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his then coming into told him there, that he Germany thro' this: Salvaterra (at that tii Mexico) a sea card, m. and travel in that vov: down and described th all points with Ortelii
And further, this tugal (as he returned that there was (of cert from England, and th same: which done, the
Indies, was revived with greater ardour than at any former period, and the pens of the most learned men in the nation were employed to prove the existence, the practicability, and the great advantages of such a passage. Among others, Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Mr. Richard Willes composed very learned and ingenious discourses on the subject. That of the former, in particular, contains much curious argument in favour of such a passage, and was well calculated to infuse a spirit of practical inquiry and discovery among his countrymen ; and although it appears not to have been printed until the year 1576, being that in which FROBISHER made his first voyage, yet, having been written many years before, while Sir Humphrey was serving in Ireland, it was undoubtedly very well known to the promoters of Frobisher's voyage. * .
Among other matters adduced in proof of a north-west passage between the Atlantic and Pacific, Sir Humphrey states, that “there was one Salvaterra, a gentleman of Victoria in Spain, who came to Ireland in 1568, out of the West Indies, and reported that the north-west passage from Europe to Cathaia was constantly believed in America ; and further said, in presence of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland, in Sir H. Gilbert's hearing, that a ‘friar of Mexico, called Andrew Urdaneta, more than eight years before
him not in any wise to known to any nation. England had knowler it would greatly hinc and me. This friar the greatest discovei our age; also Salvat passage by the Friai mon opinion of the
offered most willing discovery, which of if he had stood in di
This Urdaneta wa covery of a passag America; many ye orders, and, residing 1 by the King of Spain
* A Discourse by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, &c. Hakluyt, vol.iii. p. 19.
his then coming into Ireland (i.e. before 1560), told him there, that he came from Mar del Sur into Germany. thro’ this N.W. passage, and shewed Salvaterra (at that time being then with him in Mexico) a sea card, made by his own experience and travel in that voyage, wherein was plainly set down and described this N.W. passage, agreeing in all points with Ortelius's map.
And further, this friar told the King of Portugal (as he returned by that country homeward) that there was (of certainty) such a passage N. W. from England, and that he meant to publish the same: which done, the king most earnestly desired him not in any wise to disclose or make the passage known to any nation. For that (said the king) if England had knowledge and experience thereof, it would greatly hinder both the King of Spain and me. This friar (as Salvaterra reported) was the greatest discoverer by sea that hath been in our age; also Salvaterra being persuaded of this passage by the Friar Urdaneta, and by the common opinion of the Spaniards inhabiting America, offered most willingly to accompany me in this discovery, which of like he would not have done if he had stood in doubt thereof.""
This Urdaneta was with Magelhanes on his discovery of a passage into the South Seas, round America; many years after this he took holy orders, and, residing in New Spain, was applied to by the King of Spain to pilot Legaspi's squadron to the Phillipines, which he did; and the chart now or recently in use by the Manilla ships is said to be that which was originally Urdaneta's.
It may safely be asserted, that no mention of the discovery attributed by Salvaterra to Urdaneta is to be met with in any Spanish author. But as the falsehood of the friar or the reporter could not at that early period be known in England, and as nothing in it appeared to be improbable, it served to spur on a spirit of adventure, by holding out the hope of certain success from perseverance. Another account of the same kind was afterwards received, which, though utterly false, produced the same encouraging effects. One Thomas Cowles, an English seaman, of Badminster, in Somerset
(1573) in Lisbon, he heard one Martin Chacque, a Portugueze mariner, read out of a book which he, Chacque, had published six years before that; in which it was stated, that twelve years before (1556) he, the author, had set sail out of India for Portugal, in a small vessel of the burden of about eighty tons, accompanied by four large ships, from which he was separated by a westerly gale of wind; that' having sailed among a number of islands he entered a gulph, which conducted him into the Atlantic, in the 59° of latitude, near Newfoundland, from whence he proceeded without seeing any more land till he fell in with the northwest part of Ireland, and from thence to Lisbon,
where he arrived more than a month before the other four ships with which he set out.
Whether Frobisher had collected similar reports, of the passage having actually been performied, or whether alone from his “knowledge of the sphere, and all other skilles appertaining to the arte of navigation" his hopes were grounded, it is quite certain he had persuaded himself that the voyage was not only feasible but of easy execution. His friends, however, were not so readily persuaded to enter into his scheme; but, “as it was the only thing of the world that was left yet undone, whereby a notable mind might be made famous and fortunate,” he persevered for fifteen years without being able to acquire the means of setting forth an expedition, on which his mind had been so long and so resolutely bent.
At length, in the year 1576, by the countenance and assistance of Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and a few friends, he was enabled to fit out two small barks, the Gabriel of thirty-five and the Michael of thirty tons, together with a pinnace of ten tons. With this little squadron he prepared to set out on his important expedition, and on the 8th of June passed Greenwich, where the court then was; and Queen Elizabeth bade them farewell by shaking her hand at them out of the window. On the 11th of July they came in sight of Friesland, “.rising like pinnacles of steeples, and all covered with snow.” This island, whose position has so
greatly puzzled geographers, could not be the Frisland of Zeno, but, being in 61° of latitude, was evidently the southern part of Greenland. The floating ice obliged him to stand to the south-west till he got sight of Labrador, along the coast of which he then stood to the westward, but could neither reach the land nor get soundings on account of the ice. Sailing to the northward he met with a great island of ice, which fell in pieces, making a noise “as if a great cliffe had fallen into the sea.” After this he entered a strait in lat. 63° 8'. This strait, to which his name was given from being its first discoverer, is the same which was afterwards named Lumley's Inlet; but Frobisher's Strait was, for a long time, supposed by geographers to have cut off a portion from Old Greenland, till Mr.Dalrymple and others shewed the fallacy of such a supposition. . Among the openings between the numerous islands hereabouts, they descried “a number of small things floating in the sea afarre off, which the captain supposed to be porposes or seales, or some kind of strange fish”—but on a nearer approach they were discovered to be men in small boats covered with skins. The captain says, " they be like to Tartars, with long black hair, broad faces and flatte noses, and taunie in colour, wearing seale skinnes, and so doe the women, not differing in the fashion, but the women are marked in the face with blewe streekes downe the cheekes and round about the eyes.” They approached the ships with some hesitation, and one of the natives