Imágenes de páginas

west passage to China, was Mr. (afterwards Sir Martin) Frobisher. He left England in the middle of July, 1576, with two small vessels and a pinnace, the largest only 25 tons; and proceeding to the entrance of a supposed strait in latitude 63° 10' N. he returned to Harwich on the ed October, bringing back from an island on the coast of Greenland ? one of the salvages’ard some bright stones. The wife of one of the adventurers threw one of these stones accidentally into the fire, and having quenched it with vinegar, “it glistered with a bright marquisset of gold.' The following year Frobisher anchored on the west coast of Greenland, where the I stones be altogether sparkled, and glister in the sun like gold.' One of bis people found the horn of a sea unicorn, into which some spiders being put immediately died; and “ these spiders, we are told, as many affirm, are signs of great store of gold. They also caught two women, one of whom was so ugly ihat the sailors' suspected her to be the devil, and would not be convinced of the contrary, until they had stripped off her skin boots to see whether she had a cloven foot. Queen Elizabeth, it seems, was so much satisfied with the report of this voyage,

that Frobisher was sent out for the third time the following year, to take possession of Meta incognita (Greenland) with 15 ships and 120 settlers; but the ice opposing their passage through the Strait, and the season being far advanced, they contented theinselves with taking on board a large quantity of the 'glistering stones, and returned to England. These stones we suppose turned out to be pieces of that beautiful iridescent spar known by the name of La

The unfavourable result of Frobisher's third expedition seems for a while to have cast a damp on the spirit of enterprize in this quarter; which however was revived in 1585, when some noblemen and gentlenen formed an association for effecting the discovery of the North-west passage, and John Davis, of Sandridge in Devonshire, was engaged to conduct the expedition. He left England with two ships, passed the south point of Greenland on the 20th July, to which, from its horrid appearance, he gave the name of the Land of Desolation, then steered N. W.and making the land on the 6th August, in latitude 66° 40' N., he gave to a high mountain ' glittering like gold,' the name of Mount Ralegh. Having doubled the South cape of this island, which he named Cape of God's Mercy,' he proceeded up a strait (Cumberland Strait of modern charts) 20 leagues wide, to the distance of 60 leagues, when adverse winds and tides obliged him to return. In 1586, Davis was again sent with four ships, but made no discoveries of importance, and reached not beyond bis former latitude. On his third voyage in 1587, he was more suc


brador spar.

cessful, having proceeded along the west coast of Greenland to the latitude of 72° 12' N. He then steered a westerly course towards the continent of America, but being opposed by fields and mountains of ice, which alarmed his people, he coasted to the southward along the same land he had discovered on bis first voyage; saw Lumley's Inlet between 62° and 63°, and returned to Dartmouth by the 15th September. In his short letter to Mr. Saunderson, the great promoter of the undertaking, he says, “I have been in 73°, finding the sea all open, the passage most probable, the execution easy.'

The failure of Davis, however, put an end to any further attempt in that century; and in 1591 Sir James Lancaster was sent with five ships by the usual but circuitous route of the Cape of Good Hope. This officer, or some person for him, having added to one of his letters a postscript, in which he says the passage to the Indies is in the N. W. of America in 62° 30' N.' the report of it once more revived the question; and, in 1602, Captain Waymouth Jeft England with two fly-boats in search of the North-west passage. He succeeded in passing all the straits, and in reaching the Jatitude of 63° 55' N. on the coast of America; (about Marble Island;) but here his crew mutinied, which obliged him to retumu to England. Knight and Hall, in 1606 and 1607, lost their lives in a scuffle with the natives before they had made any discovery of importance.

Notwithstanding all these failures, a society of merchants still persevered in the attempt to discover a northern route to India and China; they engaged, for this purpose, Captain Henry Hudson, a man of approved skill in seamanship, of great experience, and daring intrepidity. He left England in 1607, but instead of entering any of the straits, he stood directly for the East coast of Greenland, which he made in -73, and named the point Hold with Hope. The weather continued mild, and even warm, till he reached the latitude of 78°; the sea open, with much drift-wood. In 80° 23' N. he sent his boat on shore with the mate and boatswain, who quenched their thirst, the weather being hot, at two excellent streams of fresh water. He still advanced to the northward as high as 82° N. when falling in with mountains and fields of ice, he returned home, and arrived at Gravesend on the 15th September. The following year he made a second voyage, to attempt a passage between Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla, few particulars of which were made public, and these are not to our present purpose. The third, and, to him, the last and fatal voyage, was undertaken in 1610. Having passed the strait which now bears his name, and doubled the westernmost capes of Labrador, which he named Wolstenholme and Digges, he stood to the southward down the great


bay which bears his own name, and entered a harbour which they called Michaelmas, where it was Hudson's intention to pass the winter; but an accident prevented him, and he stood down to the lowest bite of the bay. Here the chief employ of his crew was to procure provisions, with which they appear to have been scautily supplied in the ship; but they killed about a hundred dozen of partridges as white as milk; and in the spring, when those left them, came birds of divers sorts, as swannes, goose, ducke, and teale. While thus employed, a mutiny was stirred up among the ship’s company by one Greene, a person whom Hudson had taken on board out of charity and treated as his own child. On leaving this spot, the mutineers forced Hudson, bis son, and seven others into the boat, amidst fields of ice, with a scanty supply of provisions—she was never heard of more, and all that were in her must have miserably perished. The mutineers stood away for Digges's Island at the mouth of Hudson's Strait, where they fouud tents full of men, women, and children, bigge-boned, broad-faced, flat-noșed, and small-footed, like the Tartars. Here Greene and another of the principal mutineers were shot by the natives, and three others died a few days after of their wounds:

everywhere,' observes Purchas, 'can Divine justice find executioners.' The remainder of the crew, after taking on board about. 400 sea-fowl which they caught on leaving the land, made the best of their way homewards, being reduced to the greatest distress, living chiefly on sea-weeds fryed with candle-ends, and the skins and feathers of the fowl they had eaten. The account of this tine fortunate voyage is written by one of the crew named Habakuk Pricket, who, of course, endeavours to lay the whole blame on Greene and the others who had been killed by the Eskimeaux; but. North-west Foxe,' in his remarks on the transaction, slily observes, · Well, Pricket, I am in great doubt of thy fidelity to Master Hudson.'

This Habakuk Pricket, however, was engaged to accompany Sir Thomas Button two years after (1612) on the same voyage of discovery, with two ships whose names were the same as those under the celebrated Cook in his last voyage--the Resolution and the Discovery. He passed through Hudson's Strait, saw the south point of the large island named on some of our charts Southampton Island, and gave it the naine of Carey's Swan's Nest, and steering from thence S.W. made the main land of America in 60° 40', to which he gave the name of Hope's Check. Button wintered in Port Nelson, so called from his pilot, in latitude 57° 10' N. which is now the principal station of the Hudson's Bay Company. He lost many men by cold and hunger, and yet,' says : Foxe, he was supa plied with great store of white partridges and other fowle, of which I


[ocr errors]

have heard it credibly reported, that this Company killed eighteen hundred dozen in the winter season.' Button reached no higher than the latitude of 65° on the east coast of Southampton Island.

In 1614, Captain Gibbons was sent out in the Discovery; but his ship was beset by ice on the N.E. coast of Labrador, in about 57° N. where he remained nearly five months in a sort of bay, to which his ship’s company, in derision, gave the name of Gibbons his Hole; escaping at last from his place of confinement, he made the best of his


home. Robert Bylot, who had been with Hudson, Button, and Gibbons, now appointed master of the same ship, the Discovery, of 55 tons burden, set sail from England in April, 1615, passed through Hadson's Strait, as far as Cape Comfort; on the east coast of Southampton Island in latitude 65° N. but having proceeded northerly about half a degree, and finding, as he says, the water shallow, and the land trending to the N.E. (which, however, is doubtful,) he returned to England without making any discovery.

The following year, Bylot, with Baffin (who had acted as his pilot in the former voyage) proceeded again in the same ship, the Discovery, being her fifth voyage on the same object. They now stood along the west coast of Greenland; and saw some islands in 72° 15', to which, finding women only on them, they gave the vame of Women's Islands; they are situated close to the Sanderson's Hope of Davis, the extreme point which that navigator reached. Coasting from hence, in an open sea, they passed a fayre cape,' in latitude 76° 35, which they named Cape Dudley Digges; then standing N. westerly they passed Whale Sound, in 770 30'; then Sir Thomas Smith's Sound, which was choked up, not with ice, but with whales; and extended beyond 78° N. this being the farthest point they reached to the northward. They then stood five days to the southward of west, through an open sea, and saw Alderman Jones's Sound, in latitude 76° 30'; and in two days, standing more southerly, they opened Sir James Lancaster's Sound; from whence they continued their course two days southeasterly, the sea still open, till they came to latitude 71° 16', when meeting with niuch ice, they struck off from the coast due east, and passing through Baffin's Strait, into the Strait of Davis, made the best of their way home: first touching, however, at Cockin Sound on the coast of Greenland, to collect scurvy grass, sorrel and orpine, for their sick, who, Baffin says, were cured in eight days by the scurvy grass (cochlearia) boiled in beer. This might be considered as the most important of all the voyages, if the brief account of it could be depended on; but there is nothing left on record, except a u gre sort of journal by Baffin, unaccom-: panied by any chart; Bylot, as would appear from Habakuk



Pricket's narrative of Hudsou's Voyage, being unable either to read or write. The floating masses of ice drifting from the northward, and the heavy swell from the same quarter, when off Whale Sound, would seem to indicate that Greenland is no part of America, but a large island, or rather an archipelago of islands. Baffin's Bay, as we now see it on some modern charts, is wholly supposititious.

The unabated zeal and the extraordinary perseverance whictu actuated the promoters of these early voyages of discovery, were kept alive by the prevailing opinion that the north-west passage had actually been made by the Spaniards and Portugueze,* and particularly by a Greek pilot of the name of Juan de Fuca ; but from the termination of Baffin's last voyage, if we except an obscure attempt of Hawkridge, who had accompanied Sir Thomas Button in 1612, the ardour for the discovery of this passage seems to have abated. It was, however, revived in 1630), by one Lucas Foxe, a shrewd, sensible man, who, having availed himself of the information gained by preceding adventurers, was so certain of making the passage, that he obtained a letter from Charles I. addressed to his brother the Emperor of Japan.. This enterprize was, in fact, under the immediate patronage of ihe king, who contributed one of his own ships, fitted out in the most complete manner, and victualled for 18'inonths. Sir Thomas Roe and Sir John Wolstenholme were named by the king to superintend the equipment of the voyage.

Some merchants of Bristol having fitted out

Sir Humfrey Gilbert says, that one Salvaterra, a gentleman of Vittoria, in Spain, came into Ireland in 1568, and in his (Sir Gilbert's) hearing, told Sir Henry Sidney, then Lord Deputy, that one Urdaneta, a friar of Alexico), had told him eight years before, that he came from Mar del Sur into Germany through this north-west passage, and shewed Salvaterra a sea-card made by his own experience and travel in that voyage. This friar, Sir Gilbert adds, told the King of Portugal that he meant to publish the same, but the king most earnesly desired him not to make the same known, for that if England had knowledge and experience thereof, it would greatly hinder both him and the King of Spain. This Urdaneta went with Magellan and afterwards with Legaspi's expedition, in 1564, to the Philippine Islands; and the chart, lung used by the Manilla ships, was originally construeted by Urdaneta.

His real name was Apostolos Valerianus. The story told to Mr. Michael Lok, Consul for the Turkey merchants at Aleppo, was a plain and no doubt a true orethat he was plundered in a Manilla ship, off Cape California, by one Candish, (Cavendish, who states his having found a Greek pilot in one of the ships he plundered, an Englishman-that he was atterwards sent by the Viceroy of Mexico, lo discover the Strait of Anian, but owing to a mutiny in the squadron, he returned that in 1599 he was again sent on this discovery ; that he entered a strait between 47 and 489 of latitude, and sailed above twenty days in a broad sea ; and that, opposed by savages clothed in skins, lie returned to Acapulco. - The late Bishop of Salisbury, rather indiscretely, has pronounced tbis story of De Fuca,' the fabric of imposture;" for the ick was scarcely dry which transmitted to posterity this hasty opinion, when the strait, and The sea, and the savages were recognized by Meares and others, in the very spot pointed out by the old Greek pilot, to whom modern geographiers have rendered Lardy justice, by assigning to the strait ke discovered, the game of Juan de Fuca.

« AnteriorContinuar »