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NOTES AND QUERIES:
Medium of Inter-Communication
LITERARY MEN, ARTISTS, ANTIQUARIES,
" When found, make a note of.”— CAPTAIN CUTTLE.
SECOND SERIES - VOLUME FIFTH.
JANUARY - JUNE, 1858.
TO OUR READERS.
LONDON, SATURDAY, JANUARY 2. 1858. 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 A Harpy New Year to you, GENTLE READERS, shall have 10 ships, armed according to his own ONE AND ALL! May the four wishes of that King of fancy. He has also given him money, wherewith Spain, who doubtless received his designation of El
to amuse himself till then, and he is now at Bristol Sabio, or the Wise, from the wisdom and moderation with his wife, who is a Venetian woman, and with embodied in those aspirations, be yours! May You, during his sons; his name is Zuan Cabot, and they call the coming year, never want Old Wood to burn, or Old him the Great Admiral. Vast honour is paid him, Wine to drink! We will supply You, if not with Old
and he dresses in silk; and these English run after Books to read, with pleasant and profitable accounts of him like mad people, so that he can enlist as many them ; and as for Old Friends to love, may We not hope of them as he pleases, and a number of our own in this, the ninth year of our intimacy, to be reckoned rogues besides." among the number? At all events, We will do our best Mr. Cheney goes on to state " that Sebastian to deserve it.
himself has been the subject of some uncertainty, With these hopes and these promises, therefore, We in
and a little injustice. Venice and Bristol both vite You to fall to on the Choice Banquet of Dainty De
have contested the honour of giving him birth, vices which We have prepared for You.
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 Notes.
interview (in Dec. 1522) with Cardinal Gaspar Contarini, the Venetian ambassador at the court
of Charles V., * when he thus expressed himBristol must be deprived of a distinguished self:name, hitherto numbered amongst the natives " My Lord Ambassador! to tell you the whole truth, and “worthies" of that city, Sebastian Cabot.
I was born at Venice, but was bred in England, and then From the days of Grafton and Stow to the pre
entered the service of their Catholic Majesties of Spain;
and King Ferdinand made me Captain, with a salary of sent time Cabot has been regarded as an English
50,000 maravedis. Subsequently his present Majesty " borne at Bristowe.”
gave me the grade of Pilot Major, with an additional Sayer, in his History of Bristol (1823), refers salary of 50,000 maravedis, and 25,000 maravedis besides, to a MS. Calendar in confirmation of this state- as • Adjutant of the Coast,' forming a total of 125,000 ment: ---" This yeare (1499 al. 1497) Sebastian maravedis, equal to about 300 ducats.
* Now it so happened that when in England some Cabot, borne in Bristoll, profered his service to
three years ago, unless I err, Cardinal Wolsey offered me King. Henry for discovering New Countries"
high terms if I would sail with an Armada of his, on a (vol. ii. p. 208.). He also gives us a portrait from voyage of discovery: the vessels were almost ready, and an original picture in the possession of Mr. Charles they had got together 30,000 ducats for their outfit. I Harford.
answered him, that being in the service of the King of In the volume of Miscellanies recently printed Spain, I could not go without his leave; but that if free
permission were conceded to me from hence, I would serve by the Philobiblon Society will be found some him. interesting notices concerning John Cabot and “ At that period, in the course of conversation one day his son Sebastian, communicated by Mr. Cheney, with a certain friar, a Venetian, named Sebastian Collona, which had been transcribed and translated from with whom I was on a very friendly footing, he said to original MSS. in the Marcian Library at Venice
• Master Sebastian, you take such great pains to
benetit foreigners, and forget your native land; would it by Mr. Rawdon Brown. From the limited im
not be possible for Venice likewise to derive some adpression, these Miscellanies must be seen and read vantage from you?! At this my heart smute me, and I by few persons : I shall therefore not apologise told him I would think about it; and so on returning to for the length of this communication. John Cabot had three sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius; but * Piero Contarini, the Venetian ambassador in the the fame of the father has been obscured by that reign of James I., whose diary and despatches in 1617-18 of Sebastian, who, as Mr. Cheney observes, was
have been also translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, was not unwilling to claim his father's laurels. In his probably the nephew of the Cardinal, as the latter mar
not have been married before he took holy orders. Anil reports he studiously avoided assigning to his in Venice we are told that, among the great families, it parent the honour due to him. Some account of was usual that the head of the family should remain the father's discoveries is given in a letter dated single.
We owe much to Mr. Brown for the valuable conAug. 23, 1497, written by a Venetian merchant
tributions which he has made to English history; and from London to his brothers in Venice: he com
of these we trust we may possess further materials. An mences by saying, “this Venetian of ours, who interesting article on the Diary before mentioned in went with a ship from Bristol in quest of New given in the last number of the Quarterly Review.