A discourse written by Sir Humphrey Gilbert Knight,21 to proue a passage by the Northwest to Cathaia, and the East Indies.
¶ The Table of the matters in euery Chapter of this discourse.
To proue by anthoritie a passage to be on the North side of America, to goe to Cataia, China, and to the East India.
To proue by reason a passage to be on the North side of America, to goe to Cataia, Moluccæ, &c.
To proue by experience of sundry mens trauailes the opening of this Northwest passage, whereby good hope remaineth of the rest.
To proue by circumstance, that the Northwest passage hath bene sailed throughout.
To proue that such Indians as haue bene driuen vpon the coastes of Germanie came not thither by the Southeast, and Southwest, nor from any part of Afrike or America.
To prooue that the Indians aforenamed came not by the Northeast, and that there is no thorow passage nauigable that way.
To proue that these Indians came by the Northwest, which induceth a certaintie of this passage by experience.
What seuerall reasons were alleaged before the Queenes Maiestie, and certaine Lords of her Highnesse priuie Council, by M. Anth. Ienkinson a Gentleman of great trauaile and experience, to proue this passage by the Northeast, with my seuerall answers then alleaged to the same.
How that this passage by the Northwest is more commodious for our traffike, then the other by the Northeast, if there were any such.
What commodities would ensue, this passage being once discouered.
21 Gilbert was half brother to Sir Walter Raleigh. This “discourse” was published in 1576, and two years later he himself sailed on a voyage of discovery to Newfoundland, but on the return journey his ship foundered with all on board.
Chap. 1. To proue by authoritie a passage to be on the Northside of America, to goe to Cathaia, and the East India.
When I gaue my selfe to the studie of Geographie, after I had perused and diligently scanned the descriptions of Europe, Asia, and Afrike, and conferred them with the Mappes and Globes both Antique and Moderne: I came in fine to the fourth part of the world, commonly called America, which by all descriptions I found to bee an Iland enuironed round about with Sea, hauing on the Southside of it the frete or straight of Magellan, on the West side Mar del Sur, which Sea runneth towards the North, separating it from the East parts of Asia, where the Dominions of the Cathaians are: On the East part our West Ocean, and on the North side the sea that seuereth it from Groneland, thorow which Northern Seas the Passage lyeth, which I take now in hand to discouer.
Plato in Timæo, and in the Dialogue called Critias, discourseth of an incomparable great Iland then called Atlantis, being greater then all Afrike and Asia, which lay Westward from the Straights of Gibraltar, nauigable round about: affirming also that the Princes of Atlantis did as well enioy the gouernance of all Affrike, and the most part of Europe, as of Atlantis it selfe.
Also to proue Platos opinion of this Iland, and the inhabiting of it in ancient time by them of Europe, to be of the more credite; Marinæus Siculus22 in his Chronicle of Spaine, reporteth that there haue bene found by the Spaniards in the gold Mines of America, certaine pieces of Money ingraued with the Image of Augustus Cæsar: which pieces were sent to the Pope for a testimonie of the matter, by Iohn Rufus Archbishop of Consentinum.
Prodns pag. 24. Moreouer, this was not only thought of Plato, but by Marsilius Ficinus,23 an excellent Florentine Philosopher, Crantor the Græcian,24 and Proclus,25 and Philo26 the famous Iew (as appeareth in his booke De Mundo, and in the Commentaries vpon Plato,) to be ouerflowen and swallowed vp with water, by reason of a mightie earthquake, and streaming downe of the heauenly Fludgates. Iustine Lib. 4. The like whereof happened vnto some part of Italy, when by the forciblenes of the Sea, called Superum, it cut off Sicilia from the Continent of Calabria, as appeareth in Iustine, in the beginning of his fourth booke. Also there chanced the like in Zeland a part of Flanders.
Plinie. And also the Cities of Pyrrha and Antissa, about Meotis palus: and also the Citie Burys, in the Corynthian bosome, commonly called Sinus Corinthiacus, haue bene swallowed vp with the Sea, and are not at this day to be discerned: By which accident America grew to be vnknowen of long time, vnto vs of the later ages, and was lately discouered againe by Americus Vespucius,27 in the yeere of our Lord 1497. which some say to haue bene first discouered by Christophorus Columbus a Genuois, Anno 1492.
The same calamitie happened vnto this Isle of Atlantis 600. and odde yeres before Plato his time, which some of the people of the Southeast parts of the world accompted as 9000. yeeres: for the maner then was to reckon the Moone her Period of the Zodiak for a yeere, which is our vsual moneth, depending à Luminari minori.
So that in these our dayes there can no other mayne or Islande be found or iudged to bee parcell of this Atlantis, then those Westerne Islands, which beare now the name of America: counteruailing thereby the name of Atlantis, in the knowledge of our age.28
A minore ad maius. Then, if when no part of the sayd Atlantis, was oppressed by water, and earthquake, the coast round about the same were nauigable: a farre greater hope now remaineth of the same by the Northwest, seeing the most part of it was (since that time) swallowed vp with water, which could not vtterly take away the olde deeps and chanels, but rather be an occasion of the inlarging of the olde, and also an inforcing of a great many new: why then should we now doubt of our Northwest passage and nauigation from England to India? &c. seeing that Atlantis now called America, was euer knowen to be an Island, and in those dayes nauigable round about, which by accesse of more water could not be diminished.
Also Aristotle in his booke De Mundo, and the learned Germaine Simon Gryneus29 in his annotations vpon the same, saith that the whole earth (meaning thereby, as manifestly doth appeare, Asia, Africk and Europe, being all the countreys then knowen) is but one Island, compassed about with the reach of the sea Atlantine: which likewise prooueth America to be an Island, and in no part adioyning to Asia, or the rest.
Strabo lib. 15 Also many ancient writers, as Strabo and others, called both the Ocean Sea, (which lieth East of India) Atlanticum pelagus, and that sea also on the West coasts of Spaine and Africk, Mare Atlanticum: the distance betweene the two coasts is almost halfe the compasse of the earth.
Valerius Anselmus30 in Catalogo annorum et principum. fol. 6. Gen. 9. 10. So that it is incredible, as by Plato appeareth manifestly, that the East Indian Sea had the name Atlanticum pelagus of the mountaine Atlas in Africk, or yet the sea adioining to Africk, had the name Oceanus Atlanticus of the same mountaine: but that those seas and the mountaine Atlas were so called of this great Island Atlantis, and that the one and the other had their names for a memorial of the mighty prince Atlas, sometimes king thereof, who was Iaphet yongest sonne to Noah, in whose time the whole earth was diuided between the three brethren, Sem, Cam, and Iaphet.
Wherefore I am of opinion that America by the Northwest will be found fauourable to this our enterprise, and am the rather imboldened to beleeue the same, for that I finde it not onely confirmed by Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient Phylosophers: but also by all the best moderne Geographers, as Gemma Frisius, Munsterus, Appianus, Hunterus, Gastaldus, Guyccardinus,31 Michael Tramasinus, Franciscus Demongenitus, Bernardus Puteanus, Andreas Vauasor, Tramontanus, Petrus Martyr, and also Ortelius,32 who doth coast out in his generall Mappe set out Anno 1569, all the countreys and Capes, on the Northwest side of America, from Hochalega to Cape de Paramantia: describing likewise the sea coastes of Cataia and Gronland, towards any part of America, making both Gronland and America, Islands disioyned by a great Sea, from any part of Asia.
All which learned men and paineful trauellers haue affirmed with one consent and voice, that America was an Island: and that there lyeth a great Sea betweene it, Cataia, and Grondland, by which any man of our countrey, that will giue the attempt, may with small danger passe to Cataia, the Molluccæ, India, and all other places in the East, in much shorter time, than either the Spaniard, or Portugal doeth, or may doe, from the neerest parte, of any of their countreys within Europe.
What moued these learned men to affirme thus much, I know not, or to what ende so many and sundry trauellers of both ages haue allowed the same: We ought by reasons right to haue a reuerent opinion of worthy men. But I coniecture that they would neuer haue so constantly affirmed, or notified their opinions therein to the world, if they had not had great good cause, and many probable reasons, to haue lead them therevnto.
A Nauigation of one Ochther made in king Alfreds time. Now least you should make small accompt of ancient writers or of their experiences which trauelled long before our times, reckoning their authority amongst fables of no importance: I haue for the better assurance of those proofes, set downe some part of a discourse, written in the Saxon tongue and translated into English by M. Nowel seruant to Sir William Cecil, lord Burleigh, and lord high treasurer of England, wherein there is described a Nauigation which one Ochther made, in the time of king Alfred, king of Westsaxe Anno 871. the words of which discourse were these: A perfect description of our Moscouie voyage. Hee sailed right North, hauing alwaies the desert land on the Starborde, and on the Larbord the maine sea, continuing his course, vntill hee perceiued that the coast bowed directly towards the East, or else the Sea opened into the land he could not tell how farre, where he was compelled to stay vntil he had a westerne winde, or somewhat upon the North, and sayled thence directly East alongst the coast, so farre as hee was able in foure dayes, where he was againe inforced to tary vntill hee had a North winde, because the coast there bowed directly towards the South, or at least opened he knew not howe farre into the land, so that he sayled thence along the coast continually full South, so farre as he could trauell in the space of fiue dayes, where hee discouered a mighty riuer, which opened farre into the land, and in the entrie of this riuer he turned backe againe.33
By Sir Hugh Willoughbie knight, Chancellor and Borough.34 Whereby it appeareth that he went the very same way, that we now doe yerely trade by S. Nicholas into Moscouia, which no man in our age knew for certaintie to be by sea, vntil it was since discouered by our English men, in the time of King Edward the sixt; but thought before that time that Groneland had ioyned to Normoria, Byarmia, &c. and therefore was accompted a new discouery, being nothing so indeede, as by this discourse of Ochther it appeareth.
Neuerthelesse if any man should haue taken this voyage in hand by the encouragement of this onely author, he should haue bene thought but simple: considering that this Nauigation was written so many yeres past, in so barbarous a tongue by one onely obscure author, and yet we in these our dayes finde by our owne experiences his former reports to be true.
How much more then ought we to beleeue this passage to Cataia to bee, being verified by the opinions of all the best, both Antique, and Moderne Geographers, and plainely set out in the best and most allowed Mappes, Charts, Globes, Cosmographical tables and discourses of this our age, and by the rest not denied but left as a matter doubtfull.
Chap. 2. To prooue by reason, a passage to be on the Northside of America, to goe to Cataia, &c.
Experimented by our English fishers. First, all seas are maintained by the abundance of water, so that the neerer the end any Riuer, Bay, or Hauen is, the shallower it waxeth, (although by some accidentall barre, it is sometime found otherwise) But the farther you sayle West from Island towards the place, where this fret is thought to be, the more deepe are the seas: which giueth vs good hope of continuance of the same Sea with Mar del Sur, by some fret that lyeth betweene America, Groneland and Cataia.
2 Also if that America were not an Island, but a part of the continent adioyning to Asia, either the people which inhabite Mangia, Anian, and Quinsay, &c. being borderers vpon it, would before this time haue made some road into it hoping to haue found some like commodities to their owne.
Neede makes the old wife to trotte. 3 Or els the Scythians and Tartarians (which often times heretofore haue sought farre and neere for new seats, driuen therevnto through the necessitie of their cold and miserable countreys) would in all this time haue found the way to America, and entred the same, had the passages bene neuer so straite or difficult; the countrey being so temperate pleasant and fruitfull, in comparison of their owne. But there was neuer any such people found there by any of the Spaniards, Portugals, or Frenchmen, who first discouered the Inland of that countrey: which Spaniards or Frenchmen must then of necessitie haue seene some one ciuil man in America, considering how full of ciuill people Asia is; But they neuer saw so much as one token or signe, that euer any man of the knowen part of the world had bene there.
4 Furthermore it is to be thought, that if by reason of mountaines, or other craggy places, the people neither of Cataia or Tartarie could enter the countrey of America, or they of America haue entred Asia, if it were so ioyned: yet some one sauage or wandring beast would in so many yeres haue passed into it: but there hath not any time bene found any of the beasts proper to Cataia, or Tartarie &c. in America: nor of those proper to America, in Tartarie, Cataia, &c. or any part of Asia. Which thing proueth America, not onely to be one Island, and in no part adioyning to Asia: But also that the people of those Countreys, haue not had any traffique with each other.
5 Moreouer at the least some one of those paineful trauellers, which of purpose haue passed the confines of both countreys, with intent only to discouer, would as it is most likely haue gone from the one to the other: if there had bene any piece of land, or Isthmos, to haue ioyned them together, or els haue declared some cause to the contrary.
6 But neither Paulus Venetus,35 who liued and dwelt a long time in Cataia, euer came into America, and yet was at the sea coastes of Mangia, ouer against it where he was embarked, and performed a great Nauigation along those seas: Neither yet Verarzanus,36 or Franciscus Vasques de Coronado, who trauelled the North part of America by land, euer found entry from thence by land to Cataia, or any part of Asia.
7 Also it appeareth to be an Island, insomuch as the Sea The Sea hath three motions. 1 Motum ab oriente in occidentem. 2 Motum fluxus et refluxus. 3 Motum circularem. Ad cæli motum elementa omnia (excepta terra) mouentur. runneth by nature circularly from the East to the West, following the diurnal motion of Primum Mobile, which carieth with it all inferiour bodies moueable, aswel celestiall as elemental; which motion of the waters is most euidently seene in the Sea, which lieth on the Southside of Afrike where the current that runneth from the East to the West is so strong (by reason of such motion) that the Portugals in their voyages Eastward to Calicut, in passing by Cap. de buona Sperança are enforced to make diuers courses, the current there being so swift as it striketh from thence all along Westward vpon the fret of Magellan, being distant from thence, neere the fourth part of the longitude of the earth; and not hauing free passage and entrance thorow, the fret towards the West, by reason of the narrownesse of the sayd Straite of Magelian [sic], it runneth to salue this wrong, (Nature not yeelding to accidentall restraints) all along the Easterne coastes of America, Northwards so far as Cape Fredo, being the farthest knowne place of the same continent towards the North: which is about 4800 leagues, reckoning therewithall the trending of the land.
Posita causa ponitur effectus. 8 So that this current being continually maintained with such force, as Iaques Cartier37 affirmeth it to be, who met with the same being at Baccalaos, as he sayled along the coastes of America, then either it must be of necessitie haue way to passe from Cape Fredo, thorow this fret, Westward towards Cataia, being knowen to come so farre, onely to salue his former wrongs, by the authority before named: or els it must needes strike ouer, vpon the coast of Island, Norway, Finmarke, and Lappia, (which are East from the sayd place about 360 leagues) with greater force then it did from Cape de buona Sperança, vpon the fret of Magellan, or from the fret of Magellan to Cape Fredo, vpon which coastes Iaques Cartier met with the same, considering the shortnesse of the Cut from the sayd Cape Fredo, to Island, Lappia, &c. And so the cause Efficient remaining, it would haue continually followed along our coasts, through the narrow seas, which it doth not, but is digested about the North of Labrador, by some through passage there thorow this fret.
Conterenus. The like course of the water in some respect happeneth in the Mediterrane sea, (as affirmeth Conterenus) whereas the current which cometh from Tanais, and Pontus Euxinus, running along all the coasts of Greece, Italy, France, and Spaine, and not finding sufficient way out through Gibraltar, by meanes of the straitnesse of the fret it runneth backe againe along the coastes of Barbary, by Alexandria, Natolia, &c.
An objection answered. It may (peraduenture) bee thought that this course of the sea doth sometime surcease, and thereby impugne this principle, because it is not discerned all along the coast of America, in such sort as Iaques Cartier found it: Wherevnto I answere this: that albeit, in euery part of the Coast of America, or elswhere this current is not sensibly perceuied, yet it hath euermore such like motion, either in the vppermost or nethermost part of the sea; as it may be proued true, if ye sinke a sayle by a couple of ropes, neere the ground, fastening to the nethermost corners two gunne chambers or other weights: by the driuing whereof you shall plainely perceiue, the course of the water, and current running with such course in the bottome. The sea doth euermore performe this circular motion, either in Suprema, or concaua superficie aquæ.
By the like experiment, you may finde the ordinary motion of the sea, in the Ocean: howe farre soeuer you be off the land.
9 Also there commeth another current from out the Northeast from the Scythian Sea (as M. Ienkinson a man of rare vertue, great trauail and experience, told me) which runneth Westward towardes Labrador, The yce set westward euery yeere from Island. Auth. Iona Arngriimo. as the other did, which commeth from the South: so that both these currents, must haue way thorow this our fret, or else encounter together and runne contrarie courses; in one line, but no such conflicts of streames, or contrary courses are found about any part of Labrador, or Terra noua, as witnesse our yeerely fishers, and other saylers that way, but is there disgested, as aforesayd, and found by experience of Barnard de la Torre, to fall into Mar del Sur.
10 Furthermore, the current in the great Ocean, could not haue beene maintained to runne continually one way, from the beginning of the world vnto this day, had there not beene some thorow passage by the fret aforesayd, and so by circular motion bee brought againe to maintaine it selfe: For the Tides and courses of the sea are maintayned by their interchangeable motions: as fresh riuers are by springs, by ebbing and flowing, by rarefaction and condensation.
So that it resteth not possible (so farre as my simple reason can comprehend) that this perpetuall current can by any meanes be maintained, but onely by continuall reaccesse of the same water, which passeth thorow the fret, and is brought about thither againe, by such circular motion as aforesayd. The flowing is occasioned by reason that the heate of the moone boyleth, and maketh the water thinne by way of rarefaction. And the certaine falling thereof by this fret into Mar del Sur An experience to prooue the falling of this current into Mar del Sur. is prooued by the testimonie and experience of Bernard de la Torre, who was sent from P. de la Natiuidad to the Moluccæ, Anno domini 1542. by commandement of Anthony Mendoza, then Viceroy of Noua Hispania, which Bernard sayled 750. Leagues, on the Northside of the Aequator, and there met with a current, which came from the Northeast, the which droue him backe againe to Tidore.
Wherfore, this current being proued to come from C. de buona Sperança to the fret of Magellan, and wanting sufficient entrance there, by narrownes of the straite, is by the necessitie of natures force, brought to Terra de Labrador, where Iaques Cartier met the same, and thence certainly knowen, not to strike ouer vpon Island, Lappia, &c. and found by Bernard de la Torre in Mar del Sur, on the backeside of America: therefore this current (hauing none other passage) must of necessity fall out thorow this our fret into Mar del Sur, and so trending by the Moluccæ, China, and C. de buona Sperança, maintaineth it selfe, by circular motion, which is all one in nature, with Motus ab Oriente in Occidentem.
So that it seemeth, we haue now more occasion to doubt of our returne, then whether there be a passage that way, yea or no: which doubt, hereafter shall be sufficiently remooued. Wherefore, in mine opinion, reason it self, grounded vpon experience, assureth vs of this passage, if there were nothing els to put vs in hope thereof. But least these might not suffice, I haue added in this chapter following, some further proofe hereof, by the experience of such as haue passed some part of this discouerie: and in the next adioining to that the authority of those, which haue sailed wholy, thorow euery part thereof.
Chap. 3. To proue by experience of sundry mens trauels, the opening of some part of this Northwest passage: whereby good hope remaineth of the rest.
Paulus Venetus, who dwelt many yeres in Cataia, affirmed that hee sayled 1500 miles vpon the coastes of Mangia, and Anian, towards the Northeast: alwayes finding the Seas open before him, not onely as farre as he went, but also as farre as he could discerne.
Alcatrarzi be Pelicanes. 2 Also Franciscus Vasques de Coronado passing from Mexico by Ceuola, through the country of Quiuira, to Siera Neuada, found there a great sea, where were certaine ships laden with Merchandise, carrying on their prowes the pictures of certaine birds called Alcatrarzi, part whereof were made of golde, and part of siluer, who signified by signes, that they were thirty dayes comming thither: which likewise proueth America by experience to be disioyned from Cataia: on that part by a great Sea, because they could not come from any part of America, as Natiues thereof: for that so farre as is discouered, there hath not bene found there any one Shippe of that countrey.
Baros lib. 9. Of his first Decas cap 1. 3. In like maner, Iohn Baros38 testifieth that the Cosmographers of China (where he himselfe had bene) affirme that the Sea coast trendeth from thence Northeast, to 50 degrees of Septentrional latitude, being the furthest part that way which the Portugals had then knowledge of: And that the said Cosmographers knew no cause to the contrary, but that it might continue further.
By whose experiences America is prooued to be separate from those parts of Asia, directly against the same. And not contented with the iudgements of these learned men only, I haue searched what might be further sayd for the confirmation hereof.
4 And I found that Franciscus Lopez de Gomara affirmeth America to be an Island, and likewise Gronland: and that Gronland is distant from Lappia 40 leagues, and from Terra de Labrador, 50.
5 Moreouer, Aluaros Nunnius39 a Spaniard, and learned Cosmographer, and Iacobus Cartier, who made two voyages into those parts, and sayled 900 miles upon the Northeast coastes of America doe in part confirme the same.
6 Likewise Hieronymus Fracastorius,40 a learned Italian, and trauailer in the North parts of the same land.
7 Also Iaques Cartier hauing done the like, heard say at Hochelaga in Noua Francia, how that there was a great Sea at Saguinay, whereof the end was not knowen: which they presupposed to be the passage to Cataia.
Written in the discourses of Nauigation. Furthermore, Sebastian Cabota by his personal experience and trauel hath set foorth, and described this passage in his Charts, which are yet to be seene in the Queens Maiesties priuie Gallerie at Whitehall, who was sent to make this discouery by king Henrie the seuenth, and entred the same fret: affirming that he sayled very farre Westward, with a quarter of the North, on the Northside of Terra de Labrador the eleuenth of Iune, vntill he came to the Septentrionall latitude of 67 degrees and a halfe,41and finding the Seas still open, sayd, that he might, and would haue gone to Cataia, if the mutinie of the Master and Mariners had not bene.
Now as these mens experience hath proued some part of this passage: so the chapter following shal put you in full assurance of the rest, by their experiences which haue passed through euery part thereof.
Chap. 4. To prooue by circumstance that the Northwest passage hath bene sayled throughout.
The diuersitie betwene bruite beastes and men, or betweene the wise and the simple is, that the one iudgeth by sense onely, Quinque sensus. 1 Visus. 2 Auditus. 3 Olfactus. 4 Gustus. 5 Tactus. Singularia sensu, vniuersalia verò mente percipiuntur. and gathereth no surety of any thing that he hath not seene, felt, heard, tasted, or smelled: And the other not so onely, but also findeth the certaintie of things by reason, before they happen to be tryed. Wherefore I haue added proofes of both sorts, that the one and the other might thereby be satisfied.
1 First, as Gemma Frisius reciteth, there went from Europe three brethren through this passage: whereof it tooke the name of Fretum trium fratrum.
3 Also Plinie affirmeth out of Cornelius Nepos, (who wrote 57 yeeres before Christ) that there were certaine Indians driuen by tempest, vpon the coast of Germanie which were presented by the king of Sueuia, vnto Quintus Metellus Celer, the Proconsull of France.
Lib. 2. cap. 66. 3 And Plinie vpon the same sayth, that it is no maruel though there be Sea by the North, where there is such abundance of moisture: which argueth that hee doubted not of a nauigable passage that way, through which those Indians came.
Pag. 590. 4 And for the better proofe that the same authoritie of Cornelius Nepos is not by me wrested, to proue my opinion of the Northwest passage: you shall finde the same affirmed more plainly in that behalfe, by the excellent Geographer Dominicus Marius Niger, who sheweth how many wayes the Indian sea stretcheth it selfe, making in that place recital of certaine Indians, that were likewise driuen through the North Seas from India, vpon the coastes of Germany, by great tempest, as they were sayling in trade of marchandize.
5 Also while Frederic Barbarossa reigned Emperour, Anno Do. 1160. there came certaine other Indians vpon the coast of Germanie. Auouched by Franciscus Lopes de Gomara in his historie of India, lib. I. cap. 10.
6 Likewise Othon in the storie of the Gothes affirmeth, that in the time of the Germane Emperours there were also certaine Indians cast by force of weather, vpon the coast of the sayd countrey, which foresaid Indians could not possibly haue come by the Southeast, Southwest, nor from any part of Afrike or America, nor yet by the Northeast: therefore they came of necessitie by this our Northwest passage.
Cap. 5. To prooue that these Indians aforenamed came not by the Southeast, Southwest, nor from any other part of Afrike, or America.
First, they could not come from the Southeast by the Cape de bona Sperança, because the roughnes of the Seas there is such (occasioned by the currents and great winds in that part) that the greatest armadas the king of Portugal hath, cannot without great difficulty passe that way, much lesse then a Canoa of India could liue in those outragious seas without shipwracke (being a vessel of very small burden) and haue conducted themselues to the place aforesayd, being men vnexpert in the Arte of nauigation.
2 Also, it appeareth plainely that they were not able to come from alongst the coast of Afrike aforesayd, to those parts of Europe, because the winds doe (for the most part) blow there Easterly off from the shore, and the current running that way in like sort, should haue driuen them Westward vpon some part of America: for such winds and tides could neuer haue led them from thence to the said place where they were found, nor yet could they haue come from any of the countries aforesayd, keeping the seas alwayes, without skilful mariners to haue conducted them such like courses as were necessary to performe such a voiage.
3 Presupposing also, if they had bene driuen to the West (as they must haue bene, comming that way) then they should haue perished, wanting supplie of victuals, not hauing any place (once leauing the coast of Afrike) vntill they came to America, nor from America vntill they arriued vpon some part of Europe, or the Islands adioyning to it, to haue refreshed themselues.
4 Also, if (notwithstanding such impossibilities) they might haue recouered Germanie by comming from India by the Southeast, yet must they without all doubt haue stricken vpon some other part of Europe before their arriuall there, as the Isles of the Açores, Portugal, Spaine, France, England, Ireland, &c. which if they had done, it is not credible that they should or would haue departed vndiscovered of the inhabitants: but there was neuer found in those dayes any such ship or men but only vpon the coasts of Germanie, where they haue bene sundry times and in sundry ages cast aland: neither is it like that they would haue committed themselues againe to sea, if they had so arriued, not knowing where they were, nor whither to haue gone.
This fifth reason by later experience is proued vtterly vntrue. 5 And by the Southwest it is vnpossible, because the current aforesayd which commeth from the East, striketh with such force vpon the fret of Magellan, and falleth with such swiftnesse and furie into Mar del Zur, that hardly any ship (but not possibly a Canoa, with such vnskilfull mariners) can come into our Westerne Ocean through that fret, from the West seas of America, as Magellans experience hath partly taught vs.
That the Indians could not be natiues either of Africa, or of America. 6 And further, to prooue that these people so arriuing vpon the coast of Germany, were Indians, and not inhabiters of any part either of Africa or America, it is manifest, because the natiues both of Africa and America neither had, or haue at this day (as is reported) other kind of boates then such as do beare neither mastes nor sailes, (except onely vpon the coasts of Barbarie and the Turkes ships) but do carie themselues from place to place neere the shore by the ore onely.
Cap. 6. To prooue that those Indians came not by the Northeast, and that there is no thorow nauigable passage that way.
It is likely that there should be no thorow passage by the Northeast, whereby to goe round about the world, because all Seas (as aforesayd) are maintained by the abundance of water, waxing more shallow and shelffie towards the ende, as we find it doeth by experience in Mare Glaciali, towards the East, which breedeth small hope of any great continuance of that sea, to be nauigable towards the East, sufficient to saile thereby round about the world.
Quicquid naturali loco priuatur, quam citisimè corrumpitur. Qualis causa, talis effectus. 2 Also, it standeth scarcely with reason, that the Indians dwelling vnder Torrida Zone, could endure the iniurie of the cold ayre, about the Septentrional latitude of 80. degrees, vnder which eleuation the passage by the Northeast cannot bee (as the often experience had of all the South parts of it sheweth) seeing that some of the inhabiants of this cold climate (whose Summer is to them an extreme Winter) haue bene stroken to death with the cold damps of the aire about 72 degrees, by an accidental mishap, and yet the aire in such like Eleuation is alwaies cold, and too cold for such as the Indians are.
3 Furthermore, the piercing cold of the grosse thicke aire so neere the Pole wil so stiffen and furre the sailes and ship tackling, that no mariner can either hoise or strike them (as our experience farre neerer the South, then this passage is presupposed to be, hath taught vs) without the vse whereof no voiage can be performed.
4 Also the aire is so darkened with continuall mists and fogs so neere the Pole, that no man can well see, either to guide his ship, or direct his course.
5 Also the compasse at such eleuation doth very suddenly vary, which things must of force haue bene their destructions, although they had bene men of much more skill then the Indians are.
Similium similis est ratio. 6 Moreouer, all baies, gulfes, and riuers doe receiue their increase vpon the flood, sensibly to be discerned on the one side of the shore or the other, as many waies as they be open to any main sea, as Mare Mediterraneum, Mare Rubrum, Sinus Persicus, Sinus Bodicus, Thamesis, and all other knowen hauens or riuers in any part of the world, and each of them opening but on one part to the maine sea, doe likewise receiue their increase vpon the flood the same way, and none other, which Mare Glaciale doeth, onely by the West, as M. Ienkinson affirmed vnto me: and therefore it followeth that this Northeast sea, receiuing increase but onely from the West, cannot possibly open to the maine Ocean by the East.
7 Moreouer, the farther you passe into any sea towards the end of it, on that part which is shut vp from the maine sea (as in all those aboue mentioned) the lesse and lesse the tides rise and fall. The like whereof also happeneth in Mare Glaciale, which proueth but small continuance of that sea toward the East.
Quicquid corrumpitur à contrario corrumpítur. 8 Also, the further yee goe toward the East in Mare Glaciale, the lesse salt the water is: which could not happen, if it were open to the salt Sea towards the East, as it is to the West only, seeing Euery thing naturally ingendreth his like: and then must it be like salt throughout, as all the seas are, in such like climate and eleuation.42
Omne simile giguit sui simile. And therefore it seemeth that this Northeast sea is maintained by the riuer Ob, and such like freshets, as Mare Goticum, and Mare Mediterraneum, in the vppermost parts thereof by the riuers Nilus, Danubius, Neper, Tanais, &c.
9 Furthermore, if there were any such sea at that eleuation, of like it should be alwaies frozen throughout (there being no tides to hinder it) because the extreme coldnes of the aire being in the vppermost part, and the extreme coldnesse of the earth in the bottome, the sea there being but of small depth, whereby the one accidentall coldnesse doth meet with the other, and the Sunne not hauing his reflection so neere the Pole, but at very blunt angels, it can neuer be dissolued after it is frozen, notwithstanding the great length of their day: for that the sunne hath no heate at all in his light or beames, but proceeding onely by an accidentall reflection, which there wanteth in effect.
10 And yet if the Sunne were of sufficient force in that eleuation, to preuaile against this ice, yet must it be broken before it can be dissolued, which cannot be but through the long continuance of the sunne aboue their Horizon, and by that time the Sommer would be so farre spent, and so great darkenes and cold ensue, that no man could be able to endure so cold, darke, and discomfortable a nauigation, if it were possible for him then, and there to liue.
11 Further, the ice being once broken, it must of force so driue with the windes and tides, that no ship can saile in those seas, seeing our Fishers of Island, and the New found land, are subiect to danger through the great Islands of Ice which fleete in the Seas (to the sailers great danger) farre to the South of that presupposed passage.
And it cannot be that this Northeast passage should be any neerer the South, then before recited, for then it should cut off Ciremissi, and Turbi Tartari, with Vzesucani, Chisani, and others from the Continent of Asia, which are knowen to be adioyning to Scythia, Tartaria, &c. with the other part of the same Continent.
And if there were any thorowe passage by the Northeast, yet were it to small ende and purpose for our traffique, because no shippe of great burden can Nauigate in so shallow a Sea: and ships of small burden are very vnfit and vnprofitable, especially towards the blustering North to performe such a voyage.
Cap. 7. To prooue that the Indians aforenamed, came only by the Northwest, which induceth a certaintie of our passage by experience.
It is as likely that they came by the Northwest, as it is vnlikely that they should come, either by the Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, or from any other part of Africa or America, and therefore this Northwest passage hauing bene alreadie so many wayes prooued, by disproouing of the others, &c. I shall the lesse neede in this place, to vse many words otherwise then to conclude in this sort, That they came onely by the Northwest from England, hauing these many reasons to leade me thereunto.
1 First, the one halfe of the windes of the compasse might bring them by the Northwest, bearing alwayes betweene two sheats, with which kind of sayling the Indians are onely acquainted, not hauing any vse of a bow line, or quarter winde, without the which no ship can possibly come either by the Southeast, Southwest or Northeast, having so many sundry Capes to double, whereunto are required such change and shift of windes.
2 And it seemeth likely that they should come by the Northwest, True both in ventis obliquè flantibus, as also in ventis ex diamentro spitantibus. because the coast whereon they were driuen, lay East from this our passage, And all windes doe naturally driue a ship to an opposite point from whence it bloweth, not being otherwise guided by Arte, which the Indians do vtterly want, and therefore it seemeth that they came directly through this our fret, which they might doe with one wind.
3 For if they had come by the Cape de buona Sperança, then must they (as aforesaid) haue fallen vpon the South parts of America.
4 And if by the fret of Magellan, then vpon the coasts of Afrike, Spaine, Portugall, France, Ireland or England.
5 And if by the Northeast, then vpon the coasts of Cerremissi, Tartarji, Lappia, Island, Terra de Labrador, &c. and vpon these coasts (as aforesaid) they haue neuer bene found.
So that by all likelihood they could neuer haue come without shipwracke vpon the coastes of Germanie, if they had first striken vpon the coastes of so many countries, wanting both Arte and shipping to make orderly discouery, and altogether ignorant both in the Arte of Nauigation, and also of the Rockes, Flats, Sands or Hauens of those parts of the world, which in most of these places are plentifull.
6 And further it seemeth very likely, that the inhabitants of the most part of those countries, by which they must haue come any other way besides by the Northwest, being for the most part Anthropophagi, or men eaters, would haue deuoured them, slaine them, or (at the least wise) kept them as wonders for the gaze.
So that it plainely appeareth that those Indians (which as you haue heard in sundry ages were driuen by tempest vpon the shore of Germanie) came onely through our Northwest passage.
7 Moreouer, the passage is certainely prooued by a Nauigation that a Portugall made, who passed through this fret, giuing name to a promontorie farre within the same, calling it after his owne name, Promontorium Corterialis, neere adioyning vnto Polisacus fluuius.
8 Also one Scolmus a Dane entred and passed a great part thereof.
9 Also there was one Saluaterra, a Gentleman of Victoria in Spaine, that came by chance out of the West Indias into Ireland, Anno 1568. who affirmed the Northwest passage from vs to Cataia, constantly to be beleeued in America nauigable. And further said in the presence of sir Henry Sidney (then lord Deputie of Ireland) in my hearing, that a Frier of Mexico, called Andrew Vrdaneta, more then eight yeeres before his then comming into Ireland, told him there, that he came from Mar del Sur into Germany through this Northwest passage, and shewed Saluaterra (at that time being then with him in Mexico) a Sea Card made by his owne experience and trauell in that voyage, wherein was plainly set downe and described this Northwest passage, agreeing in all points with Ortelius mappe.
And further, this Frier tolde the king of Portugall (as he returned by that countrey homeward) that there was (of certainty) such a passage Northwest from England, and that he meant to publish the same: which done, the king most earnestly desired him not in any wise to disclose or make the passage knowen to any nation: The words of the king of Portugall to Andro Vrdaneta a Frier, touching the concealing of this Northwest passage from England to Cataia. For that (said the King) if England had knowledge and experience thereof, it would greatly hinder both the king of Spaine and me. This Frier (as Saluaterra reported) was the greatest Discouerer by sea, that hath bene in our age. Also Saluaterra being perswaded of this passage by the frier Vrdaneta, and by the common opinion of the Spaniards inhabiting America, offered most willingly to accompanie me in this Discouery, which of like he would not haue done if he had stood in doubt thereof. 43
An obiection. And now as these moderne experiences cannot be impugned, so least it might be obiected that these things (gathered out of ancient writers, which wrote so many yeeres past) might serue litle to prooue this passage by the North of America, because both America and India were to them then vtterly vnknowen: to remooue this doubt let this suffise: Aristotle lib. de mundo, cap. 2. Berosus lib. 5. That Aristotle (who was 300. yeeres before Christ) named Mare Indicum. Also Berosus (who liued 330 yeres before Christ) hath these words, Ganges in India. Also in the first chapter of Hester be these wordes, In the dayes of Assuerus which ruled from India to Aethiopia, which Assuerus liued 580 yeeres before Christ. Also Quintus Curtius (where he speaketh of the conquests of Alexander) mentioneth India. Also, Arianus, Philostratus, and Sidrach in his discourses of the warres of the king of Bactria, and of Garaab, who had the most part of India vnder his gouernment. All which assureth vs, that both India and Indians were knowen in those dayes.
These things considered, we may (in my opinion) not only assure our selues of this passage by the Northwest, but also that it is nauigable both to come and go, as hath bene prooued in part and in all, by the experience of diuers, as Sebastian Cabota, Corterialis, the three brethren aboue named, the Indians, and Vrdaneta the Frier of Mexico, &c.
And yet notwithstanding all this, there be some that haue a better hope of this passage to Cataia by the Northeast then by the West, whose reasons with my seuerall answeres ensue in the chapter following.
Cap. 8. Certaine reasons alleaged for the proouing of a passage by the Northeast, before the Queenes Maiestie, and certaine Lords of the Counsell, by Master Anthoni Ienkinson, with my seuerall answers then vsed to the same.
Because you may vnderstand as well those things alleaged against me, as what doth serue for my purpose, I haue here added the reasons of Master Anthony Ienkinson a worthy gentleman, and a great traueller, who conceiued a better hope of the passage to Cataia from vs, to be by the Northeast, then by the Northwest.
The Northwest passage assented vnto. He first said that he thought not to the contrary, but that there was a passage by the Northwest according to mine opinion: but assured he was, that there might be found a nauigable passage by the Northeast from England, to goe to all the East parts of the world, which he endeuoured to prooue three wayes.
The first reason. The first was that he heard a Fisherman of Tartaria say in hunting the Morce, that he sayled very farre towards the Southeast, finding no end of the Sea: whereby he hoped a thorow passage to be that way.
The answer or resolution. Whereunto I answered, that the Tartarians were a barbarous people, and vtterly ignorant in the Arte of Nauigation, not knowing the vse of the Sea Card, Compasse or Starre, which he confessed to be true: and therefore they could not (said I) certainly know the Southeast from the Northeast, in a wide sea, and a place vnknowen from the sight of the land.
Or if he sailed any thing neere the shore, yet he (being ignorant) might be deceiued by the doubling of many points and Capes, and by the trending of the land, albeit he kept continually alongst the shore.
Visus nonnunquam fallitur in suo obíecto. And further, it might be that the poore Fishermen through simplicitie thought that there was nothing that way but sea, because he saw no land: which proofe (vnder correction) giueth small assurance of a Nauigable sea by the Northeast, to goe round about the world, For that be iudged by the eye onely, seeing we in this our cleare aire doe account twentie miles a ken at Sea.
The second reason or allegation. His second reason is, that there was an Vnicornes horne found vpon the coast of Tartaria, which could not come (said he) thither by any other meanes then with the tides, through some fret in the Northeast of Mare Glaciale, there being no Vnicorne in any part of Asia, sauing in India and Cataia: which reason (in my simple iudgement) forceth as litle.
The answer or resolution. First, it is doubtfull whether those barbarous Tartarians do know an Vnicornes horne, yea, or no: and if it were one, yet it is not credible that the Sea could haue driuen it so farre, being of such nature that it will not swimme.
Also the tides running too and fro, would haue driuen it as farre backe with the ebbe, as it brought it forward with the flood.
There is also a beast called Asinus Indicus (whose horne most like it was) which hath but one horne like an Vnicorne in his forehead, whereof there is great plenty in all the North parts thereunto adioyning, as in Lappia, Noruegia, Finmarke, &c. as Iacobus Zieglerus writeth in his historie of Scondia.
And as Albertus saieth, there is a fish which hath but one horne in his forehead like to an Vnicorne, and therefore it seemeth very doubtfull both from whence it came, and whether it were an Vnicornes horne, yea, or no.
The third and last reason or assertion. His third and last reason was, that there came a continuall streame or currant through Mare Glaciale, of such swiftnesse (as a Colmax told him) that if you cast any thing therein, it would presently be carried out of sight towards the West.
The answer or resolution. Whereunto I answered, that there doth the like from Mæotis Palus, by Pontus Euxinus, Sinus Bosphorus, and along the coast of Græcia, &c. As it is affirmed by Contarenus, and diuers others that haue had experience of the same: and yet that Sea lieth not open to any maine Sea that way, but is maintained by freshets as by Tanais, Danubius, &c.
In like maner is this current in Mare Glaciale increased and maintained by the Dwina, the riuer Ob, &c.
Now as I haue here briefly recited the reasons alleaged, to prooue a passage to Cataia by the Northeast, with my seuerall answeres thereunto: so will I leaue it to your iudgement, to hope or despaire of either at your pleasure.44
Cap. 9. How that the passage by the Northwest is more commodious for our traffique, then the other by the East, if there were any such.
First, by the Northeast (if your windes doe not giue you a maruelous speedie and luckie passage) you are in danger (being so neere the Pole) to be benighted almost the one halfe of the yeere, and what danger that were, to liue so long comfortlesse, voide of light, (if the cold killed you not) each man of reason or vnderstanding may iudge.
Some doubt of this. 2 Also Mangia, Quinzai, and the Moluccæ are neerer vnto vs by the Northwest, then by the Northeast, more then two fiue parts, which is almost by the halfe.
3 Also we may haue by the West a yeerely returne, it being at all times nauigable, whereas you haue but 4. moneths in the whole yeere to goe by the Northeast: the passage being at such eleuation as it is formerly expressed, for it cannot be any neerer the South.
4 Furthermore, it cannot be finished without diuers wintrings by the way, hauing no hauens in any temperate climate to harbour in there: for it is as much as we can well saile from hence to S. Nicholas, in the trade of Moscouia, and returne in the nauigable season of the yeere, and from S. Nicholas to Cerimissi Tartari, which stande at 80 degrees of the Septentrional latitude, it is at the least 400 leagues, which amounteth scarce to the third part of the way, to the end of your voyage by the Northeast.
5 And yet after you haue doubled this Cape, if then there might be found a nauigable Sea to carie you Southeast according to your desire, yet can you not winter conueniently, vntil you come to 60 degrees, and to take vp one degree running Southeast, you must saile 24 leagues and three foure parts, which amounteth to 495 leagues.
6 Furthermore, you may by the Northwest saile thither with all Easterly windes, and returne with any Westerly windes, whereas you must haue by the Northeast sundry windes, and those proper, according to the lying of the coast and Capes, you shalbe inforced to double, which windes are not alwaies to be had, when they are looked for: whereby your iourney should be greatly prolonged, and hardly endured so neere the Pole. As we are taught by sir Hugh Willoughbie, who was frozen to death farre neerer the South.
7. Moreouer, it is very doubtfull, whether we should long inioy that trade by the Northeast, if there were any such passage that way, the commodities thereof once knowen to the Moscouite, what priuilege so euer hee hath granted, seeing pollicy with the masse of excessiue gaine, to the inriching (so greatly) of himselfe and all his dominions would perswade him to presume the same, hauing so great opportunitie to vtter the commodities of those countries by the Narue.
But by the Northwest, we may safely trade without danger or annoyance of any prince liuing, Christian or Heathen, it being out of all their trades.
8 Also the Queenes Maiesties dominions are neerer the Northwest passage then any other great princes that might passe that way, and both in their going and returne, they must of necessitie succour themselues and their ships vpon some part of the same, if any tempestuous weather should happen.
Further, no princes nauie of the world is able to incounter the Queenes Maiesties nauie, as it is at this present: and yet it should be greatly increased by the traffike insuing vpon this discouerie, for it is the long voyages that increase and maintaine great shipping.
Now it seemeth necessarie to declare what commodities would growe thereby, if all these things were, as we haue heretofore presupposed, and thought them to be: which next adioyning are briefly declared.
Cap. 10. What commodities would ensue, this passage once discouered.
First, it were the onely way for our princes, to possesse the wealth of all the East parts (as they terme them) of the world, which is infinite: as appeareth by the experience of Alexander the great, in the time of his conquest of India, and other the East parts of the world, alleaged by Quintus Curtius, which would be a great aduancement to our countrey, a wonderfull inriching to our prince, and an vnspeakable commoditie to all the inhabitants of Europe.
2 For through the shortnesse of the voyage, we should be able to sell all maner of merchandize, brought from thence, farre better cheape then either the Portugall or Spaniard doth or may do. And further, we should share with the Portugall in the East, and the Spaniard in the West, by trading to any part of America, thorow Mar del Sur, where they can no maner of way offend vs.
3 Also we might sayle to diuers very rich countreys, both ciuill and others, out of both their iurisdictions, trades and traffikes, where there is to be found great abundance of golde, siluer, precious stones, cloth of gold, silkes, all maner of spices, grocery wares, and other kinds of merchandize of an inestimable price, which both the Spaniard and Portugall, through the length of their iournies, cannot well attaine vnto.
4 Also we might inhabite some part of those countreyes, and settle there such needy people of our countrey, which now trouble the common wealth, and through want here at home are inforced to commit outragious offences, whereby they are dayly consumed with the gallowes.
5 Moreouer, we might from all the aforesaid places haue a yeerely returne, inhabiting for our staple some conuenient place of America, about Sierra Neuada, or some other part, whereas it shal seeme best for the shortning of the voyage.
6 Beside vttering of our countrey commodities, which the Indians, &c. much esteeme: as appeareth in Hester, where the pompe is expressed of the great king of India, Assuerus, who matched the coloured clothes, wherewith his houses and tents were apparelled, with gold and siluer, as part of his greatest treasure: not mentioning either veluets, silkes, cloth of gold, cloth of siluer, or such like, being in those countreyes most plentifull: whereby it plainly appeareth in what great estimation they would haue the clothes of this our countrey, so that there would be found a farre better vent for them by this meanes, then yet this realme euer had: and that without depending either vpon France, Spaine, Flanders, Portugall, Hamborow, Emden, or any other part of Europe.
7 Also, here we shall increase both our ships and mariners, without burthening of the state.
8 And also haue occasion to set poore mens children to learne handie craftes, and thereby to make trifles and such like, which the Indians and those people do much esteeme: by reason whereof, there should be none occasion to haue our countrey combred with loiterers, vagabonds, and such like idle persons.
All these commodities would grow by following this our discouery, without iniury done to any Christian prince, by crossing them in any of their vsed trades, whereby they might take any iust occasion of offence.
Thus haue I briefly shewed you some part of the grounds of mine opinion, trusting that you will no longer iudge me fantasticke in this matter: seeing I haue conceiued no vaine hope of this voyage, but am perswaded thereunto by the best Cosmographers of our age, the same being confirmed both by reason and certaine experiences.
Also this discouery hath bene diuers times heretofore by others both offered, attempted and performed.
It hath bene offered by Stephen Gomes vnto Carolus the fift Emperour, in the yeere of our Lord God 1527, as Alphonso Vllua testifieth in the story of Carolus life: who would haue set him forth in it (as the story mentioneth) if the great want of money, by reason of his long warres had not caused him to surcease the same.
This discouery offered. And the king of Portugall fearing least the Emperour would haue perseuered in this his enterprise, gaue him to leaue the matter vnattempted, the summe of 350000 crownes: and it is to be thought that the king of Portugall would not haue giuen to the Emperour such summes of money for egges in mooneshine.
This discovery attempted. It hath bene attempted by Sebastian Cabota in the time of king Henry the seuenth, by Corterialis the Portugall, and Scolmus the Dane.
This discouery performed. And it hath bene performed by three brethren, the Indians aforesaid, and by Vrdaneta the Frier of Mexico.
Also diuers haue offered the like vnto the French king, who hath sent two or three times to haue discouered the same: The discouerers spending and consuming their victuals in searching the gulfes and bayes betweene Florida and Terra de Labrador, whereby the yce is broken to the after commers.
So that the right way may now easily be found out in short time: and that with little ieopardie and lesse expences.
For America is discouered so farre towards the North as Cape Frio,45 which is 62 degrees, and that part of Grondland next adioyning is knowen to stand but at 72 degrees. The labour of this discouerie shortned by other mens trauell. So that wee haue but 10 degrees to saile North and South, to put the world out of doubt hereof: Why the kings of Spaine and Portugal would not perseuer in this discovery. and it is likely that the king of Spaine, and the king of Portugall would not haue sit out all this while, but that they are sure to possesse to themselues all that trade they now vse, and feare to deale in this discouery, least the Queenes Maiestie hauing so good opportunitie, and finding the commoditie which thereby might ensue to the common wealth, would cut them off, and enioy the whole traffique to herselfe, and thereby the Spaniards and Portugals, with their great charges, should beate the bush, and other men catch the birds: which thing they foreseing, haue commanded that no pilot of theirs vpon paine of death, should seeke to discouer to the Northwest, or plat out in any Sea card any thorow passage that way by the Northwest.
Now, and if you will indifferently compare the hope that remaineth, to animate me to this enterprise, with those likelihoods which Columbus alleaged before Ferdinando the king of Castilia, to prooue that there were such Islands in the West Ocean, as were after by him and others discouered to the great commodity of Spaine and all the world: you will thinke then this Northwest passage to be most worthy trauell therein.
For Columbus had none of the West Islands set foorth vnto him, either in globe or card, neither yet once mentioned of any writer (Plato excepted, and the commentaries vpon the same) from 942 yeeres before Christ, vntill that day.
Moreouer, Columbus himselfe had neither seene America nor any other of the Islands about it, neither, vnderstood he of them by the report of any other that had seene them, but only comforted himselfe with this hope, that the land had a beginning where the Sea had an ending: for as touching that which the Spaniards doe write of a Biscaine, which should haue taught him the way thither, it is thought to be imagined of them, to depriue Columbus of his honour, being none of their countrey man, but a stranger borne.
And if it were true of the Biscaine, yet did he but roue at the matter, or (at the least) gathered the knowledge of it, by coniectures onely.
And albeit myselfe haue not seene this passage nor any part thereof, but am ignorant of it as touching experience (as Columbus was before his attempt made) yet haue I both the report, relation, and authoritie of diuers most credible men, which haue both seene and passed through some and euery part of this discouery, besides sundry reasons for my assurance thereof: all which Columbus wanted.
These things considered, and indifferently weighed togither, with the wonderfull commodities which this discouery may bring, especially to this realme of England: I must needes conclude with learned Baptista Ramusius, and diuers other learned men, who said, that this discouery hath bene reserued for some noble prince or worthie man, thereby to make himselfe rich, and the world happie: desiring you to accept in good part this briefe and simple discourse, written in haste, which if I may perceiue that it shall not sufficiently satisfie you in this behalfe, I will then impart vnto you a large discourse, which I haue written onely of this discouery.
And further, because it sufficeth not only to know that such a thing there is, without abilitie to performe the same, I wil at at leasure make you partaker of another simple discourse of nauigation, wherein I haue not a little trauelled, to make my selfe as sufficient to bring these things to effect, as I haue bene readie to offer my selfe therein.
And therein I haue deuised to amend the errors of vsuall sea cards, whose common fault is to make the degrees of longitude in euery latitude of one like bignesse.
And haue also deuised therein a Spherical instrument, with a compasse of variation for the perfect knowing of the longitude.
And a precise order to pricke the sea card, together with certaine infallible rules for the shortning of any discouery, to know at the first entring of any fret whether it lie open to the Ocean more wayes then one, how farre soeuer the sea stretcheth itself into the land.
Desiring you hereafter neuer to mislike with me, for the taking in hande of any laudable and honest enterprise: for if through pleasure or idlenesse we purchase shame, the pleasure vanisheth, but the shame remaineth for euer.
Pereas qui vmbras times. And therefore to giue me leaue without offence, alwayes to liue and die in this mind, That he is not worthy to liue at all, that for feare, or danger of death, shunneth his countreys seruice, and his owne honour: seeing death is inevitable, and the fame of vertue immortall. Wherefore in this behalfe, Mutare vel timere sperno.
22 Luke Marinæus, chaplain to Charles V. author of Obra de las cosas memorabiles de Espana, Alcala, 1543; folio, the work here referred to.
23 Ficinus, (born 1433, died 1499); a protégé of the Medici, translated Plato and Plotinus. These translations will be found in his collected works, published at Bâle in 1591, 2 vols. folio. Herein he tries to prove Plato a Christian, as he also does in his Thelogia Platonica; Florence, 148; folio. The original editions of his works are extremely rare.
24 Crantor’s opinion is only known to us by Cicero’s refetence, his works being all lost. He flourished about 315 B.C.
25 Born in 412, at Constantinople. Studied at Alexandria and Athens, and succeeded Syrianus in the Neo Platonic School. Died 485, Several of his works are extant.
26 Philo of Alexandria was well versed in the philosophy of Plato, and tried to show its harmony with the books of Moses. A fine edition of his works was published in 1742, in 2 vols. folio, edited by Mangey.
27 Amerigo Vespucci, born at Florence, 1451, was sent by his father to Spain. Fired by the example of Columbus, he became a navigator, and made three voyages to the New World, which ultimately was named after him, though the honour should belong to Columbus. Died at Seville 1512.
28 It has also been supposed by many ancient writers that Atlantis was situated between the 20th and 30th degrees of north latitude, and the 40th and 60th degrees of west longitude, in that part of the Atlantic known as the Sargasso sea.
29 Born 1493; died 1541. He was the first to publish the Almagestes of Ptolemy in Greek at Bâle, 1538, folio. He was the friend of Luther and Melancthon.
30 The first Edition of his chronological tables is that of Berne, 1540. Little is known of him except that he was born at Rotweil in Germany and was a councillor of the city of Berne, in the library of which town is a unique copy of his History of Berne, 3 vols. folio, in German.
31 Guicciardini, the author of the celebrated History of the events between 1494 and 1532.
32 FRISIUS was born at Dorkum in Frisia, his real name being John Gemma. His map of the world was published in 1540. Died at Louvain in 1555. GASTALDUS was a Genoese and wrote many tracts on Geography. He was the father of Jerome Gastaldus, the author of a celebrated work on the Plague. TRAMASINUS was a celebrated Venetian printer of the 16th Century. ANDREAS VAVASOR is probably an error for Francis Vavasor, the Jesuit.
MUNSTER, APPIANUS, PUTEANUS, PETER MARTYR, and ORTELIUS are well known, but HUNTERUS, DEMONGENITUS, and TRAMONTANUS are unknown to me.
33 Octher’s voyage will be found in Vol. I., p. 51, of this Edition of Hakluyt.
34 See Vol. I. of this Edition of Halkluyt.
35 See Vol. II. p. 60 (note) of this Edition
36 Giovanni Verrzzani is evidently meant. A Florentine by birth, he entered the service of Francis I., and in 1524 discovered New France. An account of his travels and tragic death is to be found in Ramusius. In the Strozzi library, at Florence, a manuscript of Verazzani’s is preserved.
37 Born at St Malo. Discovered part of Canada in 1534. His Brief récit de la Navigation faite ès îles de Canada, Hochelage, Saguenay et autres, was published at Paris in 1546, 8vo.
38 BAROS, who had been appointed treasurer of the Indies, wrote a History of Asia and of India in 4 decades which were published between the years 1552 and 1602. It has been translated from Portuguese into Spanish, and considering that it contains many facts not to be found elsewhere, it is surprising that there should have been neither a French nor English Edition. Baros was born in 1496 and died in 1570.
39 This is probably an error for Peter Nonnius, professor of Mathematics at the University of Coimbra who published two books De Arte Navigandi in 1573.
40 Little is known of this writer. He appears to have been the son of Jerome Fracastor, a Veronese who obtained a certain celebrity as a poet at the beginning of the 16th Century.
41 In a former passage it is stated that Cabot did not get beyond the 58th degree of latitude.
42 It is now well known that the diminished saltness of the sea off the Siberian coast is due to the immense masses of fresh water poured into it by the Ob, the Lena, and other Siberian rivers.
43 Either Salvaterra or the Frier must have possessed a vivid imagination. The former at any rate thoroughly took in Sir Humphrey Gilbert.
44 It seems very strange to us after the Northwest passage has been discovered by M’Clure in 1852 and the North East passage by Nordenskiold in 1879 to read the arguments by which each of the upholders of the two routes sought to prove that his opponent’s contention was impossible. Of the two disputants we must confess that Jenkinson’s views now appear the likeliest to be realised, for M’Clure only made his way from Behring Straits to Melville island by abandoning his ship and travelling across the ice, while Nordenskiold carried the Vega past the North of Europe and Siberia, returning by Behring’s straits and the Pacific.
45 Cape Chudley.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55