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fitable barter for furs in which they were engaged, and put to sea. He steered north-west, directly across the strait, or sea, which now bears his name; and on the 6th August made land, in 66° 40', which he named Mount Ralegh, and “ ankered in a very faire rode, under a brave mount, the cliffes whereof was as orient as golde;" which was named Totnes Road. From this place he sailed along the coast to the south, and on the 11th reached a promontory, to which he gave the name of the Cape of God's Mercy, and rounded it elate with hope, that he had now found the desired passage. He proceeded up this strait or sound, which varies in width from twenty to thirty leagues, until the end of August, the passage being entirely unobstructed by ice, and the water, “ of the very colour, nature, and quality of the main ocean. After penetrating eighty leagues, they found a cluster of islands, in the centre of the channel, and beyond the navigation appeared as easy as they had hitherto found it; but becoming involved in fogs, and stormy weather, they determined to return, resolving, at some future period to prosecute the enterprise, they accordingly made sail homeward, and arrived on the 30th September.
The discovery by Davis of a free open passage to the westward, inspired sanguine hopes of the ultimate success of the search. He sailed from Dartmouth, on a second voyage, on the 7th May, 1586, in command of four vessels. On the 15th June they reached their old anchorage in Gilbert's Sound, meeting with a cordial recognition from the natives, who soon, however, manifested much less amiable qualities, and took to stealing every, thing that came within their reach. Davis departed from Gilbert's Sound with one of these pilferers on-board, and stood across the bay. On the 17th July, in lat. 60° 8', they fell in with an enormous quantity of ice, along which he coasted till the 30th, notwithstanding the repeated remonstrances of his crew, that “ by his overboldness he might cause their widows and fatherless children to give him bitter curses. On the 1st August he discovered land, lat. 66° 33' N., and long. 70° W. Here he was abandoned by one of his vessels, and proceeded by himself in a small bark of thirty tons, on the prosecution of his voyage. On the 14th, sailing west, he discovered land, in 66° 19' N.; from this a southerly course was shaped, and on the 19th they were in lat. 64° 20'.
On the 4th September, in lat. 54° N., Davis states, he had “perfect hope of the passage, finding a mightie great sea passing between the two lands west.” After this, in consequence of severe weather, he thought it prudent to return home.
The third expedition, under Captain John Davis, consisted of the Elizabeth, the Sunshine, and a clinker, called the Helen, and it was only by representing that the expedition would pay for its outfit, by the fishing, that he was able to equip even this insignificant force. He sailed from Dartmonth on the 19th May, 1587, and on the 15th June was again off the old coast. Here the two largest vessels were left to fish, while Davis in his small pinnace, which was found to move through the water like a cart drawn by oxen, set sail and continued to range along the coast, to the northward, till the 30th, when he was in lat. '72° 12', where he was stopped by an adverse wind; otherwise, he says, he beheld an open sea to the northward. He therefore shaped a westerly course, and ran forty leagues without seeing land. From the 1st to the 14th July, he was in con
Query, 60° W. longitude.
tinual fear from the ice, and on the 20th they made Mount Ralegh and the mouth of Cumberland Straits; the northern shore of which he traced for three days, and then, getting becalmed, was not able to extricate himself until the 29th. On the 30th July,
wee crossed over the entrance or mouth of a great inlet or passage, being twenty leagues broad, and situate between sixty-two and sixty-three degrees. In which place wee had eight or nine great rases, currents or overfalls, lothsomely crying like the rage of the waters vnder London Bridge, and bending their course into the sayd gulfe.”
This was evidently the entrance to Hudson's Straits, and quaint old North West Fox observes“ Davis and he,” (speaking also of Waymouth,) “ did, I conceive, light Hudson into his straights. Not being able to see anything of the Elizabeth and Sunshine, and having but half a hogshead of fresh water left, they shaped their course homeward, and arrived at Dartmouth on the 15th September.
Notwithstanding Davis had reached a much higher latitude than any former navigator, he could find no one willing to send him out again. The burden of every one's song was, “ This Davis hath been three times employed; why hath he not found the passage ?" Added to which, the death of Walsingham, the queen's secretary, and the all-absorbing projected invasion by the Spanish Armada, effectually put a stop to any further attempts, at least for a season.
The next exploratory project was for discovering a passage by the north-east, and was made by the Hollanders. The merchants of the United Provinces, after the great political convulsion, in which they had been well nigh overwhelmed, had somewhat subsided, determined to participate in the advantages of a direct trade with India, which the nations of Europe had hitherto left exclusively in the hands of the Spaniards and Portuguese. They requested permission of the States General, who took so great an interest in the enterprize, that they promised a gratuity of twenty-five thousand florins, if they succeeded; with the privilege of exclusive trade by this new route for eight years.
Three ships and a small bark were fitted out, and the principal command given to William Barentsz, a seaman of great reputation. They sailed from the Texel on the 5th June 1594, and arrived at the mouth of the Kola, in Lapland, on the 23rd of the same month. Here the squadron separated, Barentsz directing his course to the northward of Nova Zembla; and the other vessels under Cornelis Cornelisz Nay, proceeding by the old passage through Waigatz Straits. Following Barentsz, we find him, on the 29th July, in latitude, by observation, 77° north, the most northern point of Nova Zembla, which he named Icy Cape. Further than this he could not advance, on account of large impenetrable masses of ice, which barred
The other division of the fleet made Waigatz Island on the 21st July in latitude 70° 20' north, and found the water covered with floating trees, trunks, roots, and branches, which they rightly judged came down from some large river. The shore was enamelled with herbage and flowers of every colour and agreeable odour. They persevered in their course until the 1st of August, when they made the passage by the south strait, and entered the sea of Kara, into which they sailed fifty or sixty leagues, until the 12th, when they were in latitude 71° 10' north. Feeling now convinced, by the rapid southerly bend of the coast, and the blue colour of the water, that they had an open sea before them, and erroneously suppo ng that that sea washed the shores of that rich country, the wealth of which they so much coveted, they retraced their steps on the 14th, and on the 15th were joined by Barentsz. They arrived home on the 16th September.
The States entered with spirit into the prosecution of an attempt that promised so much. They fitted out seven ships, not with the view of discovery, but laden with merchandize, as if for the actual purposes of trade. The command was again virtually given to Barentsz, and they sailed from the Texel on the 2nd July, 1595.
The ships separated after passing North Cape; some going to the White Sea. Those intended for discovery, arrived, on the 19th August, at the entrance of Waigatz Strait, which they only cleared on the 3rd September, owing to the dangerous navigation. Before them was a fine clear blue sea, of a depth of more than one hundred and ten fathoms, in which great whales were sporting. Everything prognosticated success, when a storm arose from the north-west, and they perceived a large bank of ice drifting down on them. They continued in an unsuccessful endeavour to advance to the north-east, till the middle of the month, the weather increasing in sharpness, and the nights in length. On the 15th, a council was held, and the following resolution passed :-“ We, the undersigned, declare that we have done our best before
5 Burney's “North-East Voyages,” pp. 15—28. A narrative of the three voyages of Barentsz was written by Girard le Veer, who accompanied him on the second and third, and was published under the title of “ Vraie Description des trois Voyages, de mer, faits par le Nord, vers les royaumes de Cathay et de China.” Amsterdam, 1600. Folio.