Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

NOTES AND QUERIES:

Medium of Inter-Communication

FOR

LITERARY MEN, ARTISTS, ANTIQUARIES,

GENEALOGISTS, ETC.

"When found, make a note of."-CAPTAIN CUTTLE.

SECOND SERIES.-VOLUME FIFTH.

JANUARY-JUNE, 1858.

LONDON:

BELL & DALDY, 186. FLEET STREET.

1858.

LONDON, SATURDAY, JANUARY 2. 1858.

TO OUR READERS.

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, GENTLE READERS, ONE AND ALL! May the four wishes of that King of Spain, who doubtless received his designation of El Sabio, or the Wise, from the wisdom and moderation embodied in those aspirations, be yours! May You, during the coming year, never want Old Wood to burn, or Old Wine to drink! We will supply You, if not with Old Books to read, with pleasant and profitable accounts of them; and as for Old Friends to love, may We not hope in this, the ninth year of our intimacy, to be reckoned among the number? At all events, We will do our best to deserve it.

With these hopes and these promises, therefore, We invite you to fall to on the Choice Banquet of Dainty Devices which We have prepared for You.

[blocks in formation]

Sayer, in his History of Bristol (1823), refers to a MS. Calendar in confirmation of this statement: "This yeare (1499 al. 1497) Sebastian Cabot, borne in Bristoll, profered his service to King Henry for discovering New Countries" (vol. ii. p. 208.). He also gives us a portrait from an original picture in the possession of Mr. Charles Harford.

In the volume of Miscellanies recently printed by the Philobiblon Society will be found some interesting notices concerning John Cabot and his son Sebastian, communicated by Mr. Cheney, which had been transcribed and translated from original MSS. in the Marcian Library at Venice by Mr. Rawdon Brown. From the limited impression, these Miscellanies must be seen and read by few persons: I shall therefore not apologise for the length of this communication. John Cabot had three sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius; but the fame of the father has been obscured by that of Sebastian, who, as Mr. Cheney observes, was not unwilling to claim his father's laurels. In his reports he studiously avoided assigning to his parent the honour due to him. Some account of the father's discoveries is given in a letter dated Aug. 23, 1497, written by a Venetian merchant from London to his brothers in Venice: he commences by saying, "this Venetian of ours, who went with a ship from Bristol in quest of New

Islands, is returned, and says that 700 leagues hence he discovered terra firma, which is the territory of the Grand Cham.

"The King has promised that in the spring he shall have 10 ships, armed according to his own fancy. He has also given him money, wherewith to amuse himself till then, and he is now at Bristol with his wife, who is a Venetian woman, and with his sons; his name is Zuan Cabot, and they call him the Great Admiral. Vast honour is paid him, and he dresses in silk; and these English run after him like mad people, so that he can enlist as many of them as he pleases, and a number of our own rogues besides.'

Mr. Cheney goes on to state "that Sebastian himself has been the subject of some uncertainty, and a little injustice. Venice and Bristol both have contested the honour of giving him birth, and other navigators have disputed his claim to the discovery of the variation of the needle."

The question as to his birth-place is set at rest by Sebastian's explicit declaration in a private interview (in Dec. 1522) with Cardinal Gaspar Contarini, the Venetian ambassador at the court of Charles V.,* when he thus expressed himself:

"My Lord Ambassador! to tell you the whole truth, I was born at Venice, but was bred in England, and then entered the service of their Catholic Majesties of Spain; 50,000 maravedis. Subsequently his present Majesty and King Ferdinand made me Captain, with a salary of gave me the grade of Pilot Major, with an additional salary of 50,000 maravedis, and 25,000 maravedis besides, as Adjutant of the Coast,' forming a total of 125,000 maravedis, equal to about 300 ducats.

"Now it so happened that when in England some three years ago, unless I err, Cardinal Wolsey offered me high terms if I would sail with an Armada of his, on a voyage of discovery: the vessels were almost ready, and they had got together 30,000 ducats for their outfit. I answered him, that being in the service of the King of

Spain, I could not go without his leave; but that if free

permission were conceded to me from hence, I would serve him.

[ocr errors][merged small]

*Piero Contarini, the Venetian ambassador in the reign of James I., whose diary and despatches in 1617-18 have been also translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, was probably the nephew of the Cardinal, as the latter' may not have been married before he took holy orders. And in Venice we are told that, among the great families, it was usual that the head of the family should remain single.

We owe much to Mr. Brown for the valuable contributions which he has made to English history; and of these we trust we may possess further materials. An interesting article on the Diary before mentioned i> given in the last number of the Quarterly Review.

« AnteriorContinuar »