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[11] third voyage came in sight of the main, and more than
Chap. I.} 1497.
two years before Amerigo Vespucci sailed west of the Canaries, he discovered the western continent, probably in the latitude of about fifty-six degrees, among the dismal cliffs of Labrador. He ran along the coast for many leagues, it is said even for three hundred, and landed on what he considered to be the territory of the Grand Cham. But he saw no human being whatsoever, although there were marks that the region was inhabited. He planted on the land a large cross with the flag of England, and from affection for the Republic of Venice, he added also the banner of St. Mark, which had never before been borne so far. On his homeward voyage he saw on his right hand two islands, which for want of provisions he could not stop to explore. After an absence of three months, the great discoverer re-entered Bristol harbor, where due honors awaited him. The king gave him money, and encouraged him to continue his career. The people called him the great admiral; he dressed in silk; and the English, and even Venetians who chanced to be at Bristol, ran after him with such zeal that he could enlist for a new voyage as many as he pleased.

A second time Columbus had brought back tidings from the land and isles which were still described as the outposts of India. It appeared to be demonstrated that ships might pass by the west into those rich eastern realms where, according to the popular belief, the earth teemed with spices, and imperial palaces glittered with pearls and rubies, with diamonds and gold. On the third day of the month

of February next after his return, ‘John Kaboto, Venician,’ accordingly obtained a power to take up ships for another voyage, at the rates fixed for those employed in the service of the king, and once more to

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