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named Gibbons and Hawkridge, who commanded similar expeditions at a future day. Mr. Rundall has printed in his “North-West Voyages” a rare fac-similie of the original MS. orders given by Prince Henry to Button, entitled :


by the most noble Prince Henry of Wales, this 5 of Aprill 1612 vnder his highnes signature and signe manuell and delieured unto his seruant Captaine Thomas Button generall of the company now imployed about ye full and perfect discouery of the north-west passage for the better gouernment as well of the shipps committed to his charge as of the personns in them imployed vppon all occa

sions whatsoever." The instructions which follow are drawn


with considerable skill. By them Button was directed to proceed to Digges' Island as soon as possible, “the waie being alreadie beaten,” leaving the examination of the shores of the strait to his return. (8.) “Being in (Hudson's Strait): We holde it best for you to keepe the NORTHERNE SIDE, as most free from the pester of ice, at least till you be past Cape Henry, from thence follow the leading ice betweene KING JAMES and QUEEN ANNE'S FORELANDS, the distance of which two capes observe, if you can, and what harbour or rode is neir them, but yet make all the hast you maie to SALISBURY His ÍSLAND, betweene wch and the Notherne continent you are like to meet a great and hollowe billowe from an opening and flowing Sea from thence. Therefore, remembering that

your end is west, we would have you stand over to the opposite Maine, in the latitude of some 58', where, riding at some headland, observe well the Aood of it come in SOUTH-WEST,

then you

maie be sure 2 “ Barrow," p. 198.

the passage

is that waie; yf from the NORTH OF NORTHWEST, your course must be to stand vpp into it, taking heed of following anie flood, for feare of entering into BAIS, INLETS, or SANDS (? sounds), which is but losse of time to noe purpose.” In case of separation, Digges' Island was also appointed as the rendezvous.

The ships being in all respects completed and provisioned for eighteen months, Button sailed in the early part of May, 1612, with Bylot and Pricket, adventurers in the late unfortunate expedition of poor Hudson, as pilots. He arrived safely at Digges' Ísland, from which he took a south-westerly' course until he fell in with land, to which he gave the name of Cary's Swans'-NEST. His next land-fall he named HOPES CHECK’d, and the same day (13th August), a violent storm arising, he was obliged to seek a harbour for sheltering and refitting his ships. This he found in a small river, in latitude 57° 10' N., which he named Port Nelson, from his master, who died and was interred here, and which has since become one of the Hudson's Bay Company's principal stations. Having determined on making this their. wintering place, they proceeded to construct a barricade, to protect the ships from the inclemency of the weather, and took other precautions to make all snug for the approaching winter, which in the end proved so severe, that several of the crew gave way under it. Button, with a sagacity which proves him to have been a wise commander, gave his crew no time to think of mischief, considering that the best way of preventing men from murmuring, discontent, and secret conspiracies, was to divert their minds from dwelling on their own unpleasant situation,”? and he likewise happily succeeded in obtaining an abundant supply of wild fowl, which of course prevented much · Not north-westerly.-See “ North-West Voyages,” p. 86.

of that dissatisfaction which is the general consequence of hunger.

About the beginning of April in the ensuing year the ice began to break up, although they were not able to extricate the ship from her icy berth for some months after. They then stood along the coast to the northward, until on the 29th July they had attained the latitude of 65°; this was somewhere near the present Cape Comfort, and was the highest northern latitude reached in the voyage. From this point a course was shaped to the southward, until Mansell's Islands were made, and thence a direct passage home. Button gave it as his opinion on his return, that a western passage did exist, although, much to his annoyance, he had not succeeded in discovering it.

The enterprising Muscovy Company, in 1610, sent out Jonas Poole, in a small bark of seventy tons, to search for a passage across the pole. He sailed on the 1st March, but after reaching the latitude of 65°, was driven back to Scotland. On the 2nd May he made the North Cape, and then stood for Cherie Island, which, however, owing to the dense fog, he quite missed, and first made the coast of Spitzbergen, along which he pushed to about 77° 30°; the air becoming gradually milder, when his ardour for discovery was entirely turned aside by the sight of a large herd of morses, the capture of which formed his whole pursuit for the remainder of the voyage.

Next year Poole again sailed, and unfortunately did not attempt to redeem his character as an Arctic explorer ;—nothing is heard of but the capture of the morse, until his little vessel of fifty tons was quite full. This was her ruin; as the last bale of skins was being brought on board she heeled over, and all the loose skins slipping to the same side, she was carried entirely under water. The


who all

escaped with divers serious contusions, were fortunately picked up by a Hull whaler. Poole was again sent out the following year with two vessels, but as his object seems to have been solely the capture of the whale and morse, it seems unjust to place his name among the Arctic voyagers of the seventeenth century; he says, indeed, that Thomas Marmaduke, the captain of the other vessel, penetrated to the latitude of 82°, but as we have no further authority for this assertion, the truth rests on his bare assertion.

While Sir Thomas Button and Jonas Poole were engaged on the above voyages, a new company of merchant adventurers, one of the principal men of which was Alderman Cockin, despatched James Hall, who had already made three voyages to Greenland in the Danish service. The vessels were the PATIENCE and the HEART'S-EASE, and the object of the voyage appears to have been a vague idea of gold and silver mines on the western coast of Greenland; but, with such an idea in view, nothing, as may be supposed, was done. Hall whilst sitting in a boat was stabbed by one of the natives. Sir John Barrow remarks: - The little that is known of this voyage appears to have been written by WILLIAM BAFFIN; and it is chiefly remarkable for its being the first on record, in which a method is laid down, as then practised by him, for determining the longitude at sea by an observation of the heavenly bodies.”

The Merchant Adventurers saw in the failure of Button's attempt nothing to discourage them; in fact, they were rather disposed to think otherwise. They accordingly again fitted out one of his ships, the Discovery, the command of which was given to Captain Gibbons, a near relative of Button, and whom the latter declares was not “short of any man that ever yet he carried to sea.” Captain Gibbons, unfortunately for his high recommendation, failed most signally. Completely baffled in his attempts to get through Hudson's Strait, he ran for the coast of Labrador, and here, on the spot where the Moravians afterwards formed their settlement of Nain, he remained for nearly five months, blocked up by the ice. When he did get out, of what his sailors had with some truth dignified with the appellation of “ Gibbons his hole,” he had of course nothing to do but to return home.

On the 16th April 1614, Robert Fotherby sailed in a small vessel called the Thomasine, in company with the fleet of Greenland ships, which now resorted to these seas for the fishery. After numerous obstructions, he reached, on the 10th of June, Hakluyt's Headland, the north-western extreme of Spitzbergen, where an unbroken line of ice met his view. This, together with bad weather, forced him to return home. The following year Fotherby was again despatched by the Muscovy Company. He advanced as far as 79° 10', when he became embayed in ice, from which he had scarcely escaped, when he was a second time encompassed; thick fogs, violent storms, and shoals of ice prevented him from making any further progress, and the voyage was abandoned.

Again did the Muscovy Company, with a perseverance which is truly surprising, fit out the Discovery for 'her third Arctic

voyage. The command of the vessel was virtually given to Robert Bylot, who had performed three voyages before to the north ; but it is to the intelligent William Baffin, who acted as his mate or pilot, that we may greatly attribute the success of his voyage.

All that was known of this attempt was printed by Purchas, in his “Pilgrims;” but it has since been ascertained by Mr. Rundall (“ North-West Voyages," p. 97), that his version of it is sadly incorrect, which has, unfortunately, laid the character of Baffin open to many undeserved attacks. Mr. Rundall has dis

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