Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The third and last voyage vnto Meta Incognita, made by M. Martin Frobisher, in the yeere 1578. Written by Thomas Ellis.

These are to let you know, that vpon the 25. of May, the Thomas Allen being Viceadmirall whose Captaine was M. Yorke, M. Gibbes Master, Christopher Hall Pilot, accompanied with the Reareadmiral named the Hopewel, whose Captaine was M. Henrie Carewe, the M. Andrewe Dier, and certaine other ships came to Grauesend, where wee ankered and abode the comming of our Fleete which were not yet come.

The 27. of the same moneth our Fleete being nowe come together, and all things prest in a readinesse, the wind fauouring, and tide seruing, we being of sailes in number eight, waied ankers and hoised our sailes toward Harwich to meete with our Admirall, and the residue which then and there abode arriuall: where we safely arriued the 28. thereof, finding there our Admirall, whom we with the discharge of certaine pieces saluted, acording to order and duety, and were welcommed with the like courtesie: which being finished we landed; where our Generall continued mustering his souldiers and Miners, and setting things in order appertaining to the voyage vntill the last of the said moneth of May, which day we hoised our sailes, and committing ourselues to the conducting of Almightie God, we set forward toward the west Countrey in such luckie wise and good successe, that by the fift of Iune we passed the Dursies, being the vtmost part of Ireland to the Westward.

And here it were not much amisse nor farre from our purpose, if I should a little discourse and speake of our aduentures and chances by the way, as our landing at Plimmouth, as also the meeting certaine poore men, which were robbed and spoyled of all that they had by Pirates and Rouers: amongst whom was a man of Bristow, on whom our Generall vsed his liberality, and sent him away with letters into England.

But because such things are impertinent to the matter, I will returne (without any more mentioning of the same) to that from the which I haue digressed and swarued, I meane our ships now sailing on the surging seas, sometime passing at pleasure with a wished Easterne wind, sometimes hindered of our course againe by the Westerne blasts, vntill the 20. day of the foresayd moneth of Iune, on which day in the morning we fell with Frizeland, which is a very hie and cragged land and was almost cleane couered with snow, so that we might see nought but craggie rockes and the topes of high and huge hilles, sometimes (and for the most part) all couered with foggie mists. There might we also perceiue the great Isles of yce lying on the seas, like mountaines, some small, some big, of sundry kinds of shapes, and such a number of them, that wee could not come neere the shore for them.

Thus sailing alongst the coast, at the last we saw a place somewhat voyd of yce, where our Generall (accompanied with certaine other) went a shore, where they sawe certaine tents made of beasts skinnes; and boates much the like vnto theirs of Meta Incognita. The tents were furnished with flesh, fish, skins, and other trifles: amonst the which was found a boxe of nailes: whereby we did coniecture, that they had either Artificers amongst them, or els a traffike with some other nation. The men ran away, so that wee coulde haue no conference or communication with them. The curtesie of our Generall. Our Generall (because hee would haue them no more to flee, but rather incouraged to stay through his courteous dealing) gaue commaundement that his men should take nothing away with them, sauing onely a couple of white dogs, for the which he left pinnes, poynts, kniues, and other trifling things, and departed without taking or hurting any thing, and so came abord, and hoysed sailes, and passed forwards.

But being scarce out of the sight thereof, there fell such a foggy and hidious mist that we could not see one another: whereupon we stroke our drums, and sounded our trumpets, to the ende we might keepe together: and so continued all that day and night till the next day that the mist brake vp: so that we might easily perceiue all the ships thus sailing together all that day, vntil the next day, being the 22. of the same: on which day wee sawe an infinite number of yce, from the which we cast about to shun the danger thereof.

But one of our small Barkes named the Michael, whose Captaine was Master Kinderslie, the master Bartholomew Bull, lost our company, insomuch that we could not obteine the sight of her many dayes after, of whom I meane to speak further anon when occassion shall be ministred, and opportunitie serue. Thus we continued in our course vntill the second of Iuly, on which day we fell with the Queenes foreland, where we saw so much yce, that we thought it vnpossible to get into the Straights; yet at the last we gaue the aduenture and entred the yce.

The Michael. The Iudith. M. Fenton. Charles Iackman. Being amongst it wee sawe the Michael, of whom I spake before, accompanied with the Iudith, whose Captaine was Master Fenton, the Master Charles Iackman, bearing into the foresayd yce, farre distant from vs, who in a storme that fell that present night, (whereof I will at large God willing, discourse hereafter) were seuered from vs, and being in, wandred vp and downe the Straights amongst the yce many dayes in great perill, till at the last, by the prouidence of God, they came safely to harbor in their wished Port in the Countesse of Warwicks sound, the 20. of Iuly aforesayd, tenne dayes before any of the other shippes: The Countesse of Warwicks sound. who going on shore found where the people of the Countrey had bene, and had hid their provision in great heapes of stones being both of flesh and fish, which they had killed; whereof wee also found great store in other places after our arriual. They found also diuers engins, as bowes, slings, and darts. They found likewise certaine pieces of the Pinnesse which our Generall left there the yeere before, which Pinnesse he had sunke, minding to haue it againe the next yeere.

Now seeing I haue entreated so much of the Iudith and the Michael: I will returne to the rest of the other ships, and will speake a little of the storme which fell, with the mishaps that we had, the night that we put into the yce: whereof I made mention before.

Our entrance and passage &c. At the first entring into the yce in the mouth of the Straights, our passage was very narrow, and difficult but being once gotten in, we had a faire open place without any yce for the most part, being a league in compasse, the yce being round about vs and inclosing vs, as it were, within the pales of a parke. In which place, (because it was almost night) we minded to take in our sailes, and lie a hull all that night. But the storme so increased, and the waues began to mount aloft, which brought the yce so neere vs, and comming on so fast vpon vs, that we were faine to beare in and out, where we might espie an open place. Thus the yce comming on vs so fast, we were in great danger, looking euery houre for death. And thus passed we on in that great danger, seeing both our selues and the rest of our ships so troubled and tossed amongst the yce, that it would make the strongest heart to relent.

Barke Dionyse. At the last the Barke Dionyse being but a weake ship, and bruised afore amongst the yce, being so leake that no longer she could tarry aboue the water, sanke without sauing any of the goods which were within her: which sight so abashed the whole Fleete, that we thought verily we should haue tasted of the same sauce. But neuerthelesse we seeing them in such danger, manned our boates and saued all men in such wise, that not one perished: God be thanked.

Narow shifts for safetie. The storme still increased and the yce inclosed vs, so that we were faine to take downe top and top mastes: for the yce had so inuironed vs, that we could see neither land nor sea, as farre as we could kenne: so that we were faine to cut our cables to hang ouer boord for fenders, somewhat to ease the ships sides from the great and driry strokes of the yce: some with Capstan barres, some fending off with oares, some with plancks of two ynches thicke, which were broken immediatly with the force of the yce, some going out vpon the yce to beare it off with their shoulders from the ship. But the rigorousnes of the tempest was such, and the force of the yce so great, that not onely they burst and spoyled the foresaid prouision, but likewise so raised the sides of the ships, that it was pitifull to behold, and caused the hearts of many to faint.

Gods prouidence. Thus we continued all that dismall and lamentable night plunged in this perplexity, looking for instant death: but our God (who neuer leaueth them destitute which call vpon him, although he often punisheth for amendements sake) in the morning caused the winds to cease, and the fogge which all that night lay on the face of the water to cleare: so that we might perceiue about a mile from vs, a certaine place cleare from any yce, to the which with an easie breath of wind which our God sent vs, we bent our selues. And furthermore, hee prouided better for vs then we deserued or hoped for: for when we were in the foresaid cleare place, he sent vs a fresh gale at West or at West Southwest, which set vs cleare without all the yce. And further he added more: for he sent vs so pleasant a day as the like we had not of a long time before, as after punishment consolation.

Thus we ioyfull wights being at libertie, tooke in all our sailes and lay a hull, praysing God for our deliuerance, and stayed to gather together our Fleete: which once being done, we seeing that none of them had any great hurt, neither any of them wanted, sauing onely they of whom I spake before and the ship which was lost, then at the last we hoised our sailes, and lay bulting off and on, till such time as it would please God to take away the yce that wee might get into the Straights.

A mountaine of yce appearing in sundry figures. And as we thus lay off and on we came by a marueilous huge mountaine of yce, which surpassed all the rest that euer we saw: for we iudged it to be neere fourescore fathomes aboue water, and we thought it to be a ground for any thing that we could perceiue, being there nine score fathoms deepe, and of compasse about halfe a mile.

A fog of long continuance. Also the fift of Iuly there fell a hidious fogge and mist, that continued till the nineteenth of the same: so that one shippe could not see another. A current to the Northwest. Therefore we were faine to beare a small sayle and to obserue the time: but there ran such a current of a tide, that it set vs to the Northwest of the Queenes foreland the backside of all the Straights: where (through the contagious fogge hauing no sight either of Sunne or Starre) we scarce knew where we were. In this fogge the tenth of Iuly we lost the company of the Viceadmirall, the Anne Francis, the Busse of Bridgewater, and the Francis of Foy.

The Gabriel. The people offer to traffike with vs. The 16. day one of our small Barkes named The Gabriel was sent by our Generall to beare in with the land to descrie it, where being on land, they met with the people of the Countrey, which seemed very humane and ciuill, and offered to traffike with our men, profering them foules and skins for kniues, and other trifles: whose courtesie caused vs to thinke, that they had small conuersation with other of the Straights.

Then we bare backe againe to goe with the Queenes foreland: and the eighteenth day wee came by two Islands whereon we went on shore, and found where the people had bene: but we saw none of them. This day we were againe in the yce, and like to be in as great perill as we were at the first. For through the darknesse and obscuritie of the fogie mist, we were almost run on rocks and Islands before we saw them: But God (euen miraculously) prouided for vs, opening the fogges that we might see clearely, both where and in what danger we presently were, and also the way to escape: or els without faile we had ruinously runne vpon the rocks.

When we knew perfectly our instant case, wee cast about to get againe on Sea bord, which (God be thanked) by night we obtained and praised God. The cleare continued scarce an houre, but the fogge fell againe as thicke as euer it was.

Warning pieces of safe passage discharged. Then the Rearadmirall and the Beare got themselues cleare without danger of yce and rocks, strooke their sailes and lay a hull, staying to haue the rest of the Fleet come forth: which as yet had not found the right way to cleare themselues from the danger of rockes and yce, vntill the next morning, at what time the Rearadmirall discharged certaine warning pieces to giue notice that she had escaped, and that the rest (by following of her) might set themselues free, which they did that day.

Then hauing gathered our selues togither we proceeded on our purposed voyage, bearing off, and keeping our selues distant from the coast till the 19. day of Iuly; at which time the fogges brake vp and dispersed, so that we might plainely and clearly behold the pleasant ayre, which so long had bene taken from vs, by the obscuritie of the foggie mists: and after that time we were not much incumbred therewith vntill we had left the confines of the Countrey.

A faire sound betweene the Queenes foreland and Iackmans sound. Then we espying a fayre sound, supposed it to goe into the Straights betweene the Queenes foreland and Iackmans sound, which proued as we imagined. For our Generall sent forth againe the Gabriel to discouer it, who passed through with much difficulty: for there ran such an extreme current of a tide, with such a horrible gulfe, that with a fresh gale of wind they were scarce able to stemme it: yet at length with great trauaile they passed it, and came to the Straights, where they met with the Thomas Allen, the Thomas of Ipswich, and the Busse of Bridgewater: who altogether aduentured to beare into the yce againe, to see if they could obtaine their wished Port. But they were so incombred that with much difficultie they were able to get out againe, yet at the last they escaping, the Thomas Allen, and the Gabriel bare in with the Westerne shore, where they found harbour, and there moared their ships vntill the fourth of August, at which time they came to vs in the Countesse of Warwicks sound. The Thomas of Ipswich caught a great leake which caused her to cast againe to Seabord and so was mended.

We sailed along still by the coast vntill we came to the Queenes foreland, at the point whereof we met with part of the gulfe aforesaid, which place or gulfe (as some of our Masters doe credibly report) doeth flow nine houres, and ebs but three. At that point wee discouered certaine lands Southward, which neither time nor opportunitie would serue to search. Then being come to the mouth of the Straights, we met with the Anne Francis, who had laine bulting vp and downe euer since her departure alone, neuer finding any of her company. We met then also the Francis of Foy, with whom againe we intended to venture and get in: but the yce was yet so thicke, that we were compelled againe to retyre and get vs on Sea bord.

An horrible snowe fell in Iuly. There fell also the same day being the 26. of Iuly, such an horrible snow, that it lay a foot thick vpon the hatches which frose as it fell.

We had also at other times diuers cruell stormes both of snow and haile, which manifestly declared the distemperature of the Countrey: yet for all that wee were so many times repulsed and put backe from our purpose, knowing that lingering delay was not profitable for vs, but hurtfull to our voyage, we mutually consented to our valiant Generall once againe to giue the onset.

The 28. day therefore of the same Iuly we assayed, and with little trouble (God be praysed) we passed the dangers by day light. The time of our setting forward, &c. Then night falling on the face of the earth, wee hulled in the cleare, til the chearefull light of the day had chased away the noysome darkenesse of the night: at which time we set forward towards our wished Port: by the 30. day wee obteined our expected desire, where we found the Iudith, and the Michael: which brought no smal ioy vnto the General, and great consolation to the heauie hearts of those wearied wights.

The 30. day of Iuly we brought our ships into the Countesse of Warwicks sound, and moared them, namely these ships, The Admirall, the Rearadmirall, the Francis of Foy, the Beare Armenel, the Salomon, and the Busse of Bridgewater: which being done, our Generall commaunded vs all to come a shore vpon the Countesses Iland, where he set his Miners to worke vpon the Mine, giuing charge with expedition to dispatch with their lading.

Our Generall himselfe, accompanied with his Gentlemen, diuers times made rodes into sundry partes of the Countrey, as well to finde new Mines, as also to finde out and see the people of the Countrey. The Countesse of Sussex Iland. He found out one Mine vpon an Island by Beares sound, and named it the Countesse of Sussex Island. Winters Fornace. One other was found in Winters Fornace, with diuers others, to which the ships were sent sunderly to be laden. Dauids Sound. In the same rodes he mette with diuers of the people of the Countrey at sundry times, as once at a place called Dauids sound: who shot at our men, and very desperately gaue them the onset, being not aboue three or foure in number, there being of our Countrey men aboue a dozen: but seeing themselues not able to preuaile, they tooke themselues to flight; whom our men pursued, but being not vsed to such craggie cliffes, they soone lost the sight of them, and so in vaine returned.

The policie of the people for the safetie of themselues. We also saw of them at Beares sound, both by Sea and land in great companies: but they would at all times keepe the water betweene them and vs. And if any of our ships chanced to be in the sound (as they came diuers times, because the Harbor was not very good) the ship laded, and departed againe: then so long as any ships were in sight, the people would not be seene. But when as they perceiued the ships to be gone, they would not only shew themselues standing vpon high cliffes, and call vs to come ouer vnto them: but also would come in their Botes very neere to vs, as it were to brag at vs: whereof our Generall hauing aduertisement, sent for the Captaines and Gentlemen of the ships, to accompany and attend vpon him, with the Captaine also of the Anne Francis, who was but the night before come vnto vs. For they, and the Fleebote hauing lost vs the 26. day in the great snow, put into an harbour in the Queenes foreland, where they found good Oare, wherewith they laded themselues, and came to seeke the Generall: so that now we had all our Shippes, sauing one Barke, which was lost, and the Thomas of Ipswich, who (compelled by what furie I knowe not) forsooke our company, and returned home without lading.

Their speedie flight at our Generalls arriual. Our Generall accompanied with his Gentlemen, (of whom I spake) came altogether to the Countesse of Sussex Island, neere to Beares sound: where he manned out certaine Pinasses, and went ouer to the people: who perceiuing his arriuall, fledde away with all speede, and in haste left certaine dartes and other engines behinde them, which we found: but the people we could not finde.

The next morning our Generall perceiuing certaine of them in botes vpon the Sea gaue chase to them in a Pinnesse vnder saile, with a fresh gale of winde, but could by no meanes come neere vnto them: for the longer he sailed, the further off he was from them: which well shewed their cunning and actiuitie. Thus time wearing away, and the day of our departure approching, our Generall commaunded vs to lade with all expedition, that we might be againe on Seaboard with our ships: for whilest we were in the Countrey, we were in continual danger of freesing in: for often snowe and haile often falling, the water was so much frosen and congealed in the night, that in the morning we could scarce rowe our botes or Pinnesses, especially in Diers sound, which is a calme and still water: which caused our Generall to make the more haste, so that by the 30. day of August we were all laden, and made all things ready to depart.

Gentlemen should haue inhabited the Countrey. But before I proceede any further herein, to shew what fortune befell at our departure, I will turne my penne a litle to M. Captaine Fenton, and those Gentlemen which should haue inhabited all the yeere in those Countries, whose valiant mindes were much to be commended: For doubtlesse they had done as they intended if lucke had not withstoode their willingnesse.

For the Barke Dionyse which was lost, had in her much of their house which was prepared and should haue bene builded for them, with many other implements. Also the Thomas of Ipswich which had most of their prouision in her, came not into the Streights at all: neither did we see her since the day we were separated in the great snow, of which I spake before. For these causes, hauing not their house, nor yet prouision, they were disappointed of their pretence to tarie, and therefore laded their ships, and so came away with vs.

An house tricked and garnished with diuers trinkets. But before we tooke shipping, we builded a litle house in the Countesse of Warwicks Island, and garnished it with many kinds of trifles, as Pinnes, Points, Laces, Glasses, Kombes, Babes on horsebacke and on foote, with innumerable other such fansies and toyes: thereby to allure and entice the people to some familiaritie against other yeeres.

Thus hauing finished all things we departed the Countrey, as I sayd before: but because the Busse had not lading enough in her, she put into Beares sound to take in a little more. In the meane while the Admirall, and the rest without at Sea stayed for her. And that night fell such an outragious tempest, beating on our shipps with such vehement rigor, that anchor and cable auailed nought: for we were driuen on rockes and Islands of yce, insomuch that (had not the great goodnesse of God bene miraculously shewed to vs) we had bene cast away euery man. This danger was more doubtfull and terrible, then any that preceded or went before: for there was not any one shippe (I thinke) that escaped without damage. Some lost anchor and also cables, some botes, some Pinnesses: some anchor, cables, boates, and Pinnisses.

This boystrous storme so seuered vs from one another, that one shippe knewe not what was become of another. The Admirall knewe not where to finde the Viceadmirall or Rearadmirall, or any other ship of our company. Our Generall being on land in Beares sound could not come to his shippe, but was compelled to goe aboord the Gabriel where he continued all the way homeward: for the boystrous blasts continued so extreamely and so long a time, that they sent vs homewarde (which was Gods fauour towardes vs) will we, nill we, in such haste as not any one of vs were able to keepe in company with other, but were separated. And if by chance any one Shippe did ouertake other, by swiftnesse of sayle, or mette, as they often did: yet was the rigour of the wind so hidious, that they could not continue company together the space of one whole night.

Our entring the coastes dangerous. Thus our iourney outward was not so pleasant, but our comming thither, entering the coasts and countrey, by narrow Streights, perillous yce, and swift tides, our times of aboade there in snowe and stormes, and our departure from thence the 31. of August with dangerous blustering windes and tempests, which that night arose, was as vncomfortable: separating vs so as we sayled, that not any of vs mette together, vntill the 28. of September, which day we fell on the English coastes, betweene Sylley and the landes ende, and passed the channell, vntill our arriuall in the riuer of Thames.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55