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CHAP. tion,” in which the entrance of the strait was laid
down with great precision “on a card, drawn by his 1517. own hand.” He boldly prosecuted his design, making
his way through regions, into which it was, long
afterwards, esteemed an act of the most intrepid marJune itime adventure to penetrate, till on June the eleventh,
as we are informed from a letter written by the navigator himself, he had attained the altitude of sixtyseven and a half degrees,' ever in the hope of finding a passage into the Indian Ocean. The sea was still open; but the cowardice of a naval officer, and the mutiny of the mariners, compelled him to return, though his own confidence in the possibility of effecting the passage
remained unimpaired. The career of Sebastian Cabot was in the issue as honorable, as it had in the opening been glorious. He conciliated universal regard by the placid mildness of his character. Unlike the stern enthusiasm of Columbus, he was distinguished by serenity and contentment. For sixty years, during a period when maritime adventure engaged the most intense public curiosity, he was reverenced for his achievements and his skill.
He had attended the congress, which assembled at Badajoz to divide the islands of the Moluccas
between Portugal and Spain ; he subsequently sailed 1526.
to South America, under the auspices of Charles V., though not with entire success. On his return to his
1 Ortelius, Map of America in terzo volume, &c. Come mi fu Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Eden scritto, gia molti anni sono, dal and Willes, fol. 223. Sir H. Gil. Signor Sabastian Gabotto. bert, in Hakluyt, v. jii. p. 49, 50. 3 Eden's Travayles, fol. 449.
2 Discorso del Ramusio sopra il 4 Eden's Travayles, fol. 226.
native land, he advanced the commerce of England CHAP. by opposing a mercantile monopoly, and was pensioned and rewarded for his merits as the Great Seaman. 1549. It was he who framed the instructions for the
expedition, which discovered the passage to Archangel.? 1553. He lived to an extreme old age, and loved his profession to the last; in the hour of death his wandering thoughts were upon the ocean. The discoverer of the territory of our country, was one of the most extraordinary men of his age; there is deep cause for regret, that time has spared so few memorials of his career. Himself incapable of jealousy, he did not escape detraction. He gave England a continent, and no one knows his burial-place.5
It was after long solicitations, that Columbus had obtained the opportunity of discovery. Upon the certainty of success, a throng of adventurers eagerly engaged in voyages, to explore the New World, or to plunder its inhabitants. The king of PortuGAL, grieved at having neglected Columbus, readily favored an expedition for northern discovery. Gaspar Cortereale was appointed commander of the enter- 1500. prize. He reached the shores of North America,
Herrera, d. iii. I. ix. c. ii. Com- 5 Memoir of Cabot, p. 220.
in Paesi novamente ritrovati et 1 Hazard's Collection, v. i. p. 23. Novo Mondo da Alberico VespuMemoir of Cabot, p. 185.
tio Florentino intitulato. L. vi. c.
cxxv. The original, in the edition Purchas' Pilgrims, v. i. p. 915. of Milan, 1508, and the French
3 Memoir of Cabot, p. 219. translation, are both in the library
4 Peter Martyr, d. iii. I. vi.; in of Harvard College. Eden, fol. 125.
CHAP. ranged the coast for a distance of six or seven hun
~ dred miles, and carefully observed the country and 1501. its inhabitants. The most northern point' which he
attained, was probably about the fiftieth degree. Of the country along which he sailed, he had occasion to admire the brilliant freshness of the verdure, and the density of the stately forests. The pines, well adapted for masts and yards, promised to become an object of gainful commerce. But men were already with the Portuguese an established article of traffic; the inhabitants of the American coast seemed well
fitted for labor; and Cortereal freighted his ships 1501. with more than fifty Indians, whom, on his return, Aug.
he sold as slaves. It was soon resolved to renew the expedition ; but the adventurer never returned. His death was ascribed to a combat with the natives, whom he desired to kidnap; the name of Labrador, transferred to a more northern coast, is, probably, a memorial of his crime;" and is, perhaps, the only permanent trace of Portuguese adventure within the limits of North America.
The French entered without delay into the com
petition for the commerce and the soil of America. 1504. Within seven years of the discovery of the continent,
the fisheries of Newfoundland were known to the hardy mariners of Brittany and Normandy. The island
1 Herrera, d. i. I. vi. c. xvi. Go- Compare Navarette, Viages Memara, c. xxxvii. Also in Eden, nores, v. iii. p. 43, 44. fol. 227. Galvano, in Hakluyt, v. 3 Charlevoix Hist. Gen. de la iv.p. 419. Purchas, v.i. p. 915,916. Nouv. Fr.v. i. p. 3, ed. of 1744, 4to; Memoir of Seb. Cabot, b. ii. c. iii. Champlain's Voyages, v. i. p. 9; and iv.
Navarette Colleccion, &c. v. ii. 2 Memoir of Seb. Cabot, p. 242. p. 176-180, argues against the
of Cape Breton acquired its name from their remem- CHAP. brance of home, and in France it was usual to esteem them the discoverers of the country.' A map of the 1506. gulf of Saint Lawrence was drawn by Denys," a citizen of Honfleur ; and the fishermen of the northeast of France derived wealth from the regions, which, it was reluctantly confessed, had been first visited by the Cabots.
The fisheries had for some years been successfully pursued; savages from the northeastern coast 1508. had been brought to France ;3 plans of colonization 1518. in North-America had been suggested ;4 when at length Francis I., a monarch who had invited Da Vinci and Cellini to transplant the fine arts into his kingdom, employed John Verrazzani, another Florentine, to explore the new regions, which had 1523. alike excited curiosity and hope. It was by way of the isle of Madeira, that the Italian, parting from a fleet which had pursued a gainful commerce in the ports of Spain, sailed for America, 5 1524. with a single ship, resolute to make discovery 17. of new countries. The Dolphin, though it had “ the good hap of a fortunate name,” was overtaken by as terrible a tempest, as mariners ever encountered; and fifty days elapsed, before the continent appeared in view. At length, in the latitude of
statement in the text. Compare 4 Mémoires de l'Amérique, v. i. Memoir of Cabot, p. 316.
p. 31, in Holmes, v. i. p. 37. 1 Verrazzani, in Hakluyt, v. iii. 5 See Verrazzani's letter to Fran
cis I., from Dieppe, July 8, 1524, 2 Charlevoix, Nouv. France, v.i. in Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 357–364, or p. 3 and 4.
in N. Y. Hist. Coll. v. i. p. 45–60. 3 Charlevoix, Nouv. France, v.i. It is also in Ramusio. Compare
Charlevoix Hist. N. F.v. i. p.5-8. VOL. I.
CHAP. Wilmington, Verrazzani could congratulate him
self on beholding land, which had never been seen by any European. But no convenient harbor was found, though the search extended fifty leagues to the south. Returning towards the north, he cast anchor on the coast; all the shore was shoal, but free from rocks and covered with fine sand; the country was flat. It was the coast of North-Carolina. Mutual was the wonder of the inquisitive foreigners, and the mild and feeble natives. The russet color of the Indians seemed like the complexion of the Saracens; their dress was of skins; their ornaments, garlands of feathers. They welcomed with hospitality the strangers, whom they had not yet learned to fear. As the Dolphin ploughed its way to the north, the country seemed more inviting; it was thought, that imagination could not conceive of more delightful fields and forests; the groves, redolent with fragrance, spread their perfumes far from the shore, and gave promise of the spices of the East. The mania of the times raged among the crew ; in their eyes the color of the earth argued an abundance of gold. The savages were more humane than their guests. A young sailor, who had nearly been drowned, was revived by the courtesy of the natives; the voyagers robbed a mother of her child, and attempted to kidnap a young woman. Such crimes can be prompted even by the feeble passion of curiosity,
and the desire to gratify a vulgar wonder. April. The harbor of New-York especially attracted
1 S. Miller's Discourse in New York Historical Coll. v. i. p. 23.