Voyages in Search of The North-West Passage, by Richard Hakluyt

The Second Voyage Attempted by Master John Davis, With others, for the discovery of the North–West Passage, in Anno 1586.

The 7th day of May I departed from the port of Dartmouth for the discovery of the North–West Passage with a ship of a 120 tons, named the Mermaid; a barque of 60 tons, named the Sunshine; a barque of 35 tons named the Moonlight; and a pinnace of 10 tons named the North Star.

And the 15th June I discovered land, in the latitude of 60 degrees, and in longitude from the meridian of London westward 47 degrees, mightily pestered with ice and snow, so that there was no hope of landing; the ice lay in some places 10 leagues, in some 20, and in some 50 leagues off the shore, so that we were constrained to bear into 57 degrees to double the same, and to recover a free sea, which through God’s favourable mercy we at length obtained.

The nine-and-twentieth day of June, after many tempestuous storms, we again discovered land in longitude from the meridian of London 58 degrees 30 minutes, and in latitude 64 being east from us, into which course, since it pleased God by contrary winds to force us, I thought it very necessary to bear in with it, and there to set up our pinnace, provided in the Mermaid to be our scout for this discovery, and so much the rather, because the year before I had been in the same place and found it very convenient for such a purpose, well stored with float wood, and possessed by a people of tractable conversation; so that the nine-and-twentieth of this month we arrived within the isles which lay before this land, lying north-north-west and south-south-east we know not how far. This land is very high and mountainous, having before it on the west side a mighty company of isles full of fair sounds and harbours. This land was very little troubled with snow, and the sea altogether void of ice.

The ships being within the sounds we sent our boats to search for shallow water, where we might anchor, which in this place is very hard to find; and as the boat went sounding and searching, the people of the country having espied them, came in their canoes towards them with many shouts and cries; but after they had espied in the boat some of our company that were the year before here with us, they presently rowed to the boat and took hold in the oar, and hung about the boat with such comfortable joy as would require a long discourse to be uttered; they came with the boats to our ships, making signs that they knew all those that the year before had been with them. After I perceived their joy and small fear of us, myself with the merchants and others of the company went ashore, bearing with me twenty knives. I had no sooner landed, but they leapt out of their canoes and came running to me and the rest, and embraced us with many signs of hearty welcome. At this present there were eighteen of them, and to each of them I gave a knife; they offered skins to me for reward, but I made signs that it was not sold, but given them of courtesy, and so dismissed them for that time, with signs that they should return again after certain hours.

The next day, with all possible speed, the pinnace was landed upon an isle there to be finished to serve our purpose for the discovery, which isle was so convenient for that purpose, as that we were very well able to defend ourselves against many enemies. During the time that the pinnace was there setting up, the people came continually unto us, sometimes a hundred canoes at a time, sometimes forty, fifty, more and less as occasion served. They brought with them seal skins, stags’ skins, white hares, seal fish, salmon peel, small cod, dry caplin, with other fish and birds such as the country did yield.

Myself, still desirous to have a farther search of this place, sent one of the ship boats to one part of the land, and myself went to another part to search for the habitation of this people, with straight commandment that there should be no injury offered to any of the people, neither any one shot.

The boats that went from me found the tents of the people made with seal skins set up upon timber, wherein they found great store of dried caplin, being a little fish no bigger than a pilchard. They found bags of train oil, many little images cut in wood, seal skins in tan tubs with many other such trifles, whereof they diminished nothing.

They also found ten miles within the snowy mountains a plain champion country, with earth and grass, such as our moory and waste grounds of England are. They went up into a river (which in the narrowest place is two leagues broad) about ten leagues, finding it still to continue they knew not how far; but I with my company took another river, which although at the first it offered a large inlet, yet it proved but a deep bay, the end whereof in four hours I attained, and there leaving the boat well manned, went with the rest of my company three or four miles into the country, but found nothing, nor saw anything, save only gripes, ravens, and small birds, as lark and linnet.

The 3rd of July I manned my boat, and went with fifty canoes attending upon me up into another sound, where the people by signs willed me to go, hoping to find their habitation; at length they made signs that I should go into a warm place to sleep, at which place I went on shore, and ascended the top of high hill to see into the country, but perceiving my labour vain, I returned again to my boat, the people still following me and my company very diligent to attend us, and to help us up the rocks, and likewise down; at length I was desirous to have our men leap with them, which was done, but our men did overleap them; from leaping they went to wrestling; we found them strong and nimble, and to have skill in wrestling, for they cast some of our men that were good wrestlers. The 4th of July we launched our pinnace, and had forty of the people to help us, which they did very willingly. At this time our men again wrestled with them, and found them as before, strong and skilful. This 4th of July, the master of the Mermaid went to certain islands to store himself with wood, where he found a grave with divers buried in it, only covered with seal skins, having a cross laid over them. The people are of good stature, well in body proportioned, with small, slender hands and feet, with broad visages, and small eyes, wide mouths, the most part unbearded, great lips, and close toothed. Their custom is, as often as they go from us, still at their return, to make a new truce, in this sort: holding his hand up to the sun, with a loud voice crieth “Ylyaoute,” and striketh his breast, with like signs being promised safety, he giveth credit. These people are much given to bleed, and therefore stop their noses with deer hair or the hair of an elan. They are idolaters, and have images great store, which they wear about them, and in their boats, which we suppose they worship. They are witches, and have many kinds of enchantments, which they often used, but to small purpose, thanks be to God.

Being among them at shore, the 4th of July, one of them, making a long oration, began to kindle a fire, in this manner: he took a piece of a board, wherein was a hole half through; unto that hole he puts the end of a round stick, like unto a bed staff, wetting the end thereof in train, and in fashion of a turner, with a piece of leather, by his violent motion doth very speedily produce fire; which done, with turfs he made a fire, into which, with many words and strange gestures, he put divers things which we suppose to be a sacrifice. Myself and divers of my company standing by, they were desirous to have me go into the smoke; I willed them likewise to stand in the smoke, in which they by no means would do. I then took one of them, and thrust him into the smoke, and willed one of my company to tread out the fire, and to spurn it into the sea, which was done to show them that we did contemn their sorcery. These people are very simple in all their conversation, but marvellous thievish, especially for iron, which they have in great account. They began through our lenity to show their vile nature; they began to cut our cables; they cut away the Moonlight’s boat from her stern; they cut our cloth where it lay to air, though we did carefully look unto it, they stole our oars, a calliver, a boat’s spear, a sword, with divers other things, whereat the company and masters being grieved, for our better security desired me to dissolve this new friendship, and to leave the company of these thievish miscreants; whereupon there was a calliver shot among them, and immediately upon the same a falcon, which strange noise did sore amaze them, so that with speed they departed; notwithstanding, their simplicity is such, that within ten hours after they came again to us to entreat peace; which, being promised, we again fell into a great league. They brought us seal skins and salmon peel, but, seeing iron, they could in nowise forbear stealing; which, when I perceived it, did but minister unto me an occasion of laughter to see their simplicity, and willed that in no case they should be any more hardly used, but that our own company should be the more vigilant to keep their things, supposing it to be very hard in so short time to make them know their evils. They eat all their meat raw, they live most upon fish, they drink salt water, and eat grass and ice with delight; they are never out of the water, but live in the nature of fishes, but only when dead sleep taketh them, and then under a warm rock, laying his boat upon the land, he lieth down to sleep. Their weapons are all darts, but some of them have bow and arrows and slings. They make nets to take their fish of the fin of a whale; they do all their things very artfully, and it should seem that these simple, thievish islanders have war with those of the main, for many of them are sore wounded, which wounds they received upon the main land, as by signs they gave us to understand. We had among them copper ore, black copper, and red copper; they pronounce their language very hollow, and deep in the throat; these words following we learned from them:-

Kesinyoh, eat some.
Mysacoah, wash it.
Madlycoyte, music.
Lethicksaneg, a seal-skin.
Aginyoh, go, fetch.
Canyglow, kiss me.
Yliaoute, I mean no harm.
Ugnera, my son.
Ponameg, a boat.
Acu, shot.
Conah, leap.
Aba, fallen down.
Maatuke, fish. Icune, come hither.
Sambah, below.
Awennye, yonder.
Maconmeg, will you have this?
Nugo, no.
Cocah, go to him.
Tucktodo, a fog.
Paaotyck, an oar.
Lechiksah, a skin.
Asanock, a dart.
Maccoah, a dart.
Sawygmeg, a knife.
Sugnacoon, a coat.
Uderah, a nose.
Gounah, come down.
Aoh, iron.
Sasobneg, a bracelet.
Blete, an eye.
Ugnake, a tongue.
Unvicke, give it.
Ataneg, a meal.
Tuckloak, a stag or elan.
Macuah, a beard.
Panygmah, a needle.
Pignagogah, a thread.
Aob, the sea.
Quoysah, give it to me.

The 7th of July, being very desirous to search the habitation of this country, I went myself with our new pinnace into the body of the land, thinking it to be a firm continent, and passing up a very large river a great flaw of wind took me, whereby we were constrained to seek succour for that night, which being had, I landed with the most part of my company, and went to the top of a high mountain, hoping from thence to see into the country; but the mountains were so many and so mighty as that my purpose prevailed not, whereupon I again returned to my pinnace, and willing divers of my company to gather mussels for my supper, whereof in this place there was great store, myself having espied a very strange sight, especially to me, that never before saw the like, which was a mighty whirlwind, taking up the water in very great quantity, furiously mounting it into the air, which whirlwind was not for a puff or blast, but continual for the space of three hours, with very little intermission, which since it was in the course that I should pass, we were constrained that night to take up our lodging under the rocks.

The next morning, the storm being broken up, we went forward in our attempt, and sailed into a mighty great river, directly into the body of the land, and in brief found it to be no firm land, but huge, waste, and desert isles with mighty sounds and inlets passing between sea and sea. Whereupon we returned towards our ships, and landing to stop a flood, we found the burial of these miscreants; we found of their fish in bags, plaices, and caplin dried, of which we took only one bag and departed. The 9th of this month we came to our ships, where we found the people desirous in their fashion of friendship and barter: our mariners complained heavily against the people, and said that my lenity and friendly using of them gave them stomach to mischief, for “they have stolen an anchor from us. They have cut our cable very dangerously, they have cut our boats from our stern, and now, since your departure, with slings they spare us not with stones of half a pound weight. And will you still endure these injuries? It is a shame to bear them.” I desired them to be content, and said I doubted not but all should be well. The 10th of this month I went to the shore, the people following me in their canoes; I tolled them on shore, and used them with much courtesy, and then departed aboard, they following me and my company. I gave some of them bracelets, and caused seven or eight of them to come aboard, which they did willingly; and some of them went into the top of our ship, and thus courteously using them I let them depart. The sun was no sooner down but they began to practise their devilish nature, and with slings threw stones very fiercely into the Moonlight and struck one of her men, the boatswain, that he overthrew withal: whereat being moved, I changed my courtesy and grew to hatred; myself in my own boat well manned with shot, and the barques boat likewise pursued them, and gave them divers shot, but to small purpose, by reason of their swift rowing; so small content we returned.

The 11th of this month there came five of them to make a new truce; the master of the Admiral came to me to show me of their coming, and desired to have them taken and kept as prisoners until we had his anchor again; but when he saw that the chief ring-leader and master of mischief was one of the five, then was vehement to execute his purpose, so it was determined to take him; he came crying “Yliaout,” and striking his breast offered a pair of gloves to sell; the master offered him a knife for them: so two of them came to us; the one was not touched, but the other was soon captive among us; then we pointed to him and his fellows for our anchor, which being had we made signs that he should he set at liberty within one hour that he came aboard; the wind came fair, whereupon we weighed and set sail, and so brought the fellow with us. One of his fellows still following our ship close aboard, talked with him, and made a kind of lamentation, we still using him well, with “Yliaout,” which was the common course of courtesy. At length this fellow aboard us spoke four or five words unto the other and clapped his two hands upon his face, whereupon the other doing the like, departed, as we supposed, with heavy cheer. We judged the covering of his face with his hands, and bowing of his body down, signified his death. At length he became a pleasant companion among us. I gave him a new suit of frieze after the English fashion, because I saw he could not endure the cold, of which he was very joyful; he trimmed up his darts, and all his fishing tools, and would make oakum, and set his hand to a rope’s end upon occasion. He lived with the dry caplin that I took when I was searching in the pinnace, and did eat dry new land fish.

All this while, God be thanked, our people were in very good health, only one young man excepted, who died at sea the 14th of this month, and the 15th, according to the order of the sea, with praise given to God by service, was cast overboard.

The 17th of this month, being in the latitude of 63 degrees 8 minutes, we fell upon a most mighty and strange quantity of ice, in one entire mass, so big as that we knew not the limits thereof, and being withal so very high, in form of a land, with bays and capes, and like high cliff land as that we supposed it to be land, and therefore sent our pinnace off to discover it; but at her return we were certainly informed that it was only ice, which bred great admiration to us all, considering the huge quantity thereof incredible to be reported in truth as it was, and therefore I omit to speak any further thereof. This only, I think that the like before was never seen, and in this place we had very stickle and strong currents.

We coasted this mighty mass of ice until the 30th of July, finding it a mighty bar to our purpose: the air in this time was so contagious, and the sea so pestered with ice, as that all hope was banished of proceeding; for the 24th of July all our shrouds, ropes, and sails were so frozen, and encompassed with ice, only by a gross fog, as seemed to be more than strange, since the last year I found this sea free and navigable, without impediments.

Our men through this extremity began to grow sick and feeble, and withal hopeless of good success; whereupon, very orderly, with good discretion they entreated me to regard the state of this business, and withal advised me that in conscience I ought to regard the safety of mine own life with the preservation of theirs, and that I should not, through my overboldness, leave their widows and fatherless children to give me bitter curses. This matter in conscience did greatly move me to regard their estates, yet considering the excellency of the business, if it might be obtained, the great hope of certainty by the last year’s discovery, and that there was yet a third way not put in practice, I thought it would grow to my disgrace if this action by my negligence should grow into discredit: whereupon seeking help from God, the fountain of all mercies, it pleased His Divine Majesty to move my heart to prosecute that which I hope shall be to His glory, and to the contentation of every Christian mind. Whereupon, falling into consideration that the Mermaid, albeit a very strong and sufficient ship, yet by reason of her burden not so convenient and nimble as a smaller barque, especially in such desperate hazards; further, having in account how great charge to the adventurers, being at 100 livres the month, and that in doubtful service, all the premises considered, with divers other things, I determined to furnish the Moonlight with revictualing and sufficient men, and to proceed in this action as God should direct me; whereupon I altered our course from the ice, and bore east-south-east to the cover of the next shore, where this thing might be performed; so with favourable wind it pleased God that the 1st of August we discovered the land in latitude 66 degrees 33 minutes, and in longitude from the meridian of London 70 degrees, void of trouble, without snow or ice.

The 2nd of August we harboured ourselves in a very excellent good road, where with all speed we graved the Moonlight, and revictualled her; we searched this country with our pinnace while the barque was trimming, which William Eston did: he found all this land to be only islands, with a sea on the east, a sea on the west, and a sea on the north. In this place we found it very hot, and we were very much troubled with a fly which is called mosquito, for they did sting grievously. The people of this place at our first coming in caught a seal, and, with bladders fast tied to him sent him in to us with the flood, so as he came right with our ships, which we took as a friendly present from them.

The 5th of August I went with the two masters and others to the top of a hill, and by the way William Eston espied three canoes lying under a rock, and went unto them: there were in them skins, darts, with divers superstitious toys, whereof we diminished no thing, but left upon every boat a silk point, a bullet of lead, and a pin. The next day, being the 6th of August, the people came unto us without fear, and did barter with us for skins, as the other people did: they differ not from the other, neither in their canoes nor apparel, yet is their pronunciation more plain than the others, and nothing hollow in the throat. Our miscreant aboard of us kept himself close, and made show that he would fain have another companion. Thus being provided, I departed from this land the 12th of August at six of the clock in the morning, where I left the Mermaid at anchor; the 14th sailing west about 50 leagues we discovered land, being in latitude 66 degrees 19 minutes: this land is 70 leagues from the other from whence we came. This 14th day, from nine o’clock at night till three o’clock in the morning, we anchored by an island of ice 12 leagues off the shore, being moored to the ice.

The 15th day, at three o’clock in the morning, we departed from this land to the south, and the 18th of August we discovered land north-west from us in the morning, being a very fair promontory, in latitude 65 degrees, having no land on the south. Here we had great hope of a through passage.

This day, at three o’clock in the afternoon, we again discovered land south-west and by south from us, where at night we were becalmed. The 19th of this month at noon, by observation, we were in 64 degrees 20 minutes. From the 18th day at noon until the 19th at noon, by precise ordinary care, we had sailed fifteen leagues south and by west, yet by art and more exact observation we found our course to be south-west, so that we plainly perceived a great current striking to the west.

This land is nothing in sight but isles, which increaseth our hope. This 19th of August, at six o’clock in the afternoon, it began to snow, and so continued all night, with foul weather and much wind, so that we were constrained to lie at hull all night, five leagues off the shore: in the morning, being the 20th of August, the fog and storm breaking up, we bore in with the land, and at nine o’clock in the morning we anchored in a very fair and safe road and locket for all weathers. At ten o’clock I went on shore to the top of a very high hill, where I perceived that this land was islands; at four o’clock in the afternoon we weighed anchor, having a fair north-north-east wind, with very fair weather; at six o’clock we were clear without the land, and so shaped our course to the south, to discover the coast whereby the passage may be through God’s mercy found.

We coasted this land till the 28th day of August, finding it still to continue towards the south, from the latitude of 67 to 57 degrees; we found marvellous great store of birds, gulls and mews, incredible to be reported, whereupon being calm weather we lay one glass upon the lee to prove for fish, in which space we caught one hundred of cod, although we were but badly provided for fishing, not being our purpose. This 28th, having great distrust of the weather, we arrived in a very fair harbour in the latitude of 56 degrees, and sailed ten leagues in the same, being two leagues broad, with very fair woods on both sides; in this place we continued until the 1st of September, in which time we had two very great storms. I landed, and went six miles by guess into the country, and found that the woods were fir, pine-apple, alder, yew, withy, and birch; here we saw a black bear; this place yieldeth great store of birds, as pheasant, partridge, Barbary hens, or the like, wild geese, ducks, blackbirds, jays, thrushes, with other kinds of small birds. Of the partridge and pheasant we killed great store with bow and arrows in this place; at the harbour-mouth we found great store of cod.

The 1st of September at ten o’clock we set sail, and coasted the shore with very fair weather. The third day being calm, at noon we struck sail, and let fall a cadge anchor to prove whether we could take any fish, being in latitude 54 degrees 30 minutes, in which place we found great abundance of cod, so that the hook was no sooner overboard but presently a fish was taken. It was the largest and best refet fish that ever I saw, and divers fishermen that were with me said that they never saw a more suaule, or better skull of fish in their lives, yet had they seen great abundance.

The 4th of September, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we anchored in a very good road among great store of isles, the country low land, pleasant, and very full of fair woods. To the north of this place eight leagues we had a perfect hope of the passage, finding a mighty great sea passing between two lands west. The south land to our judgment being nothing but isles, we greatly desired to go into this sea, but the wind was directly against us. We anchored in four fathom fine sand.

In this place is fowl and fish mighty store.

The 6th of September, having a fair north-north-west wind, having trimmed our barque, we purposed to depart, and sent five of our sailors, young men, ashore to an island to fetch certain fish which we purposed to weather, and therefore left it all night covered upon the isle; the brutish people of this country lay secretly lurking in the wood, and upon the sudden assaulted our men, which when we perceived, we presently let slip our cables upon the halse, and under our foresail bore into the shore, and with all expedition discharged a double musket upon them twice, at the noise whereof they fled; notwithstanding, to our very great grief, two of our men were slain with their arrows, and two grievously wounded, of whom, at this present, we stand in very great doubt; only one escaped by swimming, with an arrow shot through his arm. These wicked miscreants never offered parley or speech, but presently executed their cursed fury. This present evening it pleased God farther to increase our sorrows with a mighty tempestuous storm, the wind being north-north-east, which lasted unto the 10th of this month very extreme. We unrigged our ship, and purposed to cut-down our masts; the cable of our shut anchor broke, so that we only expected to be driven on shore amongst these cannibals for their prey. Yet in this deep distress the mighty mercy of God, when hope was past, gave us succour, and sent us a fair lee, so as we recovered our anchor again, and new-moored our ship; where we saw that God manifestly delivered us, for the strains of one of our cables were broken; we only rode by an old junk. Thus being freshly moored, a new storm arose, the wind being west-north-west, very forcible, which lasted unto the 10th day at night.

The 11th day, with a fair west-north-west wind, we departed with trust in God’s mercy, shaping our course for England, and arrived in the West Country in the beginning of October.

Master Davis being arrived, wrote his letter to Master William Sanderson of London, concerning his voyage, as followeth.

Sir — The Sunshine came into Dartmouth the 4th of this month: she hath been at Iceland, and from thence to Greenland, and so to Estotiland, from thence to Desolation, and to our merchants, where she made trade with the people, staying in the country twenty days. They have brought home 500 seal-skins, and 140 half skins and pieces of skins. I stand in great doubt of the pinnace; God be merciful unto the poor men and preserve them if it be His blessed will.

I have now full experience of much of the north-west part of the world, and have brought the passage to that certainty, as that I am sure it must be in one of four places, or else not at all. And further, I can assure you upon the peril of my life, that this voyage may be performed without further charge, nay, with certain profit to the adventurers, if I may have but your favour in the action. Surely it shall cost me all my hope of welfare and my portion of Sandridge, but I will, by God’s mercy, see an end of these businesses. I hope I shall find favour with you to see your card. I pray God it be so true as the card shall be which I will bring to you, and I hope in God that your skill in navigation shall be gainful unto you, although at the first it hath not proved so. And thus with my most humble commendations I commit you to God, desiring no longer to live than I shall be yours most faithfully to command. From this 14th of October, 1586.

Yours with my heart, body and life to command,

JOHN DAVIS.

The relation of the course which the “Sunshine,” a barque of fifty tons, and the “North Star,” a small pinnace, being two vessels of the fleet of Master John Davis, held after he had sent them from him to discover the passage between Greenland and Iceland. Written by Henry Morgan, servant to Master William Sanderson of London.

The 7th day of May, 1586, we departed out of Dartmouth Haven four sails, to wit, the Mermaid, the Sunshine, the Moonshine, and the North Star. In the Sunshine were sixteen men, whose names were these: Richard Pope, master; Mark Carter, master’s mate; Henry Morgan, purser; George Draward, John Mandie, Hugh Broken, Philip Jane, Hugh Hempson, Richard Borden, John Filpe, Andrew Madocke, William Wolcome, Robert Wagge, carpenter, John Bruskome, William Ashe, Simon Ellis.

Our course was west-north-west the 7th and 8th days; and the ninth day in the morning we were on head of the Tarrose of Scilly. Thus coasting along the south part of Ireland, the 11th day we were on the head of the Dorses, and our course was south-south-west until six of the clock the 12th day. The 13th day our course was north-west. We remained in the company of the Mermaid and the Moonshine until we came to the latitude of 60 degrees, and there it seemed best to our general, Master Davis, to divide his fleet, himself sailing to the north-west, and to direct the Sunshine, wherein I was, and the pinnace called the North Star, to seek a passage northward between Greenland and Iceland to the latitude of 80 degrees, if land did not let us. So the 7th day of June we departed from them, and the 9th of the same we came to a firm land of ice, which we coasted along the 9th, the 10th, and the 11th days of June; and the 11th day at six of the clock at night we saw land, which was very high, which afterwards we knew to be Iceland, and the 12th day we harboured there, and found many people; the land lieth east and by north in 66 degrees.

Their commodities were green fish and Iceland lings and stock fish, and a fish which is called catfish, of all which they had great store. They had also kine, sheep, and horses, and hay for their cattle and for their horses. We saw also of their dogs. Their dwelling-houses were made on both sides with stones, and wood laid across over them, which was covered over with turfs of earth, and they are flat on the tops, and many of these stood hard by the shore. Their boats were made with wood, and iron all along the keel like our English boats; and they had nails for to nail them withal, and fish-hooks, and other things for to catch fish as we have here in England. They had also brazen kettles, and girdles and purses made of leather, and knops on them of copper, and hatchets, and other small tools as necessary as we have. They dry their fish in the sun; and when they are dry they pack them up in the top of their houses. If we would go thither to fishing more than we do, we should make it a very good voyage, for we got a hundred green fishes in one morning. We found here two Englishmen with a ship, which came out of England about Easter Day of this present year, 1586; and one of them came aboard of us and brought us two lambs. The Englishman’s name was Master John Royden, of Ipswich, merchant; he was bound for London with his ship. And this is the sum of that which I observed in Iceland. We departed from Iceland the 16th day of June, in the morning, and our course was north-west; and saw on the coast two small barques going to a harbour; we went not to them, but saw them afar off. Thus we continued our course unto the end of this month.

The 3rd day of July we were in between two firm lands of ice, and passed in between them all that day until it was night, and then the master turned back again, and so away we went towards Greenland. And the 7th day of July we did see Greenland, and it was very high, and it looked very blue; but we could not come to harbour in the land because we were hindered by a firm land, as it were, of ice, which was along the shore’s side; but we were within three leagues of the land, coasting the same divers days together. The 17th day of July we saw the place which our captain, Master John Davis, the year before had named the Land of Desolation, where we could not go on shore for ice. The 18th day we were likewise troubled with ice, and went in amongst it at three of the clock in the morning. After we had cleared ourselves thereof we ranged all along the coast of Desolation until the end of the aforesaid month.

The 3rd day of August we came in sight of Gilbert’s Sound in the latitude of 64 degrees 15 minutes, which was the place where we were appointed to meet our general and the rest of our fleet. Here we came to a harbour at six of the clock at night.

The 4th day, in the morning, the master went on shore with ten of his men, and they brought us four of the people rowing in their boats, aboard of the ship. And in the afternoon I went on shore with six of our men, and there came to us seven of them when we were on land. We found on shore three dead people, and two of them had their staves lying by them, and their old skins wrapped about them, and the other had nothing lying by, wherefore we thought it was a woman. We also saw their houses, near the seaside, which were made with pieces of wood on both sides, and crossed over with poles and then covered over with earth. We found foxes running upon the hills. As for the place, it is broken land all the way that we went, and full of broken islands. The 21st of August the master sent the boat on shore for wood, with six of his men, and there were one-and-thirty of the people of the country, which went on shore to them, and they went about to kill them as we thought, for they shot their darts towards them, and we that were aboard the ship did see them go on shore to our men, whereupon the master sent the pinnace after them; and when they saw the pinnace coming towards them they turned back, and the master of the pinnace did shoot off a culliver to them the same time, but hurt none of them, for his meaning was only to put them in fear. Divers times they did wave us on shore to play with them at the football, and some of our company went on shore to play with them, and our men did cast them down as soon as they did come to strike the ball. And thus much of that which we did see and do in that harbour where we arrived first.

The 23rd day we departed from the merchants where we had been first, and our course from thence was south and by west, and the wind was north-east, and we ran that day and night about five or six leagues until we came to another harbour.

The 24th, about eleven of the clock in the forenoon, we entered into the aforesaid new harbour, and as we came in we did see dogs running upon the islands. When we were come in, there came to us four of the people which were with us before in the other harbour; and where we rowed we had sandy ground. We saw no wood growing, but found small pieces of wood upon the islands, and some small pieces of sweet wood among the same. We found great harts’ horns, but could see none of the stags where we went, but we found their footings. As for the bones which we received of the savages, I cannot tell of what beasts they be. The stones that we found in the country were black, and some white; as I think, they be of no value; nevertheless I have brought examples of them to you.

The 30th of August we departed from this harbour towards England, and the wind took us contrary, so that we were fain to go to another harbour the same day at eleven of the clock. And there came to us thirty-nine of the people and brought us thirteen seal-skins, and after we received these skins of them the master sent the carpenter to change one of our boats which we had bought of them before; and they would have taken the boat from him perforce, and when they saw they could not take it from us they shot with their darts at us, and struck one of our men with one of their darts, and John Filpe shot one of them in the breast with an arrow. And they came to us again, and four of our men went into the ship boat, and they shot with their darts at our men; but our men took one of their people in his boat, into the ship boat, and he hurt one of them with his knife, but we killed three of them in their boats, two of them were hurt with arrows in the breast, and he that was aboard our boat was shot with an arrow, and hurt with a sword, and beaten with staves, whom our men cast overboard; but the people caught him and carried him on shore upon their boats, and the other two also, and so departed from us. And three of them went on shore hard by us where they had their dogs, and those three came away from their dogs, and presently one of their dogs came swimming towards us hard aboard the ship, whereupon our master caused the gunner to shoot off one of the great pieces — towards the people, and so the dog turned back to land, and within an hour after there came of the people hard aboard the ship, but they would not come to us as they did before.

The 31st of August we departed from Gilbert’s Sound for England, and when we came out of the harbour there came after us seventeen of the people looking which way we went.

The 2nd of September we lost sight of the land at twelve of the clock at noon.

The 3rd day at night we lost sight of the North Star, our pinnace, in a very great storm, and lay a-hull tarrying for them the 4th day, but could hear no more of them. Thus we shaped our course the 5th day south-south-east, and sailing unto the 27th of the said month, we came in sight of Cape Clear in Ireland.

The 30th day we entered into our own Channel.

The 2nd of October we had sight of the Isle of Wight.

The 3rd we coasted all along the shore, and the 4th and 5th.

The 6th of the said month of October we came into the River of Thames as high as Ratcliffe in safety, God be thanked!

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hakluyt/northwest/chapter8.html

Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:38