The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

IV. The Literature of the Sea

§ 2. John Cabot

It is sometimes said that the great age of English discovery really opened with John Cabot, who, in his effort to discover a north-west passage to India, discovered the mainland of America in 1497, and of him more is known than of the earlier Bristol mariners; but even his discoveries may be accounted foreign to the national instincts of the time, and, being himself a seaman from the Mediterranean, his voyages seem rather to belong to the age of Columbus and Vasco da Gama than to that which saw the northern enterprises of Willoughby, Chancellor and Burrough. The scanty particulars which Hakluyt could bring together concerning the explorations of John Cabot and his son Sebastian are a very striking illustration of the paucity of literary materials relating to the early history of English maritime discovery.