John Day's letter, ca. 1497.
This letter, written between December 1497 and January 1498 by the English
merchant John Day, contains valuable information about
John Cabot's voyages. Day's letter reported details of Cabot's
1497 expedition and claimed that what John Cabot discovered
"is assumed and believed to be the mainland that the Bristol men
found." Based on such evidence, some scholars have
suggested that pre-Cabot Bristol expeditions had actually discovered
Newfoundland. However, these scholars claim that the discovery was kept a
secret for as long as possible so that Bristol sponsors could retain sole
access to the rich fishing grounds for as long as possible.
From Ian Wilson, John Cabot and the Matthew (Tiverton,
England: Redcliffe Press, ©1996) 6. Courtesy of the Spanish
National Archives, Valladolid, Spain.