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   Chapter 15 IN SPAIN, 1496-1498.

Christopher Columbus and How He Received and Imparted the Spirit of Discovery By Justin Winsor Characters: 43559

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1496. Columbus arrives at Cadiz,

"The wretched men crawled forth," as Irving tells us of their debarkation, "emaciated by the diseases of the colony and the hardships of the voyage, who carried in their yellow countenances, says an old writer, a mockery of that gold which had been the object of their search, and who had nothing to relate of the New World but tales of sickness, poverty, and disappointment." This is the key to the contrasts in the present reception of the adventurers with that which greeted Columbus on his return to Palos.

When Columbus landed at Cadiz, he was clothed with the robe and girdled with the cord of the Franciscans. His face was unshaven. Whether this was in penance, or an assumption of piety to serve as a lure, is not clear. Oviedo says it was to express his humility; and his humbled pride needed some such expression.

and learns the condition of the public mind.

He found in the harbor three caravels just about starting for Espa?ola with tardy supplies. It had been intended to send some in January; but the ships which started with them suffered wreck on the neighboring coasts. He had only to ask Pedro Alonso Ni?o, the commander of this little fleet, for his dispatches, to find the condition of feeling which he was to encounter in Spain. They gave him a sense, more than ever before, of the urgent necessity of making the colony tributary to the treasury of the Crown. It was clear that discord and unproductiveness were not much longer to be endured. So he wrote a letter to the Adelantado, which was to go by the ships, urging expedition in quieting the life of the colonists, and in bringing the resources of the island under such control that it could be made to yield a steady flow of treasure.

1496. June 17. Columbus writes to Bartholomew.

To this end, the new mines of Hayna must be further explored, and the working of them started with diligence. A port of shipment should be found in their neighborhood, he adds. With such instructions to Bartholomew, the caravels sailed on June 17, 1496. It must have been with some trepidation that Columbus forwarded to the Court the tidings of his arrival. If the two dispatches which he sent could have been preserved, we might better understand his mental condition.

Invited to Court.

As soon as the messages of Columbus reached their Majesties, then at Almazan, they sent, July 12, 1496, a letter inviting him to Court, and reassuring him in his despondency by expressions of kindness. So he started to join the Court in a somewhat better frame of mind. He led some of his bedecked Indians in his train, not forgetting "in the towns" to make a cacique among them wear conspicuously a golden necklace.

Bernaldez tells us that it was in this wily fashion that Columbus made his journey into the country of Castile,-"the which collar," that writer adds, "I have seen and held in these hands;" and he goes on to describe the other precious ornaments of the natives, which Columbus took care that the gaping crowds should see on this wandering mission.

It is one of the anachronisms of the Historie of 1571 that it places the Court at this time at Burgos, and makes it there to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince with Margaret of Austria. The author of that book speaks of seeing the festivities himself, then in attendance as a page upon Don Juan. It was a singular lapse of memory in Ferdinand Columbus-if this statement is his-to make two events like the arrival of his father at Court, with all the incidental parade as described in the book, and the ceremonies of that wedding festival identical in time. The wedding was in fact nine months later, in April, 1497.

Received by the sovereigns.

Makes new demands.

Columbus's reception, wherever it was, seems to have been gracious, and he made the most of the amenities of the occasion to picture, in his old exaggerating way, the wealth of the Ophir mines. He was encouraged by the effect which his enthusiasm had produced to ask to be supplied with another fleet, partly to send additional supplies to Espa?ola, but mainly to enable him to discover that continental land farther south, of which he had so constantly heard reports.

It was easy for the monarchs to give fair promises, and quite as easy to forget them, for a while at least, in the busy scenes which their political ambitions were producing. Belligerent relations with France necessitated a vigilant watch about the Pyrenees. There were fleets to be maintained to resist, both in the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic coast, attacks which might unexpectedly fall. An imposing armada was preparing to go to Flanders to carry thither the Princess Juana to her espousal with Philip of Austria. The same fleet was to bring back Philip's sister Margaret to become the bride of Prince Juan, in those ceremonials to which reference has already been made.

1496. Autumn. A new expedition ordered.

These events were too engrossing for the monarchs to give much attention to the wishes of Columbus, and it was not till the autumn of 1496 that an appropriation was made to equip another little squadron for him. The hopes it raised were soon dashed, for having some occasion to need money promptly, at a crisis of the contest which the King was waging with France, the money which had been intended for Columbus was diverted to the new exigency. What was worse in the eyes of Columbus, it was to be paid out of some gold which it was supposed that Ni?o had brought back from the mines of Hayna. This officer on arriving at Cadiz had sent to the Court some boastful messages about his golden lading, which were not confirmed when in December the sober dispatch of the Adelantado, which Ni?o had kept back, came to be read. The nearest approach to gold which the caravels brought was another crowd of dusky slaves, and the dispatches of Bartholomew pictured the colony in the same conditions of destitution as before. There was no stimulant in such reports either for the Admiral or for the Court, and the New World was again dismissed from the minds of all, or consigned to their derision.

1497. Spring. Columbus's rights reaffirmed.

New powers.


[From an ancient medallion given in Buckingham Smith's Coleccion.]

When the spring months of 1497 arrived, there were new hopes. The wedding of Prince Juan at Burgos was over, and the Queen was left more at liberty to think of her patronage of the new discoveries. The King was growing more and more apathetic, and some of the leading spirits of the Court were inimical, either actively or reservedly. By the Queen's influence, the old rights bestowed upon Columbus were reaffirmed (April 23, 1497), and he was offered a large landed estate in Espa?ola, with a new territorial title; but he was wise enough to see that to accept it would complicate his affairs beyond their present entanglement. He was solicitous, however, to remove some of his present pecuniary embarrassments, and it was arranged that he should be relieved from bearing an eighth of the cost of the ventures of the last three years, and that he should surrender all rights to the profits; while for the three years to come he should have an eighth of the gross income, and a further tenth of the net proceeds. Later, the original agreement was to be restored. His brother Bartholomew was created Adelantado, giving thus the royal sanction to the earlier act of the Admiral.

Fonseca allowed to grant licenses.

In the letters patent made out previous to Columbus's second voyage, the Crown distinctly reserved the right to grant other licenses, and invested Fonseca with the power to do so, allowing to Columbus nothing more than one eighth of the tonnage; and in the ordinance of June 2, 1497, in which they now revoked all previous licenses, the revocation was confined to such things as were repugnant to the rights of Columbus. It was also agreed that the Crown should maintain for him a body of three hundred and thirty gentlemen, soldiers, and helpers, to accompany him on his new expedition, and this number could be increased, if the profits of the colony warranted the expenditure. Power was given to him to grant land to such as would cultivate the soil for four years; but all brazil-wood and metals were to be reserved for the Crown.


[From Barcia's Herrera.]

All this seemed to indicate that the complaints which had been made against the oppressive sternness of the Admiral's rule had not as yet broken down the barriers of the Queen's protection. Indeed, we find up to this time no record of any serious question at Court of his authority, and Irving thinks nothing indicates any symptom of the royal discontent except the reiterated injunctions, in the orders given to him respecting the natives and the colonists, that leniency should govern his conduct so far as was safe.

1498. February 22. Makes a will.

Permission being given to him to entail his estates, he marked out in a testamentary document (February 22, 1498) the succession of his heirs,-male heirs, with Ferdinand's rights protected, if Diego's line ran out; then male heirs of his brothers; and if all male heirs failed, then the estates were to descend by the female line. The title Admiral was made the paramount honor, and to be the perpetual distinction of his representatives. The entail was to furnish forever a tenth of its revenues to charitable uses. Genoa was placed particularly under the patronage of his succeeding representatives, with injunctions always to do that city service, as far as the interests of the Church and the Spanish Crown would permit. Investments were to be made from time to time in the bank of St. George at Genoa, to accumulate against the opportune moment when the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre seemed feasible, either to help to that end any state expedition or to fit out a private one. He enjoined upon his heirs a constant, unwavering devotion to the Papal Church and to the Spanish Crown. At every season of confession, his representative was commanded to lay open his heart to the confessor, who must be prompted by a perusal of the will to ask the crucial questions.

It was in the same document that Columbus prescribed the signature of his representatives in succeeding generations, following a formula which he always used himself.

Columbus's signature.

. S.

. S. A. S.

X. M. Y.

χρ?ο Ferens.

The interpretation of this has been various: Servus Supplex Altissimi Salvatoris, Christus, Maria, Yoseph, Christo ferens, is one solution; Servidor sus Altezas sacras, Christo, Maria Ysabel, is another; and these are not all.

* * *

Unpopularity of Columbus.

The complacency of the Queen was soothing; her appointment of his son Ferdinand as her page (February 18, 1498) was gratifying, but it could not wholly compensate Columbus for the condition of the public mind, of which he was in every way forcibly reminded. There were both the whisper of detraction spreading abroad, and the outspoken objurgation. The physical debility of his returned companions was made a strong contrast to his reiterated stories of Paradise. Fortunes wrecked, labor wasted, and lives lost had found but a pitiable compensation in a few cargoes of miserable slaves. The people had heard of his enchanting landscapes, but they had found his aloes and mastic of no value. Hidalgoes said there was nothing of the luxury they had been told to expect. The gorgeous cities of the Great Khan had not been found. Such were the kind of taunts to which he was subjected.

His sojourn with Bernaldez.

Columbus, during this period of his sojourn in Spain, spent a considerable interval under the roof of Andres Bernaldez, and we get in his history of the Spanish kings the advantage of the talks which the two friends had together.

The Admiral is known to have left with Bernaldez various documents which were given to him in the presence of Juan de Fonseca. From the way in which Bernaldez speaks of these papers, they would seem to have been accounts of the voyage of Columbus then already made, and it was upon these documents that Bernaldez says he based his own narratives.

Bernaldez's opinions.

This ecclesiastic had known Columbus at an earlier day, when the Genoese was a vender of books in Andalusia, as he says; in characterizing him, he calls his friend in another place a man of an ingenious turn, but not of much learning, and he leaves one to infer that the book-vender was not much suspected of great familiarity with his wares.

We get as clearly from Bernaldez as from any other source the measure of the disappointment which the public shared as respects the conspicuous failure of these voyages of Columbus in their pecuniary relations.

Scant returns of gold.

The results are summed up by that historian to show that the cost of the voyages had been so great and the returns so small that it came to be believed that there was in the new regions no gold to speak of. Taking the first voyage,-and the second was hardly better, considering the larger opportunities,-Harrisse has collated, for instance, all the references to what gold Columbus may have gathered; and though there are some contradictory reports, the weight of testimony seems to confine the amount to an inconsiderable sum, which consisted in the main of personal ornaments. There are legends of the gold brought to Spain from this voyage being used to gild palaces and churches, to make altar ornaments for the cathedral at Toledo, to serve as gifts of homage to the Pope, but we may safely say that no reputable authority supports any such statements.

Notwithstanding this seeming royal content of which the signs have been given, there was, by virtue of a discontented and irritated public sentiment, a course open to Columbus in these efforts to fit out his new expedition which was far from easy. There was so much disinclination in the merchants to furnish ships that it required a royal order to seize them before the small fleet could be gathered.

Difficulties in fitting out the new expedition.

Criminals enlisted.

The enlistments to man the ships and make up the contingent destined for the colony were more difficult still. The alacrity with which everybody bounded to the summons on his second voyage had entirely gone, and it was only by the foolish device which Columbus decided upon of opening the doors of the prisons and of giving pardon to criminals at large, that he was enabled to help on the registration of his company.

1498. Two caravels sail.

Finding that all went slowly, and knowing that the colony at Espa?ola must be suffering from want of supplies, the Queen was induced to order two caravels of the fleet to sail at once, early in 1498, under the command of Pedro Fernandez Coronel. This was only possible because the Queen took some money which she had laid aside as a part of a dower which was intended for her daughter Isabella, then betrothed to Emmanuel, the King of Portugal.

Fonseca's lack of heart.

So much was gratifying; but the main object of the new expedition was to make new discoveries, and there were many harassing delays yet in store for Columbus before he could depart with the rest of his fleet. These delays, as we shall see, enabled another people, under the lead of another Italian, to precede him and make the first discovery of the mainland. The Queen was cordial, but an affliction came to distract her, in the death of Prince Juan. Fonseca, who was now in charge of the fitting out of the caravels, seems to have lacked heart in the enterprise; but it serves the purpose of Columbus's adulatory biographers to give that agent of the Crown the character of a determined enemy of Columbus.

Columbus's altercation with Fonseca's accountant.

Even the prisons did not disgorge their vermin, as he had wished, and his company gathered very slowly, and never became full. Las Casas tells us that troubles followed him even to the dock. The accountant of Fonseca, one Ximeno de Breviesca, got into an altercation with the Admiral, who knocked him down and exhibited other marks of passion. Las Casas further tells us that this violence, through the representations of it which Fonseca made, produced a greater effect on the monarchs than all the allegations of the Admiral's cruelty and vindictiveness which his accusers from Espa?ola had constantly brought forward, and that it was the immediate cause of the change of royal sentiment towards him, which soon afterwards appeared. Columbus seems to have discovered the mistake he had made very promptly, and wrote to the monarchs to counteract its effect. It was therefore with this new anxiety upon his mind that he for the third time committed himself to his career of adventure and exploration. The canonizers would have it that their sainted hero found it necessary to prove by his energy in personal violence that age had not impaired his manhood for the trials before him!

* * *

Before following Columbus on this voyage, the reader must take a glance at the conditions of discovery elsewhere, for these other events were intimately connected with the significance of Columbus's own voyagings.

Da Gama's passage of the African cape.

The problem which the Portuguese had undertaken to solve was, as has been seen, the passage to India by the Stormy Cape of Africa. Even before Columbus had sailed on his first voyage, word had come in 1490 to encourage King Jo?o II. His emissaries in Cairo had learned from the Arab sailors that the passage of the cape was practicable on the side of the Indian Ocean. The success of his Spanish rivals under Columbus in due time encouraged the Portuguese king still more, or at least piqued him to new efforts.


[From Stanley's Da Gama.]

Reaches Calicut May 20, 1498.

Vasco da Gama was finally put in command of a fleet specially equipped. It was now some years since his pilot, Pero de Alemquer, had carried Diaz well off the cape. On Sunday, July 8, 1497, Da Gama sailed from below Lisbon, and on November 22 he passed with full sheets the formidable cape. It was not, however, till December 17 that he reached the point where Diaz had turned back. His further progress does not concern us here. Suffice it to say that he cast anchor at Calicut May 20, 1498, and India was reached ten days before Columbus started a third time to verify his own beliefs, but really to find them errors.

Towards the end of August, or perhaps early in September, of the next year (1499), Da Gama arrived at Lisbon on his return voyage, anticipated, indeed, by one of his caravels, which, separated from the commander in April or May, had pushed ahead and reached home on the 10th of July. Portugal at once resounded with jubilation. The fleet had returned crippled with disabled crews, and half the vessels had disappeared; but the solution of a great problem had been reached.

The voyage of Da Gama, opening a trade eagerly pursued and eagerly met, offered, as we shall see, a great contrast to the small immediate results which came from the futile efforts of Columbus to find a western way to the same regions.


[From the Ptolemy of 1513.]

Supposed voyage of Vespucius.

There have been students of these early explorers who have contended that, while Columbus was harassed in Spain with these delays in preparing for his third voyage, the Florentine Vespucius, whom we have encountered already as helping Berardi in the equipment of Columbus's fleets, had, in a voyage of which we have some confused chronology, already in 1497 discovered and coursed the northern shores of the mainland south of the Caribbean Sea.


[From Stevens's reproduction in his American Bibliographer.]

Bernaldez tells us that, during the interval between the second and third voyages of Columbus, the Admiral "accorded permission to other captains to make discoveries at the west, who went and discovered various islands." Whether we can connect this statement with any such voyage as is now to be considered is a matter of dispute.

Who discovered South America?

This question of the first discovery of the mainland of South America,-we shall see that North America's mainland had already been discovered,-whether by Columbus or Vespucius, is one which has long vexed the historian and still does perplex him, though the general consensus of opinion at the present day is in favor of Columbus, while pursuing the voyage through which we are soon to follow him. The question is much complicated by the uncertainties and confusion of the narratives which are our only guides. The discovery, if not claimed by Vespucius, has been vigorously claimed for him. Its particulars are also made a part of the doubt which has clouded the recitals concerning the voyage of Pinzon and Solis to the Honduras coast, which are usually placed later; but by Oviedo and Gomara this voyage is said to have preceded that of Columbus.

Claimed for Vespucius.

The claim for Vespucius is at the best but an enforced method of clarifying the published texts concerning the voyages, in the hopes of finding something like consistency in their dates. Any commentator who undertakes to get at the truth must necessarily give himself up to some sort of conjecture, not only as respects the varied inconsistencies of the narrative, but also as regards the manifold blunders of the printer of the little book which records the voyages. Mu?oz had it in mind, it is understood, to prove that Vespucius could not have been on

the coast at the date of his alleged discovery; but in the opinions of some the documents do not prove all that Mu?oz, Navarrete, and Humboldt have claimed, while the advocacy of Varnhagen in favor of Vespucius does not allow that writer to see what he apparently does not desire to see. The most, perhaps, that we can say is that the proof against the view of Varnhagen, who is in favor of such a voyage in 1497, is not wholly substantiated. The fact seems to be, so far as can be made out, that Vespucius passed from one commander's employ to another's, at a date when Ojeda, in 1499, had not completed his voyage, and when Pinzon started. So supposing a return to Spain in order for Vespucius to restart with Pinzon, it is also supposable that the year 1499 itself may have seen him under two different leaders. If this is the correct view, it of course carries forward the date to a time later than the discovery of the mainland by Columbus. It is nothing but plausible conjecture, after all; but something of the nature of conjecture is necessary to dissipate the confusion. The belief of this sharing of service is the best working hypothesis yet devised upon the question.

If Vespucius was thus with Pinzon, and this latter navigator did, as Oviedo claims, precede Columbus to the mainland, there is no proof of it to prevent a marked difference of opinion among all the writers, in that some ignore the Florentine navigator entirely, and others confidently construct the story of his discovery, which has in turn taken root and been widely believed.

Alleged voyage of 1497.

A voyage of 1497 does not find mention in any of the contemporary Portuguese chroniclers. This absence of reference is serious evidence against it. It seems to be certain that within twenty years of their publication, there were doubts raised of the veracity of the narratives attributed to Vespucius, and Sebastian Cabot tells us in 1505 that he does not believe them in respect to this one voyage at any rate, and Las Casas is about as well convinced as Cabot was that the story was unfounded. Las Casas's papers passed probably to Herrera, who, under the influence of them, it would seem, formulated a distinct allegation that Vespucius had falsified the dates, converting 1499 into 1497. To destroy all the claims associated with Pinzon and Solis, Herrera carried their voyage forward to 1506. It was in 1601 that this historian made these points, and so far as he regulated the opinions of Europe for a century and a half, including those of England as derived through Robertson, Vespucius lived in the world's regard with a clouded reputation. The attempt of Bandini in the middle of the last century to lift the shadow was not very fortunate, but better success followed later, when Canovai delivered an address which then and afterwards, when it was reinforced by other publications of his, was something like a gage thrown to the old-time defamatory spirit. This denunciatory view was vigorously worked, with Navarrete's help, by Santarem in the Coleccion of that Spanish scholar, whence Irving in turn got his opinions. Santarem professed to have made most extensive examinations of Portuguese and French manuscripts without finding a trace of the Florentine.

Undaunted by all such negative testimony, the Portuguese Varnhagen, as early as 1839, began a series of publications aimed at rehabilitating the fame of Vespucius, against the views of all the later writers, Humboldt, Navarrete, Santarem, and the rest. Humboldt claimed to adduce evidence to show that Vespucius was all the while in Europe. Varnhagen finally brought himself to the belief that in this disputed voyage of 1497 Vespucius, acting under the orders of Vicente Ya?ez Pinzon and Juan Diaz de Solis, really reached the main at Honduras, whence he followed the curvatures of the coast northerly till he reached the capes of Chesapeake. Thence he steered easterly, passed the Bermudas, and arrived at Seville. If this is so, he circumnavigated the archipelago of the Antilles, and disproved the continental connection of Cuba. Varnhagen even goes so far as to maintain that Vespucius had not been deceived into supposing the coast was that of Asia, but that he divined the truth. Varnhagen stands, however, alone in this estimate of the evidence.

Valentini, in our day, has even supposed that the incomplete Cuba of the Ruysch map of 1508 was really the Yucatan shore, which Vespucius had skirted.

The claim which some French zealots in maritime discovery have attempted to sustain, of Norman adventurers being on the Brazil coast in 1497-98, is hardly worth consideration.

* * *

The English expedition under Cabot.

We turn now to other problems. The Bull of Demarcation was far from being acceptable as an ultimate decision in England, and the spirit of her people towards it is well shown in the Westerne Planting of Hakluyt. This chronicler mistrusts that its "certain secret causes"-which words he had found in the papal bull, probably by using an inaccurate version-were no other than "the feare and jelousie that King Henry of England, with whom Bartholomew Columbus had been to deal in this enterprise, and who even now was ready to send him into Spain to call his brother Christopher to England, should put a foot into this action;" and so the Pope, "fearing that either the King of Portugal might be reconciled to Columbus, or that he might be drawn into England, thought secretly by his unlawful division to defraud England and Portugal of that benefit." So England and Portugal had something like a common cause, and the record of how they worked that cause is told in the stories of Cabot first, and of Cortereal later. We will examine at this point the Cabot story only.

Newfoundland fisheries.

Bristol had long been the seat of the English commerce with Iceland, and one of the commodities received in return for English goods was the stockfish, which Cabot was to recognize on the Newfoundland banks. These stories of the codfish noticed by Cabot recalled in the mind of Galvano in 1555, and again more forcibly to Hakluyt a half century later, when Germany was now found to be not far from the latitude of Baccalaos, that there was a tale of some strange men, in the time of Frederick Barbarossa (A. D. 1153), being driven to Lubec in a canoe.

It is by no means beyond possibility that the Basque and other fishermen of Europe may have already strayed to these fishing grounds of Newfoundland, at some period anterior to this voyage of Cabot, and even traces of their frequenting the coast in Bradore Bay have been pointed out, but without convincing as yet the careful student.

John Cabot.

A Venetian named Zuan Caboto, settling in England, and thenceforward calling himself John Cabot, being a man of experience in travel, and having seen at one time at Mecca the caravans returning from the east, was impressed, as Columbus had been, with a belief in the roundness of the earth. It is not unlikely that this belief had taken for him a compelling nature from the stories which had come to England of the successful voyage of the Spaniards. Indeed, Ramusio distinctly tells us that it was the bruit of Columbus's first voyage which gave to Cabot "a great flame of desire to attempt some notable thing."

1496. March 5. Cabot's patent.

1497. May. Cabot sails.

When Cabot had received for himself and his three sons-one of whom was Sebastian Cabot-a patent (March 5, 1496) from Henry VII. to discover and trade with unknown countries beyond the seas, the envoy of Ferdinand and Isabella at the English court was promptly instructed to protest against any infringement of the rights of Spain in the western regions. Whether this protest was accountable for the delay in sailing, or not, does not appear, for Cabot did not set sail from Bristol till May, 1497.

Ruysch with Cabot.

It is inferred from what Beneventanus says in his Ptolemy of 1508 that Ruysch, who gives us the earliest engraved map of Cabot's discoveries, was a companion of Cabot in this initial voyage. When that editor says that he learned from Ruysch of his experiences in sailing from the south of England to a point in 53 degrees of north latitude, and thence due west, it may be referred to such participancy in this expedition from Bristol. We know from a conversation which is reported in Ramusio-unless there is some mistake in it-that Cabot apprehended the nature of what we call great circle sailing, and claimed that his course to the northwest would open India by a shorter route than the westerly run of Columbus.

1497. June 24. Cabot sees land.

Date of the voyage, 1494 or 1497?

When Cabot had ventured westerly 700 leagues, he found land, June 24, 1497. There has been some confidence at different times, early and late, that the date of this first Cabot voyage was in reality three years before this. The belief arose from the date of 1494 being given in what seem to have been early copies of a map ascribed to Sebastian Cabot, whence the date 1494 was copied by Hakluyt in 1589, though eleven years later he changed it to 1497. It is sufficient to say that few of the critics of our day, except D'Avezac, hold to this date of 1494. Major supposes that the map of 1544, now in the Paris library and ascribed to Cabot, was a re-drawn draft from the lost Spanish original, in which the date in Roman letters, VII, may have been so carelessly made in joining the arms of the V that it was read IIII; and some such inference was apparently in the mind of Henry Stevens when he published his little tract on Sebastian Cabot in 1870.

The country which Cabot thus first saw was supposed by him to be a part of Asia, and to be occupied, though no inhabitants were seen.

Cabot's landfall.

Cabot was for over three hundred years considered as having made his landfall on the coast of Labrador, or at least we find no record that the legend of the map of 1544, placing it at Cape Breton, had impressed itself authoritatively upon the minds of Cabot's contemporaries and successors. Biddle and Humboldt, in the early part of the present century, accepted the Labrador landfall with little question. So it happened that when, in 1843, the Cabot mappemonde of 1544 was discovered, and it was found to place the landfall at the island of Cape Breton, a certain definiteness, where there had been so much vagueness, afforded the student some relief; but as the novelty of the sensation wore off, confidence was again lost, inasmuch as the various uncertainties of the document give much ground for the rejection of all parts of its testimony at variance with better vouched beliefs. It is quite possible that more satisfactory proofs can be adduced of another region for the landfall, but none such have yet been presented to scholars.

It is commonly held now that, sighting land at Cape Breton, Cabot coursed northerly, passed the present Prince Edward Island, and then sailed out of the Strait of Belle Isle,-or at least this is as reasonable a route to make out of the scant record as any, though there is nothing like a commonly received opinion on his track. There is some ground for thinking that he could not have entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence at all. He landed nowhere and saw no inhabitants. If he struck the mainland, it was probably the coasts of New Brunswick or Labrador bordering on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The two islands which he observed on his right may have been headlands of Newfoundland, seeming to be isolated.

1497. August. Cabot returns.

He reached Bristol in August, having been absent about three months. Raimondo de Soncino, under date of the 24th of that month, wrote to Italy of Cabot's return, and a fortnight earlier (August 10) we find record of a gratuity of ten pounds given to Cabot in recognition of this service. It proved to be an expedition which was to create a greater sensation of its kind than the English had before known. Bristol had nurtured for some years a race of hardy seamen. They had risked the dangers of the great unknown ocean in efforts to find the fabulous island of Brazil, and they had pushed adventurously westward at times, but always to return without success. The intercourse of England with the northern nations and with Iceland may have given them tidings of Greenland; but there is no reason to believe that they ever supposed that country to be other than an extended peninsula of Europe, enfolding the North Atlantic.

Cabot in England.

Cabot's telling of a new land, his supposing it the empire of the Great Khan, his tales of the wonderful fishing ground thereabouts, where the water was so dense with fish that his vessels were impeded, and his expectation of finding the land of spices if he went southward from the region of his landfall, were all stories calculated to incite wonder and speculation. It was not strange, then, that England found she had her new sea-hero, as Spain had hers in Columbus; that the king gave him money and a pension; and that, conscious of a certain dignity, Cabot went about the city, drawing the attention of the curious by reason of the fine silks in which he arrayed himself.

Spain jealous of England.

Cabot had no sooner returned than Pedro de Ayala, the Spanish envoy in London, again entered a protest, and gave notice to the English king that the land which had been discovered belonged to his master. There is some evidence that Spain kept close watch on the country at the north through succeeding years, and even intended settlement.

Cabot in Seville?

This Spanish ambassador wrote home from London, July 25, 1498, that after his first voyage, Cabot had been in Seville and Lisbon. This renders somewhat probable the suspicion that he may have had conferences with La Cosa and Columbus.

Cabot's charts.

That John Cabot, on returning from his first voyage, produced a chart which he had made, and that on this and on a solid globe, also of his construction, he had laid down what he considered to be the region he had reached, now admit of no doubt. Foreign residents at the English court reported such facts to the courts of Italy and of Spain. In the map of La Cosa (1500), we find what is considered a reflex of this Cabot chart, in the words running along a stretch of the northeast coast of Asia, which announce the waters adjacent as those visited by the English, and a neighboring headland as the Cape of the English. Even La Cosa's use of the Cabot map was lost sight of before long, and this record of La Cosa remained unknown till Humboldt discovered the map in Paris, in 1832, in the library of Baron Walckenaer, whence it passed in 1853 into the royal museum at Madrid. The views of Cabot respecting this region seem to have been soon obscured by the more current charts showing the voyages of the Cortereals, when the Cape of the English readily disappeared in the "Cabo de Portogesi," a forerunner, very likely, of what we know to-day as Cape Race.

1497-98. February. The second Cabot voyage.

Such an appetizing tale as that of the first Cabot expedition was not likely to rest without a sequel. On the 3d of February, 1497-98, nearly four months before Columbus sailed on his third voyage, the English king granted a new patent to John Cabot, giving him the right to man six ships if he could, and in May he was at sea. Though his sons were not mentioned in the patent, it is supposed that Sebastian Cabot accompanied his father. One vessel putting back to Ireland, five others went on, carrying John Cabot westward somewhere and to oblivion, for we never hear of him again. Stevens ventures the suggestion that John Cabot may have died on the voyage of 1498, whereby Sebastian came into command, and so into a prominence in his own recollections of the voyage, which may account for the obscuration of his father's participancy in the enterprise. One of the ships would seem to have been commanded by Lanslot Thirkill, of London.

What we know of this second voyage are mentions in later years, vague in character, and apparently traceable to what Sebastian had said of it, and not always clearly, for there is an evident commingling of events of this and of the earlier voyage. We get what we know mainly from Peter Martyr, who tells us that Cabot called the region Baccalaos, and from Ramusio, who reports at second hand Sebastian's account, made forty years after the event. From such indefinite sources we can make out that the little fleet steered northwesterly, and got into water packed with ice, and found itself in a latitude where there was little night. Thence turning south they ran down to 36° north latitude. The crews landed here and there, and saw people dressed in skins, who used copper implements. When they reached England we do not know, but it was after October, 1498.

Extent of this voyage.

The question of this voyage having extended down the Atlantic seaboard of the present United States to the region of Florida, as has been urged, seems to be set at rest in Stevens's opinion, from the fact that, had Cabot gone so far, he would scarcely have acquiesced in the claims of Ponce de Leon, Ayllon, and Gomez to have first tracked parts of this coast, when Sebastian Cabot as pilot major of Spain (1518), and as president of the Congress of Badajoz (1524), had to adjudicate on such pretensions. There are some objections to this view, in that the results of unofficial explorers as shown in the Portuguese map of Cantino-if that proposition is tenable-and the rival English discoverers, of whom Cabot had been one, might easily have been held to be beyond the Spanish jurisdiction. It is not difficult to demonstrate in these matters the Spanish constant unrecognition of other national explorations.

It has also sometimes been held that the wild character of the coast along which Cabot sailed must have convinced him that he was bordering some continental region intervening between him and the true coast of Asia; that with the "great displeasure" he had felt in finding the land running north, Cabot, in fact, must have comprehended the geographical problem of America long before it was comprehended by the Spaniards. The testimony of the La Cosa and Ruysch maps is not favorable to such a belief.

England rests her claim on it.

It seems pretty certain that the success of the Cabot voyage in any worldly gain was not sufficient to move the English again for a long period. Still, the political effect was to raise a claim for England to a region not then known to be a new continent, but of an appreciable acquisition, and England never afterwards failed to rest her rights upon this claim of discovery; and even her successors, the American people, have not been without cause to rest valuable privileges upon the same. The geographical effect was seen in the earliest map which we possess of the new lands as discovered by Spain and England, the great oxhide map of Juan de la Cosa, the companion of Columbus on his second voyage, and the cartographer of his discoveries, which has already been mentioned, and of which a further description will be given later.

Scant knowledge of the Cabot voyages.

Why is it that we know no more of these voyages of the Cabots? There seems to be some ground for the suspicion that the "maps and discourses" which Sebastian Cabot left behind him in the hands of William Worthington may have fallen, through the subornation by Spain of the latter, into the hands of the rivals of England at a period just after the publication (1582) of Hakluyt's Divers Voyages, wherein the possession of them by Worthington was made known; at least, Biddle has advanced such a theory, and it has some support in what may be conjectured of the history of the famous Cabot map of 1544, only brought to light three hundred years later.

The Cabot mappe monde.

Here was a map evidently based in part on such information as was known in Spain. It was engraved, as seems likely, though purporting to be the work of Cabot, in the Low

Countries, and was issued without name of publisher

or place, as if to elude responsibility. Notwithstanding it was an engraved map, implying many copies, it entirely disappeared, and would not have been known to exist except that there are references to such a map as having hung in the gallery at Whitehall, as used by Ortelius before 1570, and as noted by Sanuto in 1588. So thorough a suppression would seem to imply an effort on the part of the Spanish authorities to prevent the world's profiting by the publication of maritime knowledge which in some clandestine way had escaped from the Spanish hydrographical office. That this suppression was in effect nearly successful may be inferred from the fact that but a single copy of the map has come down to us, the one now in the great library at Paris, which was found in Germany by Von Martius in 1843.

Writers on Cabot.

There has been a good deal done of late years-beginning with Biddle's Sebastian Cabot in 1831, a noteworthy book, showing how much the critical spirit can do to unravel confusion, and ending with the chapter on Cabot by the late Dr. Charles Deane in the Narrative and Critical History of America, and with the Jean et Sébastien Cabot of Harrisse (Paris, 1882)-to clear up the great obscurity regarding the two voyages of John Cabot in 1497 and 1498, an obscurity so dense that for two hundred years after the events there was no suspicion among writers that there had been more than a single voyage. It would appear that this obscurity had mainly arisen from the way in which Sebastian Cabot himself spoke of his explorations, or rather from the way in which he is reported to have spoken.

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