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[38] passage—the secret which has so long baffled
Chap. II.} 1524
the enterprise of the most courageous and persevering navigators. He deemed the existence of the passage unquestionable, and, by simultaneous voyages along the American coast, on the Pacific, and on the Atlantic, he hoped to complete the discovery, to which Sebastian Cabot had pointed the way.1

The design of Cortes remained but the offer of loyalty. A voyage to the north-west was really under-

taken by Stephen Gomez, an experienced naval officer, who had been with Magellan in the first memorable passage into the Pacific Ocean. The expedition was decreed by the council for the Indies, in the hope of discovering the northern route to India, which, notwithstanding it had been sought for in vain, was yet universally believed to exist. His ship entered the bays of New York and New England; on old Spanish maps, that portion of our territory is marked as the Land of Gomez. Failing to discover a passage, and fearful to return without success and without a freight, he filled his vessel with robust Indians, to be sold as slaves. Brilliant expectations had been raised; and the conclusion was esteemed despicably ludicrous. The Spaniards scorned to repeat their voyages to the cold and frozen north; in the south, and in the south only, they looked for ‘great and exceeding riches.’2 The adventure of Gomez had no political results. It had been furthered by the enemies of Cabot, who was, at that time, in the service of Spain; and it established the reputation of the Bristol mariner.3

1 Quarta Carta, o Relacion de Don Fernando Cortes. S. XIX. In Barcia's Historiadores Primitivos, i. 151, 152. The same may be found in the Italian of Ramusio, III. fol. 294, ed. 1665.

2 Peter Martyr, d. VIII. l. x.

3 Peter Martyr, d. VI. l. x., and d VIII. l. x. Gomara, c. XL. Herrera, d. III. l. VIII. c. VIII.

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