NO. 33. PEDRO DE AYALA TO THE SPANISH SOVEREIGNS, JULY 25, 1498.
From the Spanish
Archives at Simancas.
[London, July 25, I498.]
I think Your Highnesses
have already heard how the king of England has equipped a fleet to explore
certain islands or mainland which he has been assured certain persons
who set out last year from Bristol in search of the same have discovered.
I have seen the map made by the discoverer, who is another Genoese like
Columbus, who has been in Seville and at Lisbon seeking to obtain persons
to aid him in this discovery. For the last seven years the people of
Bristol have equipped two, three [and] four caravels to go in search
of the island of Brazil and the Seven Cities according to the fancy
of this Genoese. The king made up up his mind to send thither, because
last year sure proof was brought they had found land. The fleet he prepared,
which consisted of five was provisioned for a year. News has come that
one of these, in which sailed another Friar Buil, has made land in Ireland
in a great storm with the ship badly damaged. The Genoese kept on his
way. Having seen the course they are steering and the length of the
voyage, I find that what they have discovered or are in search of is
possessed by Your Highness because it is at the cape which fell to Your
Highness by the convention with Portugal. It is hoped they will be back
by September. I will let Your Highnesses know about it. The king has
spoken to me several times on the subject. He hopes the affair may turn
out profitable. I believe the distance is not 400 leagues. I told him
that I believed the islands were those found by Your Highnesses, and
although I gave him the main reason, he would not have it. Since I believe
Your Highnesses will already have notice of all this and also of the
chart or mappemonde which this man has made, I do not send it now, although
it is here, and so far as I can see exceedingly false, in order to make
believe that these are not part of the said islands.
with translation published in The Precursors of Jacques Cartier,
by H. P. Biggar.