him the munificent pension of two hundred and fifty marks (or 1661 13s. 4d.), “in consideration of the good and acceptable service done, and to be done, unto us by our beloved servant, Sebastian Cabot.”ý If he was not created grand-pilot of
” England, as questioned by his biographer (pp. 176 and 311), certain it is, that the functions of his office were most varied and important. Placed at the head of a company of merchants, composed, as it is said, of men of great wisdom and gravity, preparations were diligently made for a northeastern expedition of discovery. A sum of 6,0001. was raised, by shares of 251. each, in order to defray the expenses of the undertaking, and the three ships, of which the expedition consisted, were fitted with everything which experience had proved to be necessary, and, as a further precaution, the keels were covered with “ thinne sheets of leade,” which is the first instance on record in England of the practice of sheathing, a method however long before adopted in Spain.
The next step was to secure a fitting commander, an object of high ambition to many, and the choice finally fell on Sir Hugh Willoughby, “a most valiant gentleman,” but probably no sailor. Richard Chancelor, “a man of great estimation for many good parts of wit in him," qualifications which now-a-days would have very little weight with the Lords of the Admiralty, was appointed to the command of one of the ships, with the title of pilot-major, with Stephen Burrough, afterwards chief-pilot of England, as master; William Burrows, afterwards comptroller of the navy, and Arthur Pet, a name associated with northern discovery at a future day, were also in the same ship. Finally, when all the arrangements were completed, Cabot drew up a code of instructions for the government of the expedition, which reflect the highest credit on his sagacity, good sense, and comprehensive knowledge. These instructions are entitled, “Ordinances,
9 “Rymer,” v. xv. p. 181.
, Instructions, and Advertisements of and for the intended voyage for Cathay, compiled, made, and delivered by the Right Worshipful M. Sebastian Cabota, Esq., Governour of the Mysterie and Companie of the Merchants Adventurers for the discoverie of Regions, Dominions, Islands, and place unknowen, the 9th day of May, in the yere of our Lord God, 1553, and in the 7th yeere of the reigne of our most dread Sovereigne, Lord Edward VI., by the grace of God, King of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and Ireland, in earth supreme head."10
On the 20th May, 1553, the three ships dropped down to Greenwich, on which occasion we have the following spirited sketch. shippes are towed with boates and oares, and the mariners being all apparelled in watchet, or skiecoloured cloth, rowed amaine and made way with diligence. And being come neere to Greenewich
10 “ Hakluyt," vol. i.
6. The greater