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JOHN CABOT was the first explorer of the coasts of New England under British auspices.

After Columbus had discovered America, fabulous tales were told of its outlying islands. The primitive maps represented the Atlantic Ocean as full of islands, some being very large, especially the Island of Brazil, and the fabled Island of the Seven Cities. The latter was said by sailors to be inhabited by Christians who years before had fled from seven cities of Asia, under their seven bishops, taking refuge there. Bristol was then the leading English seaport, and five years after the discovery by Columbus, John Cabot started from it on a western voyage ploration in search of these famous islands. King Henry VII. encouraged the enterprise, and in May, 1497, Cabot sailed in the little ship “ Matthew," with a crew of eighteen, and going westward he discovered one of these islands, which he called the New Found Land. It was Cape Breton Island, but being apparently unproductive and without inhabitants, although some signs of people were seen, he soon returned to England. The greatest excitement followed his arrival home, and the report got abroad that he had discovered the Island of the Seven Cities and the coast of Asia. Cabot became all the rage in Eng



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land, and a writer of that time records that Englishmen called him “the Great Admiral,” followed him about “like madmen,” that he was “dressed in silks," and “treated like a prince.” Cabot, feeling his importance, wanted his friends to share his good fortune, so he appointed some of them governors, and others bishops over the new world he had discovered, while King Henry was so delighted at the success of the voyage that he sent Cabot a letter of thanks and the munificent present of £10. King Henry VII. was always regarded as being a little near.'

In 1498, another and larger expedition was fitted out, Cabot planning to sail westward until he reached the land he had discovered in the previous year, and then he thought by turning south he would come to the Island of Cipango (Japan), where he would fill his ships with spices and jewels, a half-dozen small vessels making up the fleet. They took a more northerly course than before, got among icebergs, and where the summer days were so long there was very little night. They reached Labrador, where the sailors were frightened at the amount of ice, and turning south, Cabot sailed along the American coast nearly to Florida, once trying to plant a colony, but being discouraged by the barren soil, abandoning it. Yet sterile as the land might be, the waters were filled with fish, so that Cabot called the country the “Land of the Codfish," there was such an abundance of them. The explorers recorded that the

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