The second voyage of Master Martin Frobisher, made to the West and Northwest Regions, in the yeere 1577. with a description of the Countrey, and people: Written by Master Dionise Settle.
On Whitsunday, being the sixe and twentieth of May, in the yeere of our Lord God 1577. Captaine Frobisher departed from Blacke Wall, with one of the Queenes Maiesties ships, called The Aide, of nine score tunnes, or thereabouts: and two other Little Barkes likewise, the one called The Gabriel, whereof Master Fenton, a Gentleman of my Lord of Warwikes, was Captaine: accompanied with seuen score Gentlemen, souldiers, and sailers, well furnished with victuals, and other prouision necessarie for one halfe yeere, on this his second voyage, for the further discouering of the passage to Cathay, and other Countreys, thereunto adiacent, by West and Northwest nauigations: which passage or way, is supposed to bee on the North and Northwest part of America: and the said America to be an Island inuironed with the sea, where through our Merchants may haue course and recourse with their merchandize, from these our Northernmost parts of Europe, to those Orientall coasts of Asia, in much shorter time, and with greater benefite then any others, to their no little commoditie and profite that do or shall frequent the same. Our said Captaine and General of this present voyage and company hauing the yeere before, with two little pinnesses, to his great danger, and no small commendations, giuen a worthy attempt towards the performance thereof, is also prest, when occasion shall be ministred (to the benefite of his Prince, and natiue Countrey) to aduenture himelfe further therein. As for the second voyage, it seemeth sufficient that he hath better explored and searched the commodities of those people and Countreys, which in his first voyage the yeere before he had found out.
The Islands Orcades, or Orkney. Vpon which considerations, the day and yeere before expressed, we departed from Blacke Wall to Harwich, where making an accomplishment of things necessary, the last of May we hoised vp sailes, and with a merrie winde the 7. of Iune we arriued at the Islands called Orcades, or vulgarly Orkney, being in number 30. subiect and adiacent to Scotland where we made prouision of fresh water; in the doing wherof our Generall licensed the Gentlemen and souldiers for their recreation to go on shore. The Orcadians upon smal occasion flee their home. At our landing, the people fled from their poore cottages, with shrikes and alarms, to warne their neighbours of enemies, but by gentle perswasions we reclamed them to their houses. It seemeth they are often frighted with Pirats, or some other enemies, that mooue them to such sudden feare. Their houses are very simply builded with Pibble stone, without any chimneis, the fire being made in the middest thereof. The good man, wife, children, and other of their family eate and sleepe on the one side of the house, and the cattell on the other, very beastly and rudely, in respect of ciuilitie. No wood in Orkney. They are destitute of wood, their fire is turffes, and Cowshards. They haue corne, bigge, and oates, with which they pay their Kings rent, to the maintenance of his house. They take great quantitie of fish, which they dry in the wind and Sunne. They dresse their meat very filthily, and eate it without salt. Their apparell is after the rudest sort of Scotland. Their money is all base. Their Church and religion is reformed according to the Scots. Fisher men of England haue daily traffique to Orkney. The fisher men of England can better declare the dispositions of those people then I: wherefore I remit other their vsages to their reports, as yeerely repaires thither, in their course to and from Island for fish.
In Iune and Iuly no night in those West and Northwest regions. We departed herehence the 8. of Iune, and followed our course betweene West and Northwest, vntill the 4. of Iuly: all which time we had no night, but that easily, and without any impediment we had when we were so disposed, the fruition of our bookes, and other pleasures to passe away the time: a thing of no small moment, to such as wander in vnknowen seas, and long nauigations, especially, when both the winds and raging surges do passe their common and wonted course. This benefite endureth in those parts not 6. weekes, while the sunne is neere the Tropike of Cancer: but where the pole is raised to 70. or 80. degrees, it continueth much longer.
Great abundance of Firre trees floting in the sea. All along these seas, after we were sixe dayes sailing from Orkney, we met floting in the sea, great Firre trees, which as we iudged, were with the furie of great floods rooted vp, and so driuen into the sea. Island hath almost no other wood nor fuell, but such as they take vp vpon their coastes. Inquire further of this current. It seemeth, that these trees are driuen from some part of the New found land, with the current that setteth from the West to the East.50
The 4. of Iuly we came within the making of Frisland.51 From this shoare 10. or 12. leagues, we met great Islands of yce, of halfe a mile, some more, some lesse in compasse, shewing aboue the sea, 30. or 40. fathoms, and as we supposed fast on ground, where with our lead we could scarse sound the bottome for depth.
Yce, snow, and haile in Iune and Iuly. Here, in place of odoriferous and fragrant smels of sweete gums, and pleasant notes of musicall birdes, which other Countreys in more temperate Zones do yeeld, wee tasted the most boisterous Boreal blasts mixt with snow and haile, in the moneths of Iune and Iuly, nothing inferior to our vntemperate winter: a sudden alteration, and especially in a place or Paralelle, where the Pole is not eleuate aboue 61. degrees: at which height other Countreys more to the North, yea vnto 70. degrees, shew themselues more temperate then this doth.
All along this coast yce lieth, as a continuall bulwarke, and so defendeth the countrey, that those that would land there, incur great danger. Our Generall 3. dayes together attempted with the ship boate to haue gone on shoare, which for that without great danger he could not accomplish, he deferred it vntill a more conuenient time. All along the coast lie very high mountains covered with snow, except in such places, where through the steepenes of the mountaines of force it must needs fall. Foure dayes coasting along this land, we found no signe of habitation. Friseland subiect to fogge. Little birds, whiche we iudged to haue lost the shore, by reason of thicke fogges which that Countrey is much subiect vnto, came flying into our ships, which causeth vs to suppose, that the Countrey is both more tollerable, and also habitable within, then the outward shore maketh shew or signification.52
From hence we departed the eight of Iuly: and the 16. of the same, we came with the making of land, which land our Generall the yeere before had named The Queenes foreland, being an Island as we iudge, lying neere the supposed continent with America: and on the other side, opposite to the same, one other Island called Halles Isle, after the name of the Master of the ship, neere adiacent to the firme land, supposed continent with Asia. Frobishers streight. Betweene the which two Islands there is a large entrance or streight, called Frobishers streight,53 after the name of our Generall, the firste finder thereof. This said streight is supposed to haue passage into the sea of Sur, which I leaue vnknowen as yet.
It seemeth that either here, or not farre hence, the sea should haue more large entrance, then in other parts within the frozen or vntemperate Zone: and that some contrary tide, either from the East or West, with maine force casteth out that great quantity of yce, which commeth floting from this coast, euen vnto Friseland, causing that Countrey to seeme more vntemperate then others, much more Northerly then the same.
I cannot iudge that any temperature vnder the Pole, the time of the Sunnes Northerne declination being halfe a yere together, and one whole day, (considering that the Sunnes eleuation surmounteth not 23. degrees and 30. minuts) can haue power to Islands of yce comparable to mountaines. dissolue such monstrous and huge yce, comparable to great mountaines, except by some other force, as by swift currents and tides, with the hope of the said day of halfe a yeere.
Before we came within the making of these lands we tasted cold stormes, in so much that it seemed we had changed summer with winter, if the length of the dayes had not remooued vs from that opinion.
Captaine Frobisher his speciall care and diligence for the benefite of his Prince and Countrey. At our first comming, the straights seemed to be shut vp with a long mure of yce, which gaue no litle cause of discomfort vnto vs all: but our Generall, (to whose diligence imminent dangers, and difficult attempts seemed nothing, in respect of his willing mind, for the commoditie of his Prince and Countrey,) with two little Pinnesses prepared of purpose, passed twise thorow them to the East shore, and the Ilands thereunto adiacent: and the ship, with the two Barks lay off and on something further into the sea, from the danger of the yce.
The order of the people appearing on shoare. Whilest he was searching the Countrey neere the shoare, some of the people of the Countrey shewed themselues leaping and dauncing, with strange shrikes and cries, which gaue no little admiration to our men. Our Generall desirous to allure them vnto him by faire meanes, caused kniues, and other things to be profered vnto them, which they would not take at our hands: but being laid on the ground, and the party going away, they came and tooke vp, leauing some thing of theirs to counteruaile the same. Fierce and bold people. At the length two of them leauing their weapons, came downe to our Generall and Master, who did the like to them, commanding the company to stay, and went vnto them: who after certaine dumbe signes, and mute congratulations, began to lay handes vpon them, but they deliuerly escaped, and ranne to their bowes and arrowes, and came fiercely vpon them, (not respecting the rest of our companie which were readie for their defence,) but with their arrowes hurt diuers of them: One taken. we tooke the one, and the other escaped.
Whilest our Generall was busied in searching the Countrey, and those Islands adiacent on the Eastshoare, the ship and barkes hauing great care, not to put farre into the sea from him, for that he had small store of victuals, were forced to abide in a cruell tempest, chancing in the night, amongst and in the thickest of the yce, which was so monstrous, that euen the least of a thousand had bene of force sufficient, to haue shiuered our ship and barks into small portions, if God (who in all necessities, hath care vpon the infirmitie of man) had not prouided for this our extremitie a sufficient remedie through the light of the night, whereby we might well discerne to flee from such imminent dangers, which we auoyded with 14. Bourdes in one watch the space of 4 houres. Richard Cox, Master gunner. Master Iackman. Andrew Dier. If we had not incurred this danger amongst those monstrous Islands of yce, we should haue lost our Generall and Master, and the most of our best sailers, which were on shoare destitute of victuals: but by the valure of our Master Gunner, Master Iackman, and Andrew Dier, the Masters Mates, men expert both in nauigation, and other good qualities, wee were all content to incurre the dangers afore rehearsed, before we would with our owne safetie, runne into the seas, to the destruction of our sayd Generall, and his company.
The day following, being the 19. of Iulie, our captaine returned to the ship, with report of supposed riches, which shewed it selfe in the bowels of those barren mountaines, wherewith wee were all satisfied.
Iackmans sound. Within foure daies after we had bene at the entrance of the streights, the Northwest and West winds dispersed the yce into the sea, and made vs a large entrance into the streights, so that without any impediment, on the 19. of Iulie we entred them, and the 20. thereof, our Generall and Master with great diligence, sought out and sounded the West shoare, and found out a faire Harborough for the ship and barkes to ride in, and named it after our Masters mate, Iackmans sound, and brought the ship, barkes and all their company to safe anker, except one man, which died by Gods visitation.
At our first arriuall, after the ship rode at anker, our generall, with such company as could well be spared from the ships, in marching order entred the lande, hauing speciall care by exhortations, that at our entrance thereinto, wee should all with one voyce, kneeling vpon our knees, chiefly thanke God for our safe arriuall: secondly beseech him, that it would please his diuine Maiestie, long to continue our Queene, for whom he, and all the rest of our company in this order tooke possession of the Possession taken. Countrey: and thirdly, that by our Christian studie and endeuour, those barbarous people trained vp in Paganisme, and infidelitie, might be reduced to the knowledge of true religion, and to the hope of saluation in Christ our Redeemer. With other words very apt to signifie his willing mind, and affection toward his Prince and Countrey: whereby all suspicion of an vndutifull subiect, may credibly be iudged to be vtterly exempted from his mind. All the rest of the Gentlemen and other deserue worthily herein their due praise and commendation.
These things in this order accomplished, our Generall commanded all the company to be obedient in things needfull for our owne safegard, to Master Fenton, Master Yorke, and Master Beast his Lieutenant, while he was occupied in other necessarie affaires, concerning our comming thither.
After this order we marched through the Countrey, with Ensigne displaied, so farre as was thought needfull, and now and then heaped vp stones on high mountaines, and other places in token of possession, as likewise to signifie vnto such as hereafter may chance to arriue there, that possession is taken in the behalfe of some other Prince, by those who first found out the Countrey.
Yce needfull to be regarded of sea faring men. Who so maketh nauigations to those Countreys, hath not onely extreme winds, and furious sea to encounter withall, but also many monstrous and great Islands of yce; a thing both rare, wonderfull, and greatly to be regarded.
We were forced sundry times, while the ship did ride here at anker, to haue continuall watch, with boats and men ready with halsers to knit fast vnto such yce, as with the ebbe and flood were tossed to and fro in the harborough, and with force of oares to hale them away, for endangering the ship.
Our Generall certaine dayes searched this supposed continent with America, and not finding the commodity to answere his expectation, after he had made triall thereof he departed thence with two little barks, and men sufficient to the East shore being the supposed continent of Asia, and left the ship with most of the Gentlemen, souldier, and sailers, vntill such time as he either thought good to send or come for them.
Stones glister with sparkles like gold. The stones of this supposed continent with America be altogether sparkled, and glister in the Sunne like gold: A common prouerb. so likewise doth the sand in the bright water, yet they verifie the old Prouerb: All is not gold that glistereth.
The sea Vnicorne. On this West shore we found a dead fish floating, which had in his nose a horne streight and torquet,54 of length two yards lacking two ynches, being broken in the top, where we might perceiue it hollow, into the which some of our sailers putting spiders they presently died. I saw not the triall hereof, but it was reported vnto me of a trueth: by the verture whereof we supposed it to be the sea Vnicorne.
After our Generall had found out good harborough for the ship and barks to anker in, and also such store of supposed gold ore as he thought himselfe satisfied withall, he returned to the Michael, whereof Master Yorke aforesaid was Captaine, accompanied with our master and his Mate: who coasting along the West shore not farre from whence the ship rode, they perceived a faire harborough, and willing to sound the same, at the entrance thereof they espied two tents of Seale skins, vnto which the Captaine, our said Master, and other company resorted. The people fled at the sight of our men. At the sight of our men the people fled into the mountaines: neuerthelesse they went to their tents, where leauing certaine trifles of ours, as glasses, bels, kniues, and such like things they departed, not taking any thing of theirs, except one dogge. They did in like maner leaue behind them a letter, pen, yncke, and paper, whereby our men whom the Captaine lost the yere before, and in that peoples custody, might (if any of them were aliue) be advertised of our presence and being there.
Master Philpot. Master Beast. On the same day after consultation had, all the Gentlemen, and others likewise that could be spared from the ship, vnder the conduct and leading of Master Philpot, (vnto whom in our Generall his absence, and his Lieutenant Master Beast, al the rest were obedient) went a shore, determining to see, if by faire means we could either allure them to familiarity, or otherwise take some of them, and so attaine to some knowledge of those men whom our Generall lost the yeere before.
At our comming backe againe to the place where their tents were before, they had remooued their tents further into the said Bay or Sound, where they might if they were driuen from the land, flee with their boates into the sea. We parting our selues into two companies, and compassing a mountaine came suddenly vpon them by land, who espying vs, without any tarrying fled to their boates, leauing the most part of their oares behind them for haste, and rowed downe the bay, where our two Pinesses met them and droue them to shore: but if they had had all their oares, so swift are they in rowing, it had bene lost time to haue chased them.
A fierce assault of a few. When they were landed they fiercely assaulted our men with their bowes and arrowes, who wounded three of them with our arrowes; and perceiuing themselues thus hurt, they desperatly leapt off the Rocks into the Sea, and drowned themselues: which if they had not done, but had submitted themselues, or if by any meanes we could haue taken them aliue (being their enemies as they iudged) we would both haue saued them, and also haue sought remedy to cure their wounds receiued at our hands. But they altogether voyd of humanity, and ignorant what mercy meaneth, in extremities looke for no other then death: and perceiuing they should fall into our hands, thus miserably by drowning rather desired death then otherwise to be saued by vs: the rest perceiuing their fellowes in this distresse, fled into the high mountaines. Two women not being so apt to escape as the men were, the one for her age, and the other being incombred with a yong child, we tooke. The old wretch, whom diuers of our Saylers supposed to be eyther a deuill, or a witch, had her buskins plucked off, to see if she were clouen footed, and for her ougly hew and deformity we let her go: the yong woman and the child we brought away. We named the place where they were slaine, Bloodie point: and the Bay or Harborough, Yorks sound, after the name of one of the Captaines of the two Barks.
Faire meanes not able to allure them to familiarity. Having this knowledge both of their fiercenesse and cruelty, and perceiuing that faire meanes as yet is not able to allure them to familiarity, we disposed our selues, contrary to our inclination, something to be cruel, returned to their tents and made a spoyle of the same: where we found an old shirt, a doublet, a girdle, and also shoes of our men, whom we lost the yeere before: on nothing else vnto them belonging could we set our eyes.
Boates of skinnes. Their riches are not gold, siluer or precious Drapery, but their tents and boates, made of the skins of red Deare and Seale skins; also dogges like vnto woolues, but for the most part black, with other trifles, more to be wondred at for their strangenesse, then for any other commoditie needefull for our vse.
Our departure from the West shoare. Thus returning to our ship the 3. August, we departed from the West shore supposed firme with America, after we had ankered there 13. dayes: and so the 4. thereof we came to our Generall on the East shore and ankered in a faire Harborough name Anne Warwickes sound, vnto which is annexed an Island both named after the Countesse of Warwicke, Anne Warwickes sound and Isle.
In this Isle our Generall thought good for this voyage, to fraight both the ship and barkes, with such stone or supposed gold minerall, as he iudged to counteruaile the charges of his first, and this his second nauigation to these Countreys.
The countrey people shew themselues vnto vs. In the meane time of our abode here some of the countrey people came to shew themselues vnto vs, sundry times on the maine shore, neere adiacent to the saide Isle. Our Generall desirous to haue some newes of his men, whom he lost the yeere before, with some company with him repaired with the ship boat to common, or signe with them for familiaritie, whereunto he is perswaded to bring them. They at the first shew made tokens, that three of his fiue men were aliue, and desired penne, ynck, and paper, and that within three or foure dayes they would returne, and (as we iudged) bring those of our men which were liuing, with them.
They also made signes or tokens of their king, whom they called Cacough, and how he was carried on mens shoulders, and a man farre surmounting any of our company, in bignesse and stature.
Their vsage in traffique or exchange. With these tokens and signes of writing, penne, yncke, and paper was deliuered them, which they would not take at our hands, but being laid vpon the shore, and the partie gone away, they tooke vp: which likewise they do when they desire any thing for change of theirs, laying for that which is left so much as they thinke will counteruaile the same, and not coming neere together. It seemeth they haue been vsed to this trade or traffique, with some other people adioining, or not farre distant from their Countrey.
The people shew themselues the third time. After 4. dayes some of them shewed themselues vpon the firme land, but not where they were before. Our General very glad thereof, supposing to heare of our men, went from the Island, with the boat, and sufficient company with him. They seemed very glad, and allured him about a certaine point of the land: behind which they might perceiue a company of the crafty villaines to lye lurking, whom our Generall would not deale withall, for that he knew not what company they were, and so with few signes dismissed them and returned to his company.
The people shew themselues againe on firme land. An other time as our said Generall was coasting the Countrey with two little Pinnesses, whereby at our returne he might make the better relation thereof, three of the crafty villans, with a white skin allured vs to them. Their first meanes to allure vs to shore. Once again, our Generall, for that he hoped to heare of his men, went towards them: at our comming neere the shore whereon they were, we might perceiue a number of them lie hidden behind great stones, and those 3. in sight labouring by all meanes possible that some would come on land: and perceiuing we made no hast by words nor friendly signes, which they vsed by clapping of their hands, and being without weapon, and but 3. in sight, they sought further meanes to prouoke vs therevnto. Their second meanes. One alone laid flesh on the shore, which we tooke vp with the Boate hooke, as necessary victuals for the relieuing of the man, woman, and child, whom we had taken: for that as yet they could not digest our meat: whereby they perceiued themselues deceiued of their expectation, for all their crafty allurements. Their third and craftiest allurement. Yet once againe to make (as it were) a full shew of their craftie natures, and subtile sleights, to the intent thereby to haue intrapped and taken some of our men, one of them counterfeited himselfe impotent and lame of his legs, who seemed to descend to the water side, with great difficulty: and to couer his craft the more, one of his fellowes came downe with him, and in such places where he seemed vnable to passe, he tooke him on his shoulders, set him by the water side, and departed from him, leauing him (as it should seeme) all alone, who playing his counterfeit pageant very well, thought thereby to prouoke some of vs to come on shore, not fearing, but that one of vs might make our party good with a lame man.
Compassion to cure a crafty lame man. Our Generall hauing compassion of his impotency, thought good (if it were possible) to cure him thereof: wherefore he caused a souldier to shoote at him with his Caleeuer, which grased before his face. The counterfeit villeine deliuerly fled, without any impediment at all, and got him to his bow and arrowes, and the rest from their lurking holes, with their weapons, bowes, arrowes, slings, and darts. Our Generall caused some caleeuers to be shot off at them, whereby some being hurt, they might hereafter stand in more feare of vs.
This was all the answere for this time we could haue of our men, or of our Generals letter. Their crafty dealing at these three seuerall times being thus manifest vnto vs, may plainely shew their disposition in other things to be correspondent. We iudged that they vsed these stratagemes, thereby to haue caught some of vs, for the deliuering of the man, woman and child whom we had taken.
They are men of a large corporature, and good proportion: their colour is not much vnlike the Sunne burnt Countrey man, who laboureth daily in the Sunne for his liuing.
They weare their haire something long, and cut before either with stone or knife, very disorderly. Their women weare their haire long and knit vp with two loupes, shewing forth on either side of their faces, and the rest foltred vpon a knot. Also some of their women race their faces proportionally, as chinne, cheekes, and forehead, and the wrists of their hands, wherevpon they lay a colour which continueth darke azurine.
They eate their meat all raw, both flesh, fish, and foule, or something per boyled with blood and a little water which they drinke. For lacke of water they will eate yce, that is hard frosen, as pleasantly as we will do Sugar Candie, or other Sugar.
If they for necessities sake stand in need of the premisses, such grasse as the countrey yeeldeth they plucke vp and eate, not deintily, or salletwise to allure their stomacks to appetite: but for necessities sake without either salt, oiles or washing, like brute beasts deuouring the same. They neither vse table, stoole, or table cloth for comlines; but when they are imbrued with blood knuckle deepe, and their kniues in like sort, they vse their tongues as apt instruments to lick them cleane: in doing whereof they are assured to loose none of their victuals.
Dogges like vnto wolues. They frank or keepe certaine dogs not much vnlike Wolues, which they yoke togither, as we do oxen and horses, to a sled or traile: and so carry their necessaries ouer the yce and snow from place to place: as the captiue, whom we haue, made perfect signes. They eate dogs flesh. And when these dogs are not apt for the same vse: or when with hunger they are constrained for lacke of other victuals, they eate them: so that they are as needfull for them in respect of their bignesse, as our oxen are for vs.
They apparell themselues in the skins of such beasts as they kill, sewed together with the sinewes of them. All the foule which they kill, they skin, and make thereof one kind of garment or other to defend them from the cold.
Hoods and tailes to their apparell. They make their apparel with hoods and tailes, which tailes they giue when they thinke to gratifie any friendship shewed vnto them: a great signe of friendship with them. The men haue them not so side55 as the women.
The men and women weare their hose close to their legges, from the wast to the knee without any open before, as well the one kind as the other. Vpon their legges they weare hose of leather, with the furre side inward two or three paire on at once, and especially the women. In those hose they put their kniues, needles, and other thing needfull to beare about. They put a bone within their hose, which reacheth from the foote to the knee, whereupon they draw the said hose, and so in place of garters they are holden from falling downe about their feete.
They dresse their skinnes very soft and souple with the haire on. In cold weather or Winter they weare the furre side inward: and Summer outward. Other apparell they haue none but the said skinnes.
Those beasts, fishes, and foules, which they kill, are their meat, drinke, apparell, houses, bedding, hose, shooes, threed, and sailes for their boates, with many other necessaries whereof they stand in need, and almost all their riches.
Their houses of Seale skins and firre. Their houses are tents made of Seale skins, pitched vp with 4. Firre quarters foure square meeting at the top, and the skins sewed together with sinews, and laid thereupon: they are so pitched vp, that the entrance into them is alwayes South or against the Sunne.
They haue other sorts of houses which we found not to be inhabited, which are raised with stones and Whale bones, and a skinne layd ouer them, to with stand the raine, or other weather: the entrance of them being not much vnlike an Ouens mouth, whereto I thinke they resort for a time to fish, hunt, and foule, and so leaue them vntil the next time they come thither again.
Their weapons of defence. Their weapons are bowes, arrowes, darts, and slings. Their bowes are of wood of a yard long, sinewed at the back with strong sinews, not glued too, but fast girded and tyed on. Their bow strings are likewise sinewes. Their arrowes are three pieces nocked with bone, and ended with bone, with those two ends, and the wood in the midst, they passe not in length halfe a yard or little more. They are fethered with two fethers the penne end being cut away, and the fethers layd vpon the arrow with the broad side to the wood; insomuch that they seeme when they are tyed on, to haue foure fethers. Three sorts of heads to their arrowes. They haue also three sorts of heads to those arrowes: one sort of stone or yron, proportioned like to a heart: the second sort of bone, much like vnto a stopt head, with a hooke on the same: the third sort of bone likewise made sharpe at both sides, and sharpe pointed. They are not made very fast but lightly tyed to, or else set in a nocke, that vpon small occasion the arrowes leaue these heads behind them: and they are of small force, except they be very neere when they shoote.
two sorts of darts. Their Darts are made of two sorts: the one with many forkes of bones in the fore end and likewise in the midst: their proportions are not much vnlike our toasting yrons, but longer: these they cast out of an instrument of wood, very readily. The other sort is greater then the first aforesayd, with a long bone made sharpe on both sides not much vnlike a Rapier, which I take to bee their most hurtfull weapon.
Two sortes of boates made of leather. They haue two sorts of boats made of leather, set out on the inner side with quarters of wood, artificially tyed with thongs of the same: the greater sort are not much vnlike our wherries, wherein sixteene or twenty men may sit: they haue for a sayle drest the guts of such beasts as they kill very fine and thinne, which they sew together: the other boate is but for one man to sit and row in with one oare.
They vse to foule, fish, and hunt. Their order of fishing, hunting, and fouling are with these said weapons; but in what sort, or how they vse them we haue no perfect knowledge as yet.
It is to be supposed that their inhabiting is elsewhere. I can suppose their abode or habitation not to be here, for that neither their houses or apparell, are of such force to withstand the extremity of cold, that the Countrey seemeth to be infected with all: neither do I see any signe likely to performe the same.
Those houses or rather dennes which stand there, haue no signe of footway, or any thing else troden, which is one of the chiefest tokens of habitation. And those tents which they bring with them, when they haue sufficiently hunted and fished, they remoue to other places: and when they haue sufficiently stored them of such victuals, as the Countrey yeeldeth or bringeth forth, they returne to their winter stations or habitations. This coniecture do I make, for the infertility which I coniecture to be in that Countrey.
Their vse of yron. They haue some yron whereof they make arrow heads, kniues, and other little instruments, to worke their boates, bowes, arrowes, and darts withall, which are very vnapt to doe any thing withall but with great labour.
It seemeth that they haue conuersation with some other people, of whom for exchange they should receiue the same. They are greatly delighted with any thing that is bright, or giueth a sound.
Anthropophagi. What knowledge they haue of God, or what Idoll they adore, we haue no perfect intelligence, I thinke them rather Anthropophagi, or deuourers of mans flesh then otherwise: for that there is no flesh or fish which they find dead (smell it neuer so filthily) but they will eate it, as they finde it without any other dressing. A loathsome thing, either to the beholders or hearers.
There is no maner of creeping beast hurtfull, except some Spiders (which as many affirme, are signes of great store of gold) and also certaine stinging Gnattes, which bite so fiercely, that the place where they bite shortly after swelleth, and itcheth very sore.
They make signes of certaine people that weare bright plates of gold in their foreheads, and other places of their bodies.
Description of the Countreis. The Countreys on both sides the streights lye very high with rough stony mountaines, and great quantitie of snow thereon. There is very little plaine ground and no grasse, except a little which is much like vnto mosse that groweth on soft ground, such as we get Turffes in. There is no wood at all. To be briefe there is nothing fit or profitable for the vse of man, which that Countrey with roote yeeldeth or bringeth forth: Howbeit there is great quantity of Deere, whose skins are like vnto Asses, there heads or hornes doe farre exceede, as well in length as also in breadth, any in these our parts or Countreys: their feete likewise are as great as our oxens, which we measured to be seuen or eight ynches in breadth. There are also hares, wolues, fishing beares, and sea foule of sundry sorts.
As the Countrey is barren and vnfertile, so are they rude and of no capacitie to culture the same to any perfection; but are contented by their hunting, fishing, and fouling, with raw flesh and warme blood to satisfie their greedy panches, which is their only glory.
A signe of Earthquakes or thunder. There is great likelihood of Earthquakes or thunder: for that there are huge and monstrous mountaines, whose greatest substance are stones, and those stones so shaken with some extraordinarie meanes that one is separated from another, which is discordant from all other Quarries.
No riuers, but such as the Sunne doth cause to come of Snow. There are no riuers or running springs, but such as through the heate of the Sunne, with such water as decendeth from the mountaines and hilles, whereon great drifts of snow do lie, are engendred.
A probability that there should be neither spring or riuer in the ground. It argueth also that there should be none: for that the earth, which with the extremitie of the Winter is so frosen within, that that water which should haue recourse within the same to maintaine springs, hath not his motion, whereof great waters haue their originall, as by experience is seene otherwhere. Such valleis as are capable to receiue the water, that in the Summer time by the operation of the Sunne decendeth from great abundance of snowe, which continually lyeth on the mountaines and hath no passage, sinketh into the earth and so vanisheth away, without any runnell aboue the earth, by which occasion or continuall standing of the said water, the earth is opened, and the great frost yeeldeth to the force thereof, which in other places foure or fiue fathomes within the ground for lacke of the said moisture, the earth (euen in the very summer time) is frosen, and so combineth the stones together, that scarcely instruments with great force can vnknit them.
Also where the water in those valleis can haue no such passage away, by the continuance of time in such order as is before rehearsed, the yeerely descent from the mountaines filleth them full, that at the lowest banke of the same, they fall into the valley, and so continue as fishing Ponds or Stagnes in Summer time full of water, and in the Winter hard frosen: as by skarres that remaine thereof in Summer may easily be perceiued: so that the heat of Summer is nothing comparable or of force to dissolue the extremitie of cold that commeth in Winter.
Springs nourish gold. Neuerthelesse I am assured that below the force of the frost within the earth, the waters haue recourse, and emptie themselues out of sight into the Sea, which through the extremitie of the frost are constrained to doe the same: by which occasion the earth within is kept the warmer, and springs haue their recourse, which is the only nutriment of golde and Minerals within the same.
There is much to be sayd of the commodities of these Countreys, which are couched within the bowels of the earth, which I let passe till more perfect triall be made thereof.
The 24. of August after we had satisfied our minds with fraight sufficient for our vessels, though not our couetous desires with such knowledge of the Countrey people, and other commodities as are before rehearsed, we departed therehence. Our departure from those Countreys. The 17. of September we fell with the lands end of England, and so sailed to Milford Hauen, from whence our Generall rode to the Court for order, to what Port or Hauen to conduct the ship.
How and when we lost our 2. Barks which God neuerthelesse restored. We lost our two Barkes in the way homeward, the one the 29. of August, the other the 21. of the same moneth, by occasion of great tempest and fogge. Howbeit God restored the one to Bristowe, and the other made his course by Scotland to Yermouth. In this voyage we lost two men, one in the way by Gods visitation, and the other homeward cast ouer borde with a surge of the Sea.
The conclusion. I could declare vnto the Readers, the latitude and longitude of such places and regions as we haue bene at, but not altogether so perfectly as our masters and others, with many circumstances of tempests and other accidents incident to Sea-faring men, which seeme not altogether strange, but I let them passe to their reports as men most apt to set forth and declare the same. I haue also left the names of the Countreys on both the shores vntouched, for lacke of vnderstanding the peoples language: as also for sundry respects, not needfull as yet to be declared.
Countreys new discovered where commoditie is to be looked for, doe better accord with a new name giuen by the discouerers, then an vncertaine name by a doubtfull Authour.
Our generall named sundry Islands, Mountaines, Capes, and Harboroughs after the names of diuers Noble men and other gentlemen his friends, as wel on the one shore as also on the other.
50 Far from coming from Newfoundland, this drift-wood is carried into the Arctic Ocean by the Yenisei and other large rivers of Siberia.
51 Contrary to the opinion of Mr. Weise, who insists that Friseland is Iceland, I am inclined to believe that the East coast of Greenland is meant.
52 Lieutenant Nansen’s expedition across Greenland negatives this supposition, but the West coast is more habitable than the East.
53 Frobisher Bay: it is not a strait. Hall’s Island is Hall’s Peninsula.
55 Long. From Saxon sid. (See BEN JONSON, New Inn, v. 1.)
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09