In the hope of finding a passage Cabot proceeded northward along the coast. As he advanced, the cold became more intense and the icebergs thicker and larger. It was also noticed that the land trended eastward. As a result on the 11th of June in latitude 67° 30′ the crews mutinied and refused to proceed farther in that direction. Cabot had no alternative but to put his ships about and look for a passage towards the south. Rounding Cape Farewell he explored the southern coast of Greenland and then made his way a certain distance up the west coast. Here again his progress was checked by icebergs, whereupon a course was set towards the west. Crossing Davis Strait Cabot reached our modern Baffin Land in 66°. Judging this to be the Asiatic mainland, he set off southward in search of Cipangu. South of Hudson Strait a little bartering was done with the Indians, but these could offer nothing in exchange but furs. Our strait of Belle Isle was mistaken for an ordinary bay, and Newfoundland was regarded by Cabot as the main shore itself.

Rounding Cape Race he visited once more the region explored in the previous summer, and then proceeded to follow the coast of our Nova Scotia and New England in search of Cipangu. He made his way as far south as the thirty-eighth parallel, when the absence of all signs of eastern civilization and the low state of his stores forced him to abandon all hope of reaching Cipangu on this voyage. Accordingly the ships were put about and a course set for England, where they arrived safely late in the autumn of 1498. Not long after his return John Cabot died.

His son, Sebastian Cabot (1476-1557),[2] is not independently heard of until May 1512, when he was paid twenty shillings "for making a carde of Gascoigne and Guyenne", whither he accompanied the English army sent that year by Henry VIII. to aid his father-in-law Ferdinand of Aragon against the French. Since Ferdinand and his daughter Joanna were contemplating the dispatch of an expedition from Santander to explore Newfoundland, Sebastian was questioned about this coast by the king's councillors. As a result Ferdinand summoned him in September 1512 to Logroño, and on the 30th of October appointed him a captain in the navy at a salary of 50,000 maravedis a year. A letter was also written to the Spanish ambassador in England to help Cabot and his family to return to Spain, with the result that in March 1514 he was again back at Court discussing with Ferdinand the proposed expedition to Newfoundland. Preparations were made for him to set sail in March 1516; but the death of the king in January of that year put an end to the undertaking.

His services were retained by Charles V., and on the 5th of February 1518 Cabot was named Pilot Major and official examiner of pilots.

In the winter of 1520-1521 Sebastian Cabot returned to England and while there was offered by Wolsey the command of five vessels which Henry VIII. intended to despatch to Newfoundland. Being reproached by a fellow Venetian with having done nothing for his own country, Cabot refused, and on reaching Spain entered into secret negotiations with the Council of Ten at Venice. It was agreed that as soon as an opportunity offered Cabot should come to Venice and lay his plans before the Signiory. The conference of Badajoz took up his time in 1524, and on the 4th of March 1525 he was appointed commander of an expedition fitted out at Seville "to discover the Moluccas, Tarsis, Ophir, Cipango and Cathay."

The three vessels set sail in April, and by June were off the coast of Brazil and on their way to the Straits of Magellan. Near the La Plata river Cabot found three Spaniards who had formed part of De Solis's expedition of 1515. These men gave such glowing accounts of the riches of the country watered by this river that Cabot was at length induced, partly by their descriptions and in part by the casting away of his flag-ship, to forgo the search for Tarsis and Ophir and to enter the La Plata, which was reached in February 1527. All the way up the Parana Cabot found the Indians friendly, but those on the Paraguay proved so hostile that the attempt to reach the mountains, where the gold and silver were procured, had to be given up. On reaching Seville in August 1530, Cabot was condemned to four years' banishment to Oran in Africa, but in June 1533 he was once more reinstated in his former post of Pilot Major, which he continued to fill until he again removed to England.

As early as 1538 Cabot tried to obtain employment under Henry VIII., and it is possible he was the Sevillian pilot who was brought to London by the king in 1541. Soon after the accession of Edward VI., however, his friends induced the Privy Council to advance money for his removal to England, and on the 5th of January 1549 the king granted him a pension of £166, 13s. 4d. On Charles V. objecting to this proceeding, the Privy Council, on the zist of April 1550, made answer that since "Cabot of himself refused to go either into Spayne or to the emperour, no reason or equitie wolde that he shulde be forced or compelled to go against his will." A fresh application to Queen Mary on the 9th of September 1553 likewise proved of no avail.

On the 26th of June 1550 Cabot received £200 "by waie of the kinges Majesties rewarde," but it is not clear whether this was for his services in putting down the privileges of the German Merchants of the Steelyard or for founding the company of Merchant Adventurers incorporated on the 18th of December 1551. Of this company Cabot was made governor for life. Three ships were sent out in May 1553 to search for a passage to the East by the north-east. Two of the vessels were caught in the ice near Arzina and the crews frozen to death. Chancellor's vessel alone reached the White Sea, whence her captain made his way overland to Moscow. He returned to England in the summer of 1554 and was the means of opening up a very considerable trade with Russia. Vessels were again despatched to Russia in 1555 and 1556. On the departure of the "Searchthrift" in May 1556, "the good old gentleman Master Cabot gave to the poor most liberal alms, wishing them to pray for the good fortune and prosperous success of the 'Searchthrift'; and then, at the sign of the Christopher, he and his friends banqueted and made them that were in the company good cheer; and for very joy that he had to see the towardness of our intended discovery, he entered into the dance himself among the rest of the young and lusty company." On the arrival of King Philip II. in England Cabot's pension was stopped on the 26th of May 1557, but three days later Mary had it renewed.

The date of Cabot's death has not been definitely discovered. It is supposed that he died within the year.

See G.P. Winship, Cabot Bibliography, with an Introductory Essay on the Careers of the Cabots (London, 1900); and H.P. Biggar, "The Voyages of the Cabots to North America and Greenland," in the Revue Hispanique, tome x. pp. 485-593 (Paris, 1903).

(H. P. B.)

[1] Nothing further is known of Lewis and Santius.

[2] The dates are conjectural. Richard Eden (Decades of the Newe Worlde, f. 255) says Sebastian told him that when four years old he was taken by his father to Venice, and returned to England "after certeyne yeares; wherby he was thought to have bin born in Venice"; Stow (Annals, under year 1498) styles "Sebastian Caboto, a Genoas sonne, borne in Bristow". Galvano and Herrera also give England the honour of his nativity. See also Nicholls, Remarkable Life of Sebastian Cabot (1869), a eulogistic account, with which may be contrasted Henry Harrisse's John Cabot and his son Sebastian (1896).