A true discourse of the three Voyages of discouerie, for the finding of a passage to Cathaya, by the Northwest, vnder the conduct of Martin Frobisher Generall: Before which as a necessary Preface is prefixed a twofolde discourse, conteining certaine reasons to proue all partes of the World habitable. Penned by Master George Best, a Gentleman employed in the same voyages.
What commodities and instructions may be reaped by diligent reading this Discourse.
1 First, by example may be gathered, how a Discouerer of new Countries is to proceede in his first attempt of any Discouerie.
2 Item, how he should be prouided of shipping, victuals, munition, and choice of men.
3 How to proceede and deale with strange people, be they neuer so barbarous, cruell and fierce, either by lenitie or otherwise.
4 How trade of Merchandize may be made without money.
5 How a Pilot may deale, being inuironed with mountaines of yce in the frozen sea.
6 How length of dayes, change of seasons, Summers and Winters doe differ in sundry regions.
7 How dangerous it is to attempt new Discoueries, either for the length of the voyage, or the ignorance of the language, the want of Interpreters, new and vnaccustomed Elements and ayres, strange and vnsauoury meates, danger of theeues and robbers, fiercenesse of wilde beastes and fishes, hugenesse of woods, dangerousnesse of Seas, dread of tempestes, feare of hidden rockes, steepnesse of mountaines, darknesse of sudden falling fogges, continuall paines taking without any rest, and infinite others.
8. How pleasant and profitable it is to attempt new Discoueries, either for the sundry sights and shapes of strange beastes and fishes, the wonderfull workes of nature, the different maners and fashions of diuers nations, the sundry sortes of gouernment, the sight of strange trees, fruite, foules, and beasts, the infinite treasure of Pearle, Golde and Siluer, the newes of newe found landes, the sundry positions of the Sphere, and many others.
9. How valiant Captaines vse to deale vpon extremitie, and otherwise.
10 How trustie souldiers dutifully vse to serue.
11 Also here may bee seene a good example to be obserued of any priuate person, in taking notes, and making obseruations of all such things as are requisite for a Discouerer of newe Countries.
12 Lastly, the Reader here may see a good paterne of a well gouerned seruice, sundry instructions of matters of Cosmographie, Geographie, and Nauigation, as in reading more at large may be seene.
Experiences and reasons of the Sphere, to prooue all partes of the worlde habitable, and thereby to confute the position of the fiue Zones.
Experience to proue that Torrida Zone is habitable. First, it may be gathered by experience of our Englishmen in Anno 1553. For Captaine Windam made a Voyage with Merchandise to Guinea, and entred so farre within the Torrida Zona, that he was within three or foure degrees of the Equinoctiall, and his company abiding there certaine Moneths, returned, with gaine.
Also the Englishmen made another Voyage very prosperous and gainefull, An. 1554. to the coasts of Guinea, within 3. degrees of the Equinoctiall. And yet it is reported of a trueth, that all the tract from Cape de las Palmas trending by C. de tres puntas alongst by Benin, vnto the Ile of S. Thomas (which is perpendiculer under the Equinoctial)58 all that whole Bay is more subiect to many blooming and smoothering heates, with infectious and contagious ayres, then any other place in all Torrida Zona: and the cause thereof is some accidents in the land. For it is most certaine, that mountains, Seas, woods and lakes, &c, may cause through their sundry kinde of situation, sundry strange and extraordinary effects, which the reason of the clyme otherwise would not giue. I mention these Voyages of our Englishmen, not so much to prooue that Torrida Zona may bee, and is inhabited, as to shew their readinesse in attempting long and dangerous Nauigations. Wee also among vs in England, haue blacke Moores, Æthiopians, out of all partes of Torrida Zona, which after a small continuance, can well endure the colde of our Countrey, and why should not we as well abide the heate of their Countrey? But what should I name any more experiences, seeing that all the coastes of Guinea and Benin are inhabited of Portugals, Spanyardes, French, and some Englishmen, who there haue built Castles and Townes. Marochus more hote then about the Equinoctiall. Onely this I will say to the Merchants of London, that trade yeerely to Marochus, it is very certaine, that the greatest part of the burning Zone is farre more temperate and coole in Iune, then the Countrey of Marochus, as shall appeare by these reasons and experiences following. For let vs first consider the bignesse of this burning Zone (which as euery man knoweth, is 47. degrees) each Tropicke, which are the bounders thereof, being 28. degrees and a halfe distant from the Equinoctiall. Imagine againe two other Parallels, on each side the Equinoctiall about 20. degrees, which Paralels may be described either of them twice a yeere by the Sunne, being in the first degrees of Gemini the 11. of May, and in Leo the 13. of Iuly, hauing North Latitude. And againe, the Sunne being in the first degrees of Sagittarius, the 12. of Nouember, and in Aquarius the 9. of Ianuary, hauing South latitude, I am to prooue by experience and reason that all that distance included betweene these two Paralels last named (conteyning 40. degrees in latitude, going round about the earth, according to longitude) is not onely habitable, but the same most fruitfull and delectable, and that if any extremitie of heate bee, the same not to be within the space of twenty degrees of the Equinoctiall on either side, but onely vnder and about the two Tropickes, and so proportionally the nearer you doe approch to eyther Tropicke, the more you are subiect to extremitie of heate (if any such be) and so Marochus being situate but sixe or seuen degrees from the Tropicke of Cancer, shall be more subiect to heate, then any place vnder or neere the Equinoctiall line.59
58 It is almost in the exact latitude of Gaboon Bay.
59 Our author is wrong. Morocco lies between the annual Isothermal lines of 68º Fahr. (or 20 Cent.), whilst the mean temperature at the Equator was considered by Humboldt to be 81.4° Fahr. and by Atkinson (Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society) 84.5°.
Marueilous fruitfull soile vnder the Equinoctiall. And first by the experience of sundry men, yea thousands, Trauailers and Merchants, to the East and West Indies in many places, both directly vnder, and hard by the Equinoctiall, they with one consent affirme, that it aboundeth in the middest of Torrida Zona with all manner of Graine, Hearbes, grasse, fruite, wood and cattell, that we haue heere, and thousandes other sortes, farre more wholesome, delectable and precious, then any wee haue in these Northerne climates, as very well shall appeare to him that will reade the Histories and Nauigations of such as haue traueiled Arabia, India intra and extra Gangem, the Islands Moluccæ, America, &c. which all lye about the middle of the burning Zone, where it is truely reported, that the great hearbes, as are Radish, Lettuce, Colewortes, Borage, and such like, doe waxe ripe, greater, more sauourie and delectable in taste then ours, within sixteene dayes after the seede is sowen. Wheate being sowed the first of Februarie, was found ripe the first of May, and generally, where it is lesse fruitfull, the wheate will be ripe the fourth moneth after the seed is sowne, and in some places will bring foorth an eare as bigge as the wrist of a mans arme containing 1000. graines; Beanes, peace, &c. are there ripe twice a yeere. Also grasse being cut downe, will grow vp in sixe dayes aboue one foote high. If our cattell be transported thither, within a small time their young ones become of bigger stature, and more fat than euer they would haue bene in these countreys. Great trees. There are found in euery wood in great numbers, such timber trees as twelue men holding handes together are not able to fathome. Commodities and pleasures vnder the Equinoctiall. And to be short, all they that haue bene there with one consent affirme, that there are the goodliest greene medowes and plaines, the fairest mountaines couered with all sorts of trees and fruites, the fairest valleys, the goodliest pleasant fresh riuers, stored with infinite kinde of fishes, the thickest woods, green and bearing fruite all the whole yeere, that are in all the world. And as for gold, siluer, and all other kinde of Metals, all kinde of spices and delectable fruites, both for delicacie and health, are there in such abundance, as hitherto they haue bene thought to haue beene bred no where else but there. And in conclusion, it is nowe thought that no where else but vnder the Equinoctiall, or not farre from thence, is the earthly Paradise, and the onely place of perfection in this worlde. And that these things may seeme the lesse strange, because it hath bene accompted of the olde Philosophers, that there coulde nothing prosper for the extreme heat of the Sunne continually going ouer their heades in the Zodiacke, I thought good here to alleadge such naturall causes as to me seeme very substantiall and sure reasons.
Heat is caused by two meanes that is by his maner of Angle and by his continuance. First you are to vnderstand that the Sunne doeth worke his more or lesse heat in these lower parts by two meanes, the one is by the kinde of Angle that the Sunne beames doe make with the earth, as in all Torrida Zona it maketh perpendicularly right Angles in some place or other at noone, and towards the two Poles very oblique and vneuen Angles. And the other meane is the longer or shorter continuance of the Sunne aboue the Horizon. So that wheresoeuer these two causes do most concurre, there is most excesse of heat: and when the one is wanting, the rigor of the heat is lesse. For though the Sunne beames do beat perpendicularly vpon any region subiect vnto it, if it hath no continuance or abode aboue the Horizon, to worke his operation in, there can no hote effect proceed. For nothing can be done in a moment. Note this reason. And this second cause mora Solis supra Horizontem, the time of the sunnes abiding aboue the Horizon, the old Philosophers neuer remembred, but regarded onely the maner of Angles that the Sunne beames made with the Horizon, which if they were equall and right, the heat was the greater, as in Torrida Zona: if they were vnequall and oblique, the heat was the lesse, as towards both Poles, which reason is very good and substantiall: for the perpendicular beames reflect and reuerberate in themselues, so that the heat is doubled, euery beame striking twice, and by vniting are multiplied, and continue strong in forme of a Columne. But in our latitude of 50. and 60. degrees, the Sunne beames descend oblique and slanting wise, and so strike but once and depart, and therefore our heat is the lesse for any effect that the Angle of the Sunne beames make. Yet because wee haue a longer continuance of the Sunnes presence aboue our Horizon then they haue vnder the Equinoctial; by this continuance the heat is increased, for it shineth to vs 16. or 18. houres sometime, when it continueth with them but twelue houres alwayes.
And againe, our night is very short, wherein cold vapours vse to abound, being but sixe or eight houres long, whereas theirs is alwayes twelue houres long, by which two aduantages of long, dayes and short nights, though we want the equalitie of Angle, it commeth to passe that in Sommer our heat here is as great as theirs is there, as hath bene proued by experience, and is nothing dissonant from good reason. Therefore whosoeuer will rightly way the force of colde and heat in any region, must not onely consider the Angle that the Sunne beames make, but also the continuance of the same aboue the Horizon. As first to them vnder the Equinoctiall the Sunne is twice a yeere at noone in their Zenith perpendicular ouer their heads, and therefore during the two houres of those two dayes the heat is very vrgent, and so perhaps it will be in foure or fiue dayes more an houre euery day, vntill the Sunne in his proper motion haue crossed the Equinoctiall; so that this extreme heat caused by the perpendicular Angle of the Sunne beames, endureth but two houres of two dayes in a yeere. But if any man say the Sunne may scalde a good while before and after it come to the Meridian, so farre foorth as reason leadeth, I am content to allow it, and therefore I will measure and proportion the Sunnes heat, by comparing the Angles there, with the Angles made here in England, because this temperature is best knowen vnto vs. As for example, the 11. day of March, when vnder the Equinoctiall it is halfe houre past eight of the clocke in the morning, the Sunne will he in the East about 38. degrees aboue the Horizon, because there it riseth alwayes at six of the clocke, and moueth euery houre 15. degrees, and so high very neere will it be with vs at London the said eleuenth day of March at noone. And therefore looke what force the Sunne hath with vs at noone, the eleventh of March, the same force it seemeth to haue vnder the Equinoctial at half an houre past eight in the morning, or rather lesse force vnder the Equinoctiall, For with vs the Sunne had bene already sixe houres aboue the horizon, and so had purified and clensed all the vapours, and thereby his force encreased at noone; but vnder the Equinoctiall, the Sunne hauing bene vp but two houres and an halfe, had sufficient to doe, to purge and consume the cold and moyst vapours of the long night past, and as yet had wrought no effect of heate. And therefore I may boldly pronounce, that there is much lesse heate at halfe an houre past eight vnder the Equinoctiall, then is with vs at noone: à fortiori. But in March we are not onely contented to haue the Sunne shining, but we greatly desire the same. Likewise the 11. of Iune, the Sunne in our Meridian is 62 degrees high at London: and vnder the Equinoctiall it is so high after 10 of the clocke, and seeing then it is beneficial with vs; à fortiori it is beneficiall to them after 10 of the clocke.
And thus haue wee measured the force of the Sunnes greatest heate, the hottest dayes in the yeere, vnder the Equinoctiall, that is in March and September, from sixe till after tenne of the clocke in the morning, and from two vntill Sunne set. And this is concluded, by respecting onely the first cause of heate, which is the consideration of the Angle of the Sunne beames, by a certaine similitude, that whereas the Sunne shineth neuer aboue twelue houres, more then eight of them would bee coole and pleasant euen to vs, much more to them that are acquainted alwayes with such warme places. So there remaineth lesse then foure houres of excessiue heate, and that onely in the two Sommer dayes of the yeere, that is the eleueuth day of March, and the fourteenth of September: for vnder the Equinoctiall they haue two Sommers, the one in March, and the other in September, which are our Spring and Autumne: and likewise two Winters, in Iune and December, which are our Sommer and Winter, as may well appeare to him that hath onely tasted the principles of the Sphere. But if the Sunne bee in either Tropicke, or approaching neere thereunto, then may wee more easily measure the force of his Meridian altitude, that it striketh vpon the Equinoctiall. As for example, the twelfth of Iune the Sunne will be in the first degree of Cancer. Then look what force the heate of the Sunne hath vnder the Equinoctiall, the same force and greater it hath in all that Parallel, where the Pole is eleuated betweene fourtie and seuen, and fourtie and eight degrees. Paris in France is as hote as vnder the Equinoctiall in Iune. And therefore Paris in France the twelfth day of Iune sustaineth more heate of the Sunne, then Saint Thomas Iland lying neere the same Meridian doeth likewise at noone, or the Ilands Traprobana, Molluccæ, or the firme lande of Peru in America, which all lye vnderneath the Equinoctiall. For vpon the twelfth day of Iune aforesaide, the Sunne beames at noone doe make an Isoscheles Triangle, whose Vertex is the Center of the Sunne, the Basis a line extended from Saint Thomas Iland vnder the Equinoctiall, vnto Paris in France neere the same Meridian: therefore the two Angles of the Base must needs be equal per 5. primi,60 Ergo the force of the heat equal, if there were no other cause then the reason of the Angle, as the olde Philosophers haue appointed. In Iune is greater heat at Paris then vnder the Equinoctiall. But because at Paris the Sunne riseth two houres before it riseth to them vnder the Equinoctiall, and setteth likewise two houres after them, by meanes of the obliquitie of the Horizon, in which time of the Sunnes presence foure houres in one place more then the other, it worketh some effect more in one place then in the other, and being of equall height at noone, it must then needs follow to be more hote in the Parallel of Paris, then it is vnder the Equinoctiall.
60 Our author means the fifth proposition of the first book of Euclid, the celebrated Pons Asinorum.
The twilights are shorter, and the nights darker vnder the Equinoctiall then at Paris. Also this is an other reason, that when the Sunne setteth to them vnder the Equinoctiall, it goeth very deepe and lowe vnder their Horizon, almost euen to their Antipodes, whereby their twilights are very short, and their nights are made very extreeme darke and long, and so the moysture and coldnesse of the long nights wonderfully encreaseth, so that at length the Sunne rising can hardly in many houres consume and driue away the colde humours and moyst vapours of the night past, which is cleane contrary in the Parallel of Paris: for the Sunne goeth vnder their Horizon but very little, after a sloping sort, whereby their nights, are not very darke, but lightsome, as looking into the North in a cleare night without cloudes it doeth manifestly appeare, their twilights are long: for the Parallel of Cancer cutteth not the Horizon of Paris at right Angles, but at Angles very vneuen, and vnlike as it doeth the Horizon of the Equinoctiall. Also the Sommer day at Paris is sixteene houres long, and the night but eight: where contrarywise vnder the Equinoctiall the day is but twelue houres long, and so long is also the night, in whatsoeuer Parallel the Sunne be: and therefore looke what oddes and difference of proportion there is betweene the Sunnes abode aboue the Horizon in Paris, and the abode it hath vnder the Equinoctiall, (it being in Cancer) the same proportion would seeme to be betweene the heate of the one place, and heate of the other: for other things (as the Angle of the whole arke of the Sunnes progresse that day in both places) are equall.
But vnder the Equinoctiall the presence and abode of the Sunne aboue the Horizon is equall to his absence, and abode vnder the Horizon, eche being twelue houres. And at Paris the continuance and abode of the Sunne is aboue the Horizon sixteene houres long, and but eight houres absence, which proportion is double, from which if the proportion of the equalitie be subtracted to finde the difference, there will remaine still a double proportion, whereby it seemeth to follow, that in Iune the heate of Paris were double to the heate vnder the equinoctiall. For (as I haue said) the Angles of the Sunne beames are in all points equall, and the cause of difference is, Mora Solis supra Horizontem, the stay of the Sunne in the one Horizon more then in the other. In what proportion the Angle of the Sun beames heateth. Therefore, whosoeuer could finde out in what proportion the Angle of the Sunne beames heateth, and what encrease the Sunnes continuance doeth adde thereunto, it might expresly be set downe, what force of heat and cold is in all regions.
Thus you partly see by comparing a Climate to vs well knowen and familiarly acquainted by like height of the Sunne in both places, that vnder the Equinoctiall in Iune is no excessiue heat, but a temperate aire rather tendering to cold. They vse and haue neede of fire vnder the Equinoctiall. For as they haue there for the most part a continuall moderate heat, so yet sometime they are a little pinched with colde, and vse the benefite of fire as well as we, especially in the euening when they goe to bed, for as they lye in hanging beds tied fast in the vpper part of the house, so will they haue fires made on both sides their bed, of which two fires, the one they deuise superstitiously to driue away spirits, and the other to keepe away from them the coldnesse of the nights.
Colde intermingled with heate vnder the Equinoctiall. Also in many places of Torrida Zona, especially in the higher landes somewhat mountainous, the people a little shrincke at the colde, and are often forced to prouide themselues clothing, so that the Spaniards haue found in the West Indies many people clothed, especially in Winter, whereby appeareth, that with their heat there is colde intermingled, else would they neuer prouide this remedy of clothing, which to them is rather a griefe and trouble then otherwise. For when they goe to warres, they will put off all their apparel, thinking it to be cumbersome, and will alwayes goe naked, that they thereby might be more nimble in their fight.
Some there be that thinke the middle Zone extremely hot, because the people of the countrey can, and doe liue without clothing, wherein they childishly are deceiued: for our Clime rather tendeth to extremitie of colde, because wee cannot liue without clothing: for this our double lining, furring, and wearing so many clothes, is a remedy against extremetie, and argueth not the goodnesse of the habitation, but inconuenience and iniury of colde: and that is rather the moderate, temperate, and delectable habitation, where none of these troublesome things are required, but that we may liue naked and bare, as nature bringeth vs foorth.
Ethiopians blacke, with curled haire. Others againe imagine the middle Zone to be extreme hot, because the people of Africa, especially the Ethiopians, are so cole blacke, and their haire like wooll curled short, which blacknesse and curled haire they suppose to come onely by the parching heat of the Sunne, which how it should be possible I cannot see: for euen vnder the Equinoctiall in America, and in the East Indies; and in the Ilands Moluccæ the people are not blacke, but tauney and white, with long haire vncurled as wee haue, so that if the Ethiopians blacknesse came by the heate of the Sunne, why should not those Americans and Indians also be as blacke as they, seeing the Sunne is equally distant from them both, they abiding in one Parallel: for the concaue and conuexe Superficies of the Orb of the Sunne is concentrike, and equidistant to the earth; except any man should imagine somewhat of Aux Solis, and Oppositum, which indifferently may be applied aswel to the one place as to the other. The Sunne heateth not by his neerenesse, but onely by reflection. But the Sunne is thought to giue no otherwise heat, but by way of Angle in reflection, and not by his neerenesse to the earth: for throughout all Africa, yea in the middest of the middle Zone, and in all other places vpon the tops of mountaines there lyeth continuall snow, which is nearer to the Orbe of the sunne, then the people are in the valley, by so much as the height of these moantaines amount vnto, and yet the Sunne notwithstanding his neerenesse, can not the melt snow for want of conuenient place of reflections. Also the middle region of the aire where all the haile, frost, and snow is engendred, is neerer vnto the Sunne then the earth is, and yet there continueth perpetuall cold, because there is nothing that the Sunne beames may reflect against, whereby appeareth that the neerenesse of the body of the Sunne worketh nothing.
A blacke Moores sonne borne in England. Therefore to returne againe to the blacke Moores. I myself haue seen an Ethiopian as blacke as a cole brought into England, who taking a faire English woman to wife, begat a sonne in all respects as blacke as the father was, although England were his natiue countrey; and an English woman his mother: whereby it seemeth this blacknes proceedeth rather of some natural infection of that man which was so strong, that neither the nature of the Clime, neither the good complexion of the mother concurring, coulde any thing alter, and therefore wee cannot impute it to the natureof the Clime. The colour of the people in Meta Incognita. The complexion of the people of Meta incognita. And for a more fresh example, our people of Meta Incognita (of whom and for whom this discourse is taken in hande) that were brought this last yeere into England, were all generally of the same colour that many nations be, lying in the middest of the middle Zone. And this their colour was not onely in the face which was subiect to Sunne and aire, but also in their bodies, which were still couered with garments as ours are, yea the very sucking childe of twelue moneths age had his sonne of the very same colour that most haue vnder the equinoctiall, which thing cannot proceed by reason of the Clime, for that they are at least ten degrees more towardes the North then wee in England are, No, the Sunne neuer commeth neere their Zenith by fourtie degrees: for in effect, they are within three or foure degrees of that which they call the frozen Zone, and as I saide, fourtie degrees from the burning Zone, whereby it followeth, that there is some other cause then the Climate or the Sonnes perpendicular reflexion, that should cause the Ethiopians great blacknesse. And the most probable cause to my judgement is, that this blackenesse proceedeth of some naturall infection of the first inhabitants of that Countrey, and so all the whole progenie of them descended, are still polluted with the same blot of infection. Therefore it shall not bee farre from our purpose, to examine the first originall of these blacke men, and howe by a lineall discent they haue hitherto continued thus blacke.
The cause of the Ethiopians blacknesse. It manifestly and plainely appeareth by Holy Scripture, that after the generall inundation and ouerflowing of the earth, there remained no moe men aliue but Noe his three sonnes, Sem, Cham, and Iaphet, who onely were left to possesse and inhabite the whole face of the earth: therefore all the sundry discents that vntil this day haue inhabited the whole earth, must needes come of the off-spring either of Sem, Cham, or Iaphet, as the onely sonnes of Noe, who all three being white, and their wiues also, by course of nature should haue begotten and brought foorth white children. But the enuie of our great and continuall enemie the wicked Spirite is such, that as hee coulde not suffer our olde father Adam to liue in the felicite and Angelike state wherein hee was first created, but tempting him sought and procured his ruine and fall: so againe, finding at this flood none but a father and three sonnes liuing, hee so caused one of them to transgresse and disobey his fathers commaundement, that after him all his posterity shoulde bee accursed. The Arke of Noe. The fact of disobedience was this: When Noe at the commandement of God had made the Arke and entred therein, and the floud-gates of heauen were opened, so that the whole face of the earth, euery tree and mountaine was couered with abundance or water, hee straitely commaunded his sonnes and their wiues, that they should with reuerence and feare beholde the iustice and mighty power of God, and that during the time of the flood while they remained in the Arke, they should vse continencie, and abstaine from carnall copulation with their wines: and many other precepts bee gaue vnto them, and admonitions touching the iustice of God, in renenging sinne, and his mercie in deliuering them, who nothing deserued it. Which good instructions and exhortations notwithstanding his wicked sonne Cham disobeyed, and being perswaded that the first childe borne after the flood (by right and Lawe of nature) should inherite and possesse all the dominions of the earth, hee contrary to his fathers commandement while they were yet in the Arke, vsed company with his wife, and craftily went about thereby to disinherite the off-spring of his other two brethren: for the which wicked and detestable fact, as an example for contempt of Almightie God, and disobedience of parents, God would a sonne should bee borne whose name was Chus, who not Chus the sonne of Cham accursed. onely it selfe, but all his posteritie after him should bee so blacke and lothsome, that it might remaine a spectacle of disobedience to all the worlde. And of this blacke and cursed Chus came all these blacke Moores which are in Africa, for after the water was vanished from off the face of the earth, and that the lande was dry, Sem chose that part of the land to inhabite in, which nowe is called Asia, and Iaphet had that which now is called Europa, wherein wee dwell, and Africa remained for Cham and his blacke sonne Africa was called Chamesis. Chus, and was called Chamesis after the fathers name, being perhaps a cursed, dry, sandy, and vnfruitfull ground, fit for such a generation to inhabite in.
Thus you see, that the cause of the Ethiopians blacknesse is the curse and naturall infection of blood, and not the distemperature of the Climate; Which also may bee prooued by this example, that these blacke men are found in all parts of Africa, as well without the Tropickes, as within, euen vnto Capo de buona Speranza Southward, where, by reason of the Sphere, should be the same temperature that is in Sicilia, Morea and Candie, where al be of very good complexions. Wherefore I conclude, that the blacknesse proceedeth not of the hotenesse of the Clime, but as I saide, of the infection of blood, and therefore this their argument gathered of the Africans blacknesse is not able to destroy the temperature of the middle Zone. Wee may therefore very well bee assertained, that vnder the Equinoctiall is the most pleasant and delectable place of the worlde to dwell in; where although the Sunne for two houres in a yeere be direct ouer their heades, and therefore the heate at that time somewhat of force, yet Greatest temperature vnder the Equinoctial because it commeth so seldome, and continueth so small a time, when it commeth, it is not to bee wayed, but rather the moderate heate of other times in all the yeere to be remembred. And if the heate at any time should in the short day waxe somewhat vrgent, the coldnesse of the long night there would easily refresh it, according as Henterus sayeth, speaking of the temperature vnder the Equinoctiall.
Quodque die solis violento incanduit æstu,
Humida nox reficit, paribusque refrigerat horis.
If the heate of the Sunne in the day time doe burne or parch any thing, the moysture of the night doeth coole and refresh the same againe, the Sunne being as long absent in the night, as it was present in the day.
Also our Aucthour of the Sphere, Johannes de Sacro Bosco, in the Chapter of the Zodiacke, deriueth the Etymologie of Zodiacus, of the Greeke word Zoe, which in Latine signifieth Vita, life; for out of Aristotle hee alleadgeth, that Secundum accessum et recessum solis in Zodiaco, fiunt generationes et corruptiones in rebus inferioribus: according to the Sunnes going to and fro in the Zodiake, the inferiour bodies take their causes of generation and corruption. Vnder the Equinoctiall is greatest generation. Then it followeth, that where there is most going to and fro, there is most generation and corruption: which must needes be betweene the two Tropikes; for there the Sunne goeth to and fro most, and no where else but there. Therefore betweene the two Tropikes, that is, in the middle Zone, is greatest increase, multiplication, generation, and corruption of things, which also wee finde by experience; for there is Sommer twice in the yeere, and twice Winter, so that they haue two Haruests in the yeere, and continuall Spring. Seeing then the middle Zone falleth out so temperate, it resteth to declare where the hottest part of the world should bee, for we finde some places more hote then others.
To answere this doubt, reason perswadeth, the hotest place in61 the world to bee vnder and about the two Tropikes; for there more then in any other place doe both the Greatest heate vnder the Tropicks. causes of heate concurre, that is, the perpendicular falling of the Sunne beames, at right angles, and a greater continuance of the Sunne aboue the Horizon, the Pole there being eleuated three or foure and twentie degrees. And as before I concluded, that though the Sunne were perpendicular to them vnder the Equinoctiall, yet because the same continued but a small time (their dayes being short, and their nights long) and the speedie departure of the Sunne from their Zenith, because of the suddeine crossing of the Zodiake with the Equinoctiall, and that by such continuall course and recourse of hote and colde, the temperature grew moderate, and very well able to bee endured: so nowe to them vnder the two Tropikes, the Sunne hauing once by his proper motion declined twentie degrees from the Equinoctial, beginneth to drawe neere their Zenith, which may bee (as before) about the eleuenth day of May, and then beginneth to sende his beames almost at right Angles, about which time the Sunne entreth into the first degree of Gemini, and with this almost right Angle the Sunne beames will continue vntill it bee past Cancer, that is, the space of two moneths euery day at noone, almost perpendicular ouer their heades, being then the time of Solstitium Aestiuale: which so long continuance of the Sunne about their Zenith may cause an extreeme heate (if any be in the world) but of necessitie farre more heate then can bee vnder the Equinoctiall, where the Sunne hath no such long abode in the Zenith, but passeth away there hence very quickly. Also vnder the Tropikes, the day is longer by an houre and a halfe, then it is vnder the Equinoctiall; wherefore the heate of the Sunne hauing a longer time of operation, must needes be encreased, especially seeing the night wherein colde and moysture doe abound vnder the Tropickes, is lesse then it is vnder the Equinoctiall. Therefore I gather, that vnder the Tropickes is the hotest place, not onely of Torrida Zona, but of any other part of the world, especially because there both causes of heate doe concurre, that is, the perpendicular falling of the Sunne beames two monethes together, and the longer abode of the Sunnes presence aboue the Horison. And by this meanes more at large is prooued, that Marochus in Summer is farre more hote, then at any time vnder the Enoctiall, because it is situate so neere the Tropick of Cancer, and also for the length of their dayes. Neither yet doe I thinke, that the Regions situate vnder the Tropicks are not habitable, for they are found to be very fruitfull also; although Marochus and some other parts of Afrike neere the Tropike for the drinesse of the natiue sandie soile, and some accidents may seeme to some to be intemperate for ouer much heat. For Ferdinandus Ouiedus62 speaking of Cuba and Hispaniola, Ilands of America, lying hard vnder, or by the Tropike of Cancer, saith, that these Ilands haue as good pasture for cattell, as any other countrey in the world.
Also, they haue most holesome and cleare water, and temperate aire, by reason whereof the heards of beastes are much bigger, fatter, and of better taste, then any in Spaine, because of the ranke pasture, whose moysture is better digested in the hearbe or grasse, by continuall and temperate heate of the Sunne, whereby being made more fat and vnctious, it is of better and more stedfast nourishment: For continuall and temperate heate doeth not onely drawe much moysture out of the earth to the nourishment of such things as growe, and are engendred in that Clime, but doeth also by moderation preserue the same from putrifying, digesting also, and condensating or thickning the said moyst nourishment into a gumme and vnctious substance, whereby appeareth also, that vnder the Tropikes is both holesome, fruitefull, and pleasant habitation, whereby lastly it followeth, that all the Vnder the Tropickes is moderate temperature. middle Zone, which vntill of late dayes hath bene compted and called the burning, broyling, and parched Zone, is now found to be the most delicate, temperate, commodious, pleasant and delectable part of the world, and especially vnder the Equinoctiall.
Hauing now sufficiently at large declared the temperature of the middle Zone, it remaineth to speake somewhat also of the moderate and continuall heate in colde Regions, as well in the night as in the day all the Sommer long, and also how these Regions are habitable to the inhabitants of the same, contrary to the opinion of the olde writers.
Of the temperature of colde Regions all the Sommer long, and also how in Winter the same is habitable, especially to the inhabitants thereof.
The colde Regions of the world are those, which tending toward the Poles Arctike, and Antarctike, are without the circuite or boundes of the seuen Climates: which assertion agreeable to the opinion of the olde Writers, is found and set out in our authour of the Sphere, Iohannes de Sacrobosco, where hee plainely saith, that without the seuenth Climate, which is bounded by a Parallel passing at fiftie degrees in Latitude, all the habitation beyonde is discommodious and intolerable. Nine Climates. But Gemma Frisius a late writer finding England and Scotland to be without the compasse of those Climates, wherein hee knewe to bee very temperate and good habitation, added thereunto two other Climates, the vttermost Parallel whereof passeth by 56. degrees in Latitude, and therein comprehendeth ouer and aboue the first computation, England, Scotland, Denmarke, Moscouia, &c which all are rich and mightie kingdomes.
A comparison betweene Marochus and England. The olde writers perswaded by bare conjecture, went about to determine of those places, by comparing them to their owne complexions, because they felt them to bee hardly tolerable to themselues, and so took thereby an argument of the whole habitable earth; as if a man borne in Marochus, or some other part of Barbarie, should at the latter end of Sommer vpon the suddeine, either naked, or with his thinne vesture, bee brought into England, hee would judge this Region presently not to bee habitable, because hee being brought vp in so warme a Countrey, is not able here to liue, for so suddeine an alteration of the colde aire: but if the same man had come at the beginning of Sommer, and so afterward by little and little by certaine degrees, had felt and acquainted himselfe with the frost of Autumne, it would haue seemed by degrees to harden him, and so to make it farre more tollerable, and by vse after one yeere or two, the aire would seeme to him more temperate. It was compted a great matter in the olde time, that there was a brasse pot broken in sunder with frosen water in Pontus, which after was brought and shewed in Delphis, in token of a miraculous colde region and winter, and therefore consecrated to the Temple of Apollo.
This effect being wrought in the Parallel of fouretie three degrees in Latitude, it was presently counted a place very hardly and vneasily to be inhabited for the great colde. And how then can such men define vpon other Regions very farre without that Parallel, whether they were inhabited or not, seeing that in so neere a place they so grossely mistooke the matter, and others their followers being contented with the inuentions of the olde Authors, haue persisted willingly in the same opinion, with more confidence then consideration of the cause: so lightly was that opinion receiued, as touching the vnhabitable Clime neere and vnder the Poles.
All the North regions are habitable. Therefore I am at this present to proue, that all the land lying betweene the last climate euen vnto the point directly vnder either poles, is or may be inhabited, especially of such creatures as are ingendred and bred therein. For indeed it is to be confessed, that some particular liuing creature cannot liue in euery particular place or region, especially with the same ioy and felicitie, as it did where it was first bred, for the certeine agreement of nature that is betweene the place and the thing bred in that place; as appeareth by the Elephant, which being translated and brought out of the second or third climat, though they may liue, yet will they neuer ingender or bring forth yong.63 Also we see the like in many kinds of plants and herbs; for example, the Orange trees, although in Naples they bring forth fruit abundantly, in Rome and Florence they will beare onely faire greene leaues, but not any fruit: and translated into England, they will hardly beare either flowers, fruit, or leaues, but are the next Winter pinched and withered with cold: yet it followeth not for this, that England, Rome, and Florence should not be habitable.
Two causes of heat. In the prouing of these colde regions habitable, I shalbe very short, because the same reasons serve for this purpose which were alleged before in the proouing the middle Zone to be temperate, especially seeing all heat and colde proceed from the Sunne, by the meanes either of the Angle which his beames do make with the Horizon, or els by the long or short continuance of the Suns presence aboue ground: so that if the Sunnes beames do beat perpendicularly at right Angles, then there is one cause of heat, and if the Sunne do also long continue aboue the Horizon, then the heat thereby is much increased by accesse of this other cause, and so groweth to a kinde of extremitie. And these two causes, as I sayd before, do most concurre vnder the two Tropicks, and therefore there is the greatest heat of the world. And likewise, where both these causes are most absent, there is greatest want of heat, and increase of colde (seeing that colde is nothing but the priuation and absence of heate) and if one cause be wanting, and the other present the effect will grow indifferent. Therefore this is to be vnderstood, that the neerer any region is to the Equinoctiall, the higher the Sunne doth rise ouer their heads at noone, and so maketh either right or neere right Angles, but the Sunne tarieth with them so much the shorter time, and causeth shorter dayes, with longer and colder nights, to restore the domage of the day past, by reason of the moisture consumed by vapour. But in such regions, ouer the which the Sunne riseth lower (as in regions extended towards either pole) it maketh there vnequall Angles, but the Sunne continueth longer, and maketh longer dayes, and causeth so much shorter and warmer nights, as retaining warme vapours of the day past. For there are found by experience Summer nights in Scotland and Gothland very hot, when vnder the Equinoctiall they are found very cold. Hote nights nere the pole. Colde nights vnder the Equinoctiall. This benefit of the Sunnes long continuance and increase of the day, doth argument so much the more in colde regions as they are nerer the poles, and ceaseth not increasing vntill it come directly vnder the point of the pole Arcticke, where the Sunne continueth aboue ground the space of sixe moneths or halfe a yere together, and so the day is halfe a yere long, that is the time of the Sunnes being in the North signes, from the first degree of Aries vntill the last of Virgo, that is all the time from our 10 day of March vntill the 14 of September. One day of sixe moneths. The Sunne therefore during the time of these sixe moneth without any offence or hinderance of the night, giueth his influence vpon those lands with heat that neuer ceaseth during that time, which maketh to the great increase of Summer, by reason of the Sunnes continuance. Moderate heat vnder the poles. Therefore it followeth, that though the Sunne be not there very high ouer their heads, to cause right angle beames, and to giue great heat, yet the Sun being there sometimes about 24 degrees high doth cast a conuenient and meane heate, which there continueth without hindrance of the night the space of sixe moneths (as is before sayd) during which time there followeth to be a conuenient, moderate and temperate heat: or els rather it is to be suspected the heat there to be very great, both for continuance, and also, Quia virtus vnita crescit, the vertue and strength of heat vnited in one increaseth. If then there be such a moderate heate vnder the poles, and the same to continue so long time; what should mooue the olde writers to say there cannot be place for habitation. And that the certainty of this temperate heat vnder both the poles might more manifestly appeare, let vs consider the position and quality of the sphere, the length of the day, and so gather the height of the Sunne at all times, and by consequent the quality of his angle, and so lastly the strength of his heat.
Those lands and regions lying vnder the pole, and hauing the pole for their Zenith, must needs haue the Equinoctiall circle for their Horizon: therefore the Sun entring into the North signes, and describing euery 24 houres a parallel to the Equinoctiall by the diurnall motion of Primum mobile, the same parallels must needs be wholly aboue the Horizon: The Sunne neuer setteth in 182 dayes. and so looke how many degrees there are from the first of Aries to the last of Virgo, so many whole reuolutions there are aboue their Horizon that dwell vnder the pole, which amount to 182, and so many of our dayes the Sunne continueth with them. During which time they haue there continuall day and light, without any hindrance of moist nights. Horizon and Equinoctiall all one vnder the pole. Yet it is to be noted, that the Sunne being in the first degree of Aries, and last degree of Virgo, maketh his reuolution in the very horizon, so that in these 24 houres halfe the body of the Sunne is aboue the horizon, and the other halfe is vnder his only center, describing both the horizon and the equinoctiall circle.
And therefore seeing the greatest declination of the Sunne is almost 24 degrees, it followeth, his greatest height in those countries to be almost 24 degrees. London. And so high is the Sun at noone to vs in London about the 29 of October, being in the 15 degree of Scorpio, and likewise the 21 of Ianuary being in the 15 of Aquarius. Therefore looke what force the Sun at noone hath in London the 29 of October, the same force of heat it hath, to them that dwell vnder the pole, the space almost of two moneths, during the time of the Summer solstitium, and that without intermingling of any colde night; so that if the heat of the Sunne at noone could be well measured in London (which is very hard to do because of the long nights which ingender great moisture and cold) then would manifestly appeare by expresse numbers the maner of the heat vnder the poles, which certainly must needs be to the inhabitants very commodious and profitable, if it incline not to ouermuch heat, and if moisture do not want.
For as in October in England we finde temperate aire, and haue in our gardens hearbs and floures notwithstanding our cold nights, how much more should they haue the same good aire, being continuall without night. This heat of ours continueth but one houre, while the Sun is in that meridian, but theirs continueth a long time in one height. This our heat is weake, and by the coolnesse of the night vanisheth, that heat is strong, and by continuall accesse is still increased and strengthened. Comodious dwelling vnder the poles. And thus by a similitude of the equal height of the Sun in both places appeareth the commodious and moderate heat of the regions vnder the poles.
And surely I cannot thinke that the diuine prouidence hath made any thing vncommunicable, but to haue giuen such order to all things, that one way or other the same should be imployed, and that euery thing and place should be tollerable to the next: but especially all things in this lower world be giuen to man to haue dominion and vse thereof. Therefore we need no longer to doubt of the temperate and commodious habitation vnder the poles during the time of Summer.
The night vnder the poles. But all the controuersie consisteth in the Winter, for then the Sunne leaueth those regions, and is no more seene for the space of other sixe moneths, in the which time all the Sunnes course is vnder their horizon for the space of halfe a yere, and then those regions (say some) must needs be deformed with horrible darknesse, and continuall night, which may be the cause that beasts can not seeke their food, and that also the colde should then be intollerable. By which double euils all liuing creatures should be constrained to die, and were not able to indure the extremity and iniury of Winter, and famine insuing thereof, but that all things should perish before the Summer following, when they should bring foorth their brood and yoong, and that for these causes the sayd Clime about the pole should be desolate and not habitable. To all which objections may be answered in this maner: First, that though the Sunne be absent from them those six moneths, yet it followeth not that there should be such extreme darknesse; for as the Sunne is departed vnder their horizon, so is it not farre from them: and not so soone as the Sunne falleth so suddenly commeth the darke night; but the euening doth substitute and prolong the day a good while after by twilight. After which time the residue of the night receiueth light of the Moone and Starres, vntill the breake of the day, which giueth also a certaine light before the Sunnes rising; so that by these meanes the nights are seldome darke; which is verified in all parts of the world, but least in the middle Zone vnder the Equinoctiall, where the twilights are short, and the nights darker then in any other place, because the Sunne goeth vnder their horizon so deepe, even to their antipodes. We see in England in the Summer nights when the Sunne goeth not farre vnder the horizon, that by the light of the Moone and Starres we may trauell all night, and if occasion were, do some other labour also. And there is no man that doubteth whether our cattell can see to feed in the nights, seeing we are so well certified thereof by our experience: and by reason of the sphere our nights should be darker then any time vnder the poles.
The Astronomers consent that the Sunne descending from our vpper hemisphere at the 18 parallel vnder the horizon maketh an end of twilight, so that at length the darke night insueth, and that afterward in the morning the Sun approching againe within as many parallels, doth driue away the night by accesse of the twilight. Againe, by the position of the sphere vnder the pole, the horizon, and the equinoctiall are all one. These reuolutions therefore that are parallel to the equinoctiall are also parallel to the horizon, so that the Sunne descending vnder that horizon, and there describing certaine parallels not farre distant, doth not bring darke nights to those regions vntill it come to the parallels distant 18 degrees from the equinoctiall, that is, about the 21 degree of Scorpio, which will be about the 4 day of our Nouember, and after the Winter solstitium, the Sunne returning backe againe to the 9 degree of Aquarius, which will be about the 19 of January; The regions vnder the poles want twilights but sixe weeks. during which time onely, that is, from the 4 day of Nouember vntill the 19 day of Ianuary, which is about six weeks space, these regions do want the commodity of twilights: therefore, during the time of these sayd six moneths of darknesse vnder the poles, the night is destitute of the benefit of the Sunne and the sayd twilights onely for the space of six weeks or thereabout. And yet neither this time of six weeks is without remedy from heauen; for the Moone with her increased light hath accesse at that time, and illuminateth the moneths lacking light euery one of themselues seuerally halfe the course of that moneth, by whose benefit it commeth to passe that the night named extreame darke possesseth those regions no longer then one moneth, neither that continually, or all at one time, but this also diuided into two sorts of shorter nights, of the which either of them indureth for the space of 15 dayes, and are illuminate of the Moone accordingly. Winter nights vnder the pole tolerable to liuing creatures. And this reason is gathered out of the sphere, whereby we may testifie that the Summers are warme and fruitfull, and the Winters nights vnder the pole are tolerable to liuing creatures. And if it be so that the Winter and time of darknesse there be very colde, yet hath not nature left them vnprouided therefore: for there the beastes are couered with haire so much the thicker in how much the vehemency of colde is greater; by reason whereof the best and richest furres are brought out of the coldest regions. Also the fowles of these colde countreys haue thicker skinnes, thicker feathers; and more stored of downe then in other hot places. Our English men that trauell to S. Nicholas, and go a fishing to Wardhouse, enter farre within the circle Artike, and so are in the frozen Zone, and yet there, aswell as in Island and all along those Northern Seas, they finde the greatest store of the greatest fishes that are; as Whales, &c. and also abundance of meane fishes; as Herrings, Cods, Haddocks, Brets, &c. which argueth that the sea as well as the land may be and is well frequented and inhabited in the colde countreys.
An obiection of Meta incognita. But some perhaps will maruell there should be such temperate places in the regions about the poles, when at vnder 62 degrees in latitude our captaine Frobisher and his company were troubled with so many and so great mountaines of fleeting ice, with so great stormes of colde, with such continuall snow on tops of mountaines, and with such barren soile, there being neither wood nor trees, but low shrubs, and such like. To all which obiections may be answered thus: First, those infinite Islands of ice were ingendred and congealed in time of Winter, and now by the great heat of Summer were thawed, and then by ebs, flouds, winds, and currents, were driuen to and fro, and troubled the fleet; so that this is an argument to proue the heat in Summer there to be great, that was able to thaw so monstrous mountaines of ice. As for continuall snow on tops of mountaines, it is there no otherwise then is in the hotest part of the middle Zone, where also lieth great snow all the Summer long vpon tops of mountaines, because there is no sufficient space for the Sunnes reflexion, whereby the snow should be molten. Touching the colde stormy winds and the barrennesse of the country, it is there as it is in Cornwall and Deuonsbire in England, which parts though we know to be fruitfull and fertile, yet on the North side thereof all alongst the coast within seuen or eight miles off the sea there can neither hedge nor tree grow, although they be diligently by arte husbanded and seene vnto: and the cause thereof are the Northerne driuing winds, which comming from the sea are so bitter and sharpe that they kill all the yoong and tender plants, and suffer scarse any thing to grow; and so it is in the Islands of Meta incognita, which are subiect most to East and Northeastern winds, which the last yere choaked vp the passage so with ice that the fleet could hardly lecouer their port. Meta Incognita inhabited. Yet notwithstanding all the obiections that may be, the countrey is habitable; for there are men, women, children, and sundry kind of beasts in great plenty, as beares, deere, hares, foxes and dogs: all kinde of flying fowles, as ducks, seamewes, wilmots, partridges, larks, crowes, hawks, and such like, as in the third booke you shall vnderstand more at large. Then it appeareth that not onely the middle Zone but also the Zones about the poles are habitable.
Captaine Frobishers first voyage. Which thing being well considered, and familiarly knowen to our Generall captaine Frobisher, aswell for that he is thorowly furnished of the knowledge of the sphere and all other skilles appertaining to the arte of nauigation, as also for the confirmation he hath of the same by many yeres experience both by sea and land, and being persuaded of a new and nerer passage to Cataya then by Capo de buona Sperança, which the Portugals yerely vse: he began first with himselfe to deuise, and then with his friends to conferre, and layed a plaine plat vnto them that that voyage was not onely possible by the Northwest, but also he could proue easie to be performed. And farther, he determined and resolued with himselfe to go make full proofe thereof, and to accomplish or bring true certificate of the truth, or els neuer to returne againe, knowing this to be the only thing of the world that was left yet vndone, whereby a notable minde might be made famous and fortunate. But although his will were great to performe this notable voyage, whereof he had concerned in his minde a great hope by sundry sure reasons and secret intelligence, which here for sundry causes I leaue vntouched, yet he wanted altogether meanes and ability to set forward, and performe the same. Long time he conferred with his priuate friends of these secrets; and made also many offers for the performing of the same in effect vnto sundry merchants of our countrey aboue 15 yeres before he attempted the same, as by good witnesse shall well appeare (albeit some euill willers which challenge to themselues the fruits of other mens labours haue greatly iniured him in the reports of the same, saying that they haue bene the first authours of that action, and that they haue learned him the way, which themselues as yet haue neuer gone) but perceiuing that hardly he was hearkened vnto of the merchants, which neuer regard, vertue without sure, certaine, and present gaines, he repaired to the Court (from whence, as from the fountaine of our Common wealth, all good causes haue their chiefe increase and maintenance) and there layed open to many great estates and learned men the plot and summe of his deuice. And amongst many honourable minds which fauoured his honest and commendable enterprise, he was specially bound and beholding to the right honourable Ambrose Dudley earle of Warwicke, whose fauourable minde and good disposition hath alwayes bene ready to countenance and aduance all honest actions with the authours and executors of the same: and so by meanes of my lord his honourable countenance he receiued some comfort of his cause, and by litle and litle, with no small expense and paine brought his cause to some perfection and had drawen together so many aduenturers and such summes of money as might well defray a reasonable charge to furnish himselfe to sea withall.
He prepared two small barks of twenty and fiue and twenty tunne a piece, wherein he intended to accomplish his pretended voyage. Wherefore, being furnished with the foresayd two barks, and one small pinnesse of ten tun burthen, hauing therein victuals and other necessaries for twelue moneths prouision, he departed vpon the sayd voyage from Blacke-wall the 15 of Iune anno Domini 1576.
One of the barks wherein he went was named the Gabriel, and the other The Michael; and sailing Northwest from England vpon the II of Iuly he had sight of an high and ragged land, which he iudged to be Frisland (whereof some authors haue made mention) but durst not approch the same by reason of the great store of ice that lay alongst the coast, and the great mists that troubled them not a litle. Not farre from thence he lost company of his small pinnesse, which by meanes of the great storme he supposed to be swallowed vp of the Sea, wherein he lost onely foure men.
The Michael returned home. Also the other barke named The Michael mistrusting the matter, conueyed themselues priuily away from him, and returned home, with great report that he was cast away.
The worthy captaine notwithstanding these discomforts, although his mast was sprung, and his toppe mast blowen ouerboord with extreame foule weather, continued his course towards the Northwest, knowing that the sea at length must needs haue an ending, and that some land should haue a beginning that way; and determined therefore at the least to bring true proofe what land and sea the same might be so farre to the Northwestwards, beyond any man that hath heretofore discouered. And the twentieth of Iuly he had sight of an high land, which he called Queene Elizabeths Forland, after her Maiesties name. And sailing more Northerly alongst that coast, he descried another forland with a great gut, bay, or passage, diuided as it were two maine lands or continents asunder. There be met with store of exceeding great ice all this coast along, and coueting still to continue his course to the Northwards, was alwayes by contrary winde deteined ouerthwart these straights, and could not get beyond. Frobishers first entrance within the streights. Within few dayes after he perceived the ice to be well consumed and gone, either there ingulfed in by some swift currents or indrafts, carried more to the Southwards of the same straights, or els conueyed some other way: wherefore he determined to make proofe of this place, to see how farre that gut had continuance, and whether he might carry himselfe thorow the same into some open sea on the backe side, whereof he conceiued no small hope, and so entred the same the one and twentieth of Iuly, and passed aboue fifty leagues therein, as he reported, hauing vpon either hand a great maine or continent. And that land vpon his right hand as he sailed Westward he iudged to be the continent of Asia, and there to be diuided from the firme of America, which lieth vpon the left hand ouer against the same.
Frobishers streights. This place he named after his name, Frobishers streights, like as Magellanus at the Southwest end of the world, hauing discouered the passage to the South sea (where America is diuided from the continent of that land, which lieth vnder the South pole) and called the same straights, Magellanes straits.
After he had passed 60 leagues into this foresayd straight, he went ashore, and found signes where fire had bene made.
He saw mighty deere that seemed to be mankinde, which ranne at him, and hardly he escaped with his life in a narrow way, where he was faine to vse defence and policy to saue his life.
In this place he saw and perceiued sundry tokens of the peoples resorting thither. The first sight of the Sauages. And being ashore vpon the top of a hill, he perceiued a number of small things fleeting in the sea afarre off, which he supposed to be porposes or seales, or some kinde of strange fish; but comming neerer, he discouered them to be men in small boats made of leather. And before he could descend downe from the hill, certaine of those people had almost cut off his boat from him, hauing stollen secretly behinde the rocks for that purpose, where he speedily hasted to his boat, and bent himselfe to his halberd, and narrowly escaped the danger, and saued his boat. Afterwards he had sundry conferences with them, and they came aboord his ship, and brought him salmon and raw flesh and fish, and greedily deuoured the same before our mens faces. And to shew their agility, they tried many masteries vpon the ropes of the ship after our mariners fashion, and appeared to be very strong of their armes, and nimble of their bodies. They exchanged coats of scales, and beares skinnes, and such like with our men; and receiued belles, looking glasses, and other toyes, in recompense thereof againe. Fiue Englishmen intercepted and taken. After great curtesie, and many meetings, our mariners, contrary to their captaines direction, began more easily to trust them; and fiue of our men going ashore were by them intercepted with their boat, and were neuer since heard of to this day againe: so that the captaine being destitute of boat, barke, and all company, had scarsely sufficient number to conduct backe his barke againe. He could neither conuey himselfe ashore to rescue his men (if he had bene able) for want of a boat; and againe the subtile traitours were so wary, as they would after that neuer come within our mens danger. The captaine notwithstanding desirous to bring some token from thence of his being there, was greatly discontented that he had not before apprehended some of them: and therefore to deceiue the deceiuers he wrought a pretty policy; for knowing wel how they greatly delighted in our toyes, and specially in belles, he rang a pretty lowbell, making signes that he would giue him the same that would come and fetch it. Taking of the first Sauage. And because they would not come within his danger for feare, he flung one bell vnto them, which of purpose he threw short, that it might fall into the sea and be lost, And to make them more greedy of the matter he rang a louder bell, so that in the end one of them came nere the ship side to receiue the bel; which when he thought to take at the captaines hand, he was thereby taken himselfe: for the captaine being readily prouided let the bell fall, and caught the man fast, and plucked him with maine force boat and all into his barke out of the sea. Whereupon when he found himselfe in captiuity, for very choler and disdaine he bit his tongue in twaine within his mouth: notwithstanding, he died not thereof, but liued vntill he came in England, and then he died of cold which he had taken at sea.
Frobishers returne. Now with this new pray (which was a sufficient witnesse of the captaines farre and tedious trauell towards the vnknowen parts of the world, as did well appeare by this strange infidell, whose like was neuer seene, read, nor heard of before, and whose language was neither knowen nor vnderstood of any) the sayd captaine Frobisher returned homeward, and arriued in England in Harwich the 2 of October following, and thence came to London 1576, where he was highly commended of all men for his great and notable attempt, but specially famous for the great hope he brought of the passage to Cataya.
And it is especially to be remembred that at their first arriuall in those parts there lay so great store of ice all the coast along so thicke together, that hardly his boate could passe vnto the shore. The taking possession of Meta incognita. At length, after diuers attempts he commanded his company, if by any possible meanes they could get ashore, to bring him whatsoeuer thing they could first finde, whether it were liuing or dead, stocke or stone, in token of Christian possession, which thereby he tooke in behalfe of the Queenes most excellent Maiesty, thinking that thereby he might iustify the hauing and inioying of the same things that grew in these vnknowen parts.
How the ore was found by chance. Some of his company brought floures, some greene grasse; and one brought a piece of blacke stone much like to a sea cole in colour, which by the waight seemed to be some kinde of mettall or minerall. This was a thing of no account in the iudgment of the captaine at first sight; and yet for nouelty it was kept in respect of the place from whence it came.
After his arriuall in London, being demanded of sundry his friends what thing he had brought them home out of that countrey, he had nothing left to present them withall but a piece of this blacke stone. And it fortuned a gentlewoman one of the aduenturers wiues to haue a piece thereof, which by chance she threw and burned in the fire, so long, that at the length being taken forth, and quenched in a little vinegar, it glistened with a bright marquesset of golde. Whereupon the matter being called in some question, it was brought to certaine Goldfiners in London to make assay thereof, who gaue out that it held golde, and that very richly for the quantity. Many aduenturers. Afterwards, the same Goldfiners promised great matters thereof if there were any store to be found, and offered themselues to aduenture for the searching of those parts from whence the same was brought. Some that had great hope of the matter sought secretly to haue a lease at her Maiesties hands of those places, whereby to inioy the masse of so great a publike profit vnto their owne priuate gaines.
In conclusion, the hope of more of the same golde ore to be found kindled a great opinion in the hearts of many to aduance the voyage againe. In the second voyage commission was giuen onely for the bringing of ore. Whereupon preparation was made for a new voyage against the yere folowing, and the captaine more specially directed by commission for the searching more of this golde ore then for the searching any further discouery of the passage. And being well accompanied with diuers resolute and forward gentlemen, her Maiesty then lying at the right honourable the lord of Warwicks house in Essex, he came to take his leaue, and kissing her hignesse hands, with gracious countenance and comfortable words departed toward his charge.
A true report of such things as happened in the second voyage of captaine Frobisher, pretended for the discouery of a new passage to Cataya, China and the East India, by the Northwest. Ann. Dom. 1577.
Being furnished with one tall ship of her Maiesties, named The Ayde, of two hundred tunne, and two other small barks, the one named The Gabriel, the other The Michael, about thirty tun a piece, being fitly appointed with men, munition, victuals, and all things necessary for the voyage, the sayd captaine Frobisher, with the rest of his company came aboord his ships riding at Blackwall, intending (with Gods helpe) to take the first winde and tide seruing him, the 25 day of May, in the yere of our Lord God 1577.
The names of such gentlemen as attempted this discouery, and the number of souldiers and mariners in ech ship, as followeth.
Aboord the Ayd being Admirall were the number of 100 men of all sorts, whereof 30 or moe were Gentlemen and Souldiers, the rest sufficient and tall Sailers.
Aboord the Gabriel being Viceadmirall, were in all 18 persons, whereof sixe were Souldiers, the rest Mariners.
Aboord the Michael were 16 persons, whereof fiue were Souldiers, the rest Mariners.
Aboord the Ayde was:
|Generall of the whole company for her Maiestie:||Martin Frobisher.|
|His Lieutenant||George Best.|
|His Ensigne||Richard Philpot.|
|Corporall of the shot||Francis Forfar.|
|The rest of the gentlemen:||Henry Carew.
|The Master||Christopher Hall.|
|The Mate||Charles Iackman.|
|The Pilot||Andrew Dier.|
|The Master gunner||Richard Cox.|
Aboord the Gabriell was:
|One Gentleman||William Tamfield.|
|The Maister||William Smyth.|
Aboord the Michaell was:
|One Gentleman||Thomas Chamberlaine.|
|The Maister||Iames Beare.|
On Whitsunday being the 26 of May, Anno 1577, early in the morning, we weighed anker at Blackwall, and fell that tyde downe to Grauesend, where we remained vntill Monday, at night.
They receiued the communion. On Monday morning the 27 of May, aboord the Ayde we receiued all the Communion by the Minister of Grauesend, and prepared vs as good Christians towards God, and resolute men for all fortunes: and towards night we departed to Tilbery Hope.
The number of men in this voyage. Tuesday the eight and twenty of May, about nine of the clocke at night, we arriued at Harwitch in Essex and there stayed for the taking in of certaine victuals, vntill Friday being the thirtieth of May, during which time came letters from the Lordes of the Councell, straightly commanding our General, not to exceede his complement and number appointed him, which was, one hundred and twentie persons: whereupon he discharged many proper men which with vnwilling mindes departed.
The condemned men discharged. He also dismissed all his condemned men, which he thought for some purposes very needefull for the voyage, and towards night vpon Friday the one and thirtieth of May we set saile, and put to the Seas againe. The first arriuall after our departing from England. And sailing Northward alongst the East coasts of England and Scotland, the seuenth day of Iune we arriued in Saint Magnus sound in Orkney Ilands, called in Latine Orcades, and came to ancker on the South side of the Bay, and this place is reckoned from Blackwall where we set saile first leagues.64
Here our companie going on lande, the Inhabitants of these Ilandes beganne to flee as from the enemie, whereupon the Lieutenant willed euery man to stay togither, and went himselfe vnto their houses, to declare what we were and the cause of our comming thither, which being vnderstood after their poore maner they friendly entreated vs, and brought vs for our money such things as they had. A Mine of siluer found in Orkney. And here our gold finders found a Mine of siluer.
Orkney is the principall of the Isles of the Orcades, and standeth in the latitude of fiftie nine degrees and a halfe. The countrey is much subiect to colde, answerable for such a climate, and yet yeeldeth some fruites, and sufficient maintenance for the people contented so poorely to liue.
There is plentie ynough of Poultrey, store of egges, fish, and foule.
For their bread they haue Oaten Cakes, and their drinke is Ewes milke, and in some partes Ale.
Their houses are but poore without and sluttish ynough within, and the people in nature thereunto agreeable.
For their fire they burne heath and turffe, the Countrey in most parts being voide of wood.
They haue great want of Leather, and desire our old Shoes, apparell, and old ropes (before money) for their victuals, and yet are they not ignorant of the value of our coine. Kyrway the chiefe towne of Orkney. The chiefe towne is called Kyrway.65
S. Magnus sound why so called. In this Island hath bene sometime an Abbey or a religious house called Saint Magnus, being on the West side of the Ile, whereof this sound beareth name, through which we passed. Their Gouernour chiefe Lord is called the Lord Robert Steward, who at our being there, as we understood, was in durance at Edenburgh, by the Regents commandement of Scotland.
After we had prouided vs here of matter sufficient for our voyage the eight of Iune wee set sayle againe, and passing through Saint Magnus sound hauing a merrie winde by night, came cleare and lost sight of all the land, and keeping our course West Northwest by the space of two dayes, the winde shifted vpon vs so that we lay in trauerse on the Seas, with contrary windes, making good (as neere as we could) our course to the westward, and sometime to the Northward, as the winde shifted. And hereabout we met with 3 saile of English fishermen from Iseland, bound homeward, by whom we wrote our letters vnto our friends in England. Great bodies of trees driuing in the seas. We trauersed these Seas by the space of 26 dayes without sight of any land, and met with much drift wood, and whole bodies of trees. Monstrous fish and strange foule liuing onely by the Sea. We sawe many monsterous fishes and strange foules, which seemed to live onely by the Sea, being there so farre distant from any land. At length God fauoured vs with more prosperous windes, and after wee had sayled foure dayes with good winde in the Poop, the fourth of Iuly the Michael being foremost a head shot off a peece of Ordinance, and stroke all her sayles, supposing that they had descryed land which by reason of the thicke mistes they could not make perfit: Water being blacke and smooth signifieth land to be neere. howbeit, as well our account as also the great alteration of the water, which became more blacke and smooth, did plainely declare we were not farre off the coast. Ilands of yce. Our Generall sent his Master aboord the Michaell (who had beene with him the yeere before) to beare in with the place to make proofe thereof, who descryed not the land perfect, but sawe sundry huge Ilands of yce, which we deemed to be not past twelue leagues from the shore, The first sight of Frisland the 4. of Iuly. for about tenne of the clocke at night being the fourth of Iuly, the weather being more cleare, we made the land perfect and knew it to be Frislande. And the heigth being taken here, we found ourselues to be in the latitude of 60 degrees and a halfe, and were fallen with the Southermost part of this land. Betweene Orkney and Frisland are reckoned leagues.66
Frisland described. This Frislande sheweth a ragged and high lande, hauing the mountaines almost couered ouer with snow alongst the coast full of drift yce, and seemeth almost inaccessable, and is thought to be an Iland in bignesse not inferiour to England, and is called of some Authors, West Frislande, I thinke because it lyeth more West then any part of Europe. It extendeth in latitude to the Northward very farre as seemed to vs, and appeareth by a description set out by two brethren Venetians, Nicholaus and Antonius Zeni, who being driuen off from Ireland with a violent tempest made shipwracke here, and were the first knowen Christians that discouered this land about two hundred yeares sithence, and they haue in their Sea cardes set out euery part thereof and described the condition of the inhabitants, declaring them to be as ciuill and religous people as we. And for so much of this land as we haue sayled alongst, comparing their Carde with the coast, we finde it very agreeable. An easie kind of Fishing. This coast seemeth to haue good fishing, for we lying becalmed let falle a hooke without any bayte and presently caught a great fish called a Hollibut, who serued the whole companie for a dayes meate, and is dangerous meate for surfetting. White Corrall got by sounding. And sounding about fiue leagues off from the shore, our leade brought vp in the tallow a kinde of Corrall almost white, and small stones as bright as Christall: and it is not to be doubted but that this land may be found very rich and beneficial if it were thoroughly discovered, although we sawe no creature there but little birdes. Monstrous Isles of yce, in taste fresh, wherehence they are supposed to come. It is a maruellous thing to behold of what great bignesse and depth some Ilands of yce be here, some seuentie, some eightie fadome vnder water, besides that which is aboue, seeming Ilands more then halfe a mile in circuit. All these yce are in tast fresh, and seeme to be bredde in the sounds thereabouts, or in some lande neere the pole, and with the winde and tides are driuen alongst the coastes. The opinion of the frozen seas is destroyed by experience. We found none of these Ilands of yce salt in taste, whereby it appeareth that they were not congealed of the Ocean Sea water which is alwayes salt, but of some standing or little moouing lakes or great fresh waters neere the shore, caused eyther by melted snowe from tops of mountaines, or by continuall accesse of fresh riuers from the land, and intermingling with the Sea water, bearing yet the dominion (by the force of extreame frost) may cause some part of salt water to freese so with it, and so seeme a little brackish, but otherwise the maine Sea freeseth not, and therefore there is no Mare Glaciale or frosen Sea, as the opinion hitherto hath bene. Our Generall prooued landing here twice, but by the suddaine fall of mistes (whereunto this coast is much subiect) he was like to loose sight of his ships, and being greatly endangered with the driuing yce alongst the coast, was forced aboord and faine to surcease his pretence till a better opportunitie might serue: and hauing spent foure dayes and nights sayling alongst this land, finding the coast subiect to such bitter colde and continuall mistes he determined to spend no more time therein, but to beare out his course towards the streights called Frobishers streights after the Generals name, who being the first that euer passed beyond 58 degrees to the Northwardes, for any thing that hath beene yet knowen of certaintie of New found land, otherwise called the continent or firme land of America, discouered the saide straights this last yere 1576.
The Stirrage of the Michaell broken by tempest. Betweene Frisland and the Straights we had one great storme, wherein the Michaell was somewhat in danger, hauing her Stirrage broken, and her toppe Mastes blowen ouer boord, and being not past 50 leagues short of the Straights by our account, we stroke sayle and lay a hull, fearing the continuance of the storme, the winde being at the Northeast, and hauing lost companie of the Barkes in that flaw of winde, we happily met againe the seuenteenth day of Iuly, hauing the euening before seene diuers Ilands of fleeting yce, which gaue an argument that we were not farre from land. The first entrance of the Straights. Our Generall in the morning from the maine top (the weather being reasonable cleare) descried land, but to better assured he sent the two Barkes two contrarie courses, whereby they might discry either the South or North foreland, the Ayde lying off and on at Sea, with a small sayle by an Iland of yce, which was the marke for vs to meet together againe. Halles Iland. And about noone, the weather being more cleare, we made the North foreland perfite, which otherwise is called Halles Iland, and also the small Iland bearing the name of the sayd Hall whence the Ore was taken vp which was brought into England this last yeere 1576 the said Hall being present at the finding and taking vp thereof, who was then Maister in the Gabriell with Captaine Frobisher. At our arriuall here all the Seas about this coast were so couered ouer with huge quantitie of great yce, that we thought these places might onely deserue the name of Mare Glaciale, and be called the Isie Sea.
The description of the straights. This North forland is thought to be deuided from the continent of the Northerland, by a little sound called Halles sound, which maketh it an Iland, and is thought little lesse then the Ile of Wight, and is the first entrance of the Straights vpon the Norther side, and standeth in the latitude of sixtie two degrees and fiftie minutes, and is reckoned from Frisland leagues.67 God hauing blessed vs with so happie a land-fall, we bare into the Straights which runne in next hand, and somewhat further vp to the Northwarde, and came as neere the shore as wee might for the yce, and vpon the eighteenth day No more gold Ore found in the first Iland. of Iuly our Generall taking the Goldfiners with him, attempted to goe on shore with a small rowing Pinnesse, vpon the small Islande where the Ore was taken vp, to prooue whether there were any store thereof to be found, but he could not get in all that Iland a peece so bigge as a Walnut, where the first was found. But our men which sought the other Ilands thereabouts found them all to haue good store of the Ore, whereupon our Generall with these good tidings returned aboord about tenne of the clocke at night, and was ioyfully welcommed of the company with a volie of shot. Egs and foules of Meta incognita. Snares set to catch birds withall. He brought egges, foules, and a young Seale aboord, which the companie had killed ashore, and hauing found vpon those Ilands ginnes set to catch fowle, and stickes newe cut, with other things, he well perceiued that not long before some of the countrey people had resorted thither.
Hauing therefore found those tokens of the peoples accesse in those parts, and being in his first voyage well acquainted with their subtill and cruell disposition, hee prouided well for his better safetie, and on Friday the nineteenth of Iuly in the morning early, with his best companie of Gentlemen and souldiers to the number of fortie persons, went on shore, aswell to discouer the Inland and habitation of the people, as also to finde out some fit harborowe for our shippes. And passing towardes the shoare with no small difficultie by reason of the abundance of yce which lay alongst the coast so thicke togither that hardly any passage through them might be discouered, we arriued at length vpon the maine of Halles greater Iland, and found there also aswell as in the other small Ilands good store of the Ore. The building of a Columne, called Mount Warwicke. And leauiug his boates here with sufficient guarde we passed vp into the countrey about two English miles, and recouered the toppe of a high hill, on the top whereof our men made a Columne or Crosse of stones heaped vp of a good heigth togither in good sort, and solemnly sounded a Trumpet, and saide certaine prayers kneeling about the Ensigne, and honoured the place by the name of Mount Warwicke, in remembrance of the Right Honorable the Lord Ambrose Dudley Earle of Warwicke, whose noble mind and good countenance in this, as in all other good actions, gaue great encouragement and good furtherance. This done, we retyred our companies not seeing any thing here worth further discouerie, the countrey seeming barren and full of ragged mountaines and in most parts couered with snow.
The first sight of countrie people, wafting with a flagge. And thus marching towards our botes, we espied certaine countrey people on the top of Mount Warwick with a flag wafting vs backe againe and making great noise with cries like the mowing of Buls seeming greatly desirous of conference with vs: whereupon the Generall being therewith better acquainted, answered them againe with the like cries, whereat and with the noise of our trumpets they seemed greatly to reioice, skipping, laughing, and dancing for ioy. And hereupon we made signes vnto them, holding vp two fingers, commanding two of our men to go apart from our companies, whereby they might do the like. The meeting apart of two Englishmen with two of that countrey. So that forthwith two of our men and two of theirs met together a good space from company, neither partie hauing their weapons about them. Our men gaue them pins and points and such trifles as they had. And they likewise bestowed on our men two bow cases and such things as they had. They earnestly desired our men to goe vp into their countrey, and our men offered them like kindnesse aboord our ships, but neither part (as it seemed) admitted or trusted the others courtesie. The order of their traffique. Their maner of traffique is thus, they doe vse to lay downe of their marchandise vpon the ground, so much as they meane to part withal, and so looking that the other partie with whom they make trade should do the like, they themselues doe depart, and then if they doe like of their Mart they come againe, and take in exchange the others marchandise, otherwise if they like not, they take their owne and depart. The day being thus well neere spent, in haste wee retired our companies into our boates againe, minding foorthwith to search alongst the coast for some harborow fit for our shippes, for the present necessitie thereof was much, considering that all this while they lay off and on betweene the two landes, being continually subiect aswell to great danger of fleeting yce, which enuironed them, as to the sodaine flawes which the coast seemeth much subiect vnto. But when the people perceiued our departure, with great tokens of affection they earnestly called vs backe againe, following vs almost to our boates: whereupon our Generall taking his Master with him, who was best acquainted with their maners, went apart vnto two of them, meaning, if they could lay sure hold vpon them, forcibly to bring them aboord, with intent to bestow certaine toyes and apparell vpon the one, and so to dismisse him with all arguments of curtesie, and retaine the other for an Interpreter. Another meeting of two of our men with two of theirs. The Generall and his Maister being met with their two companions togither, after they had exchanged certaine things the one with the other, one of the Saluages for lacke of better marchandise, cut off the tayle of his coat (which is a chiefe ornament among them) and gaue it vnto our Generall for a present. But he presently vpon a watchword giuen with his Maister sodainely laid hold vpon the two Saluages. But the ground vnderfoot being slipperie with the snow on the side of the hill, their handfast fayled and their prey escaping ranne away and lightly recouered their bow and arrowes, which they had hid not farre from them behind the rockes. The Englishmen chased to their boates. And being onely two Saluages in sight, they so fiercely, desperately, and with such fury assaulted and pursued our Generall and his Master, being altogether vnarmed, and not mistrusting their subtiltie that they chased them to their boates, and hurt the Generall in the buttocke with an arrow, who the rather speedily fled backe, becasuse they suspected a greater number behind the rockes. Our souldiers (which were commanded before to keepe their boates) perceiuing the danger, and hearing our men calling for shot came speedily to rescue, thinking there had bene a greater number. But when the Saluages heard the shot of one of our caliuers (and yet hauing first bestowed their arrowes) they ranne away, our men speedily following them. One of that Countreymen taken. But a seruant of my Lorde of Warwick, called Nicholas Conger a good footman, and vncumbred with any furniture hauing only a dagger at his backe ouertooke one of them, and being a Cornishman and a good wrastler, shewed his companion such a Cornish tricke, that he made his sides ake against the ground for a moneth after. And so being stayed, he was taken aliue and brought away, but the other escaped. Thus with their strange and new prey our men repaired to their boates, and passed from the maine to a small Iland of a mile compasse, where they resolued to tarrie all night; for euen now a sodaine storme was growen so great at sea, that by no meanes they could recouer their ships. And here euery man refreshed himselfe with a small portion of victuals which was laide into the boates for their dinners, hauing neither eate nor drunke all the day before. But because they knewe not how long the storme might last, nor how farre off the shippes might be put to sea, nor whether they should euer recouer them againe or not, they made great spare of their victuals, as it greatly behoued them: For they knew full well that the best cheare the countrey could yeeld them, was rockes and stones, a hard food to liue withall, and the people more readie to eate them then to giue them wherewithall to eate. And thus keeping verie good watch and warde, they lay there all night vpon hard cliffes of snow and yce both wet, cold, and comfortlesse.
These things thus hapning with the company on land, the danger of the ships at Sea was no lesse perilous. The Ayde set on fire. For within one houre after the Generals departing in the morning by negligence of the Cooke in ouer-heating, and the workman in making the chimney, the Ayde was set on fire, and had bene the confusion of the whole if by chance a boy espying it, it had not bene speedily with great labour and Gods helpe well extinguished,
The great danger of these rockes of yce. This day also were diuerse stormes and flawes, and by nine of the clocke at night the storme was growen so great, and continued such vntill the morning, that it put our ships at sea in no small perill: for hauing mountaines of fleeting yce on euery side, we went roomer for one, and loofed for another, some scraped vs, and some happily escaped vs, that the least of a M. were as dangerous to strike as any rocke, and able to haue split asunder the strongest ship of the world. We had a scope of cleare without yce, (as God would) wherein we turned, being otherwise compassed on euery side about: but so much was the winde and so litle was our sea roome, that being able to beare onely our forecourse we cast so oft about, that we made fourteene bordes in eight glasses running, being but foure houres: Night without darknes in that countrey. but God being our best Steresman, and by the industry of Charles Iackman and Andrew Dyer then masters mates, both very expert Mariners and Richard Cox the maister Gunner, with other very carefull sailers, then within bord, and also by the helpe of the cleare nights which are without darknesse, we did happily auoide those present dangers, whereat since wee haue more maruelled then in the present danger feared, for that euery man within borde, both better and worse had ynough to doe with his hands to hale ropes, and with his eyes to looke out for danger. But the next morning being the 20 of Iuly, as God would, the storme ceased, and the Generall espying the ships with his new Captiue and whole company, came happily abord, and reported what had passed a shoare, whereupon altogither vpon our knees we gaue God humble and hartie thankes, for that it had pleased him, from so speedy peril to send vs such speedy deliuerance, and so from this Northerne shore we stroke ouer towards the Southerland.
Our first comming on the Southerland of the sayd straights. The one and twentieth of Iuly, we discovered a bay which ranne into the land, that seemed a likely harborow for our ships, wherefore our Generall rowed thither with his boats, to make proofe thereof, and with his goldfiners to search for Ore, hauing neuer assayed any thing on the South shore as yet, and the first small Island which we landed vpon. A Mine of Blacke-lead. Here all the sands and clifts did so glister and had so bright a marquesite, that it seemed all to be gold, but vpon tryall made it prooued no better then black-lead, and verified the prouerb. All is not gold that glistereth.
Vpon the two and twentieth of Iuly we bare into the sayde sound, and came to ancker a reasonable bredth off the shore, where thinking our selues in good securitie, we were greatly endangered with a peece of drift yce, which the Ebbe brought forth of the sounds and came thwart vs ere we were aware. But the gentlemen and souldiers within bord taking great paines at this pinch at the Capstone, overcame the most danger thereof, and yet for all that might be done, it stroke on our sterne such a blow, that we feared least it had striken away our rudder, and being forced to cut our Cable in the hawse, we were faine to set our fore saile to runne further vp within, and if our stirrage had not bene stronger then in the present time we feared, we had runne the ship vpon the rockes, hauing a very narrow Channell to turne in, but as God would, all came well to passe. [Iackmans sound.] And this was named Iackmans sound, after the name of the Masters mate, who had first liking vnto the place.
Smiths Iland. Vpon a small Iland, within this sound called Smithes Iland (because he first set vp his forge there) was found a Mine of siluer, but was not wonne out of the rockes without great labour. Here our goldfiners made say of such Ore as they found vpon the Northerland, and found foure sortes thereof to holde golde in good quantitie. Vpon another small Iland here was also found a great dead fish, which as it should seeme, had bene embayed with yce, and was in proportion round like to a Porpose, being about twelue foote long, and in bignesse answerable, hauing a horne of two yards long growing out of the snoute or nostrels. The finding of an Vnicornes horne. This horne is wreathed and straite, like in fashion to a Taper made of waxe, and may truely be thought to be the sea Vnicorne.68 This home is to be seene and reserued as a Iewell by the Queenes Maiesties commandement, in her Wardrope of Robes.
Tuesday the three and twentieth of Iuly, our Generall with his best company of gentlemen, souldiers and saylers, to the number of seuentie persons in all, marched with ensigne displayde, vpon the continent of the Southerland (the supposed continent of America) where, commanding a Trumpet to sound a call for euery man to repaire to the ensigne, he declared to the whole company how much the cause imported for the seruice of her Maiestie, our countrey, our credits, and the safetie of our owne liues, and therefore required euery man to be conformable to order, and to be directed by those he should assigne. And he appointed for leaders, Captaine Fenton, Captaine Yorke, and his Lieutenant George Beste: which done, we cast our selues into a ring, and altogether vpon our knees, gaue God humble thanks for that it had pleased him of his great goodnesse to preserue vs from such imminent dangers, beseeching likewise the assistance of his holy spirite, so to deliuer vs in safetie into our Countrey, whereby the light and truth of these secrets being knowen, it might redound to the more honour of his holy name, and consequently to the aduancement of our common wealth. And so, in as good sort as the place suffered, we marched towards the tops of the mountaines, which were no lesse painfull in climbing then dangerous in descending, by reason of their steepenesse and yce. And hauing passed about fiue miles, by such vnwieldie wayes, we returned vnto our ships without sight of any people, or likelihood of habitation. Here diuerse of the Gentlemen desired our Generall to suffer them to the number of twentie or thirtie persones to march vp thirtie or fortie leagues in the countrey, to the end they might discouer the Inland, and doe some acceptable seruice for their countrey. But he not contented with the matter he sought for, and well considering the short time he had in hand, and the greedie desire our countrey hath to a present sauor and returne of gaine, bent his whole indeuour only to find a Mine to fraight his ships, and to leave the rest (by Gods helpe) hereafter to be well accomplished. And therefore the twentie sixe of Iuly he departed ouer to the Northland, with the two barkes, leauing the Ayde ryding in Iackmans sound; and ment (after hee had found conuenient harborow, and fraight there for his ships) to discouer further for the passage. The Barkes came the same night to ancker in a sound vpon the Northerland, where the tydes did runne so swift, and the place was so subiect to indrafts of yce; that by reason thereof they were greatly endangered, and hauing found a very rich Myne, as they supposed, and got almost twentie tunne of Ore together, vpon the 28 of Iuly the yce came driuing into the sound where the Barkes rode, in such sort, that they were therewith greatly distressed. And the Gabriell riding asterne the Michael, had her Cable gauld asunder in the hawse with a peece of driuing yce, and lost another ancker, and hauing but one cable and ancker left, for she had lost two before, and the yce still driuing vpon her, she was (by Gods helpe) well fenced from the danger of the rest, by one great Iland of yce, which came a ground hard a head of her, which if it had not so chanced, I thinke surely shee had bene cast vpon the rockes with the yce. The Michael mored ancker vpon this great yce, and roade vnder the lee thereof: but about midnight, by the weight of it selfe, and the setting of the Tydes, the yce brake within halfe the Barkes length, and made vnto the companie within boord a sodaine and fearefull noyse. Beares sound. Lecesters Iland. The next flood toward the morning we weyed ancker, and went further vp the straights, and leauing our Ore behind vs which we had digged, for hast left the place by the name of Beares sound after the masters name of the Michaell, and named the Iland Lecesters Iland. A tombe with a dead mans bones in it. In one of the small Ilands here we founde a Tombe, wherein the bones of a dead man lay together, and our Sauage Captiue being with vs, and being demanded by signes whether his countreymen had not slaine this man and eat his flesh so from the bones, he made signes to the contrary, and that he was slaine with Wolues and wild beasts. Here also was found hid vnder stones good store of fish, and Bridles, kniues, and other instruments found hid among the rockes. sundry other things of the inhabitants; as sleddes, bridles, kettels of fish-skinnes, kniues of bone, and such other like. And our Sauage declared vnto vs the vse of all those things. They vse great dogs to draw sleds, and little dogs for their meat. And taking in his hand one of those countrey bridles, he caught one of our dogges and hampred him handsomely therein, as we doe our horses, and with a whip in his hand, he taught the dogge to drawe in a sled as we doe horses in a coach, setting himselfe thereupon like a guide: so that we might see they vse dogges for that purpose that we do our horses. And we found since by experience, that the lesser sort of dogges they feede fatte, and keepe them as domesticall cattell in their tents for their eating, and the greater sort serue for the vse of drawing their sleds.
The twentie ninth of Iuly, about fiue leagues from Beares sound, we discouered a Bay which being fenced on ech side with smal Ilands lying off the maine, which breake the force of the tides, and make the place free from any indrafts of yce, did prooue a very fit harborow for our ships, where we came to ancker vnder a small Ilande, which now together with the sound is called by the name of that right Honourable and vertuous Ladie, Anne Countesse of Warwicke. Thirty leagues discouered within the straites. And this is the furthest place that this yeere we haue entred vp within the streits, and is reckoned from the Cape of the Queenes foreland, which is the entrance of the streites not aboue 30 leagues. Vpon this Iland was found good store of Ore, which in the washing helde golde to our thinking plainly to be seene: whereupon it was thought best rather to load here, where there was store and indifferent good, then to seeke further for better, and spend time with ieoperdie. A good president of a good Captain shewed by Captain Frobisher. And therefore our Generall setting the Myners to worke, and shewing first a good president of a painefull labourer and a goode Captaine in himselfe, gaue good examples for other to follow him: whereupon euery man both better and worse, with their best endeuours willingly layde to their helping hands. And the next day, being the thirtieth of Iuly, the Michaell was sent ouer to Iackmans sound, for the Ayde and the whole companie to come thither. The maner of their houses in this country. Vpon the maine land ouer against the Countesses Iland we discouered and behelde to our greate maruell the poore caues and houses of those countrey people, which serue them (as it should seeme) for their winter dwellings, and are made two fadome vnder grounde, in compasse round, like to an Ouen, being ioyned fast one by another, hauing holes like to a Foxe or Conny berry, to keepe and come togither. They vndertrenched these places with gutters so, that the water falling from the hilles aboue them, may slide away without their annoyance: and are seated commonly in the foote of a hill, to shield them better from the cold windes, hauing their doore and entrance euer open towards the South. Whales bones vsed in stead of timber. From the ground vpward they builde with whales bones, for lacke of timber, which bending one ouer another, are handsomely compacted in the top together, and are couered ouer with Seales skinnes, which in stead of tiles, fence them from the raine. In which house they haue only one roome, hauing the one halfe of the floure raised with broad stones a foot higher than the other, whereon strawing Mosse, they make their nests to sleep in. The sluttishness of these people. They defile these dennes most filthily with their beastly feeding, and dwell so long in a place (as we thinke) vntill their sluttishnes lothing them, they are forced to seeke a sweeter ayre, and a new seate, and are (no doubt) a dispersed and wandring nation, as the Tartarians, and liue in hords and troupes, without any certaine abode, as may appeare by sundry circumstances of our experience.
A signe set vp by the sauage captiue, and the meaning thereof. Here our captiue being ashore with vs, to declare the vse of such things as we saw, stayd himselfe alone behind the company, and did set vp fiue small stickes round in a circle one by another, with one smal bone placed iust in the middest of all: which thing when one of our men perceiued, he called vs backe to behold the matter, thinking that hee had meant some charme or witchcraft therein. But the best coniecture we could make thereof was, that hee would thereby his countreymen should vnderstand, that for our fiue men which they betrayed the last yeere (whom he signified by the fiue stickes) he was taken and kept prisoner, which he signified by the bone in the midst. The sauage captiue amazed at his countreimans picture. For afterwards when we shewed him the picture of his countreman, which the last yeere was brought into England (whose counterfeit we had drawen with boate and other furniture, both as he was in his own, and also in English apparel) he was vpon the sudden much amazed thereat, and beholding aduisedly the same with silence a good while, as though he would streine courtesie whether should begin the speech (for he thought him no doubt a liuely creature) at length began to question with him, as with his companion, and finding him dumb and mute, seemed to suspect him, as one disdeinfull, and would with a little helpe haue growen into choller at the matter, vntill at last by feeling and handling, hee found him but a deceiuing picture. And then with great noise and cryes, ceased not wondring, thinking that we could make men liue or die at our pleasure.
And thereupon calling the matter to his remembrance, he gaue vs plainely to vnderstand by signes, that he had knowledge of the taking of our fiue men the last yeere, and confessing the maner of ech thing, numbred the fiue men vpon his fiue fingers, and pointed vnto a boat in our ship, which was like vnto that wherein our men were betrayed: And when we made him signes, that they were slaine and eaten, he earnestly denied, and made signes to the contrary.
Another shew of twenty persons of that countrey in one boate. The last of Iuly the Michael returned with the Aide to vs from the Southerland, and came to anker by vs in the Countesse of Watwicks sound, and reported that since we departed from Iackmans sound there happened nothing among them there greatly worth the remembrance, vntill the thirtieth of Iuly, when certaine of our company being a shoare vpon a small Island within the sayd Iackmans sound, neere the place where the Aide rode, did espie a long boat with diuers of the countrey people therein, to the number of eighteene or twenty persons, whom so soone as our men perceiued, they returned speedily aboord, to giue notice thereof vnto our company. They might perceiue these people climbing vp to the top of a hill, where with a flagge, they wafted vnto our ship, and made great out cries and noyses, like so many Buls. Hereupon our men did presently man foorth a small skiffe, hauing not aboue sixe or seuen persons therein, which rowed neere the place where those people were, to prooue if they could haue any conference with them. But after this small boate was sent a greater, being wel appointed for their rescue, if need required.
As soone as they espied our company comming neere them, they tooke their boates and hasted away, either for feare, or else for pollicie, to draw our men from rescue further within their danger: wherefore our men construing that their comming thither was but to seeke aduantage, followed speedily after them, but they rowed so swiftly away, that our men could come nothing neere them. Howbeit they failed not of their best indeuour in rowing, and hauing chased them aboue two miles into the sea, returned into their ships againe.
Yorkes sound. The morning following being the first of August, Captaine Yorke with the Michael came into Iackmans sound, and declared vnto the company there, that the last night past he came to anker in a certaine baye (which sithens was named Yorkes sound) about foure leagues distant from Iackmans sound, being put to leeward of that place for lacke of winde, where he discouered certaine tents of the countrey people, where going with his company ashore, he entred into them, but found the people departed, as it should seeme, for feare of their comming. But amongst sundry strange things which in these tents they found, there was rawe and new killed flesh of vnknowen sorts, with dead carcases and bones of dogs, and I know not what. The apparel found againe of our English men which the yere before were taken. They also beheld (to their greatest marueile) a dublet of Canuas made after the English fashion, a shirt, a girdle, three shoes for contrary feete, and of vnequall bignesse, which they well coniectured to be the apparell of our fiue poore countreymen, which were intercepted the last yeere by these Countrey people, about fiftie leagues from this place, further within the Straights. A good deuise of Captaine Yorke. Whereupon our men being in good hope, that some of them might be here, and yet liuing: the Captaine deuising for the best left his mind behind him in writing, with pen, yncke, and paper also, whereby our poore captiue countrymen, if it might come to their hands, might know their friends minds, and of their arriuall, and likewise returne their answere. And so without taking any thing away in their tents, leauing there also looking glasses, points, and other of our toyes (the better to allure them by such friendly meanes) departed aboord his Barker, with intent to make haste to the Aide, to giue notice vnto the company of all such things as he had there discouered: and so meant to returne to these tents againe, hoping that he might by force or policie intrappe or intice the people to some friendly conference. Which things when he had deliuered to the whole company there, they determined forthwith to go in hand with the matter. Hereupon Captaine Yorke with the master of the Aide and his mate (who the night before had bene at the tents, and came ouer from the other side in the Michael with him) being accompanied with the Gentlemen and souldiors to the number of thirty or forty persons in two small rowing Pinnasses made towards the place, where the night before they discovered the tents of those people, and setting Charles Iackman, being the Masters mate, ashore with a convenient number, for that he could best guide them to the place, they marched ouer land, meaning to compasse them on the one side, whilest the Captaine with his boates might entrap them on the other side. But landing at last at the place where the night before they left them, they found them with their tents remoued. Notwithstanding, our men which marched vp into the countrey, passing ouer two or three mountaines, by chance espied certaine tents in a valley vnderneath them neere vnto a creeke by the Sea side, which because it was not the place where the guide had bene the night before, they iudged them to be another company, and be setting them about, determined to take them if they could. The Sauages haue boats of sundry bignes. But they having quickly descried our companie, launched one great and another smal boat, being about 16 or 18 persons, and very narrowly escaping, put themselues to sea. The Englishmen pursue those people of that countrey. The swift rowing of those people. Whereupon our souldiers discharged their Caliuers, and followed them, thinking the noise therof being heard to our boats at sea, our men there would make what speede they might to that place. The bloody point. Yorkes sound. And thereupon indeede our men which were in the boates (crossing vpon them in the mouth of the sound whereby their passage was let from getting sea roome, wherein it had bene impossible for vs to ouertake them by rowing) forced them to put themselues ashore vpon a point of land within the sayd sound (which vpon the occasion of the slaughter there, was since named The bloody point) whereunto our men so speedily followed, that they had little leisure left them to make any escape. But so soone as they landed each of them brake his Oare, thinking by that meanes to preuent vs, in carrying away their boates for want of Oares. A hot skirmish betweene the English and them of that countrey. And desperately returning vpon our men, resisted them manfully in their landing, so long as their arrowes and dartes lasted, and after gathering vp those arrowes which our men shot at them, yea, and plucking our arrowes out of their bodies incountred fresh againe, and maintained their cause vntill both weapons and life fayled them. The desperate nature of those people. And when they found they were mortally wounded, being ignorant what mercy meaneth, with deadly fury they cast themselues headlong from off the rockes into the sea, least perhaps their enemies should receiue glory or prey of their dead carcaises, for they supposed vs belike to be Canibals or eaters of mans flesh. The taking of the woman and her child. In this conflict one of our men was dangerously hurt in the belly with one of their arrowes, and of them were slaine fiue or sixe, the rest by flight escaping among the rockes, sauing two women, whereof the one being old and vgly, our men thought shee had bene a deuill or some witch, and therefore let her goe: the other being yong, and cumbred with a sucking childe at her backe, hiding her selfe behind the rockes, was espied by one of our men, who supposing she had bene a man, shot through the haire of her head, and pierced through the childs arme, whereupon she cried out, and our Surgeon meaning to heale her childes arme, applyed salues thereunto. A prety kind of surgery which nature teacheth. But she not acquainted with such kind of surgery, plucked those salues away, and by continuall licking with her owne tongue, not much vnlike our dogs, healed vp the childes arme. And because the day was welneere spent our men made haste vnto the rest of our company which on the other side of the water remained at the tents, where they found by the apparell, letter, and other English furniture, that they were the same company which Captaine Yorke discouered the night before, hauing remoued themselues from the place where he left them.
And now considering their sudden flying from our men, and their desperate maner of fighting, we began to suspect that we had heard the last newes of our men which the last yere were betrayed of these people. And considering also their rauenous and bloody disposition in eating any kind of raw flesh or carrion howsoeuer stinking, it is to bee thought that they had slaine and deuoured our men: For the dublet which was found in their tents had many holes therein being made with their arrowes and darts.
But now the night being at hand, our men with their captiues and such poore stuffe as they found in their tents, returned towards their ships, when being at sea, there arose a sudden flaw of winde, which was not a little dangerous for their small boates: but as God would they came all safely aboord. And with these good newes they returned (as before mentioned) into the Countesse of Warwicks sound vnto vs. The narrowest place of the Straites is 9. leagues ouer. And betweene Iackmans sound, from whence they came, and the Countesse of Warwicks sound betweene land, and land, being thought the narrowest place of the Straights were iudged nine leagues ouer at the least: The Queenes Cape. and Iackmans sound being vpon the Southerland, lyeth directly almost ouer against the Countesses sound, as is reckoned scarce thirty leagues within the Straights from the Queenes Cape, which is the entrance of the Streits of the Southerland. This Cape being named Queene Elizabeths Cape, standeth in the latitude of 62 degrees and a halfe to the Northwards of New found land, and vpon the same continent, for any thing that is yet knowen to the contrary. The maner of the meeting of the two captiues, and their entertainment. Hauing now got a woman captiue for the comfort of our man, we brought them both together, and euery man with silence desired to behold the maner of their meeting and entertainment, the which was more worth the beholding than can be well expressed by writing. At their first encountring they beheld each the other very wistly a good space, without speech or word vttered, with great change of colour and countenance, as though it seemed the griefe and disdeine of their captiuity had taken away the vse of their tongues and vtterance: the woman at the first very suddenly, as though she disdeined or regarded not the man, turned away, and began to sing as though she minded another matter: but being againe brought together, the man brake vp the silence first, and with sterne and stayed countenance, began to tell a long solemne tale to the woman, whereunto she gaue good hearing, and interrupted him nothing, till he had finished, and afterwards, being growen into more familiar acquaintance by speech, they were turned together, so that (I thinke) the one would hardly haue liued without the comfort of the other. And for so much as we could perceiue, albeit they liued continually together, yet they did neuer vse as man and wife, though the woman spared not to doe all necessary things that appertained to a good housewife indifferently for them both, as in making cleane their Cabin, and euery other thing that appertained to his ease: for when he was seasicke, she would make him cleane, she would kill and flea the dogs for their eating, and dresse his meate. The shamefastess and chastity of those Sauage captiues. Only I think it worth the noting, the continencie of them both: for the man would neuer shift hemselfe, except he had first caused the woman to depart out of his cabin, and they both were most shamefast, least any of their priue parts should be discouered, either of themselues, or any other body.
Another appearance of the countrey people. On Munday the sixth of August, the Lieutenant with all the Souldiers, for the better garde of the Myners and other things a shore, pitched their tents in the Countesses Island, and fortifyed the place for their better defence as well as they could, and were to the number of forty persons, when being all at labour, they might perceiue vpon the top of a hill ouer against them a number of the countrey people wafting with a flag, and making great outcries vnto them, and were of the same companie, which had encountred lately our men vpon the other shore, being come to complaine their late losses, and to entreate (as it seemed) for restriction of the woman and child, which our men in the late conflict had taken and brought away; whereupon, the Generall taking the sauage captiue with him, and setting the woman where they might best perceiue her in the highest place in the Island, went ouer to talke with them. This captiue at his first encounter of his friends fell so out into teares that he could not speake a word in a great space, but after a while, ouercomming his kindnesse, he talked at full with his companions, and bestowed friendly vpon them such toyes and trifles as we had giuen him, whereby we noted, that they are very kind one to another, and greatly sorrowfull for the losse of their friends. Our Generall by signes required his fiue men which they tooke captiue the last yeere, and promised them, not only to release those which he had taken, but also to reward them with great gifts and friendship. Those people know the vse of writing. Our Sauage made signes in answere from them that our men should be deliuered vs, and were yet liuing, and made signes likewise vnto vs that we should write our letters vnto them, for they knew very well the vse we haue of writing, and receiued knowledge thereof, either of our poore captiue countreymen which they betrayed, or else by this our new captiue who hath seene vs dayly write and repeate againe such words of his language as we desired to learne: but they for this night, because it was late, departed without any letter, although they called earnestly in hast for the same. A letter sent vnto the fiue English captiues. And the next morning early being the seuenth of August, they called againe for the letter, which being deliuered vnto them, they speedily departed, making signes with three fingers, and pointing to the Sunne, that they meant to returne within 3 dayes, vntill which time we heard no more of them, and about the time appointed they returned, in such sort as you shal afterwards heare.
This night because the people were very neere vnto vs, the Lieutenant caused the Trumpet to sound a call, and euery man in the Island repayring to the Ensigne, he put them in minde of the place so farre from their countrey wherein they liued, and the danger of a great multitude which they were subiect vnto, if good watch and warde were not kept, for at euery low water the enimie might come almost dryfoot from the mayne vnto vs, wherefore he willed euery man to prepare him in good readinesse vpon all sudden occasions, and so giuing the watch their charge, the company departed to rest.
I thought the Captaines letter well worth the remembring, not for the circumstance of curious enditing, but for the substance and good meaning therein contained, and therefore haue repeated here the same, as by himselfe it was hastily written.
The forme of M. Martin Frobishers letter to the English captiues.
In the name of God, in whom we all beleeue, who (I trust) hath preserued your bodies and soules amongst these infidels, I commend me vnto you. I will be glad to seeke by al meanes you can deuise for your deliuerance, either with force, or with any commodities within my ships, which I will not spare for your sakes, or any thing else I can doe for you. I haue aboord, of theirs, a man, a woman, and a child, which I am contented to deliuer for you, but the man which I caried away from hence the last yeere is dead in England. Moreouer you may declare vnto them, that if they deliuer you not, I will not leaue a man aliue in their countrey. And thus, if one of you can come to speake with mee, they shall haue either the man, woman, or childe in pawne for yon. And thus vnto God whom I trust you doe serue, in hast I leaue you, and to him wee will dayly pray for you. This Tuesday morning the seuenth of August. Anno 1577.
Yours to the vttermost of my power,
Postscript. I haue sent you by these bearers, penne, ynke and paper to write backe vnto me againe, if personally you cannot come to certifie me of your estate.
The cause why M. Frobisher entred no further within the streits this yere. Now had the Generall altered his determination for going any further into the Streites at this time for any further discouery of the passage, hauing taken a man and a woman of that countrey, which he thought sufficient for the vse of the language: and hauing also met with these people here, which intercepted his men the last yere, (as the apparell and English furniture which was found in their tents, very well declared) he knew it was but a labour lost to seeke further off, when he had found them there at hand. And considering also the short time he had in hand, he thought it best to bend his whole endeuour for the getting of Myne, and to leaue the passage further to be discouered hereafter. For his commission directed him in this voyage, onely for the searching of the Ore, and to deferre the further discouery of the passage vntill another time.
Bests bulwarke. On Thursday the ninth of August we began to make a small Fort for our defence in the Countesse Island, and entrenched a corner of a cliffe, which on three parts like a wall of good height was compassed and well fenced with the sea, and we finished the rest with caskes of the earth, to good purpose, and this was called Bests bulwarke, after the Lieutenants name, who first deuised the same. This was done for that wee suspected more lest the desperate men might oppresse vs with multitude, then any feare we had of their force, weapons, or policie of battel; but as wisdome would vs in such place (so farre from home) not to be of our selues altogether carelesse: Their King called Catchoe. so the signes which our captiue made vnto vs, of the comming downe of his Gouernour or Prince, which he called Catchoe, gaue vs occasion to foresee what might ensue thereof, for he shewed by signes that this Catchoe was a man of higher stature farre then any of our nation is, How he is honoured. and he is accustomed to be caried vpon mens shoulders.
About midnight the Lieutenant caused a false Alarme to be giuen in the Island, to proue as well the readines of the company there ashore, as also what helpe might be hoped for vpon the sudden from the ships if need so required, and euery part was found in good readines vpon such a sudden.
Saturday the eleuenth of August the people shewed themselues againe, and called vnto vs from the side of a hil ouer against vs. The General (with good hope to heare of his men, and to haue answere of his letter) went ouer vnto them, where they presented themselues not aboue three in sight, but were hidden indeede in greater numbers behinde the rockes, and making signes of delay with vs to entrappe some of vs to redeeme their owne, did onely seek aduantage to traine our boat aboue a point of land from sight of our companie: A bladder changed for a looking glasse. whereupon our men iustly suspecting them, kept aloofe without their danger, and yet set one of our company ashore which tooke vp a great bladder which one of them offered vs, and leauing a looking glasse in the place, came into the boate againe. No newes of the English captives. In the meane while our men which stood in the Countesses Island to beholde, who might better discerne them, then those of the boate, by reason they were on higher ground, made a great outcrie vnto our men in the boate, for that they saw diuers of the Sauages creeping behind the rockes towards our men, wherupon the Generall presently returned without tidings of his men.
To what end the bladder was delivered. Concerning this bladder which we receiued, our Captiue made signes that it was giuen him to keepe water and drinke in, but we suspected rather it was giuen him to swimme and shift away withall, for he and the woman sought diuers times to escape, hauing loosed our boates from asterne our ships, and we neuer a boate left to pursue them withall, and had preuailed very farre, had they not bene very timely espied and preuented therein.
Those people dancing vpon the hil toppes. After our Generals comming away from them they mustred themselues in our sight, vpon the top of a hill, to the number of twenty in a rancke, all holding hands ouer their heads, and dancing with great noise and songs together: we supposed they made this dance and shew for vs to vnderstand that we might take view of their whole companies and forced, meaning belike that we should doe the same. And thus they continued vpon the hill tops vntill night, when hearing a piece of our great Ordinance, which thundred in the hollownesse of the high hilles, it made vnto them so fearefull a noise, that they had no great will to tarie long after. And this was done more to make them know our force then to doe them any hurt at all.
A skirmish shewed to those people. On Sunday the 12 of August, Captaine Fenton trained the company, and made the souldiers maintaine a skirmish among themselues, as well for their exercise, as for the countrey people to behold in what readines our men were alwaies to be found, for it was to be thought, that they lay hid in the hilles thereabout, and obserued all the maner of our proceedings.
Their flags made of bladders. On Wednesday the fourteenth of August, our Generall with two small boates well appointed, for that hee suspected the countrey people to lie lurking thereabout, went vp a certaine Bay within the Countesses sound, to search for Ore, and met againe with the countrey people, who so soone as they saw our men made great outcries, and with a white flag made of bladders sewed together with the guts and sinewes of beasts, wafted vs amaine vnto them, but shewed not aboue three of their company. But when wee came neere them, wee might perceiue a great multitude creeping behinde the rockes, which gaue vs good cause to suspect their traiterous meaning: whereupon we made them signes, that if they would lay their weapons aside, and come foorth, we would deale friendly with them, although their intent was manifested vnto vs: but for all the signes of friendship we could make them they came still creeping towards vs behind the rocks to get more aduantage of vs, as though we had no eyes to see them, thinking belike that our single wits could not discouer so bare deuises and simple drifts of theirs. Their spokesman earnestly perswaded vs with many intising shewes, to come eate and sleepe ashore, with great arguments of courtesie, and clapping his bare hands ouer his head in token of peace and innocencie, willed vs to doe the like. Great offers. But the better to allure our hungry stomackes, he brought vs a trimme baite of raw flesh, which for fashion sake with a boat-hooke wee caught into our boate: but when the cunning Cater perceiued his first cold morsell could nothing sharpen our stomacks, he cast about for a new traine of warme flesh to procure our appetites, wherefore be caused one of his fellowes in halting maner, to come foorth as a lame man from behind the rockes, and the better to declare his kindnes in caruing, he hoised him vpon his shoulders, and bringing him hard to the water side where we were, left him there limping as an easie prey to be taken of vs. His hope was that we would bite at this baite, and speedily leape ashore within their danger, wherby they might haue apprehended some of vs, to ransome their friends home againe, which before we had taken. The gentlemen and souldiers had great will to encounter them ashore, but the Generall more carefull by processe of time to winne them, then wilfully at the first to spoile them, would in no wise admit that any man should put himselfe in hazard ashore, considering the matter he now intended was for the Ore, and not for the Conquest: notwithstanding to prooue this cripples footemanship, he gaue liberty for one to shoote: whereupon the cripple hauing a parting blow, lightly recouered a rocke and went away a true and no fained cripple, and hath learned his lesson for euer halting afore such cripples againe. But his fellowes which lay hid before, full quickly then appeared in their likenesse, and maintained the skirmish with their slings, bowes and arrowes very fiercely, and came as neere as the water suffred them: and with as desperate minde as hath bene seene in any men, without feare of shotte or any thing, followed vs all along the coast, but all their shot fell short of vs, and are of little danger. An hundreth Sauages. They had belayed all the coast along for vs, and being dispersed so, were not well to be numbred, but wee might discerne of them aboue an hundreth persons, and had cause to suspect a greater number. And thus without losse or hurt we returned to our ships againe.
Now our worke growing to an end, and hauing, onely with fiue poore Miners, and the helpe of a few gentlemen and souldiers, brought aboord almost two hundreth tunne of Ore in the space of twenty dayes, euery man therewithall well comforted, determined lustily to worke a fresh for a bone69 voyage, to bring our labour to a speedy and happy ende.
And vpon Wednesday at night, being the one and twentieth of August, we fully finished the whole worke. And it was now good time to leaue, for as the men were well wearied, so their shooes and clothes were well worne, their baskets bottoms torne out, their tooles broken, and the ships reasonably well filled. Some with ouer-straining themselues receiued hurts not a little dangerous, some hauing their bellies broken, and others their legs made lame. And about this time the yce began to congeale and freeze about our ships sides a night, which gaue vs a good argument of the Sunnes declining Southward, and put vs in mind to make more haste homeward.
It is not a little worth the memorie, to the commendation of the gentlemen and souldiers herein, who leauing all reputation apart, with so great willingnesse and with couragious stomackes, haue themselues almost ouercome in so short a time the difficultie of this so great a labour. And this to be true, the matter, if it bee well weyed without further proofe, now brought home doth well witnesse.
Thursday the 22 of August, we plucked downe our tents, and euery man hasted homeward, and making bonefires vpon the top of the highest Mount of the Island, and marching with Ensigne displayed round about the Island, wee gaue a vollie of shotte for a farewell, in honour of the right honourable Lady Anne, Countesse of Warwicke, whose name it beareth: and so departed aboord.
They returne. The 23 of August hawing the wind large at West, we set saile from out of the Countesses sound homeward, but the wind calming we came to anker within the point of the same sound againe.
The 24 of August about three of the clocke in the morning, hauing the wind large at West, we set saile againe, and by nine of the clocke at night, wee left the Queenes Foreland asterne of vs, and being cleere of the Streites, we bare further into the maine Ocean, keeping our course more Southerly, to bring our selues the sooner vnder the latitude of our owne climate.
Snow halfe a foote deepe in August. The wind was very great at sea, so that we lay a hull all night, and had snow halfe a foote deepe on the hatches.
From the 24 vntil the 28 we had very much wind, but large, keeping our course Southsoutheast, and had like to haue lost the Barkes, but by good hap we met againe. The height being taken, we were in 70degrees and a halfe.
The 29 of August the wind blew much at Northeast, so that we could beare but onely a bunt of our foresaile, and the Barkes were not able to cary any sayle at all.
The Michael lost company of vs and shaped her course towards Orkney because that way was better knowne vnto them, and arriued at Yermouth.
The Master of the Gabriell strooken ouerboord. The 30 of August with the force of the wind, and a surge of the sea, the Master of the Gabriel and the boatswain were striken both ouerboord, and hardly was the boatswain recouered, hauing hold on a roape hanging ouerboord in the sea, and yet the barke was laced fore and after with ropes a breast high within boorde.
This Master was called William Smith, being but a yong man and a very sufficient mariner, who being all the morning before exceeding pleasant, told his Captaine he dreamed that he was cast ouerboord, and that the Boatswain had him by the hand, and could not saue him, and so immediately vpon the end of his tale, his dreame came right euilly to passe, and indeed the Boatswain in like sort held him by one hand, hauing hold on a rope with the other, vntill his force fayled, and the Master drowned. The height being taken we found ourselues to be in the latitude of 71 degrees and a halfe, and reckoned our selues from the Queenes Cape homeward about two hundreth leagues.
The last of August about midnight, we had two or three great and sudden flawes or stormes.
The first of September the storme was growen very great, and continued almost the whole day and night, and lying a hull to tarrie for the Barkes our ship was much beaten with the seas, euery sea almost ouertaking our poope, so that we were constrained with a bunt of our saile to trie it out, and ease the rolling of our ship. And so the Gabriel not able to beare any sayle to keepe company with vs, and our ship being higher in the poope, and a tall ship, whereon the winde had more force to driue, went so fast away that we lost sight of them, and left them to God and their good fortune of Sea. The Rudder of the Aide torne in twain. The second day of September in the morning, it pleased God of his goodnesse to send vs a calme, whereby we perceiued the Rudder of our ship torne in twaine, and almost ready to fall away. Wherefore taking the benefite of the time, we flung half a dozen couple of our best men ouer boord, who taking great paines vnder water, driuing plankes, and binding with ropes, did well strengthen and mend the matter, who returned the most part more then halfe dead out of the water, and as Gods pleasure was, the sea was calme vntill the worke was finished. The fift of September, the height of the Sunne being taken, we found our selues to be in the latitude of 72 degrees and a halfe. How the latitudes were alwayes taken in this voyage rather with the Staffe then Astrolabe. In this voyage commonly wee tooke the latitude of the place by the height of the sunne, because the long day taketh away the light not onely of the Polar, but also of all other fixed Starres. And here the North Starre is so much eleuated aboue the Horizon, that with the staffe it is hardly to bee well obserued, and the degrees in the Astrolabe are too small to obserue minutes: Therefore wee alwaies vsed the Staffe and the sunne as fittest instruments for this vse.
Hauing spent foure or fiue dayes in trauerse of the seas with contrary winde, making our Souther way good as neere as we could, to raise our degrees to bring ourselues with the latitude of Sylley, wee tooke the height the tenth of September, and found our selues in the latitude of 73 degrees and ten minutes. The eleuenth of September about sixe a clocke at night the winde came good Southwest, we vered sheat and set our course Southeast.
And vpon Thursday, the twelfth of September, taking the height, we were in the latitude of 74 and a halfe, and reckoned our selues not past one hundred and fifty leagues short of Sylley, the weather faire, the winde large at Westsouthwest, we kept our course Southeast.
The thirteenth day the height being taken, wee found our selues to be in the latitude of 75 degrees, the wind Westsouthwest, then being in the height of Sylley, and we kept our course East, to run in with the sleeue or chanel so called, being our narrow seas, and reckoned vs short of Sylley twelue leagues.
Sonday, the 15 of September about foure of the clocke, we began to sound with our lead, and had ground at 61 fadome depth, white small sandy ground, and reckoned vs vpon the backe of Sylley, and set our course East and by North, Eastnortheast, and Northeast among.
The sixteenth of September, about eight of the clocke in the morning sounding, we had 65. fadome osey76 sand, and thought our selues thwart of S. Georges channell a little within the banks. And bearing a small saile all night, we made many soundings, which were about fortie fadome, and so shallow, that we could not well tell where we were.
The seuenteenth of September we sounded, and had forty fadome, and were not farre off the lands end, finding branded sand with small wormes and Cockle shells, and were shotte betweene Sylley and the lands ende, and being within the bay, we were not able to double the pointe with a South and by East way, but were faine to make another boord, the wind being at Southwest and by West, and yet could not double the point to come cleere of the lands end, to beare along the channell: and the weather cleered vp when we were hard aboord the shore, and we made the lands end perfit, and so put vp along Saint Georges channel. The arriual of the Aide at Padstow in Cornewall. And the weather being very foule at sea, we coueted some harborough, because our steerage was broken, and so came to ancor in Padstow road in Cornewall. But riding there a very dangerous roade, we were aduised by the Countrey, to put to Sea againe, and of the two euils, to chose the lesse, for there was nothing but present perill where we rode: Our comming to Milford Hauen. whereupon we plyed along the channell to get to Londy, from whence we were againe driuen, being but an open roade, where our anker came home, and with force of weather put to Seas againe, and about the three and twentieth of September, arriued at Milford Hauen in Wales, which being a very good harborough, made vs happy men, that we had receiued such long desired safetie.
About one moneth after our arriuall here, by order from the Lords of the Counsell, the ship came up to Bristow, where the Ore was committed to keeping in the Castel there. The arriuall of the Gabriel at Bristow. Here we found the Gabriel one of the Barkes, arriued in good safetie, who hauing neuer a man within boord very sufficient to bring home the ship, after the Master was lost, by good fortune, when she came vpon the coast, met with a ship of Bristow at sea, who conducted her in safety thither.
The Michael arriued in the North parts. Only one man died the voyage. Here we heard good tidings also of the arriuall of the other Barke called the Michael, in the North parts, which was not a little ioyful vnto vs, that it pleased God so to bring vs to a safe meeting againe, and wee lost in all that voyage only one man, besides one that dyed at sea, which was sicke before he came aboord, and was so desirous to follow this enterprise, that he rather chose to dye therein, then not to be one to attempt so notable a voyage.
The third voyage of Captaine Frobisher, pretended for the discouery of Cataia, by Meta Incognita, Anno Do, 1578.
The Generall being returned from the second voyage, immediately after his arriuall in England repaired with all hast to the Court being then at Windsore, to aduertise her Majestie of his prosperous proceeding, and good successe in this last voyage, and of the plenty of gold Ore, with other matters of importance which he had in those Septentrionall parts discouered. M. Frobisher commended of her Maiestie. He was courteously enterteyned, and heartily welcommed of many noble men, but especially for his great aduenture, commended of her Maiestie, at whose hands he receiued great thankes, and most gracious countenance, according to his deserts. The Gentlemen commended. Her Highnesse also greatly commended the rest of the Gentlemen in this seruice, for their great forwardnes in this so dangerous an attempt: but especially she reioyced very much, that among them there was so good order of gouernment, so good agreement, euery man so ready in his calling, to do whatsoeuer the Generall should command, which due commendation gratiously of her Maiestie remembred, gaue so great encouragement to all the Captaines and Gentlemen, that they to continue her Highnesse so good and honourable opinion of them, haue since neither spared labour, limme, nor life, to bring this matter (so well begun) to a happie and prosperous ende. Commissioners appointed to examine the goodnesse of the Ore. And finding that the matter of the golde Ore had appearance and made shew of great riches and profit, and the hope of the passage to Cataya, by this last voyage greatly increased, her Maiestie appointed speciall Commissioners chosen for this purpose, gentlemen of great iudgement, art, and skill, to looke thorowly into the cause, for the true triall and due examination thereof, and for the full handling of all matters thereunto appertaining. A name giuen to the place new discouered. And because that place and countrey hath neuer heretofore bene discouered, and therefore had no speciall name, by which it might be called and knowen, her Maiestie named it very properly Meta Incognita, as a marke and bound vtterly hitherto vnknowen. The commissioners after sufficient triall and proofe made of the Ore, and hauing vnderstood by sundrie reasons, and substantiall grounds, the possibilitie and likelyhood of the passage, aduertised her highnesse, that the cause was of importance, and the voyage greatly worthy to be aduanced againe. Wherevpon preparation was made of ships and all other things necessary, with such expedition, as the time of the yeere then required. And because it was assuredly made accompt of, that the commoditie of Mines, there already discouered, would at the least counteruaille in all respects the aduenturers charge, and giue further hope and likelyhood of greater matters to follow: The hope of the passage to Cataya. it was thought needfull, both for the better guard of those parts already found, and for further discouery of the Inland and secrets of those countreys, and also for further search of the passage to Cataya (whereof the hope continually more and more increaseth) that certaine numbers of chosen souldiers and discreet men for those purposes should be assigned to inhabite there. A forte to be built in Meta Incognita. Wherevpon there was a strong fort or house of timber, artificially framed, and cunningly deuised by a notable learned man here at home, in ships to be caried thither, wherby those men that were appointed to winter and stay there the whole yere, might as well bee defended from the danger of snow and colde ayre, as also fortified from the force or offence of those countrey people, which perhaps otherwise with too great multitudes might oppresse them. And to this great aduenture and notable exploit many well minded and forward yong Gentlemen of our countrey willingly haue offered themselues. And first Captaine Fenton Lieutenant generall for Captaine Frobisher, and in charge of the company with him there, Captaine Best, and Captaine Filpot, vnto whose good discretions the gouernment of that seruice was chiefly commended, who, as men not regarding peril in respect of the profit and common wealth of their countrey, were willing to abide the first brunt and aduenture of those dangers among a sauage and brutish kinde of people, in a place hitherto euer thought for extreme cold not habitable. A hundreth men appointed to inhabite there. The whole number of men which had offered, and were appointed to inhabite Meta Incognita all the yeere, were one hundreth persons, whereof 40 should be mariners for the vse of ships, 30 Miners for gathering the gold Ore together for the next yere, and 30 souldiers for the better guard of the rest, within which last number are included the Gentlemen, Goldfiners, Bakers, Carpenters, and all necessary persons. To each of the Captaines was assigned one ship, as wel for the further searching of the coast and countrey there, as for to returne and bring backe their companies againe, if the necessity of the place so vrged, or by miscarying of the fleet the next yere, they might be disappointed of their further prouision. Being therefore thus furnished with al necessaries, there were ready to depart vpon the said voyage 15 saile of good ships, whereof the whole number was to returne again with their loding of gold Ore in the end of the sommer, except those 3 ships, which should be left for the vse of those Captains which should inhabite there the whole yere. And being in so good readinesse, the Generall with all the Captaines came to the Court, then lying at Greenwich, to take their leaue of her Maiestie, at whose hands they all receiued great encouragement, and gracious countenance. A chaine of gold giuen to M. Frobisher. Her highnesse besides other good gifts, and greater promises, bestowed on the Generall a faire chaine of golde, and the rest of the Captaines kissed her hand, tooke their leaue, and departed euery man towards their charge.
The names of the Ships with their seuerall Captaines.
1 In the Aide being Admirall, was the Generall Captaine Frobisher.
2 In the Thomas Allen Viceadmirall Captaine Yorke.
3 In the Iudith Lieutenant generall Captaine Fenton.
4 In the Anne Francis Captaine Best.
5 In the Hopewell Captaine Carew.
6 In the Beare Captaine Filpot.
7 In the Thomas of Ipswich Captaine Tanfield.
8 In the Emmanuel of Exceter Captaine Courtney.
9 In the Francis of Foy Captaine Moyles.
10 In the Moone Captaine Vpcot.
11 In the Emmanuel of Bridgewater Captaine Newton.
12 In the Salomon of Weymouth Captaine Randal.
13 In the Barke Dennis Captaine Kendal.
14 In the Gabriel Captaine Haruey.
15 In the Michael Captaine Kinnersly.
The sayd fifteene saile of ships arriued and met together at Harwich, the seuen and twentieth day of May Anno 1578, where the Generall and the other Captaines made view, and mustred their companies. And euery seuerall Captaine receiued from the Generall certaine Articles of direction, for the better keeping of order and company together in the way, which Articles are as followeth.
Articles and orders to be obserued for the Fleete, set downe by Captaine Frobisher Generall, and deliuered in writing to euery Captaine, as well for keeping company, as for the course, the 31 of May.
1 In primis, to banish swearing, dice, and card-playing, and filthy communication, and to serue God twice a day, with the ordinary seruice vsuall in Churches of England, and to cleare the glasse, according to the old order of England.
2 The Admirall shall carie the light, and after his light be once put out, no man to goe a head of him, but euery man to fit his sailes to follow as neere as they may, without endangering one another.
3 That no man shall by day or by night depart further from the Admirall then the distance of one English mile, and as neere as they may, without danger one of another.
4 If it chance to grow thicke, and the wind contrary, either by day or by night, that the Admirall be forced to cast about, before her casting about shee shall giue warning, by shooting off a peece, and to her shall answere the Viceadmirall and the Rereadmirall each of them with a piece, if it bee by night, or in a fogge; and that the Viceadmirall shall answere first, and the Rereadmirall last.
5 That no man in the fleete descrying any sayle or sayles, giue vpon any occasion any chace before he haue spoken with the Admirall.
6 That euery euening all the Fleete come vp and speake with the Admirall, at seuen of the Clocke or betweene that and eight and if the weather will not serue them all to speake with the Admirall, then some shall come to the Viceadmirall, and receiue the order of their course of Master Hall chiefe Pilot of the Fleete, as he shall direct them.
7 If to any man in the Fleete there happen any mischance, they shall presently shoote off two peeces by day, and if it be by night, two peeces, and shew two lights.
8 If any man in the fleete come vp in the night, and hale his fellow, knowing him not, he shall giue him this watch-word, Before the world was God. The other shal answere him (if he be one of our Fleete) After God came Christ his Sonne. So that if any be found amongst vs, not of our owne company, he that first descrieth any such sayle or sayles, shall giue warning to the Admirall by himselfe or any other, that he can speake to, that sailes better then he, being neerest vnto him.
9 That every ship in the fleete in the time of fogs, which continually happen with little winds, and most part calmes, shal keepe a reasonable noise with trumpet, drumme, or otherwise, to keepe themselues cleere one of another.
10 If it fall out so thicke or mistie that we lay it to hull, the Admirall shall giue warning with a piece, and putting out three lights one ouer another, to the end that euery man may take in his sailes, and at his setting of sayles againe doe the like if it be not cleere.
11 If any man discover land by night, that he giue the like warning, that he doth for mischances, two lights, and two pieces, if it be by day one piece, and put out his flagge, and strike all his sailes he hath aboord.
12 If any ship shall happen to lose company by force of weather, then any such ship or ships shall get her into the latitude of 77 and so keepe that latitude vntill they get Frisland. And after they be past the West parts of Frisland, they shall get them into the latitude of 78 and 79 and not to the Northward of 80 and being once entred within the Streites, al such ships shal euery watch shoote off a good piece, and looke out well for smoke and fire, which those that get in first shall make euery night, vntill all the fleete be come together.
13 That vpon the sight of an ensigne in the mast of the Admirall (a piece being shot off) the whole fleete shall repaire to the Admirall, to vnderstand such conference as the Generall is to haue with them.
14 If we chance to meete with any enemies, that foure ships shall attend vpon the Admirall, viz. the Francis of Foy, the Moone, the Barke Dennis, and the Gabriel: and foure vpon my Lieutenant generall in the Iudith, viz. the Hopewel, the Armenal, the Beare, and the Salomon: and the other foure vpon the Vizadmirall, the Anne Francis, the Thomas of Ipswich, the Emmanuel, and the Michael.
15 If there happen any disordred person in the Fleete, that he be taken and kept in safe custodie vntill he may conueniently be brought aboord the Admirall, and there to receiue such punishment as his or their offences shall deserue.
By me Martin Frobisher.
Hauing receiued these articles of direction we departed from Harwich the one and thirtieth of May. Cape Cleare the sixt of Iune. And sayling along the South part of England Westward, we at length came by the coast of Ireland at Cape Cleare the sixth of Iune, and gaue chase there to a small barke which was supposed to be a Pyrat, or Rouer on the Seas, but it fell out indeede that they were poore men of Bristow, who had met with such company of Frenshmen as had spoiled and slaine many of them, and left the rest so sore wounded that they were like to perish in the sea, hauing neither hand nor foote hole to helpe themselues with, nor victuals to sustaine their hungry bodies. A charitable deede. Our Generall, who well vnderstood the office of a Souldier and an Englishman, and knew well what the necessitie of the Sea meaneth, pitying much the miserie of the poore men, relieved them with Surgerie and Salues to heale their hurtes, and with meate and drinke to comfort their pining hearts: some of them hauing neither eaten nor dronke more then oliues and stinking water in many dayes before, as they reported. And after this good deede done, hauing a large wind, we kept our course vpon our sayd voyage without staying for the taking in of fresh water, or any other prouision, whereof many of the fleete were not throughly furnished: Marke this current. and sayling towards the Northwest parts from Ireland, we mette with a great current from out of the Southwest, which caried vs (by our reckoning) one point to the Northeastwards of our sayd course, which current seemed to vs to continue it selfe towards Norway, and other the Northeast parts of the world, whereby we may be induced to beleeue, that this is the same which the Portugals meete at Capo de buona Speranza,81 where striking ouer from thence to the Streites of Magellan, and finding no passage there for the narrownesse of the sayde Streites, runneth along into the great Bay of Mexico, where also hauing a let of land, it is forced to strike backe againe towards the Northeast,82 as we not onely here, but in another place also, further to the Northwards, by good experience this yeere haue found, as shalbe hereafter in his place more at large declared.
Now had we sayled about fourteene dayes, without sight of any land, or any other liuing thing, except certaine foules, as Wilmots, Nodies, Gulles, &c. which there seeme onely to liue by sea.
West England. The twentieth of Iune, at two of the clocke in the morning, the Generall descried land, and found it to be West Frisland, now named west England. Here the Generall, and other Gentlemen went ashore, being the first knowen Christians that we haue true notice of, that euer set foot vpon that ground: and therefore the Generall took possession thereof to the vse of our Soueraigne Lady the Queenes Maiestie, and discouered here a goodly harborough for the ships, where were also certaine little boates of that countrey. And being there landed, they espied certaine tents and people of that countrey, which were (as they iudge) in all sorts, very like those of Meta Incognita, as by their apparell, and other things which we found in their tents, appeared.
The Sauage and simple people so soone as they perceiued our men comming towards them (supposing there had bene no other world but theirs) fled fearefully away, as men much amazed at so strange a sight, and creatures of humane shape, so farre in apparell, complexion, and other things different from themselues. They left in their tents all their furniture for haste behind them, where amongst other things were found a boxe of small nailes, and certaine red Herrings, boords of Firre tree well cut, with diuers other things artificially wrought: whereby it appeareth, that they haue trade with some ciuill people, or else are indeede themselues artificiall workmen.
Our men brought away with them onely two of their dogs, leauing in recompense belles, looking-glasses, and diuers of our countrey toyes behinde them.
This countrey, no doubt, promiseth good hope of great commoditie and riches, if it may be well discouered. The description whereof you shall finde more at large in the second voyage.
Frisland supposed to be continent with Greenland. Some are of opinion, that this West England is firme land with the Northeast partes of Meta Incognita, or else with Groenland. And their reason is, because the people, apparel, boates, and other things are so like to theirs: and another reason is, the multitude of Islands of yce, which lay betweene it and Meta Incognita, doth argue, that on the North side there is a bay, which cannot be but by conioyning of the two lands together.
The 23rd of Iune. And hauing a faire and large winde we departed from thence towards Frobishers Streites, the three and twentieth of Iune. Charing Crosse. But first wee gaue name to a high cliffe in West England, the last that was in our sight, and for a certaine sinulitude we called it Charing crosse. Then wee bare Southerly towards the Sea, because to the Northwardes of this coast we met with much driuing yce, which by reason of the thicke mistes and weather might haue bene some trouble vnto vs.
On Munday the last of Iune, wee met with many great Whales, as they had bene Porposes.
A Whale strooke a ship. The same day the Salamander being vnder both her corses and bonets, happened to strike a great Whale with her full stemme, with such a blow that the ship stoode still, and stirred neither forward or backward. The Whale thereat made a great and vgly noyse, and cast vp his body and taile, and sowent vnder water, and within two dayes after, there was found a great Whale dead swimming aboue water, which wee supposed was that which the Salamander strooke.
Frobishers Streites choked vp with yce. The second day of Iuly early in the morning we had sight of the Queenes Foreland, and bare in with the land all the day, and passing thorow great quantity of yce, by night were entred somewhat within the Streites, perceiuing no way to passe further in, the whole place being frozen ouer from the one side to the other, and as it were with many walles, mountaines, and bulwarks of yce, choked vp the passage, and denied vs entrance. And yet doe I not thinke that this passage or Sea hereabouts is frozen ouer at any time of the yere: albeit it seemed so vnto vs by the abundance of yce gathered together, which occupied the whole place. But I doe rather suppose these yce to bee bred in the hollow soundes and freshets thereabouts: which by the heate of the Summers Sunne, being loosed, doe emptie themselues with the ebbes into the sea, and so gather in great abundance there together.
And to speake somewhat here of the ancient opinion of the frozen sea in these parts: I doe thinke it to be rather a bare coniecture of men, then that euer any man hath made experience of any such Sea. And that which they speake of Mare glaciale, may be truely thought to be spoken of these parts: Salt water cannot freeze. for this may well be called indeede the ycie sea, but not the frozen sea, for no sea consisting of salt water can be frozen, as I haue more at large herein shewed my opinion in my second voyage, for it seemeth impossible for any sea to bee frozen, which hath his course of ebbing and flowing, especially in those places where the tides doe ebbe and flowe aboue ten fadome. And also all these aforesayd yce, which we sometime met a hundredth mile from lande, being gathered out of the salt Sea, are in taste fresh, and being dissolued, become sweete and holesome water.83
And the cause why this yere we haue bene more combred with yce then at other times before, may be by reason of the Easterly and Southerly winds, which brought vs more timely thither now then we looked for. Which blowing from the sea directly vponn the place of our Streites, hath kept in the yce, and not suffered them to be caried out by the ebbe to the maine sea, where they would in more short time have bene dissolued. And all these fleeting yce are not only so dangerous in that they wind and gather so neere together, that a man may passe sometimes tenne or twelue miles as it were vpon one firme Island of yce: but also for that they open and shut together againe in such sort with the tides and sea-gate, that whilst one ship followeth the other with full sayles, the yce which was open vnto the foremost will ioyne and close together before the latter can come to follow the first, whereby many times our shippes were brought into great danger, as being not able so sodainely to take in our sayles or stay the swift way of our ships.
We were forced many times to stemme and strike great rockes of yce, and so as it were make way through mighty mountaines. By which meanes some of the fleete, where they found the yce to open, entred in, and passed so farre within the danger thereof, with continuall desire to recouer their port, that it was the greatest wonder of the world that they euer escaped safe, or were euer heard of againe. For euen at this present we missed two of the fleete, that is, the Iudith, wherein was the Lieutenant Generall Captaine Fenton; and the Michael, whom both we supposed had bene vtterly lost, hauing not heard any tidings of them in moe then 20 dayes before.
Barke Dennis sunke. And one of our fleete named the Barke Dennis, being of an hundreth tunne burden, seeking way in amongst these yce, receiued such a blow with a rocke of yce that she sunke downe therewith in the sight of the whole fleete. Howbeit hauing signified her danger by shooting off a peece of great Ordinance, new succour of other ships came so readily vnto them, that the men were all saued with boats.
Part of the house lost. Within this ship that was drowned there was parcell of our house which was to bee erected for them that should stay all the Winter in Meta Incognita.
This was a more fearefull spectacle for the Fleete to beholde, for that the outragious storme which presently followed, threatned them the like fortune and danger. For the Fleete being thus compassed (as aforesayd) on euery side with yce, having left much behinde them, thorow which they passed, and finding more before them, thorow which it was not possible to passe, there arose a sudden terrible tempest at the Southeast, which blowing from the maine sea, directly vpon the place of the Streites, brought together all the yce a sea-boorde of vs vpon our backes, and thereby debard vs of turning backe to recouer sea-roome againe: so that being thus compassed with danger on euery side, sundry men with sundry deuises sought the best way to saue themselues. Some of the ships, where they could find a place more cleare of yce, and get a little birth of sea roome, did take in their sayles, and there lay a drift. Other some fastened and mored Anker vpon a great Island of yce, and roade vnder the Lee thereof, supposing to be better guarded thereby from the outragious winds, and the danger of the lesser fleeting yce. And againe some were so fast shut vp, and compassed in amongst an infinite number of great countreys and Islands of yce, that they were faine to submit themselues and their ships to the mercy of the vnmerciful yce, and strengthened the sides of their shipps with iuncks of cables, beds, Mastes, plankes and such like, which being hanged ouerboard on the sides of their ships, might the better defend them from the outragious sway and strokes of the said yce. But as in greatest distresse, men of best valor are best to be discerned, so it is greatly worthy commendation and noting with what inuincible minde euery Captaine encouraged his company, and with what incredible labour the painefull Mariners and poore Miners (vnacquainted with such extremities) to the euerlasting renowne of our nation, did ouercome the brunt of these so great and extreme dangers: for some, even without boord vpon the yce, and some within boord vpon the sides of their ships, hauing poles, pikes, pieces of timber, and Ores in their handes, stoode almost day and night without any rest, bearing off the force, and breaking the sway of the yce with such incredible paine and perill, that it was wonderfull to beholde, which otherwise no doubt had striken quite through and through the sides of their ships, notwithstanding our former prouision: for plankes of timber more then three inches thicke, and other things of greater force and bignesse, by the surging of the sea and billowe, with the yce were shiuered and cut in sunder, at the sides of our ships, so that it will seeme more then credible to be reported of. And yet (that which is more) it is faithfully and plainely to bee prooued, and that by many substantiall witnesses, that our ships, euen those of greatest burdens, with the meeting of contrary waues of the sea, were heaued vp betweene Islands of yce, a foote welneere out of the sea aboue their watermarke, hauing their knees and timbers within boord both bowed and broken therewith.
And amidst these extremes, whilest some laboured for defence of the ships, and sought to saue their bodies, other some of more milder spirit sought to saue the soule by deuout prayer and meditation to the Almightie, thinking indeede by no other meanes possible then by a diuine Miracle to haue their deliuerance: so that there was none that were either idle, or not well occupied, and he that helde himselfe in best securitie had (God knoweth) but onely bare hope remayning for his best safetie.
Thus all the gallant Fleete and miserable men without hope of euer getting foorth againe, distressed with these extremities remayned here all the whole night and part of the next day, excepting foure ships, that is the Annie Francis, the Moone, the Francis of Foy, and the Gabriell, which being somewhat a Seaboord of the Fleete, and being fast ships by a winde, hauing a more scope of cleare, tryed it out all the time of the storme vnder sayle, being hardly able to beare a coast of each.
And albeit, by reason of the fleeting yce, which were dispersed here almost the whole sea ouer, they were brought many times to the extreamest point of perill, mountaines of yce tenne thousand times scaping them scarce one ynch, which to have striken had bene their present destruction, considering the swift course and way of the ships, and the unwieldinesse of them to stay and turne as a man would wish: yet they esteemed it their better safetie, with such perill to seeke Sea-roome, then without hope of euer getting libertie to lie striuing against the streame, and beating against the Isie mountaines, whose hugenesse and monstrous greatnesse was such, that no man would credite, but such as to their paines sawe and felt it. And these foure shippes by the next day at noone got out to Sea, and were first cleare of the yce, who now enioying their owne libertie, beganne a new to sorrow and feare for their fellowes safeties. And deuoutly kneeling about their maine Mast, they gaue vnto God humble thankes, not only for themselues, but besought him likewise highly for their friendes deliuerance. And euen now whilst amiddest these extremities this gallant Fleete and valiant men were altogither ouerlaboured and forewatched, with the long and fearefull continuance of the foresayd dangers, it pleased God with his eyes of mercie to looke downe from heauen to sende them helpe in good time, giuing them the next day a more favourable winde at the West Northwest, which did not onely disperse and driue foorth the yce before them, but also gaue them libertie of more scope and Sea-roome, and they were by night of the same day following perceiued of the other foure shippes, where (to their greatest comfort) they enioyed againe the fellowship one of another. Some in mending the sides of their ships, some in setting vp their top Mastes, and mending their sayles and tacklings; Againe, some complayning of their false Stemme borne away, some in stopping their leakes, some in recounting their dangers past, spent no small time and labour. So that I dare well auouch, there were neuer men more dangerously distressed, nor more mercifully by Gods prouidence deliuered. And hereof both the torne ships, and the forwearied bodies of the men arriued doe beare most euident marke and witnesse. And now the whole Fleete plyed off to Seaward, resoluing there to abide vntill the Sunne might consume, or the force of winde disperse these yce from the place of their passage; and being a good birth off the shore, they tooke in their sailes, and lay adrift.
Another assault. The seuenth of Iuly as men nothing yet dismayed, we cast about towards the inward, and had sight of land, which rose in forme like the Northerland of the straights, which some of the Fleete, and those not the worst Marriners, iudged to be the North Foreland: howbeit other some were of contrary opinion. Fogge, snow, and mistes hinder the Mariners markes. But the matter was not well to be discerned by reason of the thicke fogge which a long time hung vpon the coast, and the new falling snow which yeerely altereth the shape of the land, and taketh away oftentimes the Mariners markes. And by reason of the darke mists which continued by the space of twentie dayes togither, this doubt grewe the greater and the longer perilous. A swift current from the Northeast. For whereas indeede we thought ourselues to be vpon the Northeast side of Frobishers straights, we were now caried to the Southwestwards of the Queenes Foreland, and being deceiued by a swift current comming from the Northeast, were brought to the Southwestwards of our said course many miles more then we did thinke possible could come to passe. The cause whereof we haue since found, and it shall be at large hereafter declared.
A current. Here we made a point of land which some mistooke for a place in the straightes called Mount Warwicke: but how we should be so farre shot vp so suddainely within the said straights the expertest Mariners began to maruell, thinking it a thing impossible that they could be so farre ouertaken in their accounts, or that any current could deceiue them here which they had not by former experience prooued and found out. Howbeit many confessed that they found a swifter course of flood then before time they had obserued. And truely it was wonderfull to heare and see the rushing and noise that the tides do make in this place with so violent a force that our ships lying a hull were turned sometimes round about euen in a moment, after the maner of a whirlepoole, and the noyse of the streame no lesse to be heard afarre off, then the waterfall of London Bridge.
Iames Beare a good Mariner. But whilst the Fleete lay thus doubtfull amongst great store of yce in a place they knew not without sight of Sunne, whereby to take the height, and so to know the true eleuation of the pole, and without any cleere of light to make perfite the coast, the Generall with the Captaines and Masters of his ships, began doubtfully to question of the matter, and sent his Pinnesse aboord to heare each man’s opinion, and specially of Iames Beare, Master of the Anne Francis, who was knowen to be a sufficient and skillfull Mariner, and hauing bene there the yere before, had wel obserued the place, and drawen out Cardes of the coast. Christopher Hall chiefe Pylot. But the rather this matter grew the more doubtfull, for that Christopher Hall chiefe Pilot of the voyage, deliuered a plaine and publique opinion in the hearing of the whole Fleete, that hee had neuer seene the foresayd coast before, and that he not could make it for any place of Frobishers Streits, as some of the Fleete supposed, and yet the landes doe lie and trend so like, that the best Mariners therein may bee deceiued.
The tenth of Iuly, the weather still continuing thicke and darke, some of the ships in the fogge lost sight of the Admirall and the rest of the fleete, and wandering to and fro, with doubtfull opinion whether it were best to seeke backe againe to seaward through great store of yce, or to follow on a doubtfull course in a Sea, Bay, or Streites they knew not, or along a coast, whereof by reason of the darke mistes they could not discerne the dangers, if by chance any rocke or broken ground should lie of the place, as commonly in these parts it doth.
The Viceadmirall Captaine Yorke considering the foresayd opinion of the Pylot Hall, who was with him in the Thomas Allen, hauing lost sight of the Fleete, turned backe to sea againe hauing two other ships in company with him.
Also the Captain of the Anne Francis hauing likewise lost companie of the Fleete, and being all alone, held it for best to turne it out to sea againe, vntill they might haue cleere weather to take the Sunnes altitude, and with incredible paine and perill got out of the doubtfull place, into the open Sea againe, being so narrowly distressed by the way, by meanes of continuall fogge and yce, that they were many times ready to leapt vpon an Island of yce to auoide the present danger, and so hoping to prolong life awhile meant rather to die a pining death.
Hard shifts to saue mens liues. Some hoped to saue themselues on chestes, and some determined to tie the Hatches of the ships togither, and to binde themselues with their furniture fast thereunto, and so to be towed with the ship bote ashore, which otherwise could not receiue halfe of the companie, by which meanes if happily they had arriued they should eyther haue perished for lacke of foode to eate, or else should themselues haue beene eaten of those rauenous, bloodie, and Men-eating people.
The rest of the Fleete following the course of the Generall which led them the way, passing vp aboue sixtie leagues The coast along the Southside of Gronland 60 leagues. within the saide doubtfull and supposed straights, hauing alwayes a faire continent vpon their starreboorde side, and a continuance still of an open Sea before them.
Mistaken straights which indeed are no straights. The Generall albeit with the first perchance he found out the error, and that this was not the olde straights, yet he perswaded the Fleete alwayes that they were in their right course, and knowen straights. Howbeit I suppose he rather dissembled his opinion therein then otherwise, meaning by that policie (being himselfe led with an honourable desire of further discouerie) to induce the Fleete to follow him, to see a further proofe of that place. Frobisher could haue passed to Cataia. And as some of the companie reported, he hath since confessed that if it had not bene for the charge and care he had of the Fleete and fraughted ships, he both would and could haue gone through to the South Sea, called Mar del Sur, and dissolued the long doubt of the passage which we seeke to find to the rich countrey of Cataya.
1 Of which mistaken straights, considering the circumstance, we haue great cause to confirme our opinion, to like and hope well of the passage in this place. Faire open way. For the foresaid Bay or Sea, the further we sayled therein, the wider we found it, with great likelihood of endlesse continuance. Reasons to prooue a passage here. And where in other places we were much troubled with yce, as in the entrance of the same, so after we had sayled fiftie or sixtie leagues therein we had no let of yce or other thing at all, as in other places we found.
Great indrafts. 2 Also this place seemeth to haue a maruellous great indraft, and draweth vnto it most of the drift yce, and other things which doe fleete in the Sea, either to the North or Eastwards of the same, as by good experience we haue found.
A current to the West. 3 For here also we met with boordes, lathes, and diuers other things driuing in the Sea, which was of the wracke of the ship called the Barke Dennis, which perished amongst the yce as beforesaid, being lost at the first attempt of the entrance ouerthwart the Queenes forelande in the mouth of Frobishers straights, which could by no meanes haue bene so brought thither, neither by winde nor tyde, being lost so many leagues off, if by force of the said current the same had not bene violently brought. For if the same had bene brought thither by tide of flood, looke how farre the said flood had carried it, the ebbe would haue recarried it as farre backe againe, and by the winde it could not so come to passe, because it was then sometime calme, and most times contrarie.
Nine houres flood to three houres ebbe. And some Mariners doe affirme that they haue diligently obserued, that there runneth in this place nine houres flood to three ebbe, which may thus come to passe by force of the sayd current: for whereas the Sea in most places of the world, doth more or lesse ordinarily ebbe and flow once euery twelue houres with sixe houres ebbe, and sixe houres flood, so also would it doe there, were it not for the violence of this hastening current, which forceth the flood to make appearance to beginne before his ordinary time one houre and a halfe, and also to continue longer than his naturall course by an other houre and a halfe, vntill the force of the ebbe be so great that it will no longer be resisted: according to the saying, Naturam expellas furca licet, vsque recurret. Although nature and naturall courses be forced and resisted neuer so much, yet at last they will haue their owne sway againe.
4 [Unnumbered in original — KTH] Moreouer it is not possible that so great course of floods and current, so high swelling tides with continuance of so deepe waters, can be digested here without vnburdening themselues into some open Sea beyond this place, which argueth the more likelihood of the passage to be hereabouts. Also we suppose these great indrafts doe grow and are made by the reuerberation and reflection of that same currant, which at our comming by Ireland, met and crossed vs, of which in the first part of this discourse I spake, which comming from the bay of Mexico, passing by and washing the Southwest parts of Ireland, reboundeth ouer to the Northeast parts of the world, as Norway, Island, &c. where not finding any passage to an open Sea, but rather being there encreased by a new accesse, and another current meeting with it from the Scythian Sea, passing the bay of Saint Nicholas Westward, it doth once againe rebound backe, by the coastes of Groenland, and from thence vpon Frobishers straights being to the Southwestwardes of the same.
The Sea moueth continually from East to West. 5 And if that principle of Philosophie be true, that Inferiora corpora reguntur à superioribus, that is, if inferior bodies be gouerned, ruled, and carried after the maner and course of the superiors, then the water being an inferior Element, must needes be gouerned after the superior heauen, and so follow the course of Primum from East to West.84
Authoritie. 6 But euery man that hath written or considered any thing of this passage, hath more doubted the returne by the same way by reason of a great downefall of water, which they imagine to be thereabouts (which we also by experience partly find) than any mistrust they haue of the same passage at all. Hard but yet possible turning backe again. For we find (as it were) a great downefall in this place, but yet not such but that we may returne, although with much adoe. For we were easier carried in one houre then we could get forth againe in three. Also by another experience at another time, we found this current to deceiue vs in this sort: That wheras we supposed it to be 15 leagues off, and lying a hull, we were brought within two leagues of the shore contrarie to all expectation.
Our men that sayled furthest in the same mistaken straights (hauing the maine land vpon their starboord side) affirme that they met with the outlet or passage of water which commeth thorow Frobishers straights, and followeth as all one into this passage.
Some of our companie also affirme that they had sight of a continent vpon their larboord side being 60 leagues within the supposed straights: howbeit except certaine Ilands in the entrance hereof we could make no part perfect thereof. All the foresaid tract of land seemeth to be more fruitfull and better stored of Grasse, Deere, Wilde foule, as Partridges, Larkes, Seamewes, Guls, Wilmots, Falcons and Tassel gentils, Rauens, Beares, Hares, Foxes, and other things, than any other part we haue yet discouered, and is more populous. Traffique. And here Luke Ward, a Gentleman of the companie, traded marchandise, and did exchange kniues, bels, looking glasses, &c. with those countrey people, who brought him foule, fish, beares skinnes, and such like, as their countrey yeeldeth for the same. Here also they saw of those greater boats of the countrey, with twentie persons in a peece.
Now after the Generall had bestowed these many dayes here, not without many dangers, he returned backs againe. And by the way sayling alongst this coast (being the backeside of the supposed continent of America) and the Queenes Foreland, he perceiued a great sound to goe thorow into Frobishers straights. Returne out of the mistaken straights. Whereupon he sent the Gabriel the one and twentieth of Iuly, to prooue whether they might goe thorow and meete againe with him in the straights, which they did: and as wee imagined before, so the Queenes foreland prooued an Iland, as I thinke most of these supposed continents will. And so he departed towardes the straights, thinking it were high time now to recouer his Port, and to prouide the Fleete of their lading, whereof he was not a little carefull, as shall by the processe and his resolute attempts appeare. And in his returne with the rest of the fleete he was so entangled by reason of the darke fogge amongst a number of Ilands and broken ground that lye off this coast, that many of the shippes came ouer the top of rockes, which presently after they might perceiue to lie dry, hauing not halfe a foote water more then some of their ships did draw. And by reason they could not with a smal gale of wind stemme the force of the flood, whereby to goe cleare off the rockes, they were faine to let an anker fall with two bent of Cable togither, at an hundred and odde fadome depth, where otherwise they had bene by the force of the tides caried vpon the rockes againe, and perished: Great dangers. so that if God in these fortunes (as a mercifull guide, beyond the expectation of man) had not carried vs thorow, we had surely perished amidst these dangers. For being many times driuen hard aboord the shore without any sight of land, vntill we were ready to make shipwracke thereon, being forced commonly with our boats to sound before our ships, least we might light thereon before we could discerne the same; it pleased God to giue vs a cleare of Sunne and light for a short time to see and auoyde thereby the danger, hauing bene continually darke before, and presently after. Manie times also by meanes of fogge and currents being driuen neere vpon the coast, God lent vs euen at the very pinch one prosperous breath of winde or other, whereby to double the land, and auoid the perill, and when that we were all without hope of helpe, euery man recommending himselfe to death, and crying out, Lord now helpe or neuer, now Lord looke downe from heauen and saue vs sinners, or else our safetie commeth too late: euen then the mightie maker of heauen, and our mercifull God did deliuer vs: so that they who haue bene partakers of these dangers doe euen in their soules confesse, that God euen by miracle hath sought to saue them, whose name be praysed euermore.
Long time now the Anne Francis had layne beating off and on all alone before the Queenes foreland, not being able to recouer their Port for yce, albeit many times they dangerously attempted it, for yet the yce choaked vp the passage, and would not suffer them to enter. Anne Francis met with some of the fleete. And hauing neuer seene any of the fleete since twenty dayes past, when by reason of the thicke mistes they were seuered in the mistaken straights, they did now this present 23 of Iuly ouerthwart a place in the straights called Hattons Hedland, where they met with seuen ships of the Fleete againe, which good hap did not onely reioyce them for themselues, in respect of the comfort which they receiued by such good companie, but especially that by this meanes they were put out of doubt of their deare friends, whose safeties long time they did not a little suspect, and feare.
At their meeting they haled the Admirall after the maner of the Sea, and with great ioy welcommed one another with a thundring volly of shot. And now euery man declared at large the fortunes and dangers which they had passed.
Francis of Foy. The foure and twentieth of Iuly we met with the Francis of Foy, who with much adoe sought way backe againe, through the yce from out of the mistaken straights, where (to their great perill) they prooued to recouer their Port. Bridgwater ship. They brought the first newes of the Vizadmirall Captaine Yorke, who many dayes with themselues, and the Busse of Bridgewater was missing. They reported that they left the Vizeadmirall reasonably cleare of the yce, but the other ship they greatly feared, whom they could not come to helpe, being themselues so hardly distressed as neuer men more. Also they told vs of the Gabriel, who hauing got thorow from the backside, and Western point of the Queenes foreland, into Frobishers straights, fell into their company about the cape of Good hope.
And vpon the seuen and twentieth of Iuly, the ship of Bridgewater got out of the yce and met with the Fleete which lay off and on vnder Hattons Hedland. They reported of their maruellous accidents and dangers, declaring their ship to be so leake that they must of necessitie seeke harborow, hauing their stem so beaten within their huddings, that they had much adoe to keepe themselues aboue water. They had (as they say) fiue hundreth strokes at the pump in lesse then halfe a watch, being scarce two houres; their men being so ouerwearied therewith, and with the former dangers that they desired helpe of men from the other ships. The Streits frozen ouer. Moreouer they declared that there was nothing but yce and danger where they had bene, and that the straights within were frozen vp, and that it was the most impossible thing of the world, to passe vp vnto the Countesse of Warwicks sound, which was the place of our Port.
The report of these dangers by these ships thus published amongst the fleete, with the remembrance of the perils past, and those present before their face, brought no small feare and terror into the hearts of many considerate men. So that some beganne priuily to murmure against the Generall for this wilfull manner of proceeding. Some desired to discouer some harborow therebouts to refresh themselues and reform their broken vessels for a while, vntill the North and Northwest windes might disperse the yce, and make the place more free to passe. Other some forgetting themselues, spake more vndutifully in this behalfe, saying: that they had as leeue be hanged when they came home, as without hope of safetie to seeke to passe, and so to perish amongst the yce.
A valiant mind of M. Frobisher. The Generall not opening his eares to the peeuish passion of any priuate person, but chiefly respecting the accomplishment of the cause he had vndertaken (wherein the chiefe reputation and fame of a Generall and Captaine consisteth) and calling to his remembrance the short time he had in hand to prouide so great number of ships their loading, determined with this resolution to passe and recouer his Port, or else there to burie himselfe with his attempt.
Notwithstanding somewhat to appease the feeble passions of the fearefuller sort, and the better to entertaine time for a season, whilest the yce might the better be dissolued, he haled on the Fleete with beleefe that he would put them in harborow: thereupon whilest the shippes lay off and on under Hattons Hedland, he sought to goe in with his Pinnesses amongst the Ilandes there, as though hee meant to search for harborowe, where indeede he meant nothing lesse, but rather sought if any Ore might be found in that place, as by the sequele appeared.
In the mean time whilest the Fleete lay thus doubtfull without any certaine resolution what to do, being hard aboord the lee-shore, there arose a sodaine and terrible tempest at the Southsoutheast, whereby the yce began maruellously to gather about vs.
Whereupon euery man, as in such case of extremitie he thought best, sought the wisest way for his owne safety. The most part of the Fleete which were further shot vp within the straights, and so farre to the leeward, as that they could not double the land following the course of the Generall, who led them the way, tooke in their Sayles, and layde it a hull amongst the yce, and so passed ouer the storme, and had no extremitie at all, but for a short time in the same place.
Howbeit the other ships which plyed out to Seaward, had an extreme storme for a long season. And the nature of the place is such, that it is subiect diuersely to diuers windes, according to the sundry situation of the great Alps and mountaines there, euery mountaine causing a seuerall blast, and parrie, after the maner of a Leuant.
Snow in Iuly. In this storme being the sixe and twentieth of Iuly, there fell so much snow, with such bitter cold aire, that we could not scarse see one another for the same, nor open our eyes to handle, our ropes and sayles, the snow being aboue halfe a foote deepe vpon the hatches of our ship, which did so wet thorow our poore Mariners clothes, that hee that had fiue or sixe shifts of apparell had scarce one drie threed to his backe, which kinde of wet and coldnesse, together with the ouerlabouring of the poore men amiddest the yce, bred no small sicknesse amongst the fleete, Extreme winter. which somewhat discouraged some of the poore men, who had not experience of the like before, euery man perswading himselfe that the winter there must needes be extreme, where they found so vnseasonable a Sommer.
Great heat in Meta Incognita. And yet notwithstanding this cold aire, the Sunne many times hath a maruellous force of heate amongst those mountaines; Vnconstant weather. insomuch that when there is no breth of winde to bring the colde aire from the dispersed yce vpon vs, we shall be wearie of the blooming heate and then sodainely with a perry85 of winde which commeth downe from the hollownesse of the hilles, we shall haue such a breth of heate brought vpon our faces as though we were entred within some bathstoue or hote-house, and when the first of the pirry and blast is past, we shall haue the winde sodainely a new blow cold againe.
In this storme the Anne Francis, the Moone, and the Thomas of Ipswich, who found themselues able to hold it vp with a saile, and could double about the Cape of the Queenes foreland, plyed out to the Seaward, holding it for better policie and safetie to seeke Sea roome, then to hazard the continuance of the storme, the danger of the yce, and the leeshore.
And being vncertaine at this time of the Generals priuate determinations, the weather being so darke that they could not discerne one another, nor perceiue which way he wrought, betooke themselues to this course for best and safest.
The Generall recouereth his port. The Generall, notwithstanding the great storme, following his own former resolution, sought by all meanes possible, by a shorter way to recouer his Port, and where he saw the yce neuer so little open, he gate in at one gappe and out at another, and so himselfe valiantly led the way thorow before to induce the Fleete to follow after, and with incredible paine and perill at length gat through the yce, and vpon the one and thirtieth of Iuly recouered his long wished Port after many attempts and sundry times being put backe, and came to anker in the Countesse of Warwicks sound, in the entrance whereof, when he thought all perill past, he encountred a great Iland of yce which gaue the Ayde such a blow, hauing a little before wayed her anker a cocke bill, that it stroke the anker fluke through the ships bowes vnder the water, which caused so great a leake, that with much adoe they preserued the ship from sinking.
At their arriuall here they perceiued two ships at anker within the harborough, whereat they began much to maruell and greatly to reioyce, for those they knew to be the Michael, wherein was the Lieutenant generall Captaine Fenton, and the small Barke called the Gabriel, who so long time were missing, and neuer heard of before, whom euery man made the last reckoning, neuer to heare of againe.
Master Wolfall Preacher. Here euery man greatly reioyced of their happie meeting, and welcommed one another, after the Sea manner with their great Ordinance, and when each partie had ripped vp their sundry fortunes and perils past, they highly praysed God, and altogither vpon their knees gaue him due, humble and heartie thankes, and Maister Wolfall a learned man, appointed by her Maiesties Councell to be their Minister and Preacher made vnto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankfull to God for their strange and miraculous deliuerance in those so dangerous places, and putting them in mind of the vncertaintie of mans life, willed them to make themselues alwayes readie as resolute men to enioy and accept thankefully whatsoeuer aduenture his diuine Prouidence should appoint. This maister Wolfall being well seated and settled at home in his owne Countrey, with a good and large liuing, hauing a good honest woman to wife and very towardly children, being of good reputation among the best, refused not to take in hand this painefull voyage, for the onely care he had to saue soules, and to reforme those Infidels if it were possible to Christiantie: and also partly for the great desire he had that this notable voyage so well begunne, might be brought to perfection: and therefore he was contented to stay there the whole yeare if occasion had serued, being in euery necessary action as forward as the resolutest men of all. Wherefore in this behalfe he may rightly be called a true Pastor and minister of God’s word, which for the profite of his flocke spared not to venture his owne life.
The aduentures of Captain Fenton and his companie. But to returne againe to Captaine Fentons company, and to speake somewhat of their dangers (albeit they be more then by writing can be expressed) they reported that from the night of the first storme which was about the first day of Iuly vntill seuen dayes before the Generals arriuall, which was the sixe and twentith of the same, they neuer saw any one day or houre, wherin they were not troubled with continuall danger and feare of death, and were twentie dayes almost togither fast amongst the yce. They had their ship stricken through and through on both sides, their false stemme borne quite away, and could goe from their ships in some places vpon the yce very many miles, and might easily haue passed from one Iland of yce to another euen to the shore, Extremitie causeth men to deuise new arts and remedies. and if God had not wonderfully prouided for them and their necessitie, and time had not made them more cunning and wise to seeke strange remedies for strange kindes of dangers, it had bene impossible for them euer to haue escaped: for among other deuises, wheresoeuer they found any Iland of yce of greater bignesse then the rest (as there be some of more then halfe a mile compasse about, and almost forty fadome high) they commonly coueted to recouer the same, and thereof to make a bulwarke for their defence, whereon hauing mored anker, they road vnder the lee therof for a time, being therby garded from the danger of the lesser driuing yce. Hard shifts. But when they must needes forgoe this new found fort by meanes of other yce, which at length would vndermine and compasse them round about, and when that by heauing of the billow they were therewith like to be brused in peeces, they vsed to make fast the shippe vnto the most firme and broad peece of yce they could find, and binding her nose fast thereunto, would fill all their sayles whereon the winde hauing great power, would force forward the ship, and so the shippe bearing before her the yce, and so one yce driuing forward another, should at length get scope and searoome. And hauing by this meanes at length put their enemies to flight, they occupyed the cleare place for a prettie season among sundry mountaines and Alpes of yce. One there was found by measure to be 65 fadome aboue water, which for a kind of similitude, was called Solomons porch. Some thinke those Ilands eight times so much vnder water as they are aboue, because of their monstrous weight. Strange wonders. But now I remember I saw very strange wonders, men walking, running, leaping and shooting vpon the mayne seas 40. myles from any land, without any Shippe or other vessel vnder them. Also I saw fresh Riuers running amidst the salt Sea a hundred myle from land, which if any man will not belieue let him know that many of our company leapt out of their Shippe vpon Ilandes of yce, and running there vp and downe, did shoote at Buts vpon the yce, and with their Caliuers did kill great Seales, which vse to lye and sleepe vpon the yce, and this yce melting aboue at the toppe by reflection of the Sunne, came downe in sundry streames, which vniting together, made a pretie Brooke able to driue a Mill.
The sayde Captaine Fenton recouered his Port tenne dayes before any man, and spent good tyme in searching for Mine, and hee found good store thereof. He also discouered about tenne Miles vp into the Countrey, where he perceiued neither Towne, Village, nor likelihoode of habitation, but it seemeth (as he sayeth) barren, as the other parts, which as yet we haue entred vpon: but their victuals and prouision went so scant with them, that they had determined to returne homeward within seuen dayes after, if the Fleete had not then arriued.
The Generall after his arriual in the Countesses sound, spent no time in vaine, but immediately at his first landing called the chiefe Captaines of his Councell together, and consulted with them for the speedier execution of such things as then they had in hand. As first, for searching and finding out good Minerall for the Miners to be occupyed on. Then to giue good Orders to bee obserued of the whole company on shore. And lastly, to consider for the erecting vp of the Fort and House for the vse of them which were to abide there the whole yeere. For the better handling of these, and all other like important causes in this seruice, it was ordeined from her Maiestie and the Councell, that the Generall should call vnto him certaine of the chiefe Captaines and Gentlemen in Councell, to conferre, consult and determine of all occurrents in this seruice, whose names are as here they follow.
61 John Holywood, so named after the place of his birth near York, after studying at Oxford, settled in Paris where he became famous. He died in 1256, leaving two works of rare power considering the century they were written in, viz, de Spheri Mundi, and de Computo Ecclesiastico. They are to be found in one volume 8vo, Paris, 1560.
62 John Gonzalvo d’Oviedo, born 1478. Was Governor of the New World, and wrote a Summario de la Historia general y natural de las Indias Occidentales. Best edition, Salamanca 1535, and Toledo, 1536, folio. This is the work here quoted.
63 This is not the case.
64 Blank in original.
66 Blank in original.
67 Blank in original.
68 Probably a Narwal.
70 Blank in the original.
71 Blank in original.
72 Blank in original.
73 Blank in original.
74 Blank in original.
75 Blank in original.
77 Blank in original.
78 Blank in original.
79 Blank in original.
80 Blank in original.
81 South Equatorial Current.
82 Gulf Stream.
83 The elimination of salt from sea-water by cold was evidently unknown to the writer.
84 The writer was evidently not a convert to the System of Copernicus, but agreed with Ptolemy that the Heavens were solid and moved round the earth, which was the centre of the Universe.
85 Pirrie, a sudden storm at sea. According to Jamieson, Pirr, in Scotch, means a gentle breeze.
“A pirrie came, and set my ship on sands.”
Mirror for Magistrates, p. 194.
And in Sea causes to haue as assistants, Christopher Hall and Charles Iackman, being both very good Pilots, and sufficient Mariners, whereof the one was chiefe Pilot of the Voyage, and the other for the discouerie. From the place of our habitation Westward, Master Selman was appointed Notarie, to register the whole maner of proceeding in these affaires, that true relation thereof might be made, if it pleased her Maiestie to require it.
The first of August euery Captaine by order, from the Generall and his councell, was commanded to bring ashoare vnto the Countesses iland all such Gentlemen, souldiers, and Myners, as were vnder their charge, with such prouision as they had of victuals, tents, and things necessary for the speedy getting together of Mine, and fraight for the shippes.
The Muster of the men being taken, and the victuals with all other things viewed and considered, euery man was set to his charge, as his place and office required. The Myners were appointed where to worke, and the Mariners discharged their shippes.
Vpon the second of August were published and proclaymed vpon the Countesse of Warwickes Iland with sound of Trumpet, certaine Orders by the Generall and his councell, appoynted to be obserued of the company during the time of their abiding there.
In the meane time, whilst the Mariners plyed their worke, the Captaines sought out new Mynes, the Goldfiners made tryall of the Ore, the Mariners discharged their shippes, the Gentlemen for example sake laboured heartily, and honestly encouraged the inferior sort to worke. So that the small time of that little leisure that was left to tarrie, was spent in vaine.
The second of August the Gabriel arriued, who came from the Vizeadmirall, and beeing distressed sore with Yce, put into Harborough neere vnto Mount Oxford. And now was the whole Fleete arriued safely at their Port, excepting foure, besides the Shippe that was lost: that is, the Thomas Allen, the Anne Francis, the Thomas of Ipswich, and the Moone, whose absence was some lette unto the workes and other proceedings, aswell for that these Shippes were furnished with the better sorte of Myners, as with other prouision for the habitation.
Consultation for inhabiting Meta incognita. The ninth of August the Generall with the Captaynes of his counsell assembled together, and began to consider and take order for the erecting vp of the house or Fort for them that were to inhabite there the whole yeere, and that presently the Masons and Carpenters might goe in hande therewith. First therefore they perused the Bils of lading, what euery man receiued into his Shippe, and found that there was arriued only the Eastside, and the Southside of the house, and yet not that perfect and entier: for many pieces thereof were vsed for fenders in many Shippes, and so broken in pieces whilest they were distressed in the yce. An hundred men appointed to inhabite. Also after due examination had, and true account taken, there was found want of drinke and fuel to serue one hundreth men, which was the number appoynted first to inhabite there, because their greatest store was in the Shippes which were not yet arriued. Then Captaine Fenton seeing the scarcitie of the necessary things aforesayd, was contented, and offred himselfe to inhabite there with sixtie men. Whereupon they caused the Carpenters and Masons to come before them, and demanded in what time they would take vpon them to erect vp a lesse house for sixtie men. They required eight or nine weekes, if there were Tymber sufficient, whereas now they had but sixe and twentie dayes in all to remayne in that Countrey. No habitation this yeere. Wherefore it was fully agreed vpon, and resolued by the Generall and his counsell, that no habitation should be there this yeere. And therefore they willed Master Selman the Register to set downe this decree with all their consents, for the better satisfying of her Maiestie, the Lords of the Counsell, and the Aduenturers.
The Anne Francis, since she was parted from the Fleete, in the last storme before spoken of, could neuer recouer above fiue leagues within the streights, the winde being sometime contrary, and most times the Yce compassing them round about. And from that time, being about the seuen and twentieth of Iuly, they could neither heare nor have sight of any of the Fleete, vntill the 3. of August, when they descryed a sayle neere vnto Mount Oxford, with whom when they had spoken, they could vnderstand no newes of any of the Fleete at all. And this was the Thomas of Ipswich, who had layne beating off and on at Sea with very fowle weather, and contrary windes euer since that foresayd storme, without sight of any man. They kept company not long together, but were forced to loose one another againe, the Moone being consort always with the Anne Francis, and keeping very good company plyed vp together into the streights, with great desire to recouer their long wished Port: and they attempted as often, and passed as farre as possible the winde, weather, and yce gaue them leaue, which commonly they found very contrary. For when the weather was cleare and without fogge, then commonly the winde was contrary. And when it was eyther Easterly or Southerly, which would serue their turnes, then had they so great a fogge and darke miste therewith, that eyther they could not discerne way thorow the yce, or els the yce lay so thicke together, that it was impossible for them to passe. And on the other side, when it was calme, the Tydes had force to bring the yce so suddenly about them, that commonly then they were most therewith distressed, hauing no Winde to carry them from the danger thereof.
And by the sixt of August being with much adoe got vp as high as Leicester point, they had good hope to finde the Souther shore cleare, and so to passe vp towardes their Port. But being there becalmed and lying a hull openly vpon the great Bay which commeth out of the mistaken streights before spoken of, they were so suddenly compassed with yce round about by meanes of the swift Tydes which ran in that place, that they were neuer afore so hardly beset as now. And in seeking to auoyde these dangers in the darke weather, the Anne Francis lost sight of the other two Ships, who being likewise hardly distressed, signified their danger, as they since reported, by shooting off their ordinance, which the other could not heare, nor if they had heard, could haue giuen them any remedie, being so busily occupied to winde themselues out of their owne troubles.
The Moone. The Fleeboate called the Moone, was here heaued aboue the water with the force of the yce, and receiued a great leake thereby. Likewise the Thomas of Ipswich, and the Anne Francis were sore bruised at that instant, hauing their false stemmes borne away, and their ship sides stroken quite through.
Now considering the continuall dangers and contraries, and the little leasure that they had left to tarie in these partes, besides that euery night the ropes of their Shippes were so frozen, that a man could not handle them without cutting his handes, together with the great doubt they had of the Fleetes safety, thinking it an impossibilitie for them to passe vnto their Port, as well for that they saw themselues, as for that they heard by the former report of the Shippes which had prooued before, who affirmed that the streights were all frozen ouer within: They thought it now very hie time to consider of their estates and safeties that were yet left together. The Anne Francis, the Thomas of Ipswich and the Moone consult. And hereupon the Captaines and masters of these Shippes, desired the Captaine of the Anne Francis to enter into consideration with them of these matters. Wherefore Captaine Tanfield of the Thomas of Ipswich, with his Pilot Richard Cox, and Captaine Vpcote of the Moone, with his master Iohn Lakes came aboorde the Anne Francis the eight of August to consult of these causes. And being assembled together in the Captaines Cabin, sundry doubts were there alledged. For the fearefuller sort of Mariners being ouertyred with the continuall labour of the former dangers, coueted to returne homeward, saying that they would not againe tempt God so much, who had giuen them so many warnings, and deliuered them from so wonderfull dangers: that they rather desired to lose wages, fraight, and all, then to continue and follow such desperate fortunes. Againe, their Ships were so leake, and the men so wearie, that to amend the one, and refresh the other, they must of necessitie seeke into harborough.
But on the other side it was argued againe to the contrary, that to seeke into harborough thereabouts, was but to subject themselues to double dangers: if happily they escaped the dangers of Rockes in their entring, yet being in, they were neuerthelesse subiect there to the danger of the Ice, which with the swift tydes and currents is caryed in and out in most harboroughs thereabouts, and may thereby gaule their Cables asunder, driue them vpon the shoare, and bring them to much trouble. Also the coast is so much subiect to broken ground and rockes, especially in the mouth and entrance of euery Harborough, that albeit the Channell be sounded ouer and ouer againe, yet are you neuer the neerer to discerne the dangers. For the bottome of the Sea holding like shape and forme as the land, being full of hils, dales, and ragged Rockes, suffreth you not by your soundings to knowe and keepe a true gesse of the depth. For you shall sound vpon the side or hollownesse of one Hill or Rocke vnder water, and haue a hundreth, fiftie, or fourtie fadome depth: and before the next cast, yer86 you shall be able to heaue your lead againe, you shall be vpon the toppe thereof, and come aground to your vtter confusion.
Another reason against going to harborough was, that the colde ayre did threaten a sudden freezing vp of the sounds, seeing that euery night there was new congealed yce, euen of that water which remayned within their shippes. And therefore it should seeme to be more safe to lye off and on at Sea, then for lacke of winde to bring them foorth of harborough, to hazard by sudden frosts to be shut vp the whole yeere.
After many such dangers and reasons alleged, and large debating of these causes on both sides, the Captaine of the Anne Francis deliuered his opinion vnto the company to this effect. Captain Bests resolution. First concerning the question of returning home, hee thought it so much dishonorable, as not to grow in any farther question: and againe to returne home at length (as at length they must needes) and not to be able to bring a certaine report of the Fleete, whether they were liuing or lost, or whether any of them had recouered their Port or not, in the Countesses sound, (as it was to bee thought the most part would if they were liuing) hee sayde that it would be so great an argument eyther of want of courage or discretion in them, as hee resolued rather to fall into any danger, then so shamefully to consent to returne home, protesting that it should neuer bee spoken of him, that hee would euer returne without doing his endeuour to finde the Fleete, and knowe the certaintie of the Generals safetie. A Pinnesse for the inhabiters. Hee put his company in remembrance of a Pinnesse of fiue tunne burthen, which hee had within his Shippe, which was caryed in pieces, and vnmade vp for the vse of those which should inhabite there the whole yeere, the which, if they could finde meanes to ioyne together, hee offered himselfe to prooue before therewith, whether it were possible for any Boate to passe for yce, whereby the Shippe might bee brought in after, and might also thereby giue true notice, if any of the Fleete were arriued at their Port or not.
But notwithstanding, for that he well perceiued that the most part of his company were addicted to put into harborough, hee was willing the rather for these causes somewhat to encline thereunto. As first, to search alongst the same coast, and the soundes thereabouts, hee thought it to be to good purpose, for that it was likely to finde some of the Fleete there, which being leake, and sore brused with the yce, were the rather thought likely to be put into an yll harborough, being distressed with foule weather in the last storme, then to hazard their vncertaine safeties amongst the yce: for about this place they lost them, and left the Fleete then doubtfully questioning of harborough.
It was likely also, that they might finde some fitte harborough thereabouts, which might bee behoouefull for them against another time. It was not likewise impossible to finde some Ore or Mine thereabouts wherewithall to fraight their Shippes, which would bee more commodious in this place, for the neerenesse to Seaward, and for a better outlet, then farther within the streights, being likely heere alwayes to loade in a shorter time, howsoeuer the streight should be pestered with yce within, so that if it might come to passe that thereby they might eyther finde the Fleete, Mine, or conuenient harborough, any of these three would serue their present turnes, and giue some hope and comfort vnto their companies, which now were altogether comfortlesse. But if that all fortune should fall out so contrary, that they could neyther recouer their Port, nor any of these aforesayde helpes, that yet they would not depart the Coast, as long as it was possible for them to tary there, but would lye off and on at Sea athwart the place. Therefore his finall conclusion was set downe thus, First, that the Thomas of Ipswich and the Moone should consort and keepe company together carefully with the Anne Francis, as neere as they could, and as true Englishmen and faithfull friends, should supply one anothers want in all fortunes and dangers. In the morning following, euery Shippe to send off his Boate with a sufficient Pylot, to search out and sound the harborougbs for the safe bringing in of their Shippes. And beeing arriued in harborough, where they might finde conuenient place for the purpose, they resolued foorthwith to ioyne and sette together the Pinnesse, wherewithall the Captaine of the Anne Francis might, according to his former determination, discouer vp into the streights.
After these determinations thus set downe, the Thomas of Ipswich the night following lost company of the other Shippes, and afterward shaped a contrary course homeward, which fell out as it manifestly appeared, very much against their Captaine Master Tanfields minde, as by due examination before the Lordes of her Maiesties most honourable priuie Counsell it hath since bene prooued, to the great discredite of the Pilot Cox, who specially persuaded his company against the opinion of his sayd Captaine, to returne home.
And as the Captaine of the Anne Francis doeth witnesse, euen at their conference togither, Captaine Tanfield tolde him, that he did not a little suspect the sayd Pilot Cox, saying that he had opinion in the man neither of honest duetie, manhoode, nor constancie. Notwithstanding the sayde Shippes departure, the Captaine of the Anne Francis being desirous to put in execution his former resolutions, went with his Shippe boate (being accompanied also with the Moones Skiffe) to prooue amongst the Ilands which lye vnder Hattons Hedland, if any conuenient harborough, or any knowledge of the Fleete, or any good Ore were there to be found. The Shippes lying off and on at Sea the while vnder Sayle, searching through many sounds, they sawe them all full of many dangers and broken ground: yet one there was, which seemed an indifferent place to harborough in, and which they did very diligently sound ouer, and searched againe.
Here the sayde Captaine found a great blacke Island, whereunto hee had good liking, and certifying the company thereof, they were somewhat comforted, and with the good hope of his wordes rowed cheerefully vnto the place: where when they arriued, they found such plentie of blacke Ore of the same sort which was brought into England this last yeere, that if the goodnesse might answere the great plentie thereof, it was to be thought that it might reasonably suffice all the golde-gluttons of the worlde. Bestes blessing. This Iland the Captaine for cause of his good hap, called after his own name, Bestes blessing, and with these good tydings returning abord his Ship the ninth of August about tenne of the clocke at night, hee was ioyfully welcommed of his company, who before were discomforted, and greatly expected some better fortune at his handes.
The next day being the tenth of August, the weather reasonably fayre, they put into the foresayde Harborough, hauing their Boate for the better securitie sounding before their Shippe. Anne Francis in danger. But for all the care and diligence that could bee taken in sounding the Channell ouer and ouer againe, the Anne Francis came aground vpon a suncken Rocke within the Harborough, and lay thereon more then halfe drye vntill the next flood, when by Gods Almighty prouidence, contrary almost to all expectation, they came afloat againe, being forced all that time to vndersette their Shippe with their mayne Yarde, which otherwise was likely to ouerset and put thereby in danger the whole company. They had aboue two thousand strokes together at the Pumpe, before they could make their Shippe free of the water againe, so sore shee was in brused by lying vpon the Rockes. The Moone in harborough. The Moone came safely, and roade at anchor by the Anne Francis, whose helpe in their necessitie they could not well haue missed.
Now whilest the Mariners were romaging their Shippes, and mending that which was amisse, the Miners followed their labour for getting together of sufficient quantitie of Ore, and the Carpenters indeuoured to doe their best for the making vp of the Boate or Pinnesse: which to bring to passe, they wanted two speciall and most necessarie things, that is, certaine principall tymbers that are called knees, which are the chiefest strength of any Boate and also nayles, wherewithall to ioyne the plancks together. Whereupon hauing by chance a Smyth amongst them, (and yet vnfurnished of his necessary tooles to worke and make nayles withall) they were faine of a gunne chamber to make an Anuile to worke vpon, and to vse a pickaxe in stead of a sledge to beate withall, and also to occupy two small bellowes in steade of one payre of greater Smiths bellowes. And for lacke of small Yron for the easier making of the nayles, they were forced to breake their tongs, grydiron, and fireshouell in pieces.
Hattons Hedland. The eleuenth of August the Captaine of the Anne Francis taking the Master of his Shippe with him, went vp to the top of Hattons Hedland, which is the highest land of all the straights, to the ende to descry the situation of the Countrey vnderneath, and to take a true plotte of the place, whereby also to see what store of Yce was yet left in the straights, as also to search what Mineral matter or fruite that soyle might yeeld: And the rather for the honour the said Captaine doeth owe to that Honourable name87 which himselfe gaue thereunto the last yeere, in the highest part of this Hedland he caused his company to make a Columne or Crosse of stone, in token of Christian possession. Pretie stones. In this place there is plentie of Blacke Ore, and diuers pretie stones.
A mightie white Beare. The seuenteenth of August the Captaines with their companies chased and killed a great white Beare, which aduentured and gaue a fierce assault vpon twentie men being weaponed. And he serued them for good meate many dayes.
A Pinnesse there built. The eighteenth of August the Pinnesse with much adoe being set together, the sayd Captaine Best determined to depart vp the straights, to prooue and make tryall, as before was pretended, some of his companie greatly persuading him to the contrary, and specially the Carpenter that set the same together, who sayde that hee would not aduenture himselfe therein for fiue hundreth pounds, for that the boate hung together but onely by the strength of the nayles, and lacked some of her principall knees and tymbers.
These wordes some what discouraged some of the company which should haue gone therein. Whereupon the Captaine, as one not altogether addicted to his owne selfe-will, but somewhat foreseeing how it might be afterwards spoken, if contrary fortune should happen him (Lo he hath followed his owne opinion and desperate resolutions, and so thereafter it is befallen him) calling the Master and Mariners of best iudgement together, declared vnto them how much the cause imported him to his credite to seeke out the Generall, as well to conferre with him of some causes of weight, as otherwise to make due examination and tryall of the Goodnesse of the Ore, whereof they had no assurance but by gesse of the eye, and it was well like the other: which so to cary home, not knowing the goodnesse thereof, might be as much as if they should bring so many stones. And therefore hee desired them to deliuer their plaine and honest opinion, whether the Pinnesse were sufficient for him so to aduenture in or no. It was answered, that by careful heede taking thereunto amongst the yce, and the foule weather, the Pinnesse might suffice. And hereupon the Masters mate of the Anne Francis called Iohn Gray, manfully and honestly offering himselfe vnto his Captaine in this aduenture and seruice, gaue cause to others of his Mariners to follow the attempt.
They aduenture by the streights in a weake Pinnesse. And vpon the nineteenth of August the sayd Captaine being accompanied with Captaine Vpcote of the Moone, and eighteene persons in the small Pinnesse, hauing conuenient portions of victuals and things necessary, departed upon the sayd pretended Voyage, leauing their shippe at anchor in a good readinesse for the taking in of their fraight. And hauing little winde to sayle withall, they plyed alongst the Souther shore, and passed aboue 30. leagues, hauing the onely helpe of mans labour with Oares, and so intending to keepe that shore aboord vntil they were got vp to the farthest and narrowest of the streights, minded there to crosse ouer and to search likewise alongst the Northerland vnto the Countesses sound, and from thence to passe all that coast along, whereby if any of the Fleete had bene distressed by wrecke of rocke or yce, by that meanes they might be perceiued of them, and so they thereby to giue them such helpe and reliefe as they could. They did greatly feare, and euer suspect that some of the Fleete were surely cast away, and driuen to seeke sowre sallets amongst the colde cliffes.
40 leagues within the streights. And being shotte vp about fortie leagues within the Streights, they put ouer towardes the Norther shore, which was not a little dangerous for their small boates. Gabriels Ilands. And by meanes of a sudden flawe were dryuen, and faine to seeke harborough in the night amongst all the rockes and broken ground of Gabriels Ilands, a place so named within the streights aboue the Countesse of Warwicks sound: And by the way where they landed, they did finde certaine great stones set vp by the Countrey people as it seemed for markes, where they also made many Crosses of stone, in token that Christians had been there. The 22. of August they had sight of the Countesses sound, and made the place perfect from the toppe of a hill, and keeping along the Norther shore, perceiued the smoke of a fire vnder a hils side: whereof they diuersely deemed. When they came neere the place, they perceiued people which wafted vnto them, as it seemed, with a flagge or ensigne. And because the Countrey people had vsed to do the like, when they perceiued any of our boats to passe by, they suspected them to be the same. And comming somewhat neerer, they might perceiue certaine tents, and discerne this ensigne to be of mingled colours, blacke and white, after the English Fashion. But because they could see no Shippe, nor likelihood of harborough within fiue or sixe leagues about, and knewe that none of our men were woont to frequent those partes, they could not tell what to iudge thereof, but imagined that some of the ships being carried so high with the storme and mistes, had made shipwracke amongst the yce or the broken Islands there, and were spoyled by the countrey people, who might vse the sundry coloured flagge for a policie, to bring them likewise within their danger. Whereupon the sayd Captaine with his companies, resolued to recouer the same ensigne, if it were so, from those base people, or els to lose their liues and all together. In the ende they discerned them to be their countreymen, and then they deemed them to haue lost their Ships, and so to be gathered together for their better strength. On the other side, the companie ashoare feared that the Captaine hauing lost his Shippe, came to seeke forth the Fleete for his reliefe in his poore Pinnesse, so that their extremities caused eche part to suspect the worst.
Proximus sum egomet mihi. The Captaine now with his Pinnisse being come neere the shoare, commanded his Boate carefully to be kept aflote, lest in their necessitie they might winne the same from him, and seeke first to saue themselues: for euery man in that case is next himselfe. They haled one another according to the manner of the Sea, and demaunded what cheere? and either partie answered the other, that all was well: whereupon there was a sudden and ioyful outshoote, with great flinging vp of caps, and a braue voly of shotte to welcome one another. And truely it was a most strange case to see how ioyfull and gladde euery partie was to see themselues meete in safetie againe, after so strange and incredible dangers: Yet to be short, as their dangers were great, so their God was greater.
Captain York arriued. And here the company were working vpon new Mines, which Captaine York being here arriued not long before, had found out in this place, and it is named the Countesse of Sussex Mine.
After some conference with our friends here, the captaine of the Anne Francis departed towards the Countesse of Warwicks sound, to speake with the Generall, and to haue tryall made of such mettall as he had brought thither, by the Goldfiners. And so he determined to dispatch againe towards his ship. And hauing spoken with the General, he receiued order for all causes, direction as well for the bringing vp of the Shippe to the Countesses sound, as also to fraight his Ship with the same Oare which he himselfe had found, which vpon triall made, was supposed to be very good.
The 23. of August, the sayde Captaine mette together with the other Captaines (Commissioners in counsell with the Generall) aboorde the Ayde, where they considered and consulted of sundry causes, which being particularly registred by the Notarie, were appoynted where and how to be done against another yeere.
The 24. of August, the Generall with two Pinnesses and good numbers of men went to Beares sound, commanding the sayde Captaine with his Pinnesse to attend the seruice, to see if he could encounter or apprehend any of the people: for sundry times they shewed themselues busie thereabouts, sometimes with seuen or eyght Boates in one company, as though they minded to encounter with our company which were working there at the Mines, in no great numbers. None of the people will be taken. But when they perceiued any of our Shippes to ryde in that roade (being belike more amazed at the countenance of a Shippe, and a more number of men) they did neuer shewe themselues againe there at all. Wherefore our men sought with their Pinnesses to compasse about the Iland where they did vse, supposing there suddenly to intercept some of them. But before our men could come neere, hauing belike some watch in the toppe of the mountaines, they conueyed themselues priuilly away, and left (as it should seeme) one of their great dartes behinde them for haste, which we found neere to a place of their caues and housing. Therefore, though our Generall were very desirous to haue taken some of them to haue brought into England, they being now growen more wary by their former losses, would not at any time come within our dangers. About midnight of the same day, the captaine of the Anne Francis departed thence and set his course ouer the straights towards Hattons Hedland, being about 15. leagues ouer, and returned aboord his Shippe the 25. of August to the great comfort of his company, who long expected his comming, where hee found his Shippes ready rigged and loden. Wherefore he departed from thence againe the next morning towards the Countesses sound, where he arriued the 28. of the same. By the way he set his Miners ashore at Beares sound, for the better dispatch and gathering the Ore togither; for that some of the ships were behind hand with their fraight, the time of the yeere passing suddenly away.
The thirtieth of August the Anne Francis was brought aground, and had 8. great leakes mended which she had receiued by meanes of the rockes and yce. A house builded and left there. This day the Masons finished a house which Captaine Fenton caused to be made of lyme and stone vpon the Countesse of Warwickes Island, to the ende we might proue against the next yeere, whither the snow could ouerwhelme it, the frost brake it vp, or the people dismember the same. And the better to allure those brutish and vnciuill people to courtesie against other times of our comming, we left therein diuers of our Countrey toyes, as belles, and kniues, wherein they specially delight, one for the necessary vse, and the other for the great pleasure thereof. Also pictures of men and women in lead, men on horsebacke, looking glasses, whistles, and pipes. Also in the house was made an Ouen, and bread left baked therein for them to see and taste.
We buried the timber of our pretended fort. Also here we sowed pease, corne, and other graine, to proue the fruitfulnesse of the soyle against the next yeere.
M. Wolfall a godly preacher. Master Wolfall on Winters Fornace preached a godly sermon, which being ended, he celebrated also a Communion vpon the land, at the partaking whereof was the Captaine of the Anne Francis, and many other Gentlemen and Souldiers, Mariners, and Miners with him. The celebration of the diuine mystery was the first signe, seale, and confirmation of Christs name, death, and passion euer knowen in these quarters. The said M. Wolfall made sermons, and celebrated the Communion at sundry other times, in seuerall and sundry ships, because the whole company could neuer meet together at any one place. Consultation for a further discouery. The Fleet now being in some good readinesse for their lading, the Generall calling together the Gentlemen and Captaines to consult, told them that he was very desirous that some further discouery should be attempted, and that he would not onely by Gods helpe bring home his ships laden with Ore, but also meant to bring some certificate of a further discouery of the Countrey, which thing to bring to passe (hauing sometime therein consulted) they found very hard, and almost inuincible. And considering that already they had spent sometime in searching out the trending and fashion of the mistaken straites, therefore it could not be sayd, but that by this voyage they haue notice of a further discouery, and that the hope of the passage thereby is much furthered and encreased, as appeared before in the discourse thereof. Yet notwithstanding if any meanes might be further deuised, the Captaines were contented and willing, as the Generall shoulde appoynt and commaund, to take any enterprise in hand. Which after long debating was found a thing very impossible, and that rather consultation was to be had of returning homeward, especially for these causes following. First the darke foggy mists, the continuall falling snowe and stormy weather which they commonly were vexed with, and now daily euer more and more increased, haue no small argument of the Winters drawing neere. And also the frost euery night was so hard congealed within the sound, that if by euill hap they should bee long kept in with contrary winds, it was greatly to be feared, that they should be shut vp there fast the whole yeere, which being vtterly vnprouided, would be their vtter destruction. Againe, drinke was so scant throughout all the Fleet by meanes of the great leakage, that not onely the prouision which was layd in for the habitation was wanting and wasted, but also each shippes seuerall prouision spent and lost, which many of our company to their great griefe found in their returne since, for all the way homewards they dranke nothing but water. And the great cause of this leakage and wasting was, for that the great timber and seacole, which lay so weighty vpon the barrels, brake, bruised, and rotted the hoopes insunder. Broken Ilands in maner of an Archipelagus. Yet notwithstanding these reasons alleaged the Generall himselfe (willing the rest of the Gentlemen and Captaines euery man to looke to his seuerall charge and lading, that against a day appointed, they should be all in a readinesse to set homeward) went in a Pinnesse and discouered further Northward in the straights, and found that by Beares sound and Halles Island, the land was not firme, as it was first supposed, but all broken Islands in maner of an Archipelagus, and so with other secret intelligence to himselfe, he returned to the Fleet. Where presently vpon his arriuall at the Countesses sound, he began to take order for their returning homeward, and first caused certaine Articles to be proclaimed, for the better keeping of orders and courses in their returne, which Articles were deliuered to euery Captaine.
Returne homeward. Hauing now receiued articles and directions for our returne homewards, all other things being in forwardnesse and in good order, the last day of August the whole Fleete departed from the Countesses sound, excepting the Iudith, and the Anne Francis, who stayed for the taking in of fresh water and came the next day and mette the Fleete off and on, athwart Beares sound, who stayed for the Generall, which then was gone ashore to despatch the two Barkes and the Busse of Bridgewater, for their loading, whereby to get the companies and other things aboord. The Captaine of the Anne Francis hauing most part of his company ashore, the first of September went also to Beares sound in his Pinnesse to fetch his men aboord, but the wind grewe so great immediatly vpon their landing, that the shippes at sea were in great danger, and some of them forcibly put from their ankers, and greatly feared to be vtterly lost, as the Hopewell, wherein was Captaine Carew and others, who could not tell on which side their danger was most: for hauing mightie rockes threatening on the one side, and driuing Islands of cutting yce on the other side, they greatly feared to make shipwracke, the yce driuing so neere them that it touched their bolt-sprit. And by meanes of the Sea that was growne so hie, they were not able to put to sea with their small Pinnesses to recouer their shippes. And againe, the shippes were not able to tarie or lie athwart for them, by meanes of the outragious windes and swelling seas. The Generall willed the Captaine of the Anne Francis with his company, for that night to lodge aboord the Busse of Bridgewater, and went himselfe with the rest of his men aboord the Barkes. But their numbers were so great, and the prouision of the Barkes so scant, that they pestered one another exceedingly. They had great hope that the next morning the weather would be faire whereby they might recouer their shippes. But in the morning following it was much worse, for the storme continued greater, the Sea being more swollen, and the Fleete gone quite out of sight. So that now their doubts began to grow great: for the ship of Bridgewater which was of greatest receit, and whereof they had best hope and made most account, roade so farre to leeward of the harborowes mouth, that they were not able for the rockes (that lay betweene the wind and them) to lead it out to Sea with a saile. And the Barks were already so pestered with men, and so slenderly furnished with prouision, that they had scarce meat for sixe dayes for such numbers.
The Generall in the morning departed to Sea in the Gabriel to seeke the Fleete, leauing the Busse of Bridgewater, and the Michael behind in Beares sound. The Busse set sayle, and thought by turning in the narrow channell within the harborow to get to windward: but being put to leeward more, by that meanes was faine to come to anker for her better safetie, amongst a number of rockes, and there left in great danger of euer getting forth againe. The Michael set sayle to follow the Generall, and could giue the Busse no reliefe, although they earnestly desired the same. And the Captaine of the Anne Francis was left in hard election of two euils: eyther to abide his fortune with the Busse of Bridgewater, which was doubtfull of euer getting forth, or else to bee towed in his small Pinnesse at the sterne of the Michael thorow the raging Seas, for that the Barke was not able to receiue or relieue halfe his company, wherein his danger was not a little perillous.
So after hee resolued to commit himselfe with all his company vnto that fortune of God and Sea, and was dangerously towed at the sterne of the Barke for many miles, vntill at length they espyed the Anne Francis vnder sayle, hard vnder their Lee, which was no small comfort vnto them. For no doubt, both those and a great number more had perished for lacke of victuals, and conuenient roome in the Barks without the helpe of the said Ship. But the honest care that the Master of the Anne Francis had of his Captaine, and the good regarde of duetie towardes his Generall, suffered him not to depart, but honestly abode to hazard a dangerous roade all the night long, notwithstanding all the stormy weather, when all the Fleete besides departed. And the Pinnesse came no sooner aboord the shippe, and the men entred, but shee presently shiuered and fell to pieces and sunke at the ships sterne, with all the poore mens furniture: so weake was the boat with towing, and so forcible was the sea to bruise her in pieces, But (as God would) the men were all saued.
At this present in this storme many of the Fleete were dangerously distressed, and were seuered almost all asunder. Yet, thanks be to God, all the Fleete arriued safely in England about the first of October, some in one place and some in another. An vnknowen channell into the Northeast discouered by the Busse of Bridgewater. But amongst other, it was most maruellous how the Busse of Bridgewater got away, who being left behind the Fleete in great danger of neuer getting forth, was forced to seeke a way Northward thorow an vnknowen channell full of rocks, vpon the backe side of Beares sound, and there by good hap found out a way into the North sea, a very dangerous attempt; save that necessitie, which hath no law, forced them to trie masteries. This aforesayd North sea is the same which lyeth vpon the backe side of Frobishers straits, where first the Generall himselfe in his Pinnesses, and after some other of our company haue discouered (as they affirme) a great foreland, where they would also haue a great likelihood of the greatest passage towards the South sea, or Mar del Sur.
A fruitful new Island discouered. The Busse of Bridgewater, as she came homeward, to the Southeastward of Friseland, discouered a great Island in the latitude of 57 degrees and an halfe, which was neuer yet found before, and sailed three dayes alongst the coast, the land seeming to be fruitfull, full of woods, and a champion88 countrey.
There died in the whole Fleete in all this voyage not aboue forty persons, which number is not great, considering how many ships were in the Fleet, and how strange fortunes we passed.
A generall and briefe description of the Countrey, and condition of the people, which are found in Meta Incognita.
Hauing now sufficiently and truly set forth the whole circumstance, and particuler handling of euery occurrent in the 3. voyages of our worthy Generall, Captaine Frobisher, it shal not be from the purpose to speake somewhat in generall of the nature of this Countrey called Meta Incognita, and the condition of the sauages there inhabiting.
A Topographical description of Meta Incognita. First therefore touching the Topographical description of the place. It is now found in the last voyage, that Queene Elizabeths Cape being situate in latitude at 61. degrees and a halfe, which before was supposed to be part of the firme land of America, and also al the rest of the South side of Frobishers straites, are all seuerall Islands and broken land, and like wise so will all the North side of the said straites fall out to be as I thinke. And some of our company being entred aboue 60. leagues within the mistaken straites in the third voyage mentioned, thought certainely that they had discryed the firme land of America towards the South, which I thinke will fall out so to be.
These broken lands and Islands being very many in number, do seeme to make there an Archipelagus, which as they all differ in greatnesse, forme, and fashion one from another; so are they in goodnesse, colour, and soyle much vnlike. They all are very high lands, mountaines, and in most parts couered with snow euen all the Sommer long. The Norther lands haue lesse store of snow, more grasse, and are more plaine Countreys: the cause whereof may be, for that the Souther Ilands receiue all the snow, that the cold winds and piercing ayre bring out of the North. And contrarily, the North parts receiue more warme blasts of milder ayre from the South, whereupon may grow the cause why the people couet to inhabit more vpon the North parts then the South, as farre as we yet by our experience perceiue they doe. The people of Meta Incognita like vnto Samoeds. These people I iudge to be a kind of Tartar, or rather a kind of Samoed, of the same sort and condition of life that the Samoeds bee to the Northeastwards beyond Moscouy, who are called Samoeds, which is as much to say in the Moscouy tongue as eaters of themselues, and so the Russians their borderers doe name them. And by late conference with a friend of mine (with whom I did sometime trauell in the parts of Moscouy) who had great experience of those Samoeds and people of the Northeast, I find that in all their maner of liuing, those people of the Northeast, and those of the Northwest are like. Their natiue colour. They are of the colour of a ripe Oliue, which how it may come to passe, being borne in so cold a climate I referre to the iudgement of others, for they are naturally borne children of the same colour and complexion that all the Americans are, which dwell vnder the Equinoctiall line.
They are men very actiue and nimble. They are a strong people and very warlike, for in our sight vpon the toppes of the hilles they would often muster themselues, and after the maner of a skirmish trace their ground very nimbly, and mannage their bowes and dartes with great dexterity. Their apparel. They go clad in coates made of the skinnes of beasts, as of Seales, Deere, Beares, Foxes, and Hares. They haue also some garments of feathers, being made of the cases of Foules, finely sowed and compact togither. Of all which sorts wee brought home some with vs into England, which we found in their tents. In Sommer they vse to weare the hairie side of their coates outward, and sometime goe naked for too much heate. And in Winter (as by signes they haue declared) they weare foure or fiue folde vpon their bodies with the haire (for warmth) turned inward. Hereby it appeareth, that the ayre there is not indifferent, but either it is feruent hote, or els extreme cold, and farre more excessiue in both qualities, then the reason of the climate should yeeld. For there it is colder, being vnder 62 degrees in latitude, then it is at Wardhouse in the voyage to Saint Nicholas in Moscouie, being at about aboue 72. degrees in latitude. The accidental cause of cold ayre at Meta Incognita. The reason hereof may be, that this Meta Incognita is much frequented and vexed with Easterne and Northeastern winds, which from the sea and yce bringeth often an intollerable cold ayre, which was also the cause that this yeere our straits were so long shut vp with so great store of yce. But there is great hope and likelihood, that further within the Straights it will bee more constant and temperate weather.
These people are in nature very subtill and sharpe witted, ready to conceiue our meaning by signes, and to make answere well to be vnderstood againe. And if they haue not seene the thing whereof you aske them, they will wincke, or couer their eyes with their hands, as who would say, it hath bene hid from their sight. If they vnderstand you not whereof you should aske them, they wil stop their eares. They will teach vs the names of each thing in their language which wee desire to learne, and are apt to learne any thing of vs. The sauages delight in Musicke. They delight in Musicke aboue measure, and will keepe time and stroke to any tune which you shall sing, both with their voyce, head, hand and feete, and will sing the same tune aptly after you. They will row with our Ores in our boates, and keepe a true stroke with our Mariners, and seeme to take great delight therein. Hard kind of Living. They liue in Caues of the earth, and hunt for their dinners or praye, euen as the beare or other wild beastes do. They eat raw flesh and fish, and refuse no meat howsoeuer it be stinking. They are desperate in their fight, sullen of nature, and rauenous in their maner of feeding.
Their sullen and desperate nature doth herein manifestly appeare, that a company of them being enuironed by our men on the top of a hie cliffe, so that they could by no meanes escape our hands, finding themselues in this case distressed, chose rather to cast themselues headlong down the rocks into the sea, and so be bruised and drowned, rather than to yeeld themselues to our mens mercies.
Their weapons. For their weapons to offend their enemies or kill their prey withall, they haue darts, slings, bowes, and arrowes headed with sharpe stones, bones, and some with yron. They are exceeding friendly and kind hearted one to the other, and mourne greatly at the losse or harme of their fellowes, and expresse their griefe of mind, when they part one from another with a mourneful song, and Dirges.
Their chastity. They are very shamefast in betraying the secrets of nature, and very chaste in the maner of their liuing: for when the man, which wee brought from thence into England the last voyage, should put off his coat or discouer his whole body for change, he would not suffer the woman to bee present, but put her forth of his Cabin. And in all the space of two or three moneths, while the man liued in company of the woman, there was neuer any thing seene or perceiued betweene them, more then ought haue passed betweene brother and sister: but the woman was in all things very seruiceable for the man, attending him carefully when he was sicke, and he likewise in all the meates which they did eate together, woulde carue vnto her of the sweetest, fattest, and best morsels they had. They wondred much at all our things, and were afraid of our horses and other beasts out of measure. They began to grow more ciuill, familiar, pleasant, and docible amongst vs in very short time.
Their boates. They haue boates made of leather, and couered cleane ouer sauing one place in the middle to sit in, planked within with timber, and they vse to row therein with one Ore, more swiftly a great deale, then we in our boates can doe with twentie. They haue one sort of greater boates wherein they can carrie aboue twentie persons, and haue a Mast with a saile thereon, which saile is made of thinne skinnes or bladders, sowed togither with the sinewes of fishes.
They are good Fishermen, and in their small Boates being disguised with their coates of Seales skinnes, they deceiue the fish, who take them rather for their fellow Seales, then for deceiuing men.
They are good marke-men. With their dart or arrow they will commonly kill a Ducke, or any other foule in the head, and commonly in the eye.
When they shoote at a great fish with any of their darts, they vse to tye a bladder thereunto, whereby they may the better find them againe, and the fish not able to cary it so easily away (for that the bladder doth boy the dart) will at length be wearie, and dye therewith.
Traffique with some other nation vnknowen. They vse to traffike and exchange their commodities with some other people, of whom they haue such things as their miserable Countrey, and ignorance of Art to make, denieth them to haue, as barres of yron, heads of yron for their darts, needles made foure square, certaine buttons of copper, which they vse to weare vpon their forehads for ornament, as our Ladies in the Court of England doe vse great pearle.
Gold. Also they haue made signes vnto vs, that they haue seene gold, and such bright plates of mettals, which are vsed for ornaments amongst some people with whom they haue conference.
We found also in their tents a Guiny Beane of redde colour, the which doth vsually grow in the hote Countreys: whereby it appeareth they trade with other nations which dwell farre off, or else themselues are great trauellers.
Their fewell. They haue nothing in vse among them to maker fire withall, sauing a kinde of Heath and Mosse which groweth there.
How they make fire. And they kindle their fire with continuall rubbing and fretting one sticke against another, as we doe with flints. They drawe with dogges in sleads vpon the yce, and remooue their tents therewithall wherein they dwell in Sommer, when they goe a hunting for their praye and prouision against Winter. Their kettles and pannes. They doe sometime parboyle their meat a little and seeth the same in kettles made of beast skins; they haue also pannes cut and made of stones very artificially; they vse prety ginnes wherewith they take foule. The women carry their sucking children at their backes, and doe feede them with raw flesh, which first they do a little chaw in their owne mouths. The women haue their faces marked or painted ouer with small blewe spots: they haue blacke and long haire on their heads, and trimme the same in a decent order. The men haue but little haire on their faces, and very thinne beards. For their common drinke, they eate yce to quench their thirst withall. The people eate grasse and shrubs. Their earth yeeldeth no graine or fruit of sustenance for man, or almost for beast to liue vpon: and the people will eate grasse and shrubs of the ground, euen as our kine doe. They haue no wood growing in their Countrey thereabouts, and yet wee finde they haue some timber among them, which we thinke doth growe farre off to the Southwards of this place, about Canada, or some other part of New found land: for there belike, the trees standing on the cliffes of the sea side, by the waight of yce and snow in Winter ouercharging them with waight, when the Sommers thaw commeth aboue, and the Sea vnderfretting beneath, which winneth dayly of the land, they are vndermined and fall downe from those cliffes into the Sea, and with the tydes and currents are driuen to and fro vpon the coastes further off, and by conjecture are taken vp here by these Countrey people, to serue them to planke and strengthen their boates withall, and to make dartes, bowes, and arrowes, and such other things necessarie for their vse. And of this kind of drift wood we find all the Seas ouer great store, which being cut or sawed asunder, by reason of long driuing in the Sea is eaten of wormes, and full of holes, of which sort theirs is found to be.
A strange kind of gnat. We haue not yet found any venomous Serpent or other hurtfull thing in these parts, but there is a kind of small flie or gnat that stingeth and offendeth sorely, leauing many red spots in the face, and other places where she stingeth. They haue snow and haile in the best time of their Sommer, and the ground frosen three fadome deepe.
Inchanters. These people are great inchanters, and vse many charmes of witchcraft: for when their heads doe ake, they tye a great stone with a string vnto a sticke, and with certaine prayers and wordes done to the sticke, they lift vp the stone from ground, which sometimes with all a mans force they cannot stirre, and sometime againe they lift as easily as a fether, and hope thereby with certaine ceremonious wordes to haue ease and helpe. And they made vs by signes to vnderstand, lying groueling with their faces vpon the ground, and making a noise downeward, that they worship the deuill vnder them.
The beasts and foules of the Countrey. They have great store of Deere, Beares, Hares, Foxes, and innumerable numbers of sundry sorts of wild foule, as Seamewes, Gulles, Wilmotes, Ducks, &c. whereof our men killed in one day fifteene hundred. They haue also store of haukes, as Falkons, Tassels, &c. whereof two alighted vpon one of our ships at their returne, and were brought into England, which some thinke wil proue very good.
There are also great store of rauens, larkes, and partriges, whereof the countrey people feed.
All these foules are farre thicker clothed with downe and fethers, and haue thicker skinnes then any in England haue: for as that countrey is colder, so nature hath provided a remedie thereunto.
Our men haue eaten of the Beares, Hares, Patriges, Larkes, and of their wild foule, and find them reasonable good meat, but not so delectable as ours.
Their wild foule must be all fleine, their skins are so thicke: and they tast best fryed in pannes.
The Countrey seemeth to be much subiect to Earthquakes.
The ayre is very subtile, piercing and searching, so that if any corrupted or infected body, especially with the disease called Morbus Gallicus come there, it will presently breake forth and shew it selfe, and cannot there by any kind of salue or medicine be cured.
Their longest Sommers day is of great length, without any darke night, so that in Iuly al the night long, we might perfitly and easily write and reade whatsoeuer had pleased vs, which lightsome nights were very beneficiall vnto vs, being so distressed with abundance of yce as we were.
The length of their day. The Sunne setteth to them in the Euening at a quarter of an houre after tenne of the clocke, and riseth againe in the morning, at three quarters of an houre after one of the clocke, so that in Sommer their Sunne shineth to them twenty houres and a halfe, and in the night is absent three houres and a halfe. And although the Sunne bee absent these 3. houres and a halfe, yet it is not darke that time, for that the Sunne is neuer aboue three or foure degrees vnder the edge of their Horizon; the cause is that the Tropicke of Cancer doth cut their Horizon at very vneuen and oblique Angles.
A full reuolution of the Moone aboue their Horizon. But the Moone at anytime of the yeere being in Cancer, hauing North latitude; doth make a full revolution aboue their Horizon, so that sometime they see the Moone about 24. houres togither. Some of our company of the more ignorant sort, thought we might continually haue seene the Sunne and the Moone, had it not bene for two or three high mountaines.
The people are now become so warie, and so circumspect, by reason of their former losses, that by no meines we can apprehend any of them, although wee attempted often in this last voyage. But to say trueth wee could not bestow any great time in pursuing them, because of our great businesse in lading, and other things.
Last updated Friday, October 17, 2014 at 23:23