Imágenes de páginas

that it might please God to look upon their present miserable state, and for his owne mercie to relieve the same. The famine encreasing, and the inconvenience of the men that were missing being found, they agreed amongst themselves, rather than 'all should perish, to cast lots who should be killed; and such was the mercie of God, that the same night there arrived a French ship in that port, well furnished with vittaile, and such was the policie of the English that they became masters of the same, and changing ships and vittailing them they set sayle to come into England.

that they saw mighty islands of yce in the sommer season on which were hawkes and other foules to rest themselves being weary of flying over farre from the maine. They sawe also certaine great white foules with red bils and red legs, somewhat bigger than herons, which they supposed to be storkes. They arrived at S. Ives in Cornewall about the ende of October, from thence they departed unto a certain castle belonging to Sir John Luttrell, where M. Thomas Buts, and M. Rastall, and other gentlemen of the voyage, were very friendly entertained ; after that they came to the Earle of Bathe at Bathe, and thence to Bristol, so to London. M. Buts was so changed in the

his father, and my Lady his mother, knew him not to be their sonne, until they found a secret mark,

which was a wart, upon one of his knees, as he told me, Richard Hakluyt of Oxford, himselfe : to whom I rode 200 miles to learn the whole trueth of this voyage from his own mouth, as being the onely man now alive that was in this discoverię.

"Certaine months after, those Frenchmen came into England, and made complaint to king Henry the VIII.; the king, causing the matter to be examined, and finding the great distresse of his subiects and the causes of dealing so with the French, was so mooved with pitie, that he punished not his subiects, but of his owne purse made full and royall recompence unto the French.

“ In this distresse of famine, the English did somewhat relieve their vitall spirits, by drinking at the springs the fresh water out of certaine wooden cups, out of which they had drunke their aqua composita before.”*


The attention of the merchants of England engaged in foreign trade appears to have chiefly been confined to the Flemish towns, the island of Iceland, and to a limited fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, during the first half of the six,

* Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 130.

teenth century. But the return of Sebastian Cabota, and the knowledge of his great enterprizes in the service of Spain, infused into the minds of the merchants of England that spirit of enlarged adventure which had but feebly shewn: itself at the commencement of the century, and then confined to one quarter of the globe. The reputation of this able navigator was so firmly established on his return to England that, in addition to the liberal pension granted to him by Edward VI., he was constituted Grand Pilot of England, and “ Governour of the mysterie and companie of the marchants adventurers for the discoverie df regions, dominions, islands and places unknowen.” It was at his suggestion that a voyage was undertaken in the year 1553 for the discovery of a north-east passage to Cathaia ; and the ordinances and instructions drawn up by him on this occasion are such as do him infinite honour, not only for the chaste style in which they are written, but also for the liberal and enlightened sentiments which run throughout this early performance.*

The ships fitted out for this expedition of discovery were the Bona Esperanza, Admiral of the fleet, of the burden of 120 tons, having with her a

* Ordinances, Instructions, fc. by M. Sebastian Cabota, Esquier.

Hakluyt, vol. i. p. 226. VOL. 1.

pinnace and a boat; and Sir Hugh WILLOUGHBY, Knight, as Captain General of the fleet, was appointed to command her : the Edward Bonadventure, of 160 tons, with a pinnace and a boat, the command of which was given to Richard Chancelor, Captain and Pilot-Major of the fleet, and Steven Burough was master of the ship: and the Bona Confidentia of 90 tons, having also a pinnace and a boat,of which Cornelius Durfoorth was master.

The number of persons in the first ship was thirty-five, including six merchants; in the second fifty, including two merchants; and in the third twentyeight, including three merchants.

This first regular expedition for discoveries excited the most lively interest at the court and in the capital; and so sanguine were the promoters of the voyage of its success in reaching the Indian seas, that they caused the ships to be sheathed with lead as a protection against the worms which, they had understood, were destructive of wooden sheathing in the Indian climates,* and these are probably the first ships that in England were coated with a metallic substance.f From the account of the voyage written by Clement Adams, “schoolemaster to the Queene's henshmen,” it would appear that several persons of great experience were candidates for the command, but that Sir Hugh Willoughby, a valiant gentleman and well born, was preferred before all others, “both by reason of his goodly personage (for he was of tall stature) as also for his singular skill in the services of warre.” On the day appointed for the sailing of the expedition from Rạtcliffe, which was the 20th May, “they saluted their acquaintance, one his wife, another his children, and another his kinsfolkes, and another his friends deerer than his kinsfolkes ;” after which the ships dropped down to Greenwich, where the court then was. The great ships were towed down by the boats, “the marriners being all apparelled in watchet or skie-coloured cloth. The courtiers came running out and the common people flockt together, standing very thicke upon the shoare; the Privie Consel, they lookt out at the windowes of the court, and the rest ranne up to the toppes of the towers; the shippes hereupon discharge their ordinance, and shoot off their pieces after the maner of warre, and of the sea, insomuch

* Clement Adams's account of the voyage. Hakluyt, vol. i. p. 243.

+ Sheathing with lead was in use till the reign of Charles II. but was discontinued on account of its wearing away irregularly and so soon washing bare in places, as to let in the worms; and sheathing with wood was adopted in its place. In 1708, a proposal was made to the Navy Buard to sheath ships with copper, which was rejected without a trial. About sixty years after it obtained a trial and was favourably reported on-yet, so very difficult is the introduction of any thing new, that, ten years after this experiment, in Admiral Keppel's feet, there was but one line of battle ship that was coppered.-M. S. Memoirs of the Navy.



« AnteriorContinuar »