[Footnote 7: Florida is here to be taken in the extended sense as at first applied to the whole eastern coast of North America, to the north of the Gulf of Mexico. The commencement of this voyage appears to have been in search of a north-west passage; but Sebastian must have gone far above 56 deg. N. to find the land trending eastwards: He was probably repelled by ice and cold weather.—E.]
He went afterwards into Spain, where he was taken into the service of Ferdinand and Isabella, who furnished him with ships at their expence, in which he went to discover the coast of Brazil, where he found a prodigiously large river, now called the Rio de la Plata, or Silver River, up which he sailed above 120 leagues, finding every where a good country, inhabited by prodigious numbers of people, who flocked from every quarter to view the ships with wonder and admiration. Into this great river a prodigious number of other rivers discharged their waters. After this he made many other voyages; and waxing old, rested at home discharging the office of chief pilot, and leaving the prosecution of discovery to many young and active pilots of good experience.
Notice concerning Sebastian Cabot by Ramusio, in the Preface to the third Volume of his Navigations.
In the latter part of this volume are contained certain relations of Giovani de Varanzana of Florence, of a certain celebrated French navigator, and of two voyages by Jacques Cartier a Breton, who sailed to the land in 50 deg. north latitude, called New France; it not being yet known whether that land join with the continent of Florida and New Spain, or whether they are separated by the sea into distinct islands, so as to allow of a passage by sea to Cathay and India. This latter was the opinion of Sebastian Cabota, our countryman, a man of rare knowledge and experience in navigation, who wrote to me many years ago, that he had sailed along and beyond this land of New France in the employment of Henry VII. of England. He informed me that, having sailed a long way to the north-west, beyond these lands, to the lat. of 67-1/2 deg. N. and finding the sea on the 11th of June entirely open and without impediment, he fully expected to have passed on that way to Cathay in the east; and would certainly have succeeded, but was constrained by a mutiny of the master and mariners to return homewards.