English Enterprise. John and Sebastian Cabot. Willoughby. Chancellor.
The activity and love of adventure, which became a passion for two or three generation is Spain and Portugal, spread to other countries. It was the spirit of the age; and England, Holland, and France soon began to enter upon the same glorious carrer. English enterprise was first aroused by John and Sebastian Cabot, father and son, who came from Venice and settled at Bristol in the time of Henry VII. The Cabots received a patent, dated March 5, 1496. empowering them to seek unknown lands; and John Cabot discovered Newfoundland and part of the coast of America. Sebastian afterwards made a voyage to Rio de la Plata in the service of Spain, but he returned to England in 1548, and received a pension from Edward VI. "in consideration of the good and acceptable services done and to be done." He was placed at the head of the Society or Merchant Adventurers, and by this knowledge and experience, he was the means of keeping alive the spirit of enterprise in England, and of extending her foreign commerce. At this suggestion a voyage was undertaken for the discovery of a north-east passage to Cathay, with Sir Hugh Willoughby as captain-general of the fleet, and Richard Chancellor as pilot-major. They sailed in May 1553, but Willoughby and all his crew perished in a harbour on the Lapland coast. Chancellor, however, was more fortunate. He reached the White Sea, performed the journey overland to Moscow, where he was well received, and may be said to have been the founder of the trade between Russia and England. He returned to Archangel and brought his ship back in safety to England. On a second voyage, in 1556, Chancellor was drowned; and three subsequent voyages, led by Stephen Burrough, Pet, and Jackman, effected an examination of the straits which lead into the Sea of Kara.
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