The English Historical Review/Volume 37/An Early Grant to Sebastien Cabot
An Early Grant to Sebastian Cabot
The search for documents illustrative of the enterprises of the Cabots has been so minute and apparently exhaustive that the accidental discovery of a hitherto unpublished privy seal of Henry VII concerning the grant of an annuity to Sebastian Cabot was unexpected. The official documents connected with the early exploration of the 'newfound lands' across the Atlantic have been collected and edited by Mr. H. P. Biggar in his volume on The Precursors of Jacques Cartier, 1497–1534. They contain no mention of Sebastian apart from his father before 1512, nor do any of his published biographies yield any separate trace of him before that year. The following document is therefore of interest as showing that the explorer was in England and in the king's service in 1504 at the time when the enterprises of Eliot and Asshehurst for the colonization of the newly discovered lands were still active. Our knowledge of his work is carried back eight years earlier than the time when in 1512 we hear of him in Spain as an adviser to King Ferdinand in matters of exploration.
Arthur Percival Newton.
Exchequer, K.R. Memoranda Roll, 20 Henry VII. Brevia directa Baronibus de termino Sanctae Trinitatis Anno xxmo H. vij. Ro. 6 dors.
Pro Sebastiano Caboot. Henry by the grace of God king of England and of France and lord of Irland. To the Tresourer and Barons of or Eschequer greting. Where we by oure othre lres of priue seal bering date of thes presents have comaunded the custumers and collectours of oure custumes in or Town and poort of Bristowe in consideracion of the diligent seruice and attendaunce that or wellbeloued Sebastian Caboot Venycian hath doon unto us in and aboute the same to content and paye unto hym an annuytie of ten pounds sterlings to be taken and yerely percyved during our pleasure by the hands of or said custumers & collectours in or said poort of the revenues coming and growing yerely of or said custumes there that is to say at the fest of Saint Michell tharchangell fyve pounds and at the fest of thannunciacion of or blissed lady fyve pounds by even porcions the first fyve pounds to be payde at the fest of thannunciacion of oure lady next before the date herof as in oure said lres, is conteigned more at large. We therfor woll and charge you that in thaccompte or accompts which the said custumers and collectours be in yilding or shall yilde unto us of theire said office ye duly allowe acquite and discharge them of the said yerely annuitie of x li. according to oure graunt afore rehersed any matier of cause you moeving to the contrary notwithstanding. Yeuen undre oure priue Seal at or manour of Grenewiche the iijde day of Aprill the xxth yere of or Reigne.
- Publications of the Canadian Archives, Ottawa, 1911.