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[76] the easternmost lands of Asia, and its colonization was
Chap. III.}
not earnestly attempted till its separate existence was clearly ascertained.

Besides: Henry VII., as a Catholic, could not wholly disregard the bull of the pope, which gave to Spain a paramount title to the North American world; and as a prince he sought a counterpoise to France in an intimate Spanish alliance, which he hoped to confirm by the successive marriage of one of his sons after the other to Catharine of Aragon, youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Henry VIII., on his accession, surrendered to his father-in-law the services of Sebastian Cabot. Once, perhaps in 1517, the young king promoted a voyage of discovery, but it ‘tooke no full effect.’ To avoid interference with Spain, Robert Thorne, of Bristol, who had long resided in Seville, proposed voyages to the east by way of the north; believing that there would be found an open sea near the pole, over which, during the arctic continuous day, Englishmen might reach the land of spices without travelling half so far as by the way of the Cape of Good Hope.

In 1527 an expedition, favored by Henry VIII. and Wolsey, sailed from Plymouth for the discovery of the northwest passage. But the larger ship was lost in July among icebergs in a great storm; in August, accounts of the disaster were forwarded to the king and to the cardinal from the haven of St. John, in Newfoundland. The fisheries of that region were already frequented not by the English only, but also by Normans, Biscayans, and Bretons.

The repudiation of Catharine of Aragon by Henry VIII. sundered his political connection with Spain, which already began to fear English rivalry in

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