The Smugglers' City
Department of History, University of Bristol


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Lorenzo Pasqualigo to his brothers at Venice, 23 August 1497

Source: Transcribed by H.B. Biggar (ed.), The Precursors of Jacques Cartier, 1497-1534 (Ottawa, 1911), pp. 14-15
Manuscript: MS Diarii of Marin Sanuto. Venice, Biblioteca Marciana, MSS Ital. Cl. VII, Cod. 417 (vol. I), fol. 374v.
Web version by: Sam Cronin (2004)

Copy of a Paragraph in a Letter ser Lorenzo Pasqualigo [son
of] the late ser Philip wrote from London on 23 August to ser
Alvise and Francesco Pasqualigo, his brothers, in Venice. Re-
ceived on 23 September, 1497.

That Venetian of ours who went with a small ship from
Bristol to find new islands has come back and says he has dis-
covered mainland 700 leagues away, which is the
country of the Grand Khan, and that he coasted it for
300 leagues and landed and did not see any person; but he
has brought here to the king certain snares which were spread
to take game and a needle for making nets, and he found cer-
tain notched [or felled] trees so that by this he judges that there
are inhabitants. Being in doubt he returned to his ship; and
he has been three months on the voyage; and this is certain.
And on the way back he saw two islands, but was unwilling to
land, in order not to lose time, as he was in want of provisions.
The king here is much pleased at this; and he [Cabot] says
that the tides are slack and do not run as they do here. The
king has promised him for the spring ten armed ships as he
[Cabot] desires and has given him all the prisoners to be sent
away, that they may go with him, as he has requested; and has
given him money that he may have a good time until then, and
he is with his Venetian wife and his sons in Bristol. His name
is Zuam Talbot and he is called the Great Admiral and vast
honour is paid to him and he goes dressed in silk, and these
English run after him like mad, and indeed he can enlist as
many of them as he pleases, and a number of our rogues as well.
The discoverer of these things planted on the land which he has
found a large cross with a banner of England and one of St.
Mark, as he is a Venetian, so that our flag has been hoisted very
far afield.


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