A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06.
But it would appear that the Almighty still reserves this great enterprise of discovering the route to Cathay by the north-west to some great prince, which were the easiest and shortest passage by which to bring the spiceries of India to Europe.  Surely this enterprise would be me most glorious and most important that can possibly he imagined, and would immortalize him who succeeded in its accomplishment far beyond any of those warlike exploits by which the Christian nations of Europe are perpetually harassed.

[Footnote 8:  Hakluyt, III. 28.]

SECTION IV. Notices respecting the voyage of Sebastian Cabot to the northwest, from Peter Martyr ab Algeria[9].

These northern seas have been searched by Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian, who was carried when very young to England by his parents, who, after the manner of the Venetians, left no part of the world unsearched to obtain riches.  Having fitted out two ships in England at his own expence, with three hundred men, he first directed his course so near the north pole, that on the 11th of July he found monstrous heaps of ice swimming in the sea, and a continual day, so that the land was free from ice, having been thawed by the perpetual influence of the sun.  By reason of this ice he was compelled to turn southwards along the western land, till he came unto the latitude of the Straits of Gibraltar[10].  In the course of this north-west voyage he got so far to the west as to have the island of Cuba on his left hand, having reached to the same longitude[11].  While sailing along the coast of this great land, which he called Baccalaos[12], he found a similar current of the sea towards the west[13] as had been observed by the Spaniards in their more southerly navigations, but more softly and gently than had been experienced by the Spaniards.  Hence it may be certainly concluded that in both places, though hitherto unknown, there must be certain great open spaces by which the waters thus continually pass from the east to the west; which waters I suppose to be continually driven round the globe by the constant motion and impulse of the heavens, and not to be alternately swallowed and cast up again by the breathing of Demogorgon, as some have imagined on purpose to explain the ebb and flow of the sea.  Sebastian Cabot himself named these lands Baccalaos, because he found in the seas thereabout such multitudes of certain large fishes like tunnies, called baccalaos by the natives, that they sometimes stayed his ships.  He found also the people of these regions clothed in the skins of beasts, yet not without the use of reason.  He says also that there are great numbers of bears in those countries, which feed on fish, and catch them by diving into the water; and being thus satisfied with abundance of fish, are not noisome to man.  He says likewise that he saw large quantities of copper among the inhabitants of these regions.  Cabot is my dear and familiar friend, whom I delight to have sometimes in my house.  Being called out of England by the Catholic king of Castille, on the death of Henry VII. of England, he was made one of the assistants of our council respecting the affairs of the new found Indies, and waits in daily expectation of being furnished with ships in which to discover these hidden secrets of nature.

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