The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.
§ 3. Newfoundland
Straightforwardness of narrative was characteristic of the period. This quality, and the absence of literary consciousness, distinguish the accounts written by these English seafarers from the productions of the rival French and Spanish voyagers. Each adapted his style to the public which he sought to influence. They were all alike trying to start or to accelerate the stream which was to transform the Western hemisphere into a part of the European world. Consequently the English tracts rarely possess qualities which separate them from the rest of the mass of seventeenth-century travel-books. Another result is that nearly all of them are more easily read, three centuries later, than the Continental output of the same period.
The corner of the New-found-land which retained this distinctive name exerted an especial attraction in the earlier days upon the adventurers who felt a longing to express themselves in literary form. Humphrey Gilbert was accompanied thither by the learned Stephen Parmenius of Buda, whose Latin verses “Ad Thamesin” are preserved on Hakluyt’s pages.