Imágenes de páginas

presently went on board in the ship's boat; and Frobisher, having given him a bell and a knife, sent him back in the boat with five of the crew, directing them to land him on a rock and not to trust themselves where numbers of his countrymen were assembled on the shore; but they disobeyed his orders and were seized by the natives, together with the boat, and none of them heard of more. A few days afterwards, on returning to the same place, the people were observed to be extremely shy, but Frobisher, having succeeded in drawing one of them alongside by ringing a bell and holding it out, as he stretched out his hand to receive it, “caught the man fast and plucked him with maine force, boate and all, into his barke out of the sea. Whereupon, when he found himselfe in captivity, for very choler and disdaine he bit his tongue in twaine within his mouth, notwithstanding he died not thereof, but lived untill he came in England, and then he died of cold which he had taken at sea.” With this “ strange infidele, whose like was never seene, read nor heard of before, and whose language was neither knowen nor understood of any,” Frobisher set sail for England, and arrived at Harwich on the 2d of October, “highly commended of all men for his greate and notable attempt, but speceally famous for the great hope he brought of the passage to Cathaia.” · That hope, however, would probably have died away but for an accidental circumstance which

had been disregarded during the voyage. Some of the men had brought home flowers, some grass,

in colour," merely for the sake of the place from whence they came. A piece of this black stone being given to one of the adventurers' wives, by chance she threw it into the fire; and whether from accident or curiosity, having quenched it while hot with vinegar, “it glistered with a bright marquesset of golde.” The noise of this incident was soon spread abroad, and the stone was assayed by the “gold finers of London," who reported that it contained a considerable quantity of gold. *. A new voyage was immediately set on foot for the

George Best, Frobisher’s lieutenant, that “the captaine was specially directed by commission for the searching more of this gold ore then for the searching any further discovery of the passage.”t

MARTIN FROBISHER—Second Voyage. 1577.

Frobisher was now openly countenanced by Queen Elizabeth, and on taking leave had the honour of kissing her Majesty's hand, who dismissed him “ with gracious countenance and comfortable words.” He was, besides, furnished with “one tall ship of her Majesties, named the Ayde, of nine-score tunnes or thereabouts; and two other

vol. iii. p. 29.

+ Ibid.

little barkes likewise, the one called the Gabriel, "whereof Master Fenton was Captaine : and the other the Michael, whereof Master Yorke, a gentleman of my Lord Admiralls, was Captaine :” these two vessels were about thirty tons each. On the 27th of May, having received the sacrament and prepared themselves “ as good Christians towards God, and resolute men for all fortunes,” they left Gravesend, and after a long passage fell in with Friesland, in lat. 6010 on the 4th of July, the mountains covered with snow and the coast almost inaccessible from the great quantity of drift ice. It is worthy of remark that Frobisher, being in possession of the account of Friesland, by the two Venetians, declares that “ for so much of this land as we have sayled alongst, comparing their carde with the coast, we find it very agreeable;" but no creature was seen “but little birdes.” They observed islands of ice, “ some seventie, some eightie fathome under water,” and more than half a mile in circuit; and the ice being fresh, Frobisher is led to the conclusion that these mountains“ must be bredde in the sounds, or in some land neere the pole;" and that the “maine sea freeseth not, therefore there is no mare glaciale, as the opinion hitherto hath bene.” Four days were here spent in vain endeavouring to land, after 'which they stood for the strait discovered by them the preceding year. They arrived off the north foreļand; otherwise Hall's island, so called after the

man who had picked up the golden ore, and who was now master of the Gabriel.' They proceeded some distance up the strait, when, on the 18th of July, the general taking the gold-finers with him, landed near the spot where the ore had been picked up, but could not find in the whole island“ a peece so bigge as a walnut.” But all the neighbouring islands are stated to have good store of the ore. They then landed on Hall's greater island, where they also found a great quantity of the ore. On the top of a high hill, about two miles from the shore, “ they made a columne or crosse of stones heaped up of a good heigth togither in good sort, and solemnly sounded a trumpet, and saide certaine prayers kneeling about the ensigne, and honoured the place by the name of Mount Warwicke.

Returning to their boats, they espied several of the natives on the top of Mount Warwick waving a flag, “with cries like the mowing of buls, seeming greatly desirous of conference with us.” Both sides being suspicious of each other, two men were selected one on the part of each to confer together, and to settle a traffick; and we are told that “one of the savages, for lacke of better merchandize, cut off the tayle of his coate and gave it unto the generall for a present." On this, which was not a very civil return, the general and the master suddenly l'aid hold of the two savages. « But the ground under-foot being slipperie with the snow on the side of the hill, their hand-fast fayled, and their prey escaping ranne away and lightly recovered their bow and arrows, which they had hid not farre from them behind the rockes. And being only two salvages in sight, they so fiercely, desperately, and with such fury assaulted and pursued our generall and his master, being altogether unarmed, and not mistrusting their subtiltie, that they chased them to their boates, and hurt the generall in the buttocke with an arrow.” The soldiers now began to fire, on which the savages rạn away and the English after them; when one . “ Nicholas Conger, a good footman, and uncumbred with any furniture, having only a dagger at his backe, overtooke one of them, and being a Cornish man and a good wrastler, shewed his companion such a Cornish tricke that he made his sides ake against the ground for a moneth after; and so being stayed he was taken alive and brought away, but the other escaped.” In the meantime a storm having arisen, they proceeded with their prey to a small island, where keeping good“ watch and warde” they lay there all night upon hard cliffs of snow and ice, both wet, cold and comfortless, in a country which yielded no better cheer than rocks and stones, and a people “ more readie to eat them then to give them wherewithall to eate."

They now stood over to the southern shore of Frobisher's Strait, and landed on a small island with the gold-finers to search for ore; and “here all the sands and cliffs did so glister and had so bright a marquesite that it seemed all to be gold,

G 4

« AnteriorContinuar »