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and did eat raw flesh, and spake such speech that no man could understand them ; and in their demeanour were like to brute beastes, whom the kinge kept a time after.”” Ramusio relates that Cabot sailed as far north as 673°; and another contemporary writer mentions that
he met with Indians who had abundance of copper.t.
Sebastian Cabot sailed in 1516 with sir John Pert to Porto Rico, and afterwards returned to Spain, from which eountry he conducted that expedition to the Rio de la Plata, of which mention has been made above.f. But in the year 1548, when Henry VIII. was on the throne, he returned to England; and on the accession of Edward VI. was created by the young king pilot major, and received from him a pension for life of 500 marks or 1661. 13s. 4d. a year, a munificent reward in those days, and deservedly bestowed. Cabot was placed at the head of the society of merchant adventurers; and by his zeal, mature judgment, and extensive experience, contributed not a little to kindle and direct that spirit of maritime enterprise by which England has risen to her present naval eminence. The discoveries of Cabot soon attracted the attention of the Spaniards and Portuguese, who dreaded nothing more than rivalry for the dominion of the seas. Indeed, there seems little reason to doubt that a Portuguese navigator had discovered Newfoundland long before the time of Cabot. John Vaz Costa Cortereal, a gentleman of the royal household, had explored the northern seas by order of Alphonso V. about the year 1463, and discovered the Terra de Baccalhaos or land of cod fish, afterwards called Newfoundland. § There is even reason to believe that the Portuguese were in the habit not only of fishing on the banks of Newfoundland, but of settling there also, toward the close of the fifteenth century. Gaspar, the son of John Cortereal, sailed from Lisbon in the year 1500, and, steering northward from the Azores, discovered in 60° land, to which he gave
* Hakluyt. + Peter Martyr. f See page 89. § Barrow's Chronological History of Voyages in the Arctic Regions.
the name of Terra Verde, that is, Greenland. From his own account it appears, that having employed nearly a year in this voyage, he had discovered between west and north-west a continent till then unknown to the rest of the world; that he ran along the coast upwards of 800 miles; that, according to his conjecture, this land lay near a region formerly approached by the Venetians”, and almost at the north pole; and that he was unable to proceed farther on account of the great mountains of ice which encumbered the sea, and the continued snows. The great country discovered by Cortereal is evidently that which is at present known by the name of Labrador, to which geographical writers in the sixteenth century not unfrequently gave the name of Corterealis. Gaspar Cortereal, elated by his discoveries, and confident that he should find a north-western passage to India, easily obtained the king's consent to undertake a second voyage; and sailed from Lisbon in May, 1501, never more to return. His voyage is said to have been prosperous as far as Greenland; but there a storm separated the ships: his consort returned; but Cortereal was never again heard of. His brother, Michael Cortereal, sailed in search of him the following year, with three vessels. When they arrived upon the coast of the newly discovered land, which is broken by numerous rivers and inlets, the ships separated, in order that they might examine the coast more narrowly, having arranged to meet at a certain point on the 20th of August. Two of the vessels did actually return according to the appointment; but Michael Cortereal never made his appearance, and no tidings were ever received of his fate. Vasco Eanes Cortereal, master of the king's household, disconsolate for the loss of his brothers, determined to go himself to unfold the mystery which hung over their fate. But the king, having already lost two of his most valued servants, resolved to preserve the third; and could not be prevailed upon, by any entreaties, to part with the only sur
* An allusion to the voyages of the Zeni, see vol. i. p. 221.
viving branch of the family, to which he was sincerely
and repeated by them to the Europeans who afterwards arrived there, were considered to be the name of the country. The spirit of discovery seems also to have languished in England at the commencement of the sixteenth century; or, which is more, probable, the feeble efforts of early voyagers were not crowned with the brilliant success necessary to attract the attention of the historians of that age. The first enterprise undertaken solely by Englishmen was suggested by Mr. Robert Thorne, a wealthy merchant of Bristol, who had long resided at Seville, and who had imbibed, perhaps in Spain, the spirit of geographical discovery. He is said to have exhorted king Henry VIII. “with very weighty and substantial reasons to set forth a discoverie even to the north pole.” And such a voyage seems actually to have taken place. For we are informed that “king Henry VIII. sent two fair ships, well manned and victualled, having in them divers cunning men, to seek strange regions; and so they set forth out of the Thames the 20th day of May, in the nineteenth year of his reign, which was the yeare of our Lord 1527.” * All that we know of the result of this voyage is, that one of the ships was cast away on the north of Newfoundland. Again, in 1536, a voyage of discovery to the north-west parts of America was projected by a person named Hore, of London; “a man of goodly stature, and of great courage, and given to the studie of cosmographie.” It is remarkable, that of sixscore persons who accompanied him, thirty were gentlemen of the inns of court and chancery; whence it may be concluded that the pursuit of science and gratification of a laudable curiosity were the object of this voyage, rather than mercantile speculations. But this enterprise had a calamitous termination, unworthy the disinterested motives that gave birth to it. On their arrival in Newfoundland, they suffered so much from famine that they were driven to the horrible expedient of cannibalism. While gathering roots in the woods for their subsistence,
some were treacherously murdered and devoured by their companions. The captain, on hearing the circumstance, endeavoured to bring back the crew to a sense of their duty, and to teach them resignation, by keeping alive their hopes. But the famine increased, and they were driven to the necessity of casting lots who should perish. The same night a French ship arrived on the coast; and the English, by a stratagem with which we are not made acquainted, contrived to make themselves masters of the vessel, and returned home. The Frenchmen were afterwards liberally indemnified by Henry VIII., who pardoned the violence to which necessity had impelled the English adventurers. The foreign trade of England in the sixteenth century hardly extended beyond the Flemish towns, Iceland, and a limited fishery on the banks of Newfoundland. But the presence and counsel of Sebastian Cabot, who was well acquainted with the bold navigations of the Spaniards, opened the views and inflamed the ambition of a people not insensible of their own capabilities. When that experienced navigator was created grand pilot of England by Edward VI., he was at the same time constituted “governour of the mysterie and companie of the marchants adventurers for the discoverie of regions, dominions, islands, and places unknowen.” By his advice, and under his direction, a voyage was undertaken in 1553 for the discovery of a north-east passage to Cathay. Three ships were fitted out for this expedition, of which sir Hugh Willoughby was appointed captain-general. Richard Chancelor, the pilot major of the fleet, commanded the Edward Bonadventure. As the promoters of this expedition had no doubt of its success, they omitted none of those precautions which were deemed necessary for the safety of vessels navigating the Indian seas, and caused them to be sheathed with lead in order to defend them from the worms that were found to be destructive to wooden sheathing in warm climates. This is the first account we have of ships coated in England with a metallic substance. That