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of a New Cathayan Enterprise.
that grew Frobisher's three voyages in search of a north-west passage to the Indies.*
The chief promoter of the work was Sir Humphrey Gilbert; but his pupils appear to have soon grown jealous of him, and while they zealously pursued their quest his services were well-nigh forgotten.
* Lock's Memoir, in Cotton MSS., Otho E. vij., fols. 41-43.
MARTIN FROBISHER'S THREE VOYAGES IN THE DIRECTION OF CATHAY.
The licence granted to Martin Frobisher and his partners in the enterprise for finding a north-west passage to Cathay was dated the 3rd of February, 1575. During the next sixteen months the friends were busily preparing for the work. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, no great traveller, brought the results of long study and much scientific observation, but, having little money with which to second his arguments, and meeting with much opposition from richer and less learned men, soon turned aside from it in chagrin, or only watched its progress from a distance. Michael Lock was the richest of the group, and his influence with City people secured promises of assistance from others richer than himself, and helped to bring into the little company of schemers some men of large experience and scientific observation. Science was represented by Dr. Dee, the astrologer. The advisers of most practical experience in northern voyaging were Stephen Burrough, the old associate of Willoughby and Chancelor, and Anthony Jenkinson, the famous Russian traveller and early advocate of a
The Preparations for Frobisher's Voyage.
north-eastern voyage to the Indies. Frobisher himself brought great experience in seamanship, acquired in more temperate regions, and the favour of Queen Elizabeth and Lord Burghley; but, as Lock alleged four years afterwards, when the friends had quarrelled, very little liking from some supporters of the project.
The first thing to be done was to collect money enough for the enterprise. Lock himself subscribed 1001.; and Sir Thomas Gresham, then fifty-six years old, and at the height of his commercial greatness, William Bird, then Customer—that is, chief collector of customs -of London, and Alderman William Bond, also contributed 1001. a piece; Lord Burghley, the Earl of Sussex, the famous Earl of Leicester, and his brother the Earl of Warwick, each subscribed 501.; and promises of 25l. a piece were given by Leicester's nephew, Philip Sidney, by Secretary Walsingham, by Anthony Jenkinson, by Lionel Duckett, the great merchant of London, and by four other gentlemen. Thus a fund of 8751. was secured; but this, though the amount must be multiplied by six or seven, to get its equivalent in modern currency, was quite insufficient for carrying out the project, and no more could be collected in time for action during the summer of 1575. At that, says Lock, Frobisher was “a sad man.” In a very boastful account of his services in the work, which must be read with some distrust, however, Lock represents that he pledged himself to secure its accomplishment in the following year; and then Frobisher was “ alive again.” In default of other assistance, Lock reports that he himself, in addition to his previous subscription of 1001., supplied as much money as from time to time was needed, making in all 7381. 198. 3d. He tells us that he helped Frobisher in all sorts of other ways. He lent him all the books, charts, maps, and instruments that he had been collecting during twenty years. He introduced him to men of influence and wisdom. “I made my house his home, my purse his purse, and my credit his credit,” he says, “ when he was utterly destitute both of money, and credit, and of friends.”
The autumn of 1575, and the ensuing winter and spring were spent in zealous consultations and preparations. That he might be nearer to Lock's residence and to the docks in which the vessels were being fitted out, Frobisher left his lodgings in Fleet Street, and went to live at Widow Hancock's house in Mark Lane. Frequent conferences were held in the house of Alderman Bond, close by; yet more frequent were the meetings under Lock's roof, where charts were examined, plans propounded and considered, and arrangements made for the choice and fitting out of vessels, selecting of mariners and officers, and the like. Meetings were held also at Court, where Frobisher's best friend
appears to have been the Earl of Warwick, who advanced him in the favour of Queen Elizabeth and the more cautious support of the great Earl of Burghley. The Court being generally held at Greenwich, statesmen and courtiers took their share in personal inspection of the arrangements for the voyage. Thus, with help from divers sources, and a good deal of advice that was by no means