Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 scantily 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 leay. ing this spot, the mutineers forced Hudson, his 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 found tents full of men, women, and children, bigge-boned, broadfaced, flat-nosed, 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 fried with candle-ends, and the skins and feathers of the fowl they had eaten. The account of this unfortunate 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 namedon some of our charts Southampton Island, and gave it the name of Carey's Swan's Nest, and steering from thence S.W. made the main land of America in 609 40', to which he gave the name of Hope's Check. Button wintered in Port Nelson, so called from his Pilot, in latitude 579 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 supplied with grcat store of white partridges and other fowle, of which I have heard it credibly reported, that this Company killed eighteen hundred dozen in the winter season.' Button reached no higher than the latitude of 659 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 bis way 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 Hudson's Strait, as faras 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, thc 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 name of Women's Islands; they are situated close to the San. derson'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 77° 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, it 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 much 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, Baífin 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 meagre sort of journal by Baffin, unaccompanied by any chart ; Bylot, as would appear from Habakuk

Pricket's narrative of Hudson'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 Ame. rica, 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 which 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 Portuguese,* and particularly by a Greek pilot of the name of Juan de Fuca;t 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, bowever, 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 enterprise was, in fact, under the immediate patronage of the king, who con. tributed one of his own ships, fitted out in the most complete man. ner, and victualled for 18 months. 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 oat

• Sir Humfrey Gilbert says, that one Salvaterra, a gentleman of Vittoria, in Spain, came into Ireland in 1568, and in bis (Sir Gilbert's) hearing, told Sir Henry Sidney, then Lord Deputy, that one Urdaneta, a friar of Mexico, had told him eight years before, that he came from Mar del Sur into Germany througb ibis north-west passage and showed Salvaterra a sea-card made by bis own experience and travel in that voyage. This friar, Sir Gilbert adds, told the King of Portugal ibat be meant to publish the same, but the king most earnestly desired bim not to make the same known, for that a ship for the same purpose, under the command of Captain James, requested that she might accompany Foxe. Early in May, 1631, His Majesty's ship Charles, of 80 tons, left England; but owing to foggy weather, and ice, it was the 15th July before she reached the islands of Salisbury and Nottingham. From hence Foxe stood over to the Continent of America, and made the land in 640 10', which he named Sir Thomas Róe's Welcome ; and directing his course to the southward discovered Brook Cobham, since called Marble Island ; after this he anchored in Nelson's River; and concluding that no passage existed between that point and 64° 10' N., he next stood to the northward, between Southampton and Cumberland Islands, and on the west coast of the latter gave names to King Charles's promontory, Cape Maria, Trinity Islands, Lord Weston's Portland and Foxe's Farthest, being, as the name imports, the extreme point to which he proceeded, in latitude 66° 47' N. Adverse winds, long nights, a waning moon, and the sickness of his crew, obliged him either to seek for harbour, or to freeze to death in the sea,' and he therefore returned to England.

if Eogland had knowledge and experience thereof, it would greatly binder 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, long used by the Manilla ships, was originally construcied by Urdaneta.

1 His real name was Apostolos Valerianus. The story told to Mr. Michael Lok, Consul for the Turkey mercbants at Aleppo, was a plain and no doubt a true onethat he was plundered in a Manilla sbip off Cape California, by one Candish, (Cavendish, who states his baving found a Greek pilot in one of the ships be plundered.) an Englishman--that he was afterwards sent by the Viceroy of Mexico, to discover the Strait of Anian, but owing to a mutiny in the squadron, be returned that in 1699. he was again sent on this discovery; that he entered a strait between 470 and 48° of latitude, and sailed above twenty days in a broad sea ; and that, opposed by savages clothed in skins, be returned to Acapulco. The late Bishop of Salisbury, rather indis. creetly, bas pronounced this story of De Fuca,' the fabric of imposture ; for the ink 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 geographers have rendered Cordy justice, by assigaing to the strait de discovered, the name of Juan de Fuca.

Captain James wintered in the cul-de-sac of Hudson's Sea, named after him James's Bay ; came home the following year, and published a dismal account of his sufferings from cold, hunger, disease, &c. though the latitude in which he passed the winter was only 52° 3'. Without adding the slightest information to the geography of Hudson's Sea, he decides boldly that there is no such thing as a north-west passage.

About the same time one M. de Groseiller, of Canada, was despatched from Quebec for the purpose of discovery. Landing near Nelson's River, he fell in with a wretched hut in which were six people nearly famished. They were part of the crew of a ship which had been sent from Boston, and which, while they were on shore, had been driven to sea by the ice, and was never heard of more. Groseiller went to Paris, but meeting with no encouragement from the French government, came to England with a letter from our ambassador to Prince Rupert, who received him favourably; and being joined by other noblemen and merchants, fitted out a ship in 1668, which Captain Gillam was appointed to command. He proceeded up Davis's Strait to 70° N., returned to Rupert's River in the bottom of Huilson's Bay, and there wintered. In the mean time Charles II. by his royal Charter, constituted Prince Rupert and certain lords, knights, and merchants, a body corporate, known by the name of the Governor and Company of the Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay."

From the moment this body of · Adventurers' was instituted, the spirit of adventure died away; and every succeeding effort was palsied by the baneful influence of monopoly, of which the disco

very of a north-west passage was deemed the forerunner of destruca tion. Even the publication of De Fonte's * Voyage failed to rouse the attention of speculators. At length, however, in 1720, one Knight, who had long been in the Company's service as master of a ship, and subsequently governor of one of their forts, reminded his old masters that they were obliged, by their charter, to make discoveries and extend their trade, and that if they refused to indulge him with an expedition for these purposes, he would apply to the crown. Being nearly 30 years of age, the Company thought it more adviseable to gratify his troublesome zeal,'as Robson calls it, than to let the business be taken up by some abler hand-his instructions were to find the Strait of Anian, in order to discover gold, whales, and other valuable commodities, to the northward, &c. Knight was so confident of success, that he caused strong chests to be made, hooped with iron, to hold the gold and copper which he was determined to find, and which seem to have engrossed his mind more than the discovery of the north-west passage. The two ships sent under him and Barlow were never heard of more ; but some of their remains were discovered six or seven years afterwards in a bay on Marble Island, where their crews appear to have perish. ed in the most miserable manner. In 1722, one Scroggs was sent to the northward ostensibly to look for these unfortunate sufferers, about which, however, Robson says, there was not one word in his instructions. This Scroggs appears to have been totally unfit for any expedition on account of his ignorance and timidity, but exceedingly well qualified to answer the purpose of the Hud. son's Bay Company, who seemed to enjoy their monopoly in perfect tranquillity, without giving themselves the smallest concern about making discoveries either by land or by water.

At length a gentleman of the name of Dobbs, having well considered what preceding navigators had stated with regard to the high tides from the northward in the Welcome, prevailed on the Com. pany, after much importunity, to send a vessel to the northward, in 1737, but she returned without doing any thing, never having reached so high as the latitude 63o. Dobbs, perceiving the reluc. tant and negligent conduct of the Company, applied next to the

The Voyage of De Fonte, Fuenté, or Fonta, appeared for the first time in a periodical publication called the Monthly Miscellany, or Memoirs for the Curious, for April, 1708. It is supposed to have been performed in 1640. Captain Burney, who has published it at length in his History of Voyages, &c. seems to think with Mr. Dalrymple, that it is an idle piece of invention by one Petiver, a contributor to the above-mentioned Miscellany; though it might have been founded on the circum. stance of Burgomaster Witsen having mentioned a voyage made by the celebrated Da Fonta in 1649, to Terra del Fuego, at the cost of the King of Spain; and of the Boston ship that was lost in Hudson's Bay, six of whose crew were found on shore by Groseiller--it is something of the kind of our modern romances composed of fact ind fiction, pleasant to read, but injurious to the truth of history.

VOL. XVI, NO, X8X1.

« AnteriorContinuar »