He died on the journey in March 1607; and thus, as one of the brethren pronounced his epitaph, " seeking Cathay he found heaven."
At his suggestion a voyage was undertaken for the discovery of a north-east passage to Cathay, with Sir Hugh Willoughby as captain-general of the fleet and Richard Chancellor as pilotmajor.
One important object of English maritime adventurers of those days was to discover a route to Cathay by the north-west, a second was to settle Virginia, and a third was to raid the Spanish settlements in the West Indies.
The conception of the north-western route to Cathay now leads the story of exploration, for the first time as far as important and sustained efforts are concerned, towards the Arctic seas.
Nicolaus Germanus, a monk of Reichenbach, in 1466 prepared a set of Ptolemy's maps on a new projection with converging meridians; and Paolo del Pozzo Toscanelli in 1474 compiled a new chart on a rectangular projection, which was to guide the explorer across the western ocean to Cathay and India.
The geographical ideas which prevailed at the time Columbus started in search of Cathay may be most readily gathered from two contemporary globes, the one known as the Laon globe because it was picked up in 1860 at a curiosity shop in that town, the other produced at Nuremberg in 1492 by Martin Behaim.1 The Laon globe is of copper gilt, and has a diameter of 170 mm.
Macmahon, Far Cathay and.
The substance of that knight's alleged travels in India and Cathay is stolen from Odoric, though amplified with fables from other sources and from his own invention, and garnished with his own unusually clear astronomical notions.
This personage was a prince of the Khitai or Khitaian dynasty of Liao, which had reigned over northern China and the regions beyond the Wall during a great part of the 10th and 11th centuries, and from which came the name Khitai (Cathay), by which China was once known in Europe and still is known in Russia.
Yule's Cathay and the Way Thither, p. 173 seq., and in Marco Polo (2nd ed.), i.
Fn3 The stories of Khitai as a Christian empire, which led the Jesuits at the court of Akbar to despatch Benedict Goes in search of it (1601), did, however, suggest to Jerome Xavier, their chief, that the country in question "was the Cathay of Marco Polo, and its Christian king the representative of the famous Prester John" - a jumble of inaccuracy.
He published Cathay and the Way Thither (1866), the Book of Ser Marco Polo a871-75), for which he received the gold medal of the Royal 'Geographical Society, and brought out with Dr Arthur C. Burnell Hobson-Jobson (1886), a dictionary of Anglo-Indian colloquial phrases.
Friar Odoric of Pordenone is supposed to have reached Lhasa c. 1328, travelling from Cathay; but this visit is doubtful.
In his instructions to the navigators in Sir Hugh Willoughby's fleet, Sebastian Cabot in those for the direction of the intended voyage to Cathay, and Richard Hakluyt, who promoted many voyages of discovery in addition to writing their history, agree with Sir Humphrey Gilbert's chronicler that " the sowing of Christianity must be the chief intent of such as shall make any attempt at foreign discovery, or else whatever is builded upon other foundation shall never obtain happy success or continuance."
P. Martin, The Lore of Cathay (1901), p. 311 et seq.; T.
P. Martin, The Lore of Cathay (Edinburgh and London, 1901); J.
(2) Other accounts, especially old Russian chronicles, place the origin of the disease still farther east, in Cathay (or China), where, as is confirmed to some extent by Chinese records, pestilence and destructive inundations are said to have destroyed the enormous number of thirteen millions.
See also Sir Henry Yule, Cathay, ii.
He next appears in " Cambaliech " or Peking, and wrote letters (of January 8, 1305, and February 13, 1306), describing the progress of the Roman mission in the Far East, in spite of Nestorian opposition; alluding to the Roman Catholic community he had founded in India, and to an appeal he had received to preach in " Ethiopia " and dealing with overland and oversea routes to " Cathay," from the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf respectively.
Yule's Cathay, i.
Yule, Cathay, i.
The British traders had already pushed far into the Atlantic before Columbus discovered America; fired by the success of the great navigator they continued their adventures, hoping like him to discover a short north-west passage to Cathay and Japan.