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We may reasonably suppose that so complete a failure would cause great dissatisfaction to the supporters of the voyage at home. Nevertheless, Mr. Rundall, in his “North West Voyages," (p. 32,) has collected sundry memoranda, which have escaped the ravages of fire, and from which it would appear that a fourth attempt was proposed by Frobisher; this time most probably by the broad strait; but very little is known of it further than that Sir Francis Drake seems to have been a warm promoter of the enterprise.
New Attempt to Discover a North-Eastern Passage, conducted
by Pet and Jackman--Project to Colonize America, undertaken by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Ralegh
-Its Failure-Three successive Expeditions sent out by English Merchants, under Davis, solely for purposes of Discovery-Dutch Expeditions and Discomfitures-Attempt to find a North-Western Passage resumed by the Merchants of London-The Command entrusted to George Waymouth-His ill success.
IN 1580, two English barks, the George and the William, commanded by Arthur Pet and Charles Jackman, sailed for the discovery of a north-eastern passage, and passed the Vaygatch or Waigatz Strait ; but eastward of the strait was so full of ice, that after some ineffectual attempts to advance, they were obliged to return. Nevertheless, they found a good depth of sea to the east of the Waigatz, having at one time seventy fathoms water.
On the 11th May, 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, of Compton, in Devonshire, first formed the plan of British colonization in America. He obtained from Queen Elizabeth the gift, for ever, of all such “heathen and barbarous countries” as he might discover; with absolute authority therein, only homage, and a fifth part of the gold and silver obtained, were reserved to the crown. He made two unsuccessful attempts to carry out his object; the first was defeated by the cavilling of the adventurers; in the second, which he himself conducted, accompanied by Sir Walter Ralegh, he was driven back by adverse weather. With unshaken determination, he again sailed with five ships, to take possession of Newfoundland. His force consisted of two hundred and sixty men; and to make up even this insignificant number, captured pirates were taken into the service.
Three days after the expedition sailed, the Ralegh, the largest vessel of the fleet, put back, under the plea that a violent sickness had broken out among the crew, but in reality from faintheartedness on their part. Sir Humphrey pursued his dangerous course, harassed by the misconduct of his followers, and at length reached Newfoundland. The Swallow was now sent home with some of the crew, who were sick, and the Delight, his own ship, of one hundred and twenty tons, shortly after, striking on this unknown coast, went to pieces.
There now, therefore, remained only the Golden Hind, of forty, and the Squirrel of ten tons burthen. On board the latter Sir Humphrey hoisted his flag, and, driven by the bitter alternative either to starve or return with ruined hopes, shaped his course homeward. On the 9th September, they encountered a terrible storm, and the Squirrel was observed to labour dangerously.
“Sir Humphrey Gilbert stood upon her deck, holding a book in his hand, encouraging the crew. • We are as near to heaven by sea as by land, he called out to those on board the other vessel, as it
It may not be uninteresting to mention, that there are thirteen different ways of spelling the name of this celebrated man, viz., Ralegh, Raleghe, Raleigh, Rawleigh, Rawley, Rawly, Rauleigh, Ralaghe, Rale, Real, Reali, and Ralega. His signature to his letters in the Harleian Collection MSS., and his Journal of his second voyage, is Ralegh, and this has been adopted by Sir Robert Schomburgk, in his new edition of “Ralegh's Discovery of the Empire of Guiana.”
drifted passed, just before nightfall. Darkness soon concealed his little bark from sight; but for hours one small light was seen to rise and fall, and plunge about
Shortly after midnight, it suddenly disappeared, and with it all trace of the brave chief and his crew. One maimed and storm-tossed ship alone returned to England of that armament which so short a time before had been sent forth to take possession of a new world.”2
Seven years after Frobisher's disastrous voyage, “ divers worshipful merchants of London and the west country, moved by the desire of advancing God's glory, and the good of their native land, concerted among themselves the plan of another attempt, which, throwing aside all thought of gold and precious metals, was to be solely for the discovery of a passage to India. They accordingly purchased two barks, the Sunshine, of fifty tons burden, with a crew of twenty-three persons onboard, including four musicians; the other, called the Moonshine, of thirty-five tons, had a complement of nineteen hands. Master John Davis, of Landridge, in Devonshire, "a man well-grounded in the principles of the arte of navigation,” was selected “ for captaine and chiefe pilot of the exployt;" the captain of the Moonshine was William Briton.
The ships sailed from Dartmouth on the 7th June, 1585; on the 19th of July, “a great whirling and brustling of the tyde” was heard, during the prevalence of a dense fog. Davis put off from the ship to ascertain what the “mighty great roaring really was, and found that it was occasioned by
?“ Conquest of Canada," vol. i. p. 281 ; “Narrative of the Expedition of Sir Humphrey Gilbert,” by Captain Ed. Haies, Hakluyt, vol. iii. pp. 143—159.
huge masses of ice grinding against each other. They found no bottom with three hundred fathoms of line. The next day they came in view of part of the south-west coast of Greenland, “the most dreary that it was possible to conceive."
6. The lothsome view of the shore, and the irksome noyse of the yce was such, as it bred strange conceites among us, so that we supposed the place to be wast and void of any sensible or vegitable creatures, whereupon I called the same Desolation.”
The locality thus indicated is not, however, to be confounded with the Cape Desolation of the modern charts; but agrees rather with Cape Discord, on the east side of Greenland, which, from what follows, it is evident the navigator had made.
The following day the wind veered to the northward; and with the change in the wind, the course of the ship was altered. “ So coasting,” Davis observes in continuation, “ this shore towards the south, in the latitude of sixtie degrees, I found it trend towards the west. I still followed the leading thereof in the same height; and after fifty or sixtie leagues, it fayled, and lay directly north, which I still followed, and in thirty leagues sayling upon the west side of this coast, named by me Desolation, we were past all the yce, and found many greene and pleasant isles bordering upon the shore; but the hils of the maine were still covered with great quantities of snow. I brought my ship among those isles, and there moored, to refresh our selves in our weary travell, in the latitude of sixtie foure degrees, or thereabout.”
They remained at this anchorage for the space of a month, holding most amicable intercourse with the natives; in the midst of which, however, a favourable wind sprung up, and Davis, a steady and excellent seaman, immediately broke off a pro
3" North-west Voyages,” pp. 37, 38.