A Memoir of Sebastian Cabot: With a Review of the History of Maritime Discovery

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Richard Biddle (1796-1847), an American politician and lawyer, published this work on the life of the explorer and cartographer, Sebastian Cabot (c.1481-1557), anonymously in 1831. He was responding to widespread criticisms of Cabot - allegedly an unscrupulous character who played the governments of England and Spain to his own ends. The work includes notes on Sebastian's discoveries on the North American continent along with his father, John, and his search for the North-West Passage. As a governor of the Muscovy Company, Cabot initiated the expansion of English trade to Russia and the East. Cabot's own accounts of his journeys have been lost; therefore, Biddle's research is derived from other sources, particularly the writings of Richard Hakylut (c.1552-1616). This study was recognised at the time as the best review of the history of maritime discovery in the period treated, and prompted further research into the Cabot legacies.