THE Right of the Crown of Great Britain to the |
territory of North America was derived from the discovery of
that Continent by Sebastian Cabot, who, in the year 1498,
explored a great part of the Coast, under a Commission from
King Henry the seventh, and, in the name of that Monarch,
took formal possession of the Country, by the name, since
restricted to a particular Island, of Newfoundland.
The original discovery of the New World is, indeed, with
justice attributed to Christopher Columbus, who under the
auspices of the Court of Spain, in his celebrated voyage,
undertaken in the year 1492, for the purpose of arriving at the
East Indies by sailing westward, discovered the Islands
bordering on the Coast of South America, and in a subsequent
voyage found the Continent itself. The discoveries,
however, of Columbus are no farther connected with the origin of
the English Settlements in America than as having excited
that spirit of enterprize and research which gave rise to the
Commission granted to the (a) Cabots in 1496, and resulted
in the successful voyage of Sebastian Cabot already
But, although the assumed right of colonization took its
date from the discoveries of Cabot, and though the English
availed themselves of this claim so far as concerned the
objects of fishing on the Coasts and of traffic with the natives,
(a) John Cabot, a Venetian who had settled in England, and Lewis,
Sebastian, and Sanetius his sons.
Source: John Kilty. Land Holder's Assistant and Land Office Guide.
Baltimore: G. Dobbin & Murphy, 1808. MSA L 25529.